++Cancellation of E4 2021++

Hi everyone - after a long discussion this morning with Ali and the Game Team, and after extensive discussion with our health team and our senior crew, we’ve taken the decision to cancel the September event.

We’ve spent the last month working with a team of health experts putting together a plan for the September event. That plan would have involved significant compromises, but we were as positive we could be that it would have been safe. We have a great community at Empire and I’ve no doubt that everyone coming to the event would have respected other participants and behaved accordingly.

Unfortunately, we’ve had to make this plan against a backdrop of a constantly changing picture of what is happening with the virus. Numbers soared a few weeks ago, only to fall back a little in the last week. Had they continued to fall - if the epidemic were actually showing signs of being over - then we would have run. Sadly that hasn’t happened - and we need to make a decision now with the clear risk that numbers could start to rapidly rise again at the start of September when the schools go back.

Crucially, having spoken to a lot of players over the last four weeks, it’s clear that many people feel very ambivalent about us running at the current time. I understand that many people can’t wait to get back to Empire - but the same number are concerned about the prospect of a massive fest event with thousands of people on site at this time.

Many of our crew feel likewise - people who have supported us for nearly two decades are faced with choosing between supporting Profound Decisions or prioritizing their own safety and health.

As a result we were faced with asking our players and crew to come to an event that many are worried about attending. This would have compromised the quality of the event, not just in terms of structure, but also in regard to the quality of the game in the field. Empire is built on the actions the players take, but if a third or more of our regular player base aren’t there, much of that social roleplaying would be fatally undermined. We desperately want to run an event… but we desperately want our first event back to be everything you expect from an Empire event.

Weighed against that, we’ve discussed at length with our health team what we can expect to put on next year. They are confident that provided there is no major change in circumstances then we can expect to run close to normal in 2022. There will be some key policies needed, but nothing that will think will compromise the event and the roleplaying.

This has not been an easy decision for us. Working for PD is a dream job for our full time staff - all we want is to be back running events for you all. Come what may, we will be back with a full roster of events in 2022.

I won’t lie though that this means some tough compromises for us. I haven’t asked for help and support previously, but I’m not too proud to do that now. If you are able to, then buying an open ticket or two now, will make a huge difference to us. There’s a lot of work that we need to do this winter, to secure our equipment and protect it against the elements. Every open ticket we sell before the end of September will help us come back big and stronger next year.

Our intention now is to finalize those plans with the health team and then publicize them in a few weeks time. We want people to be able to see the long term picture of how we’re responding to the epidemic and to be able to make their own plans accordingly. Telling you how we’re going to run all four events next year is a key part of that plan.

With regard to administration of tickets, as with the previous event - if you had an adult player ticket for this event then we have converted it into an open ticket (https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Open_tickets). This means that the ticket will remain on your account indefinitely - and can be used at any time to book for any event and there will be no charge, provided you book the event online.

All other bookings have been cancelled and the associated charges removed from your Empire account. This should only affect traders and children - the cost for those tickets has been refunded to your account so you can use that to purchase a new ticket at any time. There is a small chance that a few parents may lose out if their child moves into an older ticket bracket when they come to book replacement tickets. If that’s the case, then just email us and we’ll credit your account with the difference. We’re determined to honour the original ticket prices paid by all our players when we do manage to run an event.

We’ve taken this approach to minimise the administrative burden; if you’re happy to have an open ticket then there is nothing further that you need to do. You’ll be able to use that ticket at any point in the future to book for any event - or you can even give it to a friend if you wish. If you need a refund for any reason - then please do contact us by emailing us with your name and details and we will sort you out. If you include your bank account number and sort code then we can process your refund very quickly.

As per previous updates, we will continue to “freeze” in-character time. That means that the first event that we run in 2022 will still be the forthcoming Winter Solstice.

I realize this decision will be a huge disappointment to many people, but having waited this long, I hope people will understand why we want to wait until the majority of our participants have been fully vaccinated. I honestly believe that the right thing for us to do is run when the majority of our participants feel it is safe to attend so that we can put on a great event, rather than risking everything by running too soon.

I want to close by reiterating my thanks to all our players and crew for the backing you have shown us since the pandemic began. The support that you’ve provided to Empire and Profound Decisions has made all the difference in the world. Thank you.

Matthew Pennington,

Profound Decisions.

==Summary==

  • Due to coronavirus, we are very sorry but we have to cancel the final event of 2021. We will be back running all four events next year when we can do so without compromising on what we can deliver.

  • If you booked the event, your ticket has been converted to an open ticket - you can use it for any event in the future.

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I speak for everyone here when I say that it’s sad to hear that it’s been cancelled! I can see where you’re coming from though, and I wish everyone good health too. Looking forward to the next one in 2022, which will be my first one! This just means that I have longer to sew my kit and learn the ways of the Empire! Thank you for letting us know, good luck for the next one! :slight_smile:

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