The only thing that bothers me about IoS at the moment is that the deposits have been placed in a rather chaotic way. The most glaring example is ice & black ice in areas where it is not cold at all, just like the sulfur stalagmites in the middle of sand dunes, which makes no sense to me at all. It would have been better to have introduced (non-instanced) caves (like in the land of the exiles) where you could have found sulfur (with lava in the cave) or caves that go a little deeper where you would have found a ruin story-wise where earlier once a magician had carried out a failed experiment and therefore the entire cave would have been frozen by magic and ice would have been found there, etc. Just let your imagination run wild … but IoS is still in the early access phase. Maybe something will come in the same direction
I think, story-wise, it’s all exactly what you suggest: failed (or horrifyingly successful, perhaps) magical experiments. At least that’s the idea I got from reading lore texts I found (haven’t found them all, not even close, so I could be wrong).
CE doesn’t force-feed you much of a story and you can easily ignore it and substitute your own head-canon explanation.
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