Release 74 of Shroud of the Avatar goes live this Thursday, January 30, at 10:30 AM US Central Time (16:30 UTC). Release 74 includes lots of exciting updates including the return of Envy Angel, revamp of the Upper Tears wave battle, updates to The Clink, new tamable creatures, a new player scripted NPC Dialogue System, 8 new artifacts, and many combat balance measures. These are just SOME of the changes and additions coming in R74. Be sure to read below to find out more!
We 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. Keep the input coming, and again — thank you!
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 in the Community Events Forums. 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 74, January 30, 2020.
Story and Scenes:
- Envy Angel Returns: The envious witch has somehow managed to miss “Sequanna’s Day” yet again and now she’s especially mad! Poor Hyun the Courier did not learn from last year’s folly and once again has attempted to cut through her territory, and wouldn’t you have guessed it? She stole his letters… again! Avatars, steer FAR clear of the Necropolis Barrens. Hyun indicates she might have another trick or two up her sleeve, or she might even have a new artifact on her person. Also, don’t forget — you can aid Hyun on a daily basis even after Envy Angel departs for the season!
- Krampus Goes Dormant: Now that the dark winter is ending, Krampus sleeps once again. Beware Avatars, the naughty brats still roam the lands!
- Upper Tears Reborn: For R74, many changes occurred with the Upper Tears adventure scene to make it more balanced and enjoyable. For a full explanation about combat balancing in 2020 to include reasoning behind the redesign of Upper Tears, check out the post by Chris Spears on the forums. Here is a summary of these changes:
- Liches have always been one of the weakest creatures in the entire game in regards to risk versus reward. Their stats have been improved and more importantly, their level has been increased and more abilities have been added. High level lich mages will now push players out of melee range, and lich fighters will now pull players into melee range. Liches of melee variety can also enrage, and lich casters have several new damage type spells in their arsenal.
- The Upper Tears wave events now require a minimum time to elapse before the next new wave type spawns. Before, waves would instantly respawn if you defeated the prior wave. A new timer has been added between respawns. Early waves have an 8 second timer which will grow upwards of 15 seconds for the later more difficult waves.
- A mysterious obsidian shard of power spawns in the middle of the chamber and emanates a strong magical buff onto surrounding enemies. This stone is on a separate respawn timer causing it to appear at different times than the minion wave event spawn times.
- Two additional waves have been added at the end of the wave cycles which are more challenging. These new waves generate less experience per hour but have more desirable loot chances.
- Updates to The Clink: The famous prison under Owl’s Head is enjoying a good number of improvements to its layout in R74. Changes include improved guard dialogue, adjusted hallways, more “airlock” gate systems, a mess hall for the prisoners, and even a kitchen (complete with sewage pipe exit)! When checking out these changes, be careful how you enter. The prisoners are always rioting if you use the main entrance, but the prisoners are calm when entering through the pipe that leads to the kitchen (unlocked after acquiring Colman’s quest). There is an even chance of rioting when entering from the guard headquarters.
- When a riot is active, new “high threat” prisoners and guards will actively attack strangers, including players!
- When the prisoners are calm, security is heightened in the cell blocks. If you get too close to a guard, they’ll force you into a conversation. If you don’t have proper authorization, you might get thrown into a cell!
- Speaking of authorization, a Red Sash Forger has been seen across the bridge from young Colman. When you take on Colman’s quest, he puts in a good word with the forger on your behalf allowing you to purchase authorization papers to help you schmooze your way past the Clink guards.
- Be warned! Sneaking into the Clink through the sewage pipe is an option that helps avoid combat, but the Oracle may consider avoiding combat as having a negative impact on your Courage standings.
- The Fall: The Fall just got a LOT more dangerous! The bridge spawns were previously 5.5 minute spawns of 2 tier 6 Ebon Dawn humans. Now, the spawns will be 3.5 minute spawns of 3 tier 10 Ebon Dawn humans. Those hunting in The Fall will earn roughly 6 times more experience!
