shroud of the avatar

Official Site: Shroud of the Avatar
Studio: Portalarium
Launch Date: N/A
Genre: Fantasy Sandbox
Business Model: B2P (Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

Make My MMO: Albion Online hits Steam, Camelot Unchained tackles crafting (May 19, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, buy-to-play sandbox Albion Online, which launched back in 2017, formally landed on Steam, bringing its blend of PvP warfare to a totally new audience. While the game never ran a Kickstarter, it did raise close to $10,000,000 from a quarter of a million backers through website crowdfunding and preorder packages prior to its release last summer, making it one of the higher profile crowdfunded MMORPGs to actually make it to launch and keep on producing content.

In Camelot Unchained – you’re still keeping an eye on the upcoming beta one, right? – the devs are busy sending early backers into the test server this weekend to break things. Among the bits and bobs CSE is working on? The crafting system, a major environment bug, character creation rendering, new ambient music, scenario maps, trait icons, animations, and “a new template for the home islands.”

Meanwhile, the Pantheon team sat down for a stream and revealed the first of its three classes, Ship of Heroes posted gobs of new screenshots to its Instagram, Elite Dangerous proposed making its factional combat mode entirely open PvP, and Legends of Aria patched in some good stuff, including the first iteration of secure trading.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the weekly roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

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Shroud of the Avatar trots out unicorns to test your virtue

A couple of iconic fantasy creatures are heading into a Shroud of the Avatar near you. The dev team announced that it is bringing both skeleton pirates and honest-to-goodness unicorns in the game’s near future.

Ready to go on a unicorn hunt? “Unicorns are very rare and elusive creatures. They will not fight unless provoked but once enraged they are one of the most powerful beings in Novia. It is rumored that items fashioned from unicorn parts are also ridiculously powerful but those same rumors warn of a price to be paid in your virtue should you dare slay one of these noble creatures.”

Massively OP is putting a bounty on the heads of these creatures. Bring us those horns, and we shall make you richer than kings!

The team also wrote about the making of a few new scenes for the game, the crystal-imbued Shaminian Hills, the wetlands of Westend, and the canyons of Upper Tears.

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Destiny 2 community goes on a real-world hunt for a hidden spear

Are you familiar with Geocaching? It’s a popular activity in which players hide and discover treasure caches all over the world (and is a favorite of Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott, who hid one on the International Space Station).

It turns out that Bungie is a fan of the game as well, as the studio team created its own special geocache hunt for fans to discover. Destiny 2 players discovered clues in the latest patch that eventually led to a secret message. This message contained GPS coordinates to a real-world location, which turned out to be a hidden cache on Sleeping Beauty Mountain in New York state.

The contents? A huge Valkyrie spear modeled after one of Destiny 2’s weapons and a note from the developers encouraging the finder to share his or her discovery with the community at large. The note was from Design Lead Rob Gallerani that thanked the community for its passion and hinted that more geocaches may be coming. Additionally, the team left a second, smaller container with gold coins for future hunters to take if they traveled to these coordinates.

Source: Kotaku

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Make My MMO: Greed Monger’s Jason Appleton is launching a cryptocurrency TV show as donors still await refunds (May 12, 2018)

Here’s a bizarre one for you: Greed Monger’s Jason Appleton is now being billed as a “crypto YouTuber” ahead of the launch of his 13-episode television series funded entirely by bitcoin – it’s called the Crypto Crow Show.

Greed Monger is probably the most famous MMORPG Kickstarter failure to date, having raised over $100,000 back in 2012 to build what the developers said would be a “crafting-focused sandbox MMORPG.” By 2015, the project imploded as devs abandoned it over a lack of funding, generating scam accusations from angry backers. Subsequent attempts to revive the game failed. Appleton resurfaced earlier this year, promising to reimburse Kickstarter backers with his newfound fortune, though a quick glance through the Kickstarter’s comments shows that currently there are still backers who haven’t received theirs, and Appleton has apparently closed down applications for refunds and is bashing donors still asking for their money back.

