Shroud of the Avatar raised almost $700K from investors, $67.5K from donors last night

Shroud of the Avatar’s equity crowdfunding campaign on SeedInvest has come to a close, with 518 investors having raised just shy of $700,000 in the round. It was over $700,000 at one point last night but dropped back down as someone apparently backed out.

Perhaps that person put money into the game’s latest telethon instead. As promised, Portalarium has switched over from quarterly to monthly fundraising telethons; last night’s even raised $67,500 and granted “oracle eye” themed stretch goals to players, including home decor, sparklers, and wings.

The telethon stream does feature a Q&A with the dev team on the past release in addition to a “world building tour”; we’ve included it below.

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31 Comments on "Shroud of the Avatar raised almost $700K from investors, $67.5K from donors last night"

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Raimo Kangasniemi

One of the downsides of the MMO genre is this strange entitlement people have: “I don’t like this game and/or people behind this game, so no one must be allowed to like it or say one positive sentence about it. It must fail!”

There are a lot of people who just spend more time publicly hating games they have never played and will never try than they spent praising the games which they actually like and have played, or when it comes to coming games, intend to play.

Accepting that different people like different things, and that games and companies and devs you don’t like have as much right to be successful or just at least to muddle on like the ones you like wouldn’t hurt the genre one bit.

bardamu1999
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bardamu1999

At this point all SotA has is basically a fancy backdrop for LARPing with retired UO whales dressed in fancy costumes with regal sounding titles, who have more money than common sense. Make no mistake, this game has virtually no content, no economy, no player base, and very little to actually do.

This is the strongest criticism there can be. Where is the game? Amid all of this investor hype, selling virtual real estate, selling furniture, selling everything under the sun, constant telethons and monthly begging for money, where is the actual game play here? If anyone finds it, please let me know. Compared to game like, say, GW2, it’s shameful how much money Port is collecting and what they’re giving out in return for it.

Why, in the midst of all of this, Port needs ever more and more morey is the part I am disgusted by. I can see the “game” and the fans just not being my cup of tea; but this constant begging for money when they shamelessly sell virtually everything in sight, and the tremendous frugality of the development in general, there’s just no excuse for any of it. Where’s the content? There’s certainly no R&D costs. Assets and mechanics look and feel like a cheaply made Steam game that squeaked through Greenlighting; only difference is that kind of game sells for low prices, and never asks for more money for anything else.

Until this game has any kind of gameplay to speak of I think anyone who wants to have a fancy garden party LARP with make believe elites should check out Ever, Jane; it’s going to cost you a lot less in the long run.

Vaeris
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Vaeris

Initially backed this for the single player that was promised. Later saw the morphing happening and lost hope of it being what I initially had thought they were aiming for. How they implemented housing was the big killer for me as it showed the hand of their future of nickel and diming. Their right, of course, but it closed my interest and most definitively nixed me ever recommending the game.

1 and 1 with Garriott. I’m not sure I’d give any future projects a try. Honestly don’t think there will be one, though.

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Kickstarter Donor
Jack Pipsam

Who are these people?!?

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Kickstarter Donor
zoward

To each their own. I tried to like this game, and just couldn’t get into it. Clearly there are enough people out there who love it enough to feed the constant fund raisers it seems like they’re always having. *Shrug*.

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Meanie

how does this game make so much money when i’ve only ever heard/read it was a really boring game ran by bad devs?

bardamu1999
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bardamu1999

The vast majority of the backers appear to be elderly, mostly retired, and well-off; all of them with fond remembrance of UO, and a hero worship of RG.
Then you have folks who got sucked in by the myth of RG perpetuated by the aforementioned group. I’m one of these people unfortunately.

The vast majority of these backer’s core wants appear to be intimately connected with their desire for phony heraldry and virtual real estate; they just announced that this 1% will be able to charge rent from plebes like myself for housing, which cannot be got without significant monetary expense. At this point it’s a perfect storm of whale stupidity and desire for special treatment and RG’s ability to deliver this for ever increasing amounts of cash.

