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Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up

The Elemental Forums have a response from Stardock's Brad Wardell to this morning's post on PC Gamer recommending gamers avoid buying Elemental: War of Magic and other news-bits about the new turn-based strategy game. He apologizes for his comment in the Quarter to Three forum thread, saying this was directed at someone with whom he shares a personal friendship, but admits that he "responded inappropriately." He also refutes reports that they have pulled the Gamer's Bill of Rights from their site over the game's problems, pointing out they maintain the Gamers' Bill Of Rights Website. Here's what he has to say about the issues identified by PC Gamer:

The site, www.gamersbillofrights.org was set up and is run by Stardock. We stand by it. It is, with some irony, our commitment to no DRM on our DVD release that ultimately caused the rough pre-release experience of Elemental. Several retailers broke the street date and we felt we needed to release our gold version to our customers who had pre-ordered from us as well as to our beta community that helped make the game the outstanding strategy game that it is.

However, it also became clear that the pre-day 0 version of the game was problematic as outlined in the PC Gamer UK article. The official day 0 version of the game, what is available right now, should address most, if not all the issues that have been described. That said, as is our long-standing policy, we will continue to release updates and improvements Elemental just as we do for the other titles we develop.

I anticipate us putting out regular updates for Elemental for months or years to come based on player feedback, suggestions, and yes, bug reports.

I hope this offers some explanation as to the events that have come up. I sincerely apologize and feel terrible for the effect my forum posting on Qt3 may have had not just on our fans but also my team that has worked incredibly hard over the past 3 years to produce what we hope, is a game that you will enjoy for years to come.

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78. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 30, 2010, 17:41 Verno
 
Yifes wrote on Aug 30, 2010, 14:26:
But it's interesting that kxmode thinks its a departure when you jump in and say that it's business as usual for Blizzard's non beta process. Seems like you should be arguing against kxmode too

I'm not in the beta, I quit playing WoW awhile ago so I can't really judge if hes right or wrong except to say that in my experience Blizzard treats the product as if it were in perpetual beta. That being said there's a difference between small balance changes and something that needs to be delayed for more significant things. My point was that Blizzard will make either change regardless of whether the product is in beta or live. It doesn't mean they won't release it early and unfinished like kxmode said. Heck, large portions of TBC were incomplete at release.
 
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77. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 30, 2010, 14:26 Yifes
 
Verno wrote on Aug 30, 2010, 14:02:
Yifes wrote on Aug 30, 2010, 13:41:
...Which is what can be said about pretty much every MMO release, and hardly unique to Cataclysm.

Except that in the context his point was relevant because he felt that Cataclysm was a departure from the normal cycle. Whether hes right or wrong will be determined at release.

Except that we weren't talking about the point kxmode made. My bad then for not being clear. But it's interesting that kxmode thinks its a departure when you jump in and say that it's business as usual for Blizzard's non beta process. Seems like you should be arguing against kxmode too

This comment was edited on Aug 30, 2010, 14:38.
 
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76. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 30, 2010, 14:02 Verno
 
Yifes wrote on Aug 30, 2010, 13:41:
...Which is what can be said about pretty much every MMO release, and hardly unique to Cataclysm.

Except that in the context his point was relevant because he felt that Cataclysm was a departure from the normal cycle. Whether hes right or wrong will be determined at release.
 
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75. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 30, 2010, 13:41 Yifes
 
Verno wrote on Aug 29, 2010, 21:58:
Sure it does, the beta and retail are nearly indistinguishable. Beta receives more changes in a faster time period, that's the only difference.

...Which is what can be said about pretty much every MMO release, and hardly unique to Cataclysm.

Anyways, sad to hear that Elemental is a waste of time.
 
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74. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 29, 2010, 21:58 Verno
 
Yifes wrote on Aug 29, 2010, 20:15:

... which doesn't affect his point at all, regarding WOW or any other MMO for that matter.

Sure it does, the beta and retail are nearly indistinguishable. Beta receives more changes in a faster time period, that's the only difference. So saying "maybe you aren't familiar with MMO betas" is just condescending tripe when kxmode is a long time WoW player who understands the difference.

And Elemental has potential but needed literally another six months to a year of development time for balance and AI changes alone.
 
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73. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 29, 2010, 20:15 Yifes
 
Verno wrote on Aug 27, 2010, 18:54:
Maybe you are new to MMO beta's, particularly Blizzard beta's...they introduce things, they change, tweak and possibly even remove altogether.

Maybe you are new to Blizzard MMOs but thats how the non-beta process goes too Smitten2

... which doesn't affect his point at all, regarding WOW or any other MMO for that matter.

