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

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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Shroud of the Avatar draws Valentine’s Day inspiration from ye olde decorations

Riding that Release 38 high, the Shroud of the Avatar team is back with its weekly newsletter to talk about what’s coming up. You might love this: Valentine’s Day is set to return, and for the event, the art team is once again drawing inspiration from antique cards and decorations for their in-game gifts and cards.

Other projects that are taking shape include the development of a technology-laden kobold dungeon called K’rul and the Asian revamp of Perennial Coast. The dungeon sounds quite dangerous, as it not only has cruel automatons guarding it but the whole place sits squat in the middle of an open PvP zone. Yes, that will end well.

The team said that the mix of automatic auto-attack and the recent addition of cute bunnies had resulted in a critter massacre, prompting a change to how auto-attack works. It was a hare-raising situation, but now the little creatures are safe.

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Make My MMO: Elite Dangerous betas Commanders 2.3 next month (January 28, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Frontier announced that the beta for Elite Dangerous’ 2.3 update, dubbed Commanders, will release to Horizons beta players on February 26th. “Elite Dangerous: The Commanders (2.3) will come with features such as Multicrew and Commander Creator, as well as a number of other improvements and changes,” the studio declared. “Bring your friends or invite new crew mates to pack that extra punch you might need in key situations, and add more personality to your Commander with an all-new visual upgrade.”

Meanwhile, Albion Online is running a tourney this weekend, Shroud of the Avatar released its 38th update, and Worlds Adrift revealed… biomes!

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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Shroud of the Avatar unloads one of its largest releases to date

Thanks to the confluence of holiday time off and the culmination of several projects, Shroud of the Avatar’s Release 38 is turning out to be one of the biggest updates the game has put out yet.

The content update, which launches today, adds several new zones, revamps others, rebuilds the NPC conversation interface, wipes out scores of bugs, and tosses in deadly traps to keep you on your toes in dungeons.

“We made huge strides forward on multiple scenes throughout the game, including rebuilds of Brookside, Xenos, Vauban Pass, Solania, and multiple Perennial Coast scenes,” the devs said. “We also added the new Canyon Siege scene to the Town Siege rotation and added the new PVP scene of Blood Bay to Spindrift Bay. Additionally, we began polishing the Path of Courage with special attention to Highvale.”

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Shroud of the Avatar: New outfits, new zones, and charity aid

Shroud of the Avatar’s latest newsletter begins with a bang, at least if you’re a fan of costumes. Portalarium is showing off both clockwork armor and Ardoris-themed robes and outfits expected in the next release.

The team further explores the North Drachvald Spur in a mountainous area of Novia that was heavily inspired by Mt Rainier in Washington State and is expected to debut with update 39. Zenos, an island encountered along the Path of Truth quest arc, is also profiled; it’s due in R38. The darker images in the gallery come from K’rul, one of the game’s open PvP zones and is likewise due in R39. Recently, SOTA has been accompanying its extensive (and most welcome!) image-dumps with videos of the in-progress zones too; we’ve included those below.

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Make My MMO: Project Gorgon’s new shop, Crowfall’s investor tally (January 21, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Project Gorgon opened up a brand-new web store. “Currently, we are listing four crowdfunding packages from our prior Indiegogo Campaign in order to continue to raise funds until we launch on Steam Early Access,” Elder Game says. “This will give those who found out about us as our Indiegogo Campaign was closing to donate and get the awesome benefits that come with doing so. The three packages that are being offered are: The Horseback Explorer, Patron, and Duke. We will not be offering a standard Contributor package as we want to encourage all those interested in a standard Project: Gorgon key to purchase directly from Steam once they become available.”

Meanwhile,

  • TUG resurfaced after raising millions and a year of rework to say it’s now focusing on producing a “minimally viable product.”
  • We chatted with the Ship of Heroes team about its development.
  • Descent: Underground‘s Tenebrae update introduced a brand-new map.
  • The Exiled announced a February 23rd Steam early access launch.
  • Crowdfund platform Fig revealed it has raised nearly $8M in a financing round for venture capitalists.
  • Crowfall’s Indiegogo-based equity crowdfunding campaign drew to a close, raising over $668,000 from over 1200 investors.

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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Shroud of the Avatar explains changes to conversation window and lock system

If you’ve ever roleplayed in a story-driven MMORPG, you know that having a quality and immersive chat interaction system is absolutely critical — without it, you’re going to just tab through and never read a word. That’s precisely why Shroud of the Avatar is overhauling the game’s conversation window.

“In Release 38, we are updating the conversation window used for interacting with NPCs to make it both more immersive and easier to use,” says Portalarium’s latest newsletter.

“For immersion, we are hiding almost all of the other interface elements, including all other chat and the hotbar. We are also placing the chat in the very middle of the screen where you are looking at the NPC in order to keep you focused on the interaction. We have also tried to keep the interface itself to as minimal as possible with very few borders and as much transparency in the elements as we can. For ease of use, we are placing all the keywords in a toolbar at the bottom of the window. This toolbar will include every keyword you can use with the NPC including keywords relating to quests you are currently on and keywords learned from past conversations with that NPC. This saves you from having to scroll back to find keywords you might not remember. There will also be some hidden keywords to discover though, so exploration will still be rewarded. Above you can see the work in progress as of today.”

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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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Shroud of the Avatar previews the visuals of release 38

If there were an award for most consistent game that is sorta launched but not totally launched, Shroud of the Avatar would totally win it. You can absolutely count on Portalarium’s MMORPG to come out with a massive update, every single week, and the stack of screenshots that come along with it.

This week’s newsletter details the making of the Canyon Siege encounter and the celestial mechanics used for town sieges, the creation of the town of Brookside in the Path of Love questline, the new adventure areas along the Perennial Coast, more work on the island of Xenos in the Path of Truth quest arc, and the updates to the Blood Bay PvP zone. Most of these goodies will roll out to players later this month on January 26th when release 38 arrives, but you can scope out the visuals right now.

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Make My MMO: Refunds for Hero’s Song (January 7, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, refunds continue for Hero’s Song, which was canceled the day after Christmas with the promise to reimburse all those who backed the game through Indiegogo or on Steam early access. A new Indiegogo announcement from John Smedley yesterday says that Pixelmage has finished processing all pending requests — manually — and will soon begin mailing checks. “On the PayPal front we’re awaiting having our PayPal account authorized to do this,” he writes, suggesting that will be resolved early next week.

Meanwhile, take note, future MMO devs: If our readers are any indication, Kickstarter is probably not going to be your ticket to cash in 2017.

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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Massively Overthinking: Hopes and wishes for MMORPGs in the new year

One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It’s way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.

But all the same, for tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’d like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2017 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.

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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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