Elemental: War of Magic was released on August 24, 2010, nearly eight months ago. I personally purchased the game for $50 US about a month later, just prior to the 1.1 patch.
In the meantime, I as a consumer have seen relatively little real progress made on this admittedly mediocre title since I've purchased the game, even though apparently Stardock has made a large investment into the game since that point, by hiring two not-so-unknown industry professionals to help take the reigns on certain aspects of the franchise, and who knows who else.
Derek Paxton is well known from the Civ IV modding community. At first it was thought that his role at SD would be as project manager, but as it turns out he is creating his own little game with the Elemental engine. From what we've heard apparently the developers are having a lot of fun using the new features of the system, at the consumer's expense. And the release time-frame of this 'game' (ie expansion) has been continually pushed back, and apparently now won't be released until sometime in the Fall of 2011* (we all know what the asterisk means.)
Jon Shafer is also a known game designer from the Civ series, and was lead designer of the great debacle that is known as Civ V. It turns out when he joined SD he went to modding in new campaigns which can only be unlocked if I purchase further content from a third-party etailer.
Currently, I am playing a beta version of E:WoM. I know I can supposedly play a 'stable' version, but seriously, the game is in a released beta version, with no end in sight. Again, I want to point out the game game has been commercially avaiable for nearly eight months.
Why can't the changes being made by your crack staff be immediately released into the core game as it now stands?
I am beta testing anyway, so why can't I beta test the actual fun changes you are currently working on?
Why does a new game need to be released, further delaying my enjoyment of this game while strengthening the profits you are making on my original investment? Your employees are enjoying the content, so why can't I? The way I see it, I've paid their salary.
Why are you creating new campaigns that can only be unlocked with a further purchase on my part? I've already invested into your shoddy craftsmanship, so I expect your best people will be working on rectifying the core game now.
I understand that the gaming industry, and big business in general, holds a general distaste for consumers, and Brad has used some very crafty customer-oriented lingo to draw his consumers into investing in his pet projects. It is almost seeming now that SD is stringing along its customers, who have already paid for a lemon (caveat emptor as the saying goes.) I'd like to know what all this money in one place does to the human mind to create this attitude toward other human beings?
I'd like to know why, if 'version 1.3' is being created alongside 'version 1.2', do I have to wait for the changes to be released? I already know that the changes for 1.3 are going to create new memory issues, so why not release them both in beta form at the same time, and save yourselves the unfortunate process of handling those pesky heap malformations (or whatever) after the 1.3 release? Are you really working on 1.3?
I strongly encourage other consumers of this product to post your concerns here, as it seems to me more and more each day that we are being hornswaggled by yet another untrustworthy American corporation.