Artix Entertainment - A decaying mismanaged relic of Flash games

IceGray

"Dude, where's the bus?"
kiwifarms.net
Introduction
Adam Bohn, or better known as his self-insert Artix Krieger, is the owner of Artix Entertainment. The company used to be somewhat of a landmark in the days of Flash games.

As time went on, the company's skeletons in the closet can't help coming out, despite the CEO's self insert being a paladin.

Basically, the company has become an example of how not to manage a business whose glory days are long over.

The Lore Games (Adventure Quest, Dragon Fable, MechQuest)
The first three games where they still retained their passion. While they were abandoned eventually, they at least were given some kind of endings.

However, in 2015, the project lead of MechQuest quit due to burnout. (archive)

This led to a forum discussion about whether the company is failing. (archive of page 1)

Adventure Quest Worlds
An MMO version of Adventure Quest. It became a lightning hit in 2008 due to being the only major Flash MMO present at the time. This was also the turning point for the company's expectations as they expected every game after that would become as huge a hit, and would abandon it if not.

Herosmash
A game made in December 2010 that despite all claims to the contrary, Artix is deeply ashamed of. For one, the company blames players for not whaling hard enough. (archive)
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Despite claiming that player support would be important in reviving the game, Artix and co utterly refuse to do anything about it, not even have the relatively cheap option of linking the game to the main page.

They had mixed messages until 2018. Though most of them were to pretend the game never had a fanbase at all.
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Article about STEM Summer Camp 2015 (archive)

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When pressed about whether they would include it on their launcher to port it off Flash, they had this to say.
Confirmation that the game would not be archived in any way. (archive)
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Recently as of July 2020, the game blocks new character creation entirely, and some existing accounts appear to be unable to enter the game.

Oversoul
A card-battle MMORPG with hero-collection elements. Due to a severe bug in its sign up section (archive), it never received an audience. It was spared the bullying that the company used on HS only because the lead artist Nulgath / Miltonius was a good friend of Adam Bohn at the time.
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Adventure Quest 3D
A 3D remake of Adventure Quest (the Lore Games version), though it is not as much as an upgrade as you'd expect. It is their first full foray into a non-Flash medium, having attempted mobile apps previously.

(source, archive)
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Search for AQ3D criticism or the like on Twitter (archive) and you'll see the audience's expectations don't mesh with the devs'. It didn't help that the kickstarter raised said expectations.

Published Games
Artix Entertainment did not just create their own games. They attempted to publish some as well. Sadly, they also fell victim to the company's lack of endorsement.

Epicduel
Publication rights were acquired in 2009. (archive)

Gradually over time, players would become dissatisfied with how it turned into pay to win instead of PvP.

These days, the hashtag #EDCodes is the only way the company seems to want to interact with that particular game, with rare exceptions, Artix had this (archive) to say on behalf of the company. (archive)
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Put The Record On
One of the first projects that Lunime of Gachalife (Formerly Xyo) tried to get off the ground. According to its sales pitch (archive) it was "A 2D Side-Scroller RPG Flash game where you are a DJ. Gather battle records to unleash powerful skills and save music from corruption!"

It was never published.
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Going into how Lunime learned from example that abandoning projects rather than maintaining them for any reasonable length of time was appropriate is a tangent not fully suited for this post.

Eccentric rules
Besides the usual "no NSFW" and "common decency" that is standard for a general audience, Artix has some odd rules for his staff. Most notoriously the insistence on pseudonyms.

Clipped from the PDF file attached to this thread. Highlighting for emphasis.
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Second, though only implied, is that the company likes to leave old projects in the dust in favor of new ones. From the Lore Games for AQWorlds, then AQWorlds for AQ3D.

