Shroud of the Avatar claims higher concurrency heading into launch

    
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Is the buzz starting to grow louder for Shroud of the Avatar as it rounds the corner to launch? There are a couple of positive signs that player interest and involvement is picking up in these final weeks, at least according to creator Richard Garriott.

Responding to some players who noted that guild traffic and general interest has been on the rise as of late, Garriott tweeted, “Data backs that up! In addition to eight weeks of steady concurrency increases, the conversion rates of free trials to full citizens remains strong, even as less ‘indoctrinated’ folks are trying it out. Travian’s great marketing team fine tuning new player outreach.”

One of our commenters recently noted that the developers have been raining meteors down on the game’s population in these last few weeks — and that it seems as if there is something big planned as a launch event. Stay tuned!

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Raleigh-St-Clair

So around the time of the SeedInvest cash grab… the cash grab that came on top of the Kickstarter and ongoing beg-a-thons… it was stated there’s over 60,000 game accounts. That may well be, but there’s *nowhere near* 60,000 people playing this game. Chris, do you still hold out on this idea that, suddenly, despite the game already being persistent for over 500 days, there will be a huge influx of players into the game?

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Jack Pipsam

I did back the Kickstarter and have a copy on Steam from it, so i’ll play it for sure just to check it out beyond what little I played in the past.

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Jack Tyme

“Hey let’s update the 1 to 3 skull zones first. Let’s finish the 4 and above skulls zones later.” What about all the players that have been playing the game since the beginning? I wasn’t one I started a bit late. But we kept your game alive man, and yet you do not give the older players anything to do. When I had my account, literally I would log in and be like “WTF do I do?”. Grind the same zone till my eyes bleed? That is what many of the players above 90 adv have been doing, and I bet are still doing now. For the sake of the people that kept this game alive this long, give them something to do, start releasing content for the 4 skull zones and above.

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Chris Spears

Howdy Jack, there are plenty of options for high-level adventure areas but I agree that too much focus has been spent on low to mid-level stuff. That was somewhat intentional though as we wanted to make sure that content was full and meaningful for new players. I think the problem for higher level content is players always migrate towards the areas with the absolute greatest return on effort *cough*monkeyroom*cough*The Fall liches*cough* and that results in players spending a lot of time there. We continue to polish the rewards per area and now that we’re launching, more and more high-level content will continue to come online.

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Pedda Wacker

I was ready to click and download this game but after reading this thread I’m going to pass. Thanks for convincing me to not waste my time.

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Caleb Cranson

I wouldn’t pass on it just yet. Although I am not longer supportive of it, you should still see for yourself through their free trials. The game has gotten a lot better, but sadly it is a RMT nightmare.

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Paulie Walnuts

If you’re on the fence just try it and see what you think. You can do that here: https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/?page_id=69568

Shroud has a lot to offer and you’re more than likely going to come out ahead for hours played compared to what you spend for the game itself. Only you will be able to decide if you like it. Don’t let the opinions of the haters and lovers sway you from giving it a legitimate shot.

Everywhere I go, there’s a small mob of players that like to go around to every single thread out there and bash the game. I’ve also noticed that while SOME of the concerns they have and reasons for being upset are legit and acceptable, they are also regurgitating a lot of angst that has built up over the years of fighting with the player base and development team on many platforms. A lot of these players stopped playing quite some time ago and aren’t even current, thus causing them to have complaints on things that don’t even exist anymore. In fact, a handful of them have even gone as far as to just flat out making things up out of spite.

On the flip side, there are some people who view the game as sacred who are a bit out of touch with some of the issues it has also. Everything considered, this has fueled a bit of a tit for tat mentality between the community and the people who have defected.

Don’t get caught up in all of that.

This game has progressed A LOT over the last 4 months and I expect it to become more polish every release going forward.

Give it a shot and decide for yourself. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t at least do that.

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Chris Spears

Dev for the game here and let me second what this guy said. Ignore it all and just go play the game. If you look at the other posts here, pretty much anything I post no matter how constructive or truthful will result with me being attacked and insulted. Please just ignore it all and go play! Also, remember that we publish new content, new features, new performance upgrades every single month for free and you never have to spend a dime. More than 90% of our active players never give us a dime more than the $39 initial game purchase so when you see the comments on “RMT nightmare” again, no pay to win stuff, almost all cosmetic, and almost all items we sell have a slightly less fancy version that can be crafted in the game.

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temp starcitizen

Please publish a new EULA. Right now your user agreement prohibits all RMT but you market your game for RMT. If you don’t enforce your EULA what else can players get away with? You should fix it so players don’t have to feel at risk if the devs decide to enforce the EULA against people on a whim.

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Chris Spears

That is actually not true. Our policy is we don’t like player to player RMT BUT we also know that if companies like Blizzard and NCSoft can’t stop it, then we can’t either. So while we don’t like it, not allowing it all would just drive it into the shadows. We believe rather than doing that, better to discourage it but allow it to happen in plain sight so at least other players can monitor it and are less likely to be ripped off.

I believe an update EULA is being crafted to more accurately represent that stance.

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temp starcitizen

I don’t see an EULA update on the roadmap and it’s not in the R52 release notes that are currently being worked on. It’s probably not being planned, you may need to double check on that and update the community.

It is true that people like to be safe, and when you actively allow RMT you make the game not safe. Your EULA provides you a way to ban people for breaking the EULA, but then you make a “policy” that makes all RMT sales and services part of the game. Having it both ways doesn’t help players, it hurts players because you’re encouraging scam behaviors and claiming no liability.

You can’t flip flop on everything that is a controversy and expect it to be healthy for the game.

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Chris Spears

Safe is a relative term. At least if someone rips another player off in our forums at least there is a verifiable paper trail and you can see who has traded stuff before without incident.

Our policy has never changed and there is obvious proof of this dating back 4 years. This really shouldn’t be a question since we created a public section in the forums for this for years ago with hundreds of people posting. The only thing that might change is that our EULA might include specific language to clarify the point but honestly, EULAs are CYA type documents and they might be leaving it alone. I honestly don’t know as that isn’t my area. EULAs are not the enforcement policy but rather what we reserve the right to enforce should we choose to.

