Update of the Avatar #46 – 11/01/13: Six Month Progress Video, Story Sneak Peek, Founder Starter Shield, Fishing Pole of Prosperity and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

We have some great stuff for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

  • Six Month Progress Video
  • Story Sneak Peeks
  • Founder Adventurer Starter Shield
  • Fishing Pole of Prosperity
  • Our Final Unity Scene Jam (#4)
  • Recruit-A-Friend Promotion

Six Month Progress Video!

[Lord British Narrates the Six Month Progress Video]

It’s been a little over three months since we released our 3 Month progress video, and we’re excited to share the progress we’ve made since then. We encourage you to set your playback quality to HD, switch to full-screen, and enjoy our six month progress video, narrated by Richard “Lord British” Garriott!

Here is a time index for the main segments of the video:

  • Cities: (0:00) A tour of the scenic waterfront village of Kingsport and the larger, heavily fortified Owl’s Head (1:08). Shows the exteriors of several player houses and the types of property lots to claim for player’s homes.
  • Parade of Homes: (2:32) A look inside the Edelmenn and Viking (2:50) homes, Wizard’s Tower (3:19), Druid House (4:22), Town Tower (5:11), Lord’s House (6:12), and Lord of the Manor Keep (6:52).
  • Basements: (8:12) An exploration of the sub-levels available for housing and various sample ways to personalize them.
  • Home Decorating: (9:38) A demo of item interaction and home decoration using convenient parent/child object manipulation.
  • Conversations: (11:38) A peek into the full sentence conversation system for interacting with NPC’s.
  • Crafting: (13:13) Richard explains the phases of crafting and walks through the process of creating some items. (Chicken killing 15:06)
  • Adventuring and Combat: (15:20) A brief exploration of a prison, known as The Clink by the locals, showing off dungeon mechanics and a look at some very preliminary combat action (16:33). Some further exploration and preliminary combat in the Old Forest (17:03). Afterward, a look into some natural caverns occupied by kobolds, bears, and glowing fungi (18:42). Finally, a look at the Dragon Field (20:28)

[NOTE: Our combat system is in very, very, very early stages of development, so please understand that it will continue to evolve as it is developed, tested, redesigned, etc. We will welcome backer feedback once we’ve released the combat prototype for play-testing and are prepared to keep enhancing the design until it is fun!]

Scene Jam Week 2 Winners:

Scene Jam Week 3 Winners:

Story Sneak Peek

Welcome again traveler, to the choices you face in your future…

When last we spoke, I talked to you of the seekers of Truth and your journey among them. Now let us turn east, to the lands of the Perennial Coast.

The Perennial Coast is a land split by ties of history, family, love, and malice. Ardoris lie split by a bay and by far more. In their twin citadels to the east and west of the bay, the King of the Loving Earth and the Queen of the Compassionate Winds remain cleaved in twain, literally and figuratively. The void between the two was once bridged by the spirit of Love, which has been missing from the land. In its absence, the people grow fearful and distant; many have tried to bridge that gap but without empathy and compassion, how can those who grow apart come to any agreement?

Yet the land faces more challenges than these. The dead, never truly at peace since the Cataclysm, have risen in numbers far larger than ever before. From the Grunvald clear to the Drachvald, entire legions of the walking dead march, implacable and unforgiving. They are led by a dread lord who, furious over a defeat centuries old, is bent on restoring a long dead empire on the bones of those who dare to live. From the dead halls of Necropolis they march, unfeeling, uncaring, and unstoppable. The Perennial Coast is wounded in so many ways and perhaps this is the final expression of a land whose heart has been turned to ashen dust. For the land to be saved, you must stop the army of the dead; yet you cannot kill all that are dead, traveler. The prophecy demands a hero and the land demands wisdom. You must bridge the void of compassion and restore the ability to feel, even if only sorrow, to hearts burnt ashen cold. To do that, you will have to walk among the dead themselves, into the very heart of the pits of Malice, and into the long forgotten empires of the dead. You must become a light among the cold and desolate, where the only warmth is the fires of centuries of vengeance.

Traveler, you must bring the warmth of compassion to a people who have forgotten, else they be consumed by death itself. The choices you make will be hard and you will have only your heart to guide you. Yet, if you fail, the people of this land will fall, consumed by death itself…

Founder Adventurer Starter Shield


This Founder Shield is included as one of the basic rewards in the Founder First Responder/Adventurer pledge tier (and above). The Founder Shield is the first item to include the exclusive Founder symbol, an eclipse of the sun by the shattered moon.

