A Pirate is a Pirate
You can’t convince a pirate to buy a game unless you make them feel like it’s all their money’s worth. The reason why Warcraft 3 is the least pirated game in my country is simply because of it’s long term value:
Single Player, Multiplayer, Battle.net and free custom mods, combine that with the thought of another smash hit like DotA possibly coming in and you have yourself a winner. In the case of Demigod, it’s publisher, Stardock instead chose a different approach: Ignore the pirates. Stardock got that right, you can’t stop piracy, but you can try to convince pirates to buy your game rather than trying to prevent them from playing the game through some strong copy protection methods that is always and I dare say, ALWAYS cracked in a few months. In the end, only the gamers who bought your game lost(a classic example is Spore. Note: Now fixed). What’s working right now is how the people at Stardock is getting into the people’s hearts by announcing an almost daily update in the official Demigod website, I for one wasn’t really into buying the game because im very skeptical of the long term support, I still have my doubts but I hope Stardock proves me wrong. DotA is very well alive and kicking for 6 years now and im sure a lot of DotA gamers out there are pirates. If you, pardon-the-word, screw the pirates who trusted you(that sounds a bit awkward) and bought the game then I doubt you can convince them again in the future. You have something going right here, you are getting to gamer subconsciously by showing how dedicated you are. This is a true case of Retail vs Free. DotA is a community-driven game, game changes are from players themselves and I hope this will be the case for Demigod but then again, Stardock introduced the Gamer’s Bill of Rights and the very bold: Ignore the Pirates policy so if there’s someone who can pull this off then it’s Stardock.
Update #1 – April 30 2009 It seems that Demigod is getting good sales even with such a bad start. With it’s full potentials yet to be unlocked(More Demigods, Clan Supports), looks like Demigod could live up to expectations.