Also, just a reminder that we do this for the player’s benefit and, aside from two people who requested to be “Trusted Traders”, we make nothing off of it.

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temp starcitizen

“At least if someone rips another player off in our forums at least there is a verifiable paper trail”

Can you explain what this means? Right now you let everyone trade with Paypal Friends and Family, (which is against Paypal user agreement for business). You don’t use any tools to track RMT trades and you claim no liability but now you’re saying you will intervene? How is this possible?

“EULAs are not the enforcement policy but rather what we reserve the right to enforce should we choose to.”

Exactly why people don’t feel safe. The EULA is a contractual agreement between you and the player – but you don’t see it that way.

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Chris Spears

So again, let me remind you that I’m a tech guy who just happens to not mind answering questions. This is not my area but…

So it seems you left off the second half of that sentence in your claim to misrepresent what I actually said and that is actually important:

“At least if someone rips another player off in our forums at least there is a verifiable paper trail and you can see who has traded stuff before without incident.”
The verifiable paper trail is for the players, not us.

Also, you are wrong on what a EULA is. A EULA is not a contract for what someone must enforce but rather what someone can enforce if needed. Most EULAs have language for things like limiting the account to a single user can use the account BUT that never gets enforced except in cases where there is misconduct. If every EULA you’ve ever blindly clicked through was enforced 100% in all cases, the software world and software users would implode. I’m sure this won’t satisfy you but that is the reality, any EULA is not a mandatory enforcement policy but rather what we can enforce should the need arise.

I’m guessing you argued this to death the forums already before coming here so honestly, this answer is just for others who might read this. We don’t want it but we accept that in any open economy, player to player RMT is going to happen and no company has ever managed to stop it. Rather than spending massive resources to try and unsuccessfully battle it, we say we tolerate it and allow it to be done in sight of everyone for their safety.

Again, I’m not the business guy though. That is just what I know to be true of ALL software.

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temp starcitizen

“At least if someone rips another player off in our forums at least there is a verifiable paper trail and you can see who has traded stuff before without incident.”

That’s not how it works in your marketplace. That’s not how it works at all because you have no support structure and no tech and no rules for a real RMT marketplace. It sounds like you don’t even know how it works in your own game.

First off, players delete posts and threads, so there is no verifiable post history for a player rep system.

Second thing is you allow alts in your forums, so there is no way to trust if player rep is real or not, even if a system existed.

Third thing your moderators have said they will delete any negative feedback left for a trader because negative reviews are not allowed. So a feedback and reputation system does not exist.

The thing is no one can see what’s been traded and no one can see price history or trade rep for anyone. That’s been a big problem in your marketplace for years and has been complained about many times.

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Tariva Sparks

lol, make no money off it…yet. You created trade forums which are primed to be monetized with your usual hellhole of microtransactions post release.

Examples:
1 COTO to Bold your thread title
2 COTOs to Bump Thread,
10 COTOs to Sticky Thread to top of page for 1 week.

Afterall, one of your Trusted Traders did exactly that with his previous forums. How much you want to bet that I am spot on the “money” with my prediction?

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Caleb Cranson

Shroud of the Avatar is a RMT P2W fiasco. I truly do not understand how people can view it any other way? Anytime you condone the purchasing of in-game gold or digital assets it’s P2W. Having said that, I encourage people to try it for themselves using a free trial.

The game currently has around 500-600 players and with a little over two weeks STILL has a lot of work that needs to be done. The graphics are ok, the performance is slightly improved but even on my Titan X, FPS is around 20-30 if I’m lucky!!!! Moreover there are massive issues with clipping that still have not been resolved.

The story is also just…bad. For all those hoping for an Ultima “like” experience THIS IS NOT IT! The best way to describe the story is a slightly evolved “walking story” that lets you choose a good path or a bad path and even those options are limited and somewhat obtuse.

Housing is a HUGE part of this game and unless you are willing to spend HOURS grinding away mindlessly for in-game gold you have two other options: 1) Buy a deed from Portalarium 2) Buy in-game gold from an RMT trader and buy a deed online. This is a major tollbooth for what is a fun aspect of the game.

Concurrency MIGHT be going up, but not enough to make the game world seem…alive. You will still be running around, waiting on load screens and never seeing a soul. This was a project that I was looking forward to, but has failed miserably in providing anything close to an Ultima experience.

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Victor Didra

I’m seeing it. There are far more people in Resolute on a regular basis now than there were even 2 months ago. The list of people on the world map brings much hope to me as well. Asking others in game, the answer always seem to be “Yeah, I’m seeing more people all the time!”

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Chris Spears

Dev Chris here, we actually expose our public stats API so people can mine any data they want and confirm numbers are up and activity up accordingly! You can read up on the public stats API here:
https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/public-stats-api.89186/
Players are using this to track the economy and also track PVP action. There is even a Discord bot that someone made that now tracks PVP stats and keeps and ELO ranking for PVP players.

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postlarval

((Deleted by mod.))

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Chris Spears

Zero people have been banned from the public API. We do have to have a login though in case someone decides to hammer it with pointless queries to try and ruin the game for everyone. I know this will truly shock you to your very core but there are people who actually seem to get their pleasure from ruining things for everyone else. Can you imagine?

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rune_74

This is a lie. You have banned users from using discord and you have banned them from steam as well. You have tied the games RMT to your forums then decided who you would restrict access to.

shibby523
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shibby523

My favorite was when you were preemptively banned from /r/sota_official right before the Garriott AMA.

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Chris Spears

Rune, we have banned tons but not from the Public API.

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rune_74

Yes, I am aware you have banned tons, I’m one of them.

How do we access the public API

shibby523
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shibby523

API from my understanding the API is locked behind Dev+ access and the majority cannot get to it. If I am wrong please post here detailed instructions on accessing it.

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Chris Spears

Not a dev plus thing, any can use it.

shibby523
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shibby523

Please post how to access it then.

