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.”