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Patch Notes 03Feb

Build Number 212 (Linux, Mac, PC) 

Notes:

  • Fix for items in corpses not being loot-able
  • Fixed issue where some decoration item (like hedge maze pieces) could not be placed when rotated near a lot boundary
  • Fixed issue where some items would sometimes not be placeable (Hearth of Britannia Cabinet, Butchery Crafting station, etc.)
  • Fixed issue where players would sometimes get stuck when the User Interface was toggled off
  • Fixed an issue where encumbrance was being incorrectly calculated when taking containers off of lots
  • Changed error message for low performance
  • Removed logwarning that seems to indicate an error if steam is not running
  • Fixed issue where Tour Guides in control points were attackable

Known Issues:

  • Many pledge, add on, and stretch goal items have not yet been built and/or do not yet have tech support. These will not be complete until later this year
  • Pledge tiers from First Responder to Developer are fully stocked with real or placeholder items – pledge tiers from Citizen on up are stocked with real items but no placeholders. No add-ons or stretch goals have placeholders, but all Player Owned Towns have placeholders
  • Many chests in the game no longer work (side effect of us removing all pledge and add on items)
  • Merchant inventories will sometimes appear empty
  • “Iron Rectangle Shield”, “Iron Round Shield”, and “Iron Triangle Shield” that players have in their inventory or have equipped prior to this patch will appear as buckets in their inventory due to the renaming mentioned above

Release Notes 31 Jan

Build Number 210 (Linux, Mac, PC) 

Notes:

  • Fixed an exception related to lot loading.
  • Fixed an exception related to local chat.
  • Added logging to help us identify issues.

Known Issues:

  • Many pledge, add on, and stretch goal items have not yet been built and/or do not yet have tech support. These will not be complete until later this year
  • Pledge tiers from First Responder to Developer are fully stocked with real or placeholder items – pledge tiers from Citizen on up are stocked with real items but no placeholders. No add-ons or stretch goals have placeholders, but all Player Owned Towns have placeholders
  • Many chests in the game no longer work (side effect of us removing all pledge and add on items)
  • Merchant inventories will sometimes appear empty
  • “Iron Rectangle Shield”, “Iron Round Shield”, and “Iron Triangle Shield” that players have in their inventory or have equipped prior to this patch will appear as buckets in their inventory due to the renaming mentioned above

Release Notes 30 Jan

Build Number 209 (Linux, Mac, PC) 7:00 PM CST

Notes:

  • Fixed issue where players were sometimes appearing with no head and/or incorrect gender (this time we actually think we fixed it, no kidding around, really)
  • Added recipe for 1 Handed Spear
  • Fixed sulfurous ash node in South Valeway that could not be harvested
  • Fixed collision on railings of crafting pavilion
  • Fixed exit boundary around desert scenes so it will now correctly trigger camera iris effect
  • Fixed stuck spot in Grunvald Shardfall
  • Recipe book should no longer skip pages
  • Removed red visual effects on Air and Water Elementals that were making them look pinkish and purplish

Known Issues:

  • Many pledge, add on, and stretch goal items have not yet been built and/or do not yet have tech support. These will not be complete until later this year
  • Pledge tiers from First Responder to Developer are fully stocked with real or placeholder items – pledge tiers from Citizen on up are stocked with real items but no placeholders. No add-ons or stretch goals have placeholders, but all Player Owned Towns have placeholders
  • Many chests in the game no longer work (side effect of us removing all pledge and add on items)
  • Merchant inventories will sometimes appear empty
  • “Iron Rectangle Shield”, “Iron Round Shield”, and “Iron Triangle Shield” that players have in their inventory or have equipped prior to this patch will appear as buckets in their inventory due to the renaming mentioned above

Build Number 208 (Linux, Mac, PC) 3:45 PM CST

Notes:

  • Added hint for Combos
  • Pine Wood staff should now be equippable (we mean it this time)
  • Eating food no longer triggers combat mode
  • Inventory now displays “Total Weight”
  • Death Penalty now does not trigger until Level 10
  • Ardoris ferry now takes you back to Kinsport
  • Grunvald Tour Guide progress message now displays correctly in Journal
  • Banks now have lights in them
  • Veimor is now friends to all creatures and is no longer always locked in combat.
  • Chillblain’s Compendium of Pain & Suffering (aka Challenge Dungeon) now has loot again
  • Fixed ladders in Owl’s Head that were missing tooltips
  • Avatars will now animate properly on the overworld even if over-encumbered
  • Items in your shortcut bar no longer appear if they are in your bank
  • Boats no longer have physics attached to them so they won’t fly or float away (although that looked super cool)
  • Townsfolk in Braemar and Ardoris are now aware of banks and where they are located
  • Tour guides in Brightbone Pass and Grunvald Shardfall will no longer be attacked by nearby monsters
  • Price adjustment for Weapon Cut Ruby
  • Various fixes for recipes that use wooden ingredients
  • Ectoplasmic Residue will now appear in the Crafting tab instead of the Equipment tab (although this is not yet an ingredient in any recipes)
  • Fixed ratio of iron ore to bars and ingots
  • Fixed various recipe names including adding the word “Disabled” to removed recipes
  • Swapped Rustic 3-Story with Rustic 2-Story house deeds in add-on purchases so these rewards should show up correctly in game based on your purchase
  • Added 5 Story Row Basement deed to pledge rewards in game
  • Distortion effect when dead is now disabled if “Disable Screen Effects” is toggled in Options menu
  • Added 5 new player villages to the Vale, greatly increasing available lots
  • Added text about items in character inventory being deleted to the second character deletion confirmation
  • Removed Founder Cutlass from Ferig’s Battle Camp and a few other scenes
  • Renamed “Iron Rectangle Shield”, “Iron Round Shield”, and “Iron Triangle Shield” to “Round Shield”, “Triangle Shield”, and “Rectangle Shield”

Known Issues:

  • Many pledge, add on, and stretch goal items have not yet been built and/or do not yet have tech support. These will not be complete until later this year
  • Pledge tiers from First Responder to Developer are fully stocked with real or placeholder items – pledge tiers from Citizen on up are stocked with real items but no placeholders. No add-ons or stretch goals have placeholders, but all Player Owned Towns have placeholders
  • Many chests in the game no longer work (side effect of us removing all pledge and add on items)
  • Merchant inventories will sometimes appear empty
  • “Iron Rectangle Shield”, “Iron Round Shield”, and “Iron Triangle Shield” that players have in their inventory or have equipped prior to this patch will appear as buckets in their inventory due to the renaming mentioned above
  • Players will sometimes appear on screen without heads and the wrong gender

Build Number 207 (Linux, Mac, PC) 10:00 AM CST

Notes:

  • Fixed several issues where players were not displaying correctly to other players. We are not 100% sure these are fixed so please let us know if you keep seeing them. Fixes include:
    • Fixed issue where players were sometimes appearing with no head and/or incorrect gender
    • Fixed issue where players were sometimes not animating (just sliding around in “t-pose”)
    • Fixed the infamous “invisible friend” bug that would sometimes show players with their arm out like they had their arm around the shoulders of someone who was not there
    • Fixed issue where items in the left hand were not being held correctly (i.e. torches were horizontal instead of vertical)
  • Moved resource nodes (trees, ore, etc.) that were too close to the exit boundaries on the random encounter hills map
  • Renamed inventory “Decorations” tab to “Housing” tab and moved deeds to this tab
  • Fixed the left hand of the Royal Founder Plate gauntlet
  • Fixed stuck location in Brightbone Pass
  • Lord Marshal Helm will no longer remove hair
  • Banners on Vale overworld now properly display as North Valeway and South Valeway
  • Added the player island of Estercove back into the game (thereby increasing housing locations)
  • Moved Tinkerer certificate from Founder to Benefactor pledge packages
  • Removed pledge rewards from Dragon Cave and replaced them with non-pledge rewards
  • Fixed issue where some items would disappear from inventory during player to player trade
  • Added recipes for Two Handed weapons (sword, polearm, and hammer)
  • Increased bank item limit from 250 to 1000
  • Knight’s Cape now has correct icon
  • Royal Founder Shield now has correct Icon
  • Fixed encumbrance bug that was draining focus as soon as encumbrance limit was exceeded. Should now not drain focus until you are at least 2 – 3 times over encumbered
  • Nailed all the town crier’s feet to the floor so they no longer wander off/fall through the world
  • You can now enter your basement even if you do not have the basement deed in your inventory
  • House ownership sign will now display the proper house even if the house deed is not in your inventory
  • Kingsport exit to overworld fixed
  • Leveling up will now fully restore health and focus
  • Fixed some issues where visual effects were not showing up on enchanted items
  • Default Video setting increased to Beautiful from Fastest
  • Added secondary confirmation on character deletion to remind players that they will be deleting the items on that character (including pledge rewards)
  • NPCs should wander more often
  • Fixed recipe that was creating duplicate blade mold

Known Issues:

  • Many pledge, add on, and stretch goal items have not yet been built and/or do not yet have tech support. These will not be complete until later this year
  • Pledge tiers from First Responder to Developer are fully stocked with real or placeholder items – pledge tiers from Citizen on up are stocked with real items but no placeholders. No add-ons or stretch goals have placeholders, but all Player Owned Towns have placeholders
  • Many chests in the game no longer work (side effect of us removing all pledge and add on items)
  • Merchant inventories will sometimes appear empty

Release Notes 29 Jan

Build Number 205 (Linux, Mac, PC) 2:25 PM CST

Notes:

  • Bronze Ingot recipe now actually creates a Bronze Ingot (instead of a Constantan Ingot)
  • Pine Wood Staff can now be equipped
  • Fixed gap under window in Duke Founder Keep
  • Gap on basement trap door fixed
  • Fixed Textile section of Recipe book which was not displaying past the first page
  • Fixed journal issue with Braemar guard Halmar who was listed incorrectly as Michael in the journal
  • Attached the merchant’s pants to his legs
  • Fixed the infamous indestructible Ravenswood Bandits to be more destructible
  • Iron and Meteoric Hilt recipes will now appear in the Recipe book when learned
  • Wolves should sound much more like actual canines
  • Fixed stuck spots in the Dragon Skull objects that were trapping players aka Curse of the Dragon Skull!
  • Corpses no longer move across the ground when opened (was happening in Solace Bridge starting area)
  • Added tooltips to ladders in Kingsort
  • Fixed geometry issue with stairs in the Inn building
  • Moved South Valeway resurrection ankh location to be farther from hostiles
  • Lord Marshal helm now works in bag inventory mode
  • Made invisible Iron Halberd less invisible (hopefully)
  • Fixed issue with coal not being able to be traded between players
  • Limited number of decimal places when displaying stat values for Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence

Known Issues:

  • Many pledge, add on, and stretch goal items have not yet been built and/or do not yet have tech support. These will not be complete until later this year
  • Pledge tiers from First Responder to Developer are fully stocked with real or placeholder items – pledge tiers from Citizen on up are stocked with real items but no placeholders. No add-ons or stretch goals have placeholders, but all Player Owned Towns have placeholders
  • Two Handed Weapon recipes missing
  • Knight Cloak has Lord Cloak icon
  • Royal Founder Shield has Founder Shield icon
  • Many chests in the game no longer work (side effect of us removing all pledge and add on items)
  • House ownership sign will display as “Empty Lot” even if there is a house on the lot if the house lot deed is not in your inventory
  • Players will sometimes appear on screen without heads and the wrong gender
  • Offhand animations will sometimes break resulting in torches/shields/etc being held low versus up, will also sometimes make it look like you have a hand around the shoulders of an invisible friend
  • Merchant inventories will sometimes appear empty
  • Kingsport exit to overworld broken
  • Founder and Royal Founder backers of high level pledges may start with more items than the item bank limit
  • Cannot enter basement if deed is not in your inventory

Build Number 204 (Linux, Mac, PC) 10:30 AM CST

Known Issues:

  • Many pledge, add on, and stretch goal items have not yet been built and/or do not yet have tech support. These will not be complete until later this year
  • Pledge tiers from First Responder to Developer are fully stocked with real or placeholder items – pledge tiers from Citizen on up are stocked with real items but no placeholders. No add-ons or stretch goals have placeholders, but all Player Owned Towns have placeholders
  • Lord Marshal Helm does not work in bag mode
  • Two Handed Weapon recipes missing
  • Knight Cloak has Lord Cloak icon
  • Royal Founder Shield has Founder Shield icon
  • Many chests in the game no longer work (side effect of us removing all pledge and add on items)
  • House ownership sign will display as “Empty Lot” even if there is a house on the lot if the house lot deed is not in your inventory
  • Players will sometimes appear on screen without heads and the wrong gender
  • Offhand animations will sometimes break resulting in torches/shields/etc being held low versus up, will also sometimes make it look like you have a hand around the shoulders of an invisible friend

Release 14 Instructions

Greetings Avatars,

Thank you to our loyal backers of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 14 access for all backers at First Responder level and above, as well as those who signed up at CES and PAX South, begins this Thursday, January 29 at 10:30 AM Central Time (16:30 UTC).

