i just want to say couple of things.
1) first off Maxwell quality which often is preceived as the best, while its amazing, its nothing other engines can not reach. You have to remember that we are not here for a competition who gets the best quality with one button, I can show you an incredible amount of renders and ask you what was the render engine and you will never understand, because at the end is the artist behind the image.
Yes maxwell quality is great, but the time consumed to get that quality in terms of computation, is the same time you spend on other engines that are way more flexible and gets you there at the same time. I dont want to turn this into a Render vs Render war, but its quite unreal to think that any render any day produced by Maxwell is superior or more realistic than any other render image out there, its simply not. So please stop with this nonsense.
2) speed is very important because if you dont have a feedback of how the light is hitting, how the displacement is coming out, how the textures are showing, how the depth of field is affecting the image, and so on, you would have to render render and render again. So for example i take a fast GPU render like Redshift, you see a result in a matter of seconds, change stuff on the fly and then push the settings for final render.
In Maxwell especially for fine details, displacements, normals, this isnt that fast, Fire sometimes is quite different from the render output, cpu preview are simply too slow compared to other engines. I found myself having lots of issues on macro shots with displacement that till it was noise free wouldnt show perfectly the details and stuff i needed to be shown, and had to reiterate this process many times. Can be an user error? Maybe. Do i need more practice with maxwell? Maybe. Fact remains that with almost no practice and mistakes on other engines this process is 10times faster to be kind.
3) Material creation, yes Maxwell has an amazing material creation system but keep in mind that this is very very personal, i love nodes because the flexibility of deciding what to connect, the visual feedback of nodes is unmatched. If you hate nodes you just cripple yourself and your workflow. Im not criticizing Maxwell material editor, its actualy amazing, but what im saying is that its a workflow preference, any other engine has its own and there is not any downside or upside. Nodes are extremely superior to anything else, by design.
4) There are some things that Devs done wrong in my opinion and they keep doing it and for the sake of myself i can not understand why.. Its like they dont have a clear roadmap to follow but they are just patching holes left and right. A clear example is the Denoiser. Why do we need that inside Maxwell? why do you waste time reinventing the wheel? there are countless denoising softwares out there (some even free) that will do the job just fine and better.
Even the noise remove in Camera Raw in photoshop has an absurd amount of potential and the outcome is stunning. Why did devs waste time rebuilding this Denoiser from the ground..I dont understand it. Topaz is an amazing denoiser, hell even free compositing software has state of the art denoising.. They wasted so much time into developing this (twice) because first was on V4 with that unfriendly system of rendering two images for the denoise to work, now with V5 they rewritten it so it is done at the end of a single rendered image.. How much time was sunk into developing this? Too much and frankly wasnt needed. Imagine they spent the same amount of time developing an online material library.
5) Price, you simply can not defend what happened with V4. It was a total Ripoff to customers because almost nothing that was promised was delivered. So i would have given to any customer who purchased a v4 license a very small fee to upgrade to v5. While the price was lowered that was simply not enough, its still 375€ plus taxes which is rouglhy 450€ depending on the taxes of your country, that is a redshift license, or even an arnold one. i mean....dont you see how messed up this is?
I would have make it 100€ for V4 license owner to get to V5.
Now i understand devs needs money, everyone does it, but it wasnt userbase mistake what they have done with V4. Almost everyone who upgraded to V4 had nothing more than V3.2.
On this same topic i want to add that usually when you develop something you invest. Now i dont know if Maxwell is going bankrupt, but they should be the one throwing money at it to expand their own software, you can not pretend that some random user dedicates hours of free time making Maxwell content for what cause?
This is the reason why there isnt much buzz around Maxwell, and most people abandoned it, you need marketing, you need to spend money for social, you need to show off the software and have people use it, honestly we are so far from this kind of situation that it feels like almost abandonware.
That said its not fair to just spit on devs face and maxwell situation, they are putting effort but to be realistic, its not even enough, the rendering market is a slaughter fest, its a pitfight, there are so many render engines out there from free that it gets you headache to even think at them all. So you are in for a lot of pain entering this market, because yes Maxwell had to re enter it again. It simply threw away the userbase back then and now its starting from scratch, because thats what it is.
Cutting out plugins, GPU fiasco, stale development back then was a huge backslash to the company, now getting up and running again is extremely hard considering the competition you have. The world is based on GPU at the moment and thats where Maxwell lacks the most, dont you see the irony? Even Arnold has implemented an amazing GPU integration that does its job perfectly.
Cycles a free engine embed into blender has both cpu and gpu enabled. Yesterday i tested a version ported to Softimage, where i used 4096 samples (its super high) with cpu+gpu, i have a ryzen 5950x and 2x 1080 nvidia. I was blown away by the speed of that thing.
Do you understand what im saying? The competition is so strong that im afraid they need to do way more. It'll take time? yes, but please shoot in the right direction, denoiser was a total waste of time and resources.
my 1.75 cents.