I totally stand by my earlier comments and was in no way making any kind of assumptions that future iterations of Elemental will be mediocre, only that judging from what has happened thus far, there's not a lot to be hopeful about. I appreciate the new hires and would like to see something positive stem from that, but I truly believe that this whole project has been borne from a tainted source: Brad Wardell's hubris. I used to think the man practically walked on water, and I think maybe he felt so a little bit as well. What made him believe he could be a novelist all of a sudden? And what made him think that the story of Elemental was more important than the game? Strategy games are all about making your own stories. Think about how many awesome tales came of playing GalCiv2, and how you could brag about selling giving ships to an ally and bribe them to start an intergalactic war. The stories in GalCiv are created by the players. It is Stardock's job to create the perfect backdrop or sandbox to play in, otherwise just make it an RPG. A perfect example is the Collector's Edition. I preordered that puppy way in advance and was dying to get my hands on it, only to feel uttterly crestfallen when the storybook it came with dwarfed the manual itself. Once again, this is a strategy game! Give me all the tips, tricks, and insights into the game. Statistics, race, culture stats, weapons, victory conditions, etc. I want a meaty manual that helps me play the game and make my own stories. Who cares about the history of the universe if I can't even understand how to play the damn thing?
As far as my reasoning for "crash and burn" dev of the decade: fool me twice, shame on me. Demigod's launch was a massive failure that caused that game many problems because the multiplayer was highly touted (and I do know about the broken street date issue, still, protect your nuts). So, Elemental is promised to have an adequate multiplayer component and now even Brad admits it has "fairly crummy" multiplayer support still! Add to that the fact that The Gamers Bill of Rights made it patently clear that devs should release only finished games and they've broken their own promise.
Yeah, I'm frustrated and hurt at my favorite game dev OF ALL TIME letting me down so completely. But c'mon, that 70 dollar Collector's Edition has been collecting dust since that frustrating day one and I still see no need to crack it open yet. And the new fragmented game plan does not bode well for the future. I feel my anger is justified.