I just voted. I voted good previously, and now I voted fair. I'll explain why.
Obvious to me, the game has never been better than now, but at the same time I think there are still some balance issues and the general state of the game if near release worries me a bit. At the same time, I sometimes wonder if we are not too much demanding. But I will get FE for free, so maybe I'm not to critical because I think it is a nice gesture. If a friend would ask me the question : would I buy FE at release, I'm afraid I would say no And Stardock's goal is to make an awesome game and sell it to as many people as possible. So, I'm afraid I have to give my opinion even if it is unpleasant.
Ok, I'll try to point out why:
General feeling (MOST IMPORTANT)
I voted fair also on intuition because I don't get that 'one more turn' feeling. Worst, I'm not able to clearly point what the 'problem' is. I think what keeps me going in such games is at some point you always have some unit that becomes overpowered because you cared for her. Champion of course comes in mind (I always create mine), but it should be true for heroes as well. So far, while they are nice, they lack some personality IMHO. recruitable heroes should be very memorable.I want some really rare heroes, but it shouldn't be level based. MoM did that right, you could get all champions lvl1, but some of them were better than others (stats and feats). If you care for that rare lvl1 hero giving him best stuff, you would on the long term gain an advantage. Now, when I cross a lvl 9 hero, I don't even bother since I didn't want particularly to research Ereog's journal. And if I did, there's still the chance an enemy faction would kill him in the meanwhile
I remember posting on these forums about the relative scarcity of new heroes to recruit in late game and how making them immortal was not such a good choice for me Allow permanent death for faction-recruited heroes and make them just pop-up to hire at cities depending on prestige, even if there is a finite set, we would rename them anyways... A hero that cannot die : no one cares for him. Superman is less interesting than Spiderman. Game of Thrones characters are memorable because they can be killed, wounded at every point in the series. So that hero I have, I would care a lot more for him if I had a chance to lose him. This is maybe even more important than making them distinct from each other. Killing the other's faction über-hero would also be a goal, a memorable thing. It would also help balancing I think by preventing never-dying high-level heroes
For caring about 'normal' units, you made already everything possible since we can design them (thanks, one of the best features in the game like ships were in Galciv). So, I would bury them under buffing spells and make some elite units. But since heroes are too powerful, they just don't interest me, so I'm not interested in what's going to happen to them the next turn. So balance again, should be a major attention point.
Also, early in the game, I'm not too busy. Care that I don't ask for more quests (more tiles with something). It's just that all quests that are given and that I'm allowed to do, I know I can complete them : no thrill . Allow me to fail them. So I have to scout (an incentive to create units). So dungeons, quests should have random, unknown difficulty. I should only know after being once there. I should never be allowed to just send one champion to see without fearing him to encounter harm. Hence I would really want to improve and build that army to defeat that Killer dragon or horde of less powerful critters and if I do, please make it worthwile (right now, quests reward are a bit lacking IMHO). If I had to work to that powerful item or rare champion, if I fear I could lose them I will care for them and will be anxious about what's gonna happen to them on the next turn
Like Brad already said, heroes shouldn't be able to kill that much. Because early in the game, I don't even bother making units.
In general, I have a hard time to figure if and why a unit is better than an other. The Battle window is a great help of course, but I know that unit A is strong, B is weak but I don't know why. Is it because one does magic damage and the other not ?.
Bugs (not severe ones, just to say)
I played like 2-3 hours and I think I noticed those bugs:
- infection doesn't seem to work (or I don't understand it. I thought that if you cast it on a enemy, finally, bad spells on said unit should also affect its teammates).
- I casted the spell to kill an ally to gain a spell level, but it didn't seem to work (or I didn't understand it, but I read it carefully, maybe a translation problem, but maybe there should be some kind of feedback message that would say what has happened). Maybe that would be a good idea for every spell that just don't affect hit points, def, att, etc...
Well, maybe I'm right, maybe I'm stupid (wait, I sure am ), either way, some other people might not understand it as well. If the bugs are legit, there are probably a lot more since I didn't test the game for hours.
That's what I think at the moment, but I'm sure it will improve. Maybe is it only a matter of polishing things now and balancing the game, adding more artworks, creatures, summons, objects, weapons ? It's not a lack of feature. I would like to ask more, but let there be some space for expansions I could buy if I enjoy FE (magic items creation, dynasty : Yeah ).
I didn't want to sound harsh, tons of good stuff and it's still going in the right direction.