Please read this entire message, as well as the linked instructions and known issues.

This far from launch, we are in a constant state of change and we do not yet have in-game systems to inform players of these changes, or to share ways to help them to explore new content and systems. This means we rely entirely on this message, and the linked instructions and known issues to convey the current game state. We regularly have to answer questions or filter bug reports because players elect not to read this valuable information. By taking a few moments to read through this information, a great deal of our time and efforts can be redirected to focus on new “unanswered” questions, and addressing critical issues impacting each release. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to review this post, and for all the truly valuable feedback you continue to provide.

Release 14 is our first release of 2015 and represents several major new features (Banking, Pledge Rewards, Encumbrance, Enchantments) as well as overhauls to existing features (Crafting). It is also a milestone because now more than half of the Adventuring schools (magic and combat) are complete! Of course, with new content comes new bugs and balance issues, so help us out by posting bugs and feedback in our official forums.avatars-circle-logo-concept-7[1]

Also, remember that while we are providing new content with each release, our community is also working overtime to make new events for you to enjoy, so be sure to check out the Community Events Calendar (via in game book or the player run website Avatars Circle).

Without further ado, here are the R14 deliverables.

Key:

  • Plain Text: The original plan for the Release deliverables and what was actually delivered.
  • Italics: Extra notes and new deliverables
  • Strikethrough: These are items that did not make the release. We intentionally preserve the original text so that our backers can compare plan versus actuals.

RELEASE 14, January 29, 2015SotA_BrightbonePass1

  • Scenes: Brightbone Pass and Blackblade Pass Entrances will expand the mainland while another Desert scene will expand the Vale. We will also add the Shardfall biome to the game, along with a shardfall scene (this is the biome for our Open PVP scenes).
    • Brightbone Pass:This dangerous control point sits high atop the Brightbone Mountains near the Necropolis, city of the undead. Hordes of undead haunt this ancient fortress and block all who would venture through.SotA_Shardfall_day
    • Grunvald Shardfall: The Continent of Novia will have a number of these Shardfall areas, where the Blessings of the Oracle do not hold sway and all who venture in are at risk of conflict (open PVP). With that risk, though, there is rumor of even greater reward, for the Shardfall both generates and exposes more resources than anywhere else in Novia. This particular shardfall is located near the desert town of Desolis and is our first example of a scene built in the shardfall biome.
    • Wyrmsands: This desert in the southwest corner of the Vale is also known as the graveyard of dragons. No one knows why these beasts came here to die in such large numbers. Some say those same dragons left behind great treasures upon their death, but few have dared to venture too far in these wastes to find out.SotA_Wyrmsands
    • Owl’s Head Polish: Shop signs have begun to be added, and we have relocated merchants and shops to more logical locations
    • Blackblade Pass Entrances Delayed: The entrance maps to the underground Blackblade Pass have been delayed in order to give us more time to work on the Novia overworld map that we are targeting for Release 15.
  • Unity 5: We will begin transitioning the project to the latest version of Unity. For R14, it will most likely be a separate build, purely for testing.
    • QA Version: We have made significant progress on our port to Unity 5 and we hope to have a QA version to test the week after R14 goes live.
  • Banks: Players can now start storing things in the bank. This is also where all your pledge rewards will be at the start of the game, so you won’t start so encumbered that you cannot move.SotA_Bank_Interior2
    • Local Banks: Banks are local only. You can see your items in other bank locations (they appear in location tabs), but you can only access the items in the bank you are currently at. Pledge rewards are an exception to this and can be accessed from any location until claimed.
    • Current Bank Locations: In R14, there will be a banker NPC in every map where there is player housing because when you switch houses or unclaim a lot, all the decorations will go to your bank. In most locations the Town Crier is now also a banker. Long term, there will only be banks in towns and cities like Owl’s Head, Kingsport, Ardoris, etc.
  • Encumbrance: The weight of items will now factor into how much you can carry. Your carrying capacity will be derived from your Strength stat.SotA_Encumbered_icon
    • Encumbered Debuff: When you are encumbered you move more slowly and a “debuff” icon will appear on screen to indicate that you are encumbered. Please note that all weights are only a rough first pass and will be tuned continuously.
  • Pledges Tied to Game Account: Your pledge will now be tied to your game account. This means you will start the game with your pledge rewards in your bank storage.
    • Available vs. Unavailable: Pledge Rewards, Stretch Goals and Add Ons that have been created and/or have tech to support them will now be available in the bank in the “Rewards” location (available in all banks until claimed). Any items that we have not yet created will not be available.
      • Available: Lot Deeds, House Deeds, Some Basement Deeds, Wearables (cloaks, helmets, armor), Weapons, Prosperity Tools, and Decorations
      • Not Available: Pets, Vendors, Servants, Titles, Emotes, Crafting Stations, Physical Goods, Some Basement Deeds, etc
    • Add On “Convert to Credits” Disabled: Once you create a character in R14 you will no longer be able to melt down your add on items until the next server wipe.SotA_DukeWaterfront4
    • Trading of Rewards, Add Ons, etc.: All pledge rewards, add on store items, stretch goal store items, and grand tour quest hats will revert to the original owner everytime we wipe. So any trades made before launch are only temporary.
    • Water Lots: For R14, Water Lot claiming is available to all players who have Village Lot Deeds (or larger). Starting in R15 only Citizen Founders (or higher) can claim water lots.
  • Customization: A pass will be made to improve hair and facial hair.
    • Hair and Facial Hair delayed: We are waiting until we convert to Unity 5 to invest effort in this because the shaders we use for these are changing.
    • New Wearables: 3 new wearables were added to the game including the Lord Marshal Coronated Helmet, Knight Cloak, and Baron Cloak
  • Combat: Various skills will be added to finish out Earth, Water, Ranged, Blades, Bludgeon, Tactics, and Heavy Armor schools.port_Blade_Speed_combat_icon
    • New or Modified Skills / Spells: We added 10 new skills and modified 5 existing skills in R14. Even more exciting is that 11 of the 18 schools are now complete (until we change them) including Blades, Bludgeons, Polearms, Tactics, Earth, Fire, Death, Air, Water, Life, and Focus!
    • Blades: This school is now complete! In general we removed defensive values from innate skills and added more innate effects that directly improved DPS to emphasize DPS as the defining characteristic of Blades.Blade Speed: Increases attack speed bonus for Blades. Moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2
      • Vital Points: This skill now increases critical hit chance for bladed weapons.
      • Blade Mastery: This skill increases base weapon damage of bladed weapons. NOTE: This replaces the Defense Skill
    • Bludgeons: This school is now complete! In general we replaced long term effects (gear damage) with immediate effects (debuffs) to improve in-combat effectiveness of this school.port_Breaker_combat_icon
      • Break Weapon: This attack now adds a timed debuff to the target that reduces weapon damage. NOTE: This skill formerly did direct damage to the target’s weapon
      • Break Armor: This attack now adds a timed debuff to the target that reduces damage resistance. NOTE: This skill formerly did direct damage to the target’s armor
      • Breaker: This innate skill increases the strength damage bonus for bludgeons. NOTE: This skill formerly increased damage to armor and weapons
    • Polearms: This school is now complete!
      • Armor Weak Points: This innate skill now increases critical hit chance for Polearms. NOTE: This skill formerly did direct damage to the target’s armor
    • Tactics: This school is now complete!
      • Armor Preservation: Armor durability damage reduced.port_Heavy_Lifter_combat_icon
      • Weapon Preservation: Weapon durability damage reduced.
      • Heavy Lifter: Increases carrying capacity
    • Death: This school is now complete!
      • Death Shield: Converts a portion of damage received into health
    • Earth: This school is now complete!
      • Shield of Crystal: Creates a shield of crystal around the caster that absorbs a certain amount of damage before shattering. NOTE: This replaces the Wall of Stone spell
    • Chaos:
      • Mirror Image: Creates an exact visual copy of the caster that can be commanded using pet commands. The perfect decoy!
    • Water: This school is now complete!
      • Summon Water Elemental: Summon a Water Elemental that will heal the summoner as needed. NOTE: This represents our first support pet AI!
    • Air:
      • Chain Lightning: Powerful lightning attack that has a chance to hit multiple enemies beyond the initial target. Now actually chains across multiple targets (only hit a single target in R13).
    • Armor Slugs Removed: With encumbrance coming online we felt that slugs as an armor penalty was doubly punishing and not required. For R14 we are leaving armor as without an encumbrance penalty. For future releases expect to see an encumbrance multiplier on the weight of armors that can be reduced with skills.
    • Tooltip Improvements: Spell tooltips now accurately reflect fizzle chance and include the effects of reagents
    • Max Hand Size: It is now increased to 10 (from 9)
    • Tool Weapons: Tools are now flagged as weapons (albeit very weak ones) so they can be wielded in combat and will display properly (prior to this they were triggering the unarmed combat stance and therefore would stab into your face!)SotA_Village_Lot_Shingle_small
  • Housing: Lot Deeds will be introduced to the game, so property claiming will first require purchasing a lot deed in the game (or receiving one via pledge rewards). Also, more basements will be available.
    • Lot Deeds: Lot Deeds are now in the game and are required in order to claim a lot. They will return to your inventory when you unclaim a lot or lose a lot due to inactivity. Lot Deeds can be found on the Realty merchants in the Owl’s Head Bank.
    • Stone Basements: 6 Stone Basements are now in the game (5 for pledge rewards and add-ons, 1 for general usage)
    • New Decorations: The Edelmann birdbath and snowball box are now in the game (but do not yet have their special abilities)
  • Crafting: We will also be adding more Cooking and Alchemy recipes and ingredients including the ability to put magical enchantments and stat enhancements (durability, weight, value, etc) on gear.
    • Materials Effects for Gear: Formerly the crafting system was a fixed (aka deterministic) model where there was always a strictly defined output and input for any given recipe. Now we are moving to a more dynamic model where the materials in a recipe can be variable and therefore produce variable results. We have also added the concept of “materials memory” so that a finished good “remembers” the base materials and uses that memory to determine the modifiers and effects on the weapon (ex. +stats). This will allow a much wider array of gear that can be tuned to specific play styles based on the modifiers from the materials and also introduces a level of experimentation heretofore unavailable. In R14, this did not result in new recipes but instead resulted in a wider array of gear coming from those recipes. For example, crafting a Dagger with an Iron Dagger Blade and a Copper Hilt results in an Iron Dagger of Haste (+Melee Damage from the Iron Blade and +Attack Speed from the Copper Hilt). Another example is crafting a Plate Helm with Iron Sheets and Hard Leather Straps results in an Iron Plate Helm of Defense (Damage Resist from the Iron Sheets and Damage Resist from the Hard Leather).
    • Enchantments: Gear can now have gem sockets added to it via Smithing. Two sample Gem Enchantments are now in the game: Weapon Cut Ruby and Weapon Cut Sapphire. The Weaponized Ruby adds Flame effect and Flame damage to a weapon, and the Weaponized Sapphire adds Lightning damage to the weapon. Please note that the exact process of how player made enchantments are made is still being developed, so some steps are missing and ingredients are not yet finalized.
    • Recipe Book & Prosperity Tools: The recipe book now recognizes prosperity tools and prioritizes them when you autoplace items on the crafting table.
  • Shopkeepers: Prices will now fluctuate based on available stock, and each vendor will have “I will buy” and “I will sell” lists. This means that the fruit vendor might not be interested in buying that sword from you.
    • Price Fluctuation: As the frequency of purchase increases in a shop, prices on those goods will increase; as frequency decreases the price of goods will decrease thereby simulating supply and demand.
    • Buy/Sell Lists: Certain vendors now have defined lists that control what they will buy or sell and/or determine prices of what they buy
    • Sold Goods Destroyed: We do not yet have a system to control what items a vendor displays beyond their predefined stock. This results in vendors being overstocked with items players have made or looted from the world. For R14, we have temporarily removed those items from vendors stock.SotA_FleshFlayer
  • Creatures: Our bestiary will expand to include Man-Eating Plants, Water Elementals, Greyhounds, and various Human Enemies (mages, archers, etc.).
    • Flesh Flayers: These giant carnivorous plants are found in Shardfall areas.
    • Water Elemental: These powerful elementals are our first example of support pet AI and will heal players who summon them. Note that the final visuals for the Water Elemental are waiting for our new water shader in Unity 5.
    • Air Elemental Visuals: We have iterated on the visuals for the Air Elemental to improve the way she appears.
    • Bound vs. Unbound Elementals: In order to make summoned elementals visually distinct from “wild” Elementals we have added visual bindings to all summoned elementals.
    • Greyhounds and Human Enemy Variants delayed: We decided to prioritize the updated elemental visuals over these new creaturesSotA_Earth_IceElemental_bonded
  • Fall Damage Revamped: Falling damage is now calculated based on distance fallen versus time that the character is in a falling state. This should fix most of the crazy falling damage bugs (ex. killed jumping off a fence but surviving a fall from the top of the lighthouse).
  • Control Point Looping Elite Waves: When players take over a control point, ever increasingly difficult waves of enemies will try to take the control point back from the players, culminating in a wave of “elite” enemies. Now those elite enemies will continue to come in repeated waves until they can regain the control point. Note that previously, the waves would loop back to the easiest wave once the “elite” wave was defeated.
  • Book Content: We have begun to replace blank, pre-placed books in Owl’s Head and Kingsport with books that have stories in them. Please note that currently, you have to have a book in your inventory to read it.
  • NPCs: “Barks” (what NPCs say to each other and to you as you pass) have been retuned so you will hear them more often, but only once every half hour or so. More clues for questing opportunities in your area, less desire to murder the barkeep who keeps repeating themselves.
  • Knight & Flourish Emotes: These emotes now show your equipped weapon so they finally look correct
  • Chats During Transitions: Chats received during level load (or any time that there is no chat window) are no longer lost.
  • General Visual Improvements: While we have been porting over to Unity 5 and investigating all the visual improvements we can make once we move over completely, we discovered some issues with the way we were rendering some of our effects and lighting. In some cases, we were rendering effects in the wrong order so they never looked quite right, bloom being an example. In R14, we took the opportunity to fix some of these draw sequence issues to improve general visual quality across the game. Additionally, high definition rendering is now enabled after working through some graphics problems that it was causing on approximately half of the video cards. The result is complete elimination of color banding and tone issues. Finally, with the other rendering issues dealt with, we have started enabling some color mapping features to bring an even more vibrant color set to the users.
  • Windows 32 Bit Support Dropped: Our minspec for Windows has been Windows 7 32 bit with 4GB of RAM. That 4GB is the maximum memory that a 32 bit Windows OS can use, so even if your system has more memory it cannot be addressed. To make SotA run in this environment, we have spent considerable effort to reduce runtime memory utilization. This results in longer load times and reduced quality on many assets. Recently, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 (to be released in October) will be a free upgrade to Windows 7 (and higher) customers. This removes the upgrade price barrier for those who are still running 32 bit Windows 7, and therefore we are no longer going to support Windows 7 32 bit as our minimum spec. Our new min spec will be Windows 7 64 bit with 6GB of RAM. For R14, we will still provide a 32 bit build, but we will no longer provide support of any kind for that version.
  • Mac 64 Bit Builds, 32 Bit Support Dropped: We finally got a fix in Unity 4 that allows us to create 64 bit builds for Mac. This should solve many of the performance and stability issues that mac users were facing. For R14, we will still provide a 32 bit build, but we will no longer provide any support of any kind for that version.SotA_R14_GrandTourReward
  • QA Version: In R13, we were able to get a QA version of the game working for Dev+ backers so they could do some early testing of the releases. Unfortunately, it only worked through Steam. For R14, we have managed to make the QA version accessible with or without Steam.
  • Grand Tour 14: As with each recent release, we will have a grand tour that will take players through the new scenes and scenes that have changed the most. Completing this quest is the ONLY way to gain this rare reward. The hat for this release is a Hennin (aka Princess hat) that we hope you will all enjoy.
  • Character and Property Wipe: There will be a complete wipe of all characters and property in R14. However we will be preserving Guild and Friends data.

