Here's my list of observations as a game developer on the game and as the lead designer:
Conquering a city doesn't remove enchantments on it
The computer players aren't casting spells (I know because I had to disable it for the 1.1 beta)
When I found a city, it should do the animation first before taking you to the book so that you can appreciate what is happening.
The opening page when you enter the game should give you more useful and interesting data.
The world is still too bland and uninteresting in general.
There is still no real personality between the various factions.
The global mana is very very nice.
The overall economy feels much better.
There is still way too much advantage to building lots of cities because each city can do a lot of parallel work.
Archers are too powerful right now (8 attack on short bow is too much)
Tech pacing is better but gets bogged down.
Need more quests
Need more notable locations
Need more interesting land tiles - the land is just boring
The monsters sit around waiting to be killed
The monsters are fairly moronic.
The wildlands need to feel a lot scarier.
Need a lot better dialog
Not enough diplomatic options
Not enough tools to work together with other players
Movement mid to late game gets really annoying. Need some reasonable way to travel distances that aren't lame (i.e. don't rely on teleporting)
my comments on some of these:
personality can wait until they are all good at the basics imo. right now there's far too many cities that never build houses and the such like. easy ways to vary them might include different attributes (so mancers have higher con and more hp, wraiths have more int and spell resistance, etc) or research speed bonuses for one particular branch. i think it's far too early for twilight style tech trees.
the global mana is really nice. however, i don't think linear generation with no limit is a good idea. first of all, running any summons or enchants in the long term cripples your stockpiling. every time you cast a spell you put yourself at a mana disadvantage to everyone else for the rest of the game. it encourages peole to save all their mana for a rainy day instead of actually using it. there is more discussion on this elsewhere however.
the economy is better... but i still don't like the food system. we still have a situation where you either have enough food to continue expanding and it doesn't matter (and indeed, having excessive supply has no benefits and it can't be traded) or you don't have enough and you can end up unable to expand or grow (including aquiring more food). it's far too rigid a system; it works a lot better at limiting city spam then before, because cities are no longer able to provide their own food through trade and enchantments. but this just means that you end up running into no-food-paralysis more often. it works at limiting city spam much better, but it's no fun when it does (though this has always been true) in the absence of a food based population growth system, i'd request an option to sacrifice sovereign essense to create fertile land, but we no longer have essence, so....i really don't know.
btw i really miss essense.
i also massively dislike building the same buildings over and over again; i'm getting massive urban sprawl.
agreed on the archers. i also don't see the point of putting longbows and shortbows in the same tech. would be better to have one ranged weapon come earlier; can we get weak short bows as part of basic equipment instead?
i also think it's gone too far in the direction of requiring buildings for units. i can see the principal, and it's noble. however, i'm currently in a situation where i don't have the food to get anywhere but my capital past level 2. and being doomed to watch individual guys crawl round a tactical battle. the game needs more squads and fewer individuals, not the other way around. wouldn't it have been better to have done this by increasing training times and giving us a series of time-reduction buildings at each level?
quests.... i'm still in the position i've always been; they all spawn objectives in or behind enemy territory (or otherwise innacessible) so i never do most of them. it's easy enough to get levels and items through notable locations anyway (would like a way to know which tiles are passable or not without having to walk their first btw).
the monsters... really i am getting the exact opposite experience. currently i am the most powerful faction i know of, but i'm still getting situations where (ten minutes ago) a forest drake appeared in visible space, walked over to my best defended town and walked over the defenders without a scratch, despite them having 3x it's combat rating. this is the second game (of two) where monsters far more powerful than anyone (in the game) could defeat at the time, have conquered my cities. both these games were at EASY difficulty. it's like the game is just randomly selecting where to drop nukes. i don't even think monsters should be attacking cities on easy difficulty; they should be a barrier to expansion rather than a threat to survival. i mean, it wouldn't be so bad if the city simply became a ghost town that i could later retake, but they just instantly destroy EVERYTHING. this has happened in ALL my games sofar in this beta and it's just not fun.
i am also feeling the movement thing, though generally by the late game the mana cost for teleporting is a pittance.
it may not sound it, but generally i really like this patch. great work.