Release 61 of Shroud of the Avatar goes live this Thursday, December 13, at 10:30 AM US Central Time (15:30 UTC). “What? Already?” you might ask. As noted in our Q4 2018 post “The last two releases of the year (Nov/R60 and Dec/R61) will be very early in their respective months so that they are released well ahead of the US winter holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas).”
Release 61 is the final release in which we focused on the current iteration of our Top 10 Priorities (from Q4 2018 post). We made progress on several of these priorities including various quality of life fixes (automatic redemption of rewards & teleport to zone), bug fixes, seasonal content (Krampus!), more Fishing Phase 2 (lava fishing, lava fish, fishing skills), and more rooms for Player-Made Dungeons.
Fishing Phase 2: Fishing Phase 2 launched in Release 59 and was expanded in Release 60. In Release 61 we continued that expansion with the final “water” type: Lava! Yes that is correct, you can now fish in molten rock using a Lava Fishing Rod and lures crafted from gems as bait. We have also expanded the fishing skill tree to add skills related to all of the water types (including lava) and we added new recipes for the rare fish.
Quality of Life Improvements: As part of our ongoing mission to improve the moment to moment life of every player we made a couple of improvements in Release 61. Instead of being limited to teleporting to your lot or a single town crier you now automatically collect the entrance locations of most scenes you visit and can use a new teleport scroll to revisit those scenes whenever you wish. We also streamlined the types of Obsidian Crowns into a single type: Gold Crowns to make purchasing of crown items easier. Additionally we have introduced a way to completely respec your character with a Book of Tabula Rasa which we are giving as a free gift to all players who login for Release 61!
Krampus: The Krampus is the latest in our seasonal recurring bosses and takes advantage of the new “nearby power” boss behavior, so be sure to pay attention to his gang of “naughty brat” zombie children before trying to take him down! We recommend not confronting this vile monster before first going to the castle in Central Brittany and getting more information about him from Kinga or Ronin. Mention “Krampus” to either and get a quest that will send you to his home in East Sanctus Forest. But don’t forget North Paladis can be a dangerous region: watch out for a roving encounter full of his naughty brats who’ll ambush you before you reach the home of the Krampus!
Bug Fixing: We dedicated a significant portion of the release to working solely on fixing bugs and reducing our overall bug count. We addressed over 150 issues with over 100 of them highlighted in the google spreadsheet, including fixes to various scenes (typos, stuck spots, etc.), crafting fixes, combat fixes, and various user interface fixes. NOTE: We have purposely not shown issues related to exploits, security, and customer service issues.
I want to express a huge amount of gratitude to the players who tested the items listed below on our QA server. They found many bugs and also provided editorial feedback on this post so that it is easy to read and actually matches what is in the game. Before offering feedback and/or reporting a bug, we kindly ask that you read this whole message and the linked Player Guide and Known Issues to get up to date on the current game state. To keep up to date, please check out the Patch Notes. By taking a few moments to read through this information, a great deal of our time and effort can be focused on new “unanswered” questions and addressing critical issues that impact each release. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to review this post and for all the truly valuable feedback you continue to provide.
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. Be sure to check the schedule for player-run events (via the player-run websites: NBNN Community Calendar & Avatars Circle). You can also get the latest official events on the Main Website.
Without further ado, here is a list of what you can expect to see in Release 61.
- Plain Text: The original plan for the Release deliverables from the Q4 2018 Schedule Update. We intentionally preserve the original text so that our backers can compare plan versus actuals.
- Italics: Detailed notes of what was actually delivered.
- Strikethrough: These are items that did not make the release (but are still planned).
RELEASE 61, December 13, 2018
- Story: Have you been naughty or nice? The Krampus doesn’t care! He and his captured minions will eat you either way!
