What’s that up in the header screenshot? Is it Conan Exiles? Nope — it’s Shroud of the Avatar’s Sequanna Colossus map and my favorite kind of biome, and it’s due for “uncloning” and customization post-Release 42, complete with the colossus itself, desert ruins, the requisite oasis, mesas, stone arches, and the bleached skeletons of long-dead behemoths.
Sequanna is spotlighted in the game’s latest newsletter, where Portalarium is also talking up the recently released Bloody Bay, the ongoing May free trial, and the summer telethon slated for next week on May 31st.
Finally, the devs have released a video feature on the truly stunning moondial launching in R42 — the only bummer is it’s a cash-shop item. Check out that video and all the new screenshots down below!
Will Shroud of the Avatar finish fleshing out its main storyline in time for this summer’s official release? It might be a photo finish, as the team is currently working on the endgame storyline that all players will encounter.
“Now that all three paths (Truth, Love, and Courage) are playable we have begun work on the Finale part of the plot, aka The Path of the Oracle,” the team said in this past weekend’s newsletter. “One of the crucial scenes of that path is the Oracle Colossus. This is of course the famous depiction of the Oracle from the concept painting by Stephen Daniele inspired by passages from The Sword of Midras prequel novel by Tracy Hickman.”
It behooves us to remind you that Shroud of the Avatar is currently testing its free trial program through the end of May, which means that anyone can check out the game and see if it is to their liking until May 31st.
Hope Shroud of the Avatar players weren’t too attached to DX9, because the API collection is now being exorcised from the upcoming MMO. This week, Portalarium announced on the forums that DX9 was causing issues and would no longer be supported in upcoming builds:
We’ve had some challenges ensuring stability when supporting all of the DirectX (DX) features that the game employs. A key roadblock is supporting legacy versions of DX. Because these problems continue to hinder development, starting in Release 42, we will be discontinuing support for DX 9. DX 11 will continue to be the core version. We are also looking into the possibility of eventually DX 12 support.
This update most likely will not affect any of you. If you have a system that runs old operating systems like Windows 98 (DX9), or video cards that do not support DX11+ at all, then the game is not going to run well (or likely at all) anyway. If you wish to still play, we highly recommend upgrading your system to support a DX11+ video card and operating system. The game’s minimum system requirements, listed in the website FAQ, will be updated upon Release 42 going live.
It has much too long since Massively OP’s MJ has sashayed though the lands in Shroud of the Avatar. Part of the reason is because few of her friends are in the game to play with her. But that has all changed — at least for a few weeks. Until the end of the month, SOTA is running a free trial for folks to hop in and check it out. What better reason to do just that? Join us live at 3:00 p.m. on stream and in game!
What: Shroud of the Avatar
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 11th, 2017
Shroud of the Avatar is coming to Russia, Portalarium announced today. The studio’s inked a deal with Moscow’s Black Sun Game Publishing “to publish and operate Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Baltic States.”
Portalarium CEO Richard Garriott is quoted in the press release as saying that SOTA has a “large and growing fan base in Russia and the surrounding countries.” Black Sun’s website lists only SOTA under its umbrella and says it is “interested in buying the rights to publishing in Russia and CIS countries, massively multiplayer online games,” particularly near-finished projects.
SOTA stopped wiping its early access servers last summer but has not technically launched as a completed project. Its most recent monthly release landed at the tail end of April, introducing or overhauling multiple maps and revamping combat lines. Beginning today, the game is available in a free-to-play trial mode until the end of May.
Source: Press release
Shroud of the Avatar is running another free trial — quite a long one! It’ll run from May 10th to the end of the month. “This will be the longest test so far of the system so that we can gather even more data about uptake, dropoff, conversions, etc.,” Portalarium says. As usual, free players are restricted from trading, vendor use, property ownership, open PvP, and offline mode. You can pick up a copy of the game through the download page on the official site.
The trial is the highlight of game’s latest newsletter, but there’s plenty more to snoop, including the team’s work on Bloodriver Outskirts, weapon rewards from the last telethon, plans for the summer telethon, a housing contest and a writing content, and finally, a peek into Novia Market, one of the game’s player-run villages.
There’s a hidden message in the patch notes for Shroud of the Avatar’s small patch from yesterday. What could it possibly mean? Is it something about the fact that several bug fixes are included in the patch? I mean, those are all good changes, I can’t imagine anyone would be upset about the fact that audio effects in Highport and Kingsvale are now properly linked to volume sliders. Or the cloak that now displays properly on male characters. But what’s the hidden message?
Don’t misunderstand, we’re happy to know that Resurrect Creature will properly target pets, renaming lot deeds will no longer make blank entries, and Corpse Explosion has had line-of-sight issues fixed. (One would hate for corpses to go unexploded.) But what’s this hidden message? What are you hiding, update notes? Eh, maybe if you look at the entry for long enough it will come to you. It’s nice to see even the little patches being something you can use.
