Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

This week we met with the press and one of the topics that kept coming up over and over was just how much better Elemental: Fallen Enchantress looked and played versus 2010’s first attempt at a fantasy strategy game, Elemental: War of Magic. 

This begged the question – why would Stardock tie Fallen Enchantress to Elemental: War of Magic which was a pretty mediocre game.

This article on Gamasutra goes into some depth as to why we are pursuing this strategy.

Gamasutra:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/167416/Stardocks_really_dumb_plan_Make_a_sequel_to_a_mediocre_game.php

Related articles:

http://www.vg247.com/2012/03/30/stardock-elemental-sequel-to-make-up-for-mediocre-first-game/

http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/17332/stardock-giving-away-new-game-for-free---we-feel-we-owe-our-audience

If you’re in the beta:

Some of these articles are asking for feedback from beta testers. Feel free to give your impressions.  Beta 3 is coming soon, final game due this Fall.


Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 30, 2012

Such a brilliant marketing strategy, sounds like something I would come up with.

 

Seriously though, one cannot quantify the effects of consumers having good will toward a company. This type of thing tends to not only garner good will but make you stand out in the sea of developers, many of which are controlled by huge publishers who tend to act as if gamers owed them something. (Entitled publishers if you will )

 

on Mar 30, 2012

Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of this genre, but ultimately decided not to purchase E:WoM due to the reviews and comments posted by the gaming community at large. Based on what I have read and seen so far, Fallen Enchantress is truly shaping up to be the game that I had hoped E:WoM was going to be. My plan was to wait until development completed, reviews came out, and then reevaluate if this title deserved a purchase. Plans have changed. 

That Gamasutra article made me realize what Stardock and the FE development teams are trying to accomplish. I don't have to remind anyone that game companies have shifted to consumer-hostile business model - bit of flesh for a shiny bauble. Any game company that strives to maintain focus on what is important, the product and the customers, deserves the support of the community regardless of the intention.

I just preordered FE and am looking forward to the final product. I hope other lurkers like myself do the same.

Regards,

Tvaz 

 

on Mar 30, 2012

Tvazpolarvyn

Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of this genre, but ultimately decided not to purchase E:WoM due to the reviews and comments posted by the gaming community at large. Based on what I have read and seen so far, Fallen Enchantress is truly shaping up to be the game that I had hoped E:WoM was going to be. My plan was to wait until development completed, reviews came out, and then reevaluate if this title deserved a purchase. Plans havechanged.                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                        

I just preordered FE and am looking forward to the final product. I hope other lurkers like myself do the same. 

Exactly the position I found myself in, back on January 25!  I had been a Stardock customer for 5 years, but hesitated for a long time to buy FE; notwithstanding that I routinely lurked in the forums, to see how things were progressing.  I am glad that I finally decided to pre-order, when I did.  Being able to play, provide opinions and feedback, and watch how FE is evolving, is  definitely  fun!

Welcome to our growing community of Beta-testers !!       

on Mar 30, 2012

I really expected more trolls on these sights. The day is still early I guess. Trolls sleep in.

on Mar 30, 2012

seanw3
I really expected more trolls on these sights. The day is still early I guess. Trolls sleep in.

The trolls know Xia is back active on the forums so they are staying away...

on Mar 31, 2012

I always wanted to play WoM; but didn't have the cash... picked it up sometime in 2011 for $19.99 and I "liked" that game but I never really got into it the way I thought I would. FE looks like it might have that "missing piece". Looking forward to it! Love Stardock, so this should be a good thing.

on Mar 31, 2012


Ya know as much as I bitched, moaned, and complained about Elemental:War of Magic it does not compare to other bad releases lately. Sure it had bugs which caused constant crashes, but autosaving every turn kinda evened that out, just sucked reloading. Multiplayer was not available, big deal, marketing shows only 10%-30% of strategy gamers even use multiplayer for most strategy games. Even though it had major problems and crappy graphics you still wanted to play it. Through it all Stardock kept their chin up and took FULL responsibility for the games problems. I was one of those who got a refund without any hassle, even bought a new copy six months later.

However since then other companies have had bad releases of non-subscription games that make EWoM's problems seem trivial. If the game has a subscription you can expect quality control simply because it is the subscription, not the game sale sales that makes the money. You release a buggy subscrition game you wont have sunbscriptions the following month. without a subscription it seems most games release an unfinished product to "keep on schedule" with the "fix it later with a patch" attitude.

