Both your arguments are valid for what you are looking for in a game.
To me and I think to most serious war gamers (board or figure) it is the ability to employ realistic options that would be reasonable in the 'era/theme' being played.
The ability for the game to have a real theme 'feel' in the way units act, fight and react all add to the feel and the enjoyment of your army of choice.
The dice or decision making process are both critical in adding to the realism and feel of the game and the armies and so I did really enjoy the Red/Blue/green percentages on dice rolls and I think the D8s are a good improvement but as yet have not played enough to make an informed decision.
I think the ability of the games to appeal to a wide range of players can only be improved with additional army choices and ability to customise your own preferences.
They cannot go wrong if they include Dwarfs, Elves and Undead! How clear are those choices to throw in as expansions!!
My 2c worth