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

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