Drama Cleansing Thread

By on September 5, 2010 7:59:23 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Our story so far…

On August 24th, Stardock released the long-anticipated PC strategy game Elemental on schedule…

Except, of course, that’s not quite what happened. Stardock released the game a couple days early to beta testers and pre-order customers – the same version reviewers were given (v1.0) and the results were painful in two basic ways:

1. The new engine that Stardock developed turned out to have a lot of compatibility problems resulting in crashing and out of memory errors for a significant percentage (I’d go as far as to say as many as 30% of users – which is a gigantic number – anything over 5% is considered unacceptable).  It’s not commonly known but the engine in our previous games (GalCiv II, The Political Machine, etc.) was developed originally in 1997 and enhanced over the years.  Nowadays, most companies just license their engine from Gamebryo (Civilization V, Oblivion, Fallout 3) or the Unreal engine. You are now seeing why they do. 

2. The above ensured ruinous reviews but even without them, the game UI and some of the game mechanics just didn’t live up to people’s expectations, and AI issues.

The purpose of this blog is to help answer questions so that we can move forward.

So here are some of the questions / comments I’ve gotten in emails and private messages and on various forums that I’ll try to answer:

Q: What is Stardock’s plan for Elemental going forward?

A: For the immediate future we’re going to go down two paths. First, the v1.0x versions will continue to focus largely on compatibility (crashing or weird video issues) as well as bugs and turning on multiplayer.

Then, we will work on v1.1 which will serve as our answer to player feedback. Enhanced AI, improved UI, a tutorial, updated quest system, new magic system, numerous other tweaks. This version will serve as the basis to make a demo version of the game.

Beyond that, we will be looking at player feedback. That will work towards v1.2 (October) and v1.3 (November). Once we are satisfied that the game has met reasonable expectations, we can then focus on the first expansion pack: Elemental: War of Magic – Book 2, Cerena.

Unlike Book 1, which is fairly short because it’s only meant as a kind of introduction (the game is mean to be played in sandbox mode. GalCiv and Sins of a Solar Empire didn’t even include campaigns, we are generally not very pro-campaign-y people as you can gather, campaigns have limited replayability).

Book 2, Cerena is the excuse to introduce more far reaching game mechanic changes and begin to add in the multiplayer modes we have long been thinking of (from custom servers that yes, will work on your LAN that has no Internet connection) to tactical-only modes.

That first expansion pack will be free to everyone who owns the game at the point of v1.3.

Q: Stardock should just put out an expansion and re-release the game as a Director’s Cut.

A: NO. While we do intend to release future new versions of Elemental beyond the War of Magic series, we will not be re-submitting Elemental “patched and fixed” for re-review.

A lot of people seem to think that Stardock knowingly released the game “full of bugs”. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.  As people who have played through the various versions can attest, weird stuff is very machine specific. For instance, the illustrative outline on graphics causes no difference (not even 1 frame) on our test matrix machines and yet results in 20+ frames for others who have, on the surface, similar hardware configurations for us.  The PC Gamer UK reviewer ran into a white tactical battle screen that we had never encountered before (nor had it shown up during the public beta). 

The low metacritic score for Elemental (about 3 out of 5 average) needs to serve as a long-term reminder to us and anyone else who might think that you can simply put out a major retail game in 2010 with its own custom engine without a massive massive long-term beta program and a long-term QA process. If you can’t do that, then either license your engine or don’t expect people to shell out $50.

Put another way, the blistering feedback on Elemental: War of Magic should serve as a scarlet letter to make us “never forget”. So no, no re-launch of Elemental: War of Magic. It is, what it is.

For fans who are disheartened, look at on the bright side. We will be able to see how much effect word of mouth is. If we do a good job making the game live up to its potential and expectations, then we can see what effect that has on sales. And we plan to share those details with you.

As it stands today, Elemental has sold approximately 82,000 copies.

