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Shroud of the Avatar

The Stream Team: See Shroud of the Avatar's Release 7

Fantasy, Video, New Titles, Livestream, Sandbox, Housing, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

You've seen the crowdfunding, now see the game! Massively's MJ jumps into Shroud of the Avatar's Release 7 to show off the current state of the game's development. Additions to this release include NPC collision, player trading, water lots, a 3D over-world map, and more. Join us live at 1:00 pm EDT to peek in and see the world as it takes shape.

Game: Shroud of the Avatar
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, June 28th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Shroud of the Avatar's Release 7 adds water lots and more

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Housing, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

Shroud of the Avatar's Release 7 access began this morning. It runs through Sunday, June 29th at 11:00 p.m. EDT. Producer Starr Long has posted a lengthy update that details some of the changes you can expect if you're a backer of the fantasy sandbox.

Chief among these are new water lots and water-based buildings, a 3-D overworld map system, player-to-player secure trading, animal reskins and improved animations, and more. Full details as well as a list of known issues and instructions is available at the official SotA website.

E3 2014: Shroud of the Avatar's Garriott and Long emphasize immersion

Fantasy, Interviews, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

Touted as the spiritual successor to Ultima Online by its creators, Shroud of the Avatar aims to fill a sandbox-shaped void in the modern MMOverse. Judging by the successful crowdfunding campaign and continued support by backers, I know there are plenty of players who are eager for that to happen and believe SotA is the game to do it.

Are backers getting what they paid for? One weekend every month they can jump in and experience a new release of the game and offer feedback to the development team. And thanks to E3 2014, I also got to jump in and get some hands-on time with the latest release of the game. On top of that, I spoke with Richard Garriott and Executive Producer Starr Long about everything from player economy and pay-to-win concerns to combat, immersion, and player-contributed content.

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Shroud of the Avatar sells player-owned towns for a steep price

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Housing, Shroud of the Avatar

An "epic" Shroud of the Avatar update this week revealed that Portalarium is making significant changes to its pledge tiers and store offerings. These changes include the ability to obtain more than one character per account, two additional pledge tiers, and a stretch goal store with horse mounts.

Portalarium also showed off the new row house, concept art for the city of Ardoris, and announced the ability to purchase player-owned towns. These towns won't come cheap, however: Prices start at $750 and go up to $4000 for the privilege.

Shroud of the Avatar will be re-opening Release 6 for play from June 9th through June 13th.

Garriott bringing SotA to E3

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

Shroud of the Avatar
If you'll be in Los Angeles for E3 next week, you'll probably want to check out Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar. If you won't be there, don't sweat it because Massively will be, and we'll also be chatting up Lord British and getting our hands on the fantasy sandbox's latest demo.

Portalarium is hard at work on SotA, as you can see by the recent Q3 update notes.

[Source: Portalarium press release]

Shroud of the Avatar announces Release 6 access for this weekend

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), New Titles, Patches, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar
Shroud of the Avatar's Release 6 access has begun today at 11:30 a.m. EDT for all who backed the game's Kickstarter at the First Responder level and above. This game access period will end on Sunday, May 25 at 11:00 p.m. EDT and will be the first in a series of once-per-quarter releases that focuses on polish and iteration.

You can read the complete patch notes from Executive Producer Starr Long at the official site.

Shroud of the Avatar's Release 6 brings better visuals and combat

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Housing, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar
Shroud of the Avatar's Release 6 is set to roll out this Thursday with a host of new goodies for backers to enjoy. Release 6 includes visual improvements, player-to-player secure trade, additional crafting animations, combat improvements, looting fixes, revised animals, a new iteration of the overworld map, and a "sanity pass" on NPC dialogue.

The weekend's website update was primarily focused on the improvements being made to the game's housing system, including larger abodes and even new types of homes. The Founder Lord Town Home was scaled up to include more rooms and even a secret hiding spot. Meanwhile, the Benefactor Town Home was displayed in all of its glory, boasting several rooms (including another secret one) and twin decks. If living the high life isn't for you, the team also made a rustic barn house featuring two stories and four rooms.

Shroud of the Avatar opens up access to Release 5

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Shroud of the Avatar

It's time to get skilled in Shroud of the Avatar's combat system. That is, it's time to actually have access to the skills that will eventually be in the game. Release 5 is now open to the game's backers, and it brings with it 35 of the 171 skills that will eventually be in the full game. Some skill lines are more fleshed out than others; while the Death line has access to death in both touch and ray form, Water is currently limited to Ice Fist and nothing else. But that will change.

Aside from this major addition, the new release will also see the first wave of potential backers admitted into testing with keys that have been given out via an Alienware Arena promotion. There's also a new lighting model in place and a variety of functionality updates. Whether you're in the early access period or just want to keep an eye on the development, check out the full list of Release 5 notes for more details.

