Right after noticing that every conquer-the-world game is so, so similar, I see Art of Conquest. It adds a bunch of great ideas, but then manages to ruin the entire point of the game.
The best idea, and the worst, is playable battles. Your forces line up across from the enemy; then infantry charges, archers fire, cannons blast, horsemen attempt to flank, heroes carefully target spells and more. The battles are great fun, especially when you recall the old ones are a single text-based report. We even get unique, beautiful troops for the handful of races.
It’s so fun that I hate to point out how it ruins the group part of the game, which is the entire point. In the original version we can group-attack against that overpowered big spender. Guild-mates have hours to see the big arrow and possibly help before an attack on you gets here. Art of Conquest’s much more fun battles also insure every fight is both instant and one-on-one. As terrible as the old way was, it more-or-less equalizes 20 people who spent $100 each against 4 guys at $750 each. In Art of Conquest all those $100 players can do is line up to get demolished.