Brad, I've been harsh to you in the past, but I'm "on your side" now. I want the game to deliver and I want Stardock to get merit for it. But it's not there yet, and something you said in another discussion made me decide to post this.
You said you wanted a 90+ score for FE. You said there's no release date. Yet you're not ready to dramatically "overhaul" mechanics at this point. Which makes sense, I get it, even from a financial perspective: even FE will have to be released sooner or later. So I propose this, and I'm totally serious. People who preordered EWoM, like me, are technically entitled to 2 free expansions. You've been true to your word so far, and I'm already getting FE "for free."
This is what I say now. Deliver to us the game we expected one year and half ago, and your "debt" to me and others who think like me is repaid. We'll forget about the delay. No need for another free expansion if the game does what it was meant to do in the first place. You've shown us professional integrity, let us show customer integrity. Put a button on the forum or something when FE is released, and you'll see that if FE delivers, many of us will be ready to push it.
That said, on to the points that I feel need discussion:
- City building. Most of the feedback seems to point out that the system doesn't deliver on almost any level. Now, it may be that the "tweaking" you propose will change that. I'm not ruling that out. But it might also be that you and your team just went too far with the streamlining. Right now, it seems to me that you've almost killed one of the most engrossing parts of a 4x game. Many on the forum seem to agree. Professional reviewers might have issues with this as well.
- Performance. I haven't tried 0.76 yet, I just tried to load a game and it still takes forever. And this isn't even the worst part. I'll stop my current game and I'll start a new one to keep testing because my PC can't handle the mid-game. I have a 3.4 GHz quadcore. Now, testing is one thing, but sooner or later, hopefully, I will want to play a game to its conclusion. Right now it doesn't seem possible, not without feeling the need to throw the PC out of the window. Again, I don't think reviewers would take kindly on an issue like not being able to complete a game because it drags you down to a crawl.
- AI. Ok, it's been said many times. I've had fun with my first game, as I took my sovereign and had fun discovering things, exploring the world, picking my battles. Yes, I said "picking" my battles. No one went after me. No one did absolutely nothing to challenge me. It's easy to predict that, in subsequent games, the AI's absence will start to become an issue. Professional reviewers will notice this too. Now, I know it's been worked on and all, but please don't underestimate this. Put more people on it if necessary. They might bring a different approach to things and complete your work in non-obvious ways.
- Other things. Too many to list here: just keep reading the feedback. Some of the posters are giving amazing thoughts and ideas. Take them seriously.
Ok, this is what I wanted to say. Hope you and your great guys will take the "criticism" in the right way