What happened to the plan to self-publish the book?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MightyUnclean, Oct 10, 2019.

  1. MightyUnclean

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    https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/f...pping-phase-2-and-printed-book-update.141478/

    Printed Book: As many of you have noted at the Patron (and above) pledge level one of the rewards is a printed version of the prequel novel “Blade of the Avatar” (aka “Sword of Midras”). Our original plan was to get copies of the book from the book publisher for distribution but we could not work out an equitable deal with them and we were not happy with how they laid out the illustrations in the book. Instead of using the beautiful Denis Loubet illustrations at the beginning of each chapter (as they were designed), they instead put them all lumped together at the beginning of each section of the book. So we have chosen to print the book ourselves and ship them to you directly. This will take some extra time and we will provide an update as soon as we have more information.
     
  2. Forum Name

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    An alternative plan was identified that sufficiently placates many current players (digital shinys). A calculation was made that existing players/spenders would not care or walk over the lack of a book, so it was ditched. What KS people no longer playing think about this clearly doesn’t matter, nor does it matter that hundreds to thousands of former players will get nothing from the stated KS requirement.

    Shroud math at is finest and most accurate.
     
  3. Aventine

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    I get concern about a book. But let's keep in mind that there always was far more risk associated with a crowdfunded game. The game could have completely failed and never have launched. That was the real risk. But that didn't happen, did it? Here we've had a game for years, one of the best sandboxes available that continues to grow thanks to the loving care of the dev team. There's a lot to be thankful for. Compared to the total risk many took to crowd fund the game, the loss of one book is peanuts. And anyone that crowdfunded a game as we did, should have always been prepared for that risk from the get go. If we weren't we should not have crowdfunded the game.
     
  4. MightyUnclean

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    Right, but again, what happened to this plan? Seems like the developers have forgotten that they ever mentioned it. They said they never could reach an agreement with the planned printer, but they made no mention of this.
     
  5. Forum Name

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    Fair points, but also realize that some people, myself included, do actually like to get what we paid for. Yes, if there was no game at all that is much worse, but that doesn’t give a blank check to default on stated obligations. The book may not matter to you, but please do not begrudge others the right to speak out about it.

    If I book a business class airline ticket and get downgraded, should I just accept it? I mean, the plane landed safely and I still had a seat, right? No, I go ask for compensation for the difference in what I paid for but wasn’t provided. And offering me a coupon for a free airline lounge visit may not seem particularly equal.
     
  6. Aventine

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    An idea of crowdfunding is that we are pledging (donating to) game development, not necessarily purchasing something as a direct purchase. While I think we all want to feel like we purchased something, I'm not sure that was the actual financial transaction medium during kickstarter / package pledging. Not like the store today.
     
  7. marthos

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    You're right, but missing a few things

    1. The game didn't fail. There is ongoing time/money being spent on developing the game rather than making good on the KS promise. It can be argued that it's a better use of resources, but then why make the promise in the first place?
    2. The game developers are making promises of delivering physical goods (silver rings) in exchange for donations for Episode 2. By failing to deliver on the first promise, people will be skeptical of their ability to deliver similar future promises.

    I pledged at a high enough level to get the signed version of the book, and I'm a bit disappointed that they can't spend $15 to get a copy of the book, sign it, and mail it to me. I understand why they can't, and I appreciate that they have tried to make it up to me with digital items instead. However, I wanted something physical to display in my house. I would have preferred a different, cheaper, signed physical item as a replacement.
     
  8. Elwyn

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    Many of the people who made the promises are no longer working at Portalarium. At least one left the day the KS officially closed. Starr came in after those promises were made and they were dumped at his feet.
     
  9. Forum Name

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    Ah, this old chestnut- as if it mattered who was there at the time. The company made the commitment, not any one person. Oh, and Richard and Chris were there the whole time. Next time your Loan officer leaves your bank, stop paying your mortgage and tell the bank it’s because the guy whose sold you your mortgage is no longer there...

    If you go by who is no longer with the company just to get out of things, you can get out of anything, because Chris and a couple of other devs are the only ones officially employed by Catnip. So 90%+ of Port no longer are there. Neat excuse.
     
