A couple weeks ago I bought a copy of Master of Orion II and that game still holds up and is still worth my coin. This week I bought Elemental and even though it still crashes and needs some significant work, I love playing it. Keep in mind that I'm playing Elemental on a $200 Acer Aspire Revo with a one-lung Atom processor (2G of RAM becuase I'm not stupid).
I expect Stardock to make good on Elemental because their development model and distribution channel allows them to, and they are in business for the long term. Also, the company seems happier with a long term business model than the "kick it out the door and move on" philosophy that most marketing types prefer.
The following is my to-do list for making Elemental good:
1. Fungible resources: Materials to Metals to Gold to Mana to Crystal to anything not critical. While bagels do not transmute into BMW's, there are bakers who by Bimmer's and they had to get the resources somehow.
2. City production: Trade Goods. Stop worrying about balancing and start worrying about over-gating development. Think open-ended. I can see some advantage to decreasing efficiencies as city size increases, because quantity decreases quality on it it's own.
Side note: Thank you a thousand times for not having pollution as a factor. I am bored to death with being beaten on the head with the "people are bad" whine in 4E games.
3. Upgrade paths for units: On my first day of Boot Camp I was not issued a nuclear aircrfaft carrier, and it wouldn't have fit in my seabag anyway. My friends who went army weren't issued Abrams Main Battle Tanks. Elite troops can handle new tools because they are really good.
4. Merging paths for units: See above re: Aircraft Carriers. Average the unit's experience. I do love that larger units are much more impressive and effective than individuals.
5. Simple announcements as an option. I don't need a lavishly calligraphed note to tell me the kettle's on the boil, especially if the note crashes the system. Let me pick to make simple notices use less memory.
I do love the game and look forward to playing far too much for years to come.