Shroud of the Avatar claims move from Portalarium to Catnip will bring ‘positive change’

    
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Honest-to-goodness hope or trying to put a brave face on things? We’ll let you decide when you read Catnip Studios’ letter following the recent sale of Shroud of the Avatar from Portalarium to its new home.

Producer Chris Spears said that the team didn’t change, Episode 2 is still being developed, monthly releases will still happen, “Seed Investor still have an investment in the success of Shroud” (he means SeedInvest), and Richard Garriott and Starr Long “aren’t going away” due to the change in ownership. He cited “cost savings, risk, and company focus” as reasons for the move. Spears did not, however, clarify exactly how Long and Garriott are involved, what is happening to Portalarium, how many people are left on the dev team, or where the company’s missing SEC filings for SeedInvest are, an open question since last spring.

Spears went on to talk about some of the changes that will be coming to the game, starting by saying that Catnip will “have a more open and collaborative game creation process.” This means more community events, tools for player-run events, Lua scripting, player-created NPC dialogue, and the addition of a new member to the development team. The studio is going to do a marketing push with more ads in an attempt to draw in more players.

Oh, and some players will get promoted to pseudo-GMs: “In the future, we will be making some of our dev commands available to a handful of community members who have proven over the years to be highly responsible and trustworthy.” We cannot think of a single way that this could backfire.

The latest newsletter is up to fill you in on the small details of what’s going on this week.

Massively OP contacted the development team earlier this month with many questions about the recent sale and failure to fulfill its Kickstarter obligations. The studio didn’t respond to that press inquiry at all, as we discussed on a recent episode of the Massively OP Podcast.

Update
Tipster sawthelightsota has pointed out to us that a thread on the SOTA official forums from SeedInvest backers trying to get more information has now been locked. As we’ve noted, SeedInvest backers are not Kickstarter donors or crowdfunders in the colloquial sense; they are actual legal investors who participated in the game’s SeedInvest equity crowdfunding round in 2017. SeedInvest rounds carry legal requirements for financial filings with the SEC, access to which investors are entitled.

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Eric E

According to the next release notes, Episode 2 has been pushed back to sometime in 2020. So much for 2019.

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Reginald Bottomsworth

The year is practically over, and they’re just confirming what anyone paying an iota of attention predicted. Industry veterans!

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Raimo Kangasniemi

Actions speak louder than words and at this point they need a lot of the former to restore credibility.

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Reginald Bottomsworth

I agree, but what motivation do they have to do that when the whales they’re sucking dry continue to take everything that Spears says at face value?

Dean478
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Dean478

Yeah right…

Your press inquiries will be left unanswered because they can’t fulfill their obligations.

If you asked on the forum you’d be banned for constructive criticism, sorry, I meant threats of ‘legal action’…

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StormKat
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Reginald Bottomsworth

The usual whiners are blaming Reddit and MOP “trolls” for the poor performance of the game. As soon as someone says something remotely critical of Chris or Starr, BAM! The thread will be either locked or deleted.

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Loyal Patron
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Armsbend

my favorite post:

2) People who like Shroud need to represent on MOP. It’s pretty sad when the only posts are coordinated attacks from reddit.

– coordinated. lol, okay.

3) MOP WANTS Shroud to succeed, as do most people. They are right, no one is doing the Evil Laugh that Shroud is having trouble.

– dead wrong. I love that Shroud is having trouble.

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Reginald Bottomsworth

The paranoia is amusing. Coordinated attacks? It seems like, in the mind of that poster, people who are critical of the game (whom he calls “trolls”) are all sitting in the same room, clacking away on their laptops.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I think they are probably referring to the part on the podcast where all three of us explicitly said we wanted Shroud to turn itself around.

And I dunno about coordinated attacks – but we definitely get a lot of people down here slinging shit. I don’t enjoy covering SOTA both for the mess that the game is and the mess that the comments become.

