Disgruntled Chronicles of Elyria backers seek aid from the Washington attorney general

    
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Disgruntled Chronicles of Elyria backers seek aid from the Washington attorney general

Ever since Kickstarted MMORPG Chronicles of Elyria went belly-up, players have been trying to figure out what to do about it. Some had sunk thousands of dollars into fiefdoms in a game that will now never launch, while others merely wanted some revenge – and some accountability.

As we reported in March, some angry former backers were gathering in a Discord channel devoted to some sort of class-action lawsuit or better yet an investigation from the attorney general’s office in Washington, where Soulbound was registered. It’s a long shot, but gamers will remember that the Washington AGS has successfully pursued scammy Kickstarters before, most notably Ed Nash’s Asylum Playing Cards campaign, which made off with $25,146 in backer money until the courts said nuh-uh son. Elyria’s would-be players, however, are out millions, which may make it an even juicier target.

Indeed, one player on Reddit says he lodged a complaint and that the “Washington AGO has officially accepted [that] complaint against Soulbound and said they would be reaching out to them further on the matter.” He can now add that to the massive pile being logged by the Discord – around 150 to date, more than those filed against Amazon in the last few weeks.

“The standard process for complaint filing consists of sending the complaints to the company, at which time the complainant would receive an email of this phase,” explains one Discord member, Stelaphina, who has contacted the office for guidance. “After speaking with the AG’s office today, I was told they have stopped sending the complaints to the studio at this point, so you may not receive an email as to the status of your complaint. They asked that I convey to everyone that all complaints are being reviewed by attorneys. They have received 150 complaints in just under 2 weeks, the most they have received against a company in that short of a time span. They have advised anyone that has not submitted a request should do so.”

Further reading on how we got here:

Source: Discord, Reddit. Thanks, Pepperzine.

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styopa

Maybe KickStarter should be rebranded to CaveatEmptor.

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Fred Douglas

I know cynicism and “gotcha” attitudes prevail in situations like this, but selling land for a game they knew would not launch goes into Fraud territory. That dude should pay in some way.

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Your Honor

Apparently Jeromy was drawing a 200k+ yearly salary. This is the reason why I don’t understand people aren’t outraged more. The whole project only raised over 8m and this dude made himself a bank whilst the project ran out of money.

Now looking at Star Citizen. Chriss is drawing a much bigger salary than that. His brother was drawing a salary that’s bigger than David Braben’s and his wife was most likely not working for pennies either.

I understand taking a salary to live off of but 200k plus a year? Wow. Just wow.

kjempff
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kjempff

Is 200k really that much? for an important job position in the us.
If it was a hired position it is not completely unreasonble, but obviously you would expect a person in a startup to get only enough to live and in that case way too much.

And yeah Star citicen.. The nepotism within that project is supposedly a much worse case than this. Maybe they will launch something, but certainly nothing worth that kind of spending.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

It is completely unreasonable. They say they can’t deliver the product promised to consumers cause they have no more money left yet he’s given himself a 10th of the money raised that was meant for development of the product.

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Buddy Barlow

200k really is that much…

I’m a business owner myself with a fiance and 2 boys, we live a fairly good middle class life and i made 100k in 2019 and i felt like i had more then enough money to live on.

200k is very good.

taradyne
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taradyne

Do you know that somehow or are you just speculating and spreading bad info? I lost a lot of money on CoE but it pisses me off almost as much to see bad info out there that just muddies the water. I already proved to myself that he didn’t take the KS money and go buy a dream house by checking the property tax rolls.

kjempff
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kjempff

No one is interested in details or if something is fact or not, they be out hunting the evil and a witch SHALL burn.
(I am not saying it is not true, nor am I saying it is… But so far, everything is only backed by “dudes on the internet” interpreting information – Personally, I always found that guy creepy as hell, and the whole project highly unrealistic, but that is not proof of fraud.

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Paul

I’m no fan of this project – didn’t sound interesting in concept and clearly they never had a game up and running from the little I have seen so really caveat emptor on the people who bought in tbh.

I get why angry internet men are being angry but just to parse those numbers – project ran for what, 3? years – 8m funding so spending average 2.5m pa or therabouts. 200k pa less than 10% of that – if that was halved say the project might have run an extra month or two. This isn’t why the game crashed and burned…..

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Ragemaster9999

Man all this anger about chronicals of failure …. I wonder what’s gonna happen what star citizen finally implodes?

