I am not asking for female villagers running around from enemy cavs, screaming, crying and begging for life, either (I wouldn’t mind seeing that, though lol). But BLOOD IS SOMETHING COOL RATHER THAN GORY imo. And I even think it is essential when it comes to a war game. I was disappointed when I found DE has less blood effect than the original ones.
The death animation of hersir in Age of Mythology is close to what I wanted to imply by units crawling on the ground.
Hydras in AoM increases the number of its heads as it goes through more battles. And I liked seeing it, thinking about what it has been through. I think the enemy blood on weapons and armors of survivors would give me the same feeling. With that a soldier will be not just another, but an individual who fought on your side, who has seen what you have seen!
Voice acting by soldiers would give you the feeling that these small units are people with emotions. It doesn’t have to be “I don’t want to die” or “it hurts! I’m scared! aaahhh”, but maybe “eat this!” or “watch out!”
Age of Empires/Mythology are wonderful because they are great in many ways. When I was a small kid, I was into its beautiful animations. I randomly moved units just because I wanted to see them walk. When they fight, I always zoomed in camera to see them fight. I don’t know how many hours I spent on scenario editor to see animations I loved (the death animation of cyclops and hoplites were my favorite).
As I grew up, my interest shifted to strategy and balancing, and I agree that animations are not the point of RTS games. But hey, AoE/M is more than just that! It is also an art to watch, material to learn history from and something that connects people from different generations with different interests!