Shroud of the Avatar plans a hefty cash shop overhaul, includes $6999 package to support episode 2

    
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Shroud of the Avatar’s business model is apparently getting a bit of an overhaul. As the game’s latest newsletter explains, Portalarium is changing things up to better align with other online titles.

“Our history is pretty well known and our ‘cash shop’ has been with us since the start,” Portalarium’s Chris Spears says. “For years it has been a burden in terms of public opinion, usability, and time consuming maintenance. When we compare ourselves to other live online role play games with a similar money model, we find that we are almost the only game in the entire crowded market that has a vast cash shop on a website and then almost nothing available in game for purchase.”

But that’s changing now, with better localization, proper pagination, and a premium currency.

“Within the next 2 releases we will move to a store model similar to 95% of the other games in the field. Our website will primarily only sell Crowns and rewards programs and possibly 1 single item for episode 2 access. There will probably be another small section that will be hidden for stuff like POTs and support. All the items in the store will be available through the Crown Shop interface. From what we’ve been seeing, most players don’t even know this exists.”

The devs will also be fixing the slow load of the shop, adding better filtering and sorting and tagging, fixing the sale delay, readjusting prices across the board (most items are coming down in price, in fact), and reducing sales.

It also sounds like the $9 premium sub/rewards program will stay intact too, though with some tweaks to ensure it’s still the best deal. In spite of all the grumping from former players and the rough 2018 the studio apparently had, SOTA doesn’t seem to have a hard time generating funds from its playerbase; for example, it’s pulled in over $120,000 for its R61 stretch goals. It’s also currently offering a $6999 bundle to help fund episode 2 – that’s the game’s second season of development. That package includes a castle deed, titles, addditional houses, game design input, a studio tour, and a fancy dinner with the devs, including Richard Garriott himself.

We’ve embedded below the most recent stream, focusing on player housing. “Also, in case you missed the stream, the other exciting thing coming is the ability to purchase a permit for row house demolition,” Spears says. “There will be a cheap option to turn a row lot into a an empty lot with no houses on it that can be used for whatever. We see this as a huge win for players who have their main lot but also have a row lot or two in storage from the storyline. Now you’ll be able to put down a row lot to turn it into a play space, crafting area, or a dedicated garden.”

Source: Newsletter, store. Thanks, Ðårqµøñ!
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krieglich

Soooo how about making the game as fun and playable as 95% of the other games next?

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Songs for Children

That would require making changes that would anger the whales who dump their life savings into the game.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

Still trying to avoid unemployment I see.

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Caleb Cranson

I cannot believe anyone would be crazy enough to buy one of these things. The game simply isn’t good enough to warrant charging such exorbitant prices. Maybe a $1,000 but $7,000-$8,000 is simply insane! The game barely has a thousand players currently playing!

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A Dad Supreme

I think it’s more along the lines of someone paying the money not for the game, but for a chance to meet/greet their hero or role model.

If you asked anyone would they pay $7K to have dinner with say… their favorite musician, actor, or artist they’d probably say “yes!”. In that way, this isn’t any different from that so I understand it; they are paying for the celebrity access.

Definitely wouldn’t be anywhere close to a ‘value’ for a casual fan or game player whatsoever given what’s included if you took the Garriott “Wow!” stuff out of the package you don’t care about him personally.

Below, that’s what you actually get for 7K if you only cared about “playing the game” and not autographs, trinkets and dinner.

