LOL well glad you guys are exited for it. Hopefully I will get a lot of it done this weekend. The graphics are pretty much done! The rest will be working on the forums, resource/troop production, sending attacks, etc.
I'm also thinking of making barbarian castles, which are going to be AI controlled neutral castles. They will defend themselves but wont attack active players. So still a long way to go but getting there
Oh and as for your question Gears, players will be able to attack and plunder resources from each other, but I wouldn't let them randomly find resources by claiming land. That would give a huge boost in production for certain players and would probably make the game unbalanced. But items sounds like a good idea, I'll keep that in mind.