Got some significant time in with the patched version.
1) Running around finding all the monsters to fight is pretty cool.
2) Love the item shop and how it gets new things when the towns level. Might be neat if they cycle stock randomly sometimes.
3) I actually liked the idea of new resource nodes appearing from techs, though some others haven't.
4) Imbuing a champion to make a new spellcaster, particularly since my sovereign was melee oriented.
5) I took the sovereign ability that lets units she's with travel at the same speed, and I love that ability!
1) Had a memory leak I think, as the game really slowed down the longer I went, and I had 7GB of virtual memory in use even though Elemental itself was under 2GB. Closing Elemental freed up 5GB of virutal memory. Not sure what was up with that.
2) Auto-resolve is bad at keeping weak units alive. I ran into this a lot when trying to level up a new recruited hero, particularly ones imbued with essence. I simply had them stay back and used my other units to block them when doing tactical combat, but with auto resolve they'd die every time. I wound up either not using them or not using auto-resolve. In tactical, the AI goes after units like that with singled minded focus and stronger units can guard them.
3) As stronger units came onto the field, I found it getting harder to keep my sovereign alive. Not particularly because she was being outpaced (indeed she usually had the highest attack/defense on the field) but simply because I couldn't keep raising constitution fast enough. Even with 50 defense, something with 30 attack was perfectly capable of one-shotting her if the rolls work out. IMO either constitution needs to go up automatically every level (in addition to the existing points system), or there needs to be some way for hero units to soak damage and not be so spiky about how much they take.
4) The nearest enemy AI to me (normal difficulty) hadn't done anything. He had one town with no upgrades, and only had himself, his spouse, their kids, and a guardian unit. By then I had 3 cities.
5) Because I made a melee oriented custom sovereign, I only took one spell book (water). There was several spell levels where I had no spells at all, and when I did it was pretty few. Past level 2 there wasn't much, and at level 2 the three I got don't seem to have been water related at all (enchant weapons/armor and summon familiar). So it seems like you really need to take multiple spellbooks to make casting worthwhile.
6) I found it a lot harder to build up a spellcasting champion then a melee one. A melee one just requires a visit to the item shop, and then dumping their level up points in STR/DEX/CON. But unless they have horrible starting stats they're useful right away. Creating a caster on the other hand requires imbuing essence, then gaining a couple of levels so they have enough essence to do anything, THEN boosting their INT. The item store doesn't help as there's not much that boosts casting ability the way a weapon does.
So it seems like the way to go is to make a caster sovereign and then build a stable of melee champions to cover you.
Most of that is really just balance stuff and number tweaking. The core game is coming along good.