Why is everyone upset the game came out "early"?!?

By on September 2, 2010 11:44:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

cattess

Join Date 04/2009
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Sorry for the dissertation, but if you are bored while waiting for Elemental to get fixed and want to contemplate the silliness of the human psyche....

I must admit I don't understand all the anger/people saying Stardock should have delayed releasing Elemental until February 2011.  It seems to me that EVERYONE is better off with the game released and in players' hands, rather than having Stardock work on it internally for another 6 months before release:

1.) Stardock

Obvious - better off cause they have people's money, and can get players to do their "beta testing", find bugs, etc. without having to pay them...big win.

2.) Players who like the game

"Fanboys" or not, there are apparently a lot of people (50%-ish in the poll, and some positive comments in the forums) who are enjoying playing the game, even if they realize it is not perfect.  They are happy it is out now so they get 6 months more of enjoyment.  Plus the ability to make suggestions, which means the game will be better by Feb 2011 than it would be if it was just in Stardock's hands internally...let's face it, the official beta-testing process was not, and would not have been, as intense as what is happening now that the game is released - i.e. whenever the game got released players would have a lot of complaints/suggestions, and this way they are taken care of now, rather than 6 months from now.  So you get to have whatever fun you can have with the game now, PLUS have the game in better shape by next February than it would otherwise be...PLUS have Stardock feeling bad and more likely to give additional free content that they were planning on charging for going forward = big win for this group, as well.

3.) Players who hate/are frustrated by the game in current form

Okay, you hate the game.  Don't play it until next February, and you are in the same place you'd be if they didn't release it until then.  Only you are even BETTER off, becasue of the reasons outlined above....you at least have the chance to make suggestions, and/or have other people climbing all over the game and improving it, so it will be better this way by February 2011 than it would have been if they didn't release it until then.  Plus more Stardock effort/free stuff, as above.  Okay, you had to put up your $50 now.  But since you were going to spend $50 next February, you didn't LOSE $50, you just lost the use of that $50 for 6 months.  Left in the bank, at the current .1% interest, that "costs" you $.025 in interest (pre-tax!).  That sucks, but only a little.  I would think if you were going to plop down $50 in 6 months anyways, plopping down, in effect, $50.025 now to get a more-robust, fully tested and vetted game in 6 months that you can mess around with now if you feel like it (and ignore if you don't), PLUS get Stardock's extra effort to make up the problem stuff, seems like a pretty good deal.  So ignore the game, come back in February, and have a better game due to the "early" release than you would have had otherwise.  If losing out on the $.025 interest on your money for 6 months really annoys you, get a refund and rebuy later - annoying, but not catastrophic, especially relative to the "free look" at maybe enjoying the game now and definelty enjoying the game more once it's been refined by the rest of the public.  Either way, the "pre-mature" release seems like a small win even for this group.

I understand if a company releases a game that's not ready, takes your money, and walks away...that REALLY sucks, and no one wants to support the trend of companies doing that.  But no one,  even those who hate the game in it's current form, appears to think Stardock is going to do that.

Feeling like you are going to get something great, and then having to wait, is annoying...but you'd have to wait if they delayed the release, too.  And buying something you thought you'd like, and having to go through the hassle of getting a refund cause you need the money to buy something else to amuse yourself, is also annoying.  But it also seems that the annoyance is small compared to the CHANCE to get a look at something early...you might like it..you might not like it but like the chance to help reshape it...you probably will like it more in 6 months than you would have if the release was delayed...it just seems to me that if you really THINK about it, we should ALL be glad Stardock released this game now rather than working on it internally until Febrauary of next year... Stardock wins; people who are enjoying the game now win, and even people who dislike the game in it's current format kinda win.  So why the hate?!?!

...if you truly believe that they will continue to improve the game as much as they would have if they kept it internal for 6 more months, the "early" release is a GREAT thing for EVERYONE (like how the capital letters make my points so much stronger.."look, it's in capitals..must be right!").  And it gets even better if you STOP writing how much you hate the game in the forums, and let other people help improve it for you without the distraction!!

