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

DragonCon 2016: Garriott and Hickman explain THE VOID’s live VR

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.

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Shroud of the Avatar to issue bans for RMT outside of approved forum

Did you know that Shroud of the Avatar allows players to trade and sell virtual goods like pledges and store items – and now gold? It does indeed, strictly in a subforum for that purpose. Portalarium’s Starr Long explains that such trading goes on “no matter what [the studio’s] position on it is,” so it may as well be in a safe and open space. This week, the studio has clarified its rules on the topic, forbidding trade, or even discussion of trades, outside of that forum. Players caught trading outside the official game forum will be warned and potentially permanently banned.

“We understand that the inclusion of gold as one of the virtual goods that can be bought and sold will cause some of you concern but we believe that in the end it is just another virtual good like the others,” Long elaborates on the addition of gold to the list of salable items. “As you have seen we have been monitoring VERY carefully the influx of gold into the economy and we do not believe the sales of gold will increase the likelihood of inflation anymore than any other factors.” He also points out that gold farmers have little impact on play as they will “likely be in single player online mode.”


Shroud of the Avatar’s release 33, Richard Garriott’s AMA and new book

The final wipe is receding into the horizon for Shroud of the Avatar, but the game is hardly finished patching and adding in big features. The latest post-patch dispatch from the development team discusses some of the landscapes and scenery improved in release 33 as well as future additions to the game, such as the long-awaited fireplaces (planned for crafting and the addon shop both). There are also new swamp templates available for player-owned towns for those who want a town in a slightly more foreboding environment.

Richard Garriott himself took to Reddit recently to take part in an AMA covering his history of game development, his plans for Shroud of the Avatar, and his book coming out in January 2017. While there are tidbits of interest to fans of the current game (like the five planned episodes for the game on a yearly cadence), the majority of the AMA covers personal preferences. For example, he weighs in on emulators:

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DragonCon 2016: Richard Garriott officiates at a real-life convention wedding

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!


Make My MMO: Dual Universe’s Kickstarter, ECO’s PAX trailer, and Hero’s Song’s ladies (September 3, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, sci-fi sandbox Dual Universe is making the final preparations for its Kickstarter, which launches this coming Wednesday. “For those who are still wondering why we are going the crowdfunding road, here is the short answer: while we are an indie studio which has been helped by business angels, to make a game with the scope of Dual Universe, we need to raise more funds,” says studio Novaquark. “The more backing we will have, the stronger we will be, and the more independent we can remain: either by having the game entirely funded by the community, or simply by making us stronger in negotiations with third parties.

Meanwhile, Shards Online told players it’s tripling the size of its map before launch; Project Gorgon unleashed a spider form for Labor Day (“If you’ve ever wanted to spit acid, inject your eggs into your enemy’s still-living body, or coat everyone in poison, Spider is for you”); Smedley gave a teaser about Hero’s Song; and edu-sandbox ECO released a new trailer for PAX.

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!

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Shroud of the Avatar refines Release 33, works on stability

Shroud of the Avatar’s last content update, Release 33, came out last week, but the team hasn’t been satisfied with a one-and-done approach to the patch. Since August 25th, the build has experienced five additional updates, each with a huge number of fixes, adjustments, and clarifications. If you’re playing, you might want to stay on top of the tide of patch notes that have been posted on the site.

The devs continue to inform players that the game isn’t quite as stable as they would like: “The latest version of Unity we are using has introduced significant stability issues along with memory leaks. We are working with Unity to resolve these as quickly as we can.”

Also, be aware — and beware — that those giant scaly reptiles can now pursue your farther: “Dragons now have a longer leash distance!”


Massively OP Podcast Episode 80: Enter the Legion

Happy Legion launch day! It’s hard to peek out from underneath the shadow of this massive expansion event, but the podcast team is nothing if not stubborn and persistent. It’s a show packed with crowdfunding news, special promotions, nasty data breaches, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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Shroud of the Avatar is working on new city templates, lot raffling system

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.”

