Shroud of the Avatar finally admits the Kickstarter book is not happening, offers in-game items instead

    
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Yesterday, we covered the bizarre but perhaps expected news that Portalarium has transferred Shroud of the Avatar and other assets to Catnip Games, which is the new studio of Chris Spears, the public front of the game for many months now.

As we noted at the time, Portalarium’s had a rough year, as it closed its physical offices, refused comment on missing Kickstarter rewards, missed SEC filings required by the game’s equity crowdfunding (still missing), and the weird obfuscation surrounding who exactly was CEO of the company and when that happened.

Starr Long has today finally posted the first update in a year about what’s going on with the missing Kickstarter book – and as players expected, they’re never doing to see that book. They’re getting in-game items instead.

“Digital copies were delivered as promised but unfortunately we could never reach an agreement with the publisher on distribution of a physical copy to our backers. Please accept our apologies for our failure to deliver the reward and the extreme delay in an outcome. It is not all bad news however! We have come up with unique book themed replacement rewards! Kickstarter backers at the Patron level were eligible for a physical copy of the book. They will receive instead a unique in-game reward of a Challenge Dungeon Remote Dungeon Entrance! This entrance allows direct access to the Challenge Dungeon from the property it is placed on. The entrance itself is disguised as a magical book with the Blade of the Avatar symbol on the cover! Kickstarter backers at the Citizen level (and higher) were eligible for a physical copy of the book signed by Richard and Tracy. They will instead receive two unique in-game rewards. The Sword of Midras Library is a huge unique dungeon room filled floor to ceiling with books, similar to the Lyceum in Artifice. It can be placed in any Player Made Dungeon. The Sword of Midras Magical Printing Press allows you to create 12 book copies per week without needing any blank books and each of these copies automatically comes in a book bound with a Blade of the Avatar symbol book cover! We hope to have these items complete and delivered on later than the end of this year. NOTE: Citizens will also receive the Patron reward of the Challenge Dungeon Remote Entrance for a total of three unique rewards.”

We reached out to the studios, devs, and lawyers with a stack of questions yesterday relating to the missing book as well as the missing SEC filing, the involvement of Starr Long and Richard Garriott, and the state of the studio and game. No one has responded, though Spears appeared on a vague livestream yesterday.

Source: Official site. Thanks, TJ!

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TJ French
batterbatterswing
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batterbatterswing

Bree, their own devs are contradicting the claim that they do not have rights to print the novel: https://web.archive.org/web/20191011173201/https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/blade-of-the-avatar-physical-book-project.159455/ this matches what they said back when they made an agreement with Tor https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/?p=59788

sawthelightsota
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sawthelightsota

Starr is not going to like that one of his (sorry, Chris’) contract devs went into that thread and contradicted him.

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Tav

Starr deleted those older threads in their entirety. And doesn’t even notify anyone.

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Eric E

Typical Port transparency. They haven’t a clue, hence why the game has failed.

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Loopy

Read up the comments on this announcement. VAST majority of commenters are ok with the replacement rewards. I’ve also noticed a trend – the ones still playing the game don’t mind the in-game items in lieu of the book, whereas the players that have left are the ones reacting negatively and demanding their books.

Sunk Cost fallacy?

sawthelightsota
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sawthelightsota

Starr is actively deleting any posts that mention the Kickstarter, regardless of whether a “legal threat” was in the post. Also is deleting threads asking about other plans Port once had to self-print the book that they magically forgot about. Full damage control mode, so yes, that thread will likely look like everyone is on board with the in game items.

Starr is staying super classy on his way out the door.

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Loopy

Yeah that was kinda my suspicion too, although i do see a handful of pretty angry comments that are still in the thread. It’s hard to say whether this accurately reflects what the SotA community actually feels or if this is some 9000 IQ mindgames by only deleting some negative comments but leaving others – skewing the perception.

sawthelightsota
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sawthelightsota

Well, Starr is at the annual SotA fan convention right now, so give him time during a break to go back in and delete some more negative comments.

ObstreperousBear
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ObstreperousBear

It did seem to evolve into deleting anything that had anything to do with the word “legal”

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Tav

Not even that. I just said that I was ‘keeping screenshots of posts being deleted by mods’ and then I was banned and that post removed.

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Eric E

I think Port is now sunk, but people just want what they paid for. Is that now not allowed in society?

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Loopy

My sunk cost comment was directed at people still playing, defending the moves of the devs because they feel like they’re too invested in the game to complain about it.

Narficus
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Narficus

From this, the ones who still play are at least getting SOMETHING (even if it is another promise the studio will likely stall, stall, stall, evade, BS, lie, etc. about until it is broken again).

The ones who do not play get NOTHING.

Coincidentally, those who had harped on about their backer rewards being far past due also number among those banned for not following Portalarium’s narrative. Chris is still enforcing perception management to some degree.

Doing these kind of replacements without first consulting the community is another short-sighted symptom of Shroud’s development – again a fair portion of the community is banned because they’ve been demanding what has been far past due for years so they cannot give their input on anything, but Portalarium gave the impression that talking about what has been past due was scaring away new customers.

The entire problem has been because of how Portalarium, and now Chris, treat those who made the game happen in the first place, who kept the company afloat after that $10M+ to develop mobile game nobody remembers about. This “replacement” gives nothing to the backers who aren’t still playing, who might be a bit sickened by Portalarium yet still regard Tracy Hickman in a good light.

This company has been just one bad business decision after another from the start, this “replacement” serving as yet another example of the company’s incompetence or malice. I’ve seen enough to suggest it could easily be both.

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Lord Klaus

I’ve never had expectations for this game. I have a copy of the game and is since a year that I don’t even bother to patch. The whole project was born almost dead, and I really doubt will reach the end of 2020. Another one bite the dust.

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Mikka Hansen

richard garriott, chris spears and starr long

from industry veterans to criminals

Celestia
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Loyal Patron
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Celestia

So many exclamation points in this press release you can almost feel the excitement!

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Reginald Bottomsworth

Everything is fine! Nothing is wrong at all!!!!

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Tav

*nevermind, delete. over these dishonest developers and their censoring. they are outright liars.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

Portalarium right now.

F5CA14B5-1114-4B85-A1E3-3E8B9269CE46.gif
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Tav

Now they are banning forum users for complaining about the lack of delivery of PAID ITEMS and claiming it’s a ‘threat of legal action’.

Portalarium, I doubt a limbo stick goes that low.

oldandgrumpy
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Kickstarter Donor
oldandgrumpy

I managed to avoid this one, sadly I got sucked in by his mate. That one will probably end the same way.