- Krampus: The Krampus is the latest in our seasonal recurring bosses and takes advantage of the new “nearby power” boss behavior, so be sure to pay attention to his gang of “naughty brat” zombie children before trying to take him down! We recommend not confronting this vile monster before first going to the castle in Central Brittany and getting more information about him from Kinga or Ronin. Mention “Krampus” to either and get a quest that will send you to his home in East Sanctus Forest. But don’t forget North Paladis can be a dangerous region: watch out for a roving encounter full of his naughty brats who’ll ambush you before you reach the home of the Krampus!
- Pumpkin Head: The seasonal enemy Pumpkin Head is going into hiding for now, but don’t worry… Krampus has emerged from his lair!
- New Variants for Snowy Mountain Road Encounter: North Paladis offers two new roving encounters for those brave enough to travel across Novia. Now there are naughty brats who roam North Paladis and offer an encounter that may bring forth Krampus, himself! Not to be outdone, the barbarians in North Paladis have added their own version of this scene as a possibility when encountering them.
- Fire Water Swamp (Mysterious Swamp Rework): For Release 61, one of our oldest maps, “Mysterious Swamp” has been reworked to be “Fire Water Swamp”. This scene is the new toughest scene in the game. While a small scene, it is densely populated with extremely challenging opponents. Also, while the swamp previously was constantly at war with itself, a new type of Kobold has built a stronghold here and unified many of the creatures of the swamp. Between the stronghold and the areas immediately around it, players will find more than enough high tier spawns to keep them constantly killing things with just a modest amount of movement through the scene. This should give those players who spend a lot of time in Upper Tears an alternative option where they can quickly reach attenuation and also gain significant loot with just a little movement and some significant additional risk.
- The Lord Must Fall Quest: The Aerie quest to assassinate Lord Harcourt Drumplemouth has received numerous updates and improvements. Players already on this quest should be able to continue from where they are and complete it.
- Kobold Grenadiers: These ranged Kobold combatants no longer wield crossbows and finally wield the Thunder Cannons. Eventually, these weapons will be lootable and wieldable by players.
- Performance: Performance work will mainly focus on improving frame rate and reducing hitching during gameplay. Work will also continue to be done on load time reduction on the few outstanding scenes that are not meeting our 15-second load time target.
- Reduced Garbage Collection: We spent a number of days squashing unneeded memory allocations in our string manipulation functions. While these were not large allocations, they were numerous and the allocation count grew when in large scale combat. The high number of allocations were causing some noticeable performance spikes right when you wanted them least: in the heat of combat.
- Creature Behaviors: We refactored how creatures update their state machines so that the rate is more tunable. While the results will vary from scene to scene, the net result is roughly a 75% reduction in one of the more costly elements on the CPU. This also means that we can pack significantly more NPCs into tight spaces without destroying CPU performance.
- Combat Event Messaging: Last release we greatly increased the server’s role in combat to reduce the discrepancy in timing between clients. This required a complete rewrite of our main message. In the rush to get that done, this message was left in a text based format for R60. This was a significant performance hit in combat where there were lots of creatures being hit by AoE spells and effects (*cough* Upper Tears *cough*). This packet was converted to a binary format for R61 which reduces the size and removes a very large performance bottleneck on the client.
- UI Optimization: There were a number of places in the UI that received optimizations this release. The primary improvement was that many logic functions were being called once per frame even though they weren’t changing. A number of these have been improved for R61.
- Dance Party Optimization: The CPU cost of simply having a large number of players nearby and emoting has been greatly reduced. This should also help reduce other scenes with high player counts and additionally help reduce the number of “bouncing player” issues you might see.
- Bug Fixing: Time will be allocated to a general sweep through all systems, features, and content to reduce overall bug counts.
- Bug Fixes: Over 150 bug fixes were made in combat, user interface, music, scenes, quests, conversations, decorations, equipment, and more. View the published list here.
- Crafting & Economy: Back slot items (cloaks, wings, backpacks, etc.) will now be able to have stats, enchantments, and masterworks associated with them. We will also continue expansions to the fishing system. Additionally we will continue systemic and game-wide upgrades to the quality and quantity of loot.
