I'm confused, and have been for a while, about population levels in Elemental and army sizes. Ever since the game was announced, up until relatively recently, we were told that we would see battles in Elemental between armies numbering in the thousands each. I've never seen a developer in the forums say otherwise, but everything we have about the game, as well as some statements by devs, make it seem like that is no longer even remotely the case.
First, based on the currently populations we see in our cities, such large armies wouldn't be possible without absolutely huge numbers of cities. Second, maintenance costs are prohibitively high, so that I can't imagine the cost to fielding an army of 1,000 troops. Maybe on a large map someone could amass an army of 1,000 basic peasants, but I remain unconvinced that even that would be practical or even possible. Third, Brad has mentioned that the max number of individual soldiers per group will be 20 and that the maximum number of groups per army will be 10. Depending on how the sovereign, champions and other special units are factored in that gives a maximum army size of up to 200 individual soldiers; less, it seems, if you want to include special units (sov, champions, dragons, etc).
And while I'm at it, I haven't heard a thing about -or seen any evidence so far of - many-sided battles, not for months.
Is there any chance at all that we could get some confirmation of what we should expect in these areas? I know for sure that I'm not the only one who fell in love with the idea huge armies (and therefore populations) and Battle of the Five Armies-like experiences, and I would like to know where to set my expectations. If these features have been thrown out, then I think the longer we have to get over the loss the more we can enjoy the actual game once it's released.
If huge armies are out, then how can you get across the sheer magnitude of a Dragon's power if the opposition can't even field massive numbers to try to swarm it to death, without reducing Dragons to just really strong? If I have 190 units and a dragon, how could anyone else counter that unless with their own 190 units and a dragon (or comparable super-being)? Seems like it would just lead to Stack of Doom mark II...
Please, give us some idea of what we should expect!