Quoting Lord Xia, reply 120Both expansions being free seems a little over the top, I think I am getting more than I deserve, I have bought plenty of games that preformed worse than this one and didn't get shit for those. Thanks, Brad. It's this kind of caring for the customers that got me to buy this game without reading a review and will have be buying your next, becasue I know you guys care about your customers and products. Now, if your next game comes out really flawed, you can forget free expansions, I want a pony. Pony!
Better yet, get Brad to be the pony!
I don't really agree here.
The #1 reason Stardock has beens successful is repeat business. We're in this for the long haul. We don't look at Elemental on its own. We look at ALL our future games and applications. If we don't make people feel like Elemental was a great game in the long-run, it'll cause business harm in the long run.
The biggest obstacle (with the benefit of hindsight) to Elemental was the size of the team. We had never managed a team with more than a half dozen people. Elemental had nearly 20 full time people involved and there were a lot of people putting their fingers in a lot of things.
Why is the AI so "brain dead"? Well, if you farm monsters (something I wasn't aware of as a strategy and I made the AI) you can totally flatten the AI.
Stardock, as a company, is much more like the type of company that many internet users would probably create in the sense that there's very very few managers at Stardock. This blew up in our face because there just were too many people involved and too few managers (basically none, I did AI, Scott, our producer, did the campaign, and the rest was handled by each group). In a normal setup, the Producer (Scott) would be overseeing things day to say and the Executive Producer (me) would dabble maybe but generally stay disconnected from the day to day in order to be objective.
With Sins of a Solar Empire and Demigod, I was the executive producer on both and was able to offer useful feedback (the economic system in Sins, the citadel system + flag system in Demigod) because I wasn't pesonally involved day to day.
By contrast, on Elemental, if I'm making the AI and someone else is making it so you can get 1000 gildar loot from killing a monster and I have no idea about that, you end up with a walk over of the AI since it's no sweat to crank out peasants that are more powerful than channelers.
If anyone here has ever thought about game design, consider how easy it is to totally mess up the pacing and gameplay of something with just a few variable changes. For instance, why are soldiers so much better than spell casters in Elemental v1.0? The reason is because it's so easy to get super powerful guys versus the difficulty in getting super powerful spell casters (it doesn't help that the shard magnification does didly in v1.0).
The big changes going in at this point is the removal of chefs from the kitchen. It was never our intent for individual developers to start inserting their own preferences on their own into the code. But it happened and the results speak for themselves.
Combine the above with a general compatibility issue and bang. You have a disaster on your hands. It's a lot to live and learn from and it's been heartbreaking for all of us who spent 3 years on this game. The layoffs we had at Stardock were painful but allowed us to move back to our traditional model of not relying on game revenue to pay the bills and give us the luxury of focusing on Elemental until it is the game we all want.