So, now that it is clear what you can expect, we should also be as clear about what you should not expect:

  • Performance: We have only done rudimentary optimizations, and we do not yet have a full suite of performance fallbacks (LODs, etc.). This means the game will be quite slow on older machines, and due to memory usage, might be unstable in certain conditions (like densely decorated areas). With each release, we will be doing further optimizations and adding to our fallbacks to improve performance.
  • Crafting: The crafting system is in the game as a framework, but is still missing some key components like events. Skill checks are also not in yet, so results are always 100% successful. Long term, the percentage chance to make items will depend on a myriad of variables and can result in a variety of results including: making the item desired, making a simpler version of the item that will need to be enhanced, or making a damaged version of the item that needs repair.
  • Game Loop: Release 14 is a further iteration on our rudimentary game loop, but it is still very bare bones, even though we now have a first pass at player advancement. Expect this to expand with each subsequent release, but it won’t be truly complete until we hit Beta later this year.
  • Advanced Player Housing: There are some advanced features for player housing, including advanced permissions and ceiling decorations that are not yet integrated. Expect to see these appear in future releases.
  • Visual Quality: Efforts to improve visual quality are ongoing. We will continue to iterate on these until we have highly competitive visuals
  • Pledge Rewards: Pledge Rewards that have been built and have tech to support them are in the game, all other rewards are awaiting either content creation or tech support (ex. vendors).
  • Persistence: As part of development we will need to periodically wipe data including characters, property, etc. As we near official launch the frequency should decrease but there will definitely be a wipe right before launch. So consider everything gained during early access temporary.

Here are links to instructions and known issues. Thank you again for your continued support. This is truly the most amazing community we have ever worked with, and we are proud to be on this journey with you.

Sincerely,
Starr Long
aka Darkstarr
Executive Producer

We need all your help with testing the new patches, putting more stress on our multiplayer servers, and testing the new game content, so please join us in playing Release 13!If you have not backed the game yet, you will need to register and login at www.shroudoftheavatar.com, select the “Pledge or Send Gift!” button in the right side-bar, and purchase a pledge at the $45 Adventurer level or above. The basic Adventurer level pledge is also available on Steam Early Access.

Release 14 Player Instructions

Release 14 Known Issues

We’d Love Your Comments

Shroud of the Avatar is all about community collaboration and we’d love your feedback, so please click here to post any replies you may have about the content in this update.
This edition of Update of the Avatar written by Dallas Snell, COO/Co-Founder, Portalarium

Update of the Avatar #109 – 2015.01.23: SotA at PAX South, Banks, In-Game Backer Rewards, Novia Overworld, Game Informer, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

  • SotA at PAX South
  • Banks in Release 14
  • Changes to Store Credit Conversions
  • First Glimpse of Novia Overworld
  • SotA in Game Informer Magazine
  • MMORPG.COM – Release 14: Strong Start to a New Year
  • Shack News: CES Interview with Starr Long
  • GDC Next – Crowd Sharing: Crowd Sourcing + Crowd Funding
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • New Britannia Theater Troupe: Live Double Feature
  • Last Chance Exclusives: The Axe and Wood & Plaster Homes
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
  • Upcoming Events
SotA at PAX South
Richard Garriott, Starr Long, and Finn Staber are at PAX South, demonstrating the game and talking to the press. You can find them in the Texas Indie Game Lounge presented by Microsoft (booth 1343) at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Richard and Starr are there today only, but Finn will be demonstrating SotA all weekend, January 23 thru 25. PAX Attendees can sign up for free access to Release 14.

Additionally, Scott “Lum the Mad” Jennings will be on the panel “Confessions of a Troll: Human Nature Online” at 7:30 PM, Saturday, January 24th.

Banks in Release 14

For the first time, backers will start receiving their pledge rewards in-game when they log into Release 14, which launches next week. For all the previous Releases we would freely populate these reward items throughout the game for anyone to find. But those reward items will no longer be freely available starting with R14. Instead, you will be able to find your Add-On items and the rewards included in your pledge tier at banks located in various towns (there are some Add-On and Pledge reward items that have not been built yet so you may notice some of your items not showing up in your bank).

Here are a few interior shots of the new banks:

Changes to Store Credit Conversions

If you wish to convert any of your purchased Add-On items to Store Credit, you will need to do so before logging into Release 14, which launches next week at 10:30 am CST, January 29, 2015.

The instant you log into R14 all of your available Pledge reward items and available Add-On items will be flagged as “claimed” and deposited in your in-game bank. Once the Add-On items are “claimed” they cannot be converted to Store Credit until the next wipe (which is currently unpredictable). After you’ve logged into R14, the “Convert to Credits” button on your account page will be deactivated for all those items available in the game, so if you had any plans to sell back some of your Add-On items, make sure you do it before you log into R14!

We intend to change the claiming process in an upcoming Release so that items are not automatically claimed when logging in, but will require you to actively claim them in your bank before they can be used.

Once R14 launches, if you purchase any new Add-On items, or upgrade your Pledge tier, those new items and upgraded rewards will automatically appear in your in-game bank the next time you log into the game (providing those items are available in the game).

First Glimpse of Novia Overworld

Abe Robertson has has started work on Novia Overworld, which we hope to show in Release 15. Here’s a sample of his work-in-progress:

SotA in Game Informer Magazine

site-logo_betaWe were pretty excited about Game Informer magazine including a preview of Shroud of the Avatar in the February issue of their print magazine!

Physical magazines are becoming more rare with each passing year, and it always feels kind of special when you can see your game written about in an actual magazine you can hold in your hands. Especially one as prestigious as Game Informer. With over 8 million monthly subscribers, the popularity of the magazine has grown to become the 3rd largest consumer print publication in the United States and the largest digital publication in the world.

For those of you that may not have a subscription to Game Informer, here are a few excerpts from their preview:

With a focus on player housing, crafting, exploring the sandbox world, NPC interactions, and combat, Shroud of the Avatar takes a different approach to the now-standard, theme park MMORPG model….

One major difference in Shroud of the Avatar is that the housing system is not instanced and is part of the world itself…landowners in Shroud of the Avatar have their buildings front and center in player-occupied space. Customization options are impressive…The housing system goes even further, allowing guilds and players to become owners of entire towns.

Instead of pigeonholing players into archetypal classes, you’re free to dive into combat and magic schools, combining Chaos magic with ranged combat or Moon magic with heavy armor. Players can also specialize in crafting – a complex web of gathering, refining, and production that should keep even the most enthusiastic crafter bustling and busy.

