Firstly, about beating the Dead Horse...
Whilst this debate (Argument in some cases it seems,) is purely Academic, I don't mind it on the basis that, for the New Beta Testers like myself, we get the chance to discuss the current Eco Model and compare it to models we're used to, as well as compare our data against the Testers who have been around since Beta 1.
By that token, I think that this particular topic is going to be a warring point for GlobalEco VS LocalEco, which is potentially very bad... I haven't seen many arguments on these forums, and those I have seen seem to get resolved, but this is one thing I don't think everyone will agree on, ever. There is a certain way people either like, or are used to managing their Empires in, particularly for TBS games.
However, I do actually have some well formulated opinions on the matter. (Or at least, =I= think they're well formulated...)
Having played Civ 3 and onward, Ascendancy, MoO2, MoM, and Age of Wonders, I've got a few different implementations of the 'Standard' or 'Local' Economic Model to compare Elemental against. I've got to say, both from a realism standpoint, and from a general gameplay standpoint, I like this model a TON better. The problem with the Local Eco Model is that it takes away a big part of the Strategy from the game. That does sound counter-intuitive at first blush though, so let me explain...
Whether or not you get X Number of cities with DECENT tiles is pretty much entirely defined by LUCK. The Strategy is reduced to the point where you have to try to place your cities on the best tiles you have, rather than as a means to acquire a strategic resource. This FURTHER reduces the amount of strategy, because oft-times, you're forced to sacrifice an Economically good position for a Strategic one, when in fact, those things should almost always be the same thing. Also, from the standpoint that, in History, some of the most seemingly desolate, barren places, are actually GREAT staging areas for Military Strikes into enemy territory, you should be able to hold on to a relatively barren and desolate place. The problem is, those places wouldn't at all be viable to hold on to if it weren't for the fact that Economy doesn't operate entirely on a Local level, and I'm pretty sure it hasn't since the days of the Neanderthal's, bar maybe some specific instances. I.E., once we developed Civilizations, even very, very small and rudimentary ones, there was often trade between tribes, villages, what-have-you. However, looking at a game like Civilization, it's impossible to hold on to a place like that, because of dissent and a large number of other things, and heck, good luck even keeping a city in the middle of Desert without Flood Plains or Oasis that doesn't just starve itself into oblivion. The City wouldn't be a city, it'd be a glorified Fort, one that even the opponent would Raze as soon as they got their hands on it. It also brought about an unrealistic upkeep cost for how poor it was. That costs you time, money, and most importantly I think, Military. By that same token, in those cities, you're incapable of building anything... Now, going back to the Desert City Example, that makes no sense. Look at a ton of Middle Eastern/North African countries, which tend to be situated right in the middle of a desert more often than not. Yet, somehow, they survive, even thrive to an extent. Yet, in Civ, they very clearly DON'T survive, much less thrive. You could also, like someone mentioned, look at Las Vegas and a pretty big chunk of the North American "Four Corners" area in general. Utah, where I live, is a Pseudo-Desert. By the 'Local Eco Model' logic, only about a half or so of this state should be usable. Technology isn't even a factor, since people moved here and lived here before there was even such a thing as Automobiles. They survived here just fine, in basically the middle of nowhere, all because of a non-local economy.
@Rishkith: If you're taking more than 30 minutes in a competitive match of Starcraft, then you and your opponent should be in a dead heat the entire game. Meaning, it takes about 5 minutes is all to break their entrenchment, in a competitive match. Casual matches, however, are very different, being absolutely rife with Static Defenses.
Back on point though, I've been lurking on these forums since around Beta 1B or 1C, and it's been discussed PLENTY, other than just that one thread. To insinuate, outright accuse, the Devs of straight deception and lying is not only a little incensing, even to me, but insulting, again, even to me. And it should insult every Tester in here as well. It's insulting to Stardock, because they would not pull the wool over our eyes, and even if they did, it wouldn't matter, since we'd see through it. (We being the collective whole of the Beta Community.) Two, it's insulting as a tester simply because that's the same as insinuating that they -COULD- pull the wool over our eyes, and by extension, calling every tester, discluding yourself, something along the lines of gullible or just plain stupid.
Furthermore, I have to agree with other statements made here. You've made absolutely no Logical and Constructive arguments as to -WHY- local is better than Global, which is just even more insulting given the prior insinuation, because that forces us, as the Global-Supporters, to assume that you think we're too stupid to 'be worth your time,' therefore putting us in an even more exclusive group of stupidity and gullibility than even those you blatantly blanket-insult.
Lastly, it insults the intelligence, integrity, and decency, of these Forums, this Beta Test, the Game as a whole, and everyone at Stardock, for you to say, 'Because I don't like this feature, I'm going to be a lot less active/stop actively participating in the Beta Process,' without providing any good reason as to WHY IT SHOULD BE DIFFERENT.
I'm sorry if that's too angry, too ad hominim, and too harsh, but you basically just took a big dump on the faces of everyone who's an active, or inactive part of this community, who plays the Beta, and who doesn't actively agree with you, particularly Frogboy, Boogie, and the other Dev's, who pour their time, money, and most importantly, EFFORT into this game so YOU CAN ENJOY IT, and you cheapen it all because of ONE FRIGGEN FEATURE that you can't agree with. I bet if you'd just look at it objectively rather than just argue how your way is better without providing any evidence to support that point, (Read: Being STUBBORN,) you might just find that this system is actually FUN.