  10. KnightFalz

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    1. That depends on how you define failure. I suspect SotA fell short of profit expectations, which is generally not seen as success in business.

    2. Once bitten, twice shy. Uncertainty over the physical incentives they offer is definitely part of the cost of the book not being delivered.

    I understand your preference for a replacement signed, physical item as it would have been much closer in nature to the original incentive. Of course that would have still required shipping and all that, which may be more additional cost than their budget could bear.

    I'd be disappointed as well, if I was in your position, and wouldn't have found the digital items a suitable replacement in the least.
     
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  11. KnightFalz

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    Here is a new one for you.

    Kickstarter is an investment platform. Everything offered on it are risky potentials. Nothing promised on it are absolute guarantees.

    Undertaking financial obligation of any sort is totally dissimilar, with accordingly dissimilar repercussions for failure to satisfy.

    So, nice try but no cigar.
     
  12. Forum Name

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    I am well aware of the risk of Kickstarter; and it is not an investment platform, at least for me - I pledged according to the terms presented to me at the time.

    It's okay to agree to disagree - I expect people and companies to execute based on what they present when asking for my money. Some people don't - they literally don't care about anything other than the game. It's cool. Folks might ask if that line of thinking has helped get us to the current state of the game and how it is viewed outside these forums, but oh well.

    My response above is related to a particular thought process on these forums and with Chris himself from time to time - that if the person at the company that made a commitment on Kickstarter is no longer here, it might not be valid to fulfill anymore.

    Port doesn't have the money to fulfill this reward? Fine - I still think it sucks, but fine. Port and Catnip never intended to fulfill the reward because the "person who added that to the Kickstarter isn't here anymore?" is a ludicrous and frankly, deceptive, line of thinking.
     
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  13. Curse2

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    Nothing really matters does it, reality has arrived at the door? There will be quippy replies to anything offered up as the reason. The simple fact of the matter is, people can choose to be a standup person, they can choose to be butthurt because they have a right to be, or they can choose to do the right thing for the rest of us; gracefully donate their frustration to the future potential outcome of the game.

    I am extremely thankful for the thoughtful donations made by others, and very happy that the game is still sustaining itself.

    Do you think Chris is an evil person, or someone that is faced with the harsh reality of business survival? So maybe they made a huge mistake, as a combined effort of past and present employees, but from what I have read, it sounds like a contractual commitment to a third party has potentially held them for ransom? Get it? A dreaded loophole, whereby they are darned if they do and darned if they don't. Would it be better to pay the corporate ransom (to put it in SOTA PVP terms), or make a hard decision that is certain to bring frustration and consternation to the door? Which one is really the easy button here?

    I am sad that folks did not get the book(I honestly do not know what the book is). I am very happy the same folks chose to invest, and I hope that they are gracious enough to understand that this probably has no remedy at this point. Continued dead horse kicking countermands the goodwill they have bestowed upon us newer players.

    I will be happy to try to help any of you in game with anything I can do, in an effort to show my appreciation for your dedication and goodwill towards myself and the rest of the players that want this to survive. Please PM me if I can do something to show my appreciation!
     
  14. Forum Name

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    That's for sure. Quote of the day.

    Second quote of the day. The easy button gets chosen with all too much regularity.

    Chris is definitely not evil and is doing exactly as you say - trying to survive. Almost everything that has happened in the past 18 months since launch, and especially in the past week, speaks to that fact. But perhaps you are right - my highlighting areas for discussion and addressing things like the book that I really think were handled in a way that are not only a dis-service to the backers owed them, but hurt the longer term goodwill for this game, are not going to change anything. Once I get the "good news" from VLPC on the Seedinvest, I guess I should go. It's time.
     
  15. Oakenhammer

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    To provide some additional context, everyone is disappointed by the issue with book (including Starr and Chris). The bottom line is that it was not financially feasible or responsible to fulfill this reward.

    Firstly, they could not come to an arrangement with the publisher to purchase the books at a discount, so it would be required to pay full price for thousands of books.