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Raimo Kangasniemi

For some reason it’s ok for Chronicles of Elyria team to sell for 10 000 dollars the title of kings, then dukes, counts and courtiers with the last title costing 1000 dollars – and these titles supposedly bring ‘real’ political power over the hoi polloi of the great unwashed masses of lesser gamers.

When the favourite of the vocal ‘fans’ of the genre does this it’s just good business acumen, and a time for hoorays and virtual hats thrown in the air with three cheers for the six new kings.

But when the game and team vocal ‘fans’ love to hate do it, it’s time for to get the pitchforks, tar and feathers out and head for the online forums.

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Meanie

Thanks for your honest critiques. I almost bought into this game simply cause I had saw someone compare it to old school EQ and I think a focus on grouping…but I’m kind of glad I didn’t.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
zeko_rena

As long as they are happy and having fun, more power to them, don’t care what they spend there money on :)

Reader
Gary Turton

You know, its funny how players come here to the comments to bash a title, company, and its players with very little Known hard facts.

So here are a couple, First, Portalarium has delivered ON TIME, EVERY MONTH 44 Straight Monthly Releases. Without Fail. The servers come up with new content AS SCHEDULED Each time. This is from a Game Still In Development.

The Game Servers have been down unscheduled in that time, exactly ZERO times. ZERO. It is an extremely stable service.

The Developers are some of the most transparent in the industry and the community is one of the strongest and most helpful I have ever seen. If you are going to sit back and wonder WHY backers give money to Portalarium…. Its because this team delivers what it says it is going to. Every Month. Simple as that. They do not make promises they cannot keep.

In an industry full of development black holes, much delayed releases and broken servers – this is not one of them. So while everything is not perfect in the game, we believe this team is going to deliver on their promises. Though the Journey maybe longer then some have wanted, in the end they have given us no reason to doubt them. At least I don’t.

bardamu1999
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bardamu1999

Since you’re such a big fan perhaps you can tell what exactly you do in this game. I’m a backer, every time I download and try new builds it’s the same; there are some in-game LARPy events held by the same 100 people who are the biggest fans, and there’s not much else to see and do.

I ran around gathering a few of the hats, which showed me how small all the instanced scenes were, and how ridiculous the combat mechanics were.

I tried a few of the quests, which were so poorly designed I got a complete just for having something in my inventory coincidentally that the quest required, without ever having to ask about the quest itself. Yep, that’s meaningful, consequence laden gameplay if ever I’ve seen it.

And the rest of it is the constant begging for money. We are selling this. We are selling that. We are pretending to have scarcity in a batch of pixels, so buy quickly!

Forums are a mix of hero worship and very sour cynics, and the overall impression I get is everything is perfect, or everything is doomed, depending on who you read. It’s not a healthy forum environment whatsoever.

So in light of all this, tell me what is going on with this game, from a gameplay perspective? I’m a lowly backer at around the $35 range, so perhaps I am not privy to what Lords Rich and Starr are doing, or planning. But it seems to me for over 2 years now I am waiting for a game to play, and all I get are sales pitches for real estate, furniture, and so on.

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Gary Turton

I also need to say that I admit the quest system is lacking at the moment. It is, BUT they purposely saved questing for last. Understanding the development model is not always easy. There are tools that need developed behind the scenes for quest building, NPC actions, movements, etc. Just because WE think its a priority does not mean quest building was thier priority a year ago.

I will say this, the new starter zones, Solace Bridge Outskirts, Highvale Outskirts and Blood River Outskirts are really good. Even if you have out-leveled them, go back and play them, you will see where they are going in development.

Also, the Final Path in the story-line was the BEST part of the game. It was also the newest tech, scenes and story. I have talked to the developers and mentioned my thoughts that they really need to go back and fix the early paths to add in the great scene tech to polish them up… I was told that is plan this quarter.

