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Shroud of the Avatar

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]

Brad McQuaid on Pantheon's partnership with Shroud of the Avatar

Fantasy, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

PantheonIf today's Pantheon Elf reveal and the news that the Kickstarter-hopeful Pantheon MMO has formed an alliance with Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar for some cross-promotional goodies aren't enough for you, perhaps you'd like to hear some of the details from Visionary Realms' CCO Brad McQuaid himself. He provides a bit of insight on the decision to partner with SOTA, offers hints about what players can expect from the promotion besides the special cloak announced this morning, and touches on the impact of Vanguard's sunset on his fledgling MMO. Read on!

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McQuaid and Garriott collaboration starts with cross-game cloak for backers

Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

McQuaid and Garriot collaboration results in cross-game cloak for backers
If you've supported the crowdfunding efforts of either Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar or Brad McQuaid's Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, the devs have an offer for you: back both games and get a special cross-game reward. Starting today, fans will see the cross-promotion pledge tiers for both games, Pantheon's on its Kickstarter and SoA's on its website. The reward is a cloak in each game emblazoned with the symbol of the other game.

The cloak reward -- which symbolizes community between players, developers, and even games -- is just the beginning of the collaboration between Visionary Realms and Portalarium. McQuaid stated, "The evolution of how MMOs are made is happening right now. We're getting back to having the gaming community deeply involved in how the games are not only funded, but designed. A collaboration like this one only makes sense to further strengthen that growing community that involves not just the players and backers, but the developers as well."

[Source: Visionary Realms press release]

Shroud of the Avatar enters Release 2 of early access

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

Screenshot -- Shroud of the Avatar
Last month, Portalarium's upcoming crowd-funded title, Shroud of the Avatar, entered the first phase of early access for backers of the game. Now the game is winding up for Release 2 of its early access program, and players will find that a number of new features have been added since Release 1 launched in December. Included among these features are the new municipality of Kingsport, which players can explore as they please, and a bevy of quality-of-life features like a "list inventory," improved character customization, and jumping.

But perhaps the most-anticipated feature of Release 2 is the introduction of crafting. The press release notes that this release includes only "the very first stages" of the game's crafting system, focusing on "refining and production for smithing, tailoring, and carpentry." Players will be able to find "more than 100 recipes" alongside chests full of crafting resources scattered throughout the game world. Other facets of the crafting system, such as resource gathering, item repair, and equipment enhancement, will be rolled out in subsequent releases. For now, though, Shroud of the Avatar backers can jump into New Britannia to check it all out for themselves while the rest of us watch and wait.

[Source: Portalarium press release]

Shroud of the Avatar raises $3 million in crowdfunding and prepares for Release 2

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar has hit a significant fundraising milestone and is throwing a party to celebrate. Richard Garriott announced that the title has crossed the $3 million mark and he will be hosting a late-night video hangout on Thursday, January 23rd to mark the occasion.

In other Shroud of the Avatar news, the game will roll out Release 2 next week for select backers. Details of the release will be, erm, released on Wednesday the 22nd. If you haven't backed the game and want to experience Release 2, it will cost you $45.

Portalarium also showed off the Founder Edelmann Village Waterfront Cabana, founder starter weapons, and the incredible cooking pot of prosperity.

Perfect Ten: New MMOs to watch in 2014

MMO Industry, Opinion, EverQuest Next, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, Destiny, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Pathfinder Online, Trove

perfect ten
Out with the old desk calendars that you didn't use past February 2013 and in with the new, I always say! It's a brand-new year, and while we don't know all of the twists and turns that we'll travel in MMO news in 2014, I dare say it promises to be a fascinating ride.

Last January I gave my list of 10 new MMOs to watch for that year, and I'm a sucker for traditions. With 2014 a mostly blank slate right now, I want to lay out the up-and-coming class of games that at least have a shot at releasing by December. There are the big names, of course, but several other titles that could be sleeper hits if all goes right. Which will succeed, which will flop, and which won't even get out of the door? I don't claim to know all, but I know all, so here are my prognostications for 2014!

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Shroud of the Avatar enters first phase of early access testing

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

Screenshot -- Shroud of the Avatar
Backers of Portalarium's crowd-funded title Shroud of the Avatar are getting their first glimpse at the game today as the title enters the first part of its early access phase. The game is playable as of today, December 12th, and this phase of early access will end Saturday, December 14th. Between now and then, players will be able to delve into the many features included in Release 1 of Shroud of the Avatar.

The devs proudly announce that they were able to implement almost every planned Release 1 feature (except for changeable head shapes in character creation), so even in this early stage of the game, players should have plenty to see, do, and -- if they're doing their jobs right -- break. The full list of Release 1 features, plus a guide on how to get the game up and running and a list of known issues, can be found at the game's official site.

[Thanks to Don for the tip!]

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