Stardock - KEEP releasing games early, AS LONG AS YOU WORK HARD TO SUPPORT THEM AFTER RELEASE, we all win that way!!!!!!

 

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September 2, 2010 1:15:30 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Rabenhoff,
Everybody is different. And the fact that Stardock is offering a very generous "refund" policy tells me that at least they do understand this ... even if not everybody on the forum does.

Ironically, their refund policy is technically not applicable to people who preorder more than 90 days in advance, since the 90 day refund window starts at purchase, and games are non-refundable until release.

So far my refund is getting denied on these grounds. I'm still hoping they will be reasonable, however.

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September 2, 2010 1:19:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sythion,

Quoting Rabenhoff, reply 17Everybody is different. And the fact that Stardock is offering a very generous "refund" policy tells me that at least they do understand this ... even if not everybody on the forum does.

Ironically, their refund policy is technically not applicable to people who preorder more than 90 days in advance, since the 90 day refund window starts at purchase, and games are non-refundable until release.

So far my refund is getting denied on these grounds. I'm still hoping they will be reasonable, however.

 

Now, this sucks, really.

I was under the impression they just kept a part of the quote end refunded the rest in those cases... Probably I'm wrong.

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September 2, 2010 1:20:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeh - the games-for-fun vs. car-for-safety thing makes the example irrelevant to me...not at all comparable.

How about this:

A movie comes out, backed by advertising how great it is.  It had been shown to some preview clients, who had some concerns about it, but the producer thad made some changes based on the feedback and hought they addressed many of those issues.  The producer no doubt would have liked to work on the movie for another few months, but clearly thought it was as good as could be made in the window they had per their arrangements with movie theaters, and definetly worth releasing rather than playing around with it for another 6 months until the theaters were open to them again (which would be at a worse movie-going time).  50% of the people who see it like it and go home happy, albeit with a sense it could have been better.  But a larger-than-normal percentage, yourself included, think it was clearly rushed through production to hit peak-movie-seeing time and you didn't enjoy it at all, and thought it a much worse movie than you expected from this producer.  If it was a normal production company, you'd stop going to see their movies.  Instead, you, and a lot of other, complain to them.

They respond with the following approach:

"We thought it was good when we released it...after getting reviews and customer feedback, we now see it wasn't as good as we wanted it to be and thought it was.  We'll remake it.  Tell us what you don't like about the plot, and we'll work in some of them if they make sense.  Still has to be about the main topic, but open to any suggstions about making changes with the script.  If some of the actors turned everyone off, we'll recast.  You can tell us your ideas, or you can ignore the whole thing.  In any case, once we've reshot it based on all the feedback, and made it into a movie that seems to fit people's desires more, we'll re-release it, and let you know, and you can come and see it for free.  And if you still don't like it, we'll do it again.  And again.  For years.  Until we make a movie you'll really like."

Is everyone's response "You guys suck...I can't believe you put out such a crappy movie!!!  You never should have released it when you did, you should have kept working on it and released it later!  You wasted my time and money!! I've lost faith in you!!"

or, is it:

"Well, I wish it had been exactly the movie I wanted the first time, and I think if you had worked on it longer it would have been, so you kinda choked....but this is pretty good too...I think I'll get to see an even better movie this way.....cool!"

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September 2, 2010 1:25:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There's a reason why the car analogies are so far fetched

So even if my analogy fails in your opinion ... does this make the point of the whole story invalid? That people should not sell unfished or broken products? And that if they do so, they and not their product is naturally the focus of peoples' anger?

I dont's think so. And especially not, when I was told "pre-purchase" that the product is or will be fine. Telling people that they are booking a trip on an "open GAMMA-testing" is one thing, (unwillingly) forcing them by some degree or less into it another.

