Thanks for the good replies. I'm glad to see people on these forums have the ability for rational discussions 1)
The idea of a shopping list sounds great because it gives me the impression by the name alone that it was basically what I was suggesting. Even if it's not the same thing, I don't care as long as it's a convenient way for me to organize my needed materials without having to constantly refer to the encyclopedia. 2)
As for the controls, I don't think there's a way to fix what my concern is. I have a razor keyboard - I can map keys anyway I want if that was the problem. I just mean the fundamental controls of the game feel cumbersome if you want to use more than 3, maybe 4 spells often. So what happens is that I'm basically resigned to running with just two spells and every time I see an enemy immune to my main attack spells, I curse to myself because it means I have to pause the game, swap spells around, and then kill one guy before switching back to the "Real" setup. It's not not just annoying, but it also it a huge deterrence to using multiple spells.
Now, I did make one suggestion, though I'm not sure how much sense I made. Essentially it would be an option for toggleable spells. Right now, you hit a spell key and it cast the spell once. Yes, you can have the R button cycle stuff, but it limits you to just your left and right mouse button, plus you have to cycle thru all your spells to get back to the start. What if you can toggle spells when you hit the spell keys? Meaning instead of firing off the spell once, it selects the spell as your main spell until you select a different one? I think that would allow me to more fluidly switch spells on the fly without having to pause the game and manually drag spells.
That's just a thought. I'd can't say it would be great without testing it 3)
It sounds like you have some thoughts on city building, too. To me, that seems like one of the best aspects of the game so I would certainly like for it to be fun. When I first started playing, I was under the impression that the city really mattered. I thought I would be able to layout designs, defend against invaders, develop NPC relationships, etc. So far though, I haven't seen anything like that. I'm really not sure what the city adds at the moment. 4)
Shallow gameplay might be related to the grindy-ness of the game in my opinion. As of right now, it feels like unlocking enemies and upgrading the civilization is more of a punishment that a reward. The game seems to want to force players into _not_ progressing the game without getting all pimped first. Maybe that my own fault. Maybe I rushed to the higher tiers too soon, but the only thing I enjoy is running the missions. I don't enjoy randomly searching through a 100 levels of the same looking caves hoping for a random material I need. 5)
To the person saying there's no grinding in AVWW, well, I'm happy you feel that way. I on the other hand do feel the game is currently very repetitive. Maybe I am just doing it wrong, but isn't that sort of the responsibility of the game to show me the right way? I've played a bunch of MineCraft and Terraria so I'm not new to this style of game (though clearly AVWW goes way beyond even Terraria). 6) Bonus
I have no idea what it means to have a "locked" material. Can someone please explain it to me? Example - I want to unlock Energy Orb Level 3 and I checked the encyclopedia for required materials. The only thing I'm missing is Coral and it says that "Locked Reach Cave System 3 in Ocean Shallows." Does that mean I have 0% chance of getting Coral until I do that?
Thanks again for the input!