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Alleine Dragonfyre

Agreed. There are so many new people around!

shibby523
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shibby523

((Deleted by mod. Please review the commenting code. Personal attacks are not welcome.))

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Dividion

After reading through the comments, I’ve noticed:
a) You have nothing positive to say about SotA
b) You openly attack its developers
c) You haven’t backed up any of your arguments with facts
d) You haven’t made any recommendations on how it could be fixed
e) You should probably take Elsa’s advice on this one

I’ve put in a few hours since Release 51, and I’ve gotta say they’ve made some terrific improvements in the last few months. Still has the skill grind and I think the gold UI could be reworked, but it’s playing pretty smoothly, the different locations I’ve been to appear to be well-crafted, and every time I go out and do stuff my character gets a little stronger. Also, it’s really easy to get help in-game. That’s pretty much what I want from an RPG.

I’m not a huge SotA fanboy or anything. I’ve just been following the game since early on and I’ve seen it go from incredibly rough to being very playable. I’ve managed to avoid the “terrible community” that others have mentioned, and the only real negative stuff I’ve seen is from people who don’t even play it. Personally, I hope it has a long, healthy run.

shibby523
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shibby523

I just played the game the other day (Sunday in fact). What facts do I need to back up? Please let me know and I will give them to you in spades. I literally posted two sentences none of which are fact worthy.

Obviously when I say the game will fail and Garriott will not be taken serious, I can’t be talking facts, as I don’t have a crystal ball.

I’ve logged into this game starting years ago (before Steam), and the game has hardly made “terrific improvements”. Sorry you can’t see the game for what it is. Maybe your issues that you see as improved are different than mine. You know what? That is perfectly fine. We all play games for different reasons and enjoy different things.

Never once have I said anything that was a lie about this game. Made speculations on what I see? yes, as most people tend to do.

I do have to say that the game does indeed have some awesome details that I love seeing in any game. It’s just everything else is so poorly implemented that it’s hard to get into the really nice stuff they have in the game.

I bought a game that ended up varying vastly from what was pitched. If I had made a $60 game purchase, I would have written it off and moved on. This is a game that asked and still asks for hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Many people backed this great game that was pitched as the next Ultima and instead got this half butted attempt at milking people out of money based on allowing RMT.

Did you know Black Desert Online was created with the same budget (as SotA) and they made their own engine to top it off? Makes you wonder what Portalarium did with all the millions.

I know several people that bought PoT and had hopes that people would flood their towns with homes and vendors. Instead Portalarium locked plot deeds behind a paywall and same with every other decent piece of this game. So these people are pissed that Port (at the last minute mind you) decided to do this and thus make it a “pull out your wallet” or grind for hour upon hour to buy. Now these people that spent thousands are left in towns with tumbleweeds blowing through them. Yeah, a few PoTs are busy.

Before you say that COTOs drop off mobs, I’ll stop you there. The drop rate is so abysmal that in 90 hours I have yet to see one. Some people have found a few of the lesser ones in over a hundred hours of playtime. Surefire way to get them is to open your wallet or grind hour upon hour to buy them off another player.

COTO drops are also manipulated by Portalarium which in turn affects RMT.

Did you know that buying items vis RMT with Paypal friends and family is against Paypal terms of service and can get your account banned? Portalarium or the RMT guys wont tell you that.

Buy somoething off someone via RMT and they refuse to give you what you bought? Guess what? You’re SOL. Portalraium instead of creating a secure place to RMT, instead looks the other way and says they are not liable.

Port put a new mail system in the game with mailboxes for your homes. Well guess what? They ran out of time to make the in game crafted ones and so the only way to use the new system was to open your wallet for at least the next month until they were able to finish and patch in the finished crafted ones.

Portalarium profited off Garriotts mothers death by creating an in game painting for charity and pocketing a good portion of the proceeds for themselves.

Devs have openly attacked players in public forums that they do not like.

The devs have been in panic mode now and have openly called us trolls that want nothing more than to ruin SotA. You know what? They have been doing that to themselves all along.

This is just the tip on the iceberg, I can go on but It’s getting late.

Like I said before, I put in much more money than a normal game purchase all based on what I was told this game was going to be. So think on that before you so eloquently allude to telling me to “let it go”

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Dividion

Wow. You’ve definitely got some grievances.

Regarding COTOs, I’ve still got whatever my package came with (50 I think?), and they’re still sitting in my bank. I’ve never felt a need to use them (nor felt obligated to purchase anything off the store, but I did during a few of the telethons to get the freebies). I tend to avoid RMT stuff.

As for Black Desert, I have a couple of disagreements. One is that a dollar can stretch a lot further where it was developed, most likely with the staff working insane hours. And another is that when I tried the game, I didn’t have any fun. It felt like there was no effort or thought required to level up, the dialog was the usual “click-through” garbage. The controls were just okay (somewhat cumbersome at times) and of course it had good graphics, but I felt that was like lipstick on a pig. I felt the same way about Revelation Online. I used to love ArcheAge (until Trion killed it) and TERA though, so it’s not like I’ve got anything against imports, when they’re done right.

Anyway, for the POTs, that does sound pretty bad. I usually just visit those when there’s a specific reason to. So overall I guess there are just some things that haven’t impacted me like they have you. I still feel the game has plenty of stuff to see and do that makes it worth the minimum price of entry. And if the past is any lesson, it’ll keep getting better.

Also, for the improvements: they cleaned up a lot of the graphical glitches (though capes still need some fine-tuning), loading times are vastly improved, combat functions much better and is more intuitive, the text is incredibly legible across the board, there’s more variety to the towns, the integration of SotaMap is a great help, and let’s not forget how talking to NPCs puts the focus on the conversation, with a keyword list to help out. So yeah, lots of improvements.

shibby523
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shibby523

With Black Desert, everything you say about it can also be applied to SotA. Except the labor part. I have no clue the BDO team size but if it was larger than SotAs then wages could work out the same or more for BDOs or SotAs. I won’t bother looking it up as then it becomes looking up the average salary of each position. So basically we have no clue (without research) really on the wages part and would be speculation on our parts to use that as an argument. Not that we are arguing as you are way more pleasant than most pro-sota people I have come across.

