Shroud of the Avatar improves crafting as Richard Garriott dives to the bottom of the ocean


We’ll go ahead and get this out of the way first: MMO developer Richard Garriott dived to the bottom of the Mariana Trench today. The game-dev-turned-astronaut-turned-aquanaut had to the delay the original planned dive thanks to an electrical issue discovered with the submarine, but it apparently went off early this morning. (There’s more that can be read in this interview where Garriott talks about things he’s actually passionate about: having completely batshit adventures.)

Here on dry land, the thing that Garriott is vaguely known for, Shroud of the Avatar, has outlined some new crafting changes like an increased maximum success chance for creating items up from 95% to 100% (seriously, only now?); a bonus to critical crafting chance for Grandmaster crafters; and the start of background work for improving salvage.

The MMO’s latest newsletter also outlines a change to SOTA’s patches. Monthly updates will move to a “tick-tock” cadence that alternates between feature polish and bug fixes and new content releases, with the upcoming Release 88 being one of the planned polish updates.

Announcements are being tweaked as well, with patch notes delivery getting some improvements, community updates now being featured on an Upcoming Events page as they show up on the forums, Crown Store addition articles arriving on a monthly basis, and weekly updates officially ending in lieu of occasional single feature articles published over the course of the month as needed. These adjustments, according to the newsletter, are in the interest of “[freeing] up more developer time for tasks which improve the game itself.”

Longtime MOP readers will know that Shroud of the Avatar is a controversial game in the MMO space. Kickstarted in 2013, the game and its original studio have been criticized for cutting promised features, crowdfunding excessively, delaying Kickstarter rewards, obfuscating its corporate leadership and office status, and neglecting SEC filings legally required by the game’s equity crowdfunding. In 2019, Richard Garriott’s company Portalarium sold off SOTA to its lead dev and all but exited the game. Press inquires have repeatedly been met with stonewalling and insults, and equity crowdfund investors were seemingly abandoned without notice, but the game does still have players and is still being developed, as we continue to cover.
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