The Daily Grind: Are you angry about the collapse of Chronicles of Elyria?

Upset enough to do more than complain?

    
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Last week, Soulbound Studios announced that in spite of just reaching a semblance of pre-alpha for Chronicles of Elyria, it was out of money and would be halting all work on the game, effectively canceling it, and laying off what remained of the entire staff (though apparently some of them are still working on it for free).

Canceled MMOs are nothing new. The trouble here is that Soulbound had raised more than a million dollars on Kickstarter back in 2016, and millions more in the last few years, chiefly from players pouring money into their hopes for the game. As we noted this weekend, that makes it the highest-profile crowdfunding MMO to go completely belly-up.

Gamer reactions have been… let’s call them mixed. Some have urged Soulbound’s Jeromy Walsh to pursue an Epic Games bailout and wondering why that’s not yet been pursued. Some folks are shrugging it off as just another dead Kickstarter. Some are in pure denial. Some are now calling “scam.” And as MOP reader Olivier pointed out, others are so upset they’re organizing in a Discord channel to explore a class-action lawsuit and give advice on how to pursue chargebacks through Xsolla. Here’s the server’s intro:

As I type this, there’s even trouble brewing over the official COE forums and Discord, whereby Soulbound staff were accusing the company’s own moderators of “misinformation,” resulting in the (temporary?) removal of the forum and the public Discord channel and the removal of all of the forums’ moderators (thanks to HolyAvengerOne for pointing me to this one).

Are you upset about the demise of Chronicles of Elyria? Upset enough to actually do something about it? What do you think gamers who are out thousands of dollars ought to do?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Chosenxeno .

No. Not surprised when any crowdfunded MMO fails.

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angrakhan

Yeah I wish I had my $75 back, but it would cost more to even speak to a lawyer much less get them to do something, so… It’s gone. I haven’t lost sleep over it. Live and learn. I feel bad for the people that dropped thousands on it.

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Matthew Yetter

I did purchase one of their backing options when it was still on Kickstarter. I liked the concept and I knew the risks. In short, I’m an adult about it.

I am sorry that the game did not come to be. The farther along it got, the more it became obvious that this was going to happen — it was simply a matter of time.

Do I regret backing it? No. It would have been really nice to see the game come to light. I still think that crowdfunding is a valid way forward for the right kinds of projects and I really like to encourage developers of games that are trying to bring something new to the table.

I don’t regret backing Ashes of Creation, either. Fortunately, that title is actually showing forward progress and has pretty consistently maintained clear lines of communication. I don’t plan to give them any more money until they launch either. But they are another studio that’s trying something new and it’s nice to see that they’re moving in the right direction. Even if the game ultimately proves to be something I don’t enjoy, I’ll be glad to have been able to do a small part toward bringing it to life.

All that being said, I have grown VERY picky about what I’ll back anymore and that’s not just in the area of games. The vast majority of what lands on Kickstarter, Indiegogo and the like falls through. But there have been a few exceptions. One just needs to go in with your eyes open and accept the fact that there’s risk.

Throwing a tantrum about it when a project fails is really no different from getting upset that your futures investments lost money.

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HolyAvengerOne

Throwing a tantrum about it when a project fails is really no different from getting upset that your futures investments lost money.

Except if you figured out that your futures investments lost money because of fraudulent activity, then maybe you can be mad just enough to want to get an attorney to look at it? Maybe.

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James Balmer

Do I regret backing it? No.

Why don’t you regret wasting a money on a product you will never see? That just seems like an incredibly stupid statement to me.

This isn’t about acting like an adult, or throwing tantrums, this is about a company misusing money given to them by the public and failing to deliver a promised product.

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Matthew Yetter

Did you read the rest of the paragraph?

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Roger Melly

It was one of those games like Pantheon that I had one eye on but a release seemed such a long way away that I really didn’t feel strongly about it one way or the other . Am sorry for those that invested in it though it must be a bit disappointing for them .

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Kickstarter is like a guy on the corner asking for a hand out. It may have rules, but it’s exactly the same thing. You’re giving a guy money because he tells you a good story and you want to believe it’s true. And if it is true, he really needs that buck you just gave him.

But, you really have no way of knowing. This is why, years ago, I gave up trying to figure out who was “deserving” or “worthy” or even truthful. (I’ve lived in a city my entire adult life, rarely with a car, so lots of walking and public trans and intersecting with those panhandling on the streets.)

When I give money to a kickstarter project, it’s with the same realistic view. Zero expectations. I don’t even read kickstarter reports or emails because they are just another street corner story, part hope, part neediness, part guile. I only start paying attention when an access key arrives.

Until then, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

Having said all that, I’m sorry for the folks who backed this game and are now disappointed and angry. That’s one thing we gamers all have in common, having our hearts broken by developers. We’ve all been there.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

I’m upset that people will point to it as one of the reasons they don’t want to support crowd-funding. I’m upset for anybody who spent money on virtual land that didn’t even exist yet if they aren’t going to get that money back.

I wasn’t personally hurt by it, but it ends up hurting the crowd-funding process as a whole when this kind of thing happens.

Well whatever, I still personally am into crowd-funding :D

Veldan
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Veldan

No, and honestly, I don’t understand why anyone would be angry.

When you back a game so early in its development via crowdfunding, you know the risks. You know how ambitious the creation of an MMO is, and everyone who’s been into MMOs for a while knows examples of MMOs that got canceled while in development. So yeah. When you donate money via crowdfunding, you are doing so knowing that it could go wrong. What you pay for is not a game, what you pay for is an attempt at making one.

So I’m sad about the cancellation, because there are too few high quality MMOs and every single one that drops out makes that small pool of games even smaller. But I’d never be angry. They tried and failed.

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Ozzie

I think people are angry because it’s very possible that the leadership of this game still gained a ton of money at the expense of backers. And they misled people about the status of the game. I haven’t followed the drama, but I’m not sure these are proven either way.

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Jeremy Barnes

Yes, very. That is 7.9 million that could have gone to Star Citizen!

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Oleg Chebeneev

Finally good answer

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Disappointed, but not surprised. I dunno why, but even from the pre-KS phase this one seemed…off. Not a scam or anything, but just that they were in way over their heads for what they were wanting to do. Heck, I think I even got chided for a low-key conspiracy theory on how much coverage the game was getting during its KS phase here : P

At the end of the day, that’s mostly what it looks like, too. They were in over their heads, studio leadership wasn’t experienced with getting investment money and didn’t want to give up any creative control and that’s a deathwish for funding if you don’t have a steady flow of crowdfunding a la Star Citizen (which is also snapping up some big rounds of investment funding, too).

It’s depressing that this will be added to the rather large pile of crowdfunded MMO’s that either died before launch, shortly thereafter, or struggle along and are the undead (few I can think of, but don’t want to name). I’d hope it would be a great lesson to the MMO community writ-large about JUST HOW FREAKIN HARD AND EXPENSIVE MAKING MMO’S IS, even smaller scale MMO’s. And also that KS is functionally you donating to something with few rights after the donation is made.

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Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Not at all, because I looked at it, and chose to avoid it. It had some red flags for me and as it turns out it was a bullet dodged.

Real shame for those who didn’t dodge the bullet though :(