In stark contrast to many other MMORPGs today, Shroud of the Avatar features a fully offline single-player mode that’s expected to have over 40 hours of content, including ethical dilemmas and player choices that have meaningful impact on the story. Multiplayer is also different than the norm, where players can opt to play solo, with friends, or with the greater community.

The project is still in Early Access alpha mode, but already we’re seeing a solid core gameplay loop become established, featuring freeform exploration and combat…

If you’re looking for a fresh MMO experience with an open-ended sandbox core, keep an eye on Shroud of the Avatar…

MMORPG.COM – Release 14: Strong Start to a New Year

Red Thomas was at Portalarium last week getting an early glimpse of Release 14 for his MMORPG.com article. Here’s an excerpt:

The folks at Portalarium are getting ready to roll out their 14th release for Shroud of the Avatar, and of course they timed it just as PAX South was kicking off. I’m sure it was a diabolical plot to force me into cramming this article in before I get sucked into the pending media storm that follows any PAX. That’s why I drove up to Austin this week. I wanted to look Starr Long and Richard Garriott in the eye when I told them just how rapid a turn around this article was going to have to be in order for me to slip it out before all the PAX coverage…

[read the rest of Red's Release 14 preview at MMORPG.com]

Shack News: CES Interview with Starr Long

At CES 2015, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Executive Producer Starr Long was at the Plantronics booth discussing crowd development and the latest improvements to the Portalarium MMO RPG in this exclusive interview:

GDC Next – Crowd Sharing: Crowd Sourcing + Crowd Funding

Starr Long’s presentation on crowd sharing at GDC Next 2014 is now available for free viewing on the GDC Vault:

In-game Weekend Community Events

avatars-circle-logo-concept-7[1]Our amazing community has another great lineup of in-game events planned for this weekend. If you missed out on these player events during the previous Releases, we highly recommend you check some of them out this weekend. Here is the latest schedule of player events from the Avatar’s Circle Community Events calendar (http://avatarscircle.com/community-events/):

Saturday, January 24
9:00am CST – PaxLair Working Hours – Host Winfield (Valemark)
9:00am CST – New Britannia Theater Troupe Presents: A “Live” Double Feature (on stage of Port Phoenix, Kingsport)
11:00am CST – Church of the Dark Star – Saturday Service (PaxLair, Valemark)
1:00pm CST – Beginner’s class – Making money with crafting! (Port Phoenix Fairgrounds, Kingsport, or “/zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre”)
3:00pm CST – Housewarming Party at the Kross house (PaxLair, Valemark)
8:00pm CST – R13 Grand Tour Quest by MGT (Owl’s Head Town Square)

Sunday, January 25
5:30am CST – Explore Novia with royalsexy (Owl’s Head entrance)
7:00pm CST – PaxLair Meeting (Valemark)
8:00pm CST – Fishing with Winfield (some lake or pond, “/zone Winfield”)

Time is Running Out to Get Your R13 Grand Tour Quest Reward

Better hurry if you want to add the Yule Hat to your collection because the R13 Grand Tour Quest ends on January 29 when we launch Release 14. If you need help getting your R13 Yule Hat reward, then check out The Mad Hermit’s video guide to completing the R13 Grand Tour Quest:

New Britannia Theater Troupe Presents a “Live” Double Feature
The-New-Britannia-Theater-Troupe[1]

Last weekend The New Britannia Theater Troupe presented The Avatars Chronicles I – Return of the Avatar: Special Developer Edition. If you missed the performance you can listen to the podcast at TheCaverns.net.

Get ready for a “Live” Double Feature this weekend, as reported in the Community Events Calendar:

January 24th, 2015 at 9am NBT (central time) New Britannia Theatre Troupe will be blowing our minds again with another fantastic stage production. You watched them in PaxLair performing “They who dwell in darkness”. You heard them on Avatars Radio performing “The Avatars Chronicles I – Return of the Avatar”. Now presented for your enjoyment, live in Port Phoenix Fairgrounds (middle of Kingsport). The New Britannia Theatre Troupe presents – “Of Shadows and Light”.

There was a sneak peek in Avatars Chronicles I, of the story of Gabriel Nightshadow. Join us as the story unfolds before our eyes on stage and on Avatars Radio. Together we shall embrace the story in more of its entirety. “Of Shadows and Light”. May the shadows keep you safe within their lights this Saturday!

We would like to place a special spot light on the up and coming new playwright to our Theatre Troupe. Womby, of The Round Table. Will be our opening act as we are presented with his first on stage production “The Helpful Mage”. In which we are presented with the outcomes of love, lust and deception. This play is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat…

Last Chance Exclusives

Every week going forward we are removing select items from the Add-On Store, so if you want them you better get them before they are gone! Over the past few months we’ve phased out over 25 items, including such items as the Scissors of Prosperity, Blade of the Avatar Cloak, and Shingle-Roof Village Homes. This week, the following items are available for an additional 20% off, and then will no longer be available in the Add-On Store.

The Axe of Prosperity

This unique, indestructible axe increases the quality and quantity of the wood harvested as well as increasing the speed of harvesting. While axes with similar effects can be crafted and purchased in the game this particular axe never needs repair.

Wood & Plaster 3-Story with Open Floor Plan Village Home

In our line of Wood & Plaster homes is this 3-story, 4 room village home with an open floor plan.

Wood & Plaster 2-Story with Balcony Village Home

In our line of Wood & Plaster homes is this 2-story, 4-room village home, with a second-story side-facing deck.

Steam_logo

Steam Access Keys Available for All SotA Backers

SotA successfully launched on Steam Early Access on November 24, and we’ve made Steam Access Keys available to all our backers as part of their basic pledge rewards! Once you’ve redeemed your Steam Access Key you’ll have the option of playing SotA either with the Steam client or the regular game client (or both).SotA_SteamTradingCards2_small

Click here for instructions to redeem your Steam access key and installing the Steam SotA client…

If you play SotA on Steam you can collect the SotA Trading Cards! Collect a full set of SotA trading cards to earn SotA badges, profile backgrounds, and emoticons that help you customize your profile and show off your Shroud of the Avatar gameplay. Check out Steam’s trading card FAQ for more information.

How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans

Remember that Pledge payment plans are not canceled automatically after reaching the desired pledge. You must manually cancel your monthly payment plan, which can be done at anytime on your SotA Account page. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, but it is a result of how recurring billing functions with PayPal, Amazon, and Stripe (our credit card service).

Upcoming Events

2015.01.23 – SotA at PAX South
2015.01.29 – Release 14
2015.02.26 – Starr Long delivers Keynote at ICPHSO’s 2015 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium
2015.02.26 – Release 15
2015.03.13 – SotA at SXSW Interactive
2015.03.26 – Release 16
2015.04.03 – Duke & LotM VIP Design Roundtable w/Lord British and Portalarium Studio Tour (it was such a big hit last year that we are again inviting our guests to attend Portalarium’s Family Easter Celebration in Castleton (Richard’s lakefront property on beautiful Lake Austin)

Project Update #108 Recap

If you missed our last update, here were the highlights:

  • The Mad Hermit’s Lay of the Land Video
  • SotA at PAX South Next Week
  • Hangout of the Avatar ~ Release 13 Postmortem
  • Duke Pledge Reward: Upgraded Basement
  • Benefactor Knight & Knight Marshal Stonework Refinements
  • Flesh Flayer
  • Geothermal Steam Catchers
  • Boreas, The Titan of Truth
  • The Avatars Chronicles I – Return of the Avatar: Special Developer Edition
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Last Chance Exclusives: The Pickaxe and Wood & Plaster Homes
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
  • Upcoming Events

Relics by Rild

Community member Ben Pritchard (aka Rild) has launched his new website, Relics by Rild (http://www.relicsbyrild.com/), your source for officially licensed Shroud of the Avatar merchandise! Here are a few samples:

DARKSTARR -VS- LORD BRITISH CHALLENGE COIN

  • Expertly designed by New Britannia’s own Sir Frank, this detailed coin features the personal symbol and motto of Lord British on one side, and those of DarkStarr on the other. This finely crated piece represents the dual nature at the heart of every Avatar. Virtue and Chaos… Which side will YOU choose?
LORD BRITISH BEANIE (SILVER ON BLACK)

  • Stay warm and comfortable under the banner of your Liege in this gray knit skullcap featuring the crest of Lord British. In this harsh world and others, the shimmering silver serpent serves as a beacon of Truth, Love and Courage.

Ye Olde Add-On Store

Don’t forget about these other great offerings that are still available:

Player Owned Town

  • Have you ever wanted to own an entire scene? Now you can! A Town is just a bit smaller than the size of Owl’s Head in the Hidden Vale.
Wedding Dress

  • This elegant wedding dress is a must-have for those of you with a wedding to plan (or just wanting a different look while cavorting about New Britannia)!
The Black Cat

  • Want the purrrrfect pet? Then you’ll want this cute, furry feline (available in the Add-On Store). The black cat is a non-combat pet that can stealthily pad along with you wherever you go.
The White Raven

  • The White Raven is a flying, non-combat pet that can follow you wherever you go.
The Silver Serpent Necklace

  • Few remember the great earth snake, from whence Lord British took on this symbol. Now all those who would fight by his side, wear it, so they might know each other and recognize their mutual devotion to the lands of New Britannia!
Lord British Cloak

  • Be the first in your neighborhood to get the new Lord British cloak, beautifully adorned with Lord British’s Coat-of-Arms! There is a secret in-game effect that wearing Lord British’s cloak will invoke.
The 6-Pack of Prosperity 

  • Get this set of Prosperity items for a discount in our 6-Pack of Prosperity bundle! Includes the Fishing Pole, Axe, Pickaxe, Skinning Knife, Sickle, and Hoe.
Viking Village Home

  • With the Viking Village Home we experimented with a style that allowed for a larger variety of color, yet still appropriate for the time period and overall art style. The Viking home is a two-story dwelling, with a single large room downstairs and a wrap-around loft on the second floor!
Windmill Village Home

  • Ever wanted to live in a Windmill? Well here’s your chance! This 2-story Windmill Village Home, has comfortably sized room on each floor and an external stairway leading to a wrap-around deck on the second level. And yes, the windmill blades actually spin!
Village Stone & Timber Split-Level Basements

  • This Village Stone & Timber Split-Level Basement is comprised of 5-floors with sub-divided rooms.
Tower Home

  • The Tower Village home has a spacious entry-level floor, with an equally spacious second story floor, which also has an adjoining outdoor deck!
  • The Tower Town home has a spacious entry-level floor, with stairs leading up to the second story and down to the lower level floor. There is an equally spacious second story floor, which also has an adjoining outdoor deck!

We’d Love Your Comments

Shroud of the Avatar is all about community collaboration and we’d love your feedback, so please click here to post any replies you may have about the content in this update.
This edition of Update of the Avatar written by Dallas Snell, COO/Co-Founder, Portalarium

Update of the Avatar #108 – 2015.01.16: Mad Hermit’s Lay of the Land, PAX South, R13 Postmortem, Duke’s Basement, Flesh Flayer, Steam Catchers, and More!

Update of the Avatar #108 – 2015.01.16: Mad Hermit’s Lay of the Land, PAX South, R13 Postmortem, Duke’s Basement, Flesh Flayer, Steam Catchers, and More!

The Mad Hermit’s Lay of the Land Video

Need a high-level overview of where the various cities, towns and villages are in Shroud of the Avatar? Jump in the Mad Hermit’s hot air balloon as he surveys the land from high-up above! Although most of SotA’s Pre-Alpha content is confined to the “Hidden Vale” at this point, boats and Lunar Rifts allow access to some of the cities and points of interest that exist on the Island of Novia (where the core part of the story will eventually take place).

SotA at PAX South Next WeekSotA will be at PAX South next weekend, January 23-25. We will be in the Texas Indie Game Lounge presented by Microsoft (booth 1343) at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

We are demonstrating SotA all weekend, January 23 thru 25. PAX Attendees can sign up for free access to Release 14. There will also be daily prize drawings including: Plantronics headsets, Alienware mouse, t-shirts, and more!