Stronghold 3 - A complete and utter disappointment. Hard to beleive the same company made the first two it was so bad. Somehow they "lost technology" when they made this version. Walls did not build properly you would have big gaps, the height advantage of walls and towers were gone. Who the hell wants to play a game about castles when the walls and towers dont work? Without working walls and towers it NEVER should have been released. Firefly made an attempt to be responsible, but the it was a futile gesture considering the wall and towers flaw. Forced Gamestop to give a refund for it after half dozen emails.

Heores of Might and Magic VI - I will never touch another Ubisoft product after this rip off. Impulse (Gamestop version) had bad version. My first two hours of owning it I spent in tech support forums trying to find a fix for the Nvidia card problem they had, who the hell makes a game incompatible with Nvidia cards? Dumbasses.  Then I ended up with a demo version despite paying full price. UbiSoft customer service was non-existant. I patiently waited a month for a patch, despite seeing multiple cases of the same problems in their forums. I asked Gamestop for a refund, they refused, claimed they needed UbiSofts permisison to give a refund. If they company couldnt be responsible enough to patch the game or answer support rquests, snowball;s chanc ein hell they going to answer an email regarding a refund. Gamestop refused a second time for a refund, I switched back to Steam with my game purchases. Went to my bank filed a dispute form with Mastercard and forced a refund.

Final Fantasy XIV - I did not experience it myself but I read about it. Square Enix lost years on their bad release. It took almost a year to release a new version for the PC, and will be like another year before console versions come out. however they took some responsibility and waived subscriptions until it was fixed.

Star Wars The Old republic - $60 for a NON-collectors edition subscription game. Um, go @#$% yourself. Maybe if it was  a collectors edition I could see tha tprice. I refuse to pay that much for a basic version of a game that requires a subscription considering the average going rate is about $30-40 (unless you are Trion with the $5 Rift.) That price of $60 says they have no confidence in the games success so they going to gouge as much as possible from the loyals fans. Less than two months later I have already seen "specials" for about $40.

At any rate from what I have played of the unfinished FE beta the stability is a little bit less than equal of EWoM is currently. The gameplay has been streamlined and has improved. Kinda disappointed to see the dynasties go though. Even it its current unfinished state it is still more of a working game than the first two examples.

Keep up the good work and I hope you will not have to take responsibility for another bad release. I doubt you will have to. I think you learned your lesson from the last one.

 

 

 

on Mar 31, 2012

While "once great" companies like Bioware are steadily going down in the blind pursuit of quick money, Stardock can only go up from this, and it will. 

on Mar 31, 2012

I bought Elemental because I believed in Stardock. Brad Wardell has not let me down, and he's not going to give us up. He is never going to tell a lie or hurt you.

*sigh* Rickrolling myself here...

on Mar 31, 2012

I for one am going to buy a copy for my friend since I get it for free. See, your customers can be dumber than you! 

on Mar 31, 2012

Brad is my personal savior.

 

on Mar 31, 2012

I agree its a very smart strategy. I bought all GalCiv versions before, and pre-ordered WoM. Then when it wasn't up to expectation, you give me FE for free. I'm beta testing, and really like playing the beta already.

So for other games you're going to release in future, I won't worry about the quality and will pre-order again, because I know if the quality isn't good enough, you'll make sure I eventually get a good product.

on Mar 31, 2012

Frogboy may be king of the stupid (trademark), but us stupidfolks will be having a blast with FE. Its really going in a direction I like.

on Mar 31, 2012

Hm. It looks like everyone's talking about the narrative of the strategy, and not the game itself. That's fine I suppose, there's plenty of time to talk about the game later, and the strategy is a very positive note to start this off on. However it's important that discussion of the game itself actually does occur before too long.

on Mar 31, 2012

I liked one the of the comments the first article said.

 

Stardock does well because its fans (including me) trust it implicitly. My trust faltered after I pre-ordered WOM's special edition, and the game was not what I expected, and I'll admit some doubt still remains in my mind. But that trust will be restored if FE delivers. I buy Stardock games because they make me feel good about myself. I'm supporting a small-name developer that believes in making quality over profit, and whose CEO likes the games he makes, and posts on the forum about them. Hence, I bought Stardock games full-price (not waiting for price drops), and I even preordered WOM.

 

Stardock makes niche games that are refreshing to us gamers, tired of the mass-market FPS's that are oh-so-common today. Considering Stardock will retain customers for a decade due to this decision, giving away a free game is minor.