Perhaps it is time to lay off Brad and Stardock a little. He's come out, admitted his mistakes (or at least a good number of them) and vowed to spend a lot to make it better. What more could you ask for?
As an early beta tester, I'll tell you right now that I don't regret my purchase and I don't want my money back. I've spent as much money or more on much crappier games without any promise of getting them fixed. Empire: Total War? Loved most of it, except for the retarded AI. And then I'm on the Total War site and I read a developer post to the effect that the dude who was their AI master left them halfway through Empire's development process, that's why the AI sucked, and hey, it wasn't going to get any better - but buy Napoleon because that one would have all-new, quality AI. I shouldn't have to add that I haven't gotten around to buying Napoleon: Total War. Colonization - the original; who remembers that the cities were supposed to have the fat cross instead of the surrounding eight squares. No patch was ever issued for that. Microprose - I loved them for their games and ideas, hated them for the fact that their games were rarely complete or without severe bugs. And Outpost. I actually bought the strategy guide for Outpost nine months before the game came out. I counted the days. I showed up at EB every day for a week until it came out. Sierra never did get around to bringing Outpost up to expectations. How hard can it be to make working roads?
Sure, I'm disappointed that Elemental wasn't anywhere near what I wanted it to be, but I always knew that Stardock would stick with it and make it right. Not that this excuses the situation that it was in, but what's done, is done. Time to stop chewing it over. My gosh, some people here - you act like Brad drove to your home and shot your dog. (That was me! Not him!)
I probably won't touch Elemental until the major gameplay changes Brad promised are out. And given that I also preordered Civ V, it might be a while until I get back to Elemental. But I'm not giving up.
My final thought is this: My wife keeps asking me why I think Elemental is such a big deal. Why I played the beta versions (which I hated, BTW, but wrote it off to being a natural part of the beta process), why I played every version up to 1.06 for hours every night even though I was posting crash after crash, (for the record, I custom-built my computer and I have a really strange configuration, so I'm not terribly upset, just inconvenienced) why I wrote long posts about what I'd like to see improved, etc.
I told her that this game was the first real try at a spiritual sequel to Master of Magic. How I loved that game. Still do. Fifteen years have gone by, and nobody's really made a stab at it. I have AoW, I have AoW Shadow Magic, which is as close as it comes - but not quite the same. Fifteen years waiting for a game like this. It was worth $50 to buy it just for the fact that someone tried, even if they did fail. It was definitely worth $50 for a game from a company that I trust, and that I have full faith will move it from the fail column to the win column. If it takes until February to get it right, well, I would have ponied up the money to beta test it until that time anyway.
Brad and Stardock are going through a horrible time. I feel terrible for them that they had to lay off people, that their reputation suffered, that they are going to hurt financially. This hurts us too, as gamers - not too many companies focused on making quality strategy games. Think this episode is going to help? Think again. Even if they never did get Elemental up to five star status (which I doubt) there are way too few studios making games like this. I say it is time to take a breather, let them get everything together, and give them their chance to give us the game that we wanted and they wanted to give us.