Pacov's place to enjoy the show.

So, this might be a silly post, but I'm hoping it might be encouraging to the devs (after a fashion anyway). 

You know how there are several moments in history where you remember where you were and what you were doing when things happened?  On the extreme negative, I'd wager many of us know exactly where we were and what we did on Sept 11.  Things like that are etched in our brains.  Switching extremely quickly to the positive (), there are many other things that are locked in our minds as days that we remember... maybe always... maybe just for some time.  The first beta of the original elemental is something I strangely have locked in my mind.

I was on vacation with my wife - the first one we took in about a year and 1/2.  We decided to visit Gettysburg and do everything that we could do there.  This happened to fall in the time window when the first elemental beta was going to be released.  Anyway, my wife and I were having a great time together being at such a historic place and learning all about it.  But I knew I wanted to give Elemental a go as soon as possible.  Now, I don't own a personal laptop.  So, I took my work laptop so I could try it out remotely.  As soon as my wife and I checked in to our hotel, I confirmed that we'd have wifi access and tested that out.  After that, off we went on our vacation.  I strangely scheduled a stop for our hotel room so that I might start downloading the beta once it was released.  And then again, off we went on our tourist fun.  Thankfully, late that night,  my wife was wiped out and I then took the time to check my work laptop once more and fired up Elemental for the first time (8 bit intro and all).  I loved it.  This, of course, was before I became jaded with crashes and other crap.  I remember playing for hours (having it crash - t'was a beta after all), resuming playing, and then eventually calling it a night - thankful that I was able to play Elemental for the first time from Gettysburg. And I was very excited about the future of the game.

Anyway, we all know how the saga of Elemental unfolded in the weeks and months after that.  That said, I've played the beta of the Fallen Enchantress now from home.  I realize that I was overly optimistic when the first Elemental came out.  After playing FE, I'm really excited again in your IP.  I'm thrilled that you made excellent decisions in hiring talent folks from the gaming community.  I really think you will have something good here.

So please - work to kill any and all crashes before launch.  Keep it up.  I think you have crafted something excellent here and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished product!

on Jan 21, 2012


on Jan 21, 2012

 The day Elemental was released I was watching to see if it was worth the asking price. Stardock Games had already lost their earned trust with me with the Demigod release, so Elemental was no longer an insta-buy. When it bombed, I shook my head and waved farewell to the title until it became a bargain-bin game.

 With Fallen Enchantress, I'll be doing much the same. $40 is too high a price point imo though. I know that financially that's probably their lowest point for release, but personally, I am tired of giving developers money on the promise of a better game in the future.




on Jan 22, 2012

I remember fondly the day I learned of E:WOM.  And of the many weeks that followed.  Indeed right up through this current moment, the experience has been memorable.  What a long strange trip it's been. 


I had been following the pre-release teasers for Civ5. The Civ franchise IS WAS PC Gaming as far as I was concerned. I was a Civ addict and bona fide fanatic. For a period of ten years, Civ was essentially the only game I played. Civ products were auto-buy for me. But weeks before release, 2k dropped the steamworks bomb. After looking into it, I opted out of civ. I rejected the idea of a third party essentially owning my usage license, and bottlenecking my access. There's more. But I won't rant it.

I was in need of a replacement. In discussions about steam and Civ5, I first heard talk of Elemental: War of Magic. People talked about Impulse and how it was so very different than steam. I checked it out and was impressed. The TOS was clear and the privacy policy friendly. Impulse didn't get between the gamer and their game. It could be completely uninstalled without impacting ability to play. I could make backups. And more.

My interest grew as I began looking into the game itself.  Here was a 4x TBS game that had tactical combat, RPG elements, and was touted as being extremely mod friendly. I had never played MOM or a game like AOW. But I'd been longing to play some of the elements of those games. Especially for tactical battles within a 4x TBS. I began to see the potential for E:WOM to replace Civ.

So then I looked into the developers history. I became impressed with the Stardockian method of openness and their dogged determination to perfect games long after release. After being dragged through Civ4's patch cycle with 2k minders keeping a lid on all things, I was looking forward to a more open developer/gamer relationship. I'd also read the Gamers Bill of Rights and got caught up in the idealism of that. 


I was sold on E:WOM. Only a shortfall of income at a time of emergency expenditures prevented me from pre-ordering the game to particpate in the open beta. So I watched. I read the forums near daily, viewed every YouTube video I could find. I read the Developers Journals, and the patch logs, and the bug forum and the mod forum. I read it all. Then the game went gold and crashed hard. My enthusiasm however did not. I saw the speed for which SD was releasing patches. I saw the evident dedication to make the game right. I read the dev reports and knew it had unprecedented post-release support. So I kept following with great excitement. Then at long last, on November 1st 2010 came my day to play!

Due to running the game on a system that didn't meet the minimum requirements (an integrated graphics card), I could only play on the cloth map. And only rarely could I play a tactical battle. But even so I received many hours of enjoyment from the game. But as the patch cycle progressed my enjoyment became increasingly diminished. By this time I had migrated to a PC that could run the game in all it's glory. It had grown more stable, but some elements became less fun. Yet Stardock dogged on. Going so far as to hire some high profile individuals to work on Elemental.  Having followed the development of the Civ4 mod, Fall from Heaven, I was particularly impressed that Derek Paxton had joined the team. And I thought it very cool that Stardock was offering to give away free expansions to early adopters. So never was the faith lost that Elemental would become the new Civ... not until April Fools Day, 2011.