The Fishing Pole of Prosperity


We’ve added something new to the Add-On Store that is completely different from our usual housing items: The Fishing Pole of Prosperity!

This unique, indestructible fishing pole increases your chance to catch fish, the quality of the fish caught and the speed they are caught. While fishing poles with similar effects can be crafted and purchased in the game, this particular fishing pole never needs repair.

Get Your Fishing Pole of Prosperity Now and save 33%!

For a limited time we’re offering a 33% discount on the Fishing Pole of Prosperity! Reserve yours at the Add-On Store!

Recruit-A-Friend Promotion & Ongoing Rewards!

The friend referral special promotion ended October 31st and we’d like to thank all of you that worked so hard to recruit new backers for SotA! Stay tuned for next week’s project update where we announce the winners! Top recruiters will earn the following:

  • The Top 5 recruiters earn a Citizen Level Pledge value added to their pledge account ($550 additional pledge value!)
  • The #1 recruiter earns a Duke Level Pledge value added to their pledge account ($5300 additional pledge value!)

But Keep Recruiting Your Friends To Earn More Rewards!

Even though the special promotion ended October 31, 2013, you can still earn some great rewards for recruiting your friends. For every single new backer you recruit that pledges at the $45 Adventure Level (or higher), you will receive a $25 recruitment bonus added to your pledge amount (* these recruitment bonuses only apply toward increasing your pledge level and do not apply toward items in the Add-On Store)! In addition to the $25 recruitment bonus you receive for every single new backer you recruit, you will also receive:

  • 1 recruit = You and every backer you recruit will receive a unique, unteachable emote! Only recruiters and recruitees will ever have this emote (we’re thinking a kind of “High Five” emote to acknowledge each other in game)
  • 5 recruits = a special, unique, hunting dog pet (available only through recruiting)
  • 10 recruits = A Darkstarr Moondial (yes, this is another chance at getting a Darkstarr Moondial)


  1. DeliverenceDeliverence

    Another great week for updates things are looking great, it amazes me how fast this is all coming together.
    Really enjoyed the video walk through of the player housing hope we get to see more of this, was also nice seeing a more detailed look of the towns.

    Now time to go add a fishing pole to my collection.

  2. RhiannonRhiannon

    FANTASTIC! It was simply amazing to see how much progress has been made in just three months! The houses are wonderful. I’m plotting out how I can convince the hubs that I really can skip a couple of car payments and get that citizen level pledge! *laughs*

    Seriously, guys. Things are looking great. The stacking and decorating features are like nothing I’ve ever seen before. HAS it been done before? Leading edge once again, Mr. Garriott.

    Looking forward to getting that Beta disk soon! Go team go!

  3. SmyrnoSmyrno

    We still have a year to launch, I’m excited to see how much more the game is going to progress. Great update!

  4. Yankee

    So i’m very disapointed. I backed this game because it sounded like a great idea and now its just a huge money grab. You sell so much stuff for a game not even nearly finished and for prices which are nothing but a joke.

    I’m out and will propably never play this thing. Sucks for the money I spent on the kickstarter, but I guess thats life.

    Get told about something. Pay for it. And then get butchered for money. I was hoping for a cool RPG and not for some facebook-money-grabbin thing like it is more and more.

    1. Duke Crachazz

      What money-grabbing? The money right now goes towards development, so kind of understandable that they try to get more? Also, Portalarium is a company, with employees, taxes and all these things… So kind of normal that they try to make profit.

      It’s not like you have to buy something to be able to compete.

  5. warslick

    This is an evil evil game. I originally pledged at just the virtual collector level. Slowly bought my way up and up as more info on the game has been presented. Now I am all the way into Lord level with basement and fishing pole bought. What sad is I am wondering if I can find a way to pay for the Baron level, making my previous basement purchase worthless.

    Keep up the good work and tempt us into upgrades.

  6. Duke Crachazz

    Awesome, but pleaaaaaase show us the Dukes home and castles for dukes and LotM soon ;)
    The tension is killing me!

    1. ChrisChris

      Sorry for the music choices. It was what I had available that fit when I was putting the video together. No worries as Richard and Starr will probably be choosing the real music which still hasn’t been settled on just yet.

      1. scottlee


        Next video you are welcome to use the music I did for your demo if new music is needed. They are not full cues, but can give you some musical variants in the production for demos if you need more resources to pull from.

