Chronicles of Elyria hunts for a publisher, enables store gifting, and battles ‘harbingers’

A year ago, Chronicles of Elyria had crossed $2 million in fundraising. Today, that amount sits at over $3.4 million. Still, some players worry that the game might not have enough in its coffers to get the big release that it should, especially without the backing of a publisher.

While Soulbound Studios was touting its independence from publishers back in September, the studio’s CEO allegedly is trying to shop the game around and is finding difficulty in selling the sandbox’s concept. “During last nights multi-hour impromptu Q&A, [Jeromy Walsh] expressed some frustration in his attempts to market Chronicles of Elyria to potential publishers,” one forum poster reported (the Q&A chat room is a locked voice chat). “He described publishers that refused to read his eight-page comparison of COE to other MMOs, publishers that wanted loot crates and micro-transactions, and publishers simply not understanding the appeal COE has for so many.”

Incidentally, Chronicles of Elyria has enabled gifting through the website’s store through the end of the month. Fans can purchase select items to gift to friends out of the goodness of their hearts.

On Discord this week, Walsh also explained how his studio and followers should deal with negativity about the game online. In fact, he even has a name for people who “try and spread the skepticism.”

“We recognize that people have skepticism, and we’d never encourage people to back the game, purchase a pledge package, or accept that we’re making a perfect game. That said… in no other business/industry is it acceptable to walk into peoples’ place of business/establishment and encourage customers NOT to purchase or get excited about the product. You’d simply be escorted out.

“We’re a crowdfunded game – at least for the moment. That means that our revenue stream is based on community sentiment. When people go around the internet discouraging others from being interested in our game, or intentionally creating skeptics, they’re attacking us directly, and making it more difficult for us to complete the game. That’s not beneficial to anyone. That – is what I refer to as a Harbinger. Someone who, for whatever reason, intentionally or unintentionally is sewing seeds of doubt, mistrust, and skepticism in others. Doing so doesn’t benefit anyone, least of all those of us who are here working hard to make this game – both developers and the community.

“So what I was discussing on Discord the other day was for you guys, the community, to shut down such behavior. We can’t be everywhere at once, nor does it look good for us to try and discourage such behavior. But we can encourage you guys to shut down such behavior. Remind people that it’s perfectly fine to be skeptical.. but to try and spread the skepticism is bad.”

Update: Soulbound’s Kaizen has posted a comment clarifying these remarks and where the studio stands on skeptics down below our article.

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74 Comments on "Chronicles of Elyria hunts for a publisher, enables store gifting, and battles ‘harbingers’"

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Solaris
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Solaris

I can’t disagree with what Walsh is saying here. He’s right. It’s like the whole controversy around Star Wars and people tanking Rotten Tomatoes because the film’s story didn’t go the way they wanted it to. Yeah you have an opinion. You have a right to that opinion. You hated Star Wars. So?! Why are you on a crusade to keep others from watching it? Like you are some sort of public service champion? Please.

You can be skeptical and not support a project. But to go and constantly try and tank a project that you really have no interest in say alot about you as a person. And it’s not good.

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Daniel Miller

I really have no idea what the gossip is about. Sure I backed this, $35 package. But I back many things. I avoid forums, websites and drama til game is released though. I don’t desire to hype myself on a vision vs a product.

But seems the dev is having problems with his game and also communicating to pubs i guess.

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Crowe

I don’t think that guy actually understood “harbinger” doesn’t mean that.

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Sally Bowls

Fast-forward 24 days and it turns out the “doubt, mistrust, and skepticism” were, in fact, harbingers.

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Dro Gul

Simply awesome

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Robert Mann

I can… see having difficulties avoiding plague-boxes, and getting big money interested in anything that isn’t a trend-chaser. That said, I’m not sure how much avoiding lootboxes is worth after going off the deep end with crowdfunding tiers.

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Paragon Lost

“Still not making a personal attack. ” -CMDR ShrunkenQuasar

And yet Bree felt that she had to delete two of your posts. You are doing something wrong here if she did so. Whether it’s making a personal attack (which is one of the things that would cause her to delete your post) or violating the posting rules in some other way.

You obviously aren’t getting it and since Dro Gul made mention of personal attack in the post above, I’m putting my money on the personal attack violation.

Feel free to be critical of what the person says and say why you feel so, but don’t dip into personal attacks against the poster. It lessons any valid point you actually might have.

Also, I’ve seen comments directed at Bree and the site that the article was a “hit piece” from one of the posters, Tyler Eastway. Is he one of your community that’s bringing a smile to your face? If so, then I’d not be smiling, Bree and this sites writers don’t do hit pieces.

