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Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar shows off crafting sigil and more

Betas, Fantasy, Previews, Crafting, Housing, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar shows off crafting sigil and more
A plus-sized project update for Shroud of the Avatar kicks off with a look at the crafting sigil, the diagram that shows how the game's crafting disciplines are interconnected.

The crafting sigil is made of three rings (inner, middle, and outer) that hold five skills apiece. The inner ring is devoted to crafting, the middle to refining, and the outer to production. This setup is not just for eye candy, but provides a visual representation of the crafting process as items are made by going from the inner ring to the outer.

The update goes on to tease male avatar armor, a story sneak peek, Shroud of the Avatar swag, and several screenshots of housing exteriors, interiors, and basements. Yes, basements: truly the most requested MMO preview aspect ever. Please try not to wet your pants. Actually, they are kind of cool, so disregard that sarcasm.

Garriott talks 'selective multiplayer' at NYCC

Fantasy, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

Garriott talks 'selective multiplayer' at NYCC
If you missed this year's New York Comic Con, you also missed a meaty chat with veteran developer Richard Garriott. Lord British spent a bit of time looking back at his career which at this point has spanned nearly 40 years. He also looked forward to Shroud of the Avatar, and shared his thoughts on a concept called "selective multiplayer."

He compared SotA's blueprint with traditional MMOs, which typically feature large numbers of players who either ignore each other or who are sharded away from one another on different servers. Garriott's aim is to make a single shard game that fills player instances first with preferred friends and then with strangers, while maintaining "ad hock private instances for storytelling." You can watch the full panel video after the break.

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You'll want to own Shroud of the Avatar's Druid town home

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Housing, Shroud of the Avatar

You'll want to own Shroud of the Avatar's Druid town home
This week's Shroud of the Avatar update is a biggun! It features a new combat sigil, which shows off the eight combat schools that a Warrior may choose to follow. There's also a story sneak peek from co-authors Richard Garriott and Tracy Hickman as well as player housing basements.

This last bit is a pretty big deal judging by the number of screenshots and verbiage Portalarium devoted to it. And while we're talking about housing, there are also some nifty shots of the game's Druid tree house as well as related discussion from devs Isaac Oster and Michael Hutchison.

Shroud of the Avatar presents founder town home and female armor

Betas, Fantasy, Housing, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar presents founder town home and female armor
If you wanted to be the envy of all of your virtual friends by living in the swankiest house in the neighborhood, chances are that you chipped in to become a founder for Shroud of the Avatar. Assuming that this is the case, the devs have a few impressive interior and exterior screenshots of the Founder Lord Town Home to show you. After all, who wouldn't want to live in a castle in their neighborhood?

This latest update of the developing game also includes pictures of the Benefactor Edelmann Village Home and a sneak peek at what leather and plate armor looks like on female avatars. For once in a fantasy RPG, these actually look sensible instead of steel lingerie, so applause all around.

Shroud of the Avatar dev update shows off Unity scene jam winner, collectors coin

Fantasy, Video, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Shroud of the Avatar, MMORPG

Shroud of the Avatar
Portalarium's latest Shroud of the Avatar dev blog is up, and its topics range from community contests to the wood grain of a miller's table. The blog introduces the Sigil of Magic, which is an artistic representation of the way Shroud of the Avatar's nine schools of magic interact with one another, along with a new official collectors coin, which will be sent out as a reward for those who backed Shroud of the Avatar at the Early Founder Collector Pledge level or above. Additionally, the blog leaps into each of the game's different crafting tables and talks a bit about their artistic influence.

The studio also used the blog to declare a winner in its recent Unity Scene Jam contest. The contest gave Shroud of the Avatar fans 48 hours to build a scene featuring a lunar rift using the Unity engine and some provided resources. The winner will receive a Knight-level pledge, a signed game box, and a Shroud of the Avatar t-shirt. Check out the scene in a dev-hosted video after the break.

