Am looking at Elves and trying to figure out what makes them wonderful. Right now they look kinda meh, since their main benefit (+magic dmg) is hard to leverage and their other bonuses are offset by penalties (+2 Init vs poor carrying capacity gioving -2 init) or of pretty small value (good bows which you don't want to use).
+33% to magic damage, so if you're building a lot of staff users this is nice.
+2 Initiative, this is a good thing.
Higher mana generation (at best +1 per city but more likely to average .33 given how many towns have no essence).
Fancy bows (ala Tarth etc) but these don't leverage the magic damage, so you're much better off with staves.
Fast movement in the woods, this is nice.
-20% city growth, this is a rough one in the log term.
-20% carrying capacity, so they have a tough time wearing armour? You even get encumbered just by carrying bows. This cancels out the +2 init in most cases.
Less metal income? Since you can't wear armour and mostly want crystal weaponry this is a non issue.
No Tower of Dominion? Poorer defensive structures (hardly ever build these anyway)?
Sovereign is a Summoner (generally weak), with no access to fire or water magic. OK we can get one Earth Elemental, eventually.
No logging camps, so less overall production.
The only really wonderful thing is the magic damage bonus, but it's only on weapons (not spells like fireball etc) and it shoehorns you into using magic staves and maybe lightning hammers (heavy and slow) to get any real benefit out of it. +2 init is great, but you lose the init due to encumbrance penalties. More mana generation is nice but it isn't very much since you need a lot of essence to have it do anything. Frankly the elves look like a great candidate for Essence Pools, since it would sync with the mana generation and magical nature of the race.
What am I missing?