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Get a handle on Shroud of the Avatar with this incredible collection of guides

If you’ve found yourself struggling with Shroud of the Avatar’s unique take on online gaming, you are definitely not alone. It’s not the most intuitive title, although fans do insist that once you put in the time to understand, it becomes an engaging experience.

Maybe you need a little boost to help with that? There’s no shame in learning from the experience of others. Shroud of the Avatar player Elaina Strongbow put together an incredible collection of 69 short (two to three minutes apiece) guides to walk you through all of the systems and features of Lord British’s newest title. The topics cover the starter experience, understanding your character, engaging in combat, taking part in the crafting scene, and creating the swankiest of pads.

Maybe it’s time to give SotA another try? Check out these videos and see if they might help the game click for you!

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Shroud of the Avatar has swapped all store credits for gold crowns as of today

Update 52 is old news – Shroud of the Avatar is already looking ahead to release 53 and beyond. So sayeth the game’s latest newsletter, which offers a peek into the development of the bustling and cozy Viking-themed town of Westend. “Westend is located on the western end of Verdantis in close proximity to the Verdantis Shardfall. Alongside this it is in close proximity to Norgard, so for this particular uncloning we decided to bring in our Viking style architecture and improve the theme of the area as a coastal swamp biome,” Portalarium writes. “The NPC center and cluster of shops in the heart of town have now received a major makeover with multi-level platforms that rise above the swamp alongside the addition of bringing in viking themed architecture, furniture and additional propping.”

The studio is also teasing the addition of brewing and a plan to run a double-experience event thanks to the “incredible” turnout for the stress test last month. In fact, Starr Long says the team had to boost capacity on the QA server for the event: “There were so many people, 330+ at one point in three instances!”

Finally, Portalarium has a business model change on the way thanks to its move out of early access and expansion around the globe (and into new taxation territories): It’s eliminating the store credit system entirely. But don’t worry; you’re not losing anything.

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Global Chat: Shroud of the Avatar confounds

What to make of Shroud of the Avatar? The few MMO bloggers who have looked into this recently released but already long-running title have struggled to get a handle on Lord British’s latest RPG.

The Ancient Gaming Noob calls it “retroist hobbyism” and left him wondering. “What is this game that is by turns awkward, finicky, intricate, deep, slow, and clearly a work in progress?” he asks. “Where does it fit into the gaming world?”

Inventory Full found some merit in it but noted the extreme performance issues and other annoyances: “My willingness to struggle on was further undermined by the D&D style random encounters that dragged me into a private instance every time I tried to travel from one adventure area to another. Not to mention the fact that my weapon was broken and I couldn’t remember how the combat system worked anyway.”

Continue on with us in this edition of Global Chat, as we’ll read essays on altitis, EverQuest, City of Heroes, Elder Scrolls Online, and more!

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Shroud of the Avatar’s 53rd release is here with improved loot and LFG

If you don’t count the day-one patch at launch a month ago, today marks the first major update for Shroud of the Avatar since it fully shed all its beta and early access trappings. Release 53 – yes, they’re still monthly, like clockwork – includes new zone rebuilds, virtue effects, heraldry, plus the loot overhaul.

“We made massive improvements to loot. Player crafted gear sold to merchants will now appear in supply bundles, decorations have been added in multiple places including toadstools on mushroom enemies (how ironic is that?), worn armor can now be found on humanoids, lot deeds and homes now appear in rare supply bundles, and drop rates have been increased for all items in Offline Mode!”

Maybe the most pressing new addition is the looking-for-group code. “A party leader can add their party (aka ‘group’) to a public listing of open groups for others to join,” Portalarium’s patch notes say. “Players who are looking for a group to play with can use this listing to find an open group.”

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Here’s what’s in Shroud of the Avatar’s R53, launching this Thursday

The dust may be settling after Shroud of the Avatar’s final launch, but that doesn’t mean the game is done. On the contrary, Portalarium clearly means to keep right on its strict monthly update schedule.