I agree though that BDO is not that great of a game, but it does have some pretty cool features but falls short in others. I can say that I probably played both games for the same amount of time (if anything BDO more) and had much more fun in BDO for what it’s worth.

Damn Archeage, I loved that game and saw myself playing that for a long time. Trion just took that knife and stuck it in Archeages back and twisted. I used to drop a lot of cash on it until they made it the only way to compete in PvP was cash shop or grinding insane hours. Actually it was those trees that were in the lootcrates that were the only way to get the parts for the wagon upgrades. If you were lucky and got a seed you were still depending on RMT (lightning strike) to get the resource. That was the first thing that killed it for me. Pure greed.

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Chris Spears

Black Desert creator Pearl Abyss has just over 200 employees and started Black Desert in 2010, so only a little over 7 times the size of Portalarium with several more years on the development cycle.

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temp starcitizen

BDO still did it with 11 mil. You guys hire contractors, whole dev studios if I recall. If you had to add up every person involved in development I bet you’d be around 200 people or more.

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Chris Spears

So first off, we’ve never gone over 30 person team size and were 25 most the project. We list every person on our webpage. I appreciate that you are suggesting we did this with 200 but…no.
:P Here is the staff that has stayed mostly unchanged for years.

https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/?page_id=26862

Curious where you saw the $11mln number for BDO as they said they started with 70 people in 2010 and ended with 200. Maybe they started the company with a million but salaries in South Korea are not that different than the US. Only numbers I saw for the game cost were close to $100mln which works out with the math. Cost per person per years, roughly $100k, $70k salary plus $30k overhead for software, hardware, office, benefits. 70 people for 7 years = 490 man years. 490 x 100k = $49mln. Bring that 70 number closer to the 200 they list now and $100 mln sounds feasible. My guess is that the $1mln number you saw was what they started the company with, not the cost of the game.

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temp starcitizen

Here’s the link to the 11 mil reference, it’s been circulating for a few months. https://www.invenglobal.com/articles/3777/dae-il-kim-the-chairperson-of-pearl-abyss-im-still-an-active-developer-the-next-title-is-in-progress

ur good at math :) But I was talking about all the subs you hired over the years and studios you contracted, why don’t you count them? There’s probably over 100 people in LinkedIn with references to Portalarium work. I’ve read articles about small dev companies in Austin doing work with you guys, just figured you’d give them some props.

Also, lots of studios custom build their own engines and artwork. You used Unity and the Unity asset store, that alone had to strip the need for 50 or so jobs right off the top.

I get that you guys are small, but how many people do you really need to polish and manage subcontractors?

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Chris Spears

Nope. Since Shroud started, we’ve probably had 40 people total who came through the studio. There were more before Shroud started though, check their dates. Zero work that I’m aware of has been sent out of house.
Also, curious how they can get 70-200 people working for them for 7+ years for $11mln. Even at India or China wages, that math doesn’t work. My guess is they spent more on the company not listed there. Good work on their part though. While there are a lot of things in it I’m not fond of, they did a lot of stuff well in BDO.

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rune_74

Let’s talk about what happened since shroud started. It started on kickstarter(or before if we mention ultimate collector) where you sold a game to fans that would be like the old ultima’s that you could play online with friends if you want. It wouldn’t be an MMO though, but it would have this great story with consequences and all those nifty things modern RPG’s have.

Then you reach your goal, single player fans lined up to support you as well as UO fans. Then Darkstar came on board and somewhere in here you decided to chase the buck with an MMO(for those wondering this is where they changed their website to call it a MMO, which strangely enough does not match the pitch on kickstarter, since they could not change the kickstarter description.)

For four years this team meandered about creating things that could be thrown on a screen for people to play online with. Single player fans sat waiting patiently for anything that could be seen as them actually listening to anyone. Nothing came other then locked threads and unanswered questions. Then they had this brilliant idea given to them by a big backer, Player owned towns…why not a few of these could help fund the game right? Well, why stop at a few when you can pepper the map with 100’s of empty towns with zero rules accompanying them. This wasted at least a year of dev time.

In the last year or so they decided, hey maybe we need a storyline and so they decided to throw some things together and gave us a pretty bad storyline of quests, most are FedEx quests. When you mentioned that they weren’t very good to Lum(Story guy…who did what for 4 years?, UO fan who was hired) He stated, if you don’t like them now you won’t like them on release and you should leave.

Truth of the matter here is Portalarium lied to it’s customers and made people want to keep involved because they treated them badly. This is their mess.

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Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Rob Crowther

Zero work that I’m aware of has been sent out of house.

You should maybe clarify that comment since, for example, the map system was created ‘out of house’.

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Chris Spears

Yes, the map system and our ABC music system were created by fans and we acquired them. Not sure how they could be considered employees but they did save us plenty of time and were compensated! Most of the music was also primarily created by fans!

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

For what it’s worth, Pearl Abyss stated during the IPO last year that the ENGINE cost them $1M (US) to build, not the whole game, and even then, the way it was phrased was confusing and we doubted it because that’s way too low. I’ve never heard the $11M number before. Given how much money, say, CSE has spent on its engine, I rather doubt $1M for the engine as much as I doubt $11M total, but salaries vary overseas. If anyone has a legit source on that, please post it.

All: I am cleaning up this thread – it is seriously not OK to abuse developers. Our commenting code is plainly laid out. You are free to argue, but the personal attacks are not welcome.

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temp starcitizen

In the link the interview is with Dae Il Kim , and he says “In fact, the development cost for BDO wasn’t that high. We had as many skilled personnel as we could get, and I personally put much dedication into it. It was around 11 million dollars. We modified the whole process in order to save some costs. The process was completely different from that of R2 or C9. We discussed many times internally, and we had to make an instant decision from time to time.”