- Tartarus: If you haven’t been to Tartarus this month, you might not have noticed the decorations and spawning updates! Many tunnels, rooms, and even the maze have had fantastic layout improvements. Also, scattered around the scene are crates, tables, books, lanterns, rubble, and many props that help tell the “story” of this exciting underground labyrinth. Finally, most enemies within these caverns have better patrols and interactions with their revised environment. (Patched in during R73)
Teaser Pictures of the Episode 2 Overworld Map: List Rostov has been hard at work developing the new land mass for Episode 2. This map will patch in sometime during R74 but in the meantime, here are a handful of teaser pictures captured from Unity to wet your appetites!
New Tamable Creatures:
- Light Unicorns: Search for these elusive creatures in roaming encounters throughout New Britannia, because now they’re tameable! And don’t kill them. Really… who would kill a unicorn?
- Dark Unicorns: Even the dark-coated cousins of the Light Unicorns have become tameable! Find these rare beasts roaming within various overworld map roaming encounters.
- Nightmares: Master tamers throughout New Britannia might even be able to tame the Nightmare, if they survive the attempt!
Bard Skill Tree: Expect some bard skills coming to QA shortly with much if not all of the tree going live during R74 this month! For a hint as to what’s coming, check out the names of some of the musical skills coming our way:
- Melody of Mending
- Atonal Aria
- Mesmerizing Melody
- Anthem of Alacrity
- Concussive Canticle
- Psalm of Stagnation
- Ditty of Detection
- Savage Sonata
- Chorus of Conservation
- Rhythmic Readiness
- Chant of Charming
- Pooled XP Font Size Increase: On everyone’s skill sheets (default “K” to open), the font size of Pooled Experience was increased so newer players would notice how important this stat is. This item was suggested live during F’zol’s livestream interview with Chris — great input F’zol, thank you! (Patched in during R73)
- Polearm Ability “Reach” Tooltip: Tooltip was improved to better indicated the ability’s purpose. Great suggestion F’zol! (Patched in during R73)
- Mail System Subject Line: The character limit for subject lines in the in-game mail system has been increased from 50 characters to 125 characters.
- Drag Glyph Toggle: A new interface option was added to help prevent accidental dragging of glyphs on your combat bar. If toggled on, dragging glyphs will only be allowed while pressing either CTRL key. This new setting is off by default. (Patched in during R73)
- Ink NPC Dialogue System: As part of the SotA 2020 Vision for Q1, the first rendition of the NPC dialogue system has gone live in R74. Soon, a greater number of available NPC’s will be added to this new system with expanded conversation options!
- Initially, the Automaton Decoration Pet is the only pet available with this system. This is perhaps a bad choice on our part since it was a pledge reward NPC. No worries! Currently, anyone with the tradeable Lord Marshal reward “Automaton Decoration Pet” will be able to experiment with this new system, but other NPCs are on the way!
- An introduction and two guides are available for the Ink NPC Dialogue system, which are linked below:
- Second Ring Slot: Characters can now equip 2 rings at once! (Patched in during R73)
- Second Ring Slot/Off-Hand Item Changes: As mentioned in the Combat Balance section below, players might consider a wider variety of equipment items since there will be restrictions as to what might be equipped simultaneously.
- Fishing Book Cover Pattern: There’s a new pattern awaiting players at your local bookstores, which is certainly fine bait to attract the fishermen and ladies out there!
- Item Salvage: Players salvaging equipment items will no longer be limited to 15 at a time. Players can now batch 50 at a time to queue for salvaging. (Patched in during R73)
- Multi-colored Clockwork Dragon Heads: expect some new varieties of the metallic beasts and related trophy head… Silver, Blackened, Bronze and Gold!
- Eggs: Chickens and ducks now drop more eggs.
- Feathers: Chickens and ducks now drop more feathers.
- Pecan Nuts: Squirrels now drop more pecan nuts.