Additionally, Starr Long and Richard Garriott will be on hand to demonstrate the game and do press interviews on Friday January 23rd, and Scott “Lum the Mad” Jennings will be on the panel “Confessions of a Troll: Human Nature Online” at 7:30 PM, Saturday, January 24th.

Hangout of the Avatar ~ Release 13 PostmortemWe had a great Hangout of the Avatar this week, with Richard, Starr, and Chris chatting about Release 13; recounting their favorite moments while they also looked ahead to Release 14. And as usual, we spent a fair amount of time answering questions from the original post comments as well as live from the chat room. Check it out here if you missed it
Duke Pledge Reward: Upgraded BasementIn keeping with the Duke’s lot size increase from City Lot to Keep Lot, we’ve upgraded theDuke’s Basement pledge reward from a 3-story City lot size to a 2-story Keep lot size (the equivalent of 4 City lot sized basements)!
Benefactor Knight & Knight Marshal Stonework RefinementsWhen we introduced the Benefactor Knight and Benefactor Knight Marshal homes we intentionally made the stonework a bit warped to reflect the large structures “settling” in their foundations. However, we received feedback from our Knights and Knight Marshals requesting that we make the homes look a bit more upscale by straightening the warped stonework. Below are some before and after shots illustrating Bob Cooksey’s stonework refinements:

BEFORE (Benefactor Knight on left; Benefactor Knight Marshal on right):

AFTER:
Flesh FlayerMuch in the world has changed since the moons collided and shards of the fragmented moons fell upon the earth. If the immediate destruction, fall of civilization and disruption of magic wasn’t enough… the shard fall locations are rife with strange powers that drive creatures crazy and mutate plants and animals alike to odd and malicious forms.

One such terror found near these polluted areas is the Flesh Flayer! When dormant, they are quite innocuous looking giant plants but once aroused by the smell of flesh, the Flesh Flayer will squirm about seeking that which it desires. Once the desired meal is located, the Flayer will rend the flesh from the bones of any creatures that wander too near. Sadly, it is rumored that even keeping your distance from an aroused Flesh Flayer is difficult because they are able to attack even from afar. My recommendation is to avoid them altogether!

Below is the original concept art for the Flesh Flayer from Stephen Daniele (labelled “Maneater”), as well as the in-game version.

Geothermal Steam Catchers

“Kobolds were the first to harness the powers of wind, water, and volcanism to generate and transmit aetheric energies. However, these mechanisms are now becoming more common in large human settlements. Windmills, waterwheels, and steam catchers are often used to turn aetheric generators to power a wide range of newfangled equipment such as moon towers, aethereal amplifiers, energy fences and even some new types of weapons. Uses for this new aethereal energy seem unbounded, yet finding new sources of mechanical power is always of utmost importance.” – Lord British

This scene shows several Steam Catchers that capture the heat and steam from volcanic activity and use it to spin fans or funnel the steam directly into a boiler. The fan based steam catchers use the spinning fans to turn generators, while the boiler based catchers use the steam directly to build pressure and then route the steam to appliances like radiators to keep houses warm.

Boreas, The Titan of Truth“After the moons collided and civilization fell, three great and powerful leaders rose to become the Titans of Truth, Love, and Courage; the surviving principles of the times before the fall. Great are they, and great are the monuments built to them. While the Titans themselves may no longer exist, we are still inspired by colossal statues in their likeness which are occasionally found throughout New Britannia.”           - Lord British

The below image shows Stephen Daniele’s original concept art for Boreas (leftmost image) and the in-game WIP version by Andy Cortez. Look for the Titan of Truth in-game in an upcoming Release.

The Avatars Chronicles I – Return of the Avatar: Special Developer Edition
The-New-Britannia-Theater-Troupe[1]The New Britannia Theatre Troupe along with AvatarsRadio.com and TheCaverns.net are proud to present a theatrical voice presentation of astronomical proportions. The long awaited sequel to Once Upon A Time Lord; The Avatars Chronicles I – Return of the Avatar: Special Developer Edition. Coming to an Aether Vibration Amplifier near you Saturday January 17th 2015, 11am Central Time.

…Set on another New Britannia, in a parallel universe this saga chronicles the adventures of an unlikely group of heroes who have banded together to save their realm from dark forces which threaten its very existence…

30 amazing voice actors from our very own community. Four of the communities favorite developers: Richard Garriot, Starr Long, FireLotus and Stephen Daniele. Hundreds of hours of work. All come together to bring the community one of the most epic sized productions to be entered into the history books.

We invite you to join us all, this Saturday, January 17th, in the Church of the Dark Star in PaxLair, Valemark in the Hidden Vale and on Avatars Radio for a fantastic listening party! Be one among your friends to be able to say “we were there when this happened!”.

The Avatars Chronicles I – Return of the Avatar: Special Developer Edition. The heroes look forward to seeing you there.

Sir Stile Teckle is also holding a contest during this event for great prizes. You will need to be listening in order to win! Among these prizes are dice from great community groups such as: The New Britannia Theatre Troupe, TheCaverns.net and the Round Table. Grand Prize will be randomly drawn from a list of entrants who answer all questions correctly. This grand prize will be: One Foil Print Shield of the Avatar signed by Lord British.

Be sure to be listening to Avatars Radio and keeping a watch on TheCaverns.net and The Shroud of the Avatar Forums for further information, contest rules and the questions to be answered to enter into the grand prize drawing.

In-game Weekend Community Eventsavatars-circle-logo-concept-7[1]Our amazing community has another great lineup of in-game events planned for this weekend. If you missed out on these player events during the previous Releases, we highly recommend you check some of them out this weekend. Here is the latest schedule of player events from the Avatar’s Circle Community Events calendar (http://avatarscircle.com/community-events/):

Saturday, January 17
9:00am CST – PaxLair Working Hours – Host Winfield (Valemark)
11:00am CST – New Britannia Theater Troupe Presents: Avatars Chronicles I – Special Developer Edition Listening party (at Church of the Dark Star, PaxLair, Valemark)
1:00pm CST – Beginner’s class – Making money with crafting! (Port Phoenix Fairgrounds, Kingsport, or “/zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre”)

Sunday, January 18
5:30am CST – Explore Novia with royalsexy (Owl’s Head entrance)
12:00pm CST – The cake is not lie – Basement maze run #2 (“/zone Net”)
1:00pm CST – Bürgertreffen in Drachenfels (Ravensend; “/zone Albert” to join; meeting will be in German)
2:00pm CST – All Reporters Gathering (Paxlair, Valemark, or “/zone Winfield”)
7:00pm CST – PaxLair Meeting – cancelled due to PaxLair Anniversary events in Old Britannia
8:00pm CST – New Britannia Press Meeting (via Avatars Circle Teamspeak)

Time is Running Out to Get Your R13 Grand Tour Quest RewardBetter hurry if you want to add the Yule Hat to your collection because the R13 Grand Tour Quest ends on January 29 when we launch Release 14. If you need help getting your R13 Yule Hat reward, then check out The Mad Hermit’s video guide to completing the R13 Grand Tour Quest:
Last Chance ExclusivesEvery week going forward we are removing select items from the Add-On Store, so if you want them you better get them before they are gone! Over the past few months we’ve phased out over 25 items, including such items as the Scissors of Prosperity, Blade of the Avatar Cloak, and Shingle-Roof Village Homes. This week, the following items are available for an additional 20% off, and then will no longer be available in the Add-On Store.

The Pickaxe of Prosperity

This unique indestructible pickaxe increases the quality and quantity of the ore mined as well as increasing the speed of mining. While pickaxes with similar effects can be crafted and purchased in the game this particular pickaxe never needs repair.

Wood & Plaster 2-Story Village HomeAn open floor plan, 2-story home with both floors comprised of single, spacious, great rooms (this home is also used as an NPC home in Owl’s Head and is included in the Town Lot Property Deed).
Wood & Plaster 2-Story with Overhang Village HomeA 2-story, 3-room, wood & plaster village home (also used as the College of Arms building in Owl’s Head).
Steam_logoSteam Access Keys Available for All SotA Backers

SotA successfully launched on Steam Early Access on November 24, and we’ve made Steam Access Keys available to all our backers as part of their basic pledge rewards! Once you’ve redeemed your Steam Access Key you’ll have the option of playing SotA either with the Steam client or the regular game client (or both).SotA_SteamTradingCards2_small

Click here for instructions to redeem your Steam access key and installing the Steam SotA client…

If you play SotA on Steam you can collect the SotA Trading Cards! Collect a full set of SotA trading cards to earn SotA badges, profile backgrounds, and emoticons that help you customize your profile and show off your Shroud of the Avatar gameplay. Check out Steam’s trading card FAQ for more information.

How to Cancel Monthly Payment PlansRemember that Pledge payment plans are not canceled automatically after reaching the desired pledge. You must manually cancel your monthly payment plan, which can be done at anytime on your SotA Account page. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, but it is a result of how recurring billing functions with PayPal, Amazon, and Stripe (our credit card service).
Upcoming Events2015.01.29 – SotA at PAX South
2015.01.29 – Release 14
2015.02.26 – Starr Long delivers Keynote at ICPHSO’s 2015 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium
2015.02.26 – Release 15
2015.03.13 – SotA at SXSW Interactive
2015.03.26 – Release 16
2015.04.03 – Duke & LotM VIP Design Roundtable w/Lord British and Portalarium Studio Tour (it was such a big hit last year that we are again inviting our guests to attend Portalarium’s Family Easter Celebration in Castleton (Richard’s lakefront property on beautiful Lake Austin)

Project Update #107 Recap

If you missed our last update, here were the highlights:

  • SotA #1 Most Anticipated Game of 2015 in Ten Ton Hammer Readers Choice Awards!
  • SotA at CES
  • Shroud of the Avatar- A Year of Portalarium: 2014 in Review
  • Release 14 Grand Tour Quest Reward: The Hennin
  • Air Elemental
  • Dragon Pass Progress
  • The Avatars Chronicles I – Return of the Avatar: Special Developer Edition
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Last Chance Exclusives: Skinning Knife, Wood & Plaster Row House and Town Home
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
  • This Week In the News
  • Upcoming Events

Relics by Rild

Community member Ben Pritchard (aka Rild) has launched his new website, Relics by Rild (http://www.relicsbyrild.com/), your source for officially licensed Shroud of the Avatar merchandise! Here are a few samples:

DARKSTARR -VS- LORD BRITISH CHALLENGE COIN

  • Expertly designed by New Britannia’s own Sir Frank, this detailed coin features the personal symbol and motto of Lord British on one side, and those of DarkStarr on the other. This finely crated piece represents the dual nature at the heart of every Avatar. Virtue and Chaos… Which side will YOU choose?
LORD BRITISH BEANIE (SILVER ON BLACK)

  • Stay warm and comfortable under the banner of your Liege in this gray knit skullcap featuring the crest of Lord British. In this harsh world and others, the shimmering silver serpent serves as a beacon of Truth, Love and Courage.