Q: I heard Stardock is laying off people, I thought your non-games revenue funded the games team.

A: It does. It funds ONE games team. But Stardock has been hiring up across the board to build a second studio. Only Elemental can fund that.  “Stardock” is made up of 3 groups: Enterprise software (our #1 revenue source), Consumer software (Object Desktop, Fences, etc.) and Consumer Entertainment (the games). That’s not counting Impulse which is a separate, profitable entity that doesn’t get affected one way or the other by the success of the games or the enterprise software.

Q: Brad Wardell: You should just kill yourself! [I actually did get this]

A: I’m sorry our recent entertainment product didn’t meet your expectations but I don’t think it would be helpful if I manually modified my date of expiration.

Q: Brad Wardell – you have a martyr complex! You always take personal blame for everyone! Get off your cross! [yes, got this too]

A: That is my job. If you’re going to spend years railing about CEOs not taking responsibility when something goes wrong, it would be the height of hypocrisy for me not to take responsibility when things go badly on a launch.

In addition, some of the issues are directly related to my specific decisions.

Q: Your act is getting old. Fool me once on Demigod, fool me twice, shame on me! [got this too in various forms]

A: The Demigod debacle ultimately resulted from a fundamental communication failure between the publisher (Stardock) and the developer (Gas Powered Games). It took us a long time to figure out exactly how the connectivity issue occurred (i.e. many months). Ultimately, and sadly, it boiled down to a miscommunication. When you host a game in Demigod (even now), you are given a dialog for your port #. It was believed by the Stardock team that Demigod handled direct IP connections and thus its raknet  based port system would only be used when that failed.  GPG, by contrast, thought Stardock was handling direct connections too. It turned out that that port # part (even now) doesn’t have a function and so 100% of connections attempts when to the Raknet system which overwhelmed it.

The reason why Stardock rightly took the blame is because, as the publisher, we should have looked at the beta tester connectivity logs and seen that 100% of connections were being passed to Raknet for the socket rather than the 10% anticipated. Add tens of thousands of users quickly and bam. A different system had to be developed. 

But Demigod didn’t suffer from compatibility issues. It was very solid right out of the gate (for pretty much everyone) and was an excellent game on day 1. GPG did a great job making a great game. And Stardock did do a good job making a good backend. But one miscommunication between developers resulted in disaster.  Only a much larger beta test would have discovered the problem. The system wasn’t “buggy”. Not that it does anyone any good now, but at least people can see and learn from what happened.

Point being, the situations are not similar.

With Elemental, the issue is the game itself.  With Elemental’s MP, the system works because from day 1, Elemental’s servers are just hosted by Stardock. No P2P.

Q: What do YOU think of Elemental?

A: Elemental is the finest game we’ve ever released. Ever. At least, that's what I thought on the day we released it.  However, I have come to the painful conclusion that we will have to dedicate more effort to making the game live up to the expectations of our customers as a whole. You'd be surprised how easy it is to confuse the enjoyment of making a game to the enjoyment of playing it.

Q: My post was hidden on the forums! I have a right to post my anger!

A: No. No you don’t.  Believe me when I say I speak from first hand experience, there are entire forums dedicated to letting people post about their anger about something.  The Stardock forums have never ever been some forum of free speech. And they never will be. If you’re looking for that, you should go elsewhere.  I’ve been moderating “forums” since my Commodore 64 days as a “Sysop” and “Subop”. A few toxic users can wreck a community. 

If someone needs/wants technical support, has a question, has a suggestion, wants to interact with the community, that’s great. Go for it.  But if your purpose is to vent your rage on other users, us, the game, small animals, what have you, the moderates are instructed to take a very dim view of that. 

After the release of v1.08 (this week) I intend to instruct moderators to be even more stringent on that sort of thing because we (as a community) need the Stardock developers themselves to participate on the forums. 