- Durability Increased for Crafted Legs: Leggings now have more durability, allowing for more chances to Enchant and Masterwork the item. Great idea F’zol! (Patched in during R73)
- Durability Increased for Crafted Rings: Rings now have more durability, allowing for more chances to Enchant and Masterwork the item. Another great idea from F’zol! (Patched in during R73)
- Grass/Tree Removers: Player-Owned-Town decoration limits are no longer affected by tree and grass removers. (Patched in during R73)
- Reagent Merchants: Reagent merchants will now sell magical reagents 10K at a time.
- New Artifacts: Additional artifacts have been added in R74 to include an armor set and a new drop for Envy Angel!
- Acara’s Plate Armor Set and Shield (drops mostly at control points)
- Quiver of Jealousy (drops from Envy Angel)
- The Tricorn Hat belonging to the skeletal Captain in Tartarus now has stats and tiers
Shroud 2020 Vision: Be sure to check out the Shroud 2020 Vision Post! Chris Spears updates the community on what we can expect from Catnip Games this year. Below are three videos where Chris Spears goes into intricate detail on each item in the vision — enjoy!
New Store Items:
- Long Chain Iron Great Hall Chandelier
- Long Chain Iron Chandelier
- Fancy Bathroom Sink
- Fancy Kitchen Sink (will patch in early R74)
- Fancy Indoor Toilet
- Fine Oak Bookshelves (Empty, Pack of 3)
- Snow Paver (Pack of 14)
Combat Balance: As part of the SotA 2020 Vision Post, Atos indicates combat balancing efforts will be a big part of changes coming to Shroud of the Avatar this year. Read what we’ve got brewing for combat balance changes and his reasoning behind it in R74 and the releases to come. Here are just a small number of the balance items addressed in R74:
- Simultaneous Use of Identical Artifacts: Coming in with R74, expect a wide range of artifacts to no longer allow simultaneous use. For instance, your character will no longer be able to use dual wands, ankhs or even rings of the exact same variety in each hand or ring slot.
- Simultaneous Use of Related Artifacts: Also expect a variety of similar artifacts to be prohibited for simultaneous use. Examples will vary, but Rings of the Frogkin will not be allowed with Rings of the Cuttlekin, and Vexlyn Wands with Wands of Undying Embers.
- Earthquake: Earthquake ability for Earth Mages had its casting time reduced if they are specialized.
- Root: This Earth Mage ability received a balance pass.
- Stone Fist: This short range ability now has a chance to stun.
Valentine’s Day Vault Round: These are some of the upcoming Vault Items available on Thursday, January 30 at 10:30 AM CT in celebration of the upcoming Valentine’s Day season, known as “Sequanna’s Day” in New Britannia:
- 2016 Cupid Heart Cloak
- 2016 Valentine Hearts Cloak
- 2016 Valentine Card 5-Pack
- 2016 Cupid Ensemble
- Double Smoke Heart Emote
- Smoke Heart Emote
- Triple Smoke Heart Emote
- Heart Tub
- Various improvements were made to server hardware this release.
Release 74 Rewards Program Items: To receive these exclusive rewards, all you need to do is be a member of the Rewards Program during Release 74 and log in to the game during Release 74.
- Heart-Shaped Footstool
- Heart Top Hat
- Heart Spear
February Login Reward:
- /breathehearts Emote: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, known as “Sequanna’s Day” in New Britannia, a new festive emote will be added to your character’s emote list for February’s login reward. Just log in during the month of February to receive this free reward!
New/Updated Player-Owned Towns:
- Bard’s Rest: Upgraded size.
- Britt Mart: Added interconnection with Novia Market.
- Jade Mountains: Transferred to new governor.
- Novia Market: Added interconnection with Britt Mart.
- Port Royal: Added new Municipality to Hidden Vale.
- Silk Road: Added new Crossroads Village near Desolis.
- Silverdale Market: Added interconnection with Bard’s Rest.
- S Mart Factorium: Moved to north of Solace Bridge.
- Stonegate: Changed governor. Changed biome to Forest 01b.
