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See: Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar draws inspiration from Yellowstone, Hawaii, and Mongolia

Don’t have enough money to go on a huge vacation this year? You might be able to save a lot of dough and still get the same basic experience by tooling around in Shroud of the Avatar.

The team’s latest developer letter reveals that some of the world’s more visually striking regions have served as inspiration for some of the pocket zones (or “scenes”) in the game. These include the Sunless Barrens, which draws from the sulfur hot springs of Yellowstone and the lava flows of Hawaii, and South Drachvald Spur, which recalls some of the sights and sounds of Mongolia.

Portalarium raked in an additional $45,000 from its January 8th telethon, so the money is still flowing into the game. The studio also created a special “clasped gauntlets cloak” as a reward that players can use for their own created community events. Finally, Release 50 is heading to the game on January 25th, so be prepared.

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Shroud of the Avatar goes nuts for log cabins

With such a strong emphasis on player housing, Shroud of the Avatar has fans guessing as to what other interesting abodes the team is cooking up inside of Lord British’s lab. Turns out the answer to this is “log cabins.”

Over the next two updates, the team will be pushing out three new housing types. There’s a giant, hollowed-out horizontal log (hopefully worm-free), a giant, hollowed-out vertical log, and a very traditional Abraham Lincoln-goes-skiing log cabin. Two of these can be crafted in-game while the other will be a shop purchase.

“Players really liked the witch’s hollow log house that we introduced in South Longfall Wetland in Release 46 so at the suggestion of our players we have turned it into a house!” the team said. “The Hollow Log House is a single story village sized house that will be craftable via a recipe in-game that you will gain from a quest in Release 51.”

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Richard Garriott on how players ‘destroyed’ Ultima Online’s ecology

With a couple of months to go before its official launch, Shroud of the Avatar has more than a few challenges to overcome to deliver a solid, full-fledged game that appeals to a crowd outside of the small-yet-loyal community that has been financially floating this title for years now. But challenges are what Richard Garriott is all about, and the video game creator is not shy about sharing his long history of overcoming these in the industry.

In a recent Ars Technica interview, Garriott shared his war stories about the creation of Ultima Online and the surprises that the community whipped up along the way. The story he tells here focuses on the automated virtual ecology that was made for the sandbox. This carefully fine-tuned system was destroyed virtually overnight when player hordes came into the game and slaughtered everything.

Out of this (failed) experiment came a funny story and some useful lessons that the team used to shape MMO sandboxes thereafter. Check it out after the break!

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Choose My Adventure Year in Review: DC Universe Online, Shroud of the Avatar, Guild Wars 2, and Secret World Legends

As our review of the past year of Choose My Adventure rolls onward (a bit longer than originally planned), we enter what I think of as the trifecta of disappointment. Why? Well, the word “trifecta” is fun to say. Try it a few times. Also, because the were three titles among the back end that were pretty notably disappointing.

There are always going to be titles with Choose My Adventure that don’t connect as much with me; after all, the games that I play on a regular basis are not chosen based on a random number generator. But these titles in particular are disappointments, each for their own reasons. And then, in the middle, there’s a game that is far closer to “not mine, but not bad,” which is a different matter altogether. Life, in short, is a rich tapestry.

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Shroud of the Avatar gives the city of Yew its own Elvish identity

“Yew” is a name well-known to fans of Ultima, and the town’s namesake lives on in its spiritual successor, Shroud of the Avatar. For Release 50, the team is working on “uncloning” the current version and giving this new Yew its own identity.

“The Elven city of Yew has been shielded from outsiders by a nearly constants shroud of fog that only clears during certain alignments of the heavenly bodies,” Portalarium said. “The city itself is full of wonderful Elven architecture and because of the natural foggy defenses has never been fortified.”

Other projects that the team is tackling for the new year include improvements for its map system and the Wild Boar Clan. Release 50 is scheduled for January 25th and will be the second-to-last update before the game officially launches in March.

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MMO Year in Review: Morrowind, Stormblood, and Secret World Legends (June 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!

Easily the high point of the year, June saw the launch of The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind and Final Fantasy XIV’s Stormblood, along with the relaunch of The Secret World as Secret World Legends.

Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar launched a controversial equity crowdfunding campaign, Cryptic announced a Magic the Gathering MMORPG, and we got a look at Skull & Bones, Sea of Thieves, and Anthem at E3. We also confirmed that Neowiz and Aeria had cut ties, leaving the former to bring Bless Online westward alone.

