I'm a bit late to this train, and I didn't went through all pages, but here's my two cents anyway...
That said, here are a few things that multiplayer in Elemental will have:
1. Multiplayer games will be hosted by us. Period. No peer to peer. Not even hosted on the user’s box. Our servers. No ports, no proxies, nothing. We’re hosting it.
Excellent. Depending on peer-to-peer for multiplaying sucks an awful lot for someone that lives far away from where the action is. I wouldn't have bought Demigod if it hadn't come from Stardock and the extraordinary communicative reaction you had when things became FUBAR. I have been able to play MMO's well with servers based in the US, so I would expect a similar experience.
2. I’m killing off the bots concept. People hate them. I thought they were cool but they’re too much work only to be hated. So there won’t be artificial players.
Reconsider this, please... First for Demigod, I really hope that's not a decision based on a really loud minority of hardcore gamers. Multiplayer games are often riddled with these kind of complaints.
Secondly, Demigod and Elemental are completely different games. I think that bots, especially with the kind of AI that Stardock can make, would have a lot more space to shine here.
- It would work just fine for a non fast-paced and/or complex multiplayer experience. It's cool to go after the AI first or use it as a buffer to your main opponent(s) - in Demigod, the players are moving all over in a rather confined/non-random place.
- It adds strategic depth for such a game to have more factions involved (instead of just two real players).
- A real player could actually join/re-join (on lost connection) an on-going game by replacing the AI (with the other player's consent or by right of play); or if a player quits/loses connection the AI could take over (and maybe even do a better job), helping to retain the experience.
For example: It's not good to be playing a game for hours then to see players leave because they rage-quit or lost connection. It's also not good for the player that was doing a great game to get disconnected and then being unable to re-join.
These are actual advantages for the kind of game in development, and a similar implementation has been working just fine with Civ IV. The game could even have more multiplayer depth by giving options for the host player / clans to choose the rules by which bots could be used. Stardock could then make a much better decision on the subject of bots for this and any other future games.
Please, give it another go at this...
3. We will support empires (clans), scheduled games, and group join from the start since those features will get added (by us) to Demigod.
Thank you Demigod!
We are revisiting the way the economy works in Elemental to simplify it. There’s been some positive developments that I can’t talk about yet. The short version though is there will be likely be a lot lot lot more story to Elemental than anything we’ve done before. Each sand box game should feel like an epic story if we do it right. We’ll see.
Economy: keeping it simple and fun without dumbing it down too much has always been a winning combination.
Epic story on sandbox: Wow... No one has been able to pull that off yet. Epic story immersion in a non-linear/randomized sandbox game would be the stuff of gaming legend! Please, please make it so!
I can say that Beta 0 is not going to happen in June now. We might be able to do an Alpha then but that will only go out to a very tiny number of people (maybe 100 tops). I’m reserving 10 places and the rest will come from the pre-order pool as a lottery with points given to those who have GalCiv II + Sins + Demigod. Beta 0 would likely be July at this point but I’ll know more at the end of the week.
*Raises hands to show interest in the Alpha; crosses fingers for lottery*