One major point area that needs work in Elemental is the quests. I think most people agree that this is one area that needs greater variety and involvement in order to be the game Elemental ought to be. At the moment most quests are either fetch and carry or pest removal, the basic standards of any RPG, and don't really pull the player in the same way as warfare or diplomacy does in this game.
So as someone who enjoys thinking about this kind of stuff, I've been asking myself what I would do to make the quests make the world feel more alive. One major problem quests have is (at least in the non-campaign game) is that there are no voice or cutscenes. This means one little piece of text in a window that as an experienced player I skim very quickly and then close. It doesn't matter how well quests are written, if the text does not mean anything to the wider game, its going to get ignored.
Here's a few suggestions for mechanics which I feel would make quest flavour seem more tied to the greater game.
1 - Quests with diplomatic outcomes
In the wilds you come across a group of tired looking refugees. As you approach them, a leader steps forward and declares "We have been forced from our homes by the evil Kraxis Empire. They took all we had and ate our babies. If you help us avenge our dead, we will join you!"
Job - Kill a group of Kraxis Troops
Reward - Some units
Penalty - Anger the Kraxis Empire who live next door to you.
Now a simple 'go to X and kill Y' style quest has flavour that feels more important - it tells you more about the other factions, and involves a choice that effects the wider game beyond just get xp and loot. Such quests would be written for each premade faction, and would be set to spawn within a certain distance of their territory.
Equally, such quests could be offered by one faction, against another (like in Sins of a Solar Empire). Maybe Tarth wants a Kraxis General dead, but doesn't want to take the wrap. You have to chose between one faction or another and there's no way out beyond certain technologies that might lesson the diplomatic implications of helping one neighbour over another.
2 - Quests that flesh out minor Factions
One afternoon a strange, stumpy looking fellow appears at the castle gate. He asks for an audience.
"I am Grunfle of the Gronkonians. Our people love the delicious gronkleberries that grow in your region. However, we are too small and useless to fight the Grusslebears that guard the bushes. Please bring us these berries, and we will gift you our knowledge of [Tech upgrade]"
Job - kill some stuff, take something to minor faction's home city.
Reward - Tech, Improve Relations
This is usually the function of so called minor races in most RPGs - Dwarves, Gnome, etc. Make friends with the gnomes and now you have acess to Gnomish Robots or whatever. Now obviously elemental doesn't have these kind of minor races, but it does have minor factions which at present more or less consist of an occasional small city that does very little other than get in the way. So quests offer an excellent way to flesh these guys out, give the history and cultures, and give them value. Maybe each one has a powerful unit/spell that only they can give you, but only after completing a quest arc for them. Suddenly you might care if Kraxis is about to burn them out of their mud huts....
In short, as a player I don't care about fetching a magic flute for Lord Aahksionamle, if Lord Aahksionamle is not some on I ever come across in anyway. But fetching a magic flute for Lord Relias has so many other implications, that I actually care about the quest flavour, and I will read it and feel like my questing is more than just a mechanical action to gain xp.