Then exactly this happens:

it's the frustration, I've paid money to be weighed down with frustration at both a poor purchase (that happens sometimes, it sucks but whatever) and then the added frustration of even coming to realize that yeah, this thing is broke and I haven't had any fun and yeah I guess it's time to go try and get a refund

And yes, I don't think that the guys at Stardock released Elemental prematurely on intent. Shit happens and it did. People complain and they have a right to ... at the game in particular AND at Stardock in general.

Rabenhoff

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September 2, 2010 1:27:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting cattess,

"The problem I have is that when I pay $50 for a game, I expect it to be complete - not the utter mess that the current game is. If I wanted to wait until February to play it, I would have kept my money until February."

I understand...and you would have had $50.025 in Fenruary, and would have spent the money then, and had a game that was in worse shape than it will be in Febuary under the current process....I am claiming you are better off under this approach, if you don't get emotional and frustrated, but simply walk away from the game and come back clean in Febuary.

But this is just wrong. A lot of people have a limited gaming budget. Spending $50 on Elemental now means they don't have $50 to spend on something else. They'd get more value out of their money if they spend $50 on a "release" game now, and in a few months spend it on a "release" Elemental, as opposed to spending on a "beta" Elemental now.

For someone with more money, they had the option to buy and play Elemental already through the beta process. A faster release doesn't get the game into their hands any more quickly.

 

And I must admit I play sp, so perhaps am not sensative enough  on the mp player hit?

There's not a lot of MP folks around, but those of us that are really can't say a whole lot positive about a two week delay in a listed on the box feature. I'm prepared to wait it out but you'll never convince me it was a "good" thing to not have it in the release version.

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September 2, 2010 1:37:47 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

To the OP:

Releasing a game too early is bad for everyone except in the very short term and a very narrow sense.  Here's why:

The only advantage is that, yes, the game company makes a quick buck, and the fanboys, as you say, get an early shot at it.

BUT...

An early game damages the company's reputation.  It makes consumers less likely to stick with the game until it is fixed.  It makes consumers not want to purchase from the same company again.  The majority of people are not as patient as you think they are.  They do not want to buy a car and find out that they won't be able to drive it over 30 mph until next spring.  They do not want dead weight on their hard drive.  If a sequel or add-on comes out down the line, how many people are going to buy it if just about everyone but the fanboys has quit playing it?  Knowing that, how likely is it for a company to actually be able to sustain itself?

Too early is a relative thing, but Far too early is just bad for everyone.

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September 2, 2010 1:40:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for all the responses..and not a flame among them!!  All good insights, and informative/enjoyable for me to think through...nothing to do with the game,  of course, but interesting to understand how people look at the world.

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September 2, 2010 2:00:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting BoogieBac,
There's a lot to learn from the release of Elemental, and 'let's make every launch like this one!' is not one of them

However, we will ALWAYS put aside funds for future updates, so don't worry about that. Once the crushing worry about release dates and overall reception have come and gone, the post-release update period is the most fun you can have making games. I just hope that,once the dust settles, we all get to experience the joy of that period, and not be playing catch-up for years to come.

Hate to say it but I think it will be fair amount of time before the dust truly settles. Unfortunately there are a few macro-level concepts that really should be looked at dispassionately once the stability and performance patches are out of the way. Specifically thinking of the tactical battles and the 'races'. Trying to patch these into some sort of shape could have you chasing your tails for months to come if the premise behind them is flawed. I guess like frantically climbing a ladder only to find it has been placed against the wrong wall.

All I would ask is that you please really look at these sort of items thoroughly and and not just react by trying to solve them using the current thinking. These look to be beyond a few XML tweaks.

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September 2, 2010 2:15:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Sorry for the dissertation, but if you are bored while waiting for Elemental to get fixed and want to contemplate the silliness of the human psyche....

