Global Chat: Shroud of the Avatar confounds


What to make of Shroud of the Avatar? The few MMO bloggers who have looked into this recently released but already long-running title have struggled to get a handle on Lord British’s latest RPG.

The Ancient Gaming Noob calls it “retroist hobbyism” and left him wondering. “What is this game that is by turns awkward, finicky, intricate, deep, slow, and clearly a work in progress?” he asks. “Where does it fit into the gaming world?”

Inventory Full found some merit in it but noted the extreme performance issues and other annoyances: “My willingness to struggle on was further undermined by the D&D style random encounters that dragged me into a private instance every time I tried to travel from one adventure area to another. Not to mention the fact that my weapon was broken and I couldn’t remember how the combat system worked anyway.”

Continue on with us in this edition of Global Chat, as we’ll read essays on altitis, EverQuest, City of Heroes, Elder Scrolls Online, and more!

With a bullet.

MMO Bro: Should MMOs encourage altitis?

“It’s easy to understand how altitis has become so common place in our world. New characters mean new classes mean new abilities mean new experiences mean…well, this could go on for a while. Altitis generally develops naturally, but some MMOs provide boons for splitting time between characters.”

MMO Gypsy: Everything is early access and a broken MMO

“Game releases used to be fun — they used to be full releases of finished games. Now everything is a premature MMO and players are juggling different categories of disappointment from ‘needed another three months’ and ‘holy hell, how is this not still beta?’ to ‘they’ll fix it next month… or so,’ and ‘yeah, should’ve left it.'”

Tales of the Aggronaut: It’s too late

“1990 had an amazing battle game that was inspired by the moving The Running Man, and pitting players against waves of oncoming enemies for cash and prizes. Smash TV seems like a game that is just begging to be converted to the battle royale genre, and could also serve to change it significantly in the process.”

Yeebo Fernbottom: I finally made it to the level cap in EverQuest

“I recently started playing EverQuest on a whim, mainly because I was curious to see how the game has changed since I last played it 10+ years ago. EverQuest is still not a game for the faint of heart. The best way to really get going in it is to start at level one and read the dozens of walls of text that come up during the tutorial.”

Gaming Conversations: Eight ways to make the Elder Scrolls Online better

“I always enjoy it when the NPC dialog makes reference to something specific about my character, such as race or class. Makes it feel more like a genuine conversation and less like a predetermined dialog tree. A few additional tweaks here and there in ESO would go a long way towards immersion. Such as referring to certain quests you’ve completed, or areas you’ve visited. Also, if my character is a vampire or werewolf, don’t badmouth vampires or werewolves to my face! Sheesh, the nerve of some NPCs!”

Through Wolfy’s Eyes: Glomping the Ghost Widow

“See, in both City of Heroes and City of Villains, you could take missions directly from the primary characters and learn additional powers on top of your build’s abilities. By and large, these were more thematic than actually useful, but in an MMO that was all about looking cool first and being optimal second, learning awesome-looking skills from the Ghost Widow herself was an amazing hook.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.

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Viktor Budusov

>Not to mention the fact that my weapon was broken and I couldn’t remember how the combat system worked anyway.

I always wonder why people write/say such things. It only shows journalists incompetence. Why i should read this crap?! No answer.

Rolan Storm

“Game releases used to be fun — they used to be full releases of finished games.”


Yeah, sure…


Oooh seeing that Shroud of the Avatar is confusing the average bumbling idiot suddenly has made me gain interest in the game. I see it has a free trial, I’m getting it now.

When the “I wanna play all content right now and not have to read any instructions or info and it has to be flashier than every game ever made before it” gamer gets frustrated or confused, that usually means there are deeper systems to learn that you can really enjoy if you take the time to get into the stuff.

So thanks, average dough-heads for finding it confounding and writing that opinion up, as you’ve directed me towards a game I now know I need to try!

And thanks to Massively for passing on their words as well :D


Could not agree more with Victor on the community, i thought SWL had a great community, which it certainly does, but you still get your ass hats.

SotA though, the community, is unlike anything you’ll ever experience in your life.

In a nutshell you could literally call it a community. I’m still blown away at how helpful peeps were to me, and best yet they left me alone afterward, you know you get the type, “will you be my friend 4 life cause we hung out for a few minutes?”, uggg, all very decent cool peeps, let you do your own thing, i love it.


“encounters that dragged me into a private instance every time I tried to travel”

You don’t need to stay on the path, you can go through the forest, or over the hills to avoid detection, sure going through the forest or over hill is going to be a little slower and not as fast as a well worn path, you know like it should be.

“Not to mention the fact that my weapon was broken”

Why not trying to run for it? or avoid the detection is the first place. lol

…and again, another player that simply can’t think outside the box. Utterly unable to think for themselves in game. Modern MMO’s have trained us all so well, simply follow the shiny and get it done ASAP!!!

The nutshell of Shroud of the Avatar is nothing is handed to you, you need to work for everything. I go out of my way to get those encounters on the road, very good farming for mats.


For many of us, hearing that the average bumbling goofball finds a game to be too confusing lets us know that the game is something we should check out :D

So I’m glad those people were confounded and wrote about it, it has pointed me towards a game that I hadn’t paid attention to up until now. Just hearing that some of these average reviewers were befuddled let me know the game was probably one I would enjoy.

Of course there is a difference between a deep experience and a confused cluster mess. We all have our different levels of enjoyment, and I probably shouldn’t be as insulting as I sound towards them, but come on – some of the things those people are complaining about are ridiculous :P

Anyway I’m trying out the game because of them finding it complicated. Hopefully many others feel the same way :D


Same here, it was never on my radar, and ended up trying via similar story, nestled in all the “hate on it” i was reading, a few posts intrigued me.

Roger Melly

I’m only playing the trial but so far I am enjoying Shroud of the Avatar but I had reached a point where I was fed up with mmo’s in general . Its nice to do one where there is no quest tracker . People seem friendly too which is a massive plus in its favor because I am sick to the eyeteeth of antisocial gamer’s . You don’t seem to run into them as much in niche games like this .

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I have a theory about why the games of yesterdays’ innovators are not so well received today.

Creative endeavors are necessarily the expression of the person who creates them. And unless a person has gone through life and managed not to learn a single thing, not a really great thing in a creative person and probably impossible, then that person’s view of the world will change, how they want to interact with it, how they perceive themselves in it, and how they express that.

Director George Stevens is an example. Before WWII his films were good and often dealt in passing with important subjects, but they were just as often lighthearted and frivolous. During the war he photographed the Nazi concentration camps. After the war came a string of monumental pictures dealing with quiet, understated heroism: Shane, Giant, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Greatest Story Ever Told. His world view had changed. The place and importance of individuals in shifting the favorable odds from the powerful to the supposedly powerless is in the background of all these films.

If you happen to make games and it’s been 20 years since you made a game, then the games you make are going to reflect 20 more years of life’s experiences. The world looks very different to you at 50 than it did at 30. Your games will feel and play differently, and it isn’t just because of changing technologies or player base.

Even if you have the same set of tools, what you want out of your work is different and that’s going to be reflected in what you create. The decisions made about game design is going to reflect that. And maybe your time of influence has passed and you have nothing more to say or nothing that can be heard by people you are speaking to.

Almost no one today knows who John Cassavetes is. Yet, he was one of the most influential directors of his time, shaping cinema in a way that became part of its language. Just as the greats of MMO design did in the early days.

Sunken Visions

It’s also possible to degenerate into a human trash can. Success tends to push people into apathy, which is why stability is essentially impossible within capitalist societies.


Hot Mess of the Avatar, more like.