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  • Shroud of the Avatar - Layoffs Hit Portalarium - MMORPG.com

    I'd bet money on there being little to no repercussions on the CIG end.  Crowdfunded money is essentially a gift.  Especially at this point with all the negative press around the project.  Newer backers can't even claim to have been misled.

    This is where so much confusion takes root.  All the funds a crowdfunded project receives is income.  Now, that doesn't mean they can't move it around and call some of gifts but there are requirements for them to call it a gift.  Also, a person giving the money needs to agree to having no expectation of receiving anything in return. The water is murky here at best and I'm no tax professional but I do know there are limits on gifting as an individual and receiving gifts through crowdfunding.

    One of the bigger problems with Portalarium receiving all that money, millions of dollars given with the expectation of a return on investment.  The rub gets worse when you see where people were only investing, not through legal means but on a wink and a nod because of promises made by the developer that all RMT was legal.  The developer even created and provided an exchange platform for people to trade their assets.

    Even today as Portalarium searches for ways to save this project RMT traders are reminding them of their obligation to keep IGG balance properly against real dollars.

    Like I said, I'm no tax professional but I do know that Portalarium wasn't "accepting" gifts nor were RMT speculators "giving" gifts.

    This can be talked about like it's some sort of common and acceptable business practice to bait and switch because people don't understand the finer points of crowdfunding loopholes, but that doesn't just make what happened go away.  A bait and switch is a bait and switch.  Portalarium took money for the custom avatar heads in 2013.  The game went into full persistence in 2016.  The game did a commercial launch in 2018.  Now a few months past launch and FIVE years since kickstarter happened they get to say they didn't plan properly so they're making the call to drop the reward.  Then the gaming community is supposed to give them a pass because people think it's ok to just soak that up and call it crowdfunding?
  • Shroud of the Avatar - Layoffs Hit Portalarium - MMORPG.com

    Stewardship is about delivering the best you can with the money you have. If they thought the heads would cost too much and that effort was more effective elsewhere, then I think that's pretty definitive of good stewardship. I can't see why people would be upset, but I don't think there's a good case for them having done otherwise.

    They ran the Kickstarter in 2013.  The system to create the custom heads was rolled out in 2014 and devs as well as a few backers had their likeness created, and even put in game for a few people.  If you look at the custom work done on Darkstarr's head and Lord British's head you can see that they've been polished and that process has been refined.

    It was stated many times for many years that the custom work would be completed.

    Now that they've executed layoffs and are aggressively looking to cut corners they've announced a complete abandonment of the promise of custom avatar heads.  That is not good business, that is gross negligence and piss poor planning.  Everything is about reputation and this is just another promised backer rewards they think it's ok to toss in the bin.

    Back in 2013 and hindsight being what it is, maybe they should have used language more specific to game building and trying to get promised mechanics in game, because what they did was make promises and accept funds for said promises.

    Maybe a discussion on what good business practices means is too speculative, perhaps it's better to say that ETHICAL business practices would dictate that they treat their backers with some respect and make the effort to deliver on promises made for monies paid.  I wouldn't care if my home cost the builder more to build than what I paid him for, he'd either build it or we'd go to court.
  • Shroud of the Avatar - Layoffs Hit Portalarium - MMORPG.com

    Anything not delivered from the original Kickstarter has been replaced or modified as best the team could.  Richard specifically cited the custom heads promised to some backers, which the team never found a viable solution for, from technical and cost perspectives. 

    Funny thing is the tech worked out good for the devs that got custom heads.

  • SotA now doubling up on Telethons?

    There's no list but it's confirmed their writers were let go, they posted goodbye messages.   Lum being the lead writer was the first to go.  That doesn't seem right if they're planning for anything.  They also did away with their community manager (Berek) I'm hearing.  This doesn't sound like layoffs, this sounds like damage control while they figure out the best way to mange bankruptcy.
  • Does Classic Charm Make for an MMO Worth Playing? - Shroud of the Avatar Review - MMORPG.com

    Eldurian said:
    One the brightest features of SOTA is it's community. If you come there as an actual player of the game and ask questions they are highly helpful and almost always friendly.

    If you come there like Lord Darkmoon AKA Blorpykins who's made at least a dozen threads bashing SOTA for generally fairly petty crap here on mmorpg.com and apparently does so over there as well, expect to have your own toxicity turned around on you.

    You can expect that from any community of any game. Or any community in general really. 

    Do you think it's fair to players to participate in dev marketed and sanctioned RMT in forums that are designed to host RMT and in game where mechanics literally drive players to RMT as part of the gameplay when the devs don't have a banking license or an EULA that supports RMT?  They offer no protection to anyone and they allow players to move huge sums across international borders in their forums because if you don't use their forums for RMT you could be banned.  Which is stupid because RMT in their game isn't allowed per the terms.  But it's integral to the game.

    They make RMT illegal in their EULA but advertise it to the players so speculators will buy their add-on store crap.  They encourage RMT and enable the transfer of huge sums of money without a banking license.  I don't care if lots of games turn a blind eye to RMT, Shroud of the Avatar promotes it but does nothing to protect the players.  They enable all sorts of illicit activity to happen and even promote some traders as official partners.  Inside their game they have mechanics that direct players, new players, to the RMT forum.  But they claim no liability.  They have no way of knowing if the people in their forums are children or adults.  There's no age verification or EULA protection for anyone; because all RMT is illegal.

    They don't care about their own EULA and it shows because hardly anyone in that game cares about it.  There is so much botting, you'd have to be brain dead to risk RMT in that game.