I know these forums are inhabited by even the most hardened of Stardock fans, and i am one too. But if you love something you can't be blind to criticize it. Already we have a thread saying don't complain so I know how this thread will turn out but i'm really hoping for an actual dialogue that won't be met with rampant fanboyism.
Anyway I just read this article and while I know there is a zero day patch coming, i'm a little worried about exactly HOW much they fixed in such a short amount of time. It seems like there are a lot of bugs/typos/mistakes and I think as a paying customer it's okay to say this.
Anyway here is the article and some snippets:
I'm trying to like Elemental. I really am. But the version I have now, and the version you're probably going to get to start playing tomorrow if you pre-ordered, is in pretty sad shape. A patch should be available by Monday. I hope it's a big patch.
My problem isn't just the way Elemental assumes you know things you would have no way of knowing, or the amateurish mistakes in the interface, or the crashes, or how alt-tabbing kills the game, or the way the Farming Guild increases metal production by 100%, or that I didn't get the leather armor I was promised when I researched it, or even this picture of the dreaded Umberdroth Pack, which either has cloaking technology or is so skinny it can hide behind a palm tree.
Actually, maybe the Umberdroth Pack is the palm trees. I suppose there's no reason you can't have a tropical ent.
All those things are frustrating enough. But I'm a bit worried that I simply can't trust the game to do what it says it's doing.
After the jump, is Elemental lying to me? Hey, look, a dragon!
It's immediately apparent that Elemental not only looks great, but it has some fantastic ideas. The tech tree, for instance, and the way the map is constantly offering you little goodies. When Elemental developer Stardock made the Galactic Civilization games, they were stuck with mostly boring outer space. You can't do much with space. Nebulas, I guess. Asteroid fields. The occasional black hole. And that's about it. Space in inherently boring until you start peppering it with late-game space stations.
But a fantasy world is a whole other matter. Fantasy worlds can be full of cool stuff from the get-go. Elemental knows this. For example, the Cthulhu Dragon I met and gave a wide berth. He's in the screenshot up top. Here he is when he's angry:
Elemental's random maps are full of landmarks, resources, wandering critters, and adventure locations, often appearing as a result of your research. For instance, in the process of allocating research to discover cool things in the world, I discovered a Lost Library south of my empire. Lost Libraries provide 5 points of "Research", or "Worldly Knowledge", or "Tech Research", as it's variously called at different places in the game.
So I built an outlying city to take advantage of the Lost Library. The vowel-heavy random name generator decided to call my city Orooplor. I built a school in Orooplor to add a 25% bonus to research. Furthermore, my empire has the trait "Educated", which adds an additional 10% bonus to research. So every turn, Orooplor should be earning me -- quick math in my head* -- 6.8 points of research (Elemental tracks numbers to tenths of a point or a hundredth of a point, depending on where you look).
Of course, I shouldn't have to keep track of this. That's why there's a detailed city screen. I can click on it to see my 6.8 points of research coming in every turn. Like so (you can click on these images for a clearer blown-up look):
Oh, wait, the 6.8 points are instead 9.4 points. Silly me. I must have overlooked something. Let's click on the 9.4 and check the helpfully provided details of the detailed city screen:
Firstly, I see that I have a 50% bonus to research. This is actually present at all of my cities, so I guess my empire is five times more Educated than I thought. But even that doesn't account for the 9.4. If being Educated adds 50% instead of 10%, I should be getting 8.8 points of research. But I see now that my error is mistakenly assuming that Elemental can do math. It has somehow decided that 50% + 25% = 88%. Which it has then applied twice over to the Lost Library's 5 research points for a grand total of 17.6 points of research. Thanks, Elemental.
I don't mean to harp on this, but it's not an isolated instance of some weird under-the-hood bug. In its current state, Elemental is packed with these kinds of headscratchers. And my suspicion is that for every one of them I can see, there are even more lurking under the hood. There's no small amount of trust involved in playing a strategy game and letting the computer handle so many of the numbers. And when that trust is violated, it's incredibly discouraging. If I can't trust the game to do what it's saying it will do, I might as well go play Victoria 2.
All I ask is for you guys to just read this and not to flip out on me for criticizing or worrying about the game or wondering exactly HOW much this zero-day patch is going to fix.
"It seems like there are a lot of bugs/typos/mistakes and I think as a paying customer it's okay to say this."
okay... so what about his review sentence below.
"Space in inherently boring until you start peppering it with late-game space stations."
Amateurish mistakes eh?
I'm sure there's more he made, that made me laugh. Aside from the whole review of a non release version *cough* it does say BETA 4