I know we can set animation parameters on play or stop inside a specific animation instance, and/or we can use events to do this, but it seems that having a contingent check-and-play feature inside the animation controller would eliminate a lot of cross-work. For instance, in an equip/unequip event we can check for what's equipped where and set a parameter to change how a combatant will move, attack etc., but if we could check things like equipment parts, stats and object variables inside the controller itself, we could automatically shift these parameters more easily. It would no longer be as necessary to define sub-state paths for which instance of an animation type to use because the controller could simply cycle through, select, define and then play the correct instance via parameters.
I've hardly bothered playing around with Mecanim as yet, so I could easily be wrong in this approach, but it would be nice not to have to create and then specify so many instances of basic animations like walk, run, strafe, fart, play dead, be dead etc. We might also be able to front load some of this work to the individual Combatant instances under 'Animation & Movement' if we could check and set our parameters there as well. Object Variables with an 'Update' feature could make this even easier!