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: 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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The best Massively OP streams of 2016

The number of games our wee little Stream Team covers in the span of a year is staggering. If you ever wanted to know what an MMORPG looks like and how it plays before you shell out money or download a mega-client, the Stream Team is your best bet.

We’ve put together some of our favorite streams from the year, from launches to first-looks and beta deep-dives and even a series of SMITE charity streams we did with the help of our viewers. Enjoy!

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Betawatch: Hero's Song abruptly stops the music (December 30, 2017)

This kill-happy year of 2016 has claimed a lot of lives, and the last week has also killed another game. Hero's Song has been unceremoniously cancelled, with the studio shutting down and a call for all backers to collect refunds for any money invested. This may not have been unexpected news when it failed to succeed at either of its crowdfunding pushes, but it's still sad news.

Meanwhile, whilst the rest of the world was quietly recuperating, some other interesting tidbits of beta news did come out this week:

And that wraps up our betas for the year. Of course, there's still a list down below, and you can let us know if something switched test phases without us noticing... but for now, we're just going to wait until 2017. You know, in two days. Here's hoping for good news.

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Massively OP's Best of 2016 Awards: Most Anticipated MMORPG for 2017 and Beyond

Massively Overpowered's end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for Most Anticipated MMORPG for 2017 and Beyond, which was awarded to Star Citizen last year in an incredibly close vote. This year's was close too, but dang, a lot of the games are the same because they still aren't out.

Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Most Anticipated MMORPG for 2017 and Beyond is...

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Massively OP's MMO guide to the Steam Winter Sale

Do you have any money left after all of that holiday shopping, travel, and dining out? Steam would very much like to have what remains, if you please, and is willing to trade you some discounted games in return.

Yes, the annual Steam Winter Sale is up and running, which means all sorts of deals for the frugal MMORPG player. We've compiled a huge list of all of the deals -- including discounts of up to 90% off! -- to help you navigate the holiday promotion. The sale ends on January 2nd. Hope it helps!

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Shroud of the Avatar is in the final stretch before launch

Shroud of the Avatar is planning to hit the ground running in 2017, sprinting right on to the full launch of the game. The good news is that there isn't much more to go before players will see the first episode in its full glory.

"We believe that we have reached the final 20% of development before commercial release, at which point we will transition out of early access," Portalarium reported. "The next two quarters will be the most exciting and challenging times for the project so far. This will be when we get the final features and content in the game and make the last important balance changes."

If you want all of the full specifics of what's coming with the next string of releases, the studio has posted an itemized list of the monthly patches for the next three months. Projects include working on the paths of Courage and Truth, expanding crafting, balancing combat, improving the user interface, and visually distinguishing regions.

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Make My MMO: Shards Online's January alpha, Star Citizen's Star Marine (December 24, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Shards Online announced it'll kick off its alpha early in the new year, on January 13th. "Based on the feedback we've received from our current playerbase, there are a few things that need to happen before we can consider ourselves ready for Steam," says Citadel's Derek Brinkmann -- and those include a bigger world map, tamed mounts, the archery skill, modding, and dev tools.

And last night, Star Citizen dropped 2.6 Star Marine for backers, along with the surprise announcement that it's been using Amazon Lumberyard for over a year now.

Meanwhile,

  • Former City of Heroes community member Je Saist has set up a GoFundMe to help him pay off medical bills accruing as a result of his early onset glaucoma diagnosis.
  • John Smedley told Redditors that "money is tight" for Hero's Song.
  • Project Gorgon pulled in over $17,000 from its Indiegogo campaign.
  • Grim Dawn rolled out its 1.0.0.7 patch, which includes a massive outdoor "Aetherial roguelike" dungeon.
  • Elite: Dangerous raised £46,813 during its recent charity livestream.
  • Descent: Underground announced its Avalanche update and GOG launch.
  • Wild Terra updated with its Christmas event this very weekend.