E:WOM was my first digital game purchase. Due to some horsepucky DRM limitations, I had previously lost a couple hundred dollars worth of digital music purchases. So I'd been hesitant to participate in the digital market again. But my research of Stardock and Impulse gave me confidence that my purchase was protected long term. But alas, came Aprils Fools Day 2011. Stardock sold Impulse to gamestop!?! gamestop. One of those vampric, bleed the customer and the industry of its vitality, cheat them at every oppurtunity, parasitic evil bastards. It had to be an April Fools joke, I was sure of it. It just didn't fit all the hype Stardock had made themselves, and Impulse out to be.  But it was true. And true to form, impulse degenerated to a gamestop cash cow. What a waste.

I rejected impulses new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I researched gamestops litigation history and grew to despise them. I would not participate in a company with such a loooong track record of cheating their customers and employees. Hell, they even have a paycheck scheme with hidden fees for which their shareholders get kick backs. My gawd, they don't pay a living wage as it is. Then they go and cheat the kids working for them by robbing their pay with hidden paycard fees!?! And they threaten managers with termination if they don't work overtime without pay!?! Bah. For that and many other reasons, I won't be having anything to do with gamestop. 


So due to the sale of impulse, E:WOM had died for me. To get updates I would have had to accept gamestops terms. And through patronage of that service, I would be willfully supporting their method. So that was the end it seemed. But true to their word, Stardock looked after their customer and opened their own in house store. From that first day I found E:WOM in my account, I reinstalled it, and have been playing nearly every day hence. v1.4 was an improvement, but also a step backwards in ways. So I installed Heavenfalls triad of mods and have been enjoying the game. 


Now the first wave of FE beta is here. I'm back to reading the forums and watching videos. Have even been able to view hours of livestreamed play. The excitement factor increases. The game looks good. Potential for great. My faith in Stardock has been restored. Goodwill rises. They've stuck with this thing and have gone to unprecedented lengths to make good on their promise to deliver. They've been real with us, with all that entails. Has been good and bad, but thus far the good outweighs. The entire experience has been memorable. Some highs and lows. I've not seen the likes of this with anything else. There is a chain of memories here that will persist. Its been a strange trip, and I've enjoyed the ride. This new leg is off to a good start.



on Jan 22, 2012

Wow, I can only say I've had a similar experience in a lot of ways.  I was willing to dump Stardock after the failed WoM launch (and I said a few not very nice things to Stardock and Brad initially) but I stuck around.  And I'm glad I did.  FE has made a good start, now what remains is turning it into an ace game for release.

on Jan 22, 2012

It's not at all silly to want to encourage the devs. I want to encourage them heartily, except for my ambivalence about the IT world's love of upgrading for its own sake. I'm trying the FE beta on the same rig that I tried the market versions of WOM, and the performance is underwhelming.

I blame the general tendency to value visual particle effects over substantive variables such as population or morale. But then I'm one of those folks who almost wish all the game graphics were 8-bit while the computer players were ready to grab every idle resource on your rig to think about their next move while you were forgetting about them and typing on a forum like this one...

on Jan 23, 2012

where were you when you had your first Vegemite sandwich?

on Jan 23, 2012

where were you when you had your first Vegemite sandwich?


The land down under

on Jan 23, 2012

I was looking for this game when it was first released.  I had forgotten about Stardock and their digital download services.  So, I went to Gamestop to ask them if they had it yet or if they could pre-order it.  Their response?  "Never heard of it".  I waited a week, and went to best buy.  Wasn't on the shelf anywhere.  Puzzled, I went searching online and then remembered that most of Stardock is now DD and ordered it then.  I think I got it about a week or two after it was released.

on Jan 26, 2012

On the release, I was here, reading about the trainwreck that Elemental: WoM were and just looking at the mayhem.

People typing that they wanted Brads head on a plate, their money back and a missile to destroy Stardock with to punish them not only for their failure but also for their lies that the game was ready.


In short, it was like watching two gangs fight to the death where there could only be one victor.

A few days after the launch, Brad apologized to people and told'em he screwed up big time.


I knew enough to not get the game and talked to two guys here that seem trustworthy. Their answer was a COMPLETE disappointment of the game and thus I waited for Stardock to improve the game.



The very first beta seems useless to talk about since it was only an engine.

on Feb 06, 2012

After the mess that was the Demigod launch, I was looking forward to playing some multiplayer WoM, figuring they can't possibly screw that up again. So my best friend and I bought, downloaded, and were looking forward to playing together...


There's not a lot to be said that hasn't already been said. I was around here not long after the website opened looking forward to the game, and we know what happened. I hear FE is finally rounding into shape, but it's been so long at this point that I'm finding it hard to get interested compared to Skyrim, TOR, Dungeon Defenders, and ME 3 (soon). Hopefully find some time for it soon.

on Feb 06, 2012

visiting at my mom's house... wishing I had spent my $50 on something else.  what a disaster!

on Feb 07, 2012

I remember sitting at an Oracle executive meeting, there was some presentation running, the sales were down, the numbers were not good, the room was thick with nervous anxiety, everyone's sweat masked by deodorants in the air... then suddenly, an intern busted in, handing the speaker a small piece of paper. The speaker excused himself, looked at the paper, and then proclaimed, voice trembling with suppressed anticipation: "Gentlemen, it's out. Meeting adjourned."

Next moment, everyone's rushing out of the door, people falling, tripping over each other, I later heard some people were injured badly. I and some old executive were the last persons in the room. "I don't get it. What's out?", I asked into the silence, confused. "Elemental War of Magic, the new, uber-hip fantasy strategy with magic and goblins, and wolves and spiders, and strange hive-like cities. You haven't heard? It's been expected for months." And that was it. Huge thing. Wow.