Shroud of the Avatar releases co-op and world videos ahead of launch

    
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Portalarium is going all out for Shroud of the Avatar’s formal launch next week – March 27th, for those of you keeping count. Last night, the studio held its launch party in conjunction with SXSW (we’ll have much more on that event when Massively OP’s MJ returns from it!). In the meantime, Portalarium and EU publisher Travian Games pushed out a press release that bizarrely dubs the game a “multiplayer RPG” and releases two brand-new videos. The first is clearly intended to introduce the Ultima Online spiritual successor to newcomers, while the second shows off just how far combat and co-op play have come over the last couple of years.

Source: Press release
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Paulie Walnuts

Want a neutral review of the game? Here ya go. I cover what to expect and what to avoid.

http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197994017045/recommended/326160/

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Iver Gørtz

Nice review.

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Chris Spears

Chris the dev here, just a reminder that there is a free trial available here.

Trial limitations are pretty small. I believe it is level capped at a fairly high level (50 I think), doesn’t allow gaining stuff through PVP, and doesn’t allow you to give stuff to other players.

While I will be the first to admit that the game isn’t for everyone, it is exactly what a lot of players are looking for. If you’re looking for Witcher 4, probably not something you’ll be interested in. If on the other hand, you are looking for an old-school RPG or MMORPG, we are exactly what you are looking for. If the letters UO, EQ, AC, and DAOC bring back great memories, give us a shot and I think you’ll be very happy.

Also, many of the criticisms are fair in my opinion. The graphics are good but not on par with the absolute latest games out there that focus heavily on quality over content. The videos above were made by someone out of house and just captured from the game so form your own opinions. Agree that our UI is dated and we’ll be working to improve that in the near future. Performance just 4 months ago was pretty horrible and has been our top focus the past few months with great progress and more to come. With a good system, most scenes other than dense cities run great and you can see that in player streams. Heavily decorated cities can still bog down powerful machines and we’re continuing to improve this. After the last patch, players were reporting >40 fps in Central Brittany, one of the largest cities in the game. Also, as of last release, large parties in large combats would bog things down but that should be greatly improved for the launch version in 2 weeks.

As for RMT complaints, almost all items are cosmetic and not pay to win. The stuff that is pay to win is super light, on the order of $1 for a 1 week 10% xp boost. Also, it should be noted that due to how our economy is super open, you can buy premium currency off other players in game which is why more than 90% of our players never spend another dime on the game. Also, a reminder that we do not have a monthly subscription and you can purchase once and play forever for free.

As others have said, don’t let a few angry people posting over and over again drive you away. Some of their criticism is fair, some of it is not, but the game is free to try so go make up your own mind.

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Chris Spears

Doh, looks like I managed to turn the whole post into a link! Sorry about that!

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puzzled

“If on the other hand, you are looking for an old-school RPG or MMORPG, we are exactly what you are looking for. If the letters UO, EQ, AC, and DAOC bring back great memories, give us a shot and I think you’ll be very happy.”

I honestly cannot see the comparison to Asheron’s Call or DAOC with Shroud. Not putting down Shroud, I’m just saying there’s no comparison. The pvp in Shroud is no where near the epic level of Dark Age of Camelot’s RvR, hundreds of people battling it out for keeps in many areas, you have to admit to that. Anyone that’s played Shroud and played DAOC back before the New Frontiers expansion knows this. There’s absolutely no comparison between the two. Asheron’s Call was a massive pve game with a huge open world, with so much depth and content, it cannot be compared either to Shroud, in my opinion. I’m not sure I would have a game to compare Shroud to, but it wouldn’t be those two games.

I agree with you though on the free trial, people should try it to see if it’s for them, it’s a very niche game that isn’t for everyone. We’re all entitled to our opinions that’s for sure, having played Asheron’s Call and Dark Age of Camelot myself, and spending years with those games…. to try and compare those two games to Shroud, two games that were truly epic in their day isn’t accurate to me.

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temp starcitizen

Project Gorgon is probably a good game for comparison. Old school classless MMORPG.

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puzzled

“Project Gorgon is probably a good game for comparison. Old school classless MMORPG.”

That’s a good one to compare it to yes, thank you.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Agreed. It’s a VERY dodgy call to be associating Shroud with games like EQ and DAOC especially as it’s nowhere near as good. Not even in the same suburb, let alone the same ballpark. I can fully agree with the suggestion that it shares similarities to Project Gorgon. If people are into that – they might be into Shroud. But “UO, EQ, AC, and DAOC”? Please. Nowhere near as good as any of them. Try the free trial people, and see.

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Dave Blanchard

I notice you no longer even pretend to mention the older Ultimate games, got the money you need from them already?

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

I think too many people who actually remember those days replied with too much laughter for it to be an ongoing, serious talking point.

