I say from years of experience on the World of Warcraft boards - there are times when what you said is true, and even more times when it really is a few vocally disgruntled players. Having real data is the best way to distinguish between the two, and we don't have any real market research data to look at.
Being a former WoW raider myself, the largest source of complaints by far in WoW was due to the class balance issues, particularly in PvP, but also in progression raiding. Every tier, there would be a few classes and builds that were somewhat OP and others that simply were not competitive and forced the players who used them as their mains to play an alt.
The truth is, we are not going to have real data. Even Brad won't. Nobody has perfect information. Instead, the prudent course of action is to take "your best guess" on what the players want and what your studio can deliver.
That and I think WoW is slowly dying right now because the vision of Blizzard is out of tune with what a large percentage of the fanbase wants. This is especially so considering that for the past couple of years, the PC market has been growing, not shrinking, mostly due to Steam.
You just can't seem to wrap your brain around the concept, can you? Sure, all three positions are represented here. Based solely on the boards, we can't tell if the "large percentage" in each position is 2% or 60%. The self selection bias involved argues for lower percentages at the polar positions and a greater percentage at various levels of caring in between but we can't know for sure.
We can certainly estimate. Alternatively, a survey could be posted.
I could very much use the same argument against you. Without information, it could very well be that 1-2% of the fanbase strongly opposes tactical combat, and 98% are either indifferent or support it. Neither you nor I know for sure though.
The fact that you said this earlier tells me that you have at least some concern that tactical combat will pass:
Be careful what you wish for; I'm going to continue railing against tactical combat until we see for sure which way it goes. After that, well, I can always go back to GalCiv2 if the tactical combat fanboys wreck the game as badly as I think they're going to.
If this post were to be taken seriously, we are "fanboys" and the game has a 100% chance (in your opinion) of being wrecked with tactical combat. That and you appear to acknowledge that there is a non-zero chance that full scale tactical combat may be a possibility in the future. Finally, I take it you will not be playing this title if tactical combat is added (and going back to GC2), assuming that I take this quote literally.
You have sales data from several games that launched without tactical combat and added it afterward to back this up, right?
It's not possible to collect sales data for every TBS game. But likewise, do you have proof that the addition of tactical combat wrecked prior series of games?
Well, looking at 4X games with tactical combat, off the top of my head, there's 2 that have successors that were disasters:
- Master of Orion 3
- Sword of the Stars 2
Both were pretty poorly received and deviated significantly from their earlier titles. Another title that was poorly received on launch was Civilization 5, although it's since improved (although IMO, Civ IV: BTS is the pinnacle of Civ still - I do know a lot of Civ fans do share my opinions). There's undoubtedly more on the list. But look at what caused them to deviate. Buggy launches, poor UI, and in the case of SOTS 2, unneeded complexity that detracted substantially from the experience combined with a hostile community.
What can we say from these launches? Well if GC3 launches like Elemental did, then it could substantially detract from the brand value of this title. (I should note that my concerns over a repeat of Elemental are the reasons why I have opted to not become a Founder).
You're still missing the absolute vs. relative importance. Tactical combat might be the most interesting change for you, but does that mean you want it to be the most interesting part of the game? As in, the part you spend the most time working on?
And to add to your list: better diplomacy, dynamic map events, new stellar phenomena, improved ship designer, far better mod capability and tools. If you are interested in mods or modding at all, that last would definitely be a contender for most interesting change even compared to tactical combat. Lots of things that were hard coded in GC2 are going to be moddable this time around.
Better diplomacy, new stellar phenomena, the ship designer, and mod support are incremental improvements. Tactical combat for this series would be what I call a revolutionary improvement (assuming it were well implemented - if poorly implemented, tactical combat would detract from the experience substantially). Are incremental improvements a good thing? Of course they are. But that doesn't change the fact that they are incremental improvements.
One of my biggest complaints in the field of strategy games has been the lack of innovation in this field. Pretty much we haven't seen much radically new since, around the year 2000, save better graphics.
- AI is still stagnant
- There have been some UI improvements I concede, but 4X in particular suffers from late game being a micro-hell at times
- The fundamental model of 4X and RTS games has not really changed much
What these 2 genres need are games that push the envelope so to speak. While I don't think that adding tactical combat to GC3 will push the genre radically, I am interested to see how Brad would approach it, especially if a large number of people asked him for it.
We've seen the same argument brought up over and over again before GC2 launched, as well as both expansions. It may be that new technology or an expanded team at Stardock will make a difference on whether tactical combat gets added, but I wouldn't bet any money on it. You're beating a dead horse, and it's been dead since 2006.
I don't believe so.
There is enough evidence that very limited tactical combat has been introduced so far. Compared to GC2, which had zero tactical combat, this is a step forward. I maintain that depending on how it's received in GC3, it may be expanded upon or removed in the future. We still need the details at this point though, so I am loathe to draw further conclusions.