There are many ways of thinking about this issue. From a lore perspective, I was just trying to satisfy the audience. This is what I tell myself as I play to increase the immersion factor.
When you say you were trying to satisfy the audience, are you a designer? I am new here so I don't know who is whom.
From a gameplay perspective, nodes create strategic points worth fighting over. If every tile added a small amount, city spam would be more viable and there would just be too much stuff to harvest, leaving us with too much material, or no way of cutting off the enemy's supply.
Having too mush stuff to harvest and leaving us with too much material, basically tells me the maps are too big then. It also tells me that if we had too much material, then it values are set too high. They should be lowered then. This is almost as bad as Civ V. You only have one or two tiles to worry about. Less choices for the player to make. One of the reasons why I got this game is to have more choices not less.
Nodes work. Nodes are well balanced and simple, while not simplistic. Certainly it has been done other ways and we are all entitled to our opinions, but why try denying that the world is barren, when from what I understand that is the point of most of the map, creating a feeling of emptiness that the user then fills.
I haven't played much of the game, waited for the 1.19 beta, so not familiar with Nodes.
My idea that the changes are merely cosmetic fits very well into the actual function of the game, except that with the new version you can cut down forests, which I am deeply annoyed by, because you can't build on the land after it is cleared.
I haven't tried this. What do you mean you can't build on the land after the forest is cleared. WTF?! This is BS! Why would I want to even clear the land then?
I thought the eternally barren thing wasn't half bad.
Well yeah it wasn't bad, Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, from a gaming perspective, it's nice to have change. I spent an hour restarting the game because I wanted Green lands, because I tired of the barren landscape. I don't know, I guess I just love having my green lands.