I'm still waiting for my 100% refund. Elemental came out ~2.5 weeks ago. I've been dealing with support for a week. We are now some 4 patches in and the game still crashes on me every time I play it. According to previous journals and various posts, the game developers now appear to want to completely rewrite the game to fix the primitive AI, address the horrendous mechanics and hopefully make a bland game semi-interesting. In other words, another year plus before the game, as it should have been released, will be available. I am not waiting another year or more for these issues to actually be fixed so the game can, first, play without issues and second, be enjoyable. I am not paid to do QA for Stardock, nor do I pay them to QA their products until they work (what a ludicrous idea).
Regarding the early betas, the entire pay-to-test paradigm obviously won't work if the company is not willing to actually listen and act upon the feedback generated by the program. Fanboys will throw their money at the company and laud anything given to them. Moreover, fans are going to be the dominant majority in any beta program, so a positive feedback loop is inevitable. The moral hazard is that the fanboys will be heard above the sensible complaints and suggestions of serious contributers who don't have an irrational loyalty to the company. The fact that the serious contributers have no refund recourse when they vocalize their concerns only to be ignored is just rubbing salt into an already gaping and painful wound.
Claiming emotional ties to the game blinded one to the truth is just an easy cop out and I don't buy it. It is an insult to everyone's intelligence when the proof is there that the game wasn't ready and everyone knew it.
I just want my money back for this game. I'm giving Stardock the chance to make it right by actually going through them to get the refund because they have a refund policy and a so called gamer's bill of rights. They purport to stand behind their software and give you your money back if it does not work as it should or was intended. Customer service goes hand in hand with loyalty and brand recognition. Customer service is not releasing a game in an unplayable state and patching it over the course of a year until it is playable, and then patching it for another year to make it fun and in line with the original marketing vision. That is stringing morons along. In any other circumstance, I would just initiate a chargeback through the credit card company, citing the technical support emails and forums (which I am close to doing here). However, I want Stardock to give the refund, if only for the fact it will give me minor satisfaction in their acknowledgement to me that they screwed up. Unfortunately, the only thing I have seen so far from the technical support staff is a tendency to procrastinate until the next patch comes out, followed by a "Did that fix it?" and the obvious hope you will go away or take the easy 75% refund option so Stardock at least gets to keep some of your hard earned money. F that. I want ALL of my money back.
The latest patch doesn't really seem to have too much of an effect for me. Framerates still suck, the game still crashes, maybe the only thing it fixed is the save/load damaged units bug, but I didn't bother looking because the game was still crashing and choppy. That is ignoring all of the still present game imbalances, bland mechanics, boring customization, and non-functional AI.