I'm a builder. A conqueror? Not so much. Until the AI gets uppity that is... then I take them out, but yeah, I'm mainly focused on building cities, developing Sovs/Champs, and maximizing use of land. Occasionally, I'll crank the opponents down to 1 on a large map, just so I have plenty of time to build and test concepts/mods I'm tinkering with.
That being said, tactical combat does fascinate me, but I get plenty of that with the monsters, bandits, etc. If Elemental encouraged cooperative victories more, that'd be something I'd take advantage of more. Especially in a 'World Gone Mad, Unite Against The Monster Hordes' kinda setting, where allying and aiding in the defense of at least one other Kingdom/Empire would be a strong necessity. Sure, you could still have some uppity opponents to deal with, but the main goal would be to bring the world out of darkness, not become High Emperor/Empress of Elemental.
Not really looking for a chess match with this game, although current design trends have definitely went in that direction, and I know a lot of other players are looking for said chess match.