As I mentioned last week, Elemental: War of Magic is now stable. But the advertised multiplayer, which is listed as a feature on the game's box, still isn't working. At launch, Stardock said it would be 'switched on' this week. Now, staffer Neil Banfield says on their forums that it's been delayed again, to next week. He says their priority is to resolve performance problems and other issues with the game at large first, and they've posted a 5,000 word list of bugs, problems and improvements they plan to work on. Multiplayer is not mentioned.
Elsewhere on the official forums, CEO Brad Wardell has posted a message to players who are disappointed in Elemental. "Having had the opportunity to finally get out of the office for the first time in months has let me look at the game (and ahem, play the game for crazy amounts) of time from a new perspective." He says that a major patch will be released later this month, and adds that "I do believe Elemental is, by far, the best game we've ever made but I also agree with most of the criticisms I've read too."
Lastly, he recommends no-one wait until the next patch to review the game. "I say this because v1.05 (the release day version) is the version of the game that was originally released and if that version of the game is considered flawed then my view is that Stardock should suffer the consequences for that... I just think game studios, including Stardock, need to be conscious of what they release and not expect to 'patch themselves out of trouble'."
We agree, but calling version 1.05 either "the release day version" or "the version of the game that was originally released" suggests Stardock still aren't entirely conscious of what they released. Version 1.00 is what's in the box, and that's what pre-orderers and those who bought from some US retailers originally got - whatever the intended release date. It was in no fit state to be played, and we said so pretty clearly here.
A review of that version would have been out of date before it was finished, so we started our review once the short-term issues were resolved, with version 1.06. That's what you'll actually play if you buy the game today (and patch it, if you install from a boxed version), so what really matters now is whether it's worth buying in this state. Our review will tell you just that.