For those freaking out about the MP, I think you should carefully read and consider what Brad just said about this earlier in the thread (bolding mine):
After release MP will evolve based on what active players are looking for.
For release, we're looking to provide a base starting point without making too many assumptions about what those users want.
Too many games, imo, come out and say "This is how you have to play it, take it or leave it." We learned with Demigod that it is far better to save some of the budget to see what the people who actually play the game that way want.
I read this to mean that they are essentially deferring the MP beta until after release. Unlike other developers, Stardock constantly improves their games after release. They probably could not make their August release date if they had to go back through an extensive MP shakedown so they have wisely set aside some of their budget to deal with that after release when they can get some quality feedback from the MP crowd on the basic version they'll have in the initial release.
So, relax, it'll get better. The release will not be the final state of MP in Elemental.
Brad, feel free to correct me if I'm off base here.