- Lava Fishing: In Release 61, we continued the expansion of Fishing Phase 2 with the final “water” type: Lava! Yes that is correct, you can now fish in molten rock using a Lava Fishing Rod (plus Prosperity and Artisan Fishing Rods) and lures crafted from gems as bait.
- Lava Fish: We have introduced 4 new lava fish, including Common: Anomalocaris (common), Ammonite (uncommon), Dunkleosteus (rare), and Mosasaurus (rare).
- New Fishing Skills: We have expanded the fishing skill tree to add skills related to all of the water types (including lava). These skills improve your chances to catch fish in these water types.
- Fetid Water
- Party Fishing Message: At the suggestion of players we added a message for party members that notifies them when other party members gain items from fishing (much the same as when they gain loot from adventuring).
- Black Pearl: The drop rate of black pearls in loot from humanoid mages has been tripled.
- Deadly Poison: The price that merchants will pay for Deadly Poison has been lowered from 30 to 20 gold.
- New Recipes, Blueprints & Patterns: We added lots of new recipes, blueprints, and patterns in R61.
- Rare Fish Dishes (Recipes on Cooking Merchants): All the very rare fish (non-lava) have unique food recipes. Baked Alligator Gar, Baked Pike, Seared Marlin Steak, Seared Sailfish Steak, Seared Shark Steak, Seared Sturgeon, and Seared Swordfish Steak. These new recipes all include cool unique buffs.
- Player-Made Dungeon Rooms/Hallways (Add On Store Blueprints & Recipes): We added more 9 more dungeon rooms and 12 more hallways including all of the dungeon pieces recipes/blueprints included with the dungeon entrances.
- Teleport to Zone Scroll (Recipe on Alchemy Merchants)
- Ornate Vile Longbow Eternal Pattern (Add On Store)
- Ornate Vile Longbow Pattern (Add On Store)
- Jeweled Party Dress Eternal Pattern (Add On Store)
- Jeweled Party Dress Pattern (Add On Store)
- Dragon Dungeon Entrance Eternal Pattern (R58 Stretch Goal Reward)
- Gem Lures (Recipe on Alchemy Merchants)
- Back Slot Items and Loot Expansions Delayed: Due to the short duration of the release we had to focus our efforts on the fishing expansion and Krampus therefore delaying the Back Slot Items and Loot Expansions.
- Player Towns & Player Housing: Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
- New Player-Made Dungeon Rooms/Hallways: We added more 9 more dungeon rooms and 12 more hallways including all of the dungeon pieces recipes/blueprints included with the dungeon entrances (where noted).
- New and Updated Dynamic POTs:
- Ahnen Hain: Upgraded to Town.
- Amour and Serenus: Now nested within Ordinis Mortis.
- Britt Mart: Upgraded to Town. Merged interconnections.
- CICI’s Bazaar: Aded new Underground 01 Hamlet.
- Crystal Cove: Renamed from Seers Sanctuary. Changed biome to Forest 01c.
- Immortal City: Upgraded to Town.
- Ironholde: Added new Metropolis.
- Mith Ly’atharin: Upgraded to Village. Changed biome to Mountain 01.
- New Heaven: Added interconnections.
- Paxton: Added new Swamp Island 01a Metropolis.
- Shogun Ridge: Upgraded to Metropolis.
- Sionann: Upgraded to Crossroads Village. Changed location. Changed biome to Forest 01c.
- Livestream and Seasonal Content: We will add recent livestream stretch goal items and 2018 Winter items.
- Release 58 Livestream Items:
- 2018 Ornate Yule Music Box: This music box plays a yule tune while a tiny yule tree spins on top! You can purchase this wonderful item from the Add-On Store until February 1, when it expires.
- Jeweled Party Dress: This dress has arrived just in time for all the holiday parties! You can purchase this lovely item and pattern pack from the Add-On Store.
- Fancy Party Hat: It is not truly a party until you don a fancy party hat! This version of the Party Hat has a topknot, fringe and stars! You can purchase it from the Add-On Store.