While I have two decades of people telling me that I should kill myself or that <product X> is a “piece of shit” as well as various wishes that I get cancer and die “bleeding from every orifice) (yes, there are people out there that post these things) my development team are just normal people who are excited to talk to gamers who have cool ideas and we’re not going to subject them to haters (and most haters don’t have any idea they’re being hateful).  Rule of thumb: Just treat people as if they’re right in front of you.

Q: You’re getting screwed in the reviews! I can’t believe <website X> wrote <Y>

A: NO. We’re not getting screwed. While some of the review scores do have a bit of “dogpiling” to them (relative to review scores given to other games) I have yet to read a single review that I felt was unfair in terms of the text.

If anything, I feel bad about putting some of my friends through this.  It’s no secret that Tom Chick and Troy Goodfellow are friends of mine.  The question isn’t how I feel about them criticizing or giving negative reviews of the release version of Elemental. The question is how they felt having to give a negative review of a game of someone who’s their friend? It’s called integrity.  I’ll take a 1 friend who will tell it like it is over a 100 yes men.  

So when I read the reviews, my first reaction isn’t anger but sorrow at having put people I respect through having to give something I know they were inclined to like and wanted to like through that. It’s also the reason I will not be re-submitting some “patched” version for review.

It also redoubles our collective efforts to live up to the standards we have set.  We will be working on Elemental for a long time. We love it. We live it. And together, we will make it awesome.

 

Now, let’s move past the drama. Let’s do the things that need to be done going forward to have fun and create something that will stand the test of time.

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September 5, 2010 8:09:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I hope you die after bleeding out of every oriface in your body for taking all the blame and letting the team go gosh

 

 

 

Like I've said many time before, I've gotten my money paid over in it's worth with elemental.  Amazing game, can't wait to see what it'll be like in 2 years.

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September 5, 2010 8:20:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


...

Q: What is Stardock’s plan for Elemental going forward?
A: For the immediate future we’re going to go down two paths. First, the v1.0x versions will continue to focus largely on compatibility (crashing or weird video issues) as well as bugs and turning on multiplayer.
Then, we will work on v1.1 which will serve as our answer to player feedback. Enhanced AI, improved UI, a tutorial, updated quest system, new magic system, numerous other tweaks. This version will serve as the basis to make a demo version of the game.
Beyond that, we will be looking at player feedback. That will work towards v1.2 (October) and v1.3 (November). Once we are satisfied that the game has met reasonable expectations, we can then focus on the first expansion pack: Elemental: War of Magic – Book 2, Cerena.
Unlike Book 1, which is fairly short because it’s only meant as a kind of introduction (the game is mean to be played in sandbox mode. GalCiv and Sins of a Solar Empire didn’t even include campaigns, we are generally not very pro-campaign-y people as you can gather, campaigns have limited replayability).
Book 2, Cerena is the excuse to introduce more far reaching game mechanic changes and begin to add in the multiplayer modes we have long been thinking of (from custom servers that yes, will work on your LAN that has no Internet connection) to tactical-only modes.
That first expansion pack will be free to everyone who owns the game at the point of v1.3.
...

Thanks for the update.

Looks as though the changes are primarily going to be restricted to the XML side of the game at this stage for 1.1. Tweaks rather than anything major.

Would it be more productive to give feedback on this sort of aspect rather than focussing on larger issues? As an example, should we ask for a new race pre-requisite on top of those already in the XML to enable us to add buildings, techs, units to the current mix on a race by race basis, rather than requesting sweeping changes to the whole race system?

Similarly with tactical battles, should we look at smaller tweaks rather than engine changes with regards feedback?

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September 5, 2010 8:21:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Das123,


Thanks for the update.

Looks as though the changes are primarily going to be restricted to the XML side of the game at this stage for 1.1. Tweaks rather than anything major.

