well i wasn´t a fan of the distance penalty in MoM either, and i guess that´s why it worked. it forced the player to make more choices especially in regard to battle strategy (when, where, and how), and choosing and developing heroes with or without casting ability inherent.

i felt that it added to the game, giving the tactical battle more depth and finesse, and in a word more TACTICAL. with no penalty, and sufficient mana reserves it would be pretty much a no-brainer just to sledge hammer the opposition with DoT or direct damage spells repeatedly. there would really be no need to consider what unit types and strategy to bring to the battle screen unless you were attacking a horde of creatures with magic immunity, because there would be no need to engage (flame strike anyone?).

i figured strategy might be something we´d be looking for in a strategy game...

just my two cents.