I'll do something I never thought I would do...
Lightmare Studios, and by extension Elphie, werent bad people. Bad at management? Oh sure. Bad at design? Absolutely. Purposefully trying to steal our money? No. I kind of wish the answer were yes, because I think i'd feel better getting robbed than seeing Infinity Wars crash and burn the way it did.
I dont know if any of you know me. I was the first backer for Infinity Wars. I was local to one of the development offices (Yeah, they ran two offices). I ended up visiting and hanging out with the team. I ended up working for Lightmare. I wrote the lore for Infinity Wars. At least, what it was before Yodo took over. I have no idea what they did with it.
I left the game after watching it stagnate for years, but I definitely feel like it was an amazing opportunity. But between the head designer not really understanding game balance (which would have been fine if they implemented a development team), and Elphie INSISTING he got to put his finger in every pie (Around the fourth set he had to sign a contract within his own company promising not to push his designs any more, in return for an Agent Coyle in every set and a new dragon), and the loss of the three guys I used to hang out with (the main programmers and secondary designers) to proper mobile gaming companies, it was not going to last.
I was part of the Infinity Council, the team of passionate players they asked to donate a LOT of free time to test and balance new sets. To give feedback on broken metas. To explain what we want out of the game and what makes it fun. We would have 4 hour meetings over voice chat nailing down new sets, only to find NONE of our suggestions after months of testing would be taken up.
Again, I dont think anyone here was evil. Ian and Elphie were so god damn passionate about this game, it was their baby.
When I first found the game, I was totally taken in by its world building. I asked for more lore. constantly. Daily. Eventually I started writing my own. Thats how I got the job to write it. I was told my fanfiction fit the idea of where they wanted it to go.
So I met with Ian, who is the real brains behind the game. I think Elphie is the wallet. And we talked shop, I pointed out a few things I didnt like with his world, he agreed. I signed on as a freelance writer. I did massive multipage primers for each faction, discussing culture, philosphy etc, detailing little things, suggesting character arcs, suggesting overall faction arcs. I wrote the original campaign missions which I was told would be voice acted and displayed how Yodo eventually did it (Was very proud to see that, even though they changed my work a fair bit. At least they did great justice to Bromich!!! <3 HATED Lucca though). I wrote 5 short stories for a number of different factions. I think only one was ever released. Aleta's Discovery, where Tinker discovers Sufferer.
I wrote style guides for the artists to follow, to ensure no men were drawn in positions of power in verore cards (ignored). What sort of animals should be drawn in warpath cards to keep a thematically correct faction (ignored). So much research into chinese culture for DoD (which was a faction added SOLELY to appeal to the chinese mobile market. Fun fact) that was all ignored by the artists.
My stories werent released. Ian didnt like where I was taking the story, but didnt have time to do his own thing.
And here is the main problem of Lightmare. They had no communication between the offices, no communication between the departments. No communication and no direction and too many cooks and not enough indians.
My heart puffying broke over this game. I put months and months and months of worldbuilding into it. I got paid $500 for my work, because I wanted to see my contribution in game, and I knew how much they were hurting.
They were not evil people, just highly incompetent. They had an amazing idea (sort of... a lot of the game was designed by the fans in the original kickstarter comments. For example, the concept of purity? *raises hand* Yep. My idea.) that they didnt know how to grow or nurture. And they refused to listen to thier investors, the people who bought the card packs and kept the game alive.
I wish Infinty Wars picked up. Believe me, I have SO MUCH love for this franchise. But it was never going to happen because Elphies Ego was too big, Ians grasp was too strong and Lightmares business structure was... unsustainable.