        -scott lee

  7. Frozen-Monkey

    Is it only me who worries that an awful lot of time and effort seems to be being spent on housing and decorating? Of the seven parts to the update, four are directly related to this. How about some more in-depth updates to show us you are doing something more with all the funding we’ve given you than just making The Sims in a fantasy setting?

    1. strangeporkstrangepork

      i was expecting “the Sims in a fantasy setting” so im not sure what your expectations were.

      1. Frozen-Monkey

        Quote from the Kickstarter page: “Shroud of the Avatar is the “spiritual successor” to Richard’s previous work in the FRP genre. Our primary objectives are to tell a story even more compelling than Ultimas IV-VII, create a virtual world more interactive than Ultima VII, develop deep rich multi-player capabilities beyond combat akin to Ultima Online, and offer a bold new approach to integrate them with “Selective Multi-Player”.”

        I was expecting a game where you go adventuring….swords, treasure, magic, monsters, dungeons and that type of thing (exactly as the Kickstarter page suggests). Maybe even be able to group with my mates and enjoy it even more. Deep and rich world, etc, etc, etc.

        I wasn’t expecting a game where I spend my time doing something I hate doing on a Saturday afternoon in real life. I can understand how they want to try and bring more money in by selling add-ons such as player housing but pretty much the crux of every update so far has been about player housing and decorating.

        As we now have a magic fishing pole (wtf?!?!?), how long before they advertise the magic paint brush that never wears out and will be so much better than the paint brushes you can craft for painting your basement (and can only be bought through the add-on store!).

        1. MFWalterMFWalter

          You do know you don’t HAVE to buy a house and do all that stuff you hate right? It is an option to allow people to do whatever they want. You go out and have fun in your dungeons, I’ll be out there with you sometimes, but I’ll also be back in town setting up a elegant storefront to sell you all the gear you want/need for your travels.

  8. tygrontygron

    Yah hated the music as well. The concepts that are being put forth are truly awsome, I’m so glad I got into this game at the begining . The whole premise of kickstarter and community participation is inspiring to say the least, I’m so glad to see talented individuals within the public adding to the game. It will be an honor to play along side such talented people.

  9. Yankee

    It’s awesome how my comment does not show up because I said something critical. But the three comments after mine are there and full of joy.

    1. strangeporkstrangepork

      I see it just fine, maybe there was a delay. A lot of folks share your views about all these new kickstarter projects. This one doesnt concerne me (yet) because although they have added optional stuff you can buy, they havent used additional features to try to bribe you to reach pledge goals, like a lot of recent games have. “if we hit 3 million, we will add mounts!” those games never get finished because they keep adding more stuff to do, in order to get people to pledge more (cough Star Citizen cough). So far this one does not seem to have kickstarter pledge bloat, just bells and whistles. im optimistic.

  10. DermottDermott

    Great update, especially the 6 month video.

    Graphics and music I’m not too worried about as they’ll be polished as time goes on. Section by section:

    Cities: Look well laid out and of reasonable size. Can’t wait to see some variations of a theme going through the cities with different day/night effects, weather, etc.

    Houses and decorating: Personally I’m hoping for something a little different in terms of housing options because of the character concept I want to run with (the gypsy wagon), but looing good so far. The Decorating system looks top notch. Even though we don’t see anything different from the 3 month video, the basic concept goes beyond even UO in terms of how you can set up your house.

    Conversations: Looking good so far. However it seems the speech bubble lag in comparison to the chat window which is a little annoying. Hopefully this will be addressed. Also, a voice to text system if possible would make this AMAZING but might be beyond the scope of the system.

    Crafting: Looks good. The concepts are easily understood… resource(s) + tool/mold = crafted item. It’s going to be interesting to see how the resources and materials are developed. Will there be a difference in the public crafting stations vs those in player houses? Giving the Public Stations something extra may help bring people to those stations and create some of the community seen in early UO.

    Combat: Obviously will be refined. Personally I’d go for much less than having a full row of shuffling skills taking up and entire keypad. Instead consider the two main mouse buttons (Primary attack / Secondary attack or defensive move such as Parry/Evade) and maybe three or four extra keys (1, 2, 3, 4 for example) for the cycling skills/spells. These should also be limited in cycling until one is used IMO.

    Storyline: Awesome to see some info of the storylines/quests being outlined.

    Fishing Pole: I’m going to wait to see how the game flows, how fishing works, etc before making this decision.

    Overall, every update makes me want to have the game installed and dig in more and more. The openness of the Team is a welcome site compared to what seems to have become the norm in the MMOG world and you can see the difference between a passionate team who have total control vs a corporately controlled one.

