Well, if we are discussing gameplay changes as well then I'll add some. Even though it might sound like I'd want a more complicated game I really don't, I want a "smarter" game.
- Less distinction between ships in port and in task forces. A ship can suddenly become invulnerable/invisible to, say, a carrier strike simply because it was put into a task force instead of staying in port while the carrier strike was a port attack (or vice versa).
- Less omnipresent bombardments. Somehow currently being in a coast hex means every single thing in that hex is lined up at the shore, in perfect range for even the smallest gun to hit whatever is there.
- Better/more granular ground combat model. Quite a big thing to sum up in a short sentence but I have difficulty articulating all the issues I have with it. At the moment things seems a bit too binary. One thing is that you can more or less outright lose a division in two days of combat in a fight against a unit of equal size (hostile division). Say you are moving over a river, there's an enemy unit on the other side (but you don't have good recon on it). Shock attack results, your division is shattered and the following turn the enemy shock attacks you back. Boom, one dead division. How in the world would that happen in real life?
Yes, yes, you could have done better recon, that just says what you should do in the game, it doesn't mean it's a very plausible result. Also sure, the game is an abstraction but I don't think those kind of quick results are any good for the game.
The combat model also often seem to encourage "doom" stacks instead of any kind of wide fronts. And so on and so forth...
- More granular(/verbose?) naval combat. The naval combat works, in a sense, because naval combat always seems to have been somewhat chaotic so any result the game spits out can be explained in one way or another. Regardless I'd want the game to tell me why my destroyer division with full ammo sailed within 3000 yards of an enemy merchant convoy, fired once (missing) and afterwards let them go. Sure, I can make some scenario up in my mind of how it could have happened, but then I could explain away pretty much any scenario.
- Better ship damage modelling/repair time. It seems unreasonable that a submarine can hit a mine, return to port and be back ready for sea a week later. This is somewhat less of an issue the bigger the ship is as they get pretty long repair times regardless. Though having a battleship hit by a torpedo and ending up with 0/0/0/0 damage is a bit mind boggling.
- Long term fatigue. Just to bring down operational tempo on all combat units (land, ground and air).
- AVGAS (or an optional grognard hardcore version with AVGAS, POL, heavy fuel and coal, plus supplies split into general supplies, weapons&ammo, food, medical supplies)
I hesitate suggesting making the game more complicated. This is still something that at least sounds appealing I'd add "Reinforcemnts (troops etc)" to that list. Still this is something that I'd only really wanted if it was handled in a very clever way from the interface. I wouldn't want to play spreadsheet manager plus plus.
Oh, what a topic! You know for a guy that only played the original WITP with a friend, I have only played WITP AE against the AI. Still it is my all-time favorite war game. I would love to see it get re-booted.
And on that topic... better AI?