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Hello everyone, before even starting allow me to warn you that I won’t be tolerating any personal insults towards myself or anyone else in participating in the thread, every offensive post directed at another user will be reported to the moderation team and dealt as they see fit.
That said, last year a member by the name of ForgedChaos over MMO-Champion forums and wrote the following:
“To everyone else: do yourself a favor and do some research before believing what you read here. We have always been very open and honest with both the good and the bad news to those that choose to follow ToA and will always continue to be so. If you have concern over something, I urge you, go to the source -- visit our forums or email us and ask your questions or voice your concerns. You'll be replied to, whether it be by our staff or by our forum members (which are not repeated clones of ourselves! I mean, really?? ), in a positive professional manner.
At that time I had no bloody clue of what the hell was Trials of Ascension nor did I care much it, but as the thread started growing more and more exciting I decided to take their advice, I went to the source and did my own research and since it was you guys who suggested it, hopefully you won’t mind me sharing the results of it, after all, it kind of goes against the “open and honest” part.
Setting the Record Straight
If you only recently heard about Trials of Ascension and feel a little confused about all this, just please, stay awhile and listen… Trials of Ascension is considered by many a scam, others call it a fools dream, some actually believe it will be the best “MMORPG” ever made, I’ll let that for you to decide, I’ll just share what I know and what I’ve seen about this project so far.
Back in 2001, a man named Don Danielson, or you might have heard about him under the nickname of “Brax” and his team “Shadow Pool”,registered the domain: trialsofascension.com, in order to start developing what they believed it would be one of the most innovating MMORPGs ever… They immediately started holding IRC chats and doing interviews
By the sound of it, the road was long and bumpy between 2001-2006, apparently they restarted the project multiple times in order to switch Game Engines, had most of their staff leave in a dispute, and after a few years a revolt by fans demanding something to prove the game was not vaporware. There were a couple of screen shots released along the way, but fans revolted in 2006 which forced the forums to be closed down, but not before posting a comment asking if anyone or someone they knew would donate a million dollars to the project.... All this despite that according to Brax himself, it was enough to get them multiple funding offers from never named companies, offers that he had to decline due the high cost of serious game changes that he wasn’t willing to accept, therefore they were forced to suspend the project due the lack of funds in 2008.
Later, in 2012, Trials of Ascension was reborn! They had a new team name, “Forged Chaos”, again lead by Brax, and yet another new Game Engine (Hero Engine), that was later changed to Unity. They immediately started posting on the Hero Engine forums asking for help.
Unlike back in 2008, this time they had the much popular choice of crowdfunding, needless to say it didn’t take them long (in October 2013) to start up their first Kickstarter that ended up by being canceled in November, according to Brax himself he had failed to show the true potential of Trials of Ascension, forcing him to cancel the Kickstarter… honestly, while it is indeed a fancy way to put it, the truth about what actually happened is little more embarrassing than that, it turns out no one in the original Forged Chaos team knew anything about game development at all… there wasn’t even a single person capable of basic programming, thus the only things they had to show on their kickstarter page was a short video using default Hero Engine assets and pages and pages of text with “concept art” that they bought from the Unity forums, obviously they didn’t get anywhere close to the 750,000$ goal riding only on promises of future greatness.
... but as they say, “a fool and his money are soon parted”, in January 4 of 2014, a new “solution” arisen to provide the funds to hire one programmer just good enough to create a technical demo, in order to attempt yet another Kickstarter. They called it: The Trials of Ascension Store! Don’t let the name fool you though! According to their “Backers Agreement”, the “store” wasn’t really a store, it was a deep & complex "donation system" that upon purchase forced you to agree that your payment was a “donation” and that the product you were purchasing was “selected reward”, for a game that didn’t had a single line of code yet written. They included things like dance animations and eye patches for a character that did not even exist.
The Store eventually managed to surpassed the 60,000$ goal, allowing them to hire “Teddy”, the one and only Forged Chaos programmer at the time! Who wrote his first line of code for Trials of Ascension in Feb. 26th 2014, setting them straight towards to goal of completing a functional technical demo in order to launch a second Kickstarter….
