I'm pretty far from a good net connection so I'll keep this brief
Let me say that I'm glad that most people seem to like the game. This message, however, is for those who are disappointed with Elemental so far.
Stardock is not just a game studio but it is also a publisher. What does this mean? Well, historically, the way it works is a game is released and if people don't like it, they're supposed to buy some expansion pack for it that "fixes" things that people thought should be in the original version.
We don't have to do that because we're both the studio and the publisher.
That means we can release free "expansion packs" for Elemental until such a high percentage of players love the game that only then can we discuss sequels or paid expansions.
Having had the opportunity to finally get out of the office for the first time in months has let me look at the game (and ahem, play the game for crazy amounts) of time from a new perspective.
I should also say that regardless of sales or reviews, our commitment to Elemental will not be affected. As some of you know, most of our company's revenue doesn't come from developing games. Even if the game didn't sell another copy, we would still continue our update schedule.
So what will be the concrete results of this?
1. In September we will release v1.1 which will be the first major revision to the game that takes into account the feedback we're getting from players. This will be a pretty substantial change. In particular, character creation, magic (think, shared mana pools),
2. We are going to go ahead and make a more traditional tutorial. I'm not a fan of tutorials but some of my grognard friends have had trouble figuring out the mechanics which means to me that we have to do something about that.
3. We are going to move Book 2: Magesa out of a future expansion pack and into the base game in a future "mega" update, likely late Fall.
4. As mentioned on the forums back in July-ish, we plan to make a new DVD gold master available to those with limited Internet connections later this Fall.
5. As discussed (I think) last Winter, I will be taking a sabbatical this Fall specifically so I can dedicate time to AI and modding so that others, long after me, can use the Elemental engine to create other things (you will need to know Python to really go crazy with it).
6. I will NOT be ceasing my postings on other forums. The guys on Qt3 and Octopus Overlords and elsewhere are my friends. I'm no more going to stop posting there then I would stop going out with my friends to movies and other "public places" where, heaven forbid, someone datamining my comments might find a "gotcha moment". Those people are my friends both on the forums and outside the forums. Interacting with you guys is a major reason I like making games in the first place.
7. To those reviewing the game: I would urge you to review the game prior to v1.1. I say this because v1.05 (the release day version) is the version of the game that was originally released and if that version of the game is considered flawed then my view is that Stardock should suffer the consequences for that. We appreciate the kindness and patience many people have shown. I just think game studios, including Stardock, need to be conscious of what they release and not expect to "patch themselves out of trouble". I do believe Elemental is, by far, the best game we've ever made but I also agree with most of the criticisms I've read too. The state of PC entertainment has changed since 2006 (when we released GalCiv II) and it is our responsibility to stay with the times.
In short, we love this game. And we love this community. We're not going to be leaving this game to work on some other game. We're with it and you guys for the long haul.
I won't be around to answer questions until next week so I hope this answers some questions.