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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Elemental: War of Magic - Brad Wardell Interview

Default Elemental: War of Magic - Brad Wardell Interview

January 9th, 2011, 09:06
John Callaham at Big Download interviews Brad Wardell.


First, you have stated that after Elemental's rocky launch in August, sales plummeted in September but have since gone up in October, November and December. Can you share any concrete unit sales for Elemental and also are you becoming more encouraged that the game will be able to be profitable in the long run?

Elemental's sales have closely followed the overall improvement in the game. At this point, Elemental has made a profit for us. However, in September, we made the decision that we would prefer to lose money on Elemental than betray the trust of our customers and decided to staff up and continue working on it for all of 2011 and into 2012 with a full team.

I anticipate that by the end of 2Q2011 Elemental will likely cross the line from being profitable to having lost money. But in the bigger picture, the value of PC gamers knowing that if they buy a game with the Stardock name on it means quality and support far outweighs the necessary loss of profitability on one title.

How did the hiring of Jon Shafer come about? Did he come to you or did you approach him?

Jon and I have known each other for some time. I was very impressed with not only some of his design decisions in Civilization V but even more so his background in being able to take game X and turn it into game Y using modding. We believe strongly that games themselves will become increasingly platforms unto themselves. We've already seen this in the 1st person shooter market and to a lesser extent with Never Winter Nights and the Blizzard engine (see DOTA). But our strategic objective is to make it so that the game system underneath Elemental can eventually be extensible enough that someone could take it and create entirely new games with it.
More information.
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January 9th, 2011, 09:06
I haven't played this for ages. Bought it though.

Is it meeting its vast potential yet?
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January 9th, 2011, 09:30
Am I the only one that liked Elemental more than Civ V ?

Anyway. Kudos to Brad.
Many companies claim they make game out of passion. But Stardock can really prove it.
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January 9th, 2011, 11:13
start playing last week for the first time with patch 1.10 and i like it.
However it doesnt feel right.
its far to easy to win so far. just invest in blunt weapons and voila.
heroes for hire are far to many in numbers which makes the game even more easier.
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January 9th, 2011, 14:25
If you can use that strategy consistently and trash the AI, be sure to post so on the site. I'm sure Brad would like to get that kind of feedback for further development and balance.
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January 9th, 2011, 15:41
Originally Posted by ikbenrichard View Post
start playing last week for the first time with patch 1.10 and i like it.
However it doesnt feel right.
its far to easy to win so far. just invest in blunt weapons and voila.
heroes for hire are far to many in numbers which makes the game even more easier.
According to the forums: "Sometimes good things come in very small packages. v1.11 is pure AI and bug fixing. Grab it now. I think you’ll be pleased."

See if that makes a difference.
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Default Keep Talking

January 10th, 2011, 00:45
I would love it if we could keep talking about this. I am really interested in the game, been following it forever and would love to buy it someday— if it reaches its potential. You see with most games on a crap launch you get a price drop later along with patching and modding and somewhere the value line crosses the price line and it is a fair buy.

It will not happen with this stardock game— there will be no price drop so we have to keep watching to see if it is a $50 game that matches the adverstising. I have been waiting for a new review, but I have not seen one even after the 1.1 patch.

But I love reading this communities thoughts because we are RPG gamers!
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January 10th, 2011, 09:21
Sounds good.

Personally, I think they should just take the time they need and do a proper version. All these incremental improvements are nice enough, but as long as they don't change the core design issues (a huge undertaking) - it's going to be frustrating to play the game, no matter how many of the features they shine up.

That said, I can see why they're doing it - in an attempt to demonstrate their dedication. That's also nice.

But, I'd rather have a great game than great dedication. I'm not seeing anything but a hollow shell of that, and I've tried 1.11.

Hiring good people is a good sign of Wardell acknowledging his weaknesses. But I imagine even a strong designer would feel uncomfortable being given something that he on one hand has to change significantly (if not completely), and on the other hand keep what can be used and balance what actually works against what doesn't.

