You're right. I know. Can't help feeling irritated though. First I eagerly wait for the game to be released thinking it will be something like a modern MoM. When it wasn't I wait almost as eagerly for it to be extensively patched so it might THEN be more similar to MoM.
Now I learn that it might be tolerable good but they'll release it as a new game. I feel cheated!
See, and this is why so many forums turn into ghost towns. You spit your internet hate with all the self-righteous entitlement of someone who's forgotten that the world wasn't made for you. You don't even own the game. You're basing your loud opinion on the disproportionately loud opinions of those with nothing better to do than rant about a game that wasn't written just for them. I get that you wish it had been better, but I remember MoM when it was new and all the wishing that it had been better, too. People compare it to MoM and complain Elemental has no free multiplayer? MoM didn't have *any* multiplayer until some modders hacked it apart.
I got it when it released, and didn't play it after the first week, because it needed a lot of work. It was on rails as far as strategy went, combat spells were too weak and overland spells too strong, and the campaign (designed to be incomplete) felt, well..incomplete. Coupled with Brad's bad attitude about the beta testers who were trying to fix the biggest problems, it was nice to put it down and come back to it. With 1.1 and 1.11, it's a really fun 4x. It's not MoM, and isn't meant to be. But it would be awesome if the people hating on it didn't all have to admit they haven't bought it, haven't played it, and are just assuming it must suck because someone on the Internet says it does.
So if you have any interest in a fantasy 4x with a beautiful and whimsical graphics engine, all the replayability of Civilization or Master of Magic, and a lot of room to grow, from a developer with a more or less solid track record of supporting their games for years after release (GalCiv II being the most excellent example of that), you could do a lot worse than buying the standalone 1.1 game. I couldn't recommend the 1.0 - 1.3 releases as I played them, but I have played them.
The delicious irony is that the loudest Q.Q comes from those who wanted it to be more like Master of Magic. Master of Magic almost flopped completely on release, was unplayable, and recovered years later to be one of the finest games of its genre. Get it? They got exactly what they said they wanted. ^_^ I love that.