Third, they have made no bones about having volunteers contribute art assets (archive) to their games. That wouldn't seem so shady if not for the burnout previously stated in MechQuest.
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Artix A-logs
Inevitably, there are people who rant and rave about Artix Games. One such is a former volunteer artist (archive) for AQWorlds.
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Another recent A-log example. (Twitter) (archive) (Google Docs) (archive)
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As given with A-logs, their criticisms tend to veer into nitpicking.
(archive)
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(archive)
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Props to Cheetahman for bringing up Ninjaty, a player notorious for snapping at people who are tired of rare collections.
(Unfortunately, most of the original posts have been pruned/deleted before anyone thought to archive them)

Do you like owning virtual items that other people can't get?
Do you like to spend tens of thousands of dollars on artificially scarce .swf files in 15-year old flash games?
Do you like to sit at your computer, refreshing a forum page over and over for 10 hours on end, to get a code for an exclusive item that only 10 people will have?
Do you like to break down in tears when popular demand means new items similar to older exclusive items are released?
Do you like to threaten to sue indie game developers for removing bugged content because that would make something you don't have be permanently unavailable to you?

If you do, you might be Ninjaty.
There are people who are attached to things they own, and there is a 20+ grown man who has meltdowns whenever rare (i.e. no longer available) virtual items are involved.

The most recent incident is one where the game dev gave away codes for an exclusive item. Ninjaty didn't get one, and he had a lot to say about it.

(This Zippleclopper fellow isn't really involved, but the original post in the quote got deleted.)
View attachment 569760

It's pretty funny in context, but it only gets more bizarre when this incident from 3 years back comes to mind.
View attachment 569751
He contacted lawyers about these virtual items. The threads are long gone, but this apparently wasn't the first time he's tried to sue over something like this, it was the third in four years.

I didn't even know he had a Twitter, so imagine my surprise when it shows up on Google and it's exactly what I expected it to be.
As a crazy fan who spends thousands of dollars, the devs are obviously reluctant to ban him. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop him from airing his grievances out on Twitter, where he's been muted by pretty much everyone on the dev team.
I am very sorry that these all go in reverse chronological order, because some of these are very long.

View attachment 569752

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One might wonder why someone might be like this, to which the following might give a clue.
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Eh, virtual items that because of ToS rules you don't even own are basically the same as humans.
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To be clear, you can't even trade between players, so the only value anything has is "you were online during a specific week nine years ago and spent $5".
Kickstarters
Currently, the company has completed 3 kickstarters: AQ3D, Moglins, and an NES game. As of writing, not all rewards have been released completely.

The AQ3D kickstarter (archive) was to earn funds in order to create and host the game.
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Moglins (archive) was to produce a test run of stuffed toys based on a fictional species present in the Lore games.
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The NES kickstarter (archive) is possibly the strangest, as it has been described as a personal project Artix wants to make.
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Attachments

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Aurora

kiwifarms.net
I always find stories pertaining failing companies and their inner policies interesting, but I have a few questions. Any more info on the main players? Pictures of them or feuds with people maybe? Any alternate social media they use? Or their A-Logs if they have any.
 

I Love Beef

お前わもう。。。。。満でるー!!!!
kiwifarms.net
Well, I can't exactly say that the mighty have fallen, but wow, this is quite a feature.

In honesty, I haven't gotten into their games due to their basic and near simplistic gameplay. The only reason Artix's stuff drew me in is the art. Even then, you should check out some of the future release weapons. That is some horrid weapon design, let me tell ya.

Maybe instead they could had invested in gaining developer's licenses, and going further with their visuals and gameplay, but that appears to not have been what was in mind for future plans.

HeroSmash also looks like something ugly you would have seen from the early 2000s when anime was getting big into circulation.

You could have been something Artix, but man, what a shame.
 

IceGray

"Dude, where's the bus?"
kiwifarms.net
Artix himself is the only person who hasn't really tried to hide his real world identity after several interviews.

His personal website biography. (archive)

I am iffy about including his FB as he often posts about his children there.

Most of their a-logs are on Twitter but mainly do not seem to have any interest in digging out their inner policies. Even the notorious NDA that prevents ex-staff from speaking up is barely brought up.

