Shroud of the Avatar brings a new scene, buff-providing statues, and quality-of-life features in Release 86


Most of the recent news out of Shroud of the Avatar has been leading up to this point: the launch of Release 86, which brings a number of features and paves the way for some other things to come down the pike.

In terms of immediate updates, R86 adds the Well of Aldur adventure scene and three new Shrines of Attunement, which are statues that provide three day-long attunement buffs, two of which can be stacked together. There are also some smaller quality-of-life leaning features in R86 like more options for gear patterns, dragon egg decorations that can hatch into Baby Dragon Conversationalists, and different varieties of public cache chests.

As for future updates, players can look forward to more gear patterns, more Shrines of Attunement, and a Weather Control Device that will let owners of towns control their town’s weather and biome. For now, the weekly newsletter has the details.


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Songs for Children

Maintenance mode is just around the corner.


they introduced bot-friendly experience faucets with UT and various control points, with no experience caps, for years. the idea was to flatten the curve for new players. lots of damage was done to the power balance in the game, and they repeatedly refuse to do anything about fixing the damage.

so things like the afk/kick changes are far too little, far too late

meanwhile, they’re constantly invalidating progress they make on performance improvements, and won’t do anything to help the fundamentals with the game…except fiddling with archery for the millionth time

still waiting on them to add a point or purpose to the game, because the journey sure as hell isn’t fun


more decorations
more load times and memory requirements
same stale gameplay


I’ll start this off by being the one to grant the request from another release notes proofreader (by the same person who helpfully timestamps the questions asked to devs on the devstreams in forum post summary) : “Also, please add a note encouraging players to vote in the 2021+ Player Priorities Poll.” So there you go, Wilfred.

I’m sure it’s just a total accident the Community Manager couldn’t engage with a major summary of player feedback, seems more like an effort is made to avoid these things on the official forums, which is odd since it looks like something he should have been doing before Chris made a more vague 2021 vision post compared to last year’s. Last year, feedback was encouraged, but this year’s has no replies. Thank you, Avatar, but our feedback is in another topic!

Speaking of feedback, some notes from the Bug Moderator suggest these features didn’t get a full run through QA to make sure they at least work as advertised, so prepare for a bunch of more of that beloved Patching to Live breaking more things and patch rollbacks. The official Twitter confirms this:

Looks like patterns are still going to be broken in this build. We’ll keep working on it but might be broken for the weekend. :(

Once again proving that it is a good idea to keep track of the Twitter for up-to-the-moment details of what is being broken or being worked on as it is patched to live and Unity is blamed as usual.

“Aimed Shot: Aimed shot only applies max damage to stationary targets.”

RIP kiting? Reduction of damage is determined by perpendicular velocity of target? This is a mystery given how the whole dev process on this change was made over Twitter. Answer: Stay tuned to devstreams! If only there were something that could give a centralized source of information to prevent this confused scatter everywhere…

“Players can look forward to a new jumping puzzle…”

I’m sure it was just coincidence that they got the best and worst features swapped around, or just wanted to break the bad news first. Even I refrained from doing that to grant a request from the community. So here it is, the worst part, the part from Ultima 8 that nobody liked. Jumping puzzles.

I mean, it’s cool that a replacement for Starr Long Making Patch Notes was found (RIP the dance parties in favor of a fishing tournament and a weekly pvp tourney that took months to fill), but…


A follow-up with the player poll results:

Balance/Debug/Polish/Completion passes on existing systems – 72 votes
Global Vendor Search Need solution – 50 votes
Treasure Maps / Message in bottle – 47 votes
Crafting System QOL Improvements – 44 votes
Improve UI – 44 votes
Quest system overhaul – 36 votes
More daily quests (incl. crafting/gathering/fishing/etc.) – 29 votes
Performance Improvements – 29 votes
More/Better Crafted Gear – 20 votes
New mobs & New Player Dungeon Mobs – 20 votes
More engaging crafting – 18 votes
Send lots to property manage when lot expires if space is available – 17 votes
More Dynamic Scenes / convert old scenes – 16 votes
Centralized dev communication – 15 votes

Personally, to see Shroud do better, I’d say the devs should remove the biggest roadblock to new players by listening to community feedback regarding the complete mess of first scene (thus increasing the influx of population as it has been declining), as well as connecting to the Steam Wallet for some much-needed cash (since they’ve been trying to hawk those LOTI bundles for ages).

Bruno Brito

I wonder, why would you want QoL on a game that lacks content outside heavy monetized stuff?

Like, you wanna make gameplay with more quality but…for what? There isn’t anything to play in.


QoL for… AFKing!

Oops – just kidding! It wasn’t QA’d.

QA is coming – promise!

Get out there and patch!


~ 3 hours later ~

It is amazing for how much QA is mentioned around SotA on the forums there seems to be a total lack of any at any point elsewhere.

QA and a proper dev cycle would be a real QoL change for 86’d releases and counting.


Gotta keep the shell game going for the tiny number of sunk cost players who aren’t ready yet to accept the game failed; Portalarium may be gone, the offices closed, the staff may have all been let go with virtually no notice, the kickstarter backer rewards not entirely completed, but as long as aspirational patch notes are being written up from some crazy person hiding in the bins outside Starbucks to take advantage of their free wifi, then there’s still hope! It’s the ideal time to buy a new player run town!