Anyhow I don’t have oar in the water with this mmorpg, I only keep up on it because it’s always interesting to read about mmorpg development. That said, you and yours aren’t doing your mmorpg a favor with how you all are behaving. It reminds me of the Star Citizen folks who come here and go off the deep end. YMMV.

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Dro Gul

That’s just it. When a dev tells his fans to go shut down criticism this is the result. It’s a lose/lose proposition because it paints the games community in a bad light by associating with these attacks. Common sense says that if you come to a site and attack other people and complain about the site you are going to be received poorly.

Their behavior is exactly what Caspian complained about in his first quote yet that is exactly what he has unleashed. If it’s not acceptable for him to do it himself it’s just simply not acceptable to do it. Case closed!

Anyone who thinks Bree and MassivelyOP are out to make their game look bad are so off base it’s not even funny.

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Paragon Lost

Ugh, my reply to Commander ShrunkenQuasar just ended up at the top of the thread. I really dislike that, I tend to avoid the crazy threads anymore which usually you see only in SC. I guess I can add CoE to that type as well. I guess the thread further down got deleted in whole.

Anyhow, agree on your points Dro Gul.

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Dro Gul

The arrogance of these guys is staggering: Go forth and fight against those who would spread doubt against the Word!!

Did anyone else catch his statement in the video below that he expects hundreds of thousands of players on each of his 5 servers? Yes some people suck it right up and ask for more.

Simply amazing.

Chronicles of Elyria
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Chronicles of Elyria

Hey, all! Kaizen from Soulbound Studios here. We encourage everyone to voice their opinions and we appreciate that people are doing so.

We’d like to clarify a few things: it’s not unreasonable to be skeptical about our game, no one is saying otherwise, and you should definitely form your own opinion about Chronicles of Elyria. Everyone has their own perspective, and sharing those opinions in a healthy, constructive way is good for the industry!

As a consumer, you should form your own thoughts and opinions about our product, outside of the influence of others. Take Star Wars: The Last Jedi, for example – everyone has an opinion about the movie. Should you let their viewpoint inform yours without seeing the film? Perhaps, but people who’ve seen the movie can have a much more constructive conversation about the franchise than those who haven’t.

We’re in a different situation in that we’re currently in pre-Alpha. We’ve always promised transparency, and we always welcome a two-way conversation, even if that conversation includes skepticism. We’re comfortable with questioning the status quo because we’re trying to solve problems currently inherent in the MMORPG space.

Chronicles of Elyria is committed to its community and delivering something of value to the industry as a whole, so we encourage folks to help us build a new breed of MMO and tell a new success story about how a little indie studio with big dreams and big heart beat all the odds and ushered in a new age for RPGs. So if you want to connect with us, please join our Discord or forums and keep us on the right track!

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drelkag

From my involvement in the MMO community it seems there’s a large group that is always looking for the next MMORPG but at the same time nitpicking even the most minor issues (whether the complaint comes from personal experience or just hearsay) for a reason to pass on the game. To be honest I think they’re more happy repeating this cycle than actually playing an MMO.

I can understand the frustration putting so much work into a product just to have that audible group come down on the game and see no harm from encouraging those who enjoy your product to share their experience.

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CMDR ShrunkenQuasar

I think that has to do with the fact that many MMO players seem to be rabidly territorial. If you aren’t playing their game, then you’re playing the wrong game. It’s gotten to the point that I usually don’t even discuss MMOs with gamers, because the whole topic is as poisonous as politics.

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Dro Gul

Huge difference between sharing your experience like you say and sending fans out to “shut down” skeptics.

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drelkag

What’s the huge difference?

From my understanding he wasn’t talking about usual skepticism but the people I pointed out in my above comment.

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Dro Gul

One has you talking about your experience. The other has you shut down someone else’s. If you don’t see the huge difference there I can’t help you.

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Drake Ordanska

I see your still touting the same line without trying to debate drelkag’s point.

He clearly states as I do if you compare Caspian’s comment in the video to the discord one you can draw a conclusion that he means shut down the haters not shut down anyone with a negative point to make.

But that conclusion doesn’t fit your narrative about Caspian or SBS so you will obviously come up with a conclusion to suit yourself.

To anyone not stuck in an opposing view on the game I would advise you to watch the video and do your own research don’t trust me or Dro Gul.
Find out about the game and I hope you will grow to love the concept as I do faults and all.

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Dro Gul

We saw an example of it live on this very blog when fans had to be moderated and deleted for vile posting and even attacking MassivelyOP. That is exactly what he has unleashed, and if it was a mistake he should call back his fans and explain to them that their behavior reflects poorly on the community. Again, if it would look bad for him to do it himself, it shouldn’t be done.

