A Note on Influence Points (and cheaters)

Hey All,

The purpose of Influence Points is to reward community members for helping to make the game successful. That is - for having an influence on its success.

To that end, we award IP for various activities which we believe influences the success of the game. Some of these activities include:

  • Inviting other paying/contributing members to the community
  • Providing valuable information on the community forums or Wiki
  • Asking intelligent questions in our Live Chat thread
  • Posting website, chat server, or game bugs
  • Creating new journalistic content via blogs, YouTube videos, etc...
  • Providing valuable feedback on design choices which alters our course
  • Creating valuable game content via our content tools
  • Providing impressive fan art or fan fiction
  • Backing us financially via Kickstarter or other

Of the above, the one that appears least understood is inviting other paying or contributing members to the community.

It has been our plan all along that, once we began our Kickstarter campaign, to reset the IP awarded for referrals based on the number of recruiting members who either pre-order or back the game, or earn enough Influence themselves to earn a free copy of the game.

However, this doesn't seem to be understood. People see the projected influence go up on the IP chart and assume that means they're earning IP. If it's solely from recruiting other members, then if they don't buy the game, back us on KS, or otherwise provide significant contribution to the success of the game, you're not actually getting IP for that.

As a result of this misunderstanding we've been seeing over a hundred "fake" accounts being created - many of them over the last couple days. These fake accounts exist solely to enter the Friend Code of a pre-created accounts so the "master account" can get a bunch of IP.

This is harmful to the community and ultimately provides no benefit to the people doing it. For a couple reasons:

  1. Because those dummy accounts will never buy the game, or earn Influence themselves, they don't actually give the cheater any real Influence
  2. In the process of creating the dummy accounts, they're consuming Aliases which might otherwise be used by valid players.

But most importantly... We use the number of confirmed accounts to help us gauge the interest in the game. We use those numbers to help guide us in determining when to launch our Kickstarter campaign based on the interest we're seeing. When people create dummy accounts with no interest in buying the game, it misleads us. Worst case scenario we launch a campaign thinking there's a ton of interest... only to fail and have the game cease development.

As a secondary problem. We're now having to spend time developing tools to better track IP addresses, block people, ban people, etc... We knew these things would happen eventually, but the automated and manual creation of the dummy accounts is forcing us to do those things now... which is taking precious time away from the development of the game. I'm going to repeat that.

If you're creating fake accounts to earn IP, you're not gaining anything, but you are misleading us and forcing us to spend time tracking you down rather than making the game.

In other words. STOP.

Because we know asking nicely isn't going to help. And because we know telling people straight up to knock it off isn't going to work, we're going to be instituting new IP policies this coming week.

To begin with, we'll be clearing IP for all accounts. Then, we'll be re-awarding IP based on concrete earnings, such as blog posts, YouTube videos, Easter eggs, Live Chat participation, contributions to the forums, bug posting, etc...

After that's all done, if you've invited someone who's managed to earn their place in the community using one or more of the above methods, you'll receive the usual 50 Influence for inviting them. Not before.

As a result of this change, many of you will have your Influence drop back to zero, and for most it will stay there until the people you invite either contribute a significant amount to the development of the community, or until those referrals buy, back, or pre-order a copy of the game.

Hopefully when these cheaters see their Influence no longer rising they'll be less incentivised to create useless dummy accounts. Futhermore, you'll always have an accurate view of the amount of influence you've earned, rather than a projected estimate.

Thanks all for your patience as we work through these issues.

= The Soulbound Staff

2/22/2016 7:10:50 AM #1

It looks like people are once again ignorant of the way Influence works.

It looks like Segamos14 has now created a bunch of accounts to award himself projected Influence. Assuming the 67 accounts he created all buy a copy of the game, then his Influence will be real. Otherwise, he's just wasting his time... and ours. Now my team has to go in and clean up the accounts rather than spend time developing the game.

So from me to you, thanks for wasting the time of 30,000 other players, as they get to wait on us to finish the game while we ban you.

And as people seeing numbers go up clearly makes them go insane, I'm going to be disabling the awarding of "projected" Influence henceforth.

Now the only way to get IP from recruiting others is if they buy a copy of the game, back us on Kickstarter beyond a certain tier, or if they themselves earn more than 400 IP by being a contributing member of the community.

Remember folks, Influence Points are supposed to be a measure of how much you've influenced the success of the game. If your influence has gone up because you created multiple accounts and "friended" yourself, not only are you not making the game more successful, but you're causing us to get a false sense of confidence in the number of interested community members. You're actually working against the success of the game. That's bannable.

2/22/2016 10:16:34 PM #2

Hey Folks, since this update earlier today I've had a few people message me on IRC, Facebook, and here on the forums with questions regarding them no longer receiving IP on the website. So I wanted to provide three quick reminders for people who haven't read the OP of this thread.

  1. Recruiting contributing members to the community does still result in 50 Influence Points. The points are just no longer applied/shown for a recruit until they become flagged as a contributing member.

  2. A contributing member is someone who either buys the game, backs us on Kickstarter above a minimum tier, or themselves earns at least 400 Influence through helping to influence the success of the game.

  3. There are many ways to earn Influence beyond recruiting others. Many of them will be more obvious after the website update. In addition to recruiting & backing us on Kickstarter, people receive Influence for:

    • Positive contributions to forum conversations
    • Creating external content such as blogs, YouTube videos, etc.
    • Submitting unique/unknown bugs about the game or website to our Bugs forum (Please don't use the main website for your testing. We provide alpha/beta servers for that)
    • Asking intelligent questions for Q&A
    • Being a top-voted contributor in our new Content-Creation tools
    • Submitting high quality fan media / fan fiction
    • Winning other community-sponsored events (Easter egg hunts, etc...)
    • Your success/participation in the upcoming Kingdoms of Elyria game.
    • Forum Moderation
    • Article/Journal Review
    • Voting in polls

As you can see, there's several active and passive ways you can contribute to the success of the game. These are the ways people earn their 400 Influence, and as people do, others who've recruited them will be awarded their 50 IP for recruiting a contributing member.