There are links to email addresses at the bottom of the article, they would probably be ok to verify the information and the source since it was their interview. https://www.invenglobal.com/articles/3777/dae-il-kim-the-chairperson-of-pearl-abyss-im-still-an-active-developer-the-next-title-is-in-progress

shibby523
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shibby523

SotA is at or over 12 million. They haven’t released all details of the Blacksun and Travian (sp?) deals. Soon they will be forced to.

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Jack Tyme

To clarify = Pearl Abyss used around 900k USD to create BDO and the initial content.

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Jack Tyme

BDO = 900k USD not 11 million.

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Jack Tyme

That still does not justify having 11 million and producing SoTA. Pearl Abyss used about 900k USD to create BDO and the first 2 years of initial content. And BDO is far superior to this game in my opinion. I been playing MMOs since the mid 90s and PC games since the 80s. With the funds you all had + time to create and giving us that, PLUS begging for money once a month. All I can say is wow. In truth I really hope SoTA does well.

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TotalCowage .

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postlarval

Anything that happens to this game is entirely self-inflicted.

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rafterman

There’s nothing positive to say about this game. They ruined an excellent premise with greed and RMT whales. The game is already dead. I’d say “before release” but we all know that claiming it hasn’t been released, when players have long bought their way to in-game wealth and land, is a bullshit lie.

You’d be stupid to buy this game at “release” and apparantly the public has picked up on that fact, which is why the concurrent player nunbers are awful.

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Chris Spears

Dev Chris here. Thanks for the honest and kind words and launch is only the start of the goodness. Agree that the gold UI is dated to say the least and needs some love and it will certainly get some soon but not before launch.

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postlarval

((Deleted by mod.))

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Chris Spears

Nope, honest = honest. He criticized multiple aspect of the game and complemented others, just as any rational person would do.

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postlarval

((Deleted by mod.))

shibby523
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shibby523

They’d have to rip the RMT right out of the jaws of the hungry whales that inhabit this travesty of a game.

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Chris Spears

We love you too postlarval and appreciate what a dedicated fan of the game you have been for the past 4 years. You must be a fan, right, because what sane person would continually follow a game and post multiple times on every thread if they weren’t a fan? See you in game at launch

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postlarval

((Deleted by mod.))

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Chris Spears

Aw, you’re so sweet! See you at launch old friend!

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postlarval

((Deleted by mod.))

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Chris Spears

Clearly we didn’t launch but maybe that explains your negativity if you thought we did! No worries, all cleared up for you now, no hard feelings and we’ll see you at launch!

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Vagabond Sam

How is a persistent game state, an active cash shop and free trial weekends clearly not ‘launch’?

Have you never seen the sideways glances given to ‘Open Beta’ games because ‘launch’ can mean different things to different people?

I hope you treat new customers with more respect and act more like a professional when representing Portakarium as the media light starts to shine more as you ‘commercial launch’ or whatever it is you use to justify 600 days of persistent, monetized game state.

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Chris Spears

Agree, some people define launch as different things. We defined it as when we felt the game was story complete, fun enough, feature complete, and well tested enough to start actively attracting an audience. Some define it as what comes after beta and I believe we fit that description as well.

As for free trials, we were very clear that part of that was to attract new players to get feedback from players who were financially committed. It was also to test the stickiness of the game and see what we could do to polish the rough edges.

Not sure which customers we didn’t treat with respect but we definitely are changing some of our attitudes as we move out of testing and into a live state. Feel free to let us know in a constructive manner if you feel we don’t and I hope to see you in game after launch!

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Caleb Cranson

“Not sure which customers we didn’t treat with respect but we definitely are changing some of our attitudes as we move out of testing and into a live state.”

Mr. Spears, with all due respect allow me to refresh your memory to these comments of yours over at mmorpg.com: https://forums.mmorpg.com/discussion/464370/an-impressive-look-at-new-moondial-effects-shroud-of-the-avatar-mmorpg-com/p1

I can empathize with your frustration and can understand your need to justify your narrative amidst the vitriol. Yet your responses were completely unprofessional. You are an executive and “face” of Portalarium and the game. To reduce yourself to the banality of the negative comments was an embarrassment. I am glad you are moving ahead in a more positive manner and agree that “killing with kindness” is a much more professional and respectful tact.

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Vagabond Sam

The respect part is where you’ve openly employed sarcasm in your response to anothet poster in this thread.

Clearly we didn’t launch but maybe that explains your negativity if you thought we did! No worries, all cleared up for you now, no hard feelings and we’ll see you at launch!

As to constructive criticism.

I responded earlier to your claim that 95% of the cash shop items were removed.

However they are almost all still available on premium currency vendors.

By this logic you could claim cryptic games removed most of their cash shop because cryptic points are obtainable in game and you purchase the items in the client.

But most would consider that a misleading comment because the cash shop isn’t gone. It’s just moved.

Also. In 350 hours of persistence my main saw zero Gold COTO drop.

In 12 hours the last week an alt I made as a visitor has also gotten zero Gold COTO.

What’s the expected drop rate? That’s important in determining how viable it is too gather that currency and use it without someone paying for the advantage of either the item, or the gold they get for selling it?

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Given the outrageous and disgusting abuse toward Portalarium I’ve had to moderate out so far, I’d say the devs are entitled to some cheerful sarcasm once and a while.

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Vagabond Sam

@Bree I can understand that in context of what is seen from just occasional interactions and how some aspects of the drama that have simmered and boiled for years are surfacing in ways that aren’t constructive.

However, there is a consistent and demeaning tone that Portakarium staff have used in dismissing people that backed them whether at Kickstarter or after, who have had feedback over the years. Just because there are customers behaving in a way that some might describe as disgusting, doesn’t make public retaliation endearing from a professional position.

Besides, I was more interested in getting a response addressing the inconsistencies in how the monetization strategy of the game is currently evolving and how they are presenting it with launch a few short weeks away.

Unfortunately Chris chose to engage with arguments over semantics and whether salaries in Korea are low then answer some pretty key questions about the game he’s been working on for years.

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rune_74

Abuse they somewhat brought on themselves. I don’t agree with people who threaten them or use language to get their points across. But you will note that they avoid answering any topics they feel they cannot positively spin.

