I was thinking it might be fun to have traits that don’t trigger on 4- or 5-matches, but on a certain number of cascades instead. The sweet spot might be 3 here (maybe 4, but that might make it too hard to accomplish on purpose). I believe these should be a fair bit rarer than 4- or 5-matches, so they could probably have some more substantial effects.
The main benefit I’m seeing is that this would emphasise the puzzle-aspect of GoW more. You’d have to plan more carefully, and observe the board to kick of cascades deliberately. While mana generators could still trigger them occasionally, doing so would be much less reliable than triggering 4- or 5-matches with them (e.g. a troll might result in 40 gems of one colour on the board which is guaranteed to give you a ton of Kraken triggers, but there’s no guarantee that the board will end up cascading at all, let alone multiple times).
You’d want to put the threshold for triggering the trait so that it’s not super likely that random mana generation will trigger them, but so that it’s still possible to plan for the required cascade with a deliberate match. For example, I think that 5-cascades almost always depend on what drops from above the board so that would be unsuitable, and the same is probably true for most 4-cascades. But it happens somewhat regularly that there’s a 3-cascade on the board where you don’t have to depend on the luck of what drops from above. Of course, finding the actual threshold should only be done through proper playtesting, but it would be nice if the threshold was chosen first (so that the cascades are plannable but not super likely from random matches), and then the trait’s power chosen according to how frequent these cascades are.
I don’t really care about what exactly these traits might do, whether they’re just beefed up versions of the 4- or 5-match traits we already have, or whether they have some novel effects, I would mostly enjoy being rewarded for playing the game a bit more thoughtfully.