Richard Garriott holds contest to recreate his first teletype RPG

Fantasy, Contests, Events (Real-World), Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

This pic never gets old
Before Tabula Rasa and even before the Ultima games, Richard Garriott made a teletype game he called D&D #1. A high school student at the time, Garriott built the RPG after his astronaut dad told him he'd split the cost of an Apple II as incentive. D&D #1 eventually branched out into 27 more versions of the game, with D&D #28 being rewritten as Akalabeth, his famous first money-maker sold in plastic Ziploc bags.

But now Garriott wants fans of his work to play that first D&D #1 game once again. No, not on a teletype machine, but from within his upcoming Shroud of the Avatar MMORPG.

Starting today, a new contest will reward the best version made on Unity and the best version made as a plug-in browser port. Winners will receive the Citizen-level Kickstarter pledge reward ($550 value) and both runners-up will receive the Collector's level pleadge reward ($165 value).

If this sounds like something up your programming alley, snatch up the original code for the game at Shroud of the Avatar's official site.

The Game Archaeologist: The danger of expecting lightning to strike twice

City of Heroes, Opinion, Champions Online, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous, Camelot Unchained, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

It's no secret that many of the more successful Kickstarter projects over the past few years have heavily capitalized on player nostalgia, brand names, and former dev gods who are back for another round. The formula for drawing in the big bucks seems to be the following: Take something players hugely loved back in the day, dangle the concept of a sequel (spiritual or otherwise), and promise some measure of iterative improvement.

I once wrote about how we really can't go back again to recreate a particular game experience because it was usually a confluence of several factors that were related to where the industry was then and where you were then. I'm not saying that there isn't value to retro gaming, playing classic MMOs, or involving the past in future development! But there is a danger in how we as gamers become so beholden to our nostalgia that we dare lightning to strike twice -- and we're paying big bucks to see that happen.

But can we? Will it?

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Shroud of the Avatar has raised $3.7 million to date

Betas, Fantasy, Anniversaries, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar hasn't launched yet, but Portalarium is celebrating its anniversary nonetheless. The studio pointed out that next monday, April 7th, is the title's one-year mark since it concluded its $2 million Kickstarter campaign.

Portalarium is throwing several promotions for the anniversary, one in particular being a last chance to get or upgrade to the founder level at the original Kickstarter prices. Other anniversary events include developer hangouts, special access to Release 4, and prize giveaways.

Shroud of the Avatar has gathered more than $3.7 million in crowdfunding to date and is eyeballing a late 2014 launch window.

[Source: Portalarium press release]

Shroud of the Avatar's Release 4 starts today, combat added

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

Shroud of the Avatar combat
Shroud of the Avatar backers, don't forget that Release 4 access begins today at 11:30 a.m. EDT. Portalarium producer Starr Long says that the dev team is "going to deliver almost every single Release 4 item and a few extras," and he provides an extensive list including the first pass at combat, resource gathering, and persistent player housing.

Read all about it at the official SotA website.

Shroud of the Avatar celebrates one-year Kickstarter anniversary with giveaways and events

Betas, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Giveaways, Anniversaries, Housing, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar
Shroud of the Avatar is bearing down on its one-year anniversary since the title was successfully funded on Kickstarter, and Portalarium has several giveaways and events planned for the occasion.

The events planned include several hour-long developer hangouts, an all-day hangout telethon on April 7th, and access to Release 4 for backers on the 7th as well. The studio will be giving away an Alienware gaming laptop, a trip to Austin to visit with the team, Founder adventure pledges, and weekend passes for Release 5.

Portalarium also announced that it's creating a fourth housing lot size to fit castles for Lords of the Manor. It's a four-fold increase in size over city lots and even comes with a moat -- because why have player housing if you're not able to drown your visiting friends?

Shroud of the Avatar eyeing PvP balance while placating its 'large segment' of PvEers

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

Shroud of the Avatar dev party
The 63rd edition of Shroud of the Avatar's Update of the Avatar is a biggun. It covers topics ranging from upcoming events to the latest chapter of the Blade of the Avatar novel to current dev thinking on various game mechanics.

One of those mechanics is PvP, and executive producer Starr Long's treatise touches on the fact that the team wants to a) have PvP, b) have PvP that isn't segregated via dedicated servers, and c) avoid forcing PvP on the "large segment of the community" that doesn't want it. Some of his proposals include PvP zones, duels, and guild warfare.

Click through the links below to read more details.

Shroud of the Avatar adds multiplayer features for release 3

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

A livingish, breathingish, onlineish world.
If you backed Shroud of the Avatar chiefly to play around with its semi-online functionality, the newest release of the game should make you happy. The third test release features several of the multiplayer functions of the game, including chat, emotes, and friend lists. Combine that with the addition of a crafting system and new merchants, and the whole thing is closer than ever to being a fully featured online-but-not experience.

The third test session will also feature a village, Braemor, expanding the amount of land that players have to explore and work within. Obviously, this test will be available only to backers of the game, but you can still jump on that through the game's official site if it sounds like something you want to play. For more details on the improvements as well as how to get into the game if you are a backer, take a look at the full release notes.

[Source: Portalarium press release]

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