UPDATED: Lord of the Isle Place Anywhere Castle Lot Deed: Tax Free Forever (when placed in a POT) and Tax Free for 1 Year (when placed outside of a POT). Placeable on water as well as land!
Title: Lord of the Isle or Lady of the Isle
NEW: Unique Lord of the Isle Home (to be revealed later)
UPDATED: PLUS Choice of any 1 House currently available in the store
Castle Basement currently available in the store of your choice
Castle Wall Set currently available in the store of your choice (with enough for Castle Lot)
NEW: Unique Lord of the Isle Dungeon Room (to be revealed later)
1400 Crowns
999 Bank Slots
Pick 12 Prosperity Tools
2 Unique in-game items (to be revealed later)
Early Access to Episode 2
In-game version of the Lord British ring: Numbered 1 – 8 (including a place-able decoration version)

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Armsbend

I think this game was built for Garriot stalkers – and he likes it. I’ve looked at some of the pics on people that bid for these things – same cast of characters pretty much.

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Roger Melly

A thousand dollars may be less insane but its still not exactly sane to put that kind of money into a game that isn’t doing very well .

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PanagiotisLial1

Its actually a good game I actively play. The fact that the game is good doesnt excuse that the pricing is absurd though. In fact their housing system has a fairly high floor because you need to buy deed and propery. Player Owned Towns had costed big amounts to those who bought them I noticed too, so somehow, there are people with this amount of spending

Yes you can get a “free” row type house just by playing but that is the smallest and cheapest house. Even a village sized house will cost a lot.

As for the players, those who do play know that most of the people who play dont play through steam because steam instead to download just the updates it redownloads almost the entire game in the new version taking long time to play. Vets actually warn new players who bought from steam and eventually all turn to downloadable client from site. I will be surprised if steam is anything more than 10% players

harbinger_kyleran
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harbinger_kyleran

Even if Steam is only 10% that puts around 2K to 3K players online at any given time, well below the stated player base goals stated previously by Portalarium as necessary to keep the game viable.

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Roger Melly

I gave it a try in beta and I actually quite enjoyed it but it’s these sort of stories that put me off playing it . The impression I get ( rightly or wrongly ) is that its extremely pay to win .

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Dividion

As always, it depends on your definition of win. If you think owning the biggest house available and having all of the furnishings is pay-to-win, then yeah, it is. If you think having the best gear, maxed skills, and being able to take out other players in the pvp areas or defeating the really tough monsters on your own is pay-to-win, then it’s not. You need to put in the grind like everyone else to build up your skills, money and knowledge.

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A Dad Supreme

Why exactly $6,999?

Is leaving the dollar off a marketing attempt to make it appear like a bargain because it’s under $7,000, or is it some tax thing like depositing $10,000 in a bank account triggers the I.R.S.?

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McGuffn

So you can get this and the $3,000 Daybreak thing and still be under 10k.

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Mr.McSleaz

$7000 for dinner with Garriot. This guy really is High on Himself.

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Armsbend

It is over skype at a burger joint.

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Doubleplusgood

which he will cancel to go on a second trip to the international space station funded by your donation

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Armsbend

if 7K got us there I’d be on board with him :)

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Doubleplusgood

No, sorry, 7K won’t be enough which is why he is selling 24 of these unique bundles. He didn’t get enough money for the auction of his blood so he had to come up with another scheme to pay for this trip.

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

Sad thing is, people will pay for it.

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Armsbend

By dinner with Garriot you mean his robot right?

The people who put a lot of money into this game – and I think individual “donations” towards Garriot’s robot investments likely rival that of Citizen’s big donors – are going to be severely disappointed when this game shuts down. It has about 18 months left. Maybe less.

Xijit
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Xijit

I doubt that this one will ever shut down since the servers probably cost nothing to run.

It will however probably be sold to some shell investment company, or two, and then stuffed in maintenance mode before volunteer indie team takes it over.

*edit*

Imagine the irony if Broadsword takes it over.

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Armsbend

I guess maintenance mode might be a more apt term. It can’t be making any money for sure.

Xijit
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Xijit

I don’t think this thing was ever supposed to be anything more than a retirement project for Lord British’s friends.

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

OMG, this rings so true.

harbinger_kyleran
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harbinger_kyleran

Recall in previous financials they’ve shared having around $17M in debt and $4M or so in deferred taxes which all has to be paid for from the “profits”.