I find I'm a bit more rare in today's gaming landscape for a number of reasons and one of those is my age. Mind you, I've seen quite a number of gamers my age and older playing games, it's not just about age. But my perspective's a bit different. I have a number of games on my Steam Wishlist that are there because I'm waiting for significant discount. That's true. There are games on my Steam Wishlist that I want to play some day but other games have my current attention. There are also those that I'm hoping some friends might become interested in, purchase, and we can play together.
But, in this case and a very few others, I've plunked money down early to help the development of a game. An investment. My payoff is, hopefully, a good game. I really don't have much control or say as a single "investor". But it is my hope, my gamble. Some tag in a forum or a skin I may or may not use is cool. My investment may include access to the alpha. I may or may not try it. My investment may include access to the beta. I may or may not try that, either. That's the minimum return on the investment that I expect.
Now, rewards for a game like AotS? That's hard to do as you're hearing above. If Stardock decides to have DLC, then it will split the gaming community based on who buys it or doesn't, particularly in the form of maps. I could see a perk of early adopters including DLC, even maps in that case.
Frankly, what I think makes more sense in my mind is for the publisher and/or dev house to identify that gamer and give them special access or discounts to other products and/or services in their portfolio. Perhaps free weeks or months of other games (Sins, GalCiv, DEMIGOD - heh) or discounts on merchandise (HINT, HINT). After all, that's who I invested in. That's who "owes" me, if that's how you want to put it, not the game.
Again, a good game is what I paid for, regardless of how much impact or involvement I may have had in it's development, testing, etc. There was nothing more promised.
What I, personally, would LOVE to see is founder-level access to the Demigod remake. THAT is what I would consider an outrageous reward! And I'm going to keep dropping THAT hint at every opportunity!
Keep up the great work!