Ye Olde Add-On Store

Don’t forget about these other great offerings that are still available:

Player Owned Town

  • Have you ever wanted to own an entire scene? Now you can! A Town is just a bit smaller than the size of Owl’s Head in the Hidden Vale.
Wedding Dress

  • This elegant wedding dress is a must-have for those of you with a wedding to plan (or just wanting a different look while cavorting about New Britannia)!
The Black Cat

  • Want the purrrrfect pet? Then you’ll want this cute, furry feline (available in the Add-On Store). The black cat is a non-combat pet that can stealthily pad along with you wherever you go.
The White Raven

  • The White Raven is a flying, non-combat pet that can follow you wherever you go.
The Silver Serpent Necklace

  • Few remember the great earth snake, from whence Lord British took on this symbol. Now all those who would fight by his side, wear it, so they might know each other and recognize their mutual devotion to the lands of New Britannia!
Lord British Cloak

  • Be the first in your neighborhood to get the new Lord British cloak, beautifully adorned with Lord British’s Coat-of-Arms! There is a secret in-game effect that wearing Lord British’s cloak will invoke.
The 6-Pack of Prosperity 

  • Get this set of Prosperity items for a discount in our 6-Pack of Prosperity bundle! Includes the Fishing Pole, Axe, Pickaxe, Skinning Knife, Sickle, and Hoe.
Viking Village Home

  • With the Viking Village Home we experimented with a style that allowed for a larger variety of color, yet still appropriate for the time period and overall art style. The Viking home is a two-story dwelling, with a single large room downstairs and a wrap-around loft on the second floor!
Windmill Village Home

  • Ever wanted to live in a Windmill? Well here’s your chance! This 2-story Windmill Village Home, has comfortably sized room on each floor and an external stairway leading to a wrap-around deck on the second level. And yes, the windmill blades actually spin!
Village Stone & Timber Split-Level Basements

  • This Village Stone & Timber Split-Level Basement is comprised of 5-floors with sub-divided rooms.
Tower Home

  • The Tower Village home has a spacious entry-level floor, with an equally spacious second story floor, which also has an adjoining outdoor deck!
  • The Tower Town home has a spacious entry-level floor, with stairs leading up to the second story and down to the lower level floor. There is an equally spacious second story floor, which also has an adjoining outdoor deck!

We’d Love Your Comments

Shroud of the Avatar is all about community collaboration and we’d love your feedback, so please click here to post any replies you may have about the content in this update.
This edition of Update of the Avatar written by Dallas Snell, COO/Co-Founder, Portalarium

Update of the Avatar #107 – 2015.01.09: SotA #1 in TTH Readers Choice Awards, SotA at CES, 2014 Year in Review, R14 Grand Tour Reward, Air Elemental, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

  • SotA #1 Most Anticipated Game of 2015 in Ten Ton Hammer Readers Choice Awards!
  • SotA at CES
  • Shroud of the Avatar- A Year of Portalarium: 2014 in Review
  • Release 14 Grand Tour Quest Reward: The Hennin
  • Air Elemental
  • Dragon Pass Progress
  • The Avatars Chronicles I – Return of the Avatar: Special Developer Edition
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Last Chance Exclusives: The Sickle and Village Ring of Stones
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
  • This Week In the News
  • Upcoming Events

SotA #1 Most Anticipated Game of 2015 in Ten Ton Hammer Readers Choice Awards!

TTH_ReadersChoice_image_logo

Wow! Our amazing community demonstrated to the world just how passionate and supportive they are by casting their vote for Shroud of the Avatar and making it the #1 Most Anticipated Game of 2015 in Ten Ton Hammer Readers Choice Awards! And this followed closely on the heels of all of you driving SotA to the #1 spot in the Massively Readers Choice Most Anticipated MMO of 2015 and Beyond!

Thank all of you so, so much for your passion and your support!


MMORPG_PlayersChoice_AnticipatedMMO_2015_thumb
MMORPG’s Players Choice Awards for Most Anticipated MMO of 2015

Winning these Readers Choice awards is extremely valuable in helping to spread the word about Shroud of the Avatar and our passionate community to those people who haven’t heard of us yet! We really appreciate all of you that responded to our request earlier this week to vote in the MMORPG Players Choice Awards. You quickly drove us to within 4 points of EQ Next at the #1 spot.

But the competition at MMORPG has been fierce and over the past couple days we have slid to the #4 spot, behind EQ Next, Black Desert, and Warhammer. It would be pretty awesome if we could make this a “three-peat” but with such fierce competition we’re really going to need all of your help to regain our forward momentum! Some of you reported in the forums that MMORPG asks a lot of questions during their registration process, which is required before you can vote. We agree that they appear to ask for a tad more information than other sites, but we hope that doesn’t put you off from voting!

Winning these awards helps grow our community, which helps all of us to make SotA even better, so please help make that happen and follow this link to go cast your vote for Shroud of the Avatar in MMORPG’s 2015 Players Choice Awards!


SotA at CES

SotA_CES_2

Richard Garriott and Starr Long spent most of this week at CES in Las Vegas demoing how awesome the SotA audio sounds with Plantronics headsets! They were able to schedule several interviews with the press, so be on the lookout for those articles coming out soon.

Gamers Nexus got the jump on the other news sites and already published their article entitled “Shroud of the Avatar Trailblazes Future of RPG Community Involvement – Richard Garriott Interview.” Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet!

SotA_CES_1

If you’re a fan of Plantronics Gaming Headsets (like we are), then check out their Plantronics Gaming Facebook page, and if you like what you see then give them a “Like”!


Shroud of the Avatar- A Year of Portalarium: 2014 in Review

SotA_IntroCinematicGolemDragon posted an amazing article on the Ultima Codex site entitled “Shroud of the Avatar- A Year of Portalarium: 2014 in Review“. He starts the article by saying:

As Kenneth likes to do “A Year in Review”posts on Ultima Codex, He and I are both pleased to bring you, Shroud of the Avatar – A Year of Portalarium: 2014 in Review, in which we look at the news related to Richard Garriott, #Portalarium, and #LBSotA that came out in the last year. As you can see we have everything organized monthly. Enjoy!!!

He then provides a summary of the key SotA events for each month, with links to the original material. He closed by saying:

It really has been an amazing year. Alot has changed for Shroud of the Avatar. We have multiple systems that have been created and are in the stage of being expanded, changed, and polished. Other systems still have yet to be developed and so 2015 will be another year of major changes. Many community members have only just started their own community projects or have moved on from past projects to new projects. May you all look back on 2014 as a good year of development for SotA and look forward to all 2015 may bring us.

We encourage you to check out GolemDragon’s 2014 in Review article at Ultima Codex because it truly captures what an amazing year 2014 was for all of us traveling this journey together!


Release 14 Grand Tour Quest Reward: A Hennin

Just as in our past few releases, we’re including a Grand Tour Quest in R14 designed to guide you through all the new content. By completing the R14 Grand Tour Quest you will be rewarded with a Hennin (popularly known as a “princess hat”). This reward can only be unlocked during Release 14 (did someone say rares?), so be sure to log in to R14 starting January 29 and talk to all the Tour Guides!


Time is Running Out to Get Your R13 Grand Tour Quest Reward

Better hurry if you want to add the Yule Hat to your collection because the R13 Grand Tour Quest ends on January 29 when we launch Release 14. If you need help getting your R13 Yule Hat reward, then check out The Mad Hermit’s video guide to completing the R13 Grand Tour Quest:

 


Air Elemental

Elementals are powerful beings that mages can summon to fight for them. In Release 13 players were able to summon a very early version of the Air Elemental. This week we are nearing completion of the Air Elemental; which is the first elemental to show our new visual language to differentiate summoned Elementals from wild Elementals.

SotA_AirElemental1

SotA_AirElemental2

Summoned Elementals are surrounded by magical bindings that keep them under the thrall of the summoning mage whereas wild elementals are free of these constraints. Here are the Earth and Ice Elementals with and without the bindings:

SotA_Earth_IceElemental_bonded

While we were doing this work we also decided to create another class of creatures similar to Elementals called Golems and we decided to use our former Ice Elemental as the model for them while making the Ice Elemental use the same mesh as the Earth Elemental. You can expect to see all these new elementals and Golems to begin appearing in Release 14 and 15.

SotA_Earth_Ice_Golums


Dragon Pass Progress

SotA_DragonPass_v1

Last week we showed Andy Cortez’s work-in-progress of the Dragon Pass sculptures based on Stephen Daniele’s concept art. Andy made significant progress during the week, and here’s an in-game shot of the latest version:

SotA_DragonPass_v2


The Avatars Chronicles I – Return of the Avatar: Special Developer Edition
The-New-Britannia-Theater-Troupe[1]

The New Britannia Theatre Troupe along with AvatarsRadio.com and TheCaverns.net are proud to present a theatrical voice presentation of astronomical proportions. The long awaited sequel to Once Upon A Time Lord; The Avatars Chronicles I – Return of the Avatar: Special Developer Edition. Coming to an Aether Vibration Amplifier near you Saturday January 17th 2015, 11am Central Time.

…Set on another New Britannia, in a parallel universe this saga chronicles the adventures of an unlikely group of heroes who have banded together to save their realm from dark forces which threaten its very existence…

30 amazing voice actors from our very own community. Four of the communities favorite developers: Richard Garriot, Starr Long, FireLotus and Stephen Daniele. Hundreds of hours of work. All come together to bring the community one of the most epic sized productions to be entered into the history books.

We invite you to join us all Saturday, January 17th 2015 in the Church of the Dark Star in PaxLair, Valemark in the Hidden Vale and on Avatars Radio for a fantastic listening party! Be one among your friends to be able to say “we were there when this happened!”.

The Avatars Chronicles I – Return of the Avatar: Special Developer Edition. The heroes look forward to seeing you there.

Sir Stile Teckle is also holding a contest during this event for great prizes. You will need to be listening in order to win! Among these prizes are dice from great community groups such as: The New Britannia Theatre Troupe, TheCaverns.net and the Round Table. Grand Prize will be randomly drawn from a list of entrants who answer all questions correctly. This grand prize will be: One Foil Print Shield of the Avatar signed by Lord British.

Be sure to be listening to Avatars Radio and keeping a watch on TheCaverns.net and The Shroud of the Avatar Forums for further information, contest rules and the questions to be answered to enter into the grand prize drawing.


In-game Weekend Community Events

avatars-circle-logo-concept-7[1]Our amazing community has another great lineup of in-game events planned for this weekend. If you missed out on these player events during the previous Releases, we highly recommend you check some of them out this weekend. Here is the latest schedule of player events from the Avatar’s Circle Community Events calendar (http://avatarscircle.com/community-events/):

Saturday, January 10
9:00am CST – PaxLair Working Hours – Host Winfield (Valemark)
11:00am CST – Church of the Dark Star (PaxLair, Valemark)
1:00pm CST – Port Phoenix Storytelling Event! (Port Phoenix Fairgrounds, Kingsport City Center, or “/zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre”)

Sunday, January 11
5:30am CST – Explore Novia with royalsexy (Owl’s Head entrance)
1:00pm CST – Cagefight (with bets!) – watch the forums for details
3:00pm CST – Vengeance 3×3 Tournament $$$ (Vengeance Castle in The Brave Coast; details)
7:00pm CST – PaxLair Meeting – (“/zone Winfield”)
8:00pm CST – Fishing with Winfield (some lake or pond, “/zone Winfield”)


Last Chance Exclusives

Every week going forward we are removing select items from the Add-On Store, so if you want them you better get them before they are gone! Over the past few months we’ve phased out over 20 items, including such items as the Scissors of Prosperity, Blade of the Avatar Cloak, and Shingle-Roof Village Homes. This week, the following items are available for an additional 20% off, and then will no longer be available in the Add-On Store.

The Sickle of Prosperity

This unique, indestructible Sickle increases the quality and quantity of the foraged items (herbs, mushrooms, berries, etc.) as well as increasing the speed of foraging. While sickles with similar effects can be crafted and purchased in the game this particular sickle never needs repair.

 

Village Ring of Stones

For those of you looking for something truly unusual that makes a statement (or if you’re just really into Druids), then the Village Ring of Stones is just the thing for you! You may recognize this structure as the stones surrounding the Lunar Rifts in the game.

 

 


Steam_logo

Steam Access Keys Available for All SotA Backers

SotA successfully launched on Steam Early Access on November 24, and we’ve made Steam Access Keys available to all our backers as part of their basic pledge rewards! Once you’ve redeemed your Steam Access Key you’ll have the option of playing SotA either with the Steam client or the regular game client (or both).SotA_SteamTradingCards2_small

Click here for instructions to redeem your Steam access key and installing the Steam SotA client…

If you play SotA on Steam you can collect the SotA Trading Cards! Collect a full set of SotA trading cards to earn SotA badges, profile backgrounds, and emoticons that help you customize your profile and show off your Shroud of the Avatar gameplay. Check out Steam’s trading card FAQ for more information.