A former salesgirl, now a thot, had this (archive) and that (archive) to say.

I admit Herosmash didn't have the best character design, but its Code Vein-esque gameplay ability to swap powers at will was something. But its background art was great. AE did have a disproportionately shitty response when blaming the art style (archive) though.
 

I Love Beef

お前わもう。。。。。満でるー!!!!
kiwifarms.net
Artix himself is the only person who hasn't really tried to hide his real world identity after several interviews.

His personal website biography. (archive)

I am iffy about including his FB as he often posts about his children there.

Most of their a-logs are on Twitter but mainly do not seem to have any interest in digging out their inner policies. Even the notorious NDA that prevents ex-staff from speaking up is barely brought up.

A former salesgirl, now a thot, had this (archive) and that (archive) to say.

I admit Herosmash didn't have the best character design, but its Code Vein-esque gameplay ability to swap powers at will was something. But its background art was great. AE did have a disproportionately shitty response when blaming the art style (archive) though.
I should take her statements with a grain of salt, but wow, if she was even put through the bullshit HR "feelings" garbage, that's some fucky management right there. Of course, there is always another side to this story.

Artix seems to be an alright guy? I suppose. He seems to be the kind of person who has good intentions but doesn't exactly seem to be aware of those who wish to take advantage of him, as his employees attest. He didn't seem to be the person Velvet had a problem with.

I am now interested in this.

EDIT: Artix is based out of Tampa, Florida. Oh boy.
 

ScamL Likely

IT'S! NOT! EVEN! HOT! OUT! SIDE~!
kiwifarms.net
I used to play the old adventurequest back in the day starting from when the graphics were really shitty in the early 00s up to a couple of years after they introduced the pay to win type microtransactions. It wasn't the greatest thing ever but there was enough content and personality to it for it to be a decent enough timewaster for a good number of years. When the company's focus shifted to that Worlds mmo as its primary cashcow it was pretty obvious that they stopped caring about their legacy games and original audience.
 

IceGray

"Dude, where's the bus?"
kiwifarms.net
I should take her statements with a grain of salt, but wow, if she was even put through the bullshit HR "feelings" garbage, that's some fucky management right there. Of course, there is always another side to this story.

Artix seems to be an alright guy? I suppose. He seems to be the kind of person who has good intentions but doesn't exactly seem to be aware of those who wish to take advantage of him, as his employees attest. He didn't seem to be the person Velvet had a problem with.

I am now interested in this.

EDIT: Artix is based out of Tampa, Florida. Oh boy.
Indeed, Artix was not the person that she had a beef with. It's the sales lead Stryche, a.k.a. the guy who casually insulted his customers as paste eaters.

Though I am no longer able to find the sauce for that, it was said Stryche kept trying to flirt with the salesgirl and then he won't take no for an answer.

Speaking of mixed messages, they donated the shirts they couldn't sell to be made into masks, instead of selling the shirts off cheap and donating the proceeds to mask charities. (archive)
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Considering their habit of refusing to promote Herosmash at all, it seems they are looking for a convenient way to trash old stock.
 

JimiHendrix

kiwifarms.net
I was one of the first players for Adventure Quest when I was like, 12. I was in the first 8,000 players of that game, and I think it up got like 30,000 if not more. I thought I recognized the Artix Entertainment name.

but aside from my trip down memory lane, unless Artix was using his games to lure in children, I don't much see the value of this thread.
 

I Love Beef

お前わもう。。。。。満でるー!!!!
kiwifarms.net
Indeed, Artix was not the person that she had a beef with. It's the sales lead Stryche, a.k.a. the guy who casually insulted his customers as paste eaters.

Though I am no longer able to find the sauce for that, it was said Stryche kept trying to flirt with the salesgirl and then he won't take no for an answer.

Speaking of mixed messages, they donated the shirts they couldn't sell to be made into masks, instead of selling the shirts off cheap and donating the proceeds to mask charities. (archive)
View attachment 1348493
Considering their habit of refusing to promote Herosmash at all, it seems they are looking for a convenient way to trash old stock.
Yeah, that's pretty shitty marketing and business strategy.