As Richard likes to say, the last 20% of development has 80% of the front facing fun. Everything else was building blocks. We are now getting to see these final pieces being put together.

OH and starting with this release, QA Server AND thee early Development Notes have been moved from DEV+ to Public. So its available to everyone not just players who spent lots of money. Even though I am one of those players, I agree this was a great move for the life of the game.

Reader
Gary Turton

Certainly. I would be happy to share.

Like UO, which is, yes, a favorite of mine, I am in the business of acquisition of items. So I use much of my time out adventuring and gaining skill while acquiring resources for my blacksmith business. You see, SOTA harkens back to a much simpler time when game sessions were not made up of “Dailies” and “Raids”. Not that there is anything wrong that, but I prefer making my own way in the world, visiting different scenes, fighting what I want and reaping the rewards.

What and where I fight depends on what I am looking for… Ore, Gold Coins, Wood, Weapons for Scrap…or simply treasure. I am a huge fan of this type of play.

I own my own Blacksmith business, I spent a long time Grand Mastering Blacksmith, Masterwork and now I am working on the Sub-Skills to Master Work, along with advancing my fighting skills.

I completed the entire EP1 Storyline, and plan to reset it and do it again when they offer the reset token.

I also play the regional economy market. I travel around, buy low, sell high. refine raw material like ore to ingots and sell those at a profit.

I am also a Player Town Co-Owner. 4 of us went in together to get one so we can all live close and share resources, etc. My wife and I love to decorate our houses and town. I have been part of the game since Kickstarter and I play every day. Its as close to the original UO as I have ever seen in another game.

I know the game is not for everyone, and many people like the themepark games. That is totally cool. I am glad they like their thing. We like ours, I am sure there is enough room in this MMO world for all of us.

Oh and I have a good guildmate who only paid $45 for the game and not a cent more. He now owns his own town, at least 10 in-game properties, is one of the most wealthiest players in the game all from vendor sales and trading. He built up his character, killed dragons, deamons and trolls and made many friends leading groups into the high end content. Everything is available in this game to you if you want it. You have to earn it by playing.

For some players its just easier to come here and bash the Haves vs the Have Nots and beat them down cause they have money to spend, and less time to play. I’m not sure that makes people or companies bad, it just gives people options. For some reason though, if I buy a house for $100 and someone else has to work in-game for 2 months to earn it, I am a pay-to-win whale and somehow ruining the game.

Oh and just to finish on a high note, the next few months of development are focusing on side quests, daily quests and many other things to do for players who don’t like grinding so much. I think that is great as well.

Like I said above, I can count on Portalarium to make the game better each month. The release always arrives on time with fun new additions. That is why I don’t mind paying more from time to time.

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Raimo Kangasniemi

That’s what crowdfunding is about: Begging. Yes, it can look pretty unedifying, but that’s begging to you. If you don’t like it, don’t give or avoid the spaces, virtual or real, where the beggars play their trade.

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rafterman

Nonsense. While the updates have been on time, they are very slow to add new content and have still yet to fix hugely troubling issues, like the piss poor combat, and have instead pushed things they can sell instead.

And the community isn’t all that great either. Pretty much any dissenting opinion about any issues gets dogpiled on until those people just give up and leave. It’s a fanboy haven, basically.

I regret backing this game even more than Star Citizen.

Reader
Gary Turton

“Pretty much any dissenting opinion about any issues gets dogpiled on until those people just give up and leave. It’s a fanboy haven, basically.”

So kinda like here, huh?

