i disagree/agree with some of the posts. some things to make the game great...
1) Fix the bugs. youre going to make people mad/turn them off when the game crashes. even mild things like 'my cool looking air shrine doesnt look so cool anymore' will upset people
2) Magic: frogboy's post for 'labor day notes' soudns promisng- basically (as I understand it) shrines will somehwat = nodes in MOM. Hopefully essence will still count as 'spell points' and be improved by shrines. Hopefully shrines will still improve magic of that type (cool feature). finally, i hope casters are still made the same way. to IMPROVE it, i would say take spells from master of magic- AoW is good, but MoM has a better variation of spells.
3) vary tech tree more. vary racial abilities (ie give trogs hp/strength bonus, wraiths spell bonus, pariden research, etc). THEN, allow us to use conquered pops like Age of wonders (and ability to migrate in/out). varied command of different races would be key. I LIKE the lack of elves/dwarves/orcs though. feels different from norm, and could be awesome.
4) tactical battles: decrease glass cannons, give a '6 unit troop' 6 individual dice rolls (as above). right now units have poor surviveabliilty, makes the game less fun. leveling up units/heroes IS lots of fun, surviveability allows that. add special abilities with different weapons, OR level up with different weapons (veteren spearmen can have 'first strike', green recruits dont know how to use the spears well yet). Add flanking, more differentiation between foot troops/cavalry beyond 'they move faster).
5) quests/heroes: awesome. now make static dungeons, and level ups with new abilities, not just stats. make equipment for heroes droppable.
6) city building: very fun. please add city walls in combat (like in master of magic/age of wonders) not just a stat bonus
7) AI: as above
8) dynasties: if an faction has kids, if someone is 'first in line for the throne' and the soveriegn dies, LET the heir take over. if that air is married to your daughter/son, let YOU take over. le
9) minor factions: as in labor day notes, make them able to build one city and units, but not pioneers. maybe consider making them slower to research/build. continue to give them their own special 'shops', as well as families to marry into.
i actually enjoy the game. a lot. I love the soul of the game (the lack of bunch of races, more rare magic). I was in the beta, but coming into the game NOW i would have been disappointed. these changes would go a long way.