Avatar’s Update #314: Player Housing Livestream Today, 50% Holiday Sale Extended!

Greetings Fellow Avatars! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

News Announcements

Community Updates

Player Housing Livestream Today!

Another content packed weekly Community Livestream is this Friday January 11 at 4 PM CT on Twitch!

This week we will be showing how the Player Housing system works including how to Lot Deeds work when claiming property, property taxes, Houses, player decorations, and Player Owned Towns. Remember every player receives a free Row Lot Deed for completing the story!

This is the fifth Friday to earn the Release 61 Dark Winter stretch goals (in honor of Krampus) by making a purchase or by participating in the Rewards program! Last weekend we blew past the Dungeon Room and the Dark Leather Yule Outfit so we had to create more stretch goals!

  • ACHIEVED $10K: Black Ice Wings
  • ACHIEVED $25K: Black Ice Building Blocks Set
  • ACHIEVED $35K: Haunted Snowman Mask
  • ACHIEVED $50K: Black Ice Bow & Black Ice Sword
  • ACHIEVED $65K: Haunted Snow Family
  • ACHIEVED $75K: Black Ice Staff & Black Ice Wand
  • ACHIEVED $85K: Haunted Yule Tree Set
  • ACHIEVED $95K: Icy Dungeon Encounter Room with Fishing Spot
  • ACHIEVED $105K: Dark Leather & Fur Yule Outfit
  • ACHIEVED $120K: Krampus Mask & Black Ice Shield
  • $135K: Haunted Sleigh & Black Ice Elemental Statue 
  • $150K: Icy Dungeon Cathedral Room
  • $170K: Icy Dungeon Hallway Set

As usual we will be giving out prizes at 4:15 and 4:45! To be eligible all you need to do is either make any purchase in the store or log into the game and type “Its Cold Outside” in the chat window (no purchase necessary).

Watch on Twitch this Friday at 4 PM CDT

Crown Store and Web Store Changes in Early 2019

[Forum post by Chris “Atos” Spears]

Greetings avatars! We shared a lot of information yesterday in our short live stream and it was both exciting enough and potentially confusing enough that it deserved a post in writing that people could read and absorb.

Our history is pretty well known and our “cash shop” has been with us since the start. For years it has been a burden in terms of public opinion, usability, and time consuming maintenance. When we compare ourselves to other live online role play games with a similar money model, we find that we are almost the only game in the entire crowded market that has a vast cash shop on a website and then almost nothing available in game for purchase. We also added premium currency long ago but never really made full use of it in game.

Time for that all to change! Within the next 2 releases we will move to a store model similar to 95% of the other games in the field. Our website will primarily only sell Crowns and rewards programs and possibly 1 single item for episode 2 access. There will probably be another small section that will be hidden for stuff like POTs and support.

All the items in the store will be available through the Crown Shop interface. From what we’ve been seeing, most players don’t even know this exists but if you look at the interface buttons in the upper right hand corner of the game, the second one in from the right is a Crown Shop. Click this and you can access a few dozen items from the game anywhere, without needing to talk to a merchant.
When we mentioned this during the stream I saw a few people scream, “No! The interface is slow and doesn’t show the items or have information!” They are right and that is why our biggest task with this switch is moving to a whole new interface!

We’re currently working on pulling all the information for items on the web store into the interface. Items will all include a detailed description, most will include a screenshot, and those that don’t will show the actual model for the item when selected.

Also, currently the in game crown shop is SLOW to load even with a small number of items. We are fixing this to prebake this data instead of loading it all from thousands of item definition and data files. This slowness was actually the reason we stopped adding items to the in game store for a while but a fix is almost ready to go live.

In addition to matching the features of the web store, by moving it in game we can improve it in a number of other ways as well. The web store has no good system for localization which means it is only available in English. The new crown store in game will be localizable just like any other in game text!

In game you will be able to filter and search and sort items. We will have items tagged for different categories so instead of clicking through pages and pages of goods and scrolling you can just click “Weapons” and “Elven” and it will show you just the items tagged with those! If you’re shopping for new lights for your house, just choose “decorations” and “lights”. We are also hoping to have other data in them so you can do things like show “Recently added” items or just “Sale” items.

