If the head of the company is using terms like "cockup" - well, for 1, I love the guy. 2 - they are offering refunds if you are disgusted with them (honestly, you kinda should be, but fair enough). 3 - just leave it be - come back to it in a month, even if its your super favoritest game on earth. I'm pretty sure they will do everything in their power to sort it.
To be fair, that's not what he was doing on day 1. It was actually a lot like WoM in that way. Some denial, and then "uh oh, it really is screwed up." That's when the apology came out. Initially they were just banning people on the Kerberos forums who complained.
After dealing with the excitement with Demigod, I can say I'm glad I stuck with the game and love it - but frankly, I'd have been much less annoyed if I just waited a bit for things to get better and then dove in.
It really hurt in Demigod's case because the game itself is really good. The botched launch hurt it's long term viability though.
Commentary - here's what I don't get - companies release games that are in shite state. Now honestly, if you believe these guys released this game knowing it was a piece of crap, then you should not buy from them again. PERIOD. But if you believe they just didn't know it was a piece of crap... well, that's another story. That's my take on elemental. I'm completely confident that SD felt they were releasing a solid game when they launched. I personally am 100% sure that if Brad thought the game was a POS, he would have not launched it even if it meant a loss of money or looking stupid or whatever. That said, if these guys are in the same boat, then I say support them. If they are crapheads that decided to just release it because they needed to meet some bottom line (eg suckers that buy the game retail before reading any reviews), then screw them.
The real story, though, is that companies like Kerberos and Stardock need better practices in place to ensure that games are solid on multiple platforms BEFORE release and they need to be held accountable. Brad - if you don't have a QA setup using intel/amd and nvidia/ati setups... well shame on you. And the QA should cover win7 and win XP (dual boot or multiple boxes). That's how QA should happen. Anyway, fingers crossed for Fallen Enchantress. I really hope it won't have any of the issues that were present in Elemental.
And last - I really do love both companies. I really want the best for them and for both companies to release solid games and be highly profitable. I just am sick of seeing "cockups."
We saw what happened with Stardock where they got too wrapped up in their own work and didn't have anybody at 5000 feet above it to say "hey guys, WTF?" That's a risk when you self-publish.
In this case? Paradox's job as the publisher is to step in and say "no this is not release worthy". They failed, as Paradox ALWAYS does. Depending on who you believe Kerberos either just lost sight of it or had to release due to lack of money. Paradox has no such problem and this debacle ultimately rests on them.
If I was running Paradox, I'd be setting up one of my own QA guys to look at every project and empower them to put the brakes on a launch when it's this far from being ready. That's the only way to improve their reputation as a publisher that throws anything out the door.