Dear Stardock and Ironclad teams,
I would like to express my gratitude for your hard work on Sins of a Solar Empire. It is a truly impressive game, and you have pulled it off in style. Stardock's excellence in the past has given me high hopes for their games, and I'm glad that your collaborative efforts are up to that same standard.
Stardock's commitment to customer service has always impressed me, and customer service means "being a servant to the customer" rather than merely "taking tech-support calls from the customer". You show integrity, and speak with candor and a distinct lack of nonsense. You've engaged the community, put up with us, listened to us, laughed with us, and been shocked at Multi's 20000+ Kol pictures with us. You really care about quality, and labor hard to produce games that we'll really enjoy for a long time to come. You don't assume we're criminals, and don't use virus-ish DRM. You provide a ridiculously easy-to-use interface for ordering and downloading software. You involve the community heavily in the beta phase with no NDAs (that takes courage). You don't just "take our money and run" after release, you fix bugs and you give us new features and content. I could go on, but suffice it to say that when Stardock works on a game, I pay attention.
I hadn't heard of Ironclad before this project, and I must say I'm also very impressed with your team. Blair and Craig (and others) have been very involved on the forums and have done about the best job in that role as any developers I've seen. The game itself is incredible, both in its execution of tried-and-true features and new stuff I've never seen in any other game. You made a good choice in partnering with Stardock.
Turning to the game itself, I'm amazed that you really pulled off "RT4X". It's an RTS, and the battles feel like RTS battles, but it's also a 4X, and the macro feels fairly GalCiv-ish (a good thing). The experience is definitely like no game I've seen before.
The pirates and bounty system is great. Takes a bit of getting used to, but I'm surprised I haven't seen a game do this before.
The variable scale of the game is really impressive; arbitrarily large (or small) map sizes really help cater to a wide audience. It'll be interesting to see how big a map you can play on computers 5 or 10 years down the road.
On a similar note, the ability to zoom all the way out to view the whole solar system (or systems) and effectively manage my empire from there, and then zoom all the way in to see my fighters zipping around through a massive fleet battle... Wow. Together with the empire tree (another great idea), you've eliminated the mini-map and the need for other screens and interfaces to "actually manage all that stuff", the seamlessness is impressive.
Again, I could go on, but my purpose isn't to exceed your forum's database disk capacity, but rather to say "Thank you".
I pray that you enjoy the fruits of your labor.