I must admit I don't understand all the anger/people saying Stardock should have delayed releasing Elemental until February 2011.  It seems to me that EVERYONE is better off with the game released and in players' hands, rather than having Stardock work on it internally for another 6 months before release:

1.) Stardock

2.) Players who like the game

3.) Players who hate/are frustrated by the game in current form

1) Stardock gets a dent in their reputation, because the reviews bash this game. There's a lot of bad publicity already around Elemental. It will probably hurt sales in the long run.

2) The community might end up being smaller due to the game receiving bad publicity now, compared to being released in February 2011 and getting rave reviews.

3) While I have faith that the game will be a lot better in 6 months, I have doubts about how much Stardock can overhaul now that the game is released. When in beta state, it's more understandable that some features might be completely outed. I wish they have the courage to really rework a lot of the parts that are not working well at all (dynasties, tactical battles) instead of just patching them up.

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September 2, 2010 2:20:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

An interesting argument, OP, not without merit.

 

On the other hand, reality has shown that it is very difficult to overcome a bad release. Metacritic scores put it into the "one more not to bother with" category, and don't get updated. Release buzz dies. etc etc.

 

This is not to say that they can't recover, but it will not be easy. They released a shoddy product. (And broke trust... they did not sell this as a "lend us $50 to get our game in shape", they sold it as a game ready to play.)

 

So, while your arguments make some sense, the cost of this poor release is a smaller community, meaning fewer players, therefore less user generated content. Given that the game philosophy is all about user generated content driving the way ahead, that is a significant blow.

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September 2, 2010 2:24:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The game was clearly released far too early to coincide with the release of the book.

 

However Stardock have proven time and again they have the best post launch support and customer communication in the industry. I'll continue to go out of my way to give them my $$$

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September 2, 2010 2:27:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You know, I'm content to work with SD to help improve the game over the coming months, and while I acknowledge the game's flaws, have been generally supportive.

 

But I think some of the critics of the way the topics have been moderated do have something of a point.  It does seem a bit hypocritical to lock the "Why was this game released early?", and "I didn't pay $$$ for the game to be fixed", threads, and let threads like this or other  "stop complaining"  threads proceed. If I were one of those who were especially frustrated over the current game, this wouldn't help matters for me.

 

They are just different sides of the same coin, both add unnecessary noise to the boards at a hectic time, distract from players with legitimate, specific questions or issues about the game and neither are helpful towards the purposes of moving forward.

 

Only my 2 cents.

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September 2, 2010 2:35:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It doesn't really bother me on a personal level that they released early. I know they'll fix it, and I already pre-ordered and had been betaing for a while so doesn't affect me too much.

 

BUT I am upset they released early for a few reasons. #1 I want this game to be a success and have a big modding community. Releasing a game in this state is just inviting critics to crucify it, especially since Stardock has stood up and says they believe games shouldn't be released until they are complete. It is only going to hurt the game in the long run.

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September 2, 2010 2:42:39 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

If it wasn’t for Stardocks “Gamers Bill of Rights” BS I wouldn’t be as pissed. I hate hypocrites, I have been a loyal Stardock customer for a long time (since GC1) but to see them do this is an insult to their customers. I have been playing the beta and could have waited for a finished product, but for the people that just bought the game they should and have every right to be angry. A game is either complete or not, and this one was not. Stardock should refund everyone that just bought the game until it is deemed finished and then charge them for it, this isn’t some stock that that people are investing in hoping for a return its a product and incomplete product at that.

 http://www.gamersbillofrights.com/

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September 2, 2010 2:48:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting cattess,
Yeh - the games-for-fun vs. car-for-safety thing makes the example irrelevant to me...not at all comparable.

How about this:

A movie comes out, backed by advertising how great it is.  It had been shown to some preview clients, who had some concerns about it, but the producer thad made some changes based on the feedback and hought they addressed many of those issues.  The producer no doubt would have liked to work on the movie for another few months, but clearly thought it was as good as could be made in the window they had per their arrangements with movie theaters, and definetly worth releasing rather than playing around with it for another 6 months until the theaters were open to them again (which would be at a worse movie-going time).  50% of the people who see it like it and go home happy, albeit with a sense it could have been better.  But a larger-than-normal percentage, yourself included, think it was clearly rushed through production to hit peak-movie-seeing time and you didn't enjoy it at all, and thought it a much worse movie than you expected from this producer.  If it was a normal production company, you'd stop going to see their movies.  Instead, you, and a lot of other, complain to them.