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Tanya Cumpston

The developers have produced an update on time, once a month for the last 51 months. Release 52 will be their official launch, but they have stated that they will continue with monthly updates indefinitely. This ongoing development, and the fact that it is a multiplayer game with servers, means that ongoing funding will be required. Other games do that through subscriptions (ESO), loot boxes (Battlefront 2), etc. Portalarium raises funds through the sale of decorative items in-game that require COTOs to purchase and provide no in-game advantage. COTOs can be purchased for real money from their website, but they can also be purchased from other players in-game in exchange for gold coins earned through selling the results of in-game looting or crafting.

You will either like the game or not, but your opinion should be the result of personal experience. It is never a good idea to let other people tell you how to think.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Producing an update on the nominated day each month (and, for the sake of the point I’m about to make, let’s also gloss over how some broke the game or were incomplete from what they were meant to be), doesn’t mean this is a good game. I understand it’s a metric that the devs LOVE to trot out like it means something when, in reality, what really means something is making a good game. And Shroud is not a good game. Getting updates out “on time” means very little when you compare the game to what else is out there.

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Victor Didra

Shroud is a great game for those of us who are in playing all the time, and for a whole bunch of new players that are coming through and enjoying it.

It might not be your game, but for many of us, it’s great and we love playing it.

And Shroud is not a good game.

It appears you think you are the definitive judge on what is a good game or not. You are not. You have repeatedly justified your attacks by prefacing them with “Shroud is a demonstrably bad game.”

But you can’t demonstrate that, it’s your opinion. As much as you like to pretend that your word is the final and ultimate review, it’s not. It’s just your opinion.

As much as you like to use the word “Fact” in your opinion, it’s not a fact, it’s just an opinion.

For those of us who love the game, getting an update every month is very exciting. And for us, Shroud is a once in two decades game amazing experience, and we will be playing it to release 1000.

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Dave Blanchard

It is bad game for those of us who like good RPGs. It is easy to look at it and compare it to ultima 7 and say what?

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Actually, thanks for raising that. Because I *can* demonstrate it. I can point to there being over 60,000 game accounts, for example, and the game’s been persistent over 500 days… and yet next to no-one plays. Why? Gamers, faced with a game they love, which will never be wiped, aren’t the types to ignore said game. Yet tens of thousands of Shroud gamers do that. If that’s not a demonstration of reality for you, I’d suggest you’ve got your head in the sand.

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Victor Didra

And yet we have more and more people showing up every day. Some coming back as they had always planned, to play once the game is launched. Some new, running around having a great time.

And none of that is proof one way or the other that the game is good or bad. You still can’t prove anything, and that’s the basis for most of your posts. “The game is bad, I say so, so the latest new good thing doesn’t even matter because the game is bad because I say so.”

And yet we have tons of good stuff coming on line every month.

So you go back to the personal attacks. If I don’t agree with the way you see the world then I’m burying my head in the sand.

Sorry, no more time to argue with someone who doesn’t play the game and tries to insult others into submission, I gotta get back into Shroud and continue enjoying.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

I played the game as recently as last week, so there’s strike one. The game *still* doesn’t have people returning in anything like respectable numbers, so my comment that tens of thousands of gamers are still ignoring it is absolutely true. That’s strike two. Do you really want to go for strike three? Because there’s PLENTY I could say about the game, its RMT, how it’s being run, people’s data being sold to Russians… all sorts. Do you really want to go on? With truth as my ally, I’m happy to go all day. There’s a lot to talk about, Victor.

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Victor Didra

I’m not up to bat with you.

You aren’t calling the strikes.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

I see. When the truth starts getting thrown around, you mysteriously don’t want to play the game any longer.

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Victor Didra

You’re not the holder of the truth, you’re not the judge of good or bad. You don’t state facts for the universe.

Many of us love the game, but we can be truthful and say it isn’t for everyone. You hate the game, and use your hate to say “the facts are it’s a bad game.”

That’s not the facts.

Refer to first post. Read all the way down, then when you reach this point, refer to first post again.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

You keep saying these things, yet it’s got zip to do with the things I say. For example, there are over 60,000 game accounts (fact); the game has been persistent over 500 days (fact); yet relatively few are playing (fact). You can say, I don’t state facts “for the universe” (what a curious way of putting it) all you like, but I don’t NEED to. What I’m saying is correct, period. The game is not well liked. 10s of 1000s of people who have an account are *not* playing the game. You might not LIKE that, but it doesn’t stop it being true. When you complain about me pointing out these things which are – let’s remember – facts, it just looks like sour grapes.

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Dave Blanchard

When you dump the things you can’t do for that update it makes it pretty easy to post updates.

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Victor Didra

Dragon fights are crazy in SotA!

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rune_74

So are the dance parties hahaha.

