Shroud of the Avatar’s new ‘outskirts’ maps should be a big help for newbies

    
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Shroud of the Avatar’s latest newsletter — its 220th for those keeping track at home — got a fresh coat of paint to celebrate, and as usual, it’s stuffed full of screenshots. Some of those pics feature the Verdantis Mines, a gemstone-studded underground area, and the Kas Ruins (Helm’s Deep, anyone?), both being built for Release 41 or 42. There’s also a spotlight on a player-owned town, Owl Sky City, and a ton of videos on Obsidian Cabalist weapons.

What caught my attention, however, was the Solace Bridge Outskirts section, as its entry marks a bit of a design shift for Portalarium. “For several years now our backers have been providing us feedback that the first few hours of our game have several major issues,” explains the studio. “Those issues include too many loading screens, scenes that are too small, and starting towns that include player housing / vendors. As we shift our focus to improving the New User Experience (NUE) and as we are able to measure new player progress through events like our recent free trial we realize that we must address these issues sooner versus later.”

The solution is to add new “outskirt” maps for players just emerging from the starting scenes and in need of a basic outpost for resupply — and Solace Bridge Outskirts is the first.

Check out the screenies and video below!

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Melissa McDonald

how did NUE make it past marketing? Them that fails to learn from history are done doomed to repeat it… (hillbilly voice)

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Roger Melly

That looks a lot better graphically than I was led to believe by various comments over the last few months .

Might be interested as long as its not an open world pvp centric mmo with no factions .

I like open world pvp but not open world gankfests .

Ocho
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Ocho

I don’t think it’s a gankfest at all. But, I plan on playing single player when they eventually “launch”, so there’s no chance of ganking there.

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Dividion

Only a few of the scenes are PvP (and you get a big warning when you’re about to enter one to make sure you actually want to). In the non-PvP scenes, you’re protected by the Oracle unless you specifically decline its protection. (optional PvP) I’ve only had to enter one PvP zone to work on a quest, and I just sprinted through it to get where I needed to go. Didn’t encounter anyone else. In other words, it’s not an open world PvP game.

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Roger Christie

I visited recently after having not been in quite awhile and was impressed by the improvements in the look.

bardamu1999
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bardamu1999

I have this title and TBH it almost entirely revolves around the virtual real estate purchases of the whales and the old school UO senior citizen 1%er guilds who own entire cities in the game.

There’s a lot of preening and pomp and RP but there’s very little in the way of content or even interesting mechanics.

To me it looks like a collection of Unity store assets as set pieces for people to have their RP meetings.

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Vagabond Sam

Who knew the feedback on the zone sizes and starting experience from long time backers was relevant for years?

bardamu1999
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bardamu1999

Sadly it’s just the opening newb experience zone. Kinda like AoC’s weird bait and switch from fully voiced cutscenes and a story in the newb zone to just standard yellow ? quest givers in the main zones.

But most of all, this isn’t going to change anybody’s opinions, even if the new player experience is nicer, once the game starts for real it’s going to be just bad mechanics, boring combat, almost no lore, and an economy of peons versus 60 year olds with a $5K investment. As a realistic sim of medieval economics, it might be more on the money than Port ever intended. :D

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Greaterdivinity

Man, this game continues to be visually appealing to me in a major way. I really need to pick it up next time it goes on decent sale.

Guess I’ll poke around the subreddit a bit to get some additional details from folks actually playing, for now.

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Mateusz Pachnik

Agreed.
Is it already a launched product though, or still patching towards the mythical 1.0[finished] version?

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

It’s not considered “launched” by the developers, but for all intents and purposes it may as well be. There will be no more wipes so everything that is going on now is pretty much permanent, and it seems unlikely that any of the major systems will be overhauled at this point in the development. They’ll continue to say they aren’t launched for as long as it benefits them as an excuse. Once that ends, or the influx of players severely diminishes, they’ll go on a marketing campaign about how they are launching.