I would currently give the game somewhere around 6.0- 6.5 based on the latest beta, but it is clearly on the right track. I think some of the comments above are too generous regarding the current state of the beta, as for me, I have put the beta on the shelf for now. There is clearly some content missing including:
Faction differentiation, diplomacy, proper hero paths, fixing the tactical battle wierdness (no distance penalty for ranged attacks, ai wierdness esp re spell casting, the regeneration exploit etc), more quest variation, heaps of UI improvements, path finding, random events, balance, balance, balance, making city building interesting; and very very importantly making the late game interesting (for replayability)
Fix this and I think you will have a 8.0-8.5 on your hands. The last point up to 9.0 will in my opinion be about strengthening the "wow" factor of the game in such a way that builds emotional engagement in the audience. I am certainly no expert at this, but it could be things to:
- improve the story told in each game (while somehow avoiding it being repetitive, which is very very difficult). This could be through more varied text, through giving more contextual references to previous game events in diplomacy: through naming areas of the map based on player/ai action (big battles deserve to leave a name; so does the results of massive land altering spells); have quests with real far reaching dilemmas.
- don't just make the factions different; make them memorable; make me hate, love or fear the sovereigns. Have important non-faction characters in the game (where is the evil necromancer in a tower or territorial dragon I can negotiate with?...most monsters are very one-dimensional.....where are the crazy characters that don't mind using the equivalents of Civ's nukes or Alpha Centauri's bio-weapons)
- increase the frequency of epic experiences in game (currently the main ones are taking down the wildland bosses)
Though a completely different genre, Mass Effect 3 did these things quite well (just don't mention the last 5 minutes of that game)
In closing, I'll just re-iterate that you guys are certainly on the right track. Good work and keep at it!