I actually love a lot about elemental. The point of this game is not imho, settlement management and economics, but a War of Magic. i'm not too fussed about the ai issues, but for me the game just doesn't get the war or the magic right in a way i find satisfying. most of this is imho down to fundamentally flawed game mechanics.
the biggest problem with combat at the moment is the concept of combat speed. for those of you who don't understand it (and i don't blame you), combat speed is the only stat melee units posess other than attack, defense and hit points. when the stat was first described it was as a way of modelling powerful creatures like trolls, who could make many attacks in a round. the problem is that the combat speed pool is also used for moves and spellcasting. as well as weapons increasing your combat speed (and allowing you to make more attacks) it also allows you to make more attacks and cast more spells. ie, buying a mount lets you cast more spells and equipping short sword lets you make more moves in a turn. this leads to situations like this:
clearly this is a messed up situation.
combat speed doesn't even succeed in it's main purpose, which is modelling different weapon speeds and creatures who can attack all around them at once. when you're choosing weapons to equip, comparing an attack value to a CS bonus is incredibly difficult to do, forcing most players to "wing it" rather than make a educated decision between the two. similarly, the way that heroes are given the option to increase their own combat speed on level up is incredibly confusing and unintuitive. anyone who looks at the dialogue knows what strength and constitution will do, broadly, but weighing increasing strength vs increasing combat speed is very difficult. i've no idea which is better, but i bet that whatever the difference is in the long run is ridiculous. that the same stat represents attack speed and movement rate mean that, effectively, a unit that can attack enemies on all sides is exactly the same as a fast unit of cavalry
fortunately the solution is really rather easy. please sign this petition if you agree that the stat system needs to be changed, even if you don't like my solution.
the differences the game models can, in fact, be modelled without the creation of any new stats.
combat speed as it stands is not combat speed. it is an overall pool of points that is used for all actions. so call it something appropriate, like Action Points (i will use this name from now on to stop confusion)
currently all attack actions have an AP value of 1. this is the value that should be changed by weapons, not the overall pool. do this. this way a weapon with twice the attack speed really does mean twice as many attacks and nothing else
AP should not be a value that is increased by mundane items, or slected to be improved on level up. it just doesn't fit in with the other stats here. it should automatically increase as you level up at a fixed rate and as units are given/achieve higher experience, thereby removing the level up dilemma. this also means an equal rate of improvement for melee and combat sovs. spells and items may also improve this stat as presently.
each unit already has a unit stat for strategic movement. some have argued that there may be a case for slow strategic units having high tactical speeds. personally i can think of no examples for which this would be appropriate. please suggest them if you can.
if you model movement like this, then you satisfy all scenarios without creating extra stats. it also means that most default speeds will remain as they are. only the higher level, more exotic scenarios are changed (and for the better)
every unit has a speed (like at the moment). infantry default to 1, cavalry to 2 and so forth.
on the world map, units move 1 + their speed in each turn
on the battle map, moving a square costs 1/the unit's speed in Action Points and a unit can move up to speed+1 squares in any given turn.
so, assuming a standard 2 AP (and standard attack speed of 1):
infantry have a speed of 1 and move 2 squares per turn on the world map (as present). on the battle map they either move 1 & attack 1, move 2, or attack 2
cavalry have a speed of 2 and move 3 squares per turn on the world map. on the battle map they either move 3 (as they hit their max moves, and then have 0.5 AP left over), move 2 and attack 1, or attack 2. so their attacks are unaffected by their mount.
this way, only the abilities intended to be affected are affected and every stat does exactly what you expect it to with no bizarre consequences. granted, the system is quite low resolution (ie, reducing AP even slightly for armour would cripple infantry units), but given enough variables it can become a more continuous system. you could also allow a limited number of AP to be carried over into following turns to work out the remainders. spellcasters can only ever cast 2 spells per turn when stationary, until their level increases their AP to 3.
how does this system sound?