you know, I actually really liked ToEE, its combat was pretty great, its just the game itself lacked too many 3.5e things to make it good (it at least needed some the base PRCs, more of the spells etc, thankfully mods added a bunch of those things later).

Huge combats with huge numbers of enemies isn't the end of the world if they're scaled properly, even in turn based mode, AoEs should actually be easier to use as the enemies dont keep moving as you're casting.

But yeah having combats not pull other combats in so easily would probably help too.