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Victor Didra

True, if you like social events, SotA has some of the best I’ve ever seen.

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Zariarn

Interesting game. It’s got a good mixture of old and new.

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Roger Melly

The game world seemed quite nice from what I saw of it when I tried it last week in beta but I have to agree with others here that the combat leaves a lot to be desired . I think I probably could get used to it though much in the way I have gotten used to other games whose combat is a bit clunky .

Whats put me off most is all the talk about how bad the RMT will be so its something I think I will hold off buying and see how things stand later in the year and maybe get it when its on sale sometime .

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Of course what you DON’T see in the combat video is the utterly out of date UI that looks atrocious and the super clunky, deck-based combat system that people absolutely hate, but which Shroud has persisted with because certain devs think they’re right about everything. A terrible grind-fest game and super-niche because of that.

thestingray
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thestingray

It’s funny how they didn’t show about 95% of what makes the game. Cash shop purchases, grinding on the same model wolves trying to catch up with folks exploiting earlier bugs, and $30,000 castles.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Right on both counts, gentlemen. I wasn’t going to go the whole hog in my reply but, yes, everything you say is quite right. 100% verifiable.

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Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

You also don’t see the overland travel map or text-based conversations with NPCs. Fine in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, but hopelessly outdated today. Plus the videos and screenshots always, of course, reflect the daylight conditions yet whenever I play most of the time it’s night and dark with very poor illumination through torches or a light spell.

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Space Captain Zor

Pretty geography, nearly vacant towns with bored looking NPC’s standing around doing nothing looking bored? Ehh.. Oh wait, there was one sweeping the floor.. Ehhh…

It looks well-lit but otherwise pretty lifeless.

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Tandor

Having just watched the videos, I can only assume that I’ve been checking out a different beta this past couple of years!

The launch was, of course, quite a while ago, everyone accepts that except Portalarium.

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Chris Spears

We definitely understand that what launch means is a point of contention. Since we did our development in a very different manner than most, letting players in at roughly 3 months and publishing updates every three months since then, both the players and the devs have had a hard time putting our finger on what defines “Launch”. We are content complete BUT more content arrives each month so really we’ll never be content complete. We are feature complete BUT more features arrive each month. We have bugs but since we push bug fixes AND new features each release, we will ALWAYS have some bugs.

So for us, what we felt most fit the definition of “Launch” was when the game was story complete AND we felt the game was enjoyable enough to start attracting a market through stories and advertising. Up until this point, it has all been word of mouth.

No worries though, it is not a secret that there is some contention over what launch means. Hopefully, you’ll give the free trial a try and see if it now feels like a game that has launched vs what you saw a few years ago!
Link to the free trial:

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Chris Spears

Correction to above. Publishing updates every MONTH not three months.

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Dave Blanchard

The game does not play like that video, why are you saying it does?

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Chris Spears

You are correct, on the top video. The game is NOT played with a free-floating camera slowly panning through scenes. The second one has quite a bit of actual gameplay though. If you believe this is not what the game looks like or plays like, I suggest you go try it again. If you haven’t tried it in the last 3 months, you should try it again.

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Victor Didra

Yeah, it does. We were fighting that demon last night and that video is a pretty good representation.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Some might say you went persistent way too early in order to capitalise on RMT and encourage people to engage in it, knowing there were no more wipes coming. It certainly looks that way to those watching.

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connor_jones

I must say that although I’ve never been a big fan of ‘Lord British’, I’m nonetheless delighted to see this well-known and publicized Kickstarter actually launching. We need all the good news we can get in the mmo space these days, and this certainly qualifies. Also, I noticed writer Tracy Hickman is on the Portalarium staff. Of the 8-9 StarCraft books I read back in the day, his Speed of Darkness was by far my favorite. At the moment GW2 still has me covered as regards fantasy/sword & sorcery mmo’s, but I may have to give SotA a try at some point, especially if there is a free trial.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

To many people, it “launched” when it went persistent over 500 days ago!

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connor_jones

Ok, you guys talked me out of trying SotA! ;-)

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Chris Spears

Sorry we won’t see you in game. If you change your mind, maybe just give the free trial a shot and form your own opinions of the game. Also, see my comment clarifying Tracy Hickman’s involvement. He was very involved in the game and the story and central quest line, he just didn’t write most of the character dialog and the side quests.

thestingray
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thestingray

Don’t be fooled about Tracy Hickman being on staff – he only wrote the book. None of the in game quests/etc were written by Tracy. They had extraneous hires do that work.

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Chris Spears

Tracy Hickman did write the backstory and helped craft the fiction for the world. He also worked with Richard to pen the outline to the main storylines but it is true that he did not actually write the dialog for the characters in the main storyline.

Free trial is open now but lots of improvements will come with the launch release in 2 weeks!