I think it makes much more sense to start over completely, and just keep as many assets as possible. Declare the original design a failed experiment, and do a proper one.

But that's not going to happen, obviously.

In the end, I fear the game is going to suffer from such an incompetent design, because there's no way they'll do it all over again. They're going to keep many of the things just because they're there - and as such, we'll likely get a decent game with flaws - instead of a truly great one.

But, who knows.
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January 10th, 2011, 10:35
Originally Posted by Yeesh View Post
According to the forums: "Sometimes good things come in very small packages. v1.11 is pure AI and bug fixing. Grab it now. I think you’ll be pleased."

See if that makes a difference.
It sure did. Had to start over 4 times. BUT : After you get through the hard 20 rounds it starts to be easier again. Have to admit, 1.11 is harder then 1.10 so thats a good thing.
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January 10th, 2011, 15:16
For me, as a big fan of GalCiv2, this was a 100% preorder title for me.

But it was a total mess. Then brads all like "hey, this game IS ready for launch and if you dont agree then dont buy my games" and everyones like… LOL, what?

I'll patch it up eventually. I just want it to be finished!!!
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January 10th, 2011, 20:35
Originally Posted by benetar View Post
I would love it if we could keep talking about this. I am really interested in the game, been following it forever and would love to buy it someday— if it reaches its potential. You see with most games on a crap launch you get a price drop later along with patching and modding and somewhere the value line crosses the price line and it is a fair buy.

It will not happen with this stardock game— there will be no price drop so we have to keep watching to see if it is a $50 game that matches the adverstising. I have been waiting for a new review, but I have not seen one even after the 1.1 patch.

But I love reading this communities thoughts because we are RPG gamers!
Actually you can buy it for $33 in Amazon right now
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January 11th, 2011, 02:43
At the moment the game is lacking content more then mechanics…the one area it needs work is tactical combat but overall the strategic side is shaping up nicely. Spell system is 100x better then the original(just needs more content).

There is a trend here, one that can be solved with time…content.
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January 11th, 2011, 15:26
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
At the moment the game is lacking content more then mechanics…the one area it needs work is tactical combat but overall the strategic side is shaping up nicely. Spell system is 100x better then the original(just needs more content).

There is a trend here, one that can be solved with time…content.
i agree, its lacking certain touch in that area,
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Default It's fun now

January 11th, 2011, 23:42
I didn't play it for many months and just started again a few days ago. I found the early versions… disappointing, easy, and unplayable. Now, I'm having serious 'one more turn' problems. It may not be everything you were hoping for yet, but the game is a great deal of fun. In addition, the feel of the game is right. An early game where 4 guys cooperating with sticks is a powerful force, and an end game where nations are beginning to emerge again. In addition, I have only experienced very minor bugs, which is a vast improvement.
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January 12th, 2011, 15:20
One of the coolest things about gal civ is it was just so finely tuned.

As I recall the AI was constantly updated based on what would win.

The missions for the expansions for it were so difficult.

It seems like the opposite of this game so poorly made. Random moving from opponents.
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January 12th, 2011, 20:26
Originally Posted by stamar View Post
One of the coolest things about gal civ is it was just so finely tuned.

As I recall the AI was constantly updated based on what would win.

The missions for the expansions for it were so difficult.

It seems like the opposite of this game so poorly made. Random moving from opponents.
AI is something I'm not worried about this game. The same people who worked in the AI for GC are (or is) doing it for Elemental, but only now they have the time to concentrate on it. In fact, every new version has improvements, and only recently did they add the multi-threaded AI, so expect to see major improvements soon.
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January 18th, 2011, 01:42
Dartangan said it is a "shell of a game" and opinions seem to vary— with a consistant themem of it is improving. I wonder— there have been so many "decent" games out there that have been improved by community Mods, AI tweeks and content additions. Perhaps if they just gave us the tools and let us go at it a GREAT game would emerge.

too soon for that?
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