While it can be a slight against a game to say that it may be played entirely from the overmap, in this case there may be times when you will want to zoom far back to get a good view of the entirety of the situation. This is where the graphical style really comes in handy, as the all-at-once view grants the player a strong sense of the bigger picture.
Using spells depends on control of a Shard, which will grant access to a number of useful spells -- attack, defense, and support. Learning a spell requires spell points, which are generated by cities. Spell point generation is governed by research in a particular city. Ultimately, taking care of one's network of cities is important to victory. There are high-level spells that do incredible damage that can only be accessed by the proper maintenance of one's resources.
For example, one of the Fire spells causes a volcano to grow up from the ground, no matter what might already be in that area of the map. Not only will this wipe out any cities or units at ground zero, but it will also make that immediate region permanently impassable to wandering units. The offensive and defensive benefits of this are obvious.
Elemental is definitely a Big Picture kind of game, right down to the concept behind Dynasties. Throughout the campaign, players will be offered opportunities to marry and generate children, who will themselves grow up and become playable units themselves. Not only that, a Sovereign's children may also be married to the children of other rulers, thus creating opportunities for diplomatic negotiations.
So much was revealed during our short time with Elemental: War of Magic, that we feel we'd hardly scratched the surface of what's possible. All too briefly mentioned was the multiplayer mode that will offer Myth-like combat. There's even a novel on its way, to be released on the same date as the game, written by Brad Wardell and edited by some of the same people who had worked on George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. Stardock is ahead of its own game with Elemental, and we can't wait to get our hands on it when it arrives in August.