I'm finding a significant decrease in the "just one more turn" phenomena as well. To the point of losing my will to play. But it was there in spades for v1.09e. I love this game and am very much liking the changes. I am more excited for the future of this game than I have been for any other game! But once I've started a new game, and have begun exploring, I consistently lose the motivation to play. I get excited about playing, but that interest is quickly lost once I am in game. I should point out that 4X TBS games are pretty much the only games I play. I was a Civ fanatic and now look to Elemental +mods to be that 'one' game for me as Civ once was (but I'm not looking for a civ clone, I'm looking for something different and better. I see the potential for this in EWoM). I've played enough games during and after v1.09e to identify the root cause of my decreasing interest.
The scarcity of resources affects my motivation to play on multiple levels:
1) The discovery of resources provides motivation and added purpose to early exploration. Goody hut popping and monster busting is fun. But exploration needs the added purpose of locating exploitable resources. Goody huts and monsters are a one time action. You deal with them and your done. But resource discovery leads to some decision making and follow up actions. Some resources are rarer than others. Some are cool for the things they allow. Others are critical. And some are just opportunistic bonuses from which we can capitalize on. Finding these resources, and then attempting to claim them before an opponent does, makes for a nice bit of early game tension and priority juggling. Forming extermination parties to make a region safe for settlement is also interesting. These things add purpose and excitement to the early game. Not finding many if any resources, and not finding suitable places to settle, takes a big chunk out of the early game fun.
2) Near and distant resource clusters provide early game decision making. There are resources you want to have, and there are resources you may want to deny your opponent. There are resources that will impact your strategy making, and there are resources that just add an interesting atmosphere to the map and your gameplay. After locating resources, player has decisions to make. Priorities to juggle. Preparations to organize. Fodder from which to RP. A resource poor map makes for decreased decision making, and it reduces our empire customization choices. And it works counter to the precepts of 4X TBS gaming... Explore, so one can Expand, in order to Exploit, to prevent being Exterminated.
3) Resources foster city specialization. In v1.09e, due to a UI inefficiency, I was naming my cities in such a way as to indicate which city specialization to select for each new city level (Gilden, Astecha, Archana...). Most every game I had cities specialized for Gildar, Tech, and Arcane (also Materials to a lesser degree). Some specializations took longer to achieve than others. Sometimes I had to go to war to gain a specializing resource. Other times I had to expand dangerously far out into the frontier. Sometimes I focused on influence modifiers to more rapidly net a resource. Other times I focused on prestige in order to quicken the city level growth modifiers. I was often compelled to detour my intended tech route in order to gain access to influence and prestige infrastructure. These specializing resources had a notable affect on my decision making. Those were fun times. Lots of decisions to make and different ways to go about things. Pressure to discover particular resources; motivation to specialize. Now there is a big void where once there was excitement, tension, decisions, anticipation,... things which drive the "one more turn syndrome". It was exciting to be pressured by a dire need. It was fulfilling to find a solution. And it was satisfying to have seen an opportunity, made a choice, invested towards a distant future return, then eventually begin reaping the reward.
I was compelled to keep hitting the end turn button so I could just get this one thing done... then another... then another... I'm not finding that anymore. And I'm not being pressured to come up with solutions to anything beyond defense. I am compelled to always choose the Gildar CL specialization because that affords me the ability to build whatever cookie cutter building I should require at the moment. I can construct these buildings en mass where ever and whenever I want. I find/capture the food to support a few cities and thats it. Once you got the food, you can grow your cities to get the tax income you need to build mass clones of the tech, arcane and material buildings. Food is the only resource pressure left. Gone are the days where we had to seek out supplemental resources in order to advance our societies. Lost is the tension of balancing resource exploitation against infrastructure. I really miss that! There were societal needs that had to be overcome in order to stay competitive. There was tension, there was a need to find solutions. I hope that v1.2 will see this change back. The AI and other improvements of v1.1 Beta, added to the resource occurrence of v1.09e would be great fun. And it would be superb to have some new resources which foster more specialization while adding flavor... military/martial arts academy, farming coop, blacksmiths union, travelers inn, ranger camp, ++. These resources would represent specialized groups of survivors coming together to share a common purpose (just like Lost Libraries and Arcane Temples).
4) Flavor. Resource variety is interesting. Perhaps particularly so in this game which promotes role-playing. We already have numerous tools which facilitates role-playing. Resources could, and I think should, augment our opportunity to RP. I generally liked the resource occurrence rates of v1.09e. For later builds, I would have liked to see increased resource variety.
City Spamming, and the Cataclysm:
Bah Humbug! ;~P I think I dislike the phrase City Spamming, as much as Frogboy dislikes the mis-usage of the term broken. I read people arguing that decreased resource rates prevent city spamming. I don't see that. In fact I see the opposite. With food as a rarity, I am compelled to cap my capital at CL3 and build two outposts. If I have access to two food resources, and there are no exploitable resources within a 40 tile radius or so, then I am compelled to allow a second city to cap at CL3 and then build a couple more outposts. Then I use this increased unit production to enable the capture of some AI controlled food. Then I do it again to exponentially repeat the process. Level 4 & 5 sized cities have lost some significance compared to v1.09e. The specialization bonuses have lost value... Partly due to decreased resources, and partly due to a lift on building caps. So I tend to build more cities using less food than before. In v1.09e I would generally build three cities to grow to CL5 and then a few smaller outposts to function as border forts and/or resource harvesters. There was variance, but my mid-game tendency was towards a few mega-cities and a handful of outposts. Post v1.09e sees me tending towards an ICS strat with a few CL3 cities and numerous outposts.
Another thing that people are saying in argument for reduced resources, is that the world should be barren and desolate as a result of the Cataclysm. First thing I would say is that gameplay and enjoyment should trump a story plot any day of the week! The enjoyment requirements for different individuals will vary drastically. But after many years of reading AAR's, GOTM, HOF, SG's and other reports from fans of 4x TBS games, I am left convinced that the tendency for the majority of dedicated players of the 4X TBS genre... is to build moderate to large empires, not a a couple isolated cities. Now EWoM is different. It's special and unique. In good great ways. But still, anything that drastically limits empire building, such as the the purposeful lack of resources, seem to me to be at odds with EWoM's targeted core. Excessively large tracks of unusable terrain might more literally reflect the story, but I think it unrealistically represents the genre. I may be off my rocker with some of this, but I do think that the majority of players would prefer a more vibrant and opportunistic world than what is offered atm.
So the world was destroyed 160 years ago. We are now at a point in history where hundreds of people flock to our cities every season. What supported these people before we founded our cities? They were already there. We just build things that entice them to come live with us. So after 160 years, clearly life is on the rebound if the planet is able to support such rapid population growth of the humanoids. So organic resources are replenishing. In isolated pockets at least. Inorganic resources are being uncovered by erosion then discovered by exploration. We can tell ourselves a variety of different stories to explain a barren world story that still has enough going on to make it fun. We've already got the barren, desert, and arctic land designations. But within all this barrenness there are life supporting oasis. And amongst all the rubble, there is still iron, clay, marble, gold etc. I'm all for moderatly large tracks of inhospitable wildlands. But I think its been taken a bit far and has become a detriment to gameplay. I vote to dial it back to the v1.09e rates.