14 July

Lets talk NDA, Community Health, and Digital Assets

By Caspian

Hey all,

Having recently launched the Early Alpha Test of Kingdoms of Elyria, we wanted to take this opportunity to first thank the thousands of players who’ve downloaded the launcher and the hundreds of testers who have signed in and provided feedback thus far. This Alpha test is incredibly important, not only to cement core systems and confirm early design decisions, but also to pinpoint where we need to improve.

Sadly, it became apparent that, even before downloading the client, some players and influencers reacted to specific sections of our Test Agreement with suspicion. With ongoing legal action against the studio, it was suggested that the wording was intentionally ambiguous and designed to give up your rights to take legal action against us for previous use of our Website or Services, or for us to describe our product as finished or final to render ongoing legal claims void. The result was that some of our Alpha 1 backers became reluctant to engage in our first Alpha test.

While we appreciate this made for some enticing drama, some may be disappointed to know our original wording was fairly standard for Software Licenses and NDA’s and can't be used in the way people were advertising. Even still, your feedback is incredibly important to us. So to remove any ambiguity, and to help ALL of our Alpha 1 backers feel more comfortable downloading, signing in, and providing their valuable feedback, we’ve updated our Test Agreement to be more explicit. This includes the following changes and is retroactive to all those who previously agreed to the Agreement, as the changes are there to clarify the intent, but do not otherwise change the substance of the Agreement.

Change 1 “This Agreement applies only to your participation in the test of Kingdoms of Elyria. Your use of the Soulbound Studios website and other Soulbound Studios services is governed by the Terms of Use available at http://chroniclesofelyria.com/terms.”

Change 2 “15(iv) Limitation of Agreement to Arbitrate and Class Action Waiver. The terms of this Agreement, including the Agreement to Arbitrate and the Class Action Waiver, are not retroactive. Nothing in this Agreement shall limit your ability to pursue a claim, whether as an individual or a member of a class, against Soulbound Studios arising out of, relating to, or in connection with your use of Soulbound Studios’ website or other services not related to the Test. Your use of the Soulbound Studios website and other Soulbound Studios services is governed by the Terms of Use available at http://chroniclesofelyria.com/terms.”

We hope these changes show we’re serious about Kingdoms of Elyria's development and our desire to gain your feedback as we continue to release updates. We don’t want anything standing in the way of peoples’ ability to make the game better.

A new version of the installer will be available later today for those that want to wait for the changes to appear in the Test Agreement. We'll make an announcement in the Early Access forum when the new installer is available.

Community Health

A key part of Soulbound Studios’ mission statement is to "fuel player imagination through accessible, engaging, and meaningful interactions via entertainment and technology." Both Chronicles of Elyria and Kingdoms of Elyria are laser-focused on that mission, but in recent months, meeting that goal has proved harder and harder to accomplish, as the torrent of abuse towards ourselves and other community members, across all social media platforms, has drastically increased.

Over the last few weeks, it has reached the point where daily threats of violence are a common occurrence. While we’ve thick skins and are doing our best to put things right, managing this level of toxic engagement from a small but vocal minority is both time consuming and emotionally damaging to our community volunteers.

While much of it is fueled by specific groups or certain individuals, we’ve made the decision to temporarily lock the Chronicles of Elyria subreddit, as well as mute those repeatedly sending threats on Twitter and Facebook. We’re sad to have to take this temporary step but moderating our subreddit effectively and stemming the tide of abuse has reached the point where it’s the only viable option until additional moderators are recruited and the community is once again in a place where people feel safe expressing themselves.

Digital Assets

Finally, since the announcement of the first Alpha test we've seen an increasing number of people asking if it'll ever be possible to purchase a claim to one of CoE's settlements or domains again.

At the same time, we're acutely aware there are those out there who previously purchased CoE virtual items and titles and are well and truly done with the game. This not only results in them feeling like they supported a game they'll never play, but it also means there's an unknown number of communities that are fractured; with counts, dukes, and even monarchs who have vassals or lieges who are no longer committed. As a result, many people have expressed an interest in re-picking their domains and settlements.

People affected generally fall into one of three categories:

  1. Those who have titles and items and no longer want them
  2. Those who have titles and items but would like different ones
  3. Those who do not have titles and items but want them

We recognize the desires of all three groups, as each has valid issues we'd like to resolve.

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.

More info on this will be released next year. To help with short-term planning we’d like to clarify that, while CoE has certain rules/requirements about claiming titles, there will be no such restrictions on owning the certificates. People will be free to exchange them however they see fit. While some people claimed multiple "combined" domains, we'll be issuing certificates for each of the domains individually, allowing people to choose whether to combine the domains as planned during Exposition, or sell off some or all the titles.

Ok folks, that's all for this update. I want to emphasize again our commitment to ensuring the safety, satisfaction, and well-being of our backers and community members. Whether that be clarifying our Tester Agreements so people can feel safe participating or looking for ways to help people achieve their individual backer goals, we will continue to listen and make changes as we move forward.