Their whole claim of being Doxxed and the addresses given out is a lie. That happened to a critic of the game who no longer posts anything for fear for his family(yay win port?). They took that experience and tried to spin it here.

I also have been doxxed(or at least believed to have been done) by a member who still posts on their website who says Port gave him my personal information. I made a complaint and was told it wasn’t their problem.

Long story short they have inspired a emotional response in a lot of people who have been treated badly by them, so be careful feeling sorry for them.

EDIT: Have a look at the sad things I have had to deal with these people: https://www.reddit.com/r/shroudoftheavatar/comments/52qzng/banning_info_as_asked_for/

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rune_74

Is this how you treat people with respect? Or just the ones not invested enough;)

shibby523
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shibby523

Ohh I’m a fan as well. In fact a fan of what the game was supposed to be before becoming a cash shop laden RMT’er dream.

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Chris Spears

So first off, since we’re launching, we massively reduced the items in the shop pulling something like 95% of them down. Second, I’m honestly curious, what do you believe our money model should be? Reminder that if you just want to play offline, you can buy all the RMT stuff in game for gold so really it is just the online game we’re talking about for RMT. So is your complaint that we should have had a subscription for the online game instead of cash shop? Or do you believe that online games should be able to operate purely by selling the initial $39 game? If you’re actually here to talk, what are you proposing?

shibby523
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shibby523

You didn’t really pull most the cash shop items down but rather moved most of them into the game for sale by COTOs. Adding an unnecessary hoop to jump through to buy any of the cash shop items. Now one has to buy COTOs in the cash shop then go in game to buy the item off the COTO vendor. Essentially hiding them from potential customers. All under the excuse as to not overwhelm players. Trust me players can handle a cash shop at this point.

Now yes, they could grind gold and buy COTOs from players or play for 10 years (not much of an exaggeration) to maybe get enough from drops to buy maybe a plot deed.

I didn’t buy the game for an offline mode and sure as heck would never buy any game that promotes RMT, which should have been revealed at Kickstarter. RMT is not a favorable mechanic to many gamers. Do some like it? Yes, yet the majority do not. RMT promotes deception and lies and we have seen that aplenty from many players running around. Yet Port does nothing to curb this.

Why not create a place where players can securely do their RMT business where the item goes into escrow until payment is made? Or does this not allow you to wash your hands if anything goes wrong?

It’s not my job to tell you how to fund your game and I do not have issues with cash shops done right. There are games out there have done very well without cash shops.

Portalarium just has an over reliance on the cash shop and the best items in the game are locked behind it, unless you buy from a player in game that has already open his wallet.

When persistence hit, I loved the game and really like some of the mechanics. I streamed the game and had some followers in the game where we went through a cool dungeon under some town. It has puzzles in order to get doors unlocked and required at least 2 players to get through. After we were done, that was it, no reward nothing, yet still had a sense of accomplishment.

During this time I was grinding my butt off to buy a house and then a plot deed, but needed to wait for the higher pledges to do their lot placement before they would go up on vendors. I bought my house and was all ready. Placements were done and suddenly Port announces that plot deeds would be cash shop items only. OK, well a raffle is announced. I spend the plot deed gold I had saved and buy two raffle tickets. Raffle winners get announced a month later and one guy takes home a handful. I wasn’t salty about losing, but the fact a single guy can win multiple deeds is ridiculous. Seems the company would want to spread around the love in order to keep more players. I’d be there to this day keeping the upkeep on my house (if plots were sold on NPC vendors) and buying stuff off the cash shop.

Then there are the tons of other stuff the company has done since then, I doubt I need to recap for you as I’d hope you keep track of what stuff is said.

Then to be called trolls by Starr Long. Are we really trolls?

I do commend you for taking the time to reply, if you do plan to reply again, please take the time to address everything I have said.

I have no issue with you other than how I’ve seen you treat people. You and I have had no run ins and from this point can keep it cordial.

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Chris Spears

Curious, can you name a hosted online MMO game without any RMT or a subscriptions? There may be one but it certainly isn’t common place. We had to pick a model so we went with store items that didn’t feel pay 2 win.

As for the raffle. We screwed up on the first 1 and allowed people to win multiples but we addressed that in the second and later raffles. Sorry you got burned but we did fix that immediately. Also, the guys who won a lot in the first raffle were actually guilds that had their treasurer buy the tickets.

You suggest we’ve done evil stuff. We both know we are WAY more open than any other company out there. We actually did make the game we pitched in KS, an online game that can be played offline as well. Sounds like what you’re angry about is that we didn’t mention our money model going forward. We did however live up to our promise, you can play forever without giving us another dime or a monthly sub.

As for Starr calling people trolls, no clue if he was talking to you but it is well known that there is a group of about a half dozen people who troll us on every single website who started on the IM group and used the Shroud Unlimited forums. They very publicly organized the trolling. When they were called on it, they doxxed players and devs and posted SS# and our children’s names and home addresses. Some of those same people are still here(as in they posted in this thread) 4 years later posting the same hateful speech. When Starr posted recently calling out trolls, he was calling out THOSE guys. My honest guess is he wasn’t talking to you.

The general definition of an internet troll is someone who intentionally post negative, non-constructive comments with the intent to elicit an emotional response from readers. I’ll let you be the judge of whether your posts are negative, non-constructive and have the intent of getting an emotional response.

After some soul searching, I decided a while back that I will only post positive responses to people no matter how vile they post. Nothing hurts someone seeking to hurt you more than you turning a cheek and giving them a hug.

As for you, no hard feelings but it seems like you enjoy the game but are here misleading people with lots of negative talk. Time for peace, go play the game and have fun! See you in game and see you at launch!

shibby523
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shibby523

Really, hard to find a game where RMT is legal? I can only think of a few where RMT is legal. In fact those ones filed for banking papers to stay legal.

As for the raffle? I think Elmo would disagree with you. He has won a plot deed in every raffle held.

I came along after shortly after Kickstarter, but was aware of it.