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Drake Ordanska

and if I remember correctly on the last article a whole line of thread got deleted due to either you or another in the CoE hating camp stooping to personal attacks.

Your camp is no better, the only difference is in the Coe forums people are shown friendship especially those that are new to the game.

I mean what other communities do you know that buy pledge packs for strangers?

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drelkag

Again, he was referring to the types of commenters I mentioned in my above post. Am I missing where he lumped the usual skepticism in with them?

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Dro Gul

And who decides that? Is it a committee in Discord that sends out the Anti-Harbringers to shut down the hate?

It’s a joke. If the developer admits it wouldn’t look right for him to do it why would he encourage others to do it?

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Sray

You called on your backers to literally go out to other sites and shut down criticism, because it wouldn’t look good for you to do it yourselves.

So what I was discussing on Discord the other day was for you guys, the community, to shut down such behavior. We can’t be everywhere at once, nor does it look good for us to try and discourage such behavior. But we can encourage you guys to shut down such behavior.

That quote is literally something you said. You gave a blanket label to crtics, whether they had valid points or not, and then you pointed your loyal subjects at them and said “attack”. Where is your retraction of that statement? Where are you telling your backers to not do that?

Furthermore, part of your statement here amounts to “if you haven’t played the game, your opinion is largely worthless”. A person doesn’t need to have played a game to have a valid criticism of a publicly stated business plan, the ability to find additional funding, or very valid doubts of the ability of a studio to build a low budget game with full features in an expensive to develop game genre.

Your statement here is meant to mollify, but is just a more pleasant sound reiteration of what you said, and at no point do you admit that you’ve crossed a line by telling your backers to shut down any criticism.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Hey Sray, to clarify, the original dev who said it is the CEO (Caspian). If my GoogleFu is on target, Kaizen is a Senior Community Producer. So the original statement wasn’t technically his.

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Sray

Ok, technically not him, so I am wrong in that particular sense. His boss said it, which doesn’t make any of this any better. Kaizen might not have made the statement himself, but as the face of the company in this interection, I have no issue with still saying “you did this” to him. Kaizen might not have directly said these things, but his statement was mainly a reiteration of what was said in an “acceptable” tone, that had still no mea culpa for grossly unprofessional behaviour.

There wasn’t a “we realize this was a very bad thing, and it happened because [lack of sleep, stress induced emotional breakdown, reaction to vertigo medication, insert literally any excuse here]; and wow… do we ever not encourage our backers to do this sort of thing”. The CEO gave a label to critics -which was defined as anyone who intentionally or unintentionally might “damage” them by questioning what they’re doing- and then “encouraged” a group of the most dedicated followers to “shut down such behaviour”. He essentially instructed fans to go out and behave like the fanatically crazed Star Citizen backers do every time a slightly critical post arises. That’s the behaviour of a demagogue, and that needs to be called out.

I do have sympathy for the unfortunate community manager that has to come along after and try to clean up the mess. However as I said, his statement is largely just a more polite version of what was said with no real remorse, or corrective action taken.

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Dro Gul

Well said. What this guy did was reprehensible. And the sad part is that when his supporters come and behave like they did in the now deleted attacks it just reflects poorly on the whole community.

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Dro Gul

Excellent points. If it doesn’t look good to do it yourself why would it look good to send someone else to do it?

Utterly arrogant.

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Armsbend

You shouldn’t worry so much about spreading skepticism in this enlightened age. Everyone is free to see it for themselves and everyone is so intelligent that they couldn’t possibly be influenced beyond what they try for themselves. Surely one or two naysayers couldn’t possibly influence or spoil the whole bunch!

Having decades upon decades of gaming experience across all genres couldn’t possibly understand a game without playing it and people will know this.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Thank you for your clarifications, Kaizen, and happy holidays to your studio.

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Fady Galaband

I was present in this Q&A with the developer and I personally approve whole-heartedly in what he was trying to convey. Despite what this article wrote, he was not asking for people not to be honest with their critical feedback On this game. It’s 100% acceptable to point out possible design flaws or things that you think may not make it to the final floor.

What he was talking about is what I see everywhere there are MMOs. There are people who are not happy to just voice their opinion on a game, but feel they need to recruit as many other people as possible to attack the game as well. I see this everywhere on the internet where people are not happy unless they feel they gained some sort of attention.

If there is constructive criticism, then please provide it. But if it turns into just complaining about a product that you may not even be interested in, then state your peace and go find something that fits your needs better. There’s no need to pull everyone else down with you.