To make sure existing players are aware of the in game crown store and go try it out, I’ll be adding a number of small “blessings” to the game. You’ll get one at random with any crown store purchase. I have about 25 different small blessings designed and it will apply one at random. These will last a day and will basically be shorter, possibly weaker versions of existing in game blessings or obsidian potions. We’ll probably keep these around until a release after the store work is finished to make sure people go and find the crown store in game since even the seasoned adventurers I talked to didn’t know it existed! I hope to have these live in a patch next week.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes our sales stay up longer than promised. Well some of that is due to us wanting to be nice to players outside the US who have time zone issues to deal with but the main reason is because currently it is complicated to turn on/off sales and only a few people can do it. The new in game system will be broken down to allow anyone on the team to turn it on or off and we’ll also be able to schedule sales to start and end.

So as for sales and pricing. This is another area where we’ve looked around and identified that we’re a bit off base on many prices. Part of this is due to us knowing we were doing big, week end sales and so we priced stuff higher than we should have. With this major transition coming up we’ll be adjusting many item prices down to somewhere in between the current price and the sale price.

Once the new store goes live we will have far fewer sales and they will be much smaller percentages off. Most items in the new store will be cheaper than the current full price store BUT when on sale, they’ll roughly the same or slightly higher than the current prices. There will be some exceptions to that rule but that is our general target. Going forward we’ll probably also do fewer or no “Everything is on sale!” type sales. This is largely done this way now because of the less than stellar system we use now to put stuff on sale.

So again, repeating again for clarity. New store prices will be adjusted. In general, new store prices will be lower than current full price store but slightly higher than current sale prices.

Another big thing that we will be fixing during this time is our actual premium currency! While the $1 = 1 Crown thing is easy to understand, it does not give us the resolution we need to price things correctly. For instance, to match the cash shop, we would have to do things in full $1/1COTO increments. The resolution also means we have to make drops of them very rare.
When this change goes live, after the maintenance down time concludes, you will log in to find that all of your crowns turned into 100 crowns. This will happen in your inventory, bank, and even on decos. The decos will look like a single crown but when picked up, they will turn into 100. For Vendors, we aren’t sure which option we’ll use but we’ll either adjust your numbers on your vendor or, more likely, we’ll cancel out all your crown sales/purchase orders. In game, you will still see crowns drop but at 100x the rate of the current ones. This also lets us do things like sell dyes individually if we choose. Previously we would bundle all the cheap items together in large packs because we couldn’t do sales smaller than $1.

We’ll also be taking advantage of the new greater crown resolution to adjust our prices. While we knew what our targets numbers were before, we couldn’t actually get there because of rounding error involved with the low crown prices.

  • Price = Count
  • $10.00 = 750
  • $20.00 = 1600
  • $35.00 = 3200
  • $60.00 = 6300
  • $100.00 = 10750

Also, going forward do not expect to see many if any crown sales. We plan on moving crowns back to being the stable bedrock of our pricing structure and keeping the sales primarily in game. If do any crown sales it will only be for major events like Lord British’s birthday or the release of some major new content and will only be a small discount.

Also, we’ll likely make some small adjustments to the rewards program to make sure it stays the best exchange rate for buying crowns. I’ve had a few people point out that due to the crown sales, currently it is promised to be the best rate but you can actually get slightly better with a large crown purchase on sale. You still miss out on all the extra stuff so we still consider it a great deal but we’ll be fixing this going forward to live up to its crown promise.

One more exciting thing coming soon is the ability to upgrade deeds in game for crowns. The current plan is that you will be able to right click on a deed and get a menu showing you the cost to upgrade it. We plan on making it so you can upgrade for the price difference in the crown store. No trade deeds from the story-line will likely be upgradeable but remain no trade but we’re still evaluating that option.

Also, in case you missed the stream, the other exciting thing coming is the ability to purchase a permit for row house demolition. There will be a cheap option to turn a row lot into a an empty lot with no houses on it that can be used for whatever. We see this as a huge win for players who have their main lot but also have a row lot or two in storage from the storyline. Now you’ll be able to put down a row lot to turn it into a play space, crafting area, or a dedicated garden.

Wow, that ended up being a crazy long post! Lots of stuff to talk about. For those with short attention spans who just skip to the end, here is the tl;dr version:

  • Current crown target of $1 = 1 COTO will turn into $1 = 100 COTO
  • All your existing crowns will turn into 100 crowns
  • Many prices will adjust downwards to be between current and sale price
  • Sales will be smaller and fewer and for the most part

Thanks and you can look forward to these changes in the near future!