- Party Potions: Nothing makes a party like potions that can make you Shrink, Grow, or Super Jump! Grab these potions (useable in non-PVP POTs only) from the Crown Vendor today!
- Quality of Life Improvements & User Interface Polish:
- Teleport To Zone Scroll: Instead of being limited to teleporting to your lot or a single town crier you now automatically collect the entrance locations of scenes that you visit and can use a new “Teleport to Zone Scroll” to revisit those scenes whenever you wish. To use this new function we have created a dedicated interface where all the scenes are collected. NOTE: Some rules apply. For instance, special quest-related scenes are not valid targets. You can purchase this scroll from Obsidian Crown Merchants or craft it yourself by purchasing the recipe from Alchemy Merchants.
- Gold Crown Conversion: We streamlined the types of Obsidian Crowns into a single type (Gold Crowns) to make purchasing of items from crown shops easier.
- Obsidian Trial Skill Cap: The Obsidian Trial are now skill capped at a maximum of 100 in all skills to better level the playing field of this PvP area.
- Book of Tabula Rasa: For those players who feel they made some big mistakes in the initial creation of their character, this book is their savior. When used, you can choose to reset all skills in a skill tree to minimum levels and move 100% of the experience to the experience pool for spending elsewhere. Alternatively, you can use it to set all adventurer or crafting skills to their minimums and return 100% of experience to your pool for reapplying in a new way. This effectively grants players a full respec to rebuild their character however they choose. As a gift to players for R61 we plan on giving everyone who logs in for R61 a Book of Tabula Rasa that will vanish if not used during R61. Note that this might not be the final name for it but it would be appropriate!
- Enchantment/Masterwork Glow Removed: After repeated requests by players we have removed the pulsing glow that would appear on items that had been Masterworked or Enchanted.
- Ornate Vile Longbow: This newest addition to our ranged weapons lineup is jeweled and adorned with symbols of the Obsidians. You can purchase this evil looking Longbow and the Pattern Pack in the Add-On Store.
- Riposte: The Riposte attack can no longer be blocked or Parried but still can be dodged.
- Weapon Skill Buffs: The ability to gain bonuses to the base weapon school skills has been added. This is used to calculate the damage and hit chance of all skills in the school. For R61, these buffs can be found on several new recipes for foods from rare fish.
- Bludgeon Weapon Damage: While the majority of bludgeon weapons got a damage bump last release, a handful of weapons were missed. This release, we believe all bludgeon weapons will be at the appropriate levels.
- Sneak Attack: The mez effect for this skill has been fixed and additionally, the peak damage has been reduced by about 15% for the most extreme case of attacking from behind while stealthed.
- Multi Hit for Poisons and Procs: The issues that were causing over the top multi-hits for poisons and procs were fixed. Players may now compete in PVP tournaments again without fear of being hit 10x times by poison!
- Purify Burst: This spell will no longer incorrectly damage your pets!
- /Assist: The /assist command should once again work AND now can be bound to a hot key for quick use! This command lets you target the target of your selected target! This is useful for assisting the main tank and to avoid breaking mesmerized targets.
- Sap: The dex debuff for this skill will no longer vanish after one hit.
- Utility Bar Improvement: To reduce the chance of accidental removal, icons on the utility bar use a context menu instead of just dragging them off the bar.
Thank you so much for reading all the way here to the end!
Q4 was just a warmup for 2019 which will be an amazing year for Shroud of the Avatar players! Crafting specializations (choose your effects!), Back Slot item enchanting, Grandmaster Craftsman only effects, Fertilizer for Agriculture, Pronged Weapons (tridents, pitchforks, etc.) more loot improvements, more expansions to the fishing system, better boss fights and more! 2019 will of course culminate with Episode 2 which will have a new story, new lands, a revamp of the Quest and Journal system, a Theater System, Treasure Hunting with treasure maps that show up as loot, Item Affinity, Taming system expansions, Customizable NPCs, and expanded permissions for containers and doors!
As a reminder here are links to Player 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.