Just played 3+ hours this weekend... um, WOW. This game is leaps and bounds above WOM. I did experience two hangs and one crash, so please keep working on that stability.
I've decided that the biggest improvement to this game over WOM is this iteration's use of visual cues to help me keep track of vital information. Not only do there seem to be more visual cues, but they seem intuitively placed. I rarely find that I have to hunt for information.
I also like the faction and environmental differentiation thus far.
Magic even feels useful now. WTH?
A few suggestions:
1.) if there are only six options (I don't remember if it is for a city of character), why only display four and keep two hidden? I would understand if only half were shown, but hiding 2 of 6 feels odd.
2.) can the research requirement for a non-related subject be made more apparent? I wondered why my kingdom was researching education instead of what I asked it, only to later learn that education was a requirement of my wish. Perhaps the first time somebody researches a subject that is in a different family (you're in the warfare pane but the requirement is in the magic pane) there could be a more obvious notice?
3.) the questing research tree feels out-of-place in the magic research pane. I do like the simplicity of only three panes, but maybe you could consider renaming that last pane to something other than just magic? Nothing obvious comes to mind at the moment, but that's why they pay you guys the big bucks.
4.) every map I have played to date had lots of geographical choke points, mostly due to mountains. This makes strategy easier, but I would like more flat land. Too much would be boring, but constantly having to watch my party circumnavigate to reach a square two inches away is annoying.
Keep it up, Stardock. This game is really good, even in its current state. I cannot wait to see what more tweaking, fleshed-out features, and polish will bring to the overall experience.