Two Mothers Of All Patches came out in the last day – Stardock Systems has released a monstrous 1.1 patch for its bomb Elemental: War of Magic, and Firaxis unleashed an update they’re actually calling The HUGE Patch to Civilization V, tweaking nearly every aspect of game AI.
As the patch notes, linked above, indicate, neither of these are little bitty fixes. They are huge tracts of patch. Elemental 1.1 apparently ups the game from “unplayable” to “not unplayable,” though Stardock founder Brad Wardell is quick to note that another monster patch is coming in January, and more still to follow. The Civ patch looks like it will dramatically improve the game’s insipid AI at higher difficulty levels, which means I’ll start losing.
I have a conference call in five minutes so I don’t have time to write the long editorial about patch culture that I have brewing, but I’ll get to it one day. Instead I’ll just briefly reflect on the fact that it’s sad we’re at this point.
In Firaxis’s case, Civ V had a few minor issues and a shaky AI, but I don’t hold it against the company for releasing the game in the state it was in. Civ V was definitely “finished,” it just needed a bit of polish on the AI side, and they knew it. In my opinion it didn’t seriously impact the value of the game and I’m glad I bought it.
Stardock’s Wardell has apologized repeatedly for Elemental, and I really respect him for it. Due to a terrible case of missing the forest for the trees, he and his people genuinely believed Elemental 1.0 was in a ready state for release. It’s uncommon for anyone to so bluntly admit a mistake, and less so for a company preside
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