Fist of all, I value time and effort of the devs, and guy that made the UI for this game. I would like you to reconsider maybe some of the principles, and why avoiding "sea of icons" was probably, not the best idea.
Here is the quiz for start:
What factory is selected?
It's on screen believe me.
You don't see it? Neither do I. Answer:
There are 3 factories, 2 land, 1 air. They are barely recognizable. Icons are the same. No fast way for eye to distinguish between two.
I know that designing a good silhouette is extremely hard, and master of those are blizzard guys. SupremeCommander series also have issues with those. BUT, they really have good icon system. Simple and informative. I know that that we want to be innovative, but it's hard to reinvent the wheel.
ICON OF UNITS:
I'm Total/SupCom player. I think, most of your playerbase is with this bg. I'm 100% sure you someday sat together, and said: we won't copy those games system. Whatever reason (copyrights, product separation). But look at this:
Triangles, squares, half circles, dashes, crosses, simple shapes. I instantly know, what is where, what level, what type, land, air, water.
I know that many hours of this game made me get used to the information on screen but... compare.
Similar factory shapes. Ground defense - barely visible distinction between AA and AG. Icons merge with bg and structure shape (no border line), structures look very similar (3d models).
Unit icons: complex shapes, that to make things more difficult: change shape with direction of the unit. No information of level type, it's purpose (aa, ground).
Not on this screen: no highlights of the units icon except the black (hard to read instantly) ring around them.
For me, it's extremely hard to play. You already have "sea of icons". Bad one thou.
And they even change with zoom level... on total zoom level I loose all information about what type of units are where. Information changing constantly based on zoom level. It's confusing as hell.
That worked on Sins
But see the black background? You don't have that in Ashes. You don't have here air and land.
I've select 50 units, I have no idea what I've selected. I cannot exclude all arty units, air units, or scouts from being added into army. I get information what I get AFTER the army is created. I cannot exclude them afterward, and disband make the selection structure invisible again.
I really would like to support you guys, I've loved Sins. That's why this post. Maybe you will come up with something. UI is important thing.