As someone who has played FFH and Civ, but an Elemental n00b, I'd be interested in research priorities and build priorities in the early game.
As a rule, most strategies involve developing some infrastructure before everything else, i.e. concern themselves with the "Civilization" tree first. Of course, it's perfectly possible to focus on troops first, or to start forging enchanted hammers before bothering with wooden spears.
As what was said, your first bet will almost always be the first few civ lines of technology, get spears and leather armour when your main city have lots of items in its production queue.
I change the research path every time I play, there are no "real" research path except that you have to start out in the civ tree, and then with the first 1 or 2 lines of civ techs finished you figure out what is in your immediate vicinity (iron, crystal, shards) or what you really need (more research, more food per grain), or what you could really use to your advantage (higher hero hiring tech, more production per mat without constructing a building). It all really depends on your layout of the map, well for me it is anyways.
The same goes with constructing stuff in your capital, but as a general rule, pioneers, when you are done building pioneers, build more pioneers.
An early "Study" (+1 RP per turn) really helps, "Bell Tower" (-10% unrest) if you plan on having low or medium taxes. More production (Lumber-mill, Workshop), is always good.
But, when you're done with your building, MOAR pioneers...
Well you should stop building pioneers at some point of course, but the early game in Elemental is just about settling every damn last spot of green or purple grass as possible, even if you have to go to war for it.
Also if your hero is weak, or the world is tough (depends on world difficulty too how tough the start is), then you want to construct an early spear-militia, if possible edit the scout to grab the weakness trait, and then equip a bare unit with weakness trait and spears for a quick to produce efficient units. If not, just equip a bare unit with spears and nothing else for a semi-quick to produce efficient unit. Don't ever bother with the pre-designed "Militia" unit, I would rather just design a new unit, give it nothing but staves and build that instead.
PS - This is a reflection of what I think is good, it have no hold in Tuidjy's opinion, or the real world for that matter