Such a monster thread already... does Elemental have any potential?
 
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72. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 27, 2010, 18:54 Verno
 
Maybe you are new to MMO beta's, particularly Blizzard beta's...they introduce things, they change, tweak and possibly even remove altogether.

Maybe you are new to Blizzard MMOs but thats how the non-beta process goes too Smitten2
 
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71. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 27, 2010, 17:33 Krovven
 
Blizzard keeps introducing game-breaking stuff.

It's still beta and will be for awhile. Maybe you are new to MMO beta's, particularly Blizzard beta's...they introduce things, they change, tweak and possibly even remove altogether.

Classes are all being balanced, with Paladins, Hunters and Shaman getting the most work done right now...other classes will follow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJVj0wx_TOk&feature=player_embedded

Skip to 1:17 and take note to what he says...you clearly apply.

This thing alone needs at least 2-3 months of solid testing.

That would still put it on target for November/December release. Yet you say if it's release before Xmas day you will tell people not to get it, even though you are saying they can have it all done by then...

This seems to apply to you too...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f88UZNxRCW8
 
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70. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 27, 2010, 13:30 edpfister
 
I agree that the game that came in the box (assuming it's pretty similar to what I downloaded on Sunday or Monday) should not have been released to the public. So far though the day-0 patch really isn't that bad, for me at least. It's not perfect but it's better than I expected after playing with the early release a little.

Unfortunately for them though a lot of people are basing their opinions on that early release. It was in the box afterall so that is perfectly justified. They just had a poor business plan. The early buzz can make or break a game so it's a very bad idea to release anything to the public that isn't in good condition.

I feel bad for the guys. I pre-ordered so I've been following this game for the last year and had very high hopes for it. It didn't end up being quite what I'd hoped but I think it is still a good game. With the day 0 patch it already seems pretty good with the 2 hours or so I tried it but this fiassco will likely kill their future sales. Games like this are pretty rare in these times so I hope it can get past this. I really want to see more games like it.
 
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69. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 27, 2010, 10:48 Kxmode
 
w34sl3 wrote on Aug 27, 2010, 02:42:
kxmode wrote on Aug 26, 2010, 10:54:
eRe4s3r wrote on Aug 26, 2010, 09:37:
Or you can just accept that games are never perfect, unless you spend a year perfecting them which only rich studios can do - meaning only Blizzard can do that.

If Blizzard releases Cataclysm this year their reputation will be broken. The game needs at least six months of beta testing. They should push launch out to Summer 2011.

Count on a christmas launch. Activision is in control now and you know the rep thier CEO Bobby Kotick has of shipping on time. (Btw, just google Activion ceo quotes for some good laughs. Poor guy.) Just look at Starcraft, shipped out the door with a bug that could burn up your video card.That never would have happened in the past. Where was the work around? On thier beta boards. Nice huh.

Ofcourse I missed the PC Gamer review with the title "Blizzards new game is on fire! and so is your PC: Stay well away." I wonder where their obligation to warn pc gamers was then? ah well.

Maybe if Diablo three causes your pc to burst into flame they will call it a feature. XD

LOL. No they could call that "immersion". "It's like flames, and hell, and Diabloness! You don't need no water, let your mother-father house burn!"

If Cataclysm is released on or before Christmas I will SCREAM to everyone NOT to buy it! I've been playing beta for over a month now. Blizzard keeps introducing game-breaking stuff. The latest is the streaming data (ala Second Life style). This thing alone needs at least 2-3 months of solid testing. Quite simply the game isn't ready for launch. I've often thought that the only company who could defeat Blizzard is Blizzard; or Activision by proxy. It looks like Activision is fulfilling their role. If VU was smart they would immediately separate Activision from Blizzard.
 
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68. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 27, 2010, 02:42 w34sl3
 
kxmode wrote on Aug 26, 2010, 10:54:
eRe4s3r wrote on Aug 26, 2010, 09:37:
Or you can just accept that games are never perfect, unless you spend a year perfecting them which only rich studios can do - meaning only Blizzard can do that.

If Blizzard releases Cataclysm this year their reputation will be broken. The game needs at least six months of beta testing. They should push launch out to Summer 2011.

Count on a christmas launch. Activision is in control now and you know the rep thier CEO Bobby Kotick has of shipping on time. (Btw, just google Activion ceo quotes for some good laughs. Poor guy.) Just look at Starcraft, shipped out the door with a bug that could burn up your video card.That never would have happened in the past. Where was the work around? On thier beta boards. Nice huh.

