First our assumptions:
Let us assume that many of the fundamentals of the game will not really change, and that the developers will add only minor tweaks to the actual combat in rebellion. This is a relatively safe assumption to make since the amount of perceived fear of the developers to not screw up their product is most likely due to the financial pressure stardock is under(which will therefore influence the developer and change the relationship). Any project that uses fear as a rationale for limiting design decisions in the end will fail, or become severely debilitated. Once the fear pervades the leadership it is felt throughout the company and the culture changes. This ensures the failure because the culture that was designed to kick butt has now been disrupted and infiltrated by fear. This happens in anything undertaken by man and is in no way limited to the gaming industry.
Case and point, we all know elemental bit the dust. I know it costs $$$ to build brand and at least stardock is willing to actually compensate their buyers in an attempt to maintain a brand that is trying to become blizzard-esque. The people who pressured the stardock leadership to release the game early really deserve some training at how to make good decisions. Good decision : lets release it when its ready so as to get a triple AAA audience because we made a AAA game, and we did so using less of a budget then a AAA title ought to cost.
Sins is a good example of how stardock and ironclad rock.
Bad decision: we have pressures that mean that we need to steal from one game to promote another failing game because we released it too early.
I don't know what business school your leaders went to(if at all), but when a product doesn't make money for itself, you cut it. If you have emotional ties to that product, you should have given it the life it deserves ahead of time with effective pre planning. I know pre planning is hard to justify to investors, but i know beyond a shadow of a doubt that sins had much more pre planning then elemental did.
I am amazed that you wish to revive the baby, and quite honestly I hope to be amazed by fallen enchantress and I hope to regain faith in stardock's brand.
So how does elemental biting the dust mean that the vasari will be overpowered?
Because of the underlying design strategy that surrounds the three races. When decisions are made by the development team to enhance the races they will be using their "safe" view of the three races to ensure more of the same sort of strategy that each race employs because the design team has lost their confidence and therefore will rely on their old, albiet outdated ideas. These ideas were fine when the game was first deisgned, but they are in fact stale as players have already played the crap out of those ideas and have come to a conclusion on what works and what doesn't all by themselves. To rely on the old mindset, although it is safe and fear driven, is to provide a less effective gaming experience because the design itself will be inherently outdated. Not outdated when relative to other games in the industry which sins competes, but outdated when compared to itself and where the community is. So in essence, regressing the game will hurt the stardock brand, and yes, games can be regressed even with the addition of new content.
The vasari will continue to recieve the best "cheap tactic" ideas, quite evident in the release of the news about the vasari titan. Having a mobile homeworld to me, considering all the advantages this race already possesses, is to me the end of long term sins online games. Not to mention this will yet again render the advent "super ability" meaningless, the TEC turtling ineffective and It is painful to see the game design philosophy being altered to be centered around titans. This advantage outstripped even my imaginings of how to insanely overpower the vasari by an incredible margin, and in fact is the single worst design decision for maintaining any semblance of balance. Is it really cool? yes. Do the vasari already have really cool stuff? yes. Do other races need Really cool stuff? FUCK YES. Why is it that one thing always gets a really cool designer?
I am reminded by the druids in world of warcraft, where they are meant to appeal to hardcore gamers because they can do anything in the game quite well. Druids in wow are akin to the vasari in sins from a psychological appeal standpoint. they appeal to players who like strategically superior and inherently overpowered tactics when combined. the thing is, sins multiplayer is all hardcore gamers. to appeal to hardcore gamers with one race is to INHERENTLY overpower them. All races must cater to the hardcore gamers, because sins should be made into an E sport similar to starcraft and an E sport is where the money is. High balance is what makes starcraft competative, makes it relevant. Sins developers are more ambitious then blizzard by far, because they attempt to add a high strategy element that is VERY VERY difficult to balance. To make sins an E sport similar to starcraft would be a disaster because sins is so much more like chess. Sins would be popular among a smaller group of higher brow individuals, but it would still be immensely popular.
So lets expand on the existing vasari advantages and acknowledging how they most likely will not change, we shall see a troubling one sided play emerge.
Vasari turtle the best of any race by FAR. phasic trap, mobile starbases, mobile mine layers that actually are effective, shield piercing bomber spam... just listing the early/mid game advantages. With even a small amount of luck the vasari will have a strong enough economy to overcome their initial weaknesses as a race. IMO, vasari should be less of an early attack race and more of a turtling race...being able to do both exceptionally well with very high probability in variable ratio is the reason why you see vasari so consistently the race of choice in current games.
So, you add these advantages up.
Vasari players will be able to fight with the strongest fleet, and have a mobile homeworld on top of their highly effective and cheap mobile starbases, all the while warping around the galaxy and defending for a moment and then attacking the next moment. No other race will have a chance unless they are significantly overhauled, which I foresee not being the case due to probable changes in the work culture at stardock, which will then influence ironclad in a negative fashion and change the relationship based upon new pressures. This will inevitably change the game.
Rebellion will not be the answer to all of our problems, but I will buy multiple copies of it just as i have bought 4 copies of trinity, because I believe in stardock and ironclad and the brand that is being built. So if you want to flame this go ahead, it doesn't change the fact that I support the developers where it really matters. My long posts also serve to show that there are people who really give a crap about this game to any casual observer and add value and appeal to the stardock brand.
You don't have to like the devils advocate.
Oh and one last thing. I want to make it clear to all that I WANT stardock and Ironclad to prove me wrong on all the above analysis. Lets see if they can.
We'll be watching.