Just installed the new beta build and got irked so badly that i'm here on the forums and the game is off within the first 10 turns no less.
I just started a new game and on a medium map Verga started no less than 10 squares away from me. Thats not the problem per se, however I proceeded to watch him B-Line and beat me to 4 goodie boxes and kill one of my possible recruits right in front of me. He even split up his 2nd general/companion to take a 5th goodie box from me. To make matters even better, he killed 2 monster dens before I could even walk there.
Exploration is only fun when the AI isn't killing and grabbing everything. Whomever thought it would be a good idea to compete with the AI for the same goodie boxes got it wrong. Every player needs their own goodie boxes in my opinion. How will I recruit any champions later if the AI is going around whacking all of them? This isn't a good feature.
In my previous games i've gone around collecting all the goodie boxes I could from what would be my territory. Going around grabbing the low level goodie boxes is a phase of the game that I enjoyed. It only comes in the beginning of hte game then its gone. Now I see it will be largely removed from my gameplay experience. I have no problem with the AI getting goodie boxes also, however I think each player eneds to have their own set of them that only they can get. Kind of like the quests..
On the same note I enjoy going around clearing monster dens as well. Its an important part of building my characters up. You're removing a huge part of the game for players simply because the AI is trying to imitate the path a human player follows. Perhaps monster dens respawn now, i'm not sure. If that is the case then i'll have things to do all the time i'm not at war with another faction. However if that isnt' the case it again isn't a good feature.
Perhaps i'm over reacting but I saw all of this and for the first time said, "Forget this crap." and turned off the game. A pretty strong reaction to these new changes.