It's a shame if it tanked. There are some interesting ideas there, and it's fun to play in parts, but I'd have to agree it isn't as fun to play as Legendary Heroes, and some of the design choices are a bit odd. The strangest thing for me is to make things simpler and then to come up with the most mind-bogglingly complicated crafting system I've ever seen, especially for making basic equipment for your normal troops.
I'm not sure if simpler was necessarily the way to go; I wouldn't have thought it's really the target market, but if you do want to make things simpler it's surely not a good plan to replace micromanaging new unit types with micromanaging armour production.
I enjoy playing it, I'd played Legendary Heroes to death, and Sorcerer King is quite challenging, especially with the recent improvements in AI. It's certainly a quicker game to play than Legendary Heroes. The roleplaying elements are the best part, there are a lot of quests, and I had great fun playing as the Tyrant and deliberately being a bit of a bad guy for once. The biggest problem is the lack of replay value and variety. The different leaders do play surprisingly differently, but you still know pretty much exactly how the end game is going to go. Level up your heroes with quests and then when you have good enough heroes and as many Paladins as possible send them off to attack the Sorcerer King; game over. Building up cities is not particularly interesting, and the lack of variety in troops means that there's not really much point building anything except Paladins at the end. You can try building ranged troops, for example, but their low hit points means it's very hard to keep them alive.
Whether the Doomsday Clock was a good idea or not I don't know, but at least it makes a change. Playing on Fast forces me to push harder and attack with smaller armies, making battles more interesting, when normally I would build up an unstoppable force and then sometimes not lose a unit in the final assault.
Of course it took several years and several iterations before Legendary Heroes became as good as it did. I'll be interested to see what they do with Sorcerer King. I assume it wasn't incredibly expensive to make, as its game core is clearly taken from Legendary Heroes. I don't know if they'll keep working on Sorcerer King in the way they did with Elemental etc., or whether they'll decide to cut their losses and take some of the best ideas and put them into a new game; Legendary Heroes 2 with crafting and more roleplaying, for example.
When you say "You can check the status of the game at Gamespy", what do you mean? I couldn't find anything. Do you have a link?
I am sorry. I meant Steamspy, not Gamespy. The fact is LH has 2.5~3x more active concurrent players than SK, for example.
Look at the number of games Stardock is working on.
Servo, Ashes of the Singularity, Star Control
Currently Actively in supporting
Gal Civ 3, SK, (a bit les) LH, OTC.
They are working on 7 games, with all of them led by a dedicated, but very small teams or a couple of individuals.
See, Stardock is stretched thin with multiple projects once, and it already shows problems with support (e.g Servo basically getting non-attention at this point), with huge amount of the games still have significant bugs and/or feature in-complete.
What Stardock should had done was focusing on just one game, actively supporting just 2 or at max 3 games... Not trying to cover 7 games at once. For instance, they could just push Ashes only until it is feature-completed, and support Gal Civ 3, SK or LH and OTC would had been much better.
That said, as many others had already said so many times... SK should not had happened at all. What Stardock should had done was polish feature in-completed and buggy LH, release a new expansion as a paid patch/feature complete version of Elemental and working on true modding support. Instead we have a much smaller-scoped game, with same modding limit (which basically killed any longevity the game had)
Seriously.... every time I see Brad bragging about his company's 'Gen 4' game engines, I cannot help myself but facepalm. Just who cares about the game engine or technical edge when a game itself is bad? Dear ****ing god...
I must remind you that XCOM and incoming XCOM 2 still use old modified Unreal Engine 3.5, and Cities Skylines uses that dreaded Unity engine. Hell, even beautiful Endless Space also uses Unity engine, too. Endless Space 2 will also use Unity 5. What these developers and publishers understand is that game contents and gameplay matter, not technical achievements.
Gal Civ 3 is my last purchased game from Stardock, and it seems it will be the case for a long time until something changes for the better.