Would it be more productive to give feedback on this sort of aspect rather than focussing on larger issues? As an example, should we ask for a new race pre-requisite on top of those already in the XML to enable us to add buildings, techs, units to the current mix on a race by race basis, rather than requesting sweeping changes to the whole race system?

Similarly with tactical battles, should we look at smaller tweaks rather than engine changes with regards feedback?

Oh that would be a huge misinterpretation of what I wrote.

We're not talking tweaking. We're talking surgery.

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September 5, 2010 8:27:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

OK, I rarely post on these fourms but will put my 2 cents worth in here.

Frogboy, as you well know you screwed the pooch on this one. I feel bad for you personally, but this ought to become a textbook case of how not to do it. But I also respect you for taking responsibility. I for one still trust you and Stardock. You have built up a very nice reputation, slightly tarnished now but still mostly intact. I suspect another problem, which you didn't mention, is that expectations for this game were through the roof. It was almost guaranteed that you would disappoint.

I had problems with the pre-1.07 version in terms of stability and was quite disappointed. I've been playing 1.07 over the weekend and it is much more stable. The game is nice in many respects. Some go for the glitz and glamor of an SC2. I like the simplicity of artwork here--you can focus more on the game itself rather than getting dazzled by fancy art. I've finally gotten to the point of getting into the mid-level tech tree and there are some nice things.

As a long-time TBS gamer who cut his teeth on MOO and MOM, and then later spent (too) many hours on GalCiv and GalCiv2 I see a lot of potential here.

Most of the problems I have with the game mechanics/balance have been hashed out over the forums, but I'd add this word of advice--don't make this MOM2 or Civ with magic. Make it unique. Be daring. Set yourself apart. Follow YOUR vision for the game. Don't build it by committee.

Good luck. I'll be watching (and lurking).

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September 5, 2010 8:28:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good stuff, here's hoping 1.3 is the game we all hoped elemental would have been on day one!

On a more light-hearted note, I'd of died laughing if you would have made a little .gif  of a stick figure stabbing himself , dying , and then the phrase "Just Kidding!"

I'm a sick man , i know

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September 5, 2010 8:28:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

2 things that worry me:

Book 2, Cerena is the excuse to introduce more far reaching game mechanic changes and begin to add in the multiplayer modes we have long been thinking of (from custom servers that yes, will work on your LAN that has no Internet connection) to tactical-only modes.

Focusing on the last part about custom servers. Initially, custom servers were going to be released as the game came out. Awesome. Then. they would come out a little bit afterwards. Well, alright, I can amuse myself for awhile with SP before having to think about MP and by then they will be out...

Oh. MP isn't out on release (and, I might add, I sorta laughed as you said they would be out "day 1" up there in your post). Well... okay... that's sorta weird but there ARE a lot of issues atm and MP wouldn't even be playable until they get fixed. Alright.

Nearly 2 weeks after released, MP still isn't out, and I learn that a promised on-launch feature that got slightly postponed is being put-off to a major expansion release several months down the line...

 

Meanwhile I'm stuck on a cellphone connection with a 6 KBps upload speed. :/ (drive to the coffee shop to do downloads)

 

That said, Elemental is really fun as a programmer, I think. It's so much fun to load up the XML change a few values and play and see how the game changes. It is a really really fun game to tweak and design. I think that is a large part of one of your somewhat-altered view of the game being better than it was. It really does feel fun to make.

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September 5, 2010 8:31:22 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I actually disagree with trying to get a subsequent version re-reviewed.  There have been a number of games through the years that were terrible at release, but were far more stable and enjoyable a few patches in (Heroes of Might and Magic: Dark Avatar, anyone?).  As a consumer, it would be a real service if some of the review sites posted a "six months later" review of some games.  For some, it would mean things like "while there used to be 100,000 players online at a time, now it's hard to get 8 people together for a little PVP action".  For others, it's "hey, this game is actually fun now, and it's $10 cheaper, so go pick it up."

