I think what is missing are some early low-level buildings which produce something, when you do not build anything.
Currently those buildings just are available when leveling up.
I would like to have some low level buildings, producing:
5% research (as this is the most important)
small chance for XP for heroes / or troops if nothing is produced
maybe also gold, mana
How about the following compromiise:
- all cities get a growth bonus if they do not produce anything:
0.5 - city level (so this would help you to get to the level up buildings much faster and latest by level 5 you should have chosen one, which produces something if you do not build anything else.)