Chronicles of Elyria tweaks NDA, locks down Reddit over death threats, and proposes NFT land trades

You just can't make this stuff up


A week ago, Chronicles of Elyria backers sounded the alarm on a new NDA that Soulbound Studios was asking them to sign in conjunction with the Kingdoms of Elyria testing. It included a clause that seemingly waived the players’ rights to engage in class-action lawsuits, among other things. While as we noted that’s not an unusual clause in NDAs and terms of service, players who are already currently engaged in a class-action lawsuit against Soulbound Studio for its past transgressions recommended not signing any such thing.

Well, after ample complaining about “drama” from the “players and influencers” who (rightly) reacted with “suspicion” about signing the NDA under the circumstances, Soulbound has now rewritten the NDA to attempt to “remove any ambiguity” and to “show [the devs are] serious about Kingdoms of Elyria’s development and [their] desire to gain your feedback as [they] continue to release updates.” Most notably, the second alteration explicitly adds a section about retroactivity and services unrelated to the test; in spite of the blog post’s insistence that this isn’t a substantive change, it sure looks to be, and it’s not legally clear what that could mean for people who’d already signed the earlier version. According to Soulbound, that would count “thousands” of people who’ve downloaded the KOE launcher and “hundreds” who’ve logged in to date.

The second section of Soulbound’s blog post addresses toxicity in its community, specifically calling out a “torrent of abuse” and “daily threats of violence” it alleges that “a small but vocal minority” is issuing. While no specific examples are offered, it’s not super hard to imagine that a community willing to lose money to wage a lawsuit has enough angry people to shitpost on the internet. Either way, Soulbound says it’s going to start muting offenders on social media – and temporarily locking the COE subreddit. As I type this, it has the “request to post” button enabled.

Finally, the company says that there’s an “increasing number of people” asking about the availability of purchase claims in the game. Soulbound says that it’ll turn to an NFT system to allow players to sell existing claims to other players using crypto.

“Beginning after the release of KoE: Domains, we’re going to be issuing digital certificates of ownership to our backers for each title in their player-inventory, as well as a wide-selection of virtual items. These certificates will be able to be freely bought, sold, and traded on one or more of the public blockchain networks. Taking this step allows players to trade, buy, or sell their items for cryptocurrency (or even fiat currency) in a way that is secure, safe, and auditable – so there’s never a question of ownership. At the appropriate time – either exposition or launch – players who own the certificates will be able to remit them to Soulbound in order to gain the features described in the certificates. Those who no longer want their titles and items can sell them to people who do, those who want to trade for a new location can arrange to do so, and those who want to claim a title can buy one from another player.”

Source: Official site. Cheers, Pepperzine.
Chronicles of Elyria stunned MMO gamers in 2020 by announcing it was out of money, had laid off the devs, had closed Soulbound Studio, and had ended development on the game. Though CEO Jeromy Walsh later retracted much of that and said the game was still in production with volunteer staff, the gamers who’d backed it for $14M+ in crowdfunds pressed on with legal action. As of 2021, the studio maintains that COE and its spinoff Kingdoms of Elyria are still in production. The lawsuit was filed back in February, and as of a few weeks ago, the plaintiffs were still filing motions to dismiss with the court.
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