When the only reviews are based on initial release, it's hard to glean information about how the game actually performs today.  Good luck using Google on forum results...

Just my 2 gildars, of course.

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September 5, 2010 8:33:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ever since the release of WOW, its become common place that release day + 1 year is the time to look at the state of a game and review it then after its birthing pains are done and over. Instant review policies of magazines and forums have never adapted to the 2000 era means of production and customer support fixes. They are the ones needing an overhaul and one of the reasons I abandoned subscription based review games nearly a decade ago.

 

I cant wait to see the state of the game in 6 months.

 

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September 5, 2010 8:33:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Indeed. Let's move on. Pull out all the stops to fix the game, refund those who did not realise they were buying something still in development, get over this hump and win back your rep as a games developer and publisher with integrity and flair.

I wish you fair sailing.

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September 5, 2010 8:36:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Not asking reviewers to take a second look - in time - seems a bit martyr-esque.

Majors have asked for things before.

Beyond the raging debate over major vs independent studios, the game media is a joke, and has been for some time. Games aren't films - they can get better over time. There is no good reason why re-reviews don't exist. Had I not read Tom Chick's comments on Elemental, I would never have taken a second look at SimCity Societies.

If Elemental is the best game Stardock has ever put out (and Stardock has put out some damn fine product), and it evolves to be everything the surrounding community expects (expected?), then shouldn't it be given a chance to be put back in the limelight?

It's not about fair or unfair - Deserve's got nothing to do with it. It's about whether or not in 6 or 12 or 24 months it is on par with EU3, Civ4, GC2, MoM or Moo2. If it is, then it should be in the mainstream. SimCity Societies is one of the best city builders, and some mention should be in the mainstream. But it isn't. And that's a damn shame; one which should be rectified.

Quite simply Stardock has (had?) a golden reputation. If that reputation is worth anything, then it should be put to good effect - Pride be damned.

 

*Edit* I should also note that in a post Seth Godin Groundswell world, it seem to me a CEO whose plan is to rely on "We will be able to see how much effect word of mouth is" is just plain silly.

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September 5, 2010 8:36:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ynglaur,
I actually disagree with trying to get a subsequent version re-reviewed.  There have been a number of games through the years that were terrible at release, but were far more stable and enjoyable a few patches in (Heroes of Might and Magic: Dark Avatar, anyone?).  As a consumer, it would be a real service if some of the review sites posted a "six months later" review of some games.  For some, it would mean things like "while there used to be 100,000 players online at a time, now it's hard to get 8 people together for a little PVP action".  For others, it's "hey, this game is actually fun now, and it's $10 cheaper, so go pick it up."

When the only reviews are based on initial release, it's hard to glean information about how the game actually performs today.  Good luck using Google on forum results...

Just my 2 gildars, of course.

 

Expansions are traditionally the chance to take a second look, and MMOs often get an x weeks/months on reassessment. But yes, there is something to be said for look backs.

The problem is that there are so many games coming out, its almost impossible to review all the new titles, let alone revisit old ones. Rereviews should be on a case by case basis, reflecting truly noteable advances.

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September 5, 2010 8:38:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I appreciate you taking the time to write this. I know that you are passionate about fixing things and I understand. I also understand that fixing the technical issues are important too. However, it will be hard for me to pick up this game until the 1.1 version comes, the version that fixes the gameplay is available. I can play the game just fine (besides the alt+tab) bug and a few crashes here and there, i'm able to put up with it, but the gameplay as it stands right now isn't compelling or fun to me at all. I would put up with crashes personally, I played Morrowind on the Xbox which crashed like every half hour for over 100 hours, I did this because the gameplay was fun.

I understand the need to make the game work for people, but at the same time, waiting until the end of September to get the "fun" part is just too much for me. If you can at least include some of these gameplay fixes in the .0x patches, like more exciting magic, better ai, making the world feel alive, differentiating the individual factions, units, equipment, making tactical combats more than just pressing end turn until they get close to you and whacking them (or using spells if you have the magic), and magic regen, I feel things would be a lot better.

