As for comparing it with FE, I don't really think I can, as they are so different. FE uses troop stacks with heroes and plays out on a tactical battlefield, has research paths, and quite a bit more variety on city building, troop customization, more varied sovereign and race customization, etc. Both games do what they do quite well, but they really cannot be compared any more than you could compare Warlock with Civilization, Age of Wonders or King's Bounty.
Warlock and FE are substantially closer than either of them is to any other game of this genre. Sure, one has heroes and plays combats on a tactical map and the other doesn't (and Elemental has a gorgeous character creation system), but the introduction and the behavior of random monsters and the presence of so many resources to me makes Warlock and FE very similar, and most of all being the OP of this thread I tried to point out that Warlock succeeds from the very first turn in being a fun and strategically deep game, while the original Elemental sadly failed to work. Sure W. has less races, no heroes, no items (but they will come believe me) and personally the tactical combat being played directly on the strategic map to me is a huge success and will make the difference when Multiplayer is introduced... because even in Age of Wonders Shadow Magic (which to my taste is still the best game of this genre around) when playing Multiplayer guess what... the combats have to be cut from the game, or many turns will be wasted on the tactical map for each combat!!! While in Warlock you still have a "tactical" combat right there on your complex and performing strategic map! ...And just as complex as any traditional wargame!
I also find that Warlock successfully resolved and balanced in the very first version of the game, many of the issues Stardock have been going crazy trying to deal with. Like for example having cities fighting back even if no unit is in them (one of the points I made several time actually when noticing how roaming monsters become annoying in Elemental), or the tuning down of teleport (teleporting one unit is really not a big deal, while in Elemental you can teleport "uberstacks"), even the city spamming in Warlock (to my taste) feels more natural than it ever was in Elemental not to mention how cities really feel unique and the way the economy is well balanced... And that game just came out all polished and nice! So that instead of wasting the forum's time trying to fix things that don't work the community there is free to discuss the future development of the game. I am really enchanted with Warlock, not to mention the introduction of hexes to which I am really biased toward (I will never be convinced that it feels natural when a unit takes the same time walking a side of a square than it takes walking its diagonal!!!)
Did I mention the UI, how practical and quick it is? At the beginning of each turn you just get a list of things you have to do in order to complete your turn. You just click on the icons which are nicely organized by "constructions" "movements" etc... and each turn takes just a few minutes even when a xlarge game is toward the end. I really think some players tend to underestimate Warlock because of its apparent simplicity of use, but (apparent) simplicity sometimes takes a lot of planning and it's not a "simple" achievement to obtain!
(By the way I actually think that Warlock has more spells than FE, but it's just an impression: I haven't counted them since each god has its own spells that are only available when getting closer to that specific divinity)