Another phase over - the first war. Time for observations:
1. The game is painfully slow. My cities are nowhere close to having built even the critical buildings, I have dozens of undeveloped resources. At least two have been in my dominion since I founded my first city. I have three outposts surveying 2-3 resources each, and not one of them is developed.
2. You can no longer snake a city over a river. It seems very deliberate, because you could in Beta 4, and the way to do it has been only removed on rivers. And removed hard. No demolishing, no raising land... someone wanted cities to stay on one side of a river. Such unrealistic, intentionally coded decisions are annoying.
3. It's been a long time since I have designed my spearmen, but I have nothing better to produce. I finally researched mounted warfare, but I cannot really spare the production capacity for units that are faster, but no tougher than my basic unit.
4. Bugs, Bugs, Bugs. Unrest in conquered cities keeps going up, and I have to go into the detail screen before I end the turn, and make sure that all cities have reset to the correct unrest. Resources switch cities as new cities appear, retain the old producer, but use the new city production, and basically are all messed up. The simultaneous moves of monsters and AI produces insane results - AI armies moving twice their move to successfully attack a monster that has moved away from them. I am 99% sure I saw an AI build an outpost on a spot that should have been marked with my influence. It may have not been at that very moment, because it seems that when you are upgrading some city buildings, the city's sphere shrinks. Seriously, I have never run into so many bugs, but my theory is that it's because in this play-through I am simply using strategies I have previously dismissed as ineffective. (Yes, they are)
5. The monsters seem to be ignoring the AI. I am not exaggerating when I say that some of Resoln lands were infested to the point where there was a roaming monster on every. single. unbuilt. tile.
6. The self-imposed restrictions on using heroes in enemy dominion are very artificial, and feel weird. My heroes have not been developed, but they outclass the troops by so much, it's not funny. Especially considering that I have thrown 7K (at the very least) on these troops and cities, while my heroes have been made to sit on the border.
7. The war was a cake walk. No trained troops can touch my basic spearmen. Once they fortify, all they have to worry is heroes. There were some barrack produced troops that could hit them once in a blue moon. Once they got a few levels, that did not matter. Lucky + Fortify = Win
Yes, heroes can easily slaughter my spearmen, or at least could with the right AI. As it is now, I rotate hurt troops out of the line, and regeneration takes care of them. The enemy heroes do not hunt stragglers. On the other hand, the enemy retreating units are nothing but a help to the player.
8. The reduced production hurts the AI a lot more than it hurts me. I had "wealthy", the AIs did not.