I'm quite disappointed with how Stardock has handled aspects of this, while simultaneously rather impressed with others.
The early release was an unmitigated disaster of crashes. Yes, some will post that THEY never had a crash so it must not have happened or been very isolated, but the general sentiment has been the opposite.
Even with 1.05 (aka "Day 0") the game is still missing swaths of promised content (like a functioning AI, diplomacy system or fully working magic)
Brad Wardell has made it clear (in a couple of posts) that he was generally happy with the 1.05 version
Worse, when he "apologized" about how it went off, it came off as "Sorry you don't like it" as opposed to "Sorry we made a mistake releasing a beta"
According to a number of posts by beta testers, there were quite a few threads expressing concerns and issues with the August release date... and they were promptly ignored. Hell, much of the core gameplay (such as the bolted on magic system) was put in place towards the very end of the beta cycle.
Stardock staff have been posting (albeit a bit infrequently) regarding our legitimate game concerns, and in a couple of cases specific fixes that are in the works
In the span of a week we got 3 patches... while some view this as a negative, I see it as dedication to at least patch the biggest leaks while they work on more substantive ones.
Despite coming off as somewhat insincere apology, Brad pretty much summed up Stardock's track record and mantra... this will be fixed
So while I see how badly Stardock bungled this release, despite warnings and a somewhat dicey track record when it comes to 1.0 versions, I do remain faithful that it'll be alright... but not anytime soon.
And that's the core of most people's outrage as I see it. If I pay $50 for a game, I expect it to at least have all the core mechanics in place if not at least a semblance of stability. My system isn't truly hardcore, but if an i7 920, GTX 275 and 6gb RAM can't muscle through the late game, something is dreadfully wrong. Alt-tab is still a guaranteed crash despite having the most up to date drivers. But that's only a minor issues honestly. The fact that most facets of the game are derivative of many TBS' before is not a problem, but they are fundamentally broken (AI, diplomacy, magic, gear stacking) or one-dimensional (unit design, champions, gear, quests, factions).
Deride Master of Magicall you (not the OP, the plural you we don't have in English) want for their respective launch or balancing issues, but they had "oomph" and pizzaz. Environment, tons of customization options for your wizard, lots of races with strong differentiation, a huge variety of heroes and items and a superb magic system.
Elemental, in it's current form, is no spiritual successor... it doesn't even deserve to shine MoM's proverbial shoes.
Maybe in 6 months. Perhaps a year. I'll be eagerly awaiting that day. But I shouldn't have had to pay $50 to be in a public beta while it limps towards that goal.