“Part of our Q4 efforts to improve the New User Experience is separating the tutorials from the story spaces in the three starting areas (Solace Bridge, Highvale, and Blood River),” Portalarium says. “We are building a new focused tutorial space in the Isle of Storms that walks you through the game basics in a gated fashion (i.e. you cannot advance to the next room until you prove you can swing a sword). Once you complete all the tutorials you will then journey through the Lunar Rift to one of the three starting areas. Those areas are being polished to be more focused and tighter in their direction. We are also removing the tutorial elements and having them be almost entirely focused on story. In the case of Solace Bridge this means rebuilding it completely for Release 59.”
Reddit also noticed that buried in the doc for the patch is a note abut plans to tie universal chat to some sort of object that Portalarium can sell. Apparently, there’s already an item – Noble’s Magical Discourse Orb – that allows some pledge tiers to speak in a special chat channel for nobility and game devs. A future one would presumably be tied to the new universal chat feature. While some players are looking to this as pure pay-to-chat functionality, pointing out it’s unheard of in most modern MMOs, it’s worth noting that non-local chat was once bound to special items in SOTA’s spiritual predecessor, Ultima Online, as well (this is no longer the case, however).
Potentially adding to the concern, Ultima Codex noticed that Travian Games, which has been the game’s European publisher for over a year, is no longer listing the game as one of its featured products.