Read on for the whole list!

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The Daily Grind: Will you kickstart any MMOs in 2018?

I didn’t back a single video game in 2017, which is a first for me. The year before, I backed Hero’s Song, and we all know how that ended. I’m looking forward to a few of the games I backed actually coming to fruition this year, like Crowfall and Shroud of the Avatar, while others, like TUG, I just figure represent money I’ll never see paid back in game form. Lesson learned, right?

It’s not as though there weren’t epic games rolling out last year, either; Ashes of Creation, one of the biggest MMOs ever on Kickstarter, owned a lot of headlines last year and it looks really great, but ultimately I decided that I’d just rather wait until it’s actually ready before leaping in. I’m not swearing off the platform on purpose, just more willing to be cautious and patient. Others of you, I know, are over and done with Kickstarter, either because you’re fed up or because you’ve been genuinely burned. And still others are hoping for a revolution in the genre and will gladly throw money at it – if it will just show up.

Will you Kickstart any MMOs in 2018?

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Make My MMO: The biggest MMO crowdfunding news of 2017

Welcome to a special edition of Make My MMO, Massively OP’s regular recap of what’s going on in crowdfunded MMOs, which we do specifically for those of you who are convinced Kickstarter is the absolute worst (it’s not) and that no crowdfunded MMOs ever launch (they do). Plus, somebody’s got to keep an eye on what your money’s up to! Tonight’s edition isn’t going to be our usual recap of the last couple of weeks, however; we’re going to look at the most important MMO crowdfunding news of the entire year. Lock up your wallets and let’s get to it.

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The MMOs of the Steam winter 2017 sale

Another December, another Steam sale to entice you to spend money on games you don’t have time to play just to have them for a rainy day! Here’s a quick look at what’s on the list for MMO and survival sandbox players.

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Shroud of the Avatar is really truly launching on March 27, 2018

If you’re a Shroud of the Avatar player, you’ve just gotten the last major update of the year. Release 49 rolled out ahead of the holidays last week as planned, but that’s far from the biggest news that came over the weekend. Indeed, Portalarium announced the game’s launch date: March 27th, 2018. That coincides with R52, for those of you keeping score at home.

“So what does that mean exactly for a game that has been both persistent for over a year and been doing monthly releases for over 4 years? Well, for us it means that we are delivering the list of features, including physical goods, promised during the Kickstarter albeit with a few exceptions and/or replacements (see below). It also means that we are going to grow our community through marketing campaigns. As we have stated previously, we intend to publish quarterly schedule updates detailing our monthly releases and those monthly releases will continue.”

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Shroud of the Avatar prepares for the arrival of Release 49

December is a time for sitting with friends and family, toasting to the new year, and most importantly, not doing any actual work. Thus, the developers behind Shroud of the Avatar are heading home early this month, and that means you get the next major patch of the game earlier than usual. But it’s still an update filled with polish, as it’s focused on exactly that in anticipation for launch. Higher frame rates, better optimization, and UI improvements for everyone!

The update also includes polish to the game’s main storyline and improvements to the game’s NPC behaviors, so enemies and helpful NPCs alike should behave more intelligently in this patch. Check out the full patch notes to see everything that’s changing in the latest release, and enjoy a more polished version of the game as you play over the holidays. (If you weren’t planning on playing over the holidays… well, you can still enjoy it, in theory.)

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Shroud of the Avatar creates the quintessential cozy inn, changes up free trial offerings

When travelers wander in to Shroud of the Avatar’s Release 49 later this week, they’ll find that one watering hole looks much improved than before. The team has been busy remodeling the Soltown inn to make it “cozier and more pleasant” for visitors.

Release 49 has a lot more than just a better-looking rumpus room; players will experience improved framerate, revamped wetlands, the new Elysium Mines, more ore nodes, UI polish, and winter recipes.

The team also notes that it is improving and experimenting with the free trial system (the next of which starts on December 20th). Free players will be marked as visitors, be moved over to the Path of Courage, have a level 50 skill cap, and restrict trade with others.

“Making these changes will allow us to leave the free trial up almost continually therefore maximizing the ability for players to try the game before they buy,” Portalarium said. “We feel firmly that giving players this no obligation opportunity is great for the health of the game and a fair business practice that we wish to pursue.”

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