richard garriott

Richard “Lord British” Garriott on Wikipedia

Shroud of the Avatar previews clockwork critters and virtue shrine system

Hope you like clockwork critters because Shroud of the Avatar is about to get a slew of them. The game's latest newsletter shows off such beasties as the clockwork attack cat, clockwork attack raven, and the assassin automaton, all part of the clockwork menagerie that'll be inflicted on players in K'rul thanks to those craft kobolds.

Of note to fans of Old Britannia and the original Ultima games is the upcoming town blessing system, which is basically a clone of Richard Garriott's classic virtue shrine system. Each shrine -- I mean, devotional -- is based on one of the core virtues and principles and grants a buff accordingly. For example, the Justice devotional reduces your fizzle chance and buffs your cooking skill. Good food is justice.

There's much more to the newsletter, including another look at the gloriously crumbly and moss-drenched Rhun ruins and some gorgeous screenshots, which we've tucked below.

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Make My MMO: Mekria, Caribbean Conquest, and RUiN hit Kickstarter (February 4, 2017)

It was a busy week for new MMO Kickstarters!

  • Mekria Online joins the Make My MMO watch list; it's a PvP-heavy MMO seeking $110,000.
  • RUiN joins up too, though as a PvP arena brawler, it's a bit on our fringes. It's already at half its goal with a month left to go. (Thanks, Zanetski!)
  • and Age of Sail MMO Caribbean Conquest is back online with its second Kickstarter (the first was canceled last year).

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!

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Richard Garriott explains why Steam has been unkind to Shroud of the Avatar

Have you had a chance to pick up and read Richard Garriott's memoirs yet? Whether or not you have, you might want to check out this interview that the Shroud of the Avatar creator did on his life adventures to date.

Speaking of the in-development MMO, the interviewer pointed out some of the bad reviews that Shroud of the Avatar has garnered so far and asked if the project might not be going as hoped. Garriott replied by saying, "I don't think so at all. We've had naysayers since the beginning. But I think what you're seeing is a side effect from open development from day one [...] Everything was pretty hunky dory until we went up on Steam. Then we found a different type of customer who hadn't been with us from the beginning. They see that the game looks unfinished, unpolished, with only a few weapons and an obtuse UI and we get a backlash."

Garriott said that Shroud of the Avatar should officially launch by the middle of 2017.

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Make My MMO: The Repopulation's new owner, Shards Online's alpha (January 14, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Above & Beyond announced that Hero Engine company Idea Fabrik has acquired all rights to its indie sci-fi sandbox MMORPG The Repopulation and will be relaunching the game -- in the Hero Engine -- with a new content patch sometime in Q1 2017. The game had originally raised $230,000 in Kickstarter funds in 2012 and 2014 and made it to early access in 2014, only to become entangled in a financial drama with Idea Fabrik over a year ago, which kept the game offline for a year while A&B built Fragmented with the goal of porting Repop to Unreal. The port will no longer be happening, but A&B is still working on Fragmented's console version. Definitely check out our whole article on what's up -- we've got an exclusive interview with A&B there as well.

Meanwhile,

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!

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Richard Garriott publishes his memoirs

When you've lived a life as wacky and full as Ultima creator Richard Garriott, it only stands to reason that you'd probably want to share your stories and lessons with those who aren't multi-millionaire game designers.

Garriott's new memoir, Explore/Create, hit the bookshelves this week. The book is co-written by David Fisher and talks about Garriott's many real-world adventures and his experiences in the games industry. In the book he also talks about how he connected his various interests to game creation, such as his fascination with languages that fed into Tabula Rasa.

In an interview, the Shroud of the Avatar creator said that he and other ex-Origin employees such as Chris Roberts and Warren Spector, still stay in touch and have shared elements between their projects to connect their game worlds. "We all support each other and love each other. Maybe us old Originites might find a way to get back together," he said.

Source: Amazon, 512

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Exclusive: Indie sandbox El Somni Quas on free-for-all PvP, races, classes, housing, and more

Back in December, we published an exclusive dev diary about El Somni Quas, an indie sandbox from a Czech studio that actually cut its teeth on Ultima Online emulators and plans to port a lot of the ideas it tested there into its built-from-scratch 3-D venture. Today, we have another deep-dive into the game's plans, including at outline of its races and classes, a brief look at its housing and dungeons, and the philosophy undergirding its free-for-all PvP system.

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Massively OP's Weirdest MMORPG Stories of 2016: Richard Garriott's Blood Art

We're counting down Massively OP's weirdest MMORPG stories of 2016!

lord-british-blood-reliquary-croppedAnd the #1 weirdest MMORPG story of 2016 is...

... that time when Richard Garriott sold his blood for Shroud of the Avatar, as we wrote in a pair of articles over the summer.

The real story is a little bit more complicated, of course. Shroud of the Avatar's Richard "Lord British" Garriott and Starr "Darkstarr" Long donated their blood to be used in 10 pieces of "blood reliquary" artwork created by Steve Brudniak; the artwork was then put on Ebay for an initial bid of $5000, though they were moved to the game's website following what was likely an issue with Ebay's rules. The price has increased as each one sells, and they do indeed sell; as I write this, in December, only one Lord British reliquary remains for sale (at $13,000), while two Darkstarr pieces remain (at $12,000 and $13,000).