    Finally for those complaining about the “money grab” aspect, it’s STILL a business, and nothing being sold is an absolute necessity. If they were selling “quest lines” or “keys” or anything that would be REQUIRED beyond the initial purchase of the game to actually complete the game, then I’d be annoyed. RIght now that isn’t happening and Portalarium DOES have the right to attempt to make as much money through various transactions as they can and we the customers of the business have the right to purchase or not purchase those addons as we see fit.

  11. Shinobuu

    I don’t know if it is just me but I got motion sickness watching the battles! I hope there’s going to be different point of view when playing the game.

  12. Landon

    I backed this game and I’m not sure if that was right.

    I’m a big fan of the Ultima Adventures, I didn’t played UO though (not enough money for games at that time in my life).

    I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed, I’m still having hope, but every video we saw which shows how awesome the buildings are and that you need to snap early a claim sounds to be me that I invested in the wrong game. The first 1/3 to 1/2 of the video was such this.

    The next part then is the giving hope part. Crafting, adventuring sounds great. I like the environment graphics, yes, there are better graphics, but I like it. (The female avatar animations were not that great, but hopefully, they cut back on housings and grok more into the adventure).

    Being in the mood I have now, I wouldn’t back this project again. It looks – as many have said, too – to much like a money grap. That is soo sad, because all the Ultima Games were sooooo great, my favs were Ultima 7 (all parts, incl. the expansions) and Ultima Underworld II.

    1. Selat

      I must say, Shroud of the Avatar keeps a positive path. I put my coins here, not some fortune, but a viable contribution for my range.

      The period of craft and house are well deserved, the customization of the house is amazing, my interest for the next steps are high, Shroud is so recent, and already show a lot.

      Now try some free MMO examples? a horse requires a lot of points, just to change the texture of the model, and get a horrific solid result. Every single detail available to buy, thousands of points, a load of costs.. even the attributes, all for sell, players pay to win.

      After see this, i give up of the model “free 2 play.”

      Keep your optimism :)

      Sorry my english.

  13. NamodiasNamodias

    Housing looks awesome and i am very pleased with the idea of the basement additions! Keep the awesome ideas coming. :)

  14. timedilation

    Real worried about where this game is heading. I’ve invested quite a bit in this project, only to learn how integral of a part housing will play. The ENTIRE first half of video was dedicated to housing. Update after update has been about housing. The add-on store which has more than quadrupled in size is again mostly about housing.

    Meanwhile, housing is a feature expected to be available to an estimated 20% of players who can afford it.

    Something is just not right here. Either the public perception came across totally wrong in the video or the intentions of SotA team might not be as noble as I thought. Some of those houses cost thousands of dollars and were being advertised like nobody’s business!

    I haven’t quite made up my mind yet on what to think but my suspicion has surely been raised. I will be watching closely to see if devs will focus on making the game that MOST will enjoy rather than design the game mainly for those with deep pockets…

  15. Dread Lord RilDread Lord Ril

    The focus on housing throughout recent updates is most likely a direct result of the surge of pledges/upgrades received from the community in response. Houses are available for in-game currency as well, although the sheer number of backers may affect availability and that is disappointing. I pledged at the level I did for the rewards I wanted vs. the cost, period. It wasn’t necessary for me to purchase everything they offered as it should all be available and can be acquired via other means than cash.

    I was, however, disappointed when they started to allow payment pledges because I paid mine in full and was considering whether the investment to the next tier I wanted would be worth the $1,000 I worked and saved for it. Now the Baron tier is being overpopulated by people paying the equivalent of a grocery bill for a year and making it more expensive to anyone else who wanted it regardless of when or how much they pledged prior to the payment plans. It has lost any prestige it formerly carried and I feel sorry for those who parted with the money early on to support development thinking it would be a reflection of their status.

    Anyone with $3k (or any amount in the upper tiers) to drop at once DESERVES to be in an elite group, if for no other reason than the confidence and risk they took by investing that much money into a video game at a time when very little was known about it. Why should a Knight that spent $750-$800 of expendable income be further down the housing queue because a layaway Lord spends $100 of his Burger King paycheck every month? By not setting a maximum attainable tier via payments anything past Citizen or Knight has been sold to the highest bidder instead of to those who should be respected for the investment and sacrifice they made.