They respond with the following approach:

"We thought it was good when we released it...after getting reviews and customer feedback, we now see it wasn't as good as we wanted it to be and thought it was.  We'll remake it.  Tell us what you don't like about the plot, and we'll work in some of them if they make sense.  Still has to be about the main topic, but open to any suggstions about making changes with the script.  If some of the actors turned everyone off, we'll recast.  You can tell us your ideas, or you can ignore the whole thing.  In any case, once we've reshot it based on all the feedback, and made it into a movie that seems to fit people's desires more, we'll re-release it, and let you know, and you can come and see it for free.  And if you still don't like it, we'll do it again.  And again.  For years.  Until we make a movie you'll really like."

Is everyone's response "You guys suck...I can't believe you put out such a crappy movie!!!  You never should have released it when you did, you should have kept working on it and released it later!  You wasted my time and money!! I've lost faith in you!!"

or, is it:

"Well, I wish it had been exactly the movie I wanted the first time, and I think if you had worked on it longer it would have been, so you kinda choked....but this is pretty good too...I think I'll get to see an even better movie this way.....cool!"

Well I would personally have no interest in seeing a "fixed" version of a movie I didn't like the first time. I've already seen the movie, I know the story, I know how it's going to end, it's just no longer going to be interesting to me even if it is improved. They get one chance with me, and then it's done. This is true to a certain extent with games as well. If I spend a month playing a game and am done with it, then that's usually it, I'm done. I'm not going to go back and try it again with every patch or bit of fan made content.

The reason that the movie anology breaks down though is because a movie can't be broken in the same way a game can. Movies are unlikely to have flaws that make them crash while your watching them, and while you might have scenes in a movie that "don't work", it's not quite the same as having entire gameplay mechanics that don't work. I'm tempted to compare it more to buying a new tv which has some cool feature but it turns out to have bad color, the sound stutters, it frequently turns off in the middle of your favorite shows, and the cool feature turns out not to work very well. The developer promises to fix it in the next few months, and some people don't mind all the problems, but the overall opinion is justifiably quite negative.

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September 2, 2010 2:59:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I just wanted to say that this is the first time that I have bought a game from Stardock and so far I am impressed.  I haven't have many issues other than very rare crash to desktops, however the autosave feature has made those  crashes a minor nuisance.  I understand that a lot of people are not in the same boat, but it is quite rare than any release of a game goes without anyone having technical problems.

 

The game play is what I expected, I may not agree with how everything works, but I am seriously happy that this game is designed to be modded.  I have never seen a company work so hard to fix things and actually listen to suggestions that have been thrown around the forum.  

So did this game release convince me to buy from Stardock?  Certainly.  These days I have less and less faith in gaming companies so it is nice to see a company actually try to please its customers.  Not everyone is happy of the way the game is designed, but knowing that Stardock will put in great effort to try to fix it for the majority is quite impressive.  And if you don't like certain features, you can just tweak the game using mods to your satisfaction.  If no one is making the mod, you are also free to try to do it yourself.  It isn't the easiest thing to do, but it isn't rocket science either, and if they made it too simplistic, they would restrict a lot of its moddability.

All this to say I am seriously impressed by Stardock and by Elemental, and I am happy that there are people in this community that seem to see it the same way I do.

 

Keep up the great work

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September 2, 2010 3:12:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What I can't for the life of me understand is Brad telling me that he'd be really surprised if the game received bad reviews, a couple of days before release. For some reason the development team was clearly oblivious to the state of their game.

