Shroud of the Avatar is full-speed ahead, looking on to R46 with R45 in the rear-view mirror. What’s in R46? Lots of stuff, starting with “building the mid-level and lower tier scenes near the cities along the paths of Truth and Courage.”
The game’s latest newsletter touches on the swampy South Longfall Wetland area, with its “a maze of poison gas, an abandoned village, a raft flotilla inhabited by pirates, and a secluded witch’s hut,” plus Crooked Shank, which honestly sounds much safer, and North Shattered Hills, which lie in ruin. Where is all that on the map? You should check out the massive community-created map on the official forums to find out (and also to just marvel at how detailed the game’s gotten).
Portalarium has further reiterated its ongoing free trial (live now and ending September 27th), recapped its attendance at DragonCon, and posted video of its most recent monthly mini-telethon, during which it raised $52,000.
The Shroud of the Avatar team is sitting pretty on top of this past week’s Release 44, but there is always more to be done to get the game ready for launch. This week’s newsletter shares a little how the update improved the looks of its Crayola-pack dragons, but mostly the attention was given to how insanely busy the team will be promoting the MMO in August and September. Appearances at Syndcon, Gamescom, PAX Dev, and Dragon*Con are all on the calendar, as is the 45th major build, which should come out on August 31st.
The team also informed the community that another test of its free trial program is set to run from August 9th through the 30th, so you’ll be able to play for free for most of the month if you so desire.
In a press release this afternoon, Portalarium announced that it and Travian — a company you’ll remember as the European publisher for Crowfall — will also publish the game beyond Europe and North America, pushing into South and Central America, the Middle East, and North Africa. Russian publishing will be handled by Black Sun as previously reported. Calling the game “selectively multiplayer,” the companies say it’s reached the “story complete” stage and reaffirm that the “full commercial release” is still coming later in 2017.
With PvP (and RvR) at the core of Camelot Unchained’s experience, getting the combat down pat is undoubtedly essential. That’s why the dev team has been working on an improved combat system, which is currently in the prototyping phase.
As this week’s newsletter explains: “The process of prototyping combat for Camelot Unchained has already taken a lot of additional work rebuilding the technical basis of the system, but the process is now finally reaching a point where the core functionality is working as designed, and basic ability components for each class can be scripted and tested, with more features and improvements being added virtually every day.”
Meanwhile, the art team has replaced the old walking and running animations with new ones that look better. The latest build included support for play on multiple servers simultaneously, new skills for many classes, and the ability to create player warbands.
You can also catch up on all of the Camelot Unchained DragonCon news with a highlights video after the break!
Many people look at a game for its combat, however, there are many who also want a game with a variety of non-combat features. When it comes to a sandbox, non-combat features actually can — and should — be in the majority. And Shroud of the Avatar is definitely implementing a variety of features that may correlate and work with combat but are not directly related to it. While speaking with Richard Garriott at DragonCon 2016 about the game, I learned a more about these other aspects. Specifically, we delved into farming, cooking, and even dancing!
Do you know that feeling when you come across a game that has most, if not all, of your dream features — even the farfetched ones that you’d abandoned hope of ever actually being in a game? Probably not. But after talking with Richard Garriott at DragonCon 2016 about Shroud of the Avatar, I think I am experiencing an inkling of that very feeling! Granted, the game is not complete yet (although there are no more wipes), but each time I have sat down to speak with Garriott, not only does he highlight more features that make my mouth water, but the game has actively implemented previously revealed features. I can’t help but hope this sandbox will be The One for me.
What are these features that have me excited? And when can we expect the game’s “real” release? Between the various panels and our interview, I came away with a plenty of information on SOTA.
It was literally impossible to capture all the great costumes at DragonCon — almost as impossible is being able to accurately identify every single character; I know I missed a few. That said, there were plenty of Disney princesses, Wonder Women, Mad Hatters, and Evil Queens, not to mention a number of Suicide Squad Harleys and Jokers. There were Wolverines, Matt Murdocks, Rogues, and more Deadpools than you could shake a Stan Lee at! In fact, I am not sure there wasn’t a superhero that wasn’t represented. I even saw multiple Jubilees! My favorite, however, might just go to the Monster in the Darkness from Order of the Stick.
Comics didn’t corner the cosplay market, however. TV shows were pretty prevalent. There were so many Daenerys, mother of dragons, that you’d bump into them — and their dragons — on every block. (I give the best mother-of-dragons costume to one woman who was about eight months pregnant and dressed perfectly from the scene of eating the live horse heart — complete with a seriously smeared mouth!). There were Elves and Dwarves galore from Middle Earth, and even some specific characters from the movies. And you want to see armor? You’d be hard pressed to see so many metal suits in one place anywhere else. Then you have to start considering all the Star Wars, Star Trek, and anime and video game characters… The list is truly endless. There was even a Chewbacca hugging a Pikachu. And we captured a bunch of them!