    1. Dread Lord RilDread Lord Ril

      As a veteran UO player I had full confidence Mr. Garriott and team would provide a game offering as much to the crafter as it did the adventurer as it did the merchant. Yes I was essentially hoping for the game that UO Third Dawn tried (and failed) to be, an updated and upgraded version of the game mechanics and interactions I fell in love with all those years ago. I know this isn’t UO, but I invested in SotA in the hopes that it would carry the same soul and offer what no game since has been able to; a balanced world with intelligent housing and a place for everyone regardless of who they are or what they do. I fear that the doomsayers are correct and a cash grab has begun, for those that sowed the seeds cannot reap their true reward if the fruits of their labor can be bought anywhere by everyone.

      My first house was a small tower in Fel (no Tram then) and after playing 10 years later it remained my favorite residence because it reflected who I was and what I had when I started. I had a castle, several large towers, and a keep or two at different times, all of which I earned through dedication, education, and negotiation. My point is, the value of my homes increased as my status did and they remained a reflection of that to the rest of the game world. Castles/Keeps were so prestigious only because of the limited availability to place them, a rarity obtained only by the truly dedicated and deserving player, envied even by those who could afford them.

  16. Yael

    While I like seeing a game where you can have proper player housing, I am rather worried about its extent. It feels like the cities/towns might end uptoo sparse to feel like cities. E.g. I haven’t seen any area, where houses are tightly packed to the point where you can just barely discern the boundary between two houses, as typically seen in old-town areas. Inside fortifications a garden simply feels wrong to me (except as an inner courtyard of a mansion).

  17. reanorreanor

    Will crafting have any animations?
    Game kinda looks very old school. I am not sure if this was original intention or not, but yeah. Looks very old style and character models movements are pretty old school. I hope that animations will be improved and added.

    1. FireLotusFireLotus

      Animations are still a bit backlogged and being added and tweaked daily. It’s pretty safe to consider all animations (or lack thereof) to be be placeholders to some degree.

  18. Sir SabbathiusSir Sabbathius


    Things are moving along well.

    I have a question.

    I’m an American Living overseas. I was a alfa tester for UO and became many things in my time in that world, Companion, Seer, creator of some storylines…
    I currently do some seerish type stuff on a free shard UOF. And doing a bit of Alfa/beta testing for a few games.

    I have moved to China/Hong Kong to set up my design studio. I have a huge SAR group of gamers
    But it seems not to many games care about the Billions of potential customers here.
    In my gaming group we have over 2500 gamers.

    Will you be setting up any servers for us here? I have a few good Gaming company contact if needed.

    And will you be extending Alfa/Beta to us here? I have waited for a long time and have not seen a word of response to my Alfa/Beta Request/Honor. =]

    Keep up the good work.

    Hope to hear from you soon.


  19. LRod

    I’m starting to get worried, too. I don’t care for housing at all, I backed this game because of the promise on telling a story “even more compelling than Ultimas IV-VII”. While I like that the story seems to have ties to old Britannia, everything else is just about houses, houses, houses.

    I don’t believe that the whole team spends 90% of their time on houses but the updates surely make it look like that is the main focus right now…

    1. FireLotusFireLotus

      There is SO much more story then is revealed in our Weekly Updates. Tracy and Richard have woven a magnificent tale! We are just trying to keep in as “spooler free” as possible for you guys, and thus are only revealing little snippets of the story. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! :)

      1. LRod

        Thanks for your reply. I enjoyed having my own house in UO as well, but it was not the reason I played UO. Therefore I’m glad to hear that you seem to have put a lot of effort into the story.

        I’ve recently started replaying the old Ultimas (made it through VII 1 and 2, VIII and am halfway through IV and Underworld I). Playing those games made me back this project and I’d be thrilled if SotA can keep up the high level of this series.

        By the way, part of what made most of the Ultimas so great was revisiting Britannia in each game and seeing what had changed since the last game. While I know that this is no Ultima, it’d be nice if you can at least manage to make it feel a bit like Britannia 400 years after part IX.

  20. Miracle DragonMiracle Dragon

    Looking good! I have faith in your dedication and talent, but it’s always nice to feel a part of the process, and be able to share the awesome progress with my friends. Knowing how popular fishing was in UO, it’s pleasant to see that you’re putting some early effort into making fishing a fun, integral part of the game.

    However, I really really hate seeing in-game items with unobtainable in-game abilities for sale in your store for real money. That’s not the kind of game I signed up for. Now without even having played the game, it seems people who forked up the cash can have a house with a dock; and sit safely in their homes fishing, collecting unlimited amounts of an edible and profitable resource – without ever risking anything out in the world. That’s not the Britannia I remember. Perhaps this needs clarification?

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