If I had to guess, I think it had a lot to do with the team working for so long making the engine that they kind of thought that having the engine working decently enough was enough and slapping an almost working game that plays on it was OK and understood by the consumers.

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September 2, 2010 3:26:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting rpanic,
If it wasn’t for Stardocks “Gamers Bill of Rights” BS I wouldn’t be as pissed. I hate hypocrites, I have been a loyal Stardock customer for a long time (since GC1) but to see them do this is an insult to their customers. I have been playing the beta and could have waited for a finished product, but for the people that just bought the game they should and have every right to be angry. A game is either complete or not, and this one was not. Stardock should refund everyone that just bought the game until it is deemed finished and then charge them for it, this isn’t some stock that that people are investing in hoping for a return its a product and incomplete product at that.

 http://www.gamersbillofrights.com/

How is it hypocritical for them to offer refunds to people who request them after they say in the GBOR people should be able to get refunds if the game doesn't work for them?

Likewise, while you may consider point 2 violated, not everyone does. There are plenty of people posting that they are happy with the game (and the poll reflects this too). So, who's right? Personally even though I feel the game needs a lot of improvement if it wants to remain relevant for a long enough time, I don't feel that point 2 was violated. I still have fun playing it and other than the occasional OOM crashes that will be fixed up I don't experience any problems.

In the end your opinion isn't any more or less valid than mine. It's purely subjective because there are people who have problems and people who don't. If there was nobody who didn't have massive problems, then yeah, we could all say point 2 was violated. But such is not the case, and even disappointment with how some things ended up doesn't mean it's "broken".

That's why #1 is there. If it doesn't work for you, they can give you a refund. But because it doesn't work for you doesn't necessarily mean that they globally violated #2.

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September 2, 2010 3:42:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting BoogieBac,
Right below this thread, on the forums list, was another post called "I did not pay to Fix or Finish Elemental", which I beleive is (ironically) the answer to your question. When officialy release something, and it gets a 50% dissatisfaction rate on our own forums, that's a HUGE chunk of our customers that feel it wasn't ready to be put out, no matter how we felt about the 'Gold' version.

There's a lot to learn from the release of Elemental, and 'let's make every launch like this one!' is not one of them

However, we will ALWAYS put aside funds for future updates, so don't worry about that. Once the crushing worry about release dates and overall reception have come and gone, the post-release update period is the most fun you can have making games. I just hope that,once the dust settles, we all get to experience the joy of that period, and not be playing catch-up for years to come.

 

That's all i want to hear- that you guys won't repeat this.  Ultimately, as someone who pre-orders the SD games I'm interested in, it doesn't affect me directly- but a bad reputation hurts pre-orders, which hurts budgets, which hurts what I end up with.

 

I hope you guys can get the technical stuff down, so the gameplay can be worked on for years- that's the fun part.

 

 

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September 2, 2010 3:45:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

(I'm up north on vacation typing on an extremely slow connection so bear with me)

I don't think people yet fully realize the completeness of Stardock's fail on Elementa's launch.

I'm going to write more about this but not only did we think v1.05 was ready for everyone but we felt v1.0 was too. That's the level of disconnect/poor judgment on our part we're talking about.

If the game had come out in February, it would still have been a disastrous launch because lack of time wasn't the issue. It was blindness, sheer blindness.  We felt the game was finished. And I speak of v1.0, not v1.05.  Blindness.

There will be massive consequences for Stardock's game studio.  I'll be talking more about this when I get back. But the game wasn't released early. The game was released poorly. Head in the sand syndrome imo.  I've read the reviews as much as possible given my hideous internet access up here and I agree with them. We just didn't see what they were talking about. We thought any complaints would be about polish points or something. 

The point is, the issue here is far far worse than many of you think it is. I wish it was an issue of the game being released too early. That's an easy thing for a company to "fix".  Elemental's launch is the result of catastrophic poor judgment on my part.