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, our own MJ – MJ Guthrie, that is – returned from DragonCon with reports from several crowdfunded MMORPG studios. First up is Camelot Unchained and its own MJ – Mark Jacobs, that is – who’ve got a new update out, complete with new screenshots of the autumn forest biome (seen above) and a tease about the ongoing hiring. Jacobs says the team has been busy working on resource modification, ability conditionals, skill timing, archery abilities, periodic effects, building damage, the Stonehealer class, and the first pass on multi-island/multi-server integration.
We’ve also welcomed Hero’s Song back to our watch list. The John Smedley-led OARPG canceled its Kickstarter earlier this year but has returned to crowdfund just ahead of its early access launch with a new Indiegogo campaign.
Dual Universe also launched its first Kickstarter, seeking over half a million dollars to fund the epic sci-fi sandbox. Meanwhile, Ever, Jane postponed its open beta’s first update, Fragmented went on sale for five bucks in the Humble Bundle store, Edengrad updated backers on its combat plans, and HEX released its fifth card pack, Herofall. Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding this week and the roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on!
Have you ever wanted to play literally in your favorite game? Ever since my first tabletop pen and paper campaigns, I have wanted to be in the action, flinging the fireball when I see the monster coming instead of just describing it as I rolled my dice. When I found MMOs, I felt one step closer to that ultimate dream. Now, after listening to Richard Garriott and Tracy Hickman talk about THE VOID at DragonCon 2016, I feel yet another step closer to that reality.
Filling THE VOID
What is THE VOID? VOID stands for The Vision of Infinite Dimensions. It’s a project that Hickman is working on with his son, Curtis, that involves creating large physical spaces where people can play games in Virtual Reality. They are literally virtual worlds built over physical environments, with tactile additions (steam, strings for webs, lanterns to carry) to add to the realism and immersion. Although this project isn’t new, if you haven’t seen the first look at the VOID, you really need to.
If you’ve been following anything about Camelot Unchained, then you get the idea that Mark Jacobs has set out to make something different than what is currently in the MMO market. That difference shows in the upcoming game’s leveling system, which is accomplished via realm rewards in RvR. The ability system is unique, focusing on crafting new and different skills instead of just letting players acquire more powerful versions of the same ones. At DragonCon 2016, Jacobs was joined by more of the City State Entertainment crew to dive a bit more in-depth on these two systems as well as touch on some other features. Couldn’t be at that panel in person? We got the scoop for you.
The AdventureQuest 3D team was out in full force at DragonCon this past weekend, manning a panel on the game as well as participating in several other discussions during the convention.
The devs posted an entertaining travelogue of the show, although nothing huge was revealed about the game. As a matter of fact, there were plans to make a “big announcement,” but somehow that got forgotten and the team promised to share the news later this week.
In the meanwhile, you can be satisfied with several new glimpses of concept art that show dragons, volcanoes, and a poor village that’s located a little too close to the aforementioned dragons and volcanoes. The team is actually soliciting ideas for this fire-and-brimstone zone, so head on over to the comments section of that post if you want to make game history.
What happens at DragonCon doesn’t always stay at DragonCon — at least not for a couple of Shroud of the Avatar players. Their weekend included a post-panel wedding. After the New Britannia round table, Richard “Lord British” Garriott announced the nuptials of DoxzillaIRL and SpeckBCR, and attendees became witnesses to the special event. As an ordained minister, Garriott himself joined the two together in matrimony. Talk about supporting the community!
In true DragonCon style, the wedding party was made of up a variety of characters, including the groom dressed as Deadpool, and a Jedi cut the cake with a lightsaber. You’d expect no less, right? Congratulations to DoxzillaIRL and SpeckBCR; we wish you all the best!
Shroud of the Avatar’s latest newsletter celebrates the additional $200,000 in crowdfunding raised during the latest telethon and recaps the launch of the 33rd release patch, which introduced new areas, the newbie experience revamp, NPC AI tweaks, emotes, and fresh random encounters. Among the newest player-owned town templates headed to the game are the Swamp Islands, which I can’t laugh at because my guild was infamous for having built a city in another game in the middle of a swamp.
“These new templates are lowland islands covered in swampy terrain. We offer two versions, a normal version and one that has an Obsidian Style spiked wall surrounding the large island. While this is based on the original Island template, the terrain has been lowered to better represent a swampy area. This also has the nice byproduct of creating much more flat space for building placement! In fact, this template is only rivaled by the Grassland templates and Inland Forest (a modified Grassland) in available space for building.”
Did you miss Mark Jacobs and the Camelot Unchained crew at last weekend’s DragonCon in Atlanta? If so, you can watch the entire one-hour panel on YouTube courtesy of some volunteer camera work. Included in the panel footage are a few vids that the dev team prepared exclusively for the DragonCon presentation, so it’s probably worth a watch for that alone if you’re a fan of City State’s forthcoming RvR fantasy title.
Click past the cut to have a look!