How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans

Remember that Pledge payment plans are not canceled automatically after reaching the desired pledge. You must manually cancel your monthly payment plan, which can be done at anytime on your SotA Account page. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, but it is a result of how recurring billing functions with PayPal, Amazon, and Stripe (our credit card service).

SotA_MonthlyPaymentsCancel


SotA_InTheNews_ReadingScroll

This Week In the News

December 26 – Massively: Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott and Starr Long on how SOTA wins at player-generated content
December 27 – Massively’s Perfect Ten: New MMOs to watch in 2015
January 8 – Gamers Nexus: Shroud of the Avatar Trailblazes Future of RPG Community Involvement – Richard Garriott Interview


Upcoming Events

2015.01.14 – Live Dev Hangout: R13 Postmortem
2015.01.29 – SotA at PAX South
2015.01.29 – Release 14
2015.02.19 – Release 15
2015.03.13 – SotA at SXSW Interactive
2015.03.26 – Release 16

Update of the Avatar #106 – 2015.01.01: SotA #1 Anticipated MMO, Brightbone Pass, Shardfall Biome, Holiday Specials Ending, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

  • Shroud of the Avatar #1 Most Anticipated MMO of 2015 and Beyond!
  • SotA at CES Next Week
  • Brightbone Pass
  • Shardfall Biome
  • Wyrmsands
  • Dragon Pass
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Last Chance Exclusives: Skinning Knife, Wood & Plaster Row House and Town Home
  • Holiday Specials
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
  • Upcoming Events

Shroud of the Avatar #1 Most Anticipated MMO of 2015 and Beyond!

There’s no better way to bring in the New Year than to be voted the #1 Most Anticipated MMO of 2015 and Beyond!

On December 18th, Massively opened a Reader’s Poll for the Most Anticipated MMO of 2015 and Beyond. During the early hours of the poll, EQ Next/Landmark commanded a sizable lead for #1, which also reflected the Massively Staff Pick. Shroud of the Avatar was a distant #2, with Star Citizen only 2 votes behind at #3. However, within the next few hours, Camelot Unchained raced past everyone to claim the #1 spot, leaving SotA choking on its dust in the #3 spot!

But the SotA supporters rallied to the fray, and by early evening Shroud of the Avatar inched its way past Camelot Unchained to claim the #1 spot. And in the almost 2 weeks since the Reader’s Poll opened, SotA supporters have driven SotA into a commanding lead on Massively’s Most Anticipated MMO of 2015 and Beyond! Here are the Top 5 standings as of the time of this writing:

  1. Shroud of the Avatar (25.4%)
  2. Camelot Unchained (18.9%)
  3. EQ Next/Landmark (15.1%)
  4. Skyforge (11.3%)
  5. Star Citizen (9.0%)

Ten Ton Hammer Reader’s Choice – Most Anticipated Game of 2015

We couldn’t have won the Massively Reader’s Poll without the tremendous support from all of you! And now we’ve just learned of another Reader’s Choice poll for Most Anticipated Game of 2015 being held by Ten Ton Hammer. This poll appears to be more “official” than the Massively poll, and should have a follow up article on TTH once the results are finalized on January 7th.

So, what do you think? Can we keep the mojo going? Can we win two Most Anticipated Reader’s Choice polls for 2015! I bet we can, but we’re going to need all your help (again) to do it, so please follow this link to go cast your vote for Shroud of the Avatar!


Only 1 Day Left to Get Your $5 for $5 Holiday Bonus

If you make any purchase of $5 or more on the SotA website between 12 pm CST December 18 and 12 pm CST January 2 we will make a one-time deposit of an extra $5 into your Store Credit!

SotA_StoreCredit_Coupon_5_small

[NOTE: The $5 for $5 offer can be exercised only once during the promotion period.
$5 Store Credit should show up in your account within 24 hours of a qualifying purchase]


SotA at CES Next Week

SotA_E3_pic2

We are excited that Shroud of the Avatar will be a featured game at the Plantronics booth at CESnext week. We want the audio landscape of SotA to be as immersive as the visual landscape and Plantronics is a great partner for us to work with on achieving that goal.

If you’re a fan of Plantronics Gaming Headsets (like we are), then check out their Plantronics Gaming Facebook page, and if you like what you see then give them a “Like”!


Brightbone Pass

This dangerous control point sits high atop the Brightbone Mountains near the Necropolis, city of the undead. Hordes of skeletons and ghosts haunt this ancient fortress and block all who would venture through. Some say a group of ancient Lich’s also call this their home.

SotA_BrightbonePass1

SotA_BrightbonePass2

SotA_BrightbonePass3

SotA_BrightbonePass4


Shardfall Biome

In an age past came the end of two celestial beings, the birth of Daedalus, and a cataclysmic storm in the form of Shardfall! New Britannia was forever changed as celestial debris rained down upon the surface. What strange secrets will be unlocked within the craters of Shardfall? The Obsidian Order understood the power unleashed and sought to harness it: mutation, corruption and blight…

The Island of Novia will have a number of these Shardfall areas where the Blessings of the Oracle do not hold sway and all who venture in them are at risk of conflict (open PVP). With that risk though there is rumor of even greater reward for the Shardfall both generates and exposes more resources than anywhere else in Novia. Release 14 will feature our first scene to use the Shardfall biome; pictured below (image is early work-in-progress).

SotA_Shardfall_day

SotA_Shardfall_night


Wyrmsands

This desert in the southwest corner of the Vale is also known as the graveyard of dragons. No one knows why these beasts came here to die in such large numbers. Some say those same dragons left behind great treasures upon their death, but few have dared to venture too far in these wastes to find out.

SotA_Wyrmsands


Dragon Pass

Those who carved these beasts into the desert cliff faces have faded into memory, but these edifices remain in the deepest deserts of Novia.

SotA Forgotten Desert

Environmental artist Andy Cortez is currently modeling the Dragon Pass sculptures based on the above concept art by Stephen Daniele. Keep an eye out for it in an upcoming Release!

SotA_DragonPass_model


In-game Weekend Community Events

avatars-circle-logo-concept-7[1]Our amazing community has another great lineup of in-game events planned for this weekend. If you missed out on these player events during the previous Releases, we highly recommend you check some of them out this weekend. Here is the latest schedule of player events from the Avatar’s Circle Community Events calendar (http://avatarscircle.com/community-events/):

Friday, January 2
10:00am CST – Dungeon Run – Braemar Cemetery
7:00pm CST – Dungeon Run – Braemar Cemetery

Saturday, January 3
11:00am CST – Church of the Dark Star – The Monsters that Dwell Within – Sacrifice (PaxLair, Valemark)
12:00pm CST – Welcome Quest R13.5 (“/zone Dara Brae” to join; details)
1:00pm Port Phoenix Storytelling Event! (Port Phoenix Fairgrounds, Kingsport City Center, or “/zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre”)
5:00pm CST – PvP Tournament: 1v1 Double Elimination $$$ (Vengeance in The Brave Coast)

Sunday, January 4
5:30am CST – Explore Novia with royalsexy (Owl’s Head entrance)
12:00pm CST – Bear Tavern Brawl 1v1 R13 (details)


The R13 Grand Tour QuestSotA_R13_GrandTourReward

Just as in our last few releases, we’ve included a Grand Tour Quest designed to guide you through all the new content. In celebration of the holidays, you will be able to get the Yule Hat by completing the Release 13 Grand Tour Quest. This reward can only be unlocked during Release 13 (did someone say rares?), so be sure to log in to R13 and talk to all the Tour Guides!

If you need help getting your R13 Yule Hat reward, then check out The Mad Hermit’s video guide to completing the R13 Grand Tour Quest:


Last Chance Exclusives

Every week going forward we are removing select items from the Add-On Store, so if you want them you better get them before they are gone! Over the past few weeks we’ve phased out over 20 items, including such items as the Scissors of Prosperity, Blade of the Avatar Cloak, and Shingle-Roof Village Homes. This week, the following items are available for an additional 20% off, and then will no longer be available in the Add-On Store.

The Skinning Knife of Prosperity

This unique, indestructible knife increases the quality and quantity of meat, hides, poison sacks, etc. gathered when field dressing. While knives with similar effects can be crafted and purchased in the game this particular knife never needs repair.

 

Wood & Plaster 3-Story Row House (digital)

In our line of Row homes is this Wood & Plaster 3-story, 6-room row house.

 

Wood & Plaster 2-Story with Front Porch Town Home

In our line of Wood & Plaster homes is this 2-story, 2-room with second-story loft, town home (also used as the Fire Lotus Tavern in Owl’s Head).

SotA_WoodPlaster_2Story_FrontPorch_Town_home_exterior1


Only 4 Days Left for Holiday Specials

The season is coming to a close and there are only 3 days remaining to get any of your favorite holiday items. You can get all 7 of the 2014 holiday items at an even greater savings with the 2014 Holiday Bundle! Includes Taming Turkey Call, Taming Reindeer Call, Cornucopia, Yule Tree, Menorah, Replenishing Fireworks Box, and the Replenishing Snowball Box. Available thru January 5th in the Add-On Store.

SotA_2013_Holiday_Bundle


Steam_logo

Steam Access Keys Available for All SotA Backers

SotA successfully launched on Steam Early Access on November 24, and we’ve made Steam Access Keys available to all our backers as part of their basic pledge rewards! Once you’ve redeemed your Steam Access Key you’ll have the option of playing SotA either with the Steam client or the regular game client (or both).SotA_SteamTradingCards2_small

Click here for instructions to redeem your Steam access key and installing the Steam SotA client…

If you play SotA on Steam you can collect the SotA Trading Cards! Collect a full set of SotA trading cards to earn SotA badges, profile backgrounds, and emoticons that help you customize your profile and show off your Shroud of the Avatar gameplay. Check out Steam’s trading card FAQ for more information.


How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans

Remember that Pledge payment plans are not canceled automatically after reaching the desired pledge. You must manually cancel your monthly payment plan, which can be done at anytime on your SotA Account page. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, but it is a result of how recurring billing functions with PayPal, Amazon, and Stripe (our credit card service).

SotA_MonthlyPaymentsCancel


Upcoming Events

2015.01.06 – SotA at CES
2015.01.14 – Live Dev Hangout: R13 Postmortem
2015.01.29 – Release 14 Access
2015.02.19 – Release 15 Access
2015.03.13 – SotA at SXSW Interactive
2015.03.26 – Release 16 Access

Update of the Avatar #105 – 2014.12.26: Space Bards Cover of “Stones,” Scepter of Dread Artifact, Q1-2015 Schedule Update, $5 for $5 Holiday Bonus, and More!

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Happy Holidays!

 

From the Shroud of the Avatar Team

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Please note that December 20 – 28 and January 1 are official company holidays for Portalarium which means there will be no developer presence nor customer support on those dates.


Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

  • The Space Bards’ cover of Iolo’s “Stones”
  • Scepter of Dread Artifact
  • First Quarter 2015 Schedule Update
  • $5 for $5 Holiday Bonus
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • Holiday Specials
  • Last Chance Exclusives: Smithing Hammer, Village Pavilion, and Barn Village Home
  • How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
  • Recruitment Bonus Allocation Expiration
  • Upcoming Events

RecapThe Space Bards’ cover of Iolo’s “Stones”

One of the backer rewards for The Space Bards (aka Recap) Neon Milk album Kickstarter was “Set our course by having us cover any song of your choice“. Richard “Lord British” Garriott’s requested cover song was “Stones” by David Watson (aka Iolo).

“We Recapped the hell out of this one for you,” said Space Bards Dom, Dan, and Steven. “Pray Iolo doesn’t decide we should awaken with a few bolts in our chest for it.”