Ofcourse I missed the PC Gamer review with the title "Blizzards new game is on fire! and so is your PC: Stay well away." I wonder where their obligation to warn pc gamers was then? ah well.

Maybe if Diablo three causes your pc to burst into flame they will call it a feature. XD

 
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67. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 26, 2010, 22:33 eRe4s3r
 
Which is exactly what i said If you do not agree with the state, do not buy it on release date... But buying it on release date and then complaining is like setting fire to your house and then complaining that you don't have insurance against fires and that your cat is still inside. (Bad analogies for the win ;p)  
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66. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 26, 2010, 21:07 Warskull
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Aug 26, 2010, 16:37:
I was just saying that nobody is forcing anyone to buy a game on release date, particularly games from an (albeit Large) Indy Developer. Expecting perfection on release might work for games that have a 400 people Q&A department in their back - but for Indy developers you have a release date and if its not done till then you add to it till it is.. after release. Sad for gamers who buy games on release but reality non the less.

Accepting broken games (and worse being an apologist) just encourages developers to release more broken games. There is some wiggle room for bug as catching everything in a large project can be near impossible. However, Stardock has been far exceeding that threshold and gone into territory that I am honestly at a loss to find comparison. I cannot think of another game released more dysfunctional than Demigod. That includes Relic unforgivable screw up where units permanently ate up population cap, the failed to fixed that for 2 months. Yet, Demigod somehow managed to be worse.

Plenty of Inde games release in respectable states too.

You want higher quality releases from developers, let them clearly know releasing games in this state is unacceptable and stop giving them business.
 
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65. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 26, 2010, 16:37 eRe4s3r
 
I was just saying that nobody is forcing anyone to buy a game on release date, particularly games from an (albeit Large) Indy Developer. Expecting perfection on release might work for games that have a 400 people Q&A department in their back - but for Indy developers you have a release date and if its not done till then you add to it till it is.. after release. Sad for gamers who buy games on release but reality non the less.  
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64. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 26, 2010, 10:54 Kxmode
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Aug 26, 2010, 09:37:
Or you can just accept that games are never perfect, unless you spend a year perfecting them which only rich studios can do - meaning only Blizzard can do that.

If Blizzard releases Cataclysm this year their reputation will be broken. The game needs at least six months of beta testing. They should push launch out to Summer 2011.
 
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63. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 26, 2010, 10:21 Verno
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Aug 26, 2010, 09:37:
Or you can just accept that games are never perfect, unless you spend a year perfecting them which only rich studios can do - meaning only Blizzard can do that.

There's a big gap between perfect and bug ridden mess.
 
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62. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 26, 2010, 09:45 Kajetan
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Aug 26, 2010, 09:37:
Or you can just accept that games are never perfect, unless you spend a year perfecting them which only rich studios can do - meaning only Blizzard can do that.
Near perfect is nice, but not necessary.

Mostly bug-free (no majors bugs, only minor C bugs). Easy to play and hard to master. That is, what i want. And Elemental is probably six months of crunch time away from this state. Right now, this game is just not finished. It's a beta, nothing more, nothing less.
 
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61. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 26, 2010, 09:37 eRe4s3r
 
Or you can just accept that games are never perfect, unless you spend a year perfecting them which only rich studios can do - meaning only Blizzard can do that.  
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60. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 26, 2010, 09:21 StingingVelvet
 
Kajetan wrote on Aug 26, 2010, 06:43:
StingingVelvet wrote on Aug 26, 2010, 06:19:
If they honestly had to ship it now or wait a year for another "retail window" I think it says a lot more about boxed retail dying than it does PC gaming.
This isn't about boxed retail. It's about Stardock being a little newbie in boxed retail, not having the sales connections (nor the numbers) an established major has. Or not being able to plan a decent boxed release due to lack of experience.

Well that was sort of my point, by which I mean Stardock represents the smaller developers I and so many other PC gamers rely on and those companies are fumbling with boxed retail.
 
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59. Re: Elemental/PC Gamer Follow-up Aug 26, 2010, 06:43 Kajetan
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Aug 26, 2010, 06:19:
If they honestly had to ship it now or wait a year for another "retail window" I think it says a lot more about boxed retail dying than it does PC gaming.
This isn't about boxed retail. It's about Stardock being a little newbie in boxed retail, not having the sales connections (nor the numbers) an established major has. Or not being able to plan a decent boxed release due to lack of experience.

Which is ok. No one is perfect. Just admit, that you botched this release, say sorry to your customers, fix the game, make a little content patch and a vast majority of the customers is happy. But do not lie to them, do not point fingers to others, when clearly everything was YOUR responsibility and please ... learn from your mistakes!
 
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