Let’s see;

Shroud of the Avatar is a Selective Multiplayer game, allowing players to choose how they want to play! Whether in Single-Player Offline mode or any of three online modes, the main quest line will provide greater than 40 hours of focused, story driven content.

Hmm, no mention of MMO in there.

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtue is the first of a 5 game series of full-length, stand-alone games (each using the same game system), referred to as Episodes 1 through 5. Estimated availability of Episode 1, Forsaken Virtues, is October 2014, with Episodes 2 through 5 estimated for subsequent yearly
releases.

I paid for these yet according to last we’ve heard, you will require additional funding to achieve them.

You say you did some soul searching and only post nice things. Through out this whole comment section you are throwing around snide comments trying to get a rise out of people.

I thought I’d get a decent conversation out of you but all your interested in throwing more lies in order to make me look bad.

As for the API you mentioned in another comment? Yeah, it’s locked behind Dev+ forum access which many cannot get access to. So your attempt to make it seem like this comment was available to all at an easy glance is not true at all.

You still failed to address many of the things I brought up above and by your previous post it looks like you have no intention to.

I did try to have an honest to goodness repartee with you and see if Portalarium was truly sincere in giving their critics a place to air grievances as mentioned in a recent interview. Where they said they have given their most vocal critics a chance to have their say and that everyone else was white noise. Do you sincerely believe this is a fair way to address those who don’t believe the game is what it was pitched as or have been unfairly blocked from giving constructive criticism?

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Chris Spears

Actually if you read the whole thing, Richard’s vision calls it an online game that will feel just like an MMO. Also, we clarify that selective multiplayer is just our term for the game since it can be played offline, online single player, online with friends, or open play online.

We have already started the ball rolling to work with Tracy Hickman to get episode 2 story line flushed out. Someone misspoke a while back and said we would do another KS and if it didn’t fund, we wouldn’t do it and that has been quoted back to me a hundred times. That is simply not true.

API is NOT a devplus thing but that thread I linked might be because I think we rolled it out to devplus people first.

There are some people who want to have dialog, I have limited time but I will speak to them as I am able. There are also others, who do not want to have dialog and have been spreading the same lies and misinformation about the game for 4 years. I’ll be honest, these are not people we want in our community. So yes, we will ban some people. Go read my blog, I encourage constructive criticism, it is why the game has improved so much over the past year. What I see no point in doing is giving people who have only misinformation, lies, and unconstructive hateful speech a platform upon which to slander us.

Also, sorry if I missed any of your other points above but again, my time is limited. I answered what I believed were the big ones.

Again, I encourage you to go play the game. As others have said, it has come a LONG way in the past year and we are all looking forward to launch.

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temp starcitizen

That was Darkstarr that said that about the Kickstarter during R33 Postmortum

When is EP2 coming out? STARR: Formula = After Commercial Launch of Ep 1 + Successful Kickstarter for Ep 2 + 12 Months + Unknown amount of time to respond to feedback

https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/release-33-post-mortem-q-a-those-that-got-missed.62019/

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Chris Spears

Yep, and he might have thought that 2 years ago. I’ve asked him to update that thread since it seems to get quoted back to us over and over. Thanks for sharing that so we can go fix things that were misstated in the past!

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temp starcitizen

No problem, you guys should fix your EULA for the RMT next so that everything is really legal like you say it is.

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Chris Spears

Yah, our policy on RMT between players is the same as always. We know we can’t enforce it so rather than force it into the shadows, we let players do it openly so there is more trust. We make nothing on it. I think an update of the EULA will happen for Launch!

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temp starcitizen

Yeah, your EULA says the game can’t be used for commercial purposes and that power leveling is illegal but all that is ok by you guys so the EULA doesn’t matter. That sends a bad message to players trying to do right by the rules. Is every part of the EULA going to get reworked or just the part for RMT? Remember when you put the COTO in game and you explained how it was for RMT? Do you still have the Trusted Trader program? I can’t remember the exacts but Starr said it was a 5k or 10k buy-in. Strange that you say you don’t make nothing on RMT, maybe that will change on launch for you.

shibby523
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shibby523

It’s how they wash their hands of it if anything goes sideways.

Someone launders money through the game? We don’t allow RMT in our game as the EULA states.

Someone rips off a player for hundreds or thousands of dollars? We don’t allow RMT in our game as the EULA states.

If there is another logical reason for not stating that RMT is legal in the EULA, I’d like an official answer.

shibby523
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shibby523

Why not create a secure place for players to partake in RMT in order to protect both parties? I asked you this in another post but you seem to have missed it and a few others as well.

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rune_74

Let’s be real here, you and I both know you can’t go back to kickstarter. Just look at the comments section of your game, I know you guys pretend that it never happened and you have no presence there but people are asking for refunds.

shibby523
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shibby523

Someone misspoke a while back and said we would do another KS and if it didn’t fund, we wouldn’t do it and that has been quoted back to me a hundred times. That is simply not true.

So who exactly was it that made these claims? This is usually information that comes about through high level meetings. It’s not something a programmer would just go off and say for the heck of it.

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temp starcitizen

All the MMOs I know that allow RMT have mechanics and agreements that support RMT and offer some sort of protection to the players so it’s always legal. Your EULA makes RMT illegal, but your forum disclaimer makes all RMT legal with no liability. You even have RMT programs that offer perks and discounts to traders, but your EULA makes RMT illegal. That’s messed up.

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rune_74

Chris, no one dosed you. There was no organized harassment. Matter of fact you are repeating a story that IM sent you complaining about some of the crazy members you have on your forums.

Funny you complaining about this but doing this but doing nothing when I reported that I had my family and kids threatened by a member of your community. Berek said it was not your problem. It must be nice to have a member(jamaplaya) who threatens to hurt my children and family. You guys are well aware of this.

Matter of fact dealing with your customer service is down right horrible as they don’t reply to emails and your mods go to othe websites to give out personal information and spread falsehoods on members.

This is a mess you guys created.

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Vagabond Sam

we went with store items that didn’t feel pay 2 win.

