First, resources should not be necessary. If collecting a resource is something I must do, regardless of the situation, then it is not fun, because it is not a choice. It becomes a game of logistics, not strategy.
Second, if a resource is widely available, it essentially becomes necessary, because everyone else has it. You'll be at a disadvantage if you don't use it. Thus, again, eliminating choice.
While it sounds fun to have to harvest lumber and mine stone in order to build buildings, this will become boring once the novelty wears off. What will remain interesting are the strategic choices that resources present.
I don't think I could disagree More. Logistics IS part of Strategy, as is controlling important resources. Harvesting Lumber and Stone should be added to things you Need to do. How can you make wooden planks without some kind of Lumber Mill? How can you properly cut large quantities of stone without a Quarry?
Lets compare this to RTS games like Warcraft 1,2,3 and Starcraft 1 and 2. In those games there are resources that you MUST acquire to be able to build some types of buildings. This is Realistic and makes Sense. These resource points become Strategically Important to hold and control. Fighting over these resources is a important aspect of the game. If you limit your enemies control of needed resources you can shut them down quickly and effectively.
If you say doing that over and over again isn't "fun" then you might as well say going to war over and over again isn't "fun'. Casting spells over and over again isn't "fun" either right? EVERY Aspect of a game can get monotonous if done enough times. That is a matter of the players perspective on playing these kinds of games in the first place.
A huge fear I'm starting to have where Elemental is concerned is that people are already starting to complain and whine about Micromanagement. Micromanagement is a Integral part of any 4X Strategy game that's any Good or Fun to play. Without a decent amount of Micromanagement we end up with a Dumbed Down kiddie version of a game with no more Strategic Depth then Spore. In Spore you can only build 4 Types of buildings. How fun is that? Not very. You can only build 2 types of Units during the Civilization Phase of the game and there are only 3 very basic ways you can "conquer" a enemy city. Either you take it over with military might using only 3 unit types, you trade with them until you assimilate them culturally, or you get them to surrender through diplomacy. All these options are Dumbed Down to a practically Pre School level in Spore.
DON'T LET ELEMENTAL BE AS DUMBED DOWN AS SPORE. The ONLY good thing about Spore are the editors.
I'd rather see Elemental have TOO MANY options then NOT ENOUGH. Things are a Hell Of a Lot Easier to Mod Out then they are to Mod In.