EVERY competent software developer knows that the programmer must never be the one deciding whether the program is done. Yet, my love of Elemental broke my self discipline and I began coding on the game itself in vast amounts and lost any sense of objectivity on where the game's state was. I normally only program the AI on our games so I can keep a level of distance from the game itself to determine whether it's "Ready". On Elemental, I was in love with the world and the game and lost my impartiality.

We'll do better. 

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September 2, 2010 3:52:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for the message Frogboy. I'm very hopeful that this will turn around. You've got a gem on your hands, it just needs a lot of shining up. Thanks for not bailing.

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September 2, 2010 3:55:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Annatar11,

Again, true, but only because the review process is flawed. Should be a constant review of games to update for patches
This is just not feasible

 

Hey, and some people don't mind dying in car crashes. And it's not like EVERY car will break down, so it's ok, right?

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September 2, 2010 3:56:28 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

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September 2, 2010 4:00:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No company has the right to steal 10, 20, 30, or whatever amount of hours it takes you to figure out the game you purchased is an unfinished product thats many hours of your life you'll never get back. If you charged them by the hour for the time it took you to figure out the product you bought in good faith from them was unfinsihed they would probably owe you more than you already gave them for an unfinished game. Their wasting others people's time and charging them to do it. You don't care and thats fine but there is obviously a large majority of people who do.

Solely on principal its wrong as well. Whatever analogy you use is apt in the sense that no producer of a good/service has a right to sell you something different from what they told you, you were going to buy, They can get away with it in the software world and more explicitly the gaming world because the definition of beta is very very loose.

Anyone who has made software knows this is a beta product for a game. There was no gameplay testing or balancing on an actual "beta" stage of the program (well very little after the late july build). A UAT (user acceptance test) in the business world can last 3 months or more. They got their first possible end to end piece of software done and sent it out the door, this was beta 1 and I consider the late july build beta 1 v1 so maybe this was beta 1 v2. The beta pre-paids were involved in was not "beta" it was the actual development of the game the first beta I saw was the late july build.  And alot of the "beta" testers felt exaclty the same way, that late July build needed about another 3-6 months or so of testing.

The second I saw the development outline for the pre-paid beta people I knew something was wrong as every section was labeled a "beta", were talking v 0.2 etc. There is a fundamental misunderstanding within stardock of the SDLC. Maybe its just bad semantics but if you've ever tested mission critical software (and I developed 911 call center software for 12 years) you understand academically the process of software engineering and software testing and you know why there are standards and why companies that develop critical software follow them as strictly as possible. The build everyone is playing right now is the build the pre-paids should be intensly doing gameplay testing. We gave them money to test their product and whther or not it was a fundamental misunderstanding of software testing vs development or malicious intent (which I doubt) to push product out the door non one but they themselves knows.

And Brad thats why I like you in the business, your stance on DRM, your stance on Gamers Bill of Rights, Digital Distribution, etc. Glad to see you acknowlegding your mistake as well, that almost more rare and I personally appreciate your post above. I like many others have faith you will fix Elemental. It's just really hard cause your like one of the last good guys in the industry and this is nasty blow to take.

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September 2, 2010 4:02:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am upset is because Elemental is not getting good reviews thanks to this early release. Sure I am happy to play it, and I KNOW Stardock will fix and get things on track, but it is not something the general consumer will accept spending money on and then having to wait months for it to be in working order.

I wanted Elemental to get GREAT reviews, and I wanted it to be a game you see mentioned on many gaming websites and having a huge growing community, espesially because of it's modding capabilities.

For that reason, I very much disagree with your statement on "Stardock - KEEP releasing games early, AS LONG AS YOU WORK HARD TO SUPPORT THEM AFTER RELEASE, we all win that way!!!!!!"

It's just NOT a way to run a gaming company. I am sure thanks to Elemental, that they have learned this the hard way.

Would you buy a Ferrari, but then told "Oops, we forgot to give you the engine, but here you can still have the car and sit in it while we get it made!".....I think not.

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