QA Testing & Incentive Program: The QA Testing Incentive Program will be returning in R75 with Ravalox at the helm! Community members provided helpful input on the forums about the status of our QA testing program. Ravalox was quick to jump in with a plan and replied promptly. Thank you to everyone!
Bugs/Fixes for R74: Albeit MANY more bug fixes went in this release and into R74, here are some of the highlights!
- Grass removed and land leveled beneath tavern in PRT Greenfall
- Savage Handle once again has a chance to break down into craftable parts when salvaged.
- Disco Ball effects will no longer create flashing squares in some situations.
- All Gauntlets of Lead variants should now be enchantable.
- Small Fancy Shed can now be placed in a player made dungeon.
- Guard waypoints in Ardoris are improved.
- Second ring slot no longer interferes with equipment changes during deck swapping.
- Players now receive a PvP warning as they transition into the PvP areas of Tartarus.
- Simone von Eglinger now exhibits an off-duty response when “Buy” dialogue option selected.
- Exiting into Savrenoc Stronghold from Tartarus now brings you to the proper location and a bad shader was fixed at that location.
- Collision boxes fixed at still in East Perennial Coast moonshine shack.
- Water-Lot conversion vouchers were fixed to match pricing of in-game deed upgrades.
- Players can no longer walk underwater in Broken Echoes Silver Mine
- Book inside of crate at Oracle Colossus can now be collected.
- One of the Ankhs in Tartarus is no longer beneath the ground.
- All players in a party can now collect the Vermillion Lens shard at Grannus Colossus.
- Captain Burnes in Highvale Outskirts no longer refers to multiple deeds when speaking to the player. Only a single deed is mentioned.
- The quest from Davropos in Necropolis Barrens to find the Mors Ex Tenebris book now has proper compass markers.
- Improvements were made to Valhold NPC conversations.
- Cugel, Simone, and Rolf’s dialogue has been improved for the Black Arrow questline.
- Compendium of Pain and Suffering (Challenge Dungeon) Teleporter can now be placed as both a house and town decoration.
- Central Brittany citizen Fred Becker’s gender has been switched to male.
- The visuals of the Braemar NPC Halmar now properly represent his homeland of Norgard. Halmar’s dialogue was also improved.
- Sir Patrick questline has been improved for better flow. No longer will players be able to retrieve the key before completing the wave battle with the automaton monkeys.
- Pets should now path correctly in the The Rise Shaft player made dungeon room.
- Lot decoration pets are now placeable in player made dungeons.
- Highvale Outskirts received a large number of improvements, especially the quest related to finding Michael’s note for Hyla/Rebecca.
- Kobold Expeditionary Camp: Players can no longer acquire the key to free Sir Patrick at the wrong time (which blocked the quest). Players currently blocked can return to this scene, free Sir Patrick again, and talk to him after he is freed to complete the scene.
- The secret room with the Page of Corporeality in Central Brittany will now magically teleport players outside that room when it reseals itself.
- In addition to the changes mentioned above, a large number of fixes have been applied to various conversations, journal entries, quest props, spawning, and/or compass markers in many scenes, including Aerie, Blood River Outskirts, Braemar, Brookside, Jaanaford, Middle Downs, Necropolis Barrens, Resolute, Soltown, and Spite!
As you can see, there are so many more exciting features and improvements coming to players of Shroud of the Avatar this year, and R74 is just the beginning! The Shroud 2020 Vision Post by Chris Spears outlines a wondrous schedule of features coming our way. If you’d like to follow a day-by-day play-by-play posting of Chris’ activities, check out the Official Catnip Games Twitter Feed to get the most up-to-date information! And just because something didn’t make it into the 2020 Vision Post, no worries! There’ll be many new features that sneak in throughout the year as each release unfolds.
Episode 2 features are in-bound which includes 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. Also, a list of helpful links is available on our New Player Welcome Forum pinned right at the top! 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.
Shroud of the Avatar Development Team