I agree in General. I expect games to have bugs when they are released it's a sad state of affairs but since the Internet allowed patching - companies just don't really polish things any more. So I have no problem with a few crashes etc.
My major beef with the game, like a lot of people, is the magic. One of the good things about Master of Magic was the fact that you were in every battle and could always cast and turn the tide with magical power and skill...
Maybe a Building - Like a mage tower - that the Sovereign could sit in and while he/she was in it they could cast spells anywhere in their own territory into every tactical battle... The tower it self might need items you need to do quests for to build.
A lot of beta testers (myself included) asked for - begged for - elemental damagetypes and damage type specific resistance. Fire resistance 20 blocks 20 fire and nothing else. Type of stuff. That would have allowed a true feeling of choosing an ELEMENT and mastering it. Become a Fire mage - put your energy into studying fire magic and blast things to smithereens. It would have allowed for tactical magical battles.
Imagine a Tactical battle - Water mage versus Fire Mage for a silly example example…
Both Mages start by summoning group of elementals. The fire elementals throw fireballs at the water elementals doing double Damage as Fire is Opposite Water. The damaged Water Elements charge the fire elementals and close with them. The water mage casts a Frost storm into the melee of Elementals. The frost heals his water elementals%50 of the damageit should do as frost is part water and 1.5 times damage against the Fire elementals and slows their attack speed.
The Fire Mage sees where this is going and casts a Fire shield on his elementalswhich will absorb all fire damage- 50% of other elemental damageand 25% of water damage and remove the slow. The Water Mage Casts drown on one of the Fire Elementals doing doubledamage and kills it. The Fire Mage casts Volcano and lava begins to fill the battle field. As the Heat goes up the water elementalstake round by round damage. etc. etc etc. and the fire elementals begin to heal... Water mage cast a tsunami spell extinguishing the volcano. etc etc
I know that’s a really silly example - but its better than player 1 casts a lightning spell for up to INT damage. Player 2 casts a Fireball for up to INT damage. Player One charges - Player 2 has archers and tries to take them down before they can reach him. As Player 1's forces draw near - Player 2 casts a spell for up to up to double INT damage because now it’s in range… Etc etc etc.
I personally feel that the damage is just too random as well as the chance to hit... I haven’t really player enough to work out the factors on why you hit or miss with a spell – maybe it is that you don’t do any damage you just miss?
The spell damage seems to be along the lines of up to INT damage +1 per shard of that elemental type. This might be 1-15 or whatever +1 +2 +3 or whatever... Minus resistance equals damage taken. Which is a simple and balanced system – but maybe a little too simple?
I'd prefer to have system that was a bit more complex and less random. So maybe Up to Int damage (call it 1 to 15) + 1 per 3 levels of the caster + 1 for each level of the spell - to a maximum of the INT value plus the number of shards of the right type they have and then +1 for each shard...
So instead of a 9th level channeler with3 fire shards and an INT of 15 doing 4 to 18 points of damagewhile casting a 3rd level fire spell. It would be more like INT random damageroll (1-15) plus 3 for caster level plus 3 for spell level to a maximum of 18 (int plus number of fire shards) then +3 for the fire shards - for a total damage range of 10 to 21 - minus resistance equals damage taken. A little bit more possible damage and a little bit more actual damage - channeling is meant to be the be all and end all of the game after all... That way the minimum damage would be higher because you are higher level casting higher level spells and you control 3 fire shards. It might be nice to have some really High level spells do 2 or even 3 extra damage per shard. (Volcano, Tsunami for example)
I think it would also be nice to be able to add mana to a spell for an extra point of damage per mana spent and even add essence for +10 points of damage per essence point spent. Remembering that once spent essence is lost. That way a sovereign taking the chance of being in battle could really turn the tide of a battle. He/she might burn themselves out a bit (lose essence) but it would create a sense that any fight with a sovereign in it is dangerous and not to be taken lightly…
Other than that I agree that more spells with more interesting effects would be fun.