I think it's time for me to write something more elaborate ;) First of all - I own you an apology - I didn't read the article, I just remembered something about the Forge that I've read long time ago. It turned out that I was wrong on some points so I'm really sorry for this. But now I refreshed my memory so let me add a few things:
From what I've read (there's another article on it at Celestial Heavens), the Forge Town was going to be in the single-player campaign only. Also, if you read the link I posted, Forge units were going to be very expensive and limited. So, powerful, yes, but also usually outnumbered.
I stand corrected. Let us forget about my first concern
As for your other point--shouldn't the good guys be able to use the weapons of the fallen enemies--I agree in principle. But the game universe had already established going back to MM6 that lack of training implies you can't use certain weapons. In MM6 and MM7 you can find blasters long before you actually get the training to be able to use them. Maybe it's a bit silly, but it's a game after all.
It's not the same. As I said before - in MMVI and VII you deal only with a few scattered artifacts and most important of all - almost nobody can use them. So it's really hard to find somebody who can teach you that (I believe it's just 8 people on the whole continent). I can easily agree that "figuring it out yourself" may be too difficult. But with a full production line the knowledge how to use those weapons is more or less common - it should be enough to capture some goblins/orcs, torture them and voilà! Of course you still cannot produce those weapons but you should at least be able to use them.
Yo have a very strong point that in games we just have to agree to some kind of simplifications. But my problem is that with implementation of the Forge there could be too many and too silly simplification. Let me mention just a few:
1) Aforementioned problem with technology stealing
2) Futuristic weapons should have bigger range than bows so it should be technically possible to shoot an enemy from the distance (before engaging in hand-to-hand combat)
3) Why shouldn't we use this technology in mining? Using chainsaws in sawmill should drastically increase the wood production (and same can be applied to other facilities as well)
I see no problem with expanding this list. I'm aware that each issue can be somehow solved but... my point is that implementing the Forge is not that easy. I'm afraid we will end up with something very silly and far-fetched. That's my primary concern. I'm not saying that those problems couldn't be overcome but I'm really afraid that it wouldn't happen.
And let me add one more thing: I love the way fantasy and sci-fi was merged in MM VI and VII - the whole story how many worlds degenerated and became barbaric. I'm not strictly against the Forge but as I pointed above - I have a lot of concerns. And with your last point:
I'm not trying to be offensive here, but honestly, here's what saddens me about the Forge never happening: the complaints were registered largely by people ignorant of and with a lack of respect for the history of the Might and Magic franchise as a whole. Their personal vision for how the game ought to look and feel was shoved down on the developers who gave them a great game to begin with. That hardly seems grateful, and it certainly wasn't fair to the long-time fans of the entire franchise like myself. The blend with sci-fi was always a really strong part of what made Might and Magic stand out. Look at Ubi's current incarnation with Ashan... it's about as me-too, generic fantasy as you can possibly get. And it suffers for that.
I wholeheartedly agree. Especially if we consider how it was done - with death threats and so one...
Just to summarize my point: it seems that I'm quite conservative - I love the idea of fantasy - sci-fi blend but only to a very small extend (just like it was in MM VI and VII). The Forge would mean a drastic increase of the sci-fi part and I'm not a big fan of sci-fi so I'm afraid it wouldn't turn out nicely but I have to admit - I cannot be sure.