Release 66 Instructions


[From a forum post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Avatars,

Please read this entire message, as well as the linked Player Guide and Known Issues.

Release 66 of Shroud of the Avatar goes live this Thursday, May 30, at 10:30 AM US Central Time (15:30 UTC).

Release 66 is the second release in which we focused on the current iteration of our Top 10 Priorities (from Q2 2019 Schedule Update). While we made some progress on these priorities we are also working on a major overhaul to the New User Experience as part of a capture and recapture email campaign that has caused us to pause and/or delay some of the originally planned for R66 deliverables.

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 66.

Key:

  • Plain Text: The original plan for the Release deliverables from the Q2 2019 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 66, May 30, 2019

  • Story: The first area associated with Episode 2 will appear!
    • New User Experience Polish & New Starting Sequence: We have been doing long term data analysis of incoming new players. We realized that many new players quit the game during Isle of Storms. We believe this is because the content in Isle of Storms is not representative of the best parts of the game as a whole. We have begun an iterative process to improve the new player experience, with a focus on ensuring that the new player experience is representative of the best parts of the game as a whole. Changes this release include:
      • Start with Character Creation: Players begin by creating their character (name and appearance).
      • Skip Isle of Storms: Players then start the game in Battle of Solace Bridge instead of Isle of Storms.
      • Love Starting Path: To promote the most polished aspect of the game we now send all new players to the Path of Love versus a choice of one of the three paths (Truth, Love, or Courage).
      • Path of Love Starting Area Polish: We did a polish pass through the Battle of Solace Bridge and Solace Bridge Outskirts. We improved conversations, journal entries, NPC barks, quest data, compass markers, placement of world objects, the manner in which Kinsey points players to nearby quests, and the manner in which Edvard recognizes his escort is complete.
      • Introductory Video Removed: The introductory video has been removed. The quality and accuracy of this video were leading to loss of potential new players. NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
    • Arch Lapin Hibernates (SPOILERS): The Spectral Mines are no longer terrorized by this foul beast and its minions, at least for another year until it wakes again!
    • Luminous Atavist Returns (SPOILERS): The Luminous Atavist has returned from hiding! Some residents of Novia are not pleased with the sudden and voluminous influx of Outlander immigrants. The Atavists of Purity have vowed to rid Novia of the Outlander scourge. “Their houses crowd our fair towns! Their wares compete with those of native Novian merchants!” yells their leader, the Luminous Atavist. He and his lieutenants, the Knight Purifiers, have been known to ambush unwary Outlanders on the road. They are even swelling their ranks with common folks who call themselves Unifiers. He is rumored to be in the Southern Grunvald Desert. Speak to Ranees Binders in Desolis to learn more.
    • Preston Panics Sidequest (SPOILERS): The guards in Solace Bridge Outskirts are worried about their youngest member, Private Preston. Mention Preston’s name to the guards in the bivouac to start on the path toward learning the /calmdown emote.
    • Episode 2 Area 1 Delayed: Work on New User Experience polish delayed Episode 2 Area 1 work.
  • 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.
    • Built in player house lights: The default state for player house lights will now be off instead of on. This is both to improve visuals and performance. Player deco light behavior will remain unchanged and default to on.
  • Combat: Players will be able to join multiple groups into large Raids (groups of groups).
    • Wardings: Nine new warding skills have been added! Each school of magic (except Chaos) has a new Warding passive skill in it. The skill in each tree is aimed at suppressing the magic of the opposing school. It grants a positive boost to the resistance number and a negative attunement penalty resulting in a net positive resistance.
      • Sun Warding: Moon tree skill that gives a bonus to Sun Resistance and a penalty to Sun Attunement.
      • Moon Warding: Sun tree skill that gives a bonus to Moon Resistance and a penalty to Moon Attunement.
      • Air Warding: Earth tree skill that gives a bonus to Air Resistance and a penalty to Sun Attunement.
      • Earth Warding: Air tree skill that gives a bonus to Earth Resistance and a penalty to Earth Attunement.
      • Life Warding: Death tree skill that gives a bonus to Life Resistance and a penalty to Death Attunement.
      • Death Warding: Life tree skill that gives a bonus to Death Resistance and a penalty to Death Attunement.
      • Water Warding: Fire tree skill that gives a bonus to Water Resistance and a penalty to Water Attunement.
      • Fire Warding: Water tree skill that gives a bonus to Fire Resistance and a penalty to Fire Attunement.
      • Magic Warding: Tactics tree skill that gives a modest bonus to the resistance of, and a modest penalty to, all magic schools except Chaos.
    • New Taming Skills: A variety of new taming skills have been added that let you level up various aspects of your tamed pets.