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Reginald Bottomsworth

The saga that is this game, as well as the fandom/anti-fandom surrounding it, would make for a great documentary.

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rafael12104

Where is Richard in all of this? New York with his wife?

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Armsbend

*click*
MY AMAZING MIND FOUND THIS
*whirrrrr*
AMAZING ROBOT ON ENGADGET DOT COM SO I CAN TAKE PICTURES OF ME WORKING WHILE REALLY I AM DRAWING ME DRIVING SPACESHIPS

maxresdefault.jpg
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bparry

I play SOTA, I love it, don’t really care if in the end the servers turn off, I will play it until such time and continue to support it. I am not in the game to make money, Im there to play the game, and build my own scenes which is what is coming by end of year it sounds like. Having player towns that get great minds together to build new questing scenes with GM’s not only watching but interacting with players in realtime making more challenges etc sounds like a lot of fun. I hope they continue to add tools for people to build amazing things.

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Deadly Habit

I don’t fault people who enjoy the game, my grudge is with the devs censoring anything negative, outright lying, lying by omission, and the people who keep giving them free passes out of some nostalgic misplaced hero worship or their sunk cost be it time or financial into the game. If they actually were forthcoming and transparent with a lot of things and didn’t lock threads, ban users, or censor everything people such as myself would have moved on ages ago.

The lack of them being held accountable or taking accountability and have a bit of humility for their missteps is what drives so many people at this point along with the ridiculous amount of money people have sunk into this project.

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Bruno Brito

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the game. Just don’t let your enjoyment blind you towards what the management of it really is.

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Eric E

As do a lot of us. The only issue I have is that all the tolls, questing, customizable NPCs will only be half working when they move on to another project. I can’t even get dungeons to link properly together for over a year. Chris keeps promising a fix next patch, about 20 patches ago.

Most of the things currently in-game aren’t finished and all this new stuff they promise won’t ever be finished 100% either. I gave up my subscription until I actually see progress. Not just throwing stuff out there that only works half the time.

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Deadly Habit

That’s rich considering Starr “don’t lawyer me bro” Long & Chris Spears are referring people to a lawyer at a firm specializing in bankruptcy. That and LLCs can’t issue shares leaving everyone who invested in the Portalarium Seed Invest holding the bags of shares in company no longer owning the assets or rights to the game, but I’m just some toxic former player/Reddit troll…

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Fool me whatever number time this is in regards to this project, you need your head examined.

These are the type of people that have no qualms using corporate doublespeak terms like rightsizing for laying people like it’s a good thing. Go watch the Death of a Game video on Tabula Rasa and tell me this doesn’t mirror the spin and excuses the same cadre of characters made for that, only this time they can’t blame evil publishers or outside influences for their own poor decisions.

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Reginald Bottomsworth

Earlier this year, in May I believe, Spears denied being the CEO of Portalarium; a couple weeks ago, he said he’d been the CEO since February. Only a fool would take this man’s words at face value or as anything vaguely resembling the truth.

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Armsbend

Alternate Title:

We Believe You Are Stupid.

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Reginald Bottomsworth

With their oppressively moderated forums, any dissent will be quickly crushed, anyway.

sawthelightsota
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sawthelightsota

As noted above, Port/Catnip locked the forum thread where investors were simply asking “has the law firm Port referred us to responded to anyone with actual information?”. The thread doesn’t even want the details of what the lawyers say, it was only asking “is anyone hearing anything at all, or are we all emailing another black hole that will never respond?”

And of course, Port/Catnip locked the thread, because players should just forget about the seedinvest, do not talk about it, and just trust that it still exists.

Shutting down any discussion of seed invest, only providing the vaguest of statements about it, and making all seed investors individually email a mysterious email address at a bankruptcy law firm is not at all shady. Not at all – everything is fine!

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Deadly Habit

The Forsaken Virtues tag really encapsulates the shyster hacks behind this whole project.