This came from Beta 2-B (last Thursday). So yesterday we re-did the magic system and it now works as follows:
Spells do not cost Essence. Only mana.
Your mana max is equal to your essence.
Initial essence = to unit’s intelligence.
Is Essence ever going to be used to benefit a physical damage dealer? You used to make the example of Sauron in the beginning of The Fellowship when comparing to a Sovereign with Essence, but that wasn't Magic. That was just him picking up a mace and killing a hundred guys with one swing. Right now if I choose to specialize my Sovereign in Physical Damage dealing (Strength/Dexterity/Constitution), I gain a very negligible benefit from Essence.
If you choose tactical battles, the game zooms in and effectively loads a special map based on the terrain (so that we can put extra goodies on there)
Will modders be able to create more tactical battle maps?
Tactical battles are designed to be quite short. Our goal is to have them default to being over in less than 3 minutes. However, we hope (though no promises by release) to make a scaling option so that these can be extended or shortened at player request.
Obviously you guys have been working on it for a while and are better judges, but a 2-3 minute battle seems less than tactical. As long as there's enough opportunity for beneficial unit control (meaning, not just charge the enemy head on), it should be good.