As it stands now, at least for me, i can play the game, but i'm not having fun so why would I want to? I feel like you'll get the game to work for people, but once they do that, there won't be an actual "game" part to play.

Once again I respect this and I look forward to the future. Thank you.

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September 5, 2010 8:41:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The people who make statements about you needing to kill yourself, etc, are the same as the people that act like someone murdered their puppy when a celebrity gets a divorce.

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September 5, 2010 8:42:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Infernal Lupine,
Ever since the release of WOW, its become common place that release day + 1 year is the time to look at the state of a game and review it then after its birthing pains are done and over. Instant review policies of magazines and forums have never adapted to the 2000 era means of production and customer support fixes. They are the ones needing an overhaul and one of the reasons I abandoned subscription based review games nearly a decade ago.

 

I cant wait to see the state of the game in 6 months.

 

This isn't true and should never be at all. The game should be fine and fun at the time of its release. You have a right to have fun with a working product when you purchase it. Don't be a bad customer that accepts anything someone puts out because you have some nonsensical loyalty to a brand name.

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September 5, 2010 8:48:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Keep looking forward and work your heineys off like you always do and it'll be fine by me.   Mistakes happen, only fools can't change their minds.

 

Beta testers have seen just how much change we can expect in a short time so I'm not worried we'll see all the improvement we need fast enough for reasonable people.   That being said, get back to work! 

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September 5, 2010 8:52:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting solidsmooky,

Quoting Infernal Lupine, reply 8Ever since the release of WOW, its become common place that release day + 1 year is the time to look at the state of a game and review it then after its birthing pains are done and over. Instant review policies of magazines and forums have never adapted to the 2000 era means of production and customer support fixes. They are the ones needing an overhaul and one of the reasons I abandoned subscription based review games nearly a decade ago.


I cant wait to see the state of the game in 6 months.


This isn't true and should never be at all. The game should be fine and fun at the time of its release. You have a right to have fun with a working product when you purchase it. Don't be a bad customer that accepts anything someone puts out because you have some nonsensical loyalty to a brand name.

I agree, in an ideal world that is indeed the case.

I've read all kinds of (sorry) moronic conspiracy theories on people saying "Stardock HAD to know...". To which I say, nonsense. Not a single person internally felt (or at least suggested) we extend the release date. And until the end of July, we had that option. We simply thought the game was ready. It really aggravates me when people say I or Stardock "knew" the game wasn't ready and just released it.  We worked on this for 3 years. We thought it was ready. We were wrong. It's easy, with the benefit of hindsight for someone to talk about how company X is horrible.

Look at Apple and the iPhone 4 antenna debacle. There's people out there claiming that Steve Jobs *knew* there was an issue with it before shipping.  I say again, nonsense.

Stardock has multiple former game reviewers (including former editors of Gamespot/IGN and Avault). If either one of them had said "This isn't ready to go, we need to delay till February." I would have in a heart beat. It would still have resulted in lay-offs but it would have been preferable to the hellstorm we caught.  And I'm not blaming anyone but myself because I thought the game was ready. Not v1.05 but v1.0.  

Over the coming weeks and months we'll do a lot of hard looking to see how the rough start happened. Maybe I create an environment where people are afraid to tell me the "hard truths". Maybe our QA setup just isn't broad enough. Maybe we had just gotten too close to the project and didn't see things. I don't know. In time, we'll find out. 

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September 5, 2010 8:53:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Bravo!  That being said, let's move on.  1.07 is the bare minimum for future releases.

 

Goodluck.

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September 5, 2010 8:54:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

An updated quest system?  Do tell.  I don't expect specific details but are there going to be significant changes to the current XML schema?


After the release of v1.08 (this week) I intend to instruct moderators to be even more stringent on that sort of thing because we (as a community) need the Stardock developers themselves to participate on the forums.