In the News: How Lord British Works

Nick Douglas over at Lifehacker recently wrote an article about Lord British’s work methods entitled “I’m Richard Garriott, aka Lord British, and This Is How I Work”.

Richard Garriott is a robot. The creator of the Ultima series (including Ultima Online, one of the first massively multiplayer online games) runs his Austin company Portalarium from his home in New York. He telecommutes via Beam—a Segway-like robot with a video screen that lets him engage more directly with the rest of his team than static videoconferencing. It’s a fitting work style for the man who coined the use of the Sanskrit word avatar to mean a person’s virtual digital representation.

Garriott is a Silicon Valley kind of larger-than-life tech godfather. His former Austin home, Britannia Manor, is basically a castle; it was featured on MTV Cribs and has its own Wikipedia page. He’s been on the International Space Station and is a board member of the X Prize for private space flight. He’s designed a card for Magic: The Gathering. He bought two Soviet space vehicles that are still on the moon, and likes to jokingly claim the land they’ve explored as his. He’s widely known by his Ultima Online character name, Lord British.

We talked to Garriott about his long career (he released his first game in 1979 at the age of 18), including the long and challenging development of his most recent game Shroud of the Avatar, and his advice for people now joining the gaming industry.


Login during R61 for free Respec!

Players who login December 20th through January 30th will receive a complementary item entitled “Obsidian Item of Greater Unlearning (Expires Soon)” that when used allows them to 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, they 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.

NOTE: This item must be used by January 30!

Additional identical items entitled “Obsidian Item of Greater Unlearning” can be purchased from the Crown Merchant interface. The purchased version has no expiration.

50% Items All Weekend (Extended!)

We have extended our 50% off weekend holiday sale! To celebrate our final release of our launch year we are putting most items* in the store on sale for 50% off, our deepest discounts ever, all weekend! We are also going to track the R61 Dark Winter Stretch Goals all weekend (versus just the traditional Friday noon to midnight)!

We also have extended our Holiday Crowns Sale! Some packages are discounted as much as 20%!

Shipping Phase 2 Update – December 2018

We are in the middle of Phase 2 of shipping physical pledge rewards to eligible backers, and are happy to hear some of you have already received yours. If you got an email from Stamps.com with a tracking number, that means your package is on its way!

If you have not yet received an email from Stamps.com, don’t worry: We expect to resume Phase 2 of shipping mid-January.

As a reminder, please make sure your shipping address is up-to-date and confirmed in your Profile Settings and that if your address is outside the United States you need to have an International Shipping voucher listed on your Account page. You can purchase International Shipping here if you do not have this voucher yet.

If you are not sure whether you are eligible for physical rewards, please email support@portalarium.com from the email address associated with your account.

Thank you for your continued patience and support, Avatars!

Winter 2018 Items

With winter almost upon us the Winter 2018 items have appeared! These winter holiday items are only available until February 1, 2019 and then they are gone forever so get them while they are ice cold! This year we added functionality to the Menorahs where they now light the correct number of candles per day during Hanukkah (note this is retroactive for all Menorahs).

Winter Recurring Items (now with Yule Hat)!

Winter is coming and with it winter recurring items have returned for a limited time, including the Ice Nightmare mask and Ornate Sleigh! Get these rare items while they are cold because they will go away again until next winter on February 1, 2019. NEW! This week after a concerted campaign by our players we added a Traditional Yule Hat!

Automatic Redemption of Rewards Release 62

As part of our continuing improvements to Quality of Life in Shroud of the Avatar we are going to remove the extra step required when receiving purchased items inside the game. You will no longer have to click on a “Redeem Rewards” button. Instead we will automatically send the items to your rewards interface when you next login to the game. If you are currently logged in then they will appear as soon as the purchase transaction completes. We are also going to provide an onscreen notice for when rewards are delivered to your Rewards Interface. This improvement will go live with Release 62 on January 31, 2019.

Ask Us Anything Livestream (YouTube)

The Ask Us Anything Livestream last week went great! Chris “Atos” Spears and Starr “Darkstarr” Long spent over an hour answering players’ questions and showed off the fish masks from a previous release’s stretch goals.

We also made great progress towards our Release 61 Dark Winter Stretch Goals!

