Everything I see (with my personal filter, admittedly) that's really unpleasant about these forums are as much about the state of the player base as the state of the game.
Assuming NG isn't dying for cash right now, you could improve the player base immensely into the future by a couple of simple measures:
Update http://www.xsyon.com/features to reflect (perhaps by colored bullets) what's in game, what's under development, and what's far into the future.
GET RID OF THE ORDER NOW on every page. You are just reminding people with buyer's regret that they got snowed by unreasonable expectations
If you are scrumming, tell us a summary. If you are not scrumming, still, tell us a reasonable progress report -- not a feature release report -- regularly. Right now the players you are going to retain are interested (a lot of us) in the process of the game's development not because we want to tear it apart, but because we want to justify paying for beta (which I know a lot of us are ok with).
Speaking of paying for beta -- what a good thing it would be to say 'A Prelude is kind of like a Beta for people who are willing to put up with a rough game environment in order to be part of the formation of a new sandbox community, and to help shape the dream.' That does a nice bit of spinning the Prelude (which I think was meant to be that anyway, yes?) without having to go back and say, "But yeah, it's still in the third year of beta" or whatever.
Talking less to users because you're scrambling to improve code to keep them happy is a false dichotomy. If you can't afford a community management staff that can keep up your social media and make forum communications really transparent, frequent, and friendly, you won't make it. Games are communities. They are not just programs. It's kind of like saying Facebook is a web based application. No. Insufficient.
Update the launcher with real current data. Regular maintenance times? Put them on the background image, they won't change often. Server down? Put it on the xml immediately. Keep 3-4 entries for key announcements and recent downtimes, and a link to an archive. Keep the archive, even if it seems to make you look lame. It's transparent. It will make people coming in understand the state of the game and people who might ragequit and poison the web for you not come in until its "safe" for them.
You are positioning this as a niche MMO in an already niche sandbox market. Right now you aren't positioning it as being that, because that niche means experimentation. You are not producing a AAA game atm, but your limited promotions seem to have brought people in who expect polish. Add marketing staff who understand the MMO market, and market on experimentation, participation, and edge.
Improve your emergency response for the game crashes, change management, facilities, and so on. Create checklists that include forum and social media and launcher notices, and make that discipline no matter how much crap is hitting the fan.
Take down the Dev Chat forum section on Quest of the Week that hasn't been answered since January because "Jooky is busy elsewhere."
We should not be hearing more transparent communication from your new PM than from your CM staff.