I voted "poor" and I really cannot say if you are on the right track.
I had some fun with the current beta, but replayability beyond curiosity is low. I feel not much spirit or inspiration around this game, it is just the same old stuff we had a thousend times before. No sophisticated character building on the "rgp side", somehow bland mechanics on the military side and city building is completely unfun. The tech trees have no great moments of joy, it is just working through them mostly to get some more spreadsheet benefits. Even on the presentation side I would love to see improvements, where are the beautiful paintings introducing new buildings, new weaponary, new techs whatever?
So let's say this game as is get's decent balancing, A.I. and some user interface love, then I would vote it "fair" or in other words 70-80% Metascore at maximum. That is not what the great hope of turn-based non-cheating strategy games should turn out.
The sad thing is, there is so much opportunity in every aspect of the game and real good examples to borrow from all around. We need decisions that matter everywhere, real paths for heroes for example on the rpg-side - magic, melee, administration, get your inspirations from D&D and dumb it down a bit. Same for city building, we need to pick our poisons and sacrifice one thing for another instead of clicking the same stuff in the same order over and over again - magic, military, civilization. One should also be very limited in it's opportunities on the game play side without deciding for particular techs, for example I should not be able to sell plunder without having merchants at place and prices would be low without more advanced traders. Want to use diplomacy, where is your embassy? No roads without at least one road and paving contractor built! Please do not grant any spellcaster tens of spells by simply clicking one step further in what is called the magic tree (and while we're on it, links to the Hiergamenon should always be present). Tech is one thing, having built a Fire Mage Guild and sent one particular hero to study there makes the ability special, especially as regular heroes in contrast to our souvereign should be very limited in the numer of spells they can remember. (...)
The engine is decent, the game is not. Sorry, not convinced so far.
Very well-said. I think too many people are comparing FE to WOM, and are thus very excited. There's been some significant improvments, for sure. It's a dramatically better game than WOM. But this is only relatively speaking.
My biggest fear is that we'll only see incremental changes from here on out. I like your D&D RPG suggestions, and the tech and building trees definitely still need some dramatic makeovers to be acceptable. Even just FFH2's level would be something (which FE is not close to yet).
I just hope the FE team has not gotten so caught up in the details and incremental improvements that they've stopped going back to the drawing board, having brainstorming meetings, and thinking up new ideas (as well as listening to the community). This game has so much potential, but it also spells the doom of the genre if it flops. We need an innovative game, to carry the genre forward, and there's no reason why we can't have that while pulling from other successes. And while the game is okay, it's not going to be the huge success if we don't see these kinds of improvements implemented soon.
Brad mentioned that he thought WOM flopped due to listening to the community too much. I'm in marketing, so perhaps I'm biased, but there's no danger of listening to the community too much at this point. We want the game to succeed, and while we're definitely not hating the game at this point, we can see the true potential.