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Make My MMO: Ever Jane’s beta, Project Gorgon’s dancing, Star Citizen’s $120M (August 27, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Project Gorgon received a big quality-of-life patch this weekend. Of note, the game now offers synchronized dancing! “If three or more players dance to music, they will be prompted to perform a particular dance ‘move’,” writes ElderGame. “If at least three dancers perform the specified move, all spectators receive a choreography boost. […] A massive troupe of 12 (or more) dancers performing reasonably well together can give spectators a Dance Appreciation buff.” You can also expect adjustments to work orders, mob aggro, and GUI scaling, among several dozen new changes.

Want more dancing? Social MMORPG sandbox Ever, Jane launched its open beta this week. The Jane Austen-themed game was originally Kickstarted to the tune of over $100,000.

And Star Citizen broke the $120,000,000 barrier in its ongoing crowdfunding; the game’s 2.5 alpha went live this week.

Meanwhile, Grim Dawn received a big patch to its Crucible DLC content, Ascent patched in terraforming, and Shroud of the Avatar dinged up to $10,000,000 in crowdfunding.

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!

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Shroud of the Avatar’s Release 33 marks a game ‘in a constant state of change’

Even with the persistent world launched, Shroud of the Avatar is currently “in a constant state of change,” according to the team. Some of this change comes courtesy of today’s Release 33, which continues to make sweeping adjustments even as players are getting settled into their new homes.

While you can read the patch notes to get all of the details, the important changes with Release 33 involves polish to the new player experience and various story areas, performance optimization, and towns such as Port Graff and Estgard being “uncloned” and given their own identities. Some expected features, such as expansions to the food and crafting system, have been delayed to a future patch.

All current backers will receive a “Portable Aether Vibration Amplifier” headset that will allow them to tune into community radio stations.

Shroud of the Avatar crossed over the $10 million crowdfunding threshold earlier this week.


Shroud of the Avatar has crowdfunded over 10 million dollars

Shroud of the Avatar’s telethon yesterday helped push Portalarium to another fundraising milestone: It’s crowdfunded $10 million over its lifetime.

Stretch goals unlocked last night include new emotes, hats, a playable accordion and bagpipes, minipets, outfits, and a “weather changing clockwork umbrella.”


Shroud of the Avatar summer telethon, lot selection continue today

Shroud of the Avatar is in the midst of another summer telethon celebrating the expiration of pledges and offering funding stretch goals to backers in this final fundraising period. Portalarium will be streaming the festivities and performing the usual demeaning activities for your amusement.

The latest newsletter digs into the rebuild of Port Graff, an area on the western coast of Drachvald known for its role in the gem trade. Lot selection for early backers continues as well. “Brittany Fields continues to dominate in popularity, though there are a few lots available if you wish to call this area home!” writes Portalarium. “There are also several lots still left in Ardoris, Brookside, Noreach, Brittany Alleys, and many other cities and towns across New Brittania.”

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Make My MMO: Elite Dangerous drenches Gamescom with gameplay videos (August 20, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Elite: Dangerous released an absolute space-ton of new videos out at Gamescom: one on crew, one on ship transfers, one on hyperspace, one on environments, one on capital ship docking, one on port services, one on the planet map… really, it’s nuts, and that’s all in addition to yesterday’s deluge. Little did we know they weren’t even close to done then!

In sadder news, we’re bummed to report that 3001SQ’s Kickstarter ended unsuccessfully. “While we didn’t reach our funding goal, we will continue with developing the procedural generation system and VM integration to get a networked build that allows docking with stations, and finish the initial nandOS specification,” the devs told fans.

Finally, check out this series of time-lapse gifs showing off player construction in Camelot Unchained. The same epic Redditor put one together demoing Crowfall’s player kingdoms too. Let’s make ’em fight!

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!

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