Update of the Avatar #48 – 11/15/13: Scene