I first played it more than a year ago, and I saw things that way at the time. Lots of brilliance in gameplay ideas, lots of holes, poor UI and documentation.
But I’d suggest it is a worth a fresh look now, especially on their beta branch. For one thing, the AI is worlds beyond Master of Magic. At anything beyond basic difficulty levels, your rivals can be serious trouble. (But a few of them are helpless weaklings, esp if they start in poor locations. So avoid a game with just 1-2 opponents.)
DE’s is much improved, but still… Once you get the hang of it, it supports very, very deep gameplay, with an incredible array of strategic options. But if you don’t right click on everything, including stuff you’d never think to right click on, it’s the stuff of rage quitting. I know this from experience. A lot of things are explained in our Deity Empires thread.
Guess this never bothered me. But tastes vary, so yeah, if this is a priority, then nevermind DE.
I guess it depends on what you mean by not much happening. Option settings can change this, but you normally spend the early part of the game dealing with thick monster lairs. To clear room to settle, to level up units, and, above all, to obtain resources so that you can construct buildings and units at a competitive speed. Those lairs usually keep you separate from the AI opponents for a while, but the clock is ticking – do an inefficient job, and you will pay the price when you do meet AI opponents… And since the dungeon dives have become so much more tactical and lucrative, I never feel like this stage of the game is in the slightest bit boring. In fact, strategically, one of my ongoing goals is to keep things secure enough in my dealings with AI opponents that I can afford to continue to send a high level army to continue dungeon diving, because the gold and resources can turn the tide in my war. (Also to include one green but high level unit, so as to level him up quickly for front line duty.)
Sorry, getting carried away. /thread derailment :)