Months later they finally managed to come with their so much spoken of “tech demo” and didn’t take them long to rush ahead to their second Kickstarter attempt, obviously it was yet another catastrophe considering that they only managed to hit 4% of their 600,000$ goal. They spent $67,000 from the cash-shop, to create a demo, that allowed them to reach less than half that during the kickstarter before it was cancelled.
But it actually gets worse, apparently their one and only programmer, Teddy, had abandoned the project days before the Kickstarter launch, clearly that didn’t stop them from still trying, worst of all is that they didn´t warn their community that once again they were requesting over 500,000$ without a single person capable of programming in the team, Teddy leaving Forged Chaos was shortly followed by PR lead, Xanward.
As you may imagine…. It gets worse, days after the cancellation Brax allowed Teddy to explain himself to the community, it was simply hilarious and I quote: “After I left, I still consulted with them over a few things like teaching Yevi/Brax how to turn on the servers and as well as fixing some left over bugs.”, apparently the self-proclaimed “game developers” couldn’t even turn on their own servers without someone holding their hands through it… In his parting post, Xanward mentioned that at the last minute, live-streams of the demo on Twitch were cancelled which were to be a major way of promoting the Kickstarter, and instead replaced with IRC chats, which nobody attended.
From there onwards it was all downhill, many of their biggest fans and financial supporters lost their hopes, upset and disappointed not only due yet another miserable failure but mostly because the way that Forged Chaos handled the entire situation, let’s face it, throwing something at your own community such as: “The three original founders are not qualified to build ToA by ourselves.”; “We are not experts in engineering, animation, modeling, nor are we audio specialists. We are designers at heart.” after claiming to have years of experience in game developmentfor the last 12 years to their fans! But hang on… if in 2013 they claimed to have experience in game development… in 2014 they started accepting “donations” from their community which was under the belief that they were actually experienced… In this very thread, the devs have shown up and posted that they had all the ´game-making skills necessary to make ToA´. and in 2015 they admit that they ain’t “qualified” to do sh!t at all by themselves… let’s grab a dictionary, shall we?
Scam: A fraudulent business scheme; a swindle.
Isn’t that just fitting enough? Because let’s face it, despite personally believing that their goal of developing a video game is actually legit, the fact still stands, they deliberately deceived their community and eventually took their money under that deception.
Still, despite all that the show goes on… for a couple of months the project was thrown into a state of “hibernation”, the forums were pretty much silent with only a few whispers about “The Plan” to keep pushing Trials of Ascension forward, until “Kabam!”, somehow “experienced programmers” apparently started falling out of the sky, willingly to work for… a percentage of the products future profit? Right…. But that’s not everything! There were also quite A LOT of changes to the product core itself, basically, what used to be: “We’re putting the RPG back in MMORPG” became “We’re eventually putting the MMO back in yet another 64 player sandbox survival RPG!”, yet most importantly, Steam Greenlight!
At this time, they also took the opportunity to remove from their forums all mention of the cash-shop, the two kickstarters and the conversations with Teddy and Xanword after the failed 2nd kickstarter... while at the same time announcing a new level of transparency, that began with the introduction of two new programmers who had 15 years of experience in making games... until it was revealed that they never made a game, and had just recently downloaded Unity.
C’mon, wasn’t that just pretty obvious? It’s what every single “game developer” that manages to download Unity does nowadays! In short their plan consists in re-doing almost everything that Teddy, their previous programmer had done, since that by the sounds of it, his “code base was a mess” and all that *cough cough* ( it is more probable that they were not able to retrieve his work from the server). while removing delaying and dumbing down some of the features that supposedly made their project “innovating” in order to as soon as they have something “playable” to put it in Steam Greenlight in order to attempt an early access…
If I had to bet, I would say that the results will be far more hilarious than both Kickstarters attempts combined. Unlike Kickstarter and their own forums, in Steam they aren’t allowed to just censor all the negative feedback towards the project like they have been doing so far… in order words either they deal with it, which is something that they apparently don’t know how to do, or simply duck and cover, either way, prepare your popcorn, we are in for a ride!
ScreenShot Gallery: http://s1244.photobucket.com/user/My...?sort=3&page=1