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Page Created: 11 Nov 2017 18:31
Site: Chronicles Of Elyria
Genre: Medieval Fantasy MMORPG PvP, KvK, FvF
3D Game: Yes (Unreal 4)
Free To Play: Unknown (pre-alpha)
Premium Pay Option: Yes
$165.00 Down The Drain
I first learned about CoE back in 2015 but that was too early for me to commit to so after waiting a couple of years, I decided to take a second look and liking what I saw, I backed the game with a Gentry level founders pack and a couple of other items from the store. My total spend was $165.00 and there is a large number of people that would fault me for that as can be seen in the comments section of this youtube video. By my own standards, CoE had potential but after keeping myself apprised of the game for a longer period of time, and having to deal with staff misconduct, I now regret throwing my money away. Some of the issues I have include:
- The game is a clone of Wurm Online
- There have been several canceled deliveries already
- Staff bias and misconduct
CoE is a Clone of Wurm Online
Virtually every feature of the game is a clone of Wurm Online with a few differences.
- CoE is planned to be less grindy than Wurm Online
- With CoE, buildings are less customizable, by a large degree
- Terraforming in CoE is only a minor implementation when compared to Wurm Online in which terraforming is available everywhere in the world, without exception. In CoE terraforming is used only to slightly flatten a plot of land from which to build while in Wurm you can literally dig into a mountain, provided you build supports to prevent collapse.
Relating to Wurm Online, two of my posts on the CoE forums were removed without explanation. Both of those posts happened to be comparing CoE to Wurm Online and at no point in time has Soulbound Studios (the developers behind CoE) acknowledged Wurm Online as offering any motivation to their MMO. I should note that the posts were not negative in anyway and I was already backing CoE at the time so it was a bit disappointing to see SBS censoring me in that way especially in light of the fact that other MMO's have been compared to CoE within the CoE community too, without any moderation.
Bad Staff Moderation: Serpentius
The forum posts above were only the beginning of what I would call an extreme form of bias from the CoE staff. On the CoE discord channel, Caspian (the head of SBS) had posted as a joke, a very dated early screenshot of WoW to highlight that it takes time to develop an MMO and that a game should not be judged too harshly during early access. Within that screenshot was a player, and his name was Malbourn.
Note the comment about Malbourn in that screenshot. In reply to the joke I changed my Discord name to "Malbourn" and then posted a single line into Discord that read "I can't believe it". Quite a few people got the joke. However, I was then Moderated by Serpentius, this is what he sent me:
Needless to say. I debated his moderation based on the fact that 1) I was not making fun of anyone, much less any community member and 2) If he had to conclude that I broke a rule, then he would have to also conclude that Caspian (the CEO of SBS) also broke a rule since we both joked about the same name in the screenshot. When I challenged him on his moderation, he then said that he was just "sharing" his "opinion". Yet in his opening post, he very clearly mentioned that I broke a strict rule. He also said he didn't want to argue about it and asked me if I needed a time out. To be honest, I don't think I've ever been spoken to in such a condescending manner by a representative of a company, ever. Much less by a company that I was backing financially for a game that isn't even available yet:
He then took the opportunity to direct me to the Discord "Guidelines", which I was already familiar with:
Serpentius had a hard time deciding why he was choosing to moderate me. He started out by inferring that I was breaking a strict rule, he then backtracked and said that he was just stating his opinion. Then he switched it up yet again suggesting that I violated a guideline. So which is it? Did I break a rule? Did I dare to post something that offended your opinion of what constitutes humor? Or did I violate a Guideline?
Needless to say, despite what he expected from me in reply to his messages, this was an argument. He insisted that I was making fun of another CoE guest that had a name similar to the one in the screenshot; that guests name was Maulvorn.
