This is not going to be pretty, and maybe not that profitable in the short-term. I am going to sound harsh, but I do want this to succeed, as I see the potential. This is not intended as a slam on you guys- I hopee you know what I post here well enough, that you know this isn't just me begging or slagging.
Right now: the perception of this game is that it's unplayable, and that buying a Stardock game isn't worth it until at least a year out. That's not good for business.
a) Next week, throw some mods on the site. There have been some decent mods made already that help the game out. The mod section needs to be more then just maps.
Get custom MP servers up ASAP after getting MP online. MP will help with the balance, since people will make MP mods to fix balance issues. That might be able to save you some manhours on balancing. If possible, allow for mods to be used on SD servers (work with the mod community on this)
c) Keep up the good work on support overall. I trust you guys fully on that, otherwwise I would be raging at you guys right now.
d) This is the part you might not like. You're going to have to eat short-term profitability on this, in order to help in the long-term.
You'll need to be aggressive on discounting once you can. (I understand you can't right now)
That said, the expansion. It needs to be a stand-alone game, with a bug-free, very generous demo out a month before release. Maybe even full game esque. The burden of proof is right now, (fairly or not), on you guys to prove you can have a solid launch. Showing the world what a year of your support can do for a game will restore your reputation (which is tarnished outside of here right now)
The downside is the fans who stuck it out will feel screwed over a bit, (I'm one of those fans) , but I think most of us would be ok with that , given the circumstances. Maybe give us the expansion at a discount based on when we pre-ordered elemental, or a loyalty bonus on Impulse when we get it? (not DLC, but a credit to use on other things)
e) Learn from your mistakes and don't rush future titles, even if it seems to make business sense at the time. It bites you back tenfold.
I never thought I'd be trying to tell a millionare how to run his business, but I'm trying to look at things from a cold, business side, not my gamer side. As a gamer, I'd be willing to hand over my money- I know I won't regret this ride. However, I know I got a minority opinion, and the Joe Average gamer right now- he's writing you guys off. I'm worried about the long-term damage that could happen, and how it would mean lower budgets for SD titles in the future, and less ambitious future projects- such as GC3. (I am motivated by self-interest here)