      • Pet Speed Training: Taming tree skill that increases the pet’s dexterity as well as its movement speed.
      • Pet Hide Toughness Training:  Taming tree skill that increases the pet’s damage resistance as well at its magic resistance.
      • Pet Strength Training: Taming tree skill that increases the pet’s strength which in turn increases its overall damage.
      • Pet Attack Precision Training: Taming tree skill that increases the pet’s max critical hit damage.
      • Pet Taunting Training: Taming tree skill that increases the pet’s ability to take and control aggro from creatures.
    • Top Tier Tameable Creatures: We have added Top Tier tameable creatures similar to the Obsidian Destroyer which is currently the highest health and overall the most powerful tameable creature. We also made a pass on the visuals of these creatures making sure these were set correctly and synced with loot drops. This is preparing for moving animal heads over to use decoration scaling similar to fish trophies. These new Top Tier creatures will be slowly added to scenes over time. For Release 66 you will find at least one example of each of these in one scene.
      • Polar Destroyer (Bear)
      • Ferocious Obsidian Boar
      • Razorback Destroyer
      • Large Darkstarr Corpion
      • Darkstarr Destroyer (Corpion)
      • Brown Arachnid
      • Ferocious Brown Arachnid
      • Red Arachnid
      • Ferocious Red Arachnid
      • Black Arachnid
      • Ferocious Black Arachnid
      • Ferocious Arctic Wolf
      • Ferocious Desert Wolf
      • Ferocious Timber Wolf
      • Ferocious Obsidian Wolf
      • Lupine Destroyer
    • Young Dragons Tameable: All young dragons are now tamable!
    • Elder Desert Wolf & Huge Corpion Tameable: These variants of wolves and corpions which were previously not tameable can now be tamed.
    • Top Tier Crocodiles: The health and xp on high tiered crocodiles was increased. They can also be tamed now.
    • Razorback: The Razorback now has a unique color.
    • Ancient Dragons: We have added all color variants of the Ancient Dragon. Previously we only had an Ancient Yellow Dragon. These color variants will slowly be added to scenes over time.
    • Leaderboards: We have added a new Leaderboards interface to the game. Over time this interface will be expanded to include leaderboard about almost every topic in the game (fishing, gathering, crafting, skills, etc.). For Release 66 we have two leaderboards:
      • PvP (Kills, Deaths, KDR)
      • PvE (Kills, Deaths, KDR)
    • Raids Delayed: Work on new Skills, including new Taming Skills, delayed work on Raids.
  • Crafting & Economy: Crafters will be able to choose a single Crafting Specialization (Smithing, Tailoring, Alchemy, Carpentry) which will allow them to choose effects during Masterworking or Enchanting (versus random selection).
    • Artifact Combining: Going forward Artifacts will come in four types: Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Legendary.  Like the totems, you can combine 4 of the same type to get the next tier up. Over time we will update the older artifacts to be of the Uncommon type so they can be upgraded as well.
    • Clockwork Dragon Trophy: Clockwork Dragons finally have a chance to drop a head when killed which can then be used to craft a trophy head to mount on your wall. This has long been the only full-sized dragon that does not have a trophy head.
    • Specializations Delayed: Work on Taming Skills, New Top Tier Taming Creatures and adding Baby Dragons to taming delayed Specializations work.
  • Player Towns & Player Housing: We will provide lot owners the ability to flag their Row Lots as empty which will open up the ability to do things like plant crops on Row Lots for the first time ever! Additionally updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
    • Turreted Stone City Home: This rework of one of our most beloved City sized homes has new stone, roof, and interior treatments. NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
    • Flipped Ornate Tavern Counter: At the request of players we have created a mirror version of the Ornate Tavern Counter so you can create a bar in the opposite orientation or make a full wraparound bar using both pieces.
    • Obsidian Shard: This no longer requires a PvP-flagged area for placement. NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
    • Small Obsidian Shards: These scaled down versions of the Obsidian Shard decoration have lost their mysterious powers to cancel out the Blessing of the Oracle and therefore can be placed in non-PvP locations. NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
    • Shogun Furniture Set: This set includes a variety of chairs, a bench, table, etc. that were previously visible in game but not available as player decorations. NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
    • Cypress Trees: At the suggestion of players we have added a variety of cypress trees to the Crown Shop. NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
    • Blue Cypress Trees: At the suggestion of players we have added a variety of blue cypress trees to the Crown Shop. NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
    • Shogun Paper Lamps: After numerous player requests we made this 6-pack of lights that makes the paper lamps from the Shogun string light placeable as individual lights! NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
    • Empty Row Lots Delayed: Work on live builds and catching up on testing rewards delayed this feature.
    • New and Updated Dynamic POTs:
      • Ardonair: Added interconnection with Beran’s Reach.
      • Arigatou: Added new Crossroads Village (near Brittany).
      • Beran’s Reach: Changed biome to Swamp Island 01a. Moved to north of Brittany Wharfs. Added interconnections.
      • Borderland: Added new Crossroads Village (nested in Port Titan).
      • Caladruin: Changed biome to Swamp Island 01 (Left).
      • Chateau du Lys: Upgraded to Municipality. Changed biome to Island 01a.
      • Knight’s Watch: Added interconnection with Twin Traders.
      • New Fawn: Upgraded to Town.
      • Rinzai: Upgraded to Metropolis.
      • S Mart Factorium: Upgraded to Crossroads Village.
      • Silent Ascent: Upgraded to Crossroads Village.
      • Steubenshire: Changed biome to Swamp Island 01a.
      • Twin Traders: Added interconnection with Knight’s Watch.
      • Verat Chaos: Upgraded to Municipality.
      • Wizards Rest: Upgraded to Town.
  • Livestream Content: We will add recent livestream stretch goal items.
    • Release 60 Stretch Goal: We have completed the last remaining Cornucopia-themed Release 60 Stretch Goal item!
      • Construction Set: Note we originally said we were going to only give out 3 items but Scottie made 6 different items and some of them beg for having more than 1 of each so we are giving out a total of 9 items!!!
        • 1 Crane
        • 1 Wagon
        • 1 Planks
        • 2 Signs
        • 2 Ropes
        • 2 Scaffolds
    • Release 62 Stretch Goal Items: We have completed the two remaining Carnival themed Release 62 Stretch Goal items.
      • Brewing-themed Basement Hatches
      • Ballroom Dungeon Room
    • Release 63 Stretch Goal Items: We have completed all of the Darkstarr-themed Release 63 Stretch Goal items.
      • Darkstarr 1-Handed Sword
      • Darkstarr Wand
      • Darkstarr Clocktower (Reverse Colors)
      • Darkstarr Throne (Reverse Colors)
  • Release 66 Reward Program Items: For Release 66 the Rewards are Disco themed and Reward Program members will receive them during Release 66 immediately upon logging in! See the Rewards Program Update for details.
    • Hustler Hat
    • Hustle Dance Emote
    • Colorful Mallard Duck Pet
  • Player-Made Dungeons Dynamic Navigation Mesh: Navigation meshes for player made dungeons (in adventure mode) are now pre-baked and loaded from disk at run time. Players should observe a significant improvement in load times (up to 80% faster in some situations) when entering adventure mode dungeons. Pets may occasionally not follow you across pieces as the links between them are a bit touchy; this will be improved over time.
  • Character:
    • /calmdown: At the request of players the avatar animation associated with taming is now an emote that can be learned! (see Preston Panic sidequest above).
    • Aether Vibration Amplifier Backpack: This portable Kobold device lets you tune into the latest audio channels (such as Avatars Radio) streaming from the nearest Moon Tower. NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
    • Bartender Emotes: At the request of players we have made these animations that were previously only seen on NPCs available for players as well! You can find them in the Crown Shop.
    • Black Sun Cloak: We made this custom fur collared cloak with the Black Sun logo but it was never used and now it is available for the first time ever! NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
    • Fancy Bastard Sword: This new 2-handed sword will be sure to impress those who are about to lose their heads to its blade. NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
    • Heraldry Polearm: This equippable polearm has a flag on it that has space for your personal heraldry! Perfect for using the /guard emote with to proudly display your heraldry as you go to war.
    • Ornate Lute and Harp Backpacks: At the suggestion of players we have created back slot items that look like a Lute and a Harp for all your bard roleplay! NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
  • Grey Names for Death: Names over dead enemies will now be grey to more easily differentiate them from the names of live enemies! NOTE: This was patched into Release 65.
  • Rewards Program Titles: Two new titles were added to the Rewards Program: 15 Months (Keeper of the Oath) and 18 Months (Keeper of the Pledge).
  • Mail Recapture Campaign: Over the last few weeks we have been sending out a series of emails to Avatars who have been email subscribers and/or players in the past to suggest they return and give the game another try. Each email is sent to batches of past (and sometimes current) customers with iterations of images and text to test different success metrics. We will continue to iterate and test this mail campaign.
  • SotA New Beginnings No. 2 Rewards: We created the exclusive rewards for the backers of the second official Shroud of the Avatar comic Kickstarter!
    • Standard Cover Painting
    • Alt Cover Painting
    • Cloak of New Beginnings (Clasped Gauntlets Community Cloak)

Thank you so much for reading all the way here to the end!

The rest of 2019 will continue to be an amazing year for Shroud of the Avatar players! Crafting specializations (choose your effects!), Row Lots with Open Space, Grandmaster Craftsman only effects, Mannequins, more loot improvements, more expansions to the fishing system, better boss fights and more.

Join us for 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.

Sincerely,

Starr Long
aka Darkstarr
Executive Producer

 



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