Stryche seems to be potential lolcow material considering his posts and disposition. Since it's in Florida, who knows, we might even get some Florida Man material out of this.
 

The Reaper

Be more kind, my friends.
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
As a Mechquest Star Captain I think I am legally obligated to argue against this thread.

No, stop, don't.

Since that's out of the way I always thought it was weird how DragonFable and Mechquest never really felt balanced out for a true finish. There isn't as much direction, and I think Mechquest is still stuck in 2015 or 16 in regards to whatever event was last.

I should try finding my sign in to see where I last left off.
 
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IceGray

"Dude, where's the bus?"
kiwifarms.net
Perhaps it's a good thing I went fishing for opinions before trying to post it in Community Watch then?

And I was a former Adventure Quest guardian as well as a Herosmash founder. I drew the line at 3D due to the shenanigans that came up at that point.

Last I checked DragonFable is still being maintained by two people who haven't gotten into company drama that much.
 

I Love Beef

お前わもう。。。。。満でるー!!!!
kiwifarms.net
Perhaps it's a good thing I went fishing for opinions before trying to post it in Community Watch then?

And I was a former Adventure Quest guardian as well as a Herosmash founder. I drew the line at 3D due to the shenanigans that came up at that point.

Last I checked DragonFable is still being maintained by two people who haven't gotten into company drama that much.
You actually did good for a new thread. Proving Grounds is the go to place for new threads by procedure. It might very likely not blossom into much or at all, but you did better than most.
 

Marco Fucko

I fantasized about this back in Chicago
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Yeah seriously OP, good execution if questionable target. I also remember wasting time in the computer lab playing the 'Lore' series, alongside Runescape and F5ing Krinkels' NG page.

That being said, even if they're technically current, they don't seem to have a lot going on. They're not like Spoony where mentally they're always on fire and constantly lashing out at people now that their glory days are gone, and unless former or current employees really want to try and take Artix down I don't know if there's much to see here.
 

Ramen Timer

Which do you like better; ramen, or me?
kiwifarms.net
Yeah seriously OP, good execution if questionable target. I also remember wasting time in the computer lab playing the 'Lore' series, alongside Runescape and F5ing Krinkels' NG page.

That being said, even if they're technically current, they don't seem to have a lot going on. They're not like Spoony where mentally they're always on fire and constantly lashing out at people now that their glory days are gone, and unless former or current employees really want to try and take Artix down I don't know if there's much to see here.
Could they explore the boards for drama, or anything of interest?
Also, calling people idiots is not "ableist", OP.
 

ScamL Likely

IT'S! NOT! EVEN! HOT! OUT! SIDE~!
kiwifarms.net
I was one of the first players for Adventure Quest when I was like, 12. I was in the first 8,000 players of that game, and I think it up got like 30,000 if not more. I thought I recognized the Artix Entertainment name.

but aside from my trip down memory lane, unless Artix was using his games to lure in children, I don't much see the value of this thread.
I think there's some potential but it's likely going to be a more dry type of thread about poor business/managerial decisions rather than out-and-out degeneracy or autism. Definitely not a crowd-pleasing type of thread unless more lurid dirt emerges.
 

AsianChris

The rates I give don't have personal bias
kiwifarms.net
There was this guy at High School that was addicted to AQW. He was schizophrenic, dressed weird, writes really bad even today, was not very bright and got people bullying him. One day he stopped attending school to play that game in a Cybercafe, didn't see him ever since. Everytime I see something related to AQW I remember him.
 

Forgetful Kiwi

kiwifarms.net
Remember playing Adventure Quest when I was in school and without disposable income. Remebmer it beeing entertaining for a while until you came up to a brick wall that usually required membership to get past. Also remember that most of their games where pretty much the same only with a different theme slapped on top of it, at least up until the point when I started to be able to buy and play games I found more fun.
 
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