I personally think Chronicles of Elyria is really pushing the envelope on what we see in MMOs. It is the dream game that I’ve waited my whole life to play. I’m patiently optimistic that this game will be as great as I’m hoping it will be, and if not…then I will go back to the drawing board and find something that is. But I WILL NOT sit here and complain that it wasn’t what I hoped for.

(Rant over) 😜

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Tyler Eastway

I am the forum posted reported here and I must say this is a pathetic piece of writing. What COE is doing in regards to publisher is completely normal. What is different is that, as a crowd funded product with a very open team Caspian has been kind enough to comment on what otherwise would be hidden behind the scenes. I saw an opportunity to contribute to the effort and made a post suggesting a different tactic. To take this post and pair it with store gifting and his harbingers comments, 3 of the dozens of comments he made in a multi-hour discussion, is clearly meant to make SBS look bad.

COE is not desperate for funds, having raised tons of money in the past year. The development is going smoothly as we have seen great strides in completed work. Seeking out a publisher that is consistent with the vision of the game only makes sense. It is an ongoing process that may in the end be unnecessary. Enabling gifting is not some desperate act for funds as you portray, but something community members requested. Twitch.tv has holiday gifting too and I don’t articles portraying them as desperate.

His comments on harbingers is targeted as a tiny tiny minority of critics. An unfortunate statement because hit pieces like this can misconstrue his words, but ultimately it is directed at a handful of people who try to tear down crowd funded games for the sake of doing so. To imply he directed this at all skeptics is, frankly, lying. I am a skeptic, that is what my post was, constructive criticism to try and help positively influence one of the steps in the process.

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MeltWithYou

What is a ‘forum posted reported’?

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cursedseishi

That is fine and dandy, however this part of the linked conversation here;
“Someone who, for whatever reason, intentionally or unintentionally is sewing seeds of doubt, mistrust, and skepticism in others. ”
makes it sound otherwise.

To me, that doesn’t sound like it’s targeted towards a ‘minority’ of skeptics. IF what was meant was those doing it solely to tear down kickstarted games and the like, then there is no need to include ‘unintentionally’ in the statement. There is no misconstruing that.

I’ve not seen anyone misconstrue them searching for publishers as being ‘financially desperate’ either. You and Yumyum are the only two who brought anything up regarding such a potential.

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Tyler Eastway

I was there for the entirety of Caspian comments, what must have been 4 hours long. It in that context that tells me these things were cherry picked. As Mickdude stated, mixed in that convo Caspian made it clear they are perfectly fine on funding. There were many such details suspiciously left out of this little write up. It is also clear through that context that Caspian isn’t arguing against all critics. He has made many changes based on criticism. Changes to the order of development, adding new features, new ways of buying thing from the store, changes to mechanics, etc. I have seen what they do with real criticism. It is something different when someone make posts with the goal of making COE a failure. It is the dream of Caspian, my dream too, the dream of many thousands to have this sort of game. A person trying to stop that isn’t helping. A person trying to make COE better is helping. This article seemingly intentionally avoids a great deal of context to sell a perspective, a damaging one, and that seems the definition of a hit piece to me.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

This article was not intended to be and is nowhere represented as a complete summary of a Q&A to which we do not have access. It began as an article about a public discussion of the Q&A: your thread, which a reader linked to us, which covers the newsworthy information that the studio has been seeking a publisher unsuccessfully. We also combined two other stories into that one rather than write three: the gifting announcement, which was published by Soulbound last night, and Caspian’s commentary on how to counter skeptics in the wild, which we discovered when researching in Discord. This is just how blogs work. There’s no ulterior motive except to report on things that happen on games we cover, and we continue to welcome positive, negative, and neutral tips regarding Elyria.

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Drake Ordanska

i agree the thread is not attacking the game or developer, I ask that you watch the video of the interview I posted for Caspian’s comments on negativity.

In fact 42:30 (I included the question because it need a the concept at what he is talking about.)

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Dro Gul

Careful Bree. You might end up having the site branded as a Harbringer.

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Drake Ordanska

No he won’t, he isn’t trolling…

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Dro Gul

He?

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Drake Ordanska

An assumption that I might be wrong with, if I am I apologise. but isnt that a little Petty?

mickdude2
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mickdude2

What this article fails to mention is that literally minutes after his comments about looking for a publisher, Caspian also talks about how the game currently has enough funding to get them through all of 2018. Doesn’t sound desperate to me.

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Armsbend

Wait wait wait…I want to make sure I’m all ready for the upcoming defense against the harbingers. Have you already started? Goddamit I wasn’t ready. Give me a few okay?

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Melissa McDonald

Sounds a lot like the music business. Publishing is really the same game across all entertainment and media. Most bands take the first Yes they get no matter how crappy the deal is, because they’ve already been told No by a dozen music labels already.