I'm not worried that the game will eventually be more like what we expect and more like what it should be, but I don't get the timing.
If money isn't a problem, why not sit on the game a few more months before releasing it, let beta testers pound on a version of the game that's more like a release candidate to iron it out, and then release it.
In 2-3 more months, this game will look and play very different after numerous bug fixes, balance changes, and probably complete system revamps. Why not do this BEFORE release instead of AFTER if money isn't an issue? That's what I don't get.
Then forum posts like this wouldn't be necessary, requests to review builds days after release wouldn't be necessary, and a lot of negativity would be avoided.
You may not depend on game sales but I'm sure you'd rather your games be wildly popular and sell copies to show it. A cleaner release and more stable game at release would do wonders.
I pre-ordered so it's not like I'm upset because my money was spent long ago - didn't matter to me when the game was "released" since I've had access for months, I just think this all could've played out a LOT better.
I agree with your conclusions about sales and reviews if the game had been released later but I think Brad had to release it now. Not because of financial reasons, but because of his personality and the culture he has developed at Stardock. Stardock is not your typical company, thank Christ!
Having read statements by Tom Chick, who has worked closely with Brad, and also the way things have frantically changed within the game, I think it is fair to say that Brad can best be described as 'chaotic'.
When a corporate culture thrives on chaos there many aspects to it. First off you can expect a lot of creativity in what they produce. You can also expect a lot of dead ends and back-tracking. There will always be the next 'great idea' that has to be made. And many people will sign up to come along for the ride.
Imagine having that corporate culture without any checks and balances. For Brad, you can tell his word means an awful lot to him and so when he makes a commitment he will move mountains to try and honour that commitment. Stardock appear to be very goal oriented.
Many chaotic companies don't realise their goals because they never actually finish anything. Look at the development of Duke Nukem 3D. 12 years or so in development but wouldn't be released because it wasn't 'finished'.
What makes Brad and Stardock so very different is that they combine their chaotic nature with specific goals. That is why they had to commit to a launch date that in the end got away from them. Much better that than roll around to February when more chaotic twists had taken the game in different directions with the high likely-hood we would have just as many issues.
So while I'm peeved with where the game is at the moment I know it isn't because of lack of effort or drive. I have faith that the game will improve over a short amount of time and hopefully end up being a great game.