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Garriott fielding Shroud of the Avatar questions this Friday

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Community Q&A, Sandbox, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

Garriott fielding Shroud of the Avatar questions this Friday
If you're free at 3:00 p.m. EDT on September 27th and you're a fan of Shroud of the Avatar, why not stop by the game's latest Hangout of the Avatar broadcast. A quick blurb on the game's official site has all the details, including bits about the 30-minute running time and the VIRTUE-related question-and-answer format.

Richard Garriott will field pre-submitted questions during the broadcast. If you've got something to ask, send it via Google Hangout at #LBSotA_Hangout or via the comment section of the announcement post.

Shroud of the Avatar makes progress on homes and cloth armor

Betas, Fantasy, Dev Diaries, Housing, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar makes progress on homes and cloth armor
Hey gals and guys, you know what we've been wondering? We've been wondering how Shroud of the Avatar's been doing. Should we check in with Richard Garriott's upcoming title to see how it's cooking? Oh, let's!

Two updates this month have highlighted several projects that the team's been tackling. First up are the four home models that will go in the game, including ones for founders, benefactors, and those who shell out $50 for a giant Viking home. Floorplans, exterior shots, and interior views are all included.

The second update is a hodge-podge of smaller topics, including motion capture videos, the revamp of the male avatar, and cloth armor concept art. Cloth armor: when you positively, absolutely must be bludgeoned with bare minimum protection while still looking fabulous.

Shroud of the Avatar unleashes its content creation kit

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Dungeons, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar unleashes its content creation kit
Richard Garriott's Portalarium may have successfully kickstarted its Shroud of the Avatar project back in April, but that doesn't mean the team is done with the rewards.

In last night's dev update, Executive Producer Dallas Snell introduced the Dungeon Kit: a Unity-based content creation tool that is now available to all Developer-Level ($400+ pledge tier) backers. This tool not only lets you build assets for SotA, but it also allows you to build assets for any Unity-based game that you may be working on. Snell reports that this may be the first time that something like this has been made available to other game devs or publishers before the game is even released.

Be sure to check out the full update for much more on getting started with the kit, getting started with Unity, and some interesting factoids on how surveyed devs will be using the Dungeon Kit.

Shroud of the Avatar team adds Starr Long to the mix

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Shroud of the Avatar

Starr Long has not been to space, if you were wondering.
Fans of the Ultima series should be happy to hear that Shroud of the Avatar has added Starr Long to its roster as executive producer. Don't recognize the name? You should; according to Richard Garriott, Starr Long is the reason that Ultima Online existed in the first place.

As Garriott puts it, while there had been discussions about doing an online installment of the series, Long was the one who was insistent that Ultima Online needed to happen. He was so much the driving force behind it that Garriott points to him as the push that kept him working on the game. A formal announcement will be made on Saturday at RTX 2013 alongside a special demonstration of Shroud of the Avatar, which will be available via livestream. If you've been hoping to see some of the key players behind UO back together, it looks as if you're in luck.

[Source: Portalarium press release]

Shroud of the Avatar introduces layaway program for backers

Fantasy, News Items, Free-to-Play, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar, MMORPG

Shroud of the Avatar
Portalarium's Kickstarter campaign for Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues cruised past its initial funding goal of one million dollars, landing at $1,919,275 by the time the clock ran out. Though the Kickstarter drive has ended, the company is still taking pledges for the project through the official SotA website. In fact, SotA offers a whopping 22 different pledge tiers ranging from $10 to $11,000.

If you don't have $11,000 in your pocket but would still like to pledge as much, Portalarium has announced a layaway program that will help backers contribute larger amounts of money by breaking the payments up into smaller chunks. The layaway plan, which should go live this month, establishes monthly payments for big pledges -- and assigns a monthly finance fee.

The company is promising another update this month with more details on the plan, which was designed in part due to backer requests. The layaway plan will be available to both new backers and those looking to upgrade their pledge tier.

[Thanks to FlyinBuddha for the tip!]

The Daily Grind: Do you use Kickstarter to pre-order MMOs?

Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

TUG's ten-dollar kickstarter tier
In MJ's interview with TUG's Peter Salinas last week, Salinas said that the most interesting thing about the community reveal of Nerd Kingdom's sandbox MMO was just how many people consider Kickstarter to be a pre-order system instead of, you know, a way to kickstart a game they want to see made. This jibes with Massively columnist Brendan Drain's observations earlier this week that "the most popular reward level for video game Kickstarters is almost always the lowest-priced tier that provides a digital copy of the game."

I'm so guilty of this. I put exactly as much money into the TUG and Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter pots as I had to in order to secure myself the cheapest pre-order copy of the games I could, but I didn't chip in for an Android game Kickstarter from a dev who couldn't offer the game .apk in any tier. I don't know whether I feel bad. I want to see the games made, and I willingly pay for my copy; I consider my discount a fair tradeoff for paying them years before I'll download a client. But that's my personal limit: a pittance and a vote of confidence, really. I'm guessing most gamers aren't so fabulously wealthy as to heavily fund indie games even if they wanted to, and those who could do so probably have a lot of other worthy non-gaming causes that take precedence.

So do you also take advantage of cheap pre-order tiers on Kickstarter? Do you hunt for the tier with exactly the right combination of swag? Or do you approach each Kickstarter knowing you want to donate a certain amount, regardless of what you get in return?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Some Assembly Required: Your guide to MMO sandboxes in 2013 and beyond

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Darkfall, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Guides, EverQuest Next, ArcheAge, Some Assembly Required, Sandbox, WildStar, Neverwinter, Age of Wushu, Camelot Unchained, The Repopulation, Player-Generated Content, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Origins of Malu, Pathfinder Online

Some Assembly Required - Massively's guide to sandboxes
Welcome to Massively's guide to MMO sandboxes in 2013 and beyond. I've collected the essential details on all the major sandbox titles releasing this year and in the near future in one easy-to-reference article. If you're wondering whether ArcheAge forces you to PvP, or if you can't tell The Repopulation from Origins of Malu, this is your post.

I'll be updating it as game features are added, removed, or revealed, so be sure to use the comments to let me know if I've overlooked a particularly noteworthy item. Finally, I want to point out that this isn't an exhaustive list because of the sheer number of sandbox projects ongoing. For now, I'm choosing to focus on the ones that will be playable in 2013/2014 as well as the projects that have a big-name developer attached.

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Leaderboard: Which Kickstarter project will be the most successful post-launch?

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Leaderboard, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Pathfinder Online

Star Citizen Hornet
There are a lot of game developers on Kickstarter these days, several of which are aiming to make MMOs or MMO-like persistent virtual worlds. Star Citizen's crowd-funding success has been well-documented, and both Shroud of the Avatar and Elite Dangerous are now go for full-scale development as well.

And let's not forget Pathfinder or Camelot Unchained, the former of which has been fully funded and the latter of which is well on its way. For today's Leaderboard, tell us which of these five titles you think will be the most successful post-launch. Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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Shroud of the Avatar is well and truly Kickstarted

Business Models, News Items, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

It's nice to see people come together to help the less fortunate have a chance at their dreams
Time has run out for the Kickstarter campaign for Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar. The closing tally for the campaign was $1,919,275, raised over a humble $1,000,000 goal. When you throw in the donations made through the game's site rather than Kickstarter, the whole effort raked in just over two million dollars.

Given that the game hit its funding goal back on March 19th, we realize the success of the campaign was never really in question. The project has enough funding to have unlocked nine or ten stretch goals, including a Tracy Hickman novel and a host of systems and content goodies.

Rewards expand for backers of Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar

Fantasy, News Items, Promotions, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

You don't want to live in a skull cave, the taxes are insane.
If you've been meaning to throw money at Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter campaign but haven't yet, the good news is that there are now more rewards for people who pledge support to the game.

The $50 reward tier now includes a special Immortality Fruit, a special title, and early access to your surname. At $60, you also get a special tunic, weapon, and pet. The new $80 tier adds in future access to episodes 2 & 3 of the game, an indestructible starter tool, and the ability to tame an elusive monster out in the wild (assuming the game reaches its stretch goal for the taming system). Those who have already donated will receive the rewards as well, but there are several more expanded tiers that might convince fans to bump in a few more dollars.

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