Chronicles of Elyria's back in the news this week after an update posted to its website details changes being made to its Alpha NDA, as well as talks about NFTs within Elyria.
First things first: the Alpha NDA. If you'll recall, when the Kingdoms of Elyria alpha began, eagle-eyed users spotted some concerning language in the NDA agreement which would see players potentially waive their right to legal action against Soulbound Studios. Skeptical backers (and they have every right to be skeptical) saw this potentially as a way for them to effectively throw away their claims to sue the studio, both retroactively and in the future.
While the language is actually pretty standard for NDAs, with the backdrop of the current class action lawsuit being brought forth by backers already ongoing, many potential testers urged each other not to sign the NDA as a result of the language, as we reported. Well, it seems the team at Soulbound Studios has picked up on this and is seemingly determined to get those backers into the Alpha, as CEO Jeromy Walsh this week announced via the studio's website that the NDA is being changed.
While claiming that this does not reflect a "change to the substance of the Agreement," Walsh says that the NDA's rewording is a way to better "clarify" their intent when putting forth the NDA agreement for Kingdoms of Elyria. This is, of course, after effectively coming down players and influencers for reacting with "suspicion" over the agreement, when they of right ought to do.
"Sadly, it became apparent that, even before downloading the client, some players and influencers reacted to specific sections of our Test Agreement with suspicion," Walsh states in the post. "With ongoing legal action against the studio, it was suggested that the wording was intentionally ambiguous and designed to give up your rights to take legal action against us for previous use of our Website or Services, or for us to describe our product as finished or final to render ongoing legal claims void. The result was that some of our Alpha 1 backers became reluctant to engage in our first Alpha test."
The new language, Walsh states, will apply to any backer, both those who have already agreed to the previous terms, as well as those potential testers who refused to sign it due to concerns over future (and current) class action rights. The changes, however, might not go far enough as the language leaves it clear that potential backers might be waiving their rights to a claim pertaining to Kingdoms of Elyria, though it does state now that it doesn't limit the ability of signees to "pursue a claim, whether as an individual or a member of a class, against Soulbound Studios arising out of, or relating to, or in connection with your use of Soulbound Studios' website or other services not related to the Test."
Here is the full changed language below:
It should be noted that these changes were shown in the article this week without being placed in the full context of the full NDA, but potential backers will be able to see the full NDA once its updated in the Kingdoms of Elyria launcher this week.
The post goes on to talk about SBS's need to shut down its official Subreddit as players, a small minority albeit, have been lashing at developers with what Walsh calls a "torrent of abuse." This includes, according to Walsh, "daily threats of violence." As a result, Walsh states that the team has decided to "temporarily lock" the COE subreddit until the community is in "a place where people feel safe expressing themselves."
Finally, Walsh talks about digital assets in Chronicles of Elyria, stating that an "increasing number of people" have been asking whether or not they would be able to purchase one of CoE's digital claims to a domain. As a result, Walsh details initial plans to turn claims into, effectively, NFTs where asset holders can trade or sell their current claims as they see fit.
"Beginning after the release of KoE: Domains, we're going to be issuing digital certificates of ownership to our backers for each title in their player-inventory, as well as a wide-selection of virtual items. These certificates will be able to be freely bought, sold, and traded on one or more of the public blockchain networks. Taking this step allows players to trade, buy, or sell their items for cryptocurrency (or even fiat currency) in a way that is secure, safe, and auditable - so there's never a question of ownership. At the appropriate time - either exposition or launch - players who own the certificates will be able to remit them to Soulbound in order to gain the features described in the certificates. Those who no longer want their titles and items can sell them to people who do, those who want to trade for a new location can arrange to do so, and those who want to claim a title can buy one from another player."
You can read the whole post on the Chronicles of Elyria website.