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Ailsa Nordstrom

I backed this game during the Kickstarter campaign and red flags were raised for me during the last few hours of it. They were promising everything to everyone. Since then, every update has featured some new cosmetic or housing item that can be yours for the low, low price of… Meanwhile, I dipped my toe into the game and found that only one of the quest paths was active (ranged combat, I wanted to be melee). Even as of the time when housing plots were being allocated according to backing status, it was still not complete. Considering cosmetics and housing assets can be (and is) created by users, how exactly are they using their development team? I think I read recently that the other quest paths are now in the game but I’ve already been turned off by the endless new cosmetics/housing assets but little in the way of gameplay substance.

Give me the honesty and real substantive progress being made at CityState Games over this debacle.

Reader
Iridescence

” delivered ON TIME, EVERY MONTH” -> “Estimated delivery: Oct 2014”. Your definition of “on time” is substantially different from most people’s

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Gary Turton

Oh boy, you really showed me, right? Pull out an ESTIMATED delivery date, with no context, probably from Kickstarter. Maybe this date was tagged to the delivery of Physical Goods? Who knows, but an estimate is just that, an estimate based on fixed properties and when those change, so does the estimate. This is fluid development, things change and if you are so rigid in this type of date consummation, perhaps Kickstarter Development is not for you. And that is cool too, mileage varies… :)

If you had stayed in context, you would see I was talking about MONTHLY RELEASE DATES, and yes, those are on time as scheduled every month for 44 months straight.

Shroud has never given a release day. They said it would release when it was complete, and the physical rewards would ship at that time.

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Iridescence

I know what you meant. Yes they are clearly still working on a game. The fact is though if it ever does come out in a finished state it will be over 3 years behind the date they set. They are also clearly running low on money to finish development despite easily surpassing their KS funding goal. This is either terrible planning or deliberately underestimating the time and money needed to make the game in order to encourage more people to back them. IF there is ever a finished SotA game anything like the project I actually backed I will happily play it and give them credit for that but I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing there was a way to get a refund for the rather substantial amount of money I wasted on this mess.

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Boom

Who are you people!!

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Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

.

sota sucker.gif
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Reht

Not sure how i feel about this other than knowing it’s a negative feeling. There are clearly some future concerns about money, yet people keep “investing”…i just don’t get it.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

A Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted.

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Loopy

I’ve learned early in my life not to judge what people do with their money, hard-earned or otherwise.

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Armsbend

I could sit here and type for 7 straight days real world examples throughout history of privately funded horrors that have been to the detriment of the human race and industry and not scratch the surface.

Most laws on the books have been created because people have spent money creating creating bad things in the world trivial (like this) and not so trivial.

For that reason I judge on a constant basis what morons do with their money.

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Loopy

That’s a bit of an extreme counter argument, especially for the scope of this discussion. I’m talking about the context of individuals spending (excessive amounts of) money on trivialities that we disagree on, not about privately funded terrorist organizations…

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

I really don’t know how I feel about these seemingly perpetual-crowdfunding titles. I get it, you can more or less treat them as “launched” games and everyone’s just contributing towards their revenue, even if it’s through silly telethons (though younger kids get to experience the joy of telethons that no longer exist!)

But considering they’re still going after actual investors…what’s the “end-game” here? When does the crowdfunding stop? Does it stop for investors before consumers, or vice versa? Will it even stop?

This is a whole new frontier, and it’s definitely raising a lot of moral/ethical business practice flags for me. And there really aren’t many others to look to for guidance/direction, either.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Kayweg

And that’s exactly what raises my eyebrow too, not that they’re making money or how other people want to spend their money, but the practices being applied in doing so.
Striving for revenue and profit is perfectly natural and acceptable for any company, but the apparently sheer and unveiled greed on display here is off-putting, to say the least.
I really could do without the SotA business model setting a successful precedence and become more widespread.
After they’ve monetized every last, single pixel of the game, how long before moral qualms have gone altogether and someone starts charging players for bug fixes….

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Iridescence

One thing I give Kickstarter some credit for is making it reasonably clear you’re *not* investing your money. Anyone who expects a return on investment from this is foolish. Especially with the track record of this particular game.

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