Actually 8 months most likely won't be enough time for any games with moderate to great amounts of game depth based on results from previous games such as AOW:SM, Dominions_3 and even Gal_Civ_2. Each of these had many beta-testers which tested the game for several months yet still some obscure critical bugs and unbalances appeared.
Correct me if I'm wrong but did any of those betas last 8 months? Not to mention, I have a feeling that the beta tester group for this game is going to be a little bit bigger than they were for the others (partially because beta testing is more common these days, and partially because Stardock has a bigger crowd than usual, partly due to GC2.
But yeah, no matter what there are going to be some bugs here and there come release. But anything really gamebreaking I am confident will be fixed pretty quickly. Yes, that means there will be bugs around that might affect the outcome of some games until it's fixed - but like I said before, I would rather SD spend its energy polishing the game and finding/fixing those bugs than making every non-core feature optional. The required dev time wouldn't be worth it, and quite frankly too many options would just be overwhelming.
The developers can provide recommended game settings as the default, but if a singleplayer gamer desires to play Faction Y without Wonders enabled thus altering game balance to be seriously more difficult for him then grant his wish. Frequently I organize SP and MP games providing the computer opponents huge advantages and optional features make this easier.
Well if your goal is to challenge yourself you don't need to stack the options to favor your opponents. If even the toughest difficulty isn't a challenge for you, you can always just handicap yourself. You don't need to disable wonders across the board, you could just choose not to build any.
With the game having optional features it resolves many complaints because anyone complaining about XYZ feature can simply be advised... just disable the feature and thus they can enjoy all other aspects of the game.
Yes that's true. But the necessary consequence of having too many options is that many of the permutations will have unforeseen disruptive effects on gameplay. You can always say, "yeah, well if you don't like it, use a different combination of options." But what it really is is a design flaw; it means Stardock released a game that isn't really finished by providing you with sets of options that ruin the game. And unlike bugs, this is an inherent problem of too much freedom, and would in all likelihood be unresolvable.
No, what I want is for Stardock to provide us with a whole lot of options. I want to be able to disable and enable whatever features that can be done so without disrupting the game; features that don't equally affect everyone should in general be fixed. If there's a feature that isn't optional that you really hate, there's always modding. We don't really know details about how anything is going to work so it's way too early to say what should and shouldn't be optional. I just hope (and I do trust) that Stardock makes all of the options they give us meaningful, and that all combinations can be played through without everything going all whacky.