These items include:

– Potions that increase carry capacity, skill gain (Where skill gain is ‘effectively limitless’ by design), Gathering Speed, Gathering HQ success rates and reduce gear decay.
– The ability to repair items that break over time which, depending on how much you enchant/masterwork them can represent a saving dozens and dozens of hours grinding materials at a generous estimate of player time. A time sink skippable with premium currency
– Vendors that allow players to avoid any form of tax or Gold Sink in listing sale items
– Unlike the ‘in game’ public vendors these same vendors also don;t ‘destroy’ any unsold items you forget to unlist after a week or so.
– Property deeds which allow literal farming of ingredient and plant based resources useful in cooking, alchemy an tailoring.
– Tax Free Property deeds that allow players to skip the ‘One Hour per Premium Currency’ gold sink that has been stated as a goal to continue to use the ‘Taxed’ deeds. For reference (https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/?p=61019) it’s expected you spend 1 hour a week grinding gold to use the ‘cheap’ $85 row lot two hours for the $165 ‘village’ size, four hours for the $450 town deed size and 7 hours of farming for the $1050 deed. Of course you allow people to just pay with COTO ($1 per hour is the conversion) for the pleasure of using the digital item they already spent far more then a ‘box price’ on.

This is before referring to items that do stuff like hide your HP (Great for PvP), operate as indestructible crafting/gathering tools (Available only in large bundles which as I go to your site to check the price, I note they have been recently removed but web archive reminds me the prices start at $90 to get the artisan tools)

This list is an impressive record of Pay to Win, or at least pay for convenience if you’re the type to instead focus on semantics of ‘winning’ instead of being honest and accept that the line Portalalrium drew is not very congruent with the general consensus on what should or shouldn’t be available for purchase in a ‘fair’ game

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Rob Crowther

As for Starr calling people trolls, no clue if he was talking to you

I’m sure this wasn’t the only time but the thread where Darkstarr referred to me as a troll is here: https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/we-are-the-avatars-a-one-act-by-umuri.104160/

The thread I’d been involved in which engendered the above thread was, of course, deleted. These two threads taken together were the straws which broke the camel’s back as far as my participation in the forums was concerned.

shibby523
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shibby523

If they have lawyers on retainer (as any company should) then they should have all these burdens of proof and I’m sure the law would have acted on it and taken care of it. So why would Port still be bringing this up as it should be done and over with.

People in jail or mental hospitals.

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Vagabond Sam

You didn’t “pull down” 95% of the cash shop.

You just moved the cash shop to the two COTO vendors that stand in a pair. In Aerie at least, are randomly placed along the street with no regard to having them ‘fit in’ the town like other vendors that have shop fronts or strands.

You might argue that because COTO drop in game it’s not “Pay to win” but what’s the drop rate?

My main got zero in the 350 hours since launch and since I couldn’t craft anything similar to the Town Deed Lot homes in the cash shop/COTO vendors I sold my property and effectively quit.

I’m now looking around since its near launch and in 12-15 hours a new character I made on a visitor account likewise never saw a single drop of premium currency.

I’m playing mobile games with more transparent cash shops and they are based on a Gathcha model because at least I know the drop rate.

I look forward to a frank and upfront disclosure on the state of the in game cash shop, the ratiinale behind having a “trusted trader” program that only Markee Dragon was allowed into, the RMT economy that is housed on the forums, where episode 2 stands reelative to comments by Darkstar that another Kickstarter is plausible and if R52 will fix the numerous typos and syntax inconsistencies *just in Blood River Outskirts* let alone everywhere esse now you’re ‘ Launching’^TM

shibby523
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shibby523

He completely glossed over most my reply and then flat out lied. Going to have to find that list of all the raffle winners.

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rune_74

You cannot play offline right now because you spent zero time on it and it’s bloody broken. It’s an offline MMO with some pet NPC’s. Zero effort was spent on it.

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Chris Spears

We can agree to disagree. Offline is very compelling and people post about it in the forums on a daily basis! Storyline is now complete, maybe you just need to go give it another try!

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Caleb Cranson

“Or do you believe that online games should be able to operate purely by selling the initial $39 game? If you’re actually here to talk, what are you proposing?”

No, I don’t believe that and I think most would agree that would be a tall order. What people take umbrage over, is the fact that the game currently is not what was advertised and people paid for.

Unfortunately, I, like many others Kickstartered the game under the auspices that it would be a “selective multiplayer”, story driven game, NOT an MMO! Here are “your” (Portalarium’s) own words, “Though Shroud of the Avatar won’t be a massively multiplayer online role playing game, it will be a multiplayer game.” Yet here we are, and Shroud of the Avatar is an MMO. Your attempts to argue otherwise just come across as duplicitous.

Now, if you had stuck with what was proposed, then YES, your revenue stream SHOULD have been fine with the basic cost of the game, but along the line the business model changed as you saw the revenue being generated from the sale of Player Owned Towns. Ergo, the game changed and morphed into an MMO as you realized the sale of digital assets was too great to turn down. I am not one to begrudge any company from maximizing their profitability or earning potential. What is an issue is taking money for a previously advertised product and then changing said product after the fact to fit a new revenue stream. It’s this I find unconscionable and why Portalarium owes an apology to the players out there that feel “burned” by this change of direction.

Having said that, I wish you the best of luck and hope that the game is a success for Portalarium and your current player base. Thank you for listening and good luck with launch!

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Venomlicious

Steam numbers are crap. If the game is only offered by steam then i do not play. I will never use their launcher for any game. I am planning on trying the free trial today and hope its like a classic mmorpg. I looked and it is offered without steam

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Weilan

It has a standalone version, but seeing that Steam has about 200 people, I’m guessing the standalone version has about as much.

shibby523
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shibby523

Portalarium says the stand alone players is about 3 times the Steam player count. We only have their word on that.

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Chris Spears

Actually, if you’re interested, we have a public stats API you could use.

shibby523
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shibby523

Looked behind Dev+ from my understanding. Just because you have it doesn’t mean it’s readily available. Please link detailed instructions where anyone can access them.

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Solaris

I play SotA and not on Steam.