Other than for providing an atmospheric backdrop to night questing, starry skyboxes in MMOs don’t really mean or do much. This is not the case for Shroud of the Avatar, however, as astrology apparently does impact the game’s systems in some way.
In this past weekend’s newsletter, the team talks about how it’s updating the night sky and the devices used to observe it in-game: “When changes were made to the original moondial to account for us getting much closer to our actual in-game sky and all its celestial bodies…this time, with our system incorporating not only the correct moon order, but also the ideology and actual timing of the attacks of the Cabalists and their unholy minions, the moondials themselves (which Richard [Garriott] always wanted to be functionally-accurate tools of celestial observation) needed to change once again to reflect our most recent updates.”
The newsletter recapped the many changes that went into last week’s Update 41, showed a new and improved store interface, and shared more progress on the Oracle and beginning Outskirts zones.
Shroud of the Avatar’s 41st release is rolling out to players this morning, stuffed with fresh content for testing. Probably the most important bit arriving today is the finished Path of Truth quest arc and its accompanying Halls of Artifice.
“In this single-player, plot-driven experience, the avatar will delve into the mystery of why the satyrs of Elysium are welcoming pilgrims into a life of bliss… Of course, I am sure that a place called Artifice along the Path of Truth would not be filled with lies, right?”
Players can also expect to see the Solace Bridge outskirt map; five new scenes including Ruins of Kas and Verdantis Mines; The Fall, a “free-for-all full of crazy powerups centered around a giant vertical shaft”; new deco; the first stages of localization; and a major combat balancing pass.
“We made major improvements to Taming, Summoned Creatures, the entire Bludgeons combat school, creature resistances, and more,” says Portalarium. “We also added two new Moon Spells, new weapons, and our first new ranged weapon since ranged combat was introduced: Crossbows.”
This Thursday, Shroud of the Avatar will be pumping out its latest monthly update, Release 41. There’s a lot in store for the patch, including the Norgard ruler Titan Grannus, who will be making his debut.
In this past weekend’s newsletter, the team spent a lot of real estate covering many upcoming areas and characters, including the all-seeing Oracle, new weapon designs spurred on by the recent telethon, and the Fall open PvP dungeon. Of particular note were in-depth looks at two of the new introductory zones that are in development: Highvale Outskirts and Bloodriver Outskirts. One’s got a monastery in the mountains, the other has a river of blood. You pick which sounds more appealing.
Portalarium also announced that it is resuming work on bringing the game to other languages and is looking for fan help in the effort. “We are reestablishing development support translating our game to Russian, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese languages,” the studio said. “In order to meet the vast translation needs of our project, we return to you, our amazing community, in search of qualified volunteers with a passion for seeing our project reach many more players!”
If you’ve picked up and played Shroud of the Avatar in early access over the past year or so, you’ll undoubtedly have noticed that its beginner experience has been under construction and in need of fleshing out and polishing. It’s to this end that the team has shifted its focus as of late, responding to player feedback concerning the first few hours of the game.
The team said that several issues, such as too many loading screens and a lack of vendors, have kept potential players from taking root in the fantasy MMO. “As we shift our focus to improving the New User Experience (NUE), and as we are able to measure new player progress through events like our recent free trial, we realize that we must address these issues sooner versus later,” Portalarium said.
Today brings to a close Shroud of the Avatar’s most recent free trial, but the newsletters keep on rolling. This weekend’s update dives into the game’s new Outskirts feature, which is basically a series of locales between the starting areas and some of the much larger and more advanced zones, intended to give players a bit of a staging ground along their journey.
“Our first Outskirts scene is Solace Bridge Outskirts. It is downriver from Solace Bridge where the Solace River meets the ocean. The small army that was defeated at Solace Bridge has retreated here and sent on the villager refugees to Soltown. They have made camp in a ruined tower overlooking the swampy shoreline. However they are not getting to rest in their retreat for a nearby bandit camp is preying on them, stealing supplies. Plus across the river lie the ruins of an ancient village infested with the very undead they just retreated from! We hope to have this scene live in Release 41 or 42.”
The studio has also put a date on its next telethon: May 31st. In the meantime, Portalarium will run its monthly dev stream tomorrow, so expect more Q&A and a peek at this year’s development schedule too. Release 41 is expected on April 27th.
Someone in our comments a few days back was just wishing he could pop into Shroud of the Avatar on a free trial to check it out before plunking down cold hard Steam cash. Good news for that guy: Portalarium announced today that it’s running another free trial period beginning today and ending April 10.
To hop in and check it out, all you have to do is create an account and get it downloaded. Just keep in mind that you’ll be under some restrictions while you poke around gratis. For example, you can’t trade, you can’t buy stuff from vendors, you can’t nab a housing lot, you can’t gank people (sorry, gankers!), and you can’t play in offline mode. Portalarium also reserves the right to delete your account data if you don’t upgrade when you’re done. That’s their goal, after all!