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Updated: 25 Oct 2020 00:39
Illyriad Games Ltd: Should You Play Their Games?
Short Review: They take your money, then delete your account. Then when you confront them about it, they promise to make up for it, but then drop all communications when it's time to take action on their promises.
Longer Review: Illyriad Games Ltd. has two games (sort of). Both games are browser based MMO's with one called Illyriad, a strat game that does not reset and the other called Age of Ascent which is a space based MMO still in Alpha at the time of this writing.
Initially, I promoted both of their games but they have recently driven me away with their multilayered BS.
My Illriad account was deleted, that included $80 worth of premium currency called prestige. It was deleted due to low activity meaning that I had not logged in for a while. I used to get an email every few months or so warning me of deletion and so I would login just to keep my account alive. I don't mind saying that this is very annoying. At some point time, Gmail decided that those emails were spam so I no longer received them. But this isn't Gmails fault. I can understand to some degree, why Illyriad Games might feel the need to delete my empire for being inactive, but to delete my account? Especially when it has real world value? Why?
Compare this to a PBBG I played back in 2007 called Fallensword. Even though I have not played it in years, my account is still alive because the folks over at Hunted Cow Studios don't assume to dictate how often they think a user should be logging in, unlike Illyriad games that wants to be controlling with their user base.
So I complained and over the course of several emails spanning a week, they offered to reimburse me the $80 through keys for their new game called Age of Ascent. AoA has been in development for years and even though they are selling founder packs, they haven't released any new footage of the game in all these years, it's always been the same thing; dog fighting in space. But since my account was deleted in Illyriad, I would have to start over so I accepted the offer of Founder Pack keys, one that costs $50 and another that cost $25, this way I was only losing a few bucks as a result of their policy.
I thought it strange that the next email I received was a statement rather than keys. They stated that they would go ahead and send me the Keys. I thought it odd because why tell me they will send me keys when they could just send them… in the same email?
Do note that the name used in association with her email address is "Lynn Brunner" but the initials used within the email were WB. Also note that she assumes the role of GM in this regard but according to Illyriad Games, she was hired as "Non-Executive Director" after doing some beta testing for Illyriad. Her job is to "interpret player needs and [shape their games] to meet these needs" yet it seems her position is related more to reputation management because nothing that she did took my needs as a consumer into consideration.
I waited. And then I waited some more. And after 2 weeks I emailed them back asking if they were serious or just trolling me. I waited another 2 weeks and they still have not replied. Since they are actively selling keys for a game they claim will be out by the end of the year (even though they are still in Alpha), and since they have not replied at all, not even with an explanation as to why they would delay sending me the keys, I must assume that they never had any intention of correcting their mistake of deleting my account valued at $80 in premium currency. And since they deleted my account, rest assured they have deleted others too, not bothering to take into consideration accounts with premium currency, and not bothering to have a system to protect accounts backed with premium currency to prevent them from being deleted to begin with.
Are the games good? If they are collecting money, then deleting accounts, then going back on their offer to make up for it, without even bothering to explain why… then I would say who cares if their games are good or not? And I find it very suspicious that at the end of October 2020, AoA is still in Alpha and they think they will go from Alpha, to Beta, to Open Beta, and then to launch within two months! And for all the years AoA has been in development, they have only ever revealed video game play of dog fighting in the game, yet are selling founder keys for $50?
Something is very off with this Indy developer. I promoted both of their games and had $80 in my Illyriad account. They deleted my account, pretended to care via email, and then when it came time to honor what they said they would do to make up for it, they stopped all communication. I had a similar experience with the people behind The Chronicles of Elyria and now they have a class action lawsuit against them. I'm not making the claim that AoA doesn't exist, but I certainly see similarities between it and games that were never developed so if you are interested, I would be careful to wait until the game releases and just be aware that your account can be deleted at any time.
But What if AoA Turns Out to Be Great
I guess it's possible AoA is a game that I could end up loving, put in a lot of time, only to see it all vanish in an instant with zero recourse since the staff behind the game ignores emails. Any game is only as good as the staff managing the game, otherwise it could all end up being a waste of time and effort when you lose your account and have no recourse.