I still dunno about dragons. I mean, ok, dragonkin adds a possibility and plenty of room for magic to go. However, if you're going to make dragons a race dragons should be the main part of it. Otherwise, you may as well name it Dragonkin and be done with it. Kind of cheap to name it dragons and then make 3/4th's of the units only half-dragon.
I guess the labor might be a little difficult, but it's not that that I see as being a problem. It'd be harder to create structures and the like that make sense in my opinion. If the race is going to be called dragons they obviously rule themselves, which means they have their own architecture. So-what's dragon-made building look like? A curious question-and an even more interesting answer, no doubt.
I couldn't agree with you more over minotaurs. I didn't get the WoW reference until I remembered some quests from I think Darkshore, but that's not important. What is important is that it completely lost the Minotaur feeling, sowe can't really go that route. I'm guessing it'd actually be possible to create something plausible with the minotaur name- minotaurs are awesome units (giant axes for the win
) but you'd basically be recreating the races technology traits to do so.
I mean, they obviously wouldn't have archers besides throwing axeman. I don't remember anything to suggest they were technologically advanced. They could have some good infantry and I sorta like the shaman idea, but I still think there isn't enough existing lore behind them to create a race off them with that name.
Undead: In my opinion, they are the most open-ended of the races. Think how many concepts you could combine to create a workable race-you could use one or two things from nearly hundreds of games to create a completely unique race with hundreds of possible units, plenty of magic possibility, skeletal horses, wyverns, the walking corpses of your dead enemies-I actually think WoW did a good job pulling them off.
There's also plenty of concept for the dwarves. I particularly liked how Dragon Age portrayed them as a race with very big political issues- Id never seen them portrayed like that before. I absolutely loved it, to be honest, and would like some similar lore for their questline if they ever come to pass. As for balance- give them a strong defenseive focus in my opinion, with excellent siege weaponry but limited in options. Also, it's a basic fact they hate anything to do with riding, so they're only cavalry could be some sorts of wild animals and specialist mercenaries.
You'd be surprised at how over-powered 5 mages can be. Decent line of sight+ some sort of fireball spell with good AoE plus firewall (which I know exists) and high HP, and they could wreck total havoc on any army. It won't end up like that, but mages could end up a little to powerful for their own good.