  • ACHIEVED $10K: Black Ice Wings
  • ACHIEVED $25K: Black Ice Building Blocks Set
  • ACHIEVED $35K: Haunted Snowman Mask
  • ACHIEVED $50K: Black Ice Bow & Black Ice Sword
  • ACHIEVED $65K: Haunted Snow Family
  • ACHIEVED $75K: Black Ice Staff & Black Ice Wand
  • ACHIEVED $85K: Haunted Yule Tree Set
  • ACHIEVED $95K: Icy Dungeon Encounter Room with Fishing Spot
  • ACHIEVED $105K: Dark Leather & Fur Yule Outfit

In case you missed the fun times here is the stream on YouTube:

Shroud of the Avatar Rewards Program

The Shroud of the Avatar Rewards Program lets you earn the best rate on purchasing Gold Crowns, AND receive rare stretch-goal items from our monthly livestreams! This program automatically enrolls you in the monthly livestreams (counts as the $5 minimum purchase) along with other perks.

For the low price of $9 USD per month you will receive the following:

  • 9 Gold Crowns of the Obsidians every month
  • Automatic Participation in the Monthly Livestream Stretchgoals (counts as the $5 minimum purchase)
  • Exclusive Title every 3 months
    • 3 Months: Keeper of the Faith
    • 6 Months: Keeper of the Word
    • 9 Months: Keeper of the Vow
    • 12 Months: Keeper of the Flame
  • Pick any Dye 12 Pack every 6 months
  • Pick any three of the 7 Obsidian Potions every month, including:
    • Potion of Capacity: Increases carrying capacity
    • Potion of Conservation: Reduces reagent use chance
    • Potion of Expedience: Swift gathering on all gathering skills
    • Potion of Precision: Increases Meticulous Collection to all gathering skills
    • Potion of Preservation: Reduces armor and weapon damage
    • Potion of Reclamation: Increases Salvage and Repair to all production skills

Upcoming Events Calendar

Jan 31, 2019 – Release 62
Feb 1, 2019 – Release 62 Livestream
Feb 28, 2019 – Release 63
Mar 8, 2019 – Release 63 Livestream
Mar 8 – 17, 2019 – SXSW
Mar 18 – 22, 2019 – GDC
Mar 28, 2019 – Release 64
Apr 5, 2019 – Release 64 Livestream
Apr 25, 2019 – Release 65
May 3, 2019 – Release 65 Livestream
May 30, 2019 – Release 66
June 7, 2019 – Release 66 Livestream
June 27, 2019 – Release 67
July 25, 2019 – Release 68
Aug 29, 2019 – Release 69

Visit the official Community Calendar to see the great lineup of activities our amazing community has planned for this weekend! And be sure to check out this month’s Release Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events.

Meretz: Win a Topiary Keep Dragon Statue

Win the Topiary Keep Dragon Statue & earn free SotA in-game items daily!

Whether you move a little or a lot, as a Meretz user you rack up valuable Meretz Points (MPs). The more MPs you have, the more stuff you can buy!

Think: in-game SotA goodies, Sweepstakes entries, Relics by Rild giveaways, and tons more. With Meretz, we launch several sweepstakes every month. This month, we’re giving away the Topiary Keep Dragon Statue – valued at $210! You can also enter to win a Relics By Rild $50 Gift Card and other cool prizes. AND, use your MPs every day for in-game items like potions and emotes.

What’re you waiting for? Download Meretz TODAY!

Project to Support – Avatars Radio

Avatars Radio is a community run and community funded radio station founded by community member Amber Raine. They air plays, music, sermons, speeches, and they organize the monthly release dance parties. You can listen to Avatars Radio on their website or through one of the Aether Amplifiers inside Shroud of the Avatar. Consider helping this community endeavor by supporting their Patreon!

“This station was created with the love of our community and fellow citizens in Lord British – Richard Garriott’s new world of Shroud of the Avatar. Our dream desire is to serve and share (simply by airing) communities work through the moon towers. We have an open welcoming of all submissions from our community. Talented musicians (be it instrumental, vocal, or mixer), poets, designers of station identifications and other sound bytes, or perhaps you have the face and voice for radio and would like to try your turn behind the desk as a DJ? This station shall always welcome the creative works of the community weighed over that of earthly!”

Resources – Players Helping Players


The official SotA New Player Welcome Forum and the Player Created Resources Forum have the best player created resources for Shroud of the Avatar, whether it’s a Player Written Guide, a Video Walk-through, or a Wiki-type Website.

Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing of all things community.