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Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted General Article: Special Report, Part II

By Carolyn Koh on December 21, 2006

Horizons: Special Report, Part II (Page 3 of 3)

What Next? Will there be an Act 3?

In regards to information about complaints made to the Attorney General’s office, we managed to track down player “Menkure” who made such a complaint. From the questions we asked and the information received, it boiled down to the same reasons that others have had cause to complain: a lack of communication from EI Interactive.

“I tried calling EI's offices (Both their main office number in Tennessee, as well as the office in Butte, Montana), but was unable to get anyone alive. I left several messages, but no attempts were made to return my calls.

“In frustration, I posted a rebuttal to Dr. Rask in my thread, which was deleted rather quickly. When it became apparent that I was being given the run-a-round, I proceeded to file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office for my home state. They forwarded my complaint to the Office of the Attorney General for the state of Montana, and I was in contact with their office the next day (August 7th).

“Since August 16th, I've not received any further notices from the Montana AG in regards to EII or their investigation. Seeing that now EII has a 1-800 number for people to call if they wish to cancel, and that the erroneous billing has seemed to have stopped, I feel that the matter is pretty much at its end.”

Communication continues to be spotty between EI Interactive and Horizon players, and players continue to ask for information and assurance. To date, players are still concerned about the viability of EI Interactive and Horizons. The only official spokesman for EI Interactive is Nicholas “Nagafen” Dobbins so when he is missing for more than ten days, players notice and begin to post “Where is Nagafen” threads, seeking answers. Here and here.

Business as Usual

Company takeovers are not stress free. Former employees often find themselves in the untenable positions of having to train their replacements. New owners can find a host of unexpected problems that crop up after an acquisition is complete. Customers are sometimes left bewildered and wondering if service will continue.

EI Communications Corp owns EI Interactive as well as game portal sites such as gameintruder.com and mygamehaven.com. The purchase of Horizons has provided a large email list for their marketing efforts. What do we mean? In our efforts to learn if Horizons players had been informed via email about the change in billing service as expressed EI Interactive, we checked with several players who had not, but did forward newsletters from gameintruder which unfortunately, did not have an “unsubscribe” link.

The takeover is complete, the billing issue seems to be resolved… but what next? EI Interactive retained some Tulga employees to see them through the transition. Some allegations were made in their forums by Dr. Raymond Rask that EI Interactive had encountered some hindrance, but the remarks were quickly deleted.

Since then, we have received multiple allegations that checks received by some independent contractors have been returned for insufficient funds, among them programmer Jeff Gully and former MMORPG.com Staff Writer Michael Hampden. Mr. Andercheck declined comment on these matters.

Moving Forward

Since the takeover, EI Interactive has moved forward with their own plans for Horizons. A recent Halloween Event was held and was evidenced in an IRC chat held in October will be moving towards more server (shard) specific lore.

In a press release dated November 28, 2006:

“11/28/06- Carson City, NV- Pixel Magic Entertainment Corporation announced today their acquisition of Enhanced Interactive Communications Corporation. Enhanced Interactive Communications Corporation is the parent company of online game publisher EI Interactive.”

Pixel Magic Entertainment lists three directors of which Ed Andercheck, formerly of EI Interactive is one.

A quick search of public databases revealed that Pixel Magic Entertainment Corporation was incorporated in the State of Nevada by a statutory agency company on November 14, 2006 and the domain created November 9, 2006.

Ed Andercheck explained the new company as an amalgamation of a group of companies. Pixel Magic, he admitted, is a new entity, but as group they had all existed and consulted together independently for quite some time.

He added that the move also means more developer resources will soon be allocated to the project, something they simply didn’t have access to before. He joined the board as part of the initial deal.

Some of the early goals from the new parent about EI is to reverse engineer and document all the underlying code that makes Horizons work. To date, they own the game, but largely have little that tells them how to work with it, let alone expand upon it.

Andercheck was also excited about the idea of a league of historians, which is a new player led content initiative that revolves around guilds. It’s a platform for guilds to shape the world’s history, we were told.

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