That is the general gist of the issue. I don't see what the problem is. Why there's this extreme urge to force everyone to play on Stardock's own dedicated servers.
You didn't own Demigod for the first 3 weeks, did you? I couldn't play, at all, except using Hamachi (which fakes a LAN). The connection stuff was a total fiasco. A lot of that is because of the issues the modern Internet has with two users trying to connect to each other.
Elemental's beta 0 got delayed because they took a lot of people off it to go work on Demigod. There was stuff like 108 hour work weeks. Lots of unhappy users. It's been fixed since then, but it was a huge mess.
This "extreme urge" is a knee-jerk reaction to that. Having everyone connect to Stardock eliminates the problems Demigod had, because everybody *can* connect to Stardock. No reconfiguring routers to open ports to host games.
Someone said that it was simply easier for Stardock to do it that way, instead of allowing Direct IP or LAN support. Now, we're getting somewhat conflicting reports that they somehow want to allow both.
Hence the question as to why they'd bother with the idea of "all should go through us". Why say that "I’m convinced that the only sure-fire way of totally making these games 100% reliable online is for us to just host the games" and then say "LAN almost certainly".
Well, LAN and Internet connections aren't the same thing in reliability. LANs are generally as simple as it gets. There's no NAT. Usually no firewalls that actually block stuff (LAN traffic is typically let through fairly easily). No broken home router hardware with flaky SPI stuff. No ports to forward. No weird ISP configurations that give the same DSL modem multiple IPs. No traffic shaping. No backhoe in Ohio cutting fiber.
Frogboy doesn't consider them the same thing, hence "reliable online". Online in this case means "Internet". If you're just playing on a LAN, the connection will work without problems 99.99999% of the time. All the problems above can screw up connections across the Internet, and they just want it to work with as little fuss as possible.
"LAN almost certainly" almost sounds like a way to say "Yeah, we know you want it, but it's not going to happen, but for some peace and quiet, we'll say maybe, awwright?".
Will we or will we not be able to play E:WoM multiplayer games outside the confines of dedicated Stardock servers?
Yes, if you're playing with people on a LAN (or use Hamachi to fake a LAN). No, if you're playing across the Internet.