I spent roughly 200 on elyria 2 years ago … nothing I couldn’t afford to lose. But jeromy has shown himself to be a real jerk in this whole matter. Didnt take any responsibility, no apology nothing just tore the carpet right out from under the community. And ran a huge sale in the weeks leading to the studio demise. Clearly trying to milk anyone still left.

However it is partly the fans fault as well. This was a longshot from the start, and the worst part is the fanboys that so rampantly brigaded against criticism are now hung out to dry. I doubt the lawsuits or ag office will go anywhere with this.

These people that spent 5 plus grand on land packages should be enrolling in a problem gambling help program, before they end up wasting more money on lawyers fees.

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johnwillo

I was a part of this kickstarter campaign. And then I kicked in $200 sometime later for a minor patent of nobility. (I didn’t want to boss people around, but I wanted a cool house.) I’m not going to pursue damages or a refund. I knew what I might be getting into. Don’t gamble with money you can’t afford to lose.

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Bruno Brito

That sounds like a terrible way of reading the situation, but you do you.

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johnwillo

Oh, I’ll never do business with that jackass again, but I placed my money rashly and I am more angry with myself than him.

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Bruno Brito

I’ll meet you halfway: By all means, you should have a bit more care with how you place your money, but you should NOT let go of your rights. He was a scammer. It happens. Go after what is yours. Your mistakes are yours to take lessons from, not for some dickhead to be rich.

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Armsbend

Whether or not it work out for the defendant I hope they can make the developer’s lives miserable as they can. Rooting through bank accounts, court dates, etc. To deter scam artists from doing this in the future.

If it is successful we should use the same force against the other scammers (all of them).

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Indeed. Sometimes the investigation is worse than the punishment.

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Armsbend

Indeed.

taradyne
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taradyne

The devs were just as blindsided as we were. No idea why you think blaming the devs has any merit.

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Bruno Brito

I’m going to be honest with you, if they worked knowing this man was taking 200k salaries and said nothing, i blame them.

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P Jones

Some of those Devs are the ones that were either in on it, or were totally incompetent. Snipe and Vye were Sr folks that had input on scheduling and scope. They both suck at their jobs as it’s 2020 and all we got is a crappy wannabe parkour demo.

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P Jones

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

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Chris Ochs

Kickstarters are a landmine for game funding because they inherently don’t really fit. Startups are risky a large number fail before launching a product. Game startups are riskier then the average. So a smart studio plays the game by releasing some version of it with rewards, even if by any measure it’s not really a playable game. This has a number of negative affects that work against ever releasing a good game. The focus becomes getting more KS money which requires more counterproductive work.

From a studio perspective you have to factor in the higher cost KS funding entails. The development time spent to fulfill obligations that wouldn’t be present in a VC funded game. A lot of what is offered as rewards in a KS game is the type of thing that would naturally come in fairly late in development. But KS forces it to be earlier, resulting in a less efficient development process. The end cost of that is likely very significant in the end, but impossible to measure up front.

I have very little sympathy for KS studios that fail to follow the rules. It’s not just free money you can use as you like, you have to structure your development to comply. If you want more freedom go raise VC funding. You can’t have it both ways.

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flying_dutchman

Ummm… the company shut down because they went broke… Just WTH do these people expect to get?

Best case scenario, you end up with a lawsuit that will drag out for years. Someone will end up with a massive fine they can’t pay and will file Title 7. All the assets will get auctioned off for pennies and all that money will go to the lawyers.

Then people who invested the money in the first place will be left with nothing, the devs who owned the company will have their lives runied, and nothing else will happen….

In short… This is all pointless.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

Fraud is not just a civil offense, it’s also a criminal offense.

kjempff
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kjempff

The misconception of vengeance as justice.

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Armsbend

We’ll see if the company went broke – or he transferred the money to his personal account.

Hopefully they make life a living nightmare for him.

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Bruno Brito

Then people who invested the money in the first place will be left with nothing, the devs who owned the company will have their lives runied, and nothing else will happen….

Group A learns lessons, group B gets fucked rightly so for being scummy criminals, and everyone will have some closure.

But who am i to negate the judgement of the famous Flying Dutchman.

kjempff
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kjempff

So there is suspicion of fraud ?
Otherwise it is just investment gone wrong.

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silverlock

Not a lawyer but their does seem to be a case for fraud. The video I posted does go over some of that.