Back in 2012, Stardock released Elemental: Fallen Enchantress. It was the sequel to 2010’s Elemental: War of Magic. War of Magic was an ambitious game but had a very rough launch due to its brand-new engine just not being able to handle the game. We released a series of updates to address those problems but ultimately, we felt we needed to reward those who had bought into the early access.
With the launch of Fallen Enchantress, I sent out an email to all those who had bought into early access:
> Dear Stardock customer,
> My name is Brad Wardell. I'm the President & CEO of Stardock. Two years ago, you bought a game from us called Elemental: War of Magic. We had great hopes and ambitions for that game but, in the end, it just wasn't a very good game.
> Elemental was an expensive game. You probably paid $50 or more for it. And you trusted us to deliver to you a good game. $50 is a lot of money and companies have a moral obligation to deliver what they say they're going to deliver and frankly, Stardock failed to deliver the game we said we were going to deliver.
> While we did update Elemental: War of Magic (you can still download v1.4). Its design just wasn't adequate to make it into the kind of game it should be. So we decided to start over. From scratch. We made a new game called Fallen Enchantress.
> So even though it's been two years, we haven't forgotten about you. This week, we released Fallen Enchantress. It is a vastly better game and, we believe, lives up to the expectations set for the original Elemental. This game is yours. Free. It's already been added to your account.
> You can download and play it by going to http://download.stardock.com.
> We hope you enjoy Fallen Enchantress. Please feel free to visit the Elemental forum at www.elementalgame.com if you wish to talk to me and the rest of the team. We're there and very interested in your feedback.
> Thank you for being our customers and your patience.
Yesterday, I got this email:
I'm still waiting for your reply about how your company stole money from myself, and several others regarding Elemental: War of Magic. Should I look into legal action (class action lawsuit)? Or would you like to send me a refund check for $60?
I did not see your previous email.
With regards to Elemental: War of Magic, you should have a copy of both Fallen Enchantress and Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes attached to your account now (including a Steam key for Legendary Heroes).
To which he responded:
Oh, hello Brad. It's only taken you 4 years to get back to me and a threat with a lawsuit, but, hey. You replied, right? You also completely ignored everything I said which is worse than not replying at all.
Since I didn't buy those games because I didn't want those games, and I'm not okay with you just throwing whatever you want at me to please me, I am requesting a refund, or I will see you in court. Class action lawsuit or 60. Its your choice. Your blatant disregard for your customers and arrogant assumptions are appalling.
I was, and so we're several other people, duped into giving you our hard earned money for a product you are WELL AWARE was no where near in a released state, and the solution you offer is to give us a different game we didn't ask for. What other situation would you say that works for? Let's look at a few, shall we?
Well sorry we're out of Ferraris but here is this other car you didn't want.
Oh, sorry we made you this hamburger out of dog meat, because the beef we had went bad, but it's still meat so you're getting something for your money.
You see Brad, there is no situation in the past, present, nor future where anyone is okay with giving a company their money for a specific product, and then receiving something else in return, remaining perfectly satisfied, while the company and the customer move on like nothing happened and no one says a word. Sorry, but I live in the real world where real things happen, like GETTING WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Since that is impossible to provide because the game you gave me for my money was a complete sham to rob people, it's time you do what is right and refund your customers.
Thanks for your prompt attention.
You can send my refund to:
Enclose a prepaid return package and I'll mail your piece of shit game back to you. Then we'll be fair and square.
What the heck is the matter with you?
Elemental: War of Magic was released in 2010. While it had a rough release, it was updated and you can download the latest version from http://download.stardock.com. You got what you paid for.
In addition, you received, for free, Elemental: Fallen Enchantress and Elemental: Fallen Enchantress - Legendary Heroes.
You are not entitled to a refund and your deplorable attitude is something you should be ashamed of.
I will not be responding to further inquiries.
As I stated in my original email, Elemental: War of Magic, released in 2010 (which is the same year I sent you the first email), was a sham, a robbery of a product and was never updated to support multiplayer as the game was designed in single player. We received a summarized version of the game which was barely playable with friends, due to constant crashes. I've never experienced the game the way it was supposed to be played, because you never released it in a playable fashion on a MP platform. You can't tell me that you can play the game the same way in multiplayer, the way its ADVERTISED ON THE BOX, with the update you're claiming was released. This game was a joke. Then, you gave me two free SINGLE PLAYER games, which is NOTHING that I'm interested in, nor ever asked for.
I'm entitled to a FULL refund. As I said before, I'll see you in court. I'll be looking into filing a class action lawsuit. Please provide me your legal department details, so we can hash out how I can get the refund from there for myself, and the rest of the users who bought this awful game. Putting a product on the shelf claiming it does things that it DOES NOT DO, is FRAUD. You and your company are fraudulent, and should be treated as such. There is no legal firm out there that would disagree and find this not to be a "slam dunk."
Your business ethic is "deplorable" Brad. You should be ashamed to be the CEO of a company. You are not fit to be one. Enjoy your golden parachute when Stardock fires you for being sued for millions of dollars when the lawsuit goes through.
Ah the Internet.