    Secondly, the thousands of books would have to be shipped by pallet to both Tracy and Richard for signing. Once the signed books were signed by both and returned to the distribution center, the now signed books would have to be separated and re-packed on pallets to be sent to regional distribution centers within the US and each country where a book is to be delivered. Once at the other distribution centers, the pallets would then need to be broken down and the books individually packaged for delivery to their final destination.

    All in, the total estimated cost for the books and logistics was somewhere around $100k to fulfill this reward. Based on all the information we have available, I suspect that amount of cash would be a substantial hit to the cash flow for the company. The team even explored pitching in their own personal money, but it just wouldn't be enough.

    In the best interest of the company, it is a more responsible financial decision to put this amount towards further development of the game, even though it is very disappointing for everyone involved. Did I want a signed book? Certainly, I did, but not at a substantial risk to the company itself. The team can make $100k stretch pretty far, so I support their decision.

    In the end, it was only a book and we got the digital copy years ago. They fulfilled probably 95% of the commitments from the Kickstarter, which is pretty impressive. I bought the extended hardcover version of the book from Amazon and one of these days, I'll catch Richard and maybe even Tracy at some event to get my hardcopy signed.
     
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  16. Forum Name

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    Thank @Oakenhammer for that insight - I do appreciate it, and at a certain level appreciate the quandary that Port/Catnip found themselves in.

    I clearly don't think it was resolved in a way I like, and still think to myself "they had over SIX years to get this figured out, and knew from day 1 it would cost a fair amount of money to do/ship the book, yet never thought to hold funds aside to care for it." Sh$! happens, but this was a fairly known expense for the life of the project, and could have been cared for back when they had a reserve of funds in the good old days.

    I still wish they would just sell the new in game items they are making in the crown shop to raise money for the expense now, but I get that they just want to cut bait and move on.

    Again, thanks for the extra insight, and good luck on the roads you all take in New Britannia.
     
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  17. marthos

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    I believe you are mostly right. If this game was pulling millions of dollars of profit each year, I think that they would eat that $100k expense to deliver on the promise. I don't believe that they are evil folks who set out from day one to not deliver on this promise. Crap happens along the way, the game wasn't as big of a hit as we all hoped it would be. I know that $100k is a lot of money to scrounge up for a struggling game. On the flip side, $500 is a lot of money for some folks to scrounge up too...and putting aside $15 of that $500 to guarantee that they could buy a retail copy of the book and ship it to me doesn't seem unreasonable or impossible. I understand why it didn't happen. If you find yourself in a situation where you can either fulfill the book promise or keep the game running, you pick keeping the game running.

    I do question whether the replacement reward was the right thing to do. There are cheaper and easier ways of delivering a physical reward to us. Heck, a nicely written latter personally thanking us for supporting the game, signed by RG, would be a cool thing to frame and throw up on the wall next to my U4 cloth map. Don't fault a guy for hoping that we can get a decision changed and get something tangible as a replacement.
     
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  18. KnightFalz

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    Kickstarter is an investment platform for those funding irrespective of anyone's personal view on the matter. You are given the opportunity to buy into something that is by no means certain in the hope it will be delivered. There is a very real possibility that even if a Kickstarter project is funded nothing will come of it in the end, with any funds contributed simply lost with no return. I don't know how it could be seen as anything else.

    What you characterize as commitment was statement of intent. Though I believe that intent was genuine, it does not a commitment make.

    Obviously the suggestion that someone leaving a company invalidates the commitments of that company or excuses their lapse is absurd.

    But this isn't a case of commitment but intent, and not one of people leaving a company. The assets related to SotA were sold to another company. The liabilities didn't necessarily come along with. Regardless that many of the individuals involved are the same, it is still a new and different company and legal entity. The waters are rather muddied here compared to a situation where some simply leave an ongoing concern.

    Yes, it sucks, a good deal, and will quite possibly cause some ill will with the game's most ardent supporters. Any favour so lost will be hard to gain back. This may well end out being a much more onerous cost to bear in the end.
     
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  19. Elrond

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