After a quick search, I learned a little more about the ego-driven individual I was dealing with, I found his real name and learned that he had held a position at a college that was near to where I lived. So I decided to wait a while, then reach out to him again to show him that I was not some object that he could belittle with a "time out" and that I was a real person:
Finally, Serpentius made it clear as to why he moderated me. He was trying to look inside of my head to determine my intent rather than simply taking what I said at face value and as a result of his pretend mind-reading abilities, he decided to take action. Perhaps the worse part of that message was that fact that HE was the one attacking Maulvorn, suggesting that he deserved it. At the time, I would not have considered myself to be well acquainted with Maulvorn, but what I saw of him in no way suggested to me that he deserved mistreatment by anyone, especially SBS staff snide comments, in private, to another user of the community. I wonder how many similar conversations this CoE Staff member had with other members of the community, talking shit about guests in private to people like me that are just members of the community too.
Bad Staff Moderation: Elbereth
A while later, I was offering help in the newcomer help channel when I was moderated by Elbereth for failure to disclose a source for my information when answering a question. She too seems to be confused regarding the difference between a rule and a guideline.
Apparently someone at SBS decided that when members of the community volunteer their time to help out newer guests, that alone was not good enough and they had to also provide links or screenshots, no matter how common the question and well known the answer to other members. However, this too was part of the "guidelines" meaning that it was appreciated when done, but not required. I was certainly not going to hunt down the source for something as common as the question that I answered.
What was most interesting about this, is that just minutes before Elbereth decided to moderate me, she had posted in the help channel asking people to include a source… she then went on to say that this was a "mere guideline". If there was any doubt about the difference between a rule and a guideline, then this was certainly clarified with the use of the word "mere". Why was something described as a "mere guideline" for everyone else being touted as a rule for me? So why was I being singled out?
I argued at length but she seemed to have a mental block that prevented her from seeing that according to her own words just a minute prior, I was not breaking any rule. Fed up, I insulted her and then she swore that she would have me banned from Discord.
Later on, the "guidelines" were renamed to "rules". But it was at my expense however because I had already been moderated, and unknown at the time, I had also been muted. And just as I experienced on the forums with my deleted posts, I also had no contact from any moderator telling me that I was muted or explaining why I was muted, much less identifying the coward that decided to to mute me. The next day I logged into Discord and could not chat, that is how I learned of the mute. SBS staff are not interested in giving anyone recourse when they may have been misjudged, or driven into a corner. This will be further illustrated below when 3 of my support tickets each get ignored.
Since I was muted, and as a note to anyone that knew me, I added the word (Muted) next to my name. The reason being was to communicate to anyone that I may have missed via PM that I would not be able reply to them on the public channels. I did this because I didn't want anyone to think that I was ignoring them.
That's when Serpentius decided to ban me altogether and despite him admitting once before that whoever muted should have alerted me to let me know why, he himself did the same thing, banning me without an a single word or explanation. Since I could no longer speak to him via Discord, I had to submit a ticket to find out why I had been banned, his reply would be the last time he offered a word to me:
You were muted, until you decided to change your nickname in Discord to say that you were being moderated, before changing it back. That is, essentially, trying to evade moderation and let others know about it. Another rule we have is we don't discuss moderation, we just don't. Ultimately, it was decided that you'd be suspended from the Discord for 1 week. I am the one who performed the action.
Nothing that he said was true and here he was again pretending to read minds and again moderating me based on what he thought my intent was. He could have asked me, if he had he would have learned something about me. But instead he pretended to be able to read my mind. In the same email, he said that he would contact me when the ban was over, of course that didn't happen. Also note that the only reason Serpentius knew that I was muted, was because I told him. He had no idea that I was muted, or who muted me, or why and all of that he said was wrong on their part, yet he turned around and did it again when he banned me.
Anyone watch the movie Judge Dredd?
Have you ever been moderated when you knew that you were in the clear? Maybe you were accused of cheating and banned? When you know as a fact that you were not cheating, and yet get banned anyway, then that is a clear case of staff misconduct because you were banned based on an assumption. In another MMO that I used to play, an entire guild of just a little more than 300 players left because this happened to one of their members. With a game like CoE, an MMO that is designed to carry on for years and along with it, dedication to character progression and a commitment of time, the last thing I want is to know that a loose cannon masquerading as a moderator can ban me at any moment just for pretending to be able to read my mind. So I asked for a refund, and of course there was no reply.