As the title’s latest dev update explains, R53 – due out this Thursday – includes the rebuild of multiple scenes and locations (like Tenebris Harbor and Penmawr Island shown in the gallery below), plus the looking-for-group system, better loot, offline drop rate tweaks, additional side quests, heraldry, and new “plunderer NPCs,” plus the promised UI polishing pass.

The planned stress test on the QA server kicks off as this post goes live; as previously noted, a quorum of participants will ensure a double experience event come the launch of the update.

Meanwhile, if you’re into world exploration, swing by the Twitter feed of Portalarium’s Richard Garriott; he’s been chronicling a well-earned trip to the Arctic.

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Shroud of the Avatar bribes players to stress test its servers

Want some bonus XP in Shroud of the Avatar? You’re going to have to put in some effort to make that happen, kiddo.

Portalarium is planning a performance stress test of the game’s QA server this Monday and wants to load as many players as possible onto it to see if it can handle the load. This will take the form of a party on a boat (seriously) which will also involve summoned bosses and other server-smashing activities.

The studio said that if it can get at least 50 people to stick around for 45 minutes on the boat, it will activate a double XP bonus on the live servers for a week after Release 53 is launched later this month. Other incentives to showing up include random prizes handed out to party goers, such as a scorpion chair.

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Shroud of the Avatar ruins its armor on purpose and reveals cinematic storyboard

When Shroud of the Avatar said that it is developing worn and rusty armor and weapons to meet player demand for such things, it may sound, well, downright strange. Yet when you think about it, there is an appeal to wearing and sporting gear that has a “lived in” look instead of immacuately perfect and shiny outfits.

As such, worn, rusted, tattered, and dirty armor will start to be dropped with Shoud of the Avatar’s Release 53. The team said that players can either equip these or salvage them for patterns.

Generating dirty laundry for a future patch isn’t all the team is doing these days. Work progresses on new scenes, including the village of Eastmarch (and surrounding areas), the pirate haven of Penmawr Island, and the besieged town of Tenebris Harbor.

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Saga of Lucimia defends Star Citizen’s slow progress, Shroud of the Avatar’s transparency

One of the challenges for indie and crowdfunded MMORPGs is surely the nature of their development: plugging along without much fanfare, with players seeing only one part of the equation. Saga of Lucimia has a piece out meant to show what that behind-the-scenes iteration looks like in the construction of an in-game asset as it travels from art concept to 3-D model to textured asset to something that’s added to the world by a different team entirely. But then what might be a mundane art blog takes a sharp turn to talk about other MMORPGs and their communities and expectations.

“There’s a major disconnect with some players when it comes to the misconceptions regarding iterations over the course of the game’s development,” argues Lucimia Creative Director Tim “Renfail” Anderson. “We see a lot of anger around the ‘net in regards to how things change over time with almost every MMORPG’s development, with many claiming the developers lied about how something was going to work, or how something was perceived as being a certain way, and then when it doesn’t work out quite the way players perceived, they claim that the developers deceived them, and that the launched product isn’t anything like what was initially discussed during the development process. The perfect example of this is Star Citizen/Squadron 42.”

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Global Chat: Giving Project Gorgon a try

With Project Gorgon now out on Steam early access, many first-time visitors to this strange game are feeling out the world and its systems. So what are they discovering?

Tales of the Aggronaut said that he was “hooked” when he put in a good weekend: “Part of the charm of this game is that it plops you into the game with no real warning or advisement about what you should be doing.”

“There’s never any doubting the sheer personality evident in every aspect of the game,” recommended Inventory Full. “The enthusiasm and good nature of the tiny development team sweeps all cynicism away.”

Project Gorgon not your cup of tea? Join us after the break for blog essays on Second Life, RIFT Prime, Shroud of the Avatar, and even Dungeons & Dragons!

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