There are 2 sides to every coin. The OP addresses one side -- the overly negative. The other side is the overly positive.
Face it, there was (and still is) some sort of froggy cult -- as if he could do no wrong, as if all his decisions were golden. Too often polite and respectful criticisms of the game, especially its release-readiness, were met with resistance just do to the fact that some didn't care for the act of criticizing him and the game. We all saw how that turned out.
Perspective is needed. Not undeserved negativity, and not blind positivity (did I just make up a word?).
Balance is needed. Negativity is bad, but so is the absence of critical thought (critical in the academic sense of challenging ideas, not in the insult sense).
I think there is definitely some of that.
My biggest weakness historically (obviously my opinion) isn't ego or pride but obtuseness which leads to cognitive dissonance. Sometime last year there was an issue where a game sold on Impulse called Warlords Battlecry had part of its original copy protection in it (same version that has been sold on Amazon.com, gamersgate, and elsewhere for years). When this was pointed out on forums, over and over, I blew it off because "my guys" told me it was fine and they had talked to the publisher who said it was fine.
What many people don't realize is that most of the time, the "forum people" out there are wrong. It's easy to cherry pick forum posts that were right because statistically, there will always be people who are totally right just like they were totally right in the case of Warlords Battlecry. By 9 times out of 10, the forum criticism is nonsense or overblown.
The challenge is always in being able to figure out when "Internet guy" is making an absolutely true, valid point and that has been a continuing problem with me. In Elemental, it was doubly the case because I wasn't spending that much time on the forums. Stardock had grown to a 60+ person company so I was, as you can imagine, doing a lot of other things besides Elemental. So even if I saw some of the posts, I didn't "know" the people making them and didn't correctly discern which people's warnings or suggestions were viable and which ones were not.
Now, bear in mind, there's also the opposite of "cult". The level of "Brad stalking" has reached an unbearable level. Phone calls to my home, stalkers from Qt3 trashing my book, multiple suggestions that I should "kill myself" (1 just saying that and two others referring to hari kari) along with people reposting my Facebook status's and on and on and on).
Then there's some of the ridiculous Internet rumors. Stardock has over 60 people. We may end up having to lay off up to 15% or so of our total work force. That shouldn't be newsworthy given Elemental's reception. And yet, I've seen people talking about Stardock's "investors" needing to be paid off. I'm the one and only investor in Stardock. The moderators have had to hide multiple posts from people saying I should "resign" if I'm serious about "taking responsibility". Resign to whom? I own the company. I founded it in my dorm room 20 or so years ago by myself.
Anyway, all of this will pass. We're going to work on Elemental for as long as it takes to make it live up to our hopes. I don't have to make a business case for that. I own the company. 100% of it. And to be candid, we didn't get to where we are by doing stupid things. There are plenty of long-term good reasons to make Elemental live up to people's expectations even if it costs us financially in the short-term.
Just like I don't sweat the lowlifes astro-turfing the Elemental book with hatefilled reviews, we're not going to fold up camp on Elemental because the first week of the game's release was a nightmare. In the long run, it'll be fine. We'll be fine.