So I sent in another support ticket asking for a refund of my $165.00. Since that day I've submitted three tickets asking for a refund and explaining why and each ticket has been met with no reply. Soulbound Studios has my money, I have no product, and they wont provide me with support and they have no other form of customer service, unless you count forum posts, that also get removed without explanation. And why not? Because the same guy moderating CoE, is the same person answering support tickets, or in my case, the same guy not answering support tickets.
To put this in perspective, this is like getting a ticket from a dirty cop when you know that you didn't deserve it. Then after going to court to fight it, you look up and see the same dirty cop sitting in the judges seat. Some might call this a conflict of interest, at the very least, it's a shitty system and lack of organization. This ticket cost me $165.00, a small amount compared to how much others have lost on this game. Some backers have gone as far as to take out loans and CoE even offers a layaway program with some paying as much as $10,000 to be a King or Queen; paying real money to rule over other players.
I have asked for a refund 3x now, and each time, I didn't even get a reply. Serpentius could not even be bothered to say "no". As a test, I submitted another ticket using a different email to hide my identity and addressing an unrelated matter, I received a reply from Serpentius within 5 hours. Clearly there is bias here and clearly SBS won't give refunds, even though their game is not due to release until 2020.
All of that was just a couple of months ago and where is SBS today…? Issuing layoffs and avoiding criticism. Sounds like a sinking ship.
I had a rather large list of reasons why I won't be playing CoE. But I ended up using more space for staff misconduct than I had intended so I'll just leave it as is for now… Maybe the game has the potential to be great, maybe not. But one thing is clear to me, any game, good or not, can be ruined by bad staff, and that is certainly true for me because there was a time when I was looking forward to the game.
You can't be so blatant and expect to be trusted. This will end badly. In 2020, when the game is due, Jerome will come up with some excuse as to why the game failed and vanish from social media citing something like "moving on with my life" like so many others have done in the past. He will follow the standard vanishing act seen by so many others because he lacks the creativity needed to come up with some new vanishing act, much less the creativity needed to develop an MMO. And when pressed to present evidence of the game, nothing significant will be shown beyond his initial video thus further revealing that only a very small % of the money he stole, was used on a game, and that was merely for the purpose of presentation; to create an illusion of development.
Update: June 29th, 2018
Since posting this back in 2017, I've received quite a few emails from those using the contact form to tell me about their bad experience with CoE, all of which clearly shows that Serpentius is nothing more than a hired thug that Soulbound Studios employed to make sure they always have an excuse to hold refunds. But an exposure campaign only works if 1) you are willing for your experience to be public and 2) you have a source of your own to post that experience, such as a website or social media account or both. Exposure works when there are lots of complaints posted from a variety of sources showing that this is happening to more than just one person and that this is a pattern of bad behavior by Soulbound Studios.
So if you want to help expose them, that's great, just be willing to post about your experience on social media, a site of your own, or both.
Update: April 3rd, 2019
COE ambassador and moderator Ikkerens read a reference to this article on reddit and then decided to fuel the flames by deciding the following about me:
- I'm "notorious"
- I have a history
- My article is mostly full of lies
It must be nice to be a mod with COE, have no first hand experience with the incident, but decide that you know all about me. You do however appear to have a practiced hand when it comes to being passive-aggressive as I see it riddled throughout your post.
Yes, funny thing about websites, they tend to gather views. But when you people literally ignore my tickets, this becomes my best recourse. When I confronted Ikkerens about his statements on social media, his only form of defense was to say "everyone has a history". You're right Ikkerens, but when you say "x has a history" you are inferring a history of wrong-doing. You're a terrible ambassador, ambassadors are supposed mediate between two parties, you did the exact opposite.
Hey Jennifer, you're next.