Here, for your listening pleasure, is The Space Bards cover of “Stones (opb. David Watson A.k.a. Iolo)“:

Stones_CoverSong_Recap


Scepter of Dread Artifact

SotA_ScepterDread

Legend says the Scepter of Dread will cause all who gaze upon it to fall to the ground in fear. Others claim that if such an artifact existed, then the Obsidians of old, would have wielded it to consolidate their dominion over Novia. Since none have seen it, it remains the stuff of legend and rumor.


First Quarter 2015 Schedule Update

As the fourth quarter of 2014 draws to a close it is time to look ahead to what we have planned in the coming year. Here is Starr Long’s public forum post where he outlines the First Quarter 2015 Schedule Update:

Darkstarr

Greetings Avatars,

As we stated in previous posts, our goal is to once-per-quarter post an updated schedule for our monthly releases. Even though these goals will likely change somewhat as we react to feedback, we feel it is important to provide you an updated road-map periodically.

Our goal continues to be to deliver our backers content each and every month so that we can get feedback, and use it to iterate improvements. This has already paid off, with additional game features like jumping and swimming, as well as improvements to systems like crafting, conversations, and combat. Meeting that monthly goal is our highest priority, but we require flexibility in our deliverables to meet that goal. As you have seen in previous releases, sometimes we push things out, but we also often pull new things in.

As always, all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change as we adjust our designs based on direct feedback from you, our backers.

RELEASE 14, January 29, 2015

  • Scenes: Brightbone Pass and Blackblade Pass Entrances will expand the mainland while another Desert scene will expand the Vale. We will also add the Shardfall biome to the game, along with a shardfall scene (this is the biome for our Open PVP scenes).
  • Unity 5: We will begin transitioning the project to the latest version of Unity. For R14, it will most likely be a separate build, purely for testing.
  • Banks: Players can now start storing things in the bank. This is also where all your pledge rewards will be at the start of the game, so you won’t start so encumbered that you cannot move.
  • Encumbrance: The weight of items will now factor into how much you can carry. Your carrying capacity will be derived from your Strength stat.
  • Pledges Tied to Game Account: Your pledge will now be tied to your game account. This means you will start the game with your pledge rewards in your bank storage.
  • Customization: A pass will be made to improve hair and facial hair.
  • Combat: Various skills will be added to finish out Earth, Water, Ranged, Blades, Bludgeon, Tactics, and Heavy Armor schools.
  • Housing: Lot Deeds will be introduced to the game so property claiming will first require purchasing a lot deed in the game (or receiving one via pledge rewards). Also, more basements will be available.
  • Crafting: We will also be adding more Cooking and Alchemy recipes and ingredients including the ability to put magical enchantments and stat enhancements (durability, weight, value, etc) on gear.
  • Shopkeepers: Prices will now fluctuate based on available stock, and each vendor will have “I will buy” and “I will sell” lists. This means that the fruit vendor might not be interested in buying that sword from you.
  • Creatures: Our bestiary will expand to include Man-Eating Plants, Water Elementals, Greyhounds, and various Human Enemies (mages, archers, etc.).

RELEASE 15, February 26, 2015:

  • Maps: We will continue to expand the mainland scenes to include Resolute, Xenos, Desolace Town, The Necropolis, and the Verdantis Shardfall.
  • Spells & Skills: Sun and Moon Magic will expand to include more spells. The combat schools of Shields will also expand, and more combos will be added to the game.
  • Housing: Property ownership will now incur regular fees (unless you are using a tax free deed from a pledge). If the fees are not paid, the player will lose their claim, and their possessions (including the house and decorations) will be moved to their bank.
  • Crafting: Crafting skills will start to come online, and be used during crafting to modify results.
  • Creatures: Our creature list will continue to expand with the Fauns, the Phoenix and Wisps.
  • Combat: Stealth mechanics will begin to appear.
  • Customization: Clothing and Armor will now be dye-able.
  • Overworld: Roving encounters (patrolling creatures) will now appear on the overworld map and can be engaged (pulling you into a scene) or avoided if you wish to sneak past. We will also have the first pass of the Novia map.
  • Player Titles: Players will now be able to display their title in the game.
  • Emote “Teaching”: Emotes will now be teachable to other players. Some emotes (like the ones tied to pledges) will only be teachable by the original owner. For now, “teaching” will be trading a consumable item that adds the emote via secure trade.

RELEASE 16, March 26, 2015

  • Steam Achievements: Players will now be able to earn Steam Achievements
  • Maps: Mainland scenes will continue to come online including Blood River Village, Vertas, and the Grunwald Shardfall.
  • Spells & Skills: Chaos Magic will expand to include more spells, and more combos will come online.
  • Housing: Permissions for property will greatly expand to better support groups sharing of property, including tools to rent rooms and set “per area/room” permissions.
  • Crafting: Crafting will now have events that occur during the crafting process that the player can interact with to influence the results.
  • Creatures: Our creature list will continue to expand with Emps and Chaos Demons added to the game.
  • Combat: The cover system will be introduced that modifies attack and defense values when you (or your target) are behind cover.
  • Customization: New armor and clothing items will appear in the game.
  • Player Made Books: Players will be able to write in blank books in the game, and share them with other players.
  • Localization: We will begin crowdsourcing the translation of the game into various languages

We continue to be incredibly thankful for the support we receive from this amazing community. While the funding you provide makes all of this possible, it pales in comparison with the faith you have in us, the feedback you provide us, and the content you are making for everyone to enjoy. We are humbly grateful, and we cannot wait to see you again in New Britannia!

Before I go, I wanted to include an excerpt from my original post about our Early Release Schedule that is important to set the framework for our ongoing schedule:

As a crowd funded and crowd sourced project, we feel it is incredibly important that we provide our backers with information and access well before game studios would normally do so in a traditional development model. Traditionally, the players are given information and access only after the development team has already decided exactly how things will be done, and at times, even after it has already been implemented. By the time the public normally has access to the product, there is usually no time to meaningfully react to the public feedback.

Shroud of the Avatar is different than the traditional model, as we intend to offer our backers extremely early access to information and even the game itself. With that said, we also want to be very careful that we only provide access to portions of the game when they are ready for a wider range of feedback. If we can play it internally and we know it is not ready, then there is nothing to be gained by having a wider audience come to the same conclusion. In fact, it could be quite damaging to do so.

Our strategy over the next few months is to provide you with focused and iterative releases of content. Your feedback during these releases will be critical to making the final product the best it can be, and we appreciate that you are all so willing to devote your time to helping us. With each release, we will have specific tests we will ask you all to make. As we get closer, we will send instructions on how to download, install, report bugs, etc. After each release we will review the results and reevaluate the plan including the duration of availability of each release. Please note that game data will be wiped periodically during early access.

It is important to note that all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change.

Sincerely,
Starr Long
Executive Producer
Shroud of the Avatar


$5 for $5 Holiday Bonus

If you make any purchase of $5 or more on the SotA website between 12 pm CST December 18 and 12 pm CST January 2 we will make a one-time deposit of an extra $5 into your Store Credit!

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[NOTE: The $5 for $5 offer can be exercised only once during the promotion period.
$5 Store Credit should show up in your account within 24 hours of a qualifying purchase]


In-game Weekend Community Events

avatars-circle-logo-concept-7[1]Our amazing community has another great lineup of in-game events planned for this weekend. If you missed out on these player events during the previous Releases, we highly recommend you check some of them out this weekend. Here is the latest schedule of player events from the Avatar’s Circle Community Events calendar (http://avatarscircle.com/community-events/):

Friday, December 26
10:00am CST – Dungeon Run – Braemar Cemetery
7:00pm CST – Dungeon Run – Braemar Cemetery

Saturday, December 27
9:00am CST – PaxLair Working Hours – Host Winfield (in Valemark)
11:00am CST – Church of the Dark Star – The Monsters that Dwell Within – Forgiveness (PaxLair, Valemark)
1:00pm CST – Scholarly Lecture – Shardfall and the Sundering (Port Phoenix Fairgrounds, Kingsport, or “/zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre”)
5:00pm CST – PvP Tournament: 1v1 Double Elimination $$$ (Vengeance in The Brave Coast)

Sunday, December 28
5:30am CST – Explore Novia with royalsexy (Owl’s Head entrance)
7:00pm CST – PaxLair Meeting (in Valemark or “/zone Winfield PaxLair”)


The R13 Grand Tour QuestSotA_R13_GrandTourReward

Just as in our last few releases, we’ve included a Grand Tour Quest designed to guide you through all the new content. And just in time for the holidays, you will be able to get the Yule Hat by completing the Release 13 Grand Tour Quest. This reward can only be unlocked during Release 13 (did someone say rares?), so be sure to log in to R13 and talk to all the Tour Guides!

If you need help completing the R13 Grand Tour Quest then be sure and watch The Mad Hermit’s video guide and he’ll take you through it step-by-step: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiC2bH4MWOw


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Steam Access Keys Available for All SotA Backers

SotA successfully launched on Steam Early Access on November 24, and we’ve made Steam Access Keys available to all our backers as part of their basic pledge rewards! Once you’ve redeemed your Steam Access Key you’ll have the option of playing SotA either with the Steam client or the regular game client (or both).SotA_SteamTradingCards2_small

Click here for instructions to redeem your Steam access key and installing the Steam SotA client…

If you play SotA on Steam you can collect the SotA Trading Cards! Collect a full set of SotA trading cards to earn SotA badges, profile backgrounds, and emoticons that help you customize your profile and show off your Shroud of the Avatar gameplay. Check out Steam’s trading card FAQ for more information.


Holiday Specials

Yep, it’s that time of the year again. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve brought back all of your holiday favorites. You can get all 7 of the 2014 holiday items at an even greater savings with the 2014 Holiday Bundle! Includes Taming Turkey Call, Taming Reindeer Call, Cornucopia, Yule Tree, Menorah, Replenishing Fireworks Box, and the Replenishing Snowball Box. Available for a limited time in the Add-On Store.

SotA_2013_Holiday_Bundle


Last Chance Exclusives

Every week going forward we are removing select items from the Add-On Store, so if you want them you better get them before they are gone! Over the past few weeks we’ve phased out over 20 items, including such items as the Scissors of Prosperity, Blade of the Avatar Cloak, and Shingle-Roof Village Homes. This week, the following items are available for an additional 20% off, and then will no longer be available in the Add-On Store.

The Smithing Hammer of Prosperity

This unique, indestructible, smithing hammer increases the ability to make higher quality items, enhance existing items and repair damaged items. While hammers with similar effects can be crafted and purchased in the game this particular hammer never needs repair.

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Village Pavilion

This Village Pavilion is perfect for late night hot tub parties, or set up as your own crafting workshop! (you may recognize this building as the public crafting pavilion in Owl’s Head)

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Barn 2-Story Village Home

Ever want to live in a barn? Well, now you can with this rustic, 2-story, 4-room, barn village home (this home is also used as a barn in Owl’s Head).

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How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans

Remember that Pledge payment plans are not canceled automatically after reaching the desired pledge. You must manually cancel your monthly payment plan, which can be done at anytime on your SotA Account page. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, but it is a result of how recurring billing functions with PayPal, Amazon, and Stripe (our credit card service).

SotA_MonthlyPaymentsCancel

 


Recruitment Bonus Allocation Expiration

The Recruitment Bonus Program ended at 12:00 pm CST December 2, 2014, but you will have until midnight CST December 31, 2014 to alter the allocation of your recruitment bonuses on your Account page. After the deadline, the “Recruits” user interface on your Account page will no longer be available, and any unallocated recruitment bonuses will be automatically applied to your pledge (or to your highest valued pledge if you have more than one).

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Upcoming Events

2015.01.06 – SotA at CES
2015.01.22 – Release 14 Access
2015.02.19 – Release 15 Access
2015.03.13 – SotA at SXSW Interactive
2015.03.26 – Release 16 Access