I see a few replies to my OP about how "you need to make a strategic choice / guns or butter", and i get it. But there really isn't anything strategic about this choice... the time for "guns" is obvious, as well as the time for "butter". Unfortunately, this plays out like how most 4x games do. You nation build when no one is being aggressive towards you, and you switch to war as soon as someone goes to war against you. If you are playing any large map with many opponents, that's the strategy... if you do it any other way, you are just making the game harder for yourself. This is what happens when you force the player to go building-production+civ-techtree and not allow the player to do more with war/magic/units. Gameplay is very stale -- you basically just build and ignore danger, until the NPC does something and then you react.
That is, unless... you have... or you know someone... who has won a large game with many opponents, by going war or magic trees for the whole beginning of the game. FE will punish you really hard for this and you won't be able to win.
Lord Xia, i like your reply a lot (about how tech trees should be more philosophical and less subject-orientated). It's obviously a BAD STRATEGY to go 1 tech tree right now... once you clear 1 or 2 tiers in a single tech tree... going to the 3rd tier could be like 30-turns to learn something. You are better off going to the other tech trees and picking up the little stuff you missed for ~3-5 turns a piece which provide you much much more benefit. The game ends up having little variety since you learn all the techs at the same time. I also would like to see a tech tree that you could actually commit to and have it be a viable strategy.
UmbralAngel - i also like your ideas. how about instead of "middle ground", the third tree could be more magical. How about something like this:
- Wilderness tree - focus on heroes, ranged, earth, air, growth, mobility
- Industrial - focus on units, weapons, armor, production, mines, defenses, fire, earth
- Mystical? - focus on spells (town enhancing, army enhancing, summoning).
All 3 would overlap in many ways... an industrial tree can still cast a lot of spells, for instance. This would be hard to balance... but something like this would be more interesting that what's in place now. Also, heroes that you recruit can be specialists of any kind... so they will add variety to your kingdom.