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

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Shroud of the Avatar's world grows ever larger

With December's Release 37 out of the door, you might expect Shroud of the Avatar's team to downshift for the remainder of the month. It doesn't sound like this is happening, however, as the devs are forging forward in the creation of various parts of the world.

One of the big projects is adding polish and detail to the large city of Xenos. Xenos is an island metropolis that draws in a wide variety of cultures, which is reflected in its population. It also has a range of architecture styles to show off its history and even will contain urban sprawl in much the same way as modern cities in the real world.

The team is also creating the open PvP zone of Blood Bay and rebuilding Vauban Pass for Release 38. "Blood Bay is going to be an open PVP area with two NPC towns, player housing, adventuring areas, and entrances to underground adventure areas," the team said. "It is going to be a testing ground for several systems that will, in turn, propagate to other parts of the game if successful." The release is scheduled to come out on January 26th.

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Make My MMO: Elyria concedes coiffure complaints (December 17, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Chronicles of Elyria brought up that most critical of MMORPG features: hairstyles. I'm not even kidding; not 10 days ago I was complaining about bad hair in MMORPGs! Soulbound says its current sketches (check 'em out below) are just "the tip of the iceberg" in terms of the scope of hair for different regional groups in the game. The dev blog also covers the delays to the exposition store, pets (lemurs!), work on the female character model, and the layaway system.

Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar invited everyone to a party, ECO released its fifth alpha, AdventureQuest 3D introduced Frostval, Wild Terra hit early access, and Project Gorgon updated players on server performance as its Indiegogo nears completion.

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

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Betawatch: Guardians of Ember starts heading into head starts (December 16, 2016)

First, Guardians of Ember had a headstart period for early access. Then, it actually hit early access. So it was even earlier access there. Hyper-early access. Maximum access. Of course, given that the game ran into some server troubles rather promptly, it may be up for debate how much early access was actually possible.

This week's list of beta news, by contrast, is not in early access. It's actually in delayed access, because we're rounding up some notable stuff you might have missed. Case in point?

  • The fifth alpha version for ECO has gone live, complete with expanded support for climate and ecosystem, global temperature changes, and so forth. It also added foxes to the ecosystem, so that's solid gold right there. (I like foxes.)
  • Speaking of fifth alphas (and how often is that a segue that gets to be used?), Worlds Adrift has brought in some new people for its fifth alpha test. It's an expansion! Of the team. Not the game. It's too early to expand the game; it hasn't launched yet.
  • Global closed beta for Life is Feudal kicked off this past week with a small core of people who had bought into the testing and a pool of selected testers. It's also working on horse-drawn carriages. That's not connected to anything else; it's just worth noticing.
  • Although it's been a short month for Shroud of the Avatar, the game did manage to get another release out of the door this month! One last iteration of polish before the new year rolls around, you know how it is.
  • Last but not least, it turns out Camelot Unchained is going to integrate Discord right into the game, thus meaning that you have one fewer chat program you'll need to load up when you play the game. Or you'll have to flag yourself as invisible to avoid talking with people. Don't judge me.

And that's all that... wait, you want more? Ugh, fine, have a whole list of stuff that's in testing just below. You know, like we do every week. It's always possible we may have missed something important, though, so please let us know down in the comments if we did. That's helpful!

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Shroud of the Avatar offers up Release 37 patch notes

It's a busy month for the team behind Shroud of the Avatar. See, there's some holiday or another this month (someone should probably write down what it is) that means the game's usual four-week development cycle is knocked off of its axis and instead winds up working on just two weeks. Thus, the game's release 37 is incoming today, which means that it's a slightly smaller patch than normal... and it's still pretty enormous by the standards of most games.

This patch addresses a number of performance issues for the game client while also updating Artoris visuals and some of the Path of Love content. There's also the first iteration of Town Sieges as well as some combat balance shifts and the addition of overworld stealthing. You can check out all of the changes in the patch notes, or you can just download the patch now and get playing. Sort of a trial by fire approach, you know.

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