Shroud of the Avatar secures Russian publishing


Shroud of the Avatar is coming to Russia, Portalarium announced today. The studio’s inked a deal with Moscow’s Black Sun Game Publishing “to publish and operate Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Baltic States.”

Portalarium CEO Richard Garriott is quoted in the press release as saying that SOTA has a “large and growing fan base in Russia and the surrounding countries.” Black Sun’s website lists only SOTA under its umbrella and says it is “interested in buying the rights to publishing in Russia and CIS countries, massively multiplayer online games,” particularly near-finished projects.

SOTA stopped wiping its early access servers last summer but has not technically launched as a completed project. Its most recent monthly release landed at the tail end of April, introducing or overhauling multiple maps and revamping combat lines. Beginning today, the game is available in a free-to-play trial mode until the end of May.

Source: Press release



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Viktor Budusov

Great. I’ll try this


I actually gave this game a shot today during the free trial. To be honest, it wasn’t really that bad of an experience. The combat felt a lot less clunky than what I remember from the initial videos. It was relatively responsive, quick enough not to feel like a drag, and the animations were ok, albeit on the lower end of the fidelity spectrum. The abilities level up as you use them, which increases their effectiveness. The trial set me up with a number of initial abilities that I could try out, and from what I can tell you can really build your own character however you want.

The questing system is super old school, with players actually having to have a conversation with the NPCs and hit those keywords (which are highlighted). It adds a great RP feel to the experience, but it’s definitely not for everyone. On the flip side, you really have to read the conversation notes and the journal, because aside from certain compass markings, there isn’t really much there to guide you to the interest points. Like i said, very much old school.

The negatives mostly revolve around the level of polish. Sound appeared to be buggy at times, with varying volume levels. There is also a weird echo when it comes to grunting and NPC sounds. The music abruptly switches from high energy songs to mellow atmospheric one, even though no combat took place recently, which kinda kills the flow. Graphically, the game is still unoptimized, but aside from a stutter here and there, not many frame drops or weird glitches. The UI also needs a bit of work. There are some weird colour and font choices, making the game very much a clusterf* of design choices. Also, the world felt a bit void of life. Not many animals or NPCs roaming around. The emptiness felt a bit depressing, and i’m hoping that the fauna variety gets added to make the world feel more alive.

But yeah.. pleasantly surprised with what I’ve seen so far. I was definitely proven wrong, at least for the starting portion of the experience.


It’s like the Russians have their tentac…fingers in everything, and everyone!


In Soviet Russia, publishing secures you.

Oleg Chebeneev

Never heard of this publisher. Went to their site and the only game they published so far is “Port Casino Poker”. Lulz. Why Im not surprised no major russian publisher agreed to publish Garriot’s cashgrab disaster?