I can't wait.  All the hate threads are getting old.  You're spot on about the toxicity and the impact it has on the rest of the team.  As a developer at my last company I've experienced it firsthand on the forums all the time.  People don't realize how venomous their words really can be, especially when the people they're talking about are busting their ass to please their customers.

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September 5, 2010 8:56:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I didnt say it was a good policy to have a completed perfect game on release. It should BE the goal, but I think with the miles of code and graphics engine programs and myriads of team members interaction to make a product, quite unlike the golden days where Richard Garriot could pump out Ultima from his basement and reap the entire reward, games are super complex and problems are bound to happen. Even  console games have bugs and compatibility issues. Its not a perfect world and in those oldl days we rarely if ever saw updates for those products. They were one shot and deal with it as it was.

 

Am I currently happy with Elementals? No. Its close, but it needs work, and until I see that work and results which I expect in a reasonable amount of time. I will refrain from giving it a glowing review to my friends. Already I have seen good improvement. At this pace it should be everything I hoped for inside 6 months.

 

 

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September 5, 2010 8:58:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This sounds pretty much like the truth. Good job coming to terms with the truth of the situation and I look forward to seeing how the game evolves.

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September 5, 2010 9:17:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That's good stuff, chief. I thought the drama was a bit over-blown to tell you the truth. And honestly, I don't see how you could Not be pissed at some of the sites that Did flat out Lie about some of the flaws in Elemental "like missing buttons" that Are There in the UI if you open your eyes and look.

I salute your dedication to your game making. Please, read my post Here: http://forums.elementalgame.com/395491 . Some of us are a little worried that you might go overboard on "fixing" and "re-designing". Please don't. Stay True to what makes Elemental what it is at it's core. Keep up the great work chief.

 

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September 5, 2010 9:19:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Balh, blah, blah ... I really don't care about excuses and future intentions. I'd still prefer a refund!!!!!!!!!!! Why does your company refuse to provide refunds given all that's happened or to communicate at all?

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September 5, 2010 9:19:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with the demigod fool me once problem.  Even though they are different issues, the resolution is more beta time and qa process was needed.   I learn from Demigod to buy a stardock game a few months later when all bugs are fixed and it becomes half price.

 

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September 5, 2010 9:20:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, I have to say I think you are on the right track, taking the right approach with this. I agree with a number of reviews I've read in that I don't feel Elemental is all that good a game. However I feel it has the seeds of greatness. It does feel, to me, unfinished. However that is something that can be worked with. If a game is just bad, a bad idea and all that, then nothing can be done. However fundamentally Elemental is very strong, but the devil is in the details and the implementation needs work.

So personally, I'm setting it aside. I'm not going to play it (other than to do documentation work on the Wiki) but nor am I going to throw a fit and ask for a refund. I will wait, and try it again later.

I think comparisons to WoW are somewhat accurate in that when I started playing WoW, that games was a DISASTER. The servers crashed all the time the client was ridiculously slow, even on good hardware, there were all kinds of quest bugs and so on. It was not fully polished, it was too early IMO. However it had seeds of greatness, it was fundamentally a good idea, a fun basis for the game. The details could be fixed and were fixed. Now? It is the greatest MMO so far. It is a damn fun game.

WoW just got a break because of how extremely BAD all the MMOs before it were. When Everquest was your competitor, you don't need to be all that good to seem great. Elemental enters a market of highly polished games, that are tough competitors.

So hopefully it will be with Elemental as well. Hopefully 3-6 months from now it will be at least a good game, and perhaps a great game.

I won't go recommending it to friends now, but I will simply say "Wait a couple months."

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September 5, 2010 9:24:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think I have ever seen a company with support for their games like Stardock and if there was, I certainly don't remember it. This is exaclty WHY Elemental will evolve into the best of the genre just like GalCiv2 became with space strategy.

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