Proceeds from the sales benefit both the game and a designated medical charity, which is actually pretty cool.

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The Game Archaeologist: Wing Commander Online and Privateer Online

In late 2012, former Wing Commander developer-slash-movie director Chris Roberts emerged from a decade of obscurity to ask for help to fund his vision of a massive, engaging space sim for a modern audience. Fans opened up their wallets and started pouring unprecedented amounts of money into the project, which Roberts called Star Citizen.

I don't have to explain to you the subsequent rise of this $138M+ budget title, the vast expansion of its scope, the debate over its viability, and the fanatical following that fans have for this "under construction" sim. Even if it can't be Wing Commander in name, gamers reasoned as they plunked down their money, it could be the Wing Commander MMO in spirit.

Interestingly enough, there was another, older effort made to bring the well-known franchise to the MMO table back in the late '90s. A pair of projects, Wing Commander Online and Privateer Online, promised the thrills of the hit space saga with the expanse of the online gaming world. What happened and why aren't we playing one of these games today? Find out on this exciting episode of The Game Archaeologist!

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Make My MMO: Crowfall's big world playtest, Star Citizen's alpha 2.6 (December 3, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, ArtCraft says over 9000 gamers have been invited to try to break the three alpha servers active during Crowfall's "Big World" playtest. "We’ve shifted our development approach to be more like a live MMO," says Creative Director and Co-Founder J. Todd Coleman. Still on the way "soon" are the new crafting skill trees, unique world maps, the necromancy system that serves as the foundation for avatar swapping, and the protype for the Eternal Kingdoms. The company also crossed the minimum threshold for its Indiegogo-based equity crowdfunding effort, though it has been thus far unwilling to answer questions about its now-public finances.

Meanwhile, Pantheon is plotting a stream on December 9th, Ship of Heroes became the fourth City of Heroes spiritual successor (and has crowdfunding on the way), Star Citizen began testing alpha 26, Richard Garriott donated an in-game skull to a tavern in Shroud of the Avatar, and The Exiled kicked off its closed alpha (for which we still have keys!).

Finally, we sat down with Project Gorgon's Eric Heimburg to chat about the state of the game and its graphics plans for 2017.

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!

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Richard Garriott donates skull to player tavern during Shroud of the Avatar telethon

If you follow Shroud of the Avatar, you already know that studio Portalarium does seasonal streamed fundraisers to drive pledges for the game. Yesterday's "Fall into Winter Telethon" raised $112,500 and apparently unlocked a number of new items for the game, including new emotes, an autumn fairy leaf dress, a squirrel pet, leaf and ice wings, and "ice & snow shooting bagpipes," which is clearly a must-have.

One of the topics discussed during the multi-hour stream was the proposed PvP flagging penalty for players who pickpocket NPCs, which has Redditors debating just how much of classic Ultima Online should be wedged into its spiritual successor.

Another highlight was recorded by YouTuber JuusoV, who plucked out a section of a community event in the player-run town of Rift's End where the citizens lag their way to the tavern and Richard "Lord British" Garriott hands over a skull to the innkeeper to add to the skull wall of this very fine establishment. Not quite as weird as the blood art, I suppose! We've included that, plus the Twitch streams, below.

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Autumn returns to Shroud of the Avatar, plus a look at a player-run town

Autumn has returned to Shroud of the Avatar in the form of Harvest, a Novia region being rebuilt with a more "agrarian theme" for release 35.

"Harvest is located across the channel from Estgard," write's Portalarium's Esteben "SorcerousSteve" Zaldivar. "It is an area primarily focused on agriculture nestled along a red/yellow countryside that has recently come under occupation from Norgard forces. As an occupied town it has taken on some of the symbolism behind the color yellow and Norse influence of its Norgard conquerors. Inspiration for Harvest was obtained from the Autumn Season and Upstate New York (Letchworth)."

Got a housing lot in the area? Don't worry. Lots aren't changing; the studio assures player it's making only "cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage."

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Perfect Ten: Incompetent leaders in MMORPGs

Leadership is difficult. You have to get a group of people to work together when they may or may not be naturally inclined to do so, and on top of that you need to make sure that their cooperation is directed in the right way. Even when you have utter control over an organization, it can be difficult to lead effectively; having an organization filled up largely by random people with usually world-shattering powers doesn't make things any easier.

That having been said, a lot of MMO leaders are still really bad at their jobs. Digital representations of the Peter Principle in action, in other words. So here's a look at some terrible leadership in MMOs and the leaders who are not, at this point, fit to lead teddy bears to a picnic. Hardly all of the incompetent leaders out there, of course, but the column is Perfect Ten, not Perfect Couple Hundred.

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Massively OP's guide to the best upcoming indie MMORPGs, part two

Last week, we introduced the first part of our guide to the best upcoming, in-development indie MMORPGs -- yes, the list was so long that we had to split it lest our CMS explode! So this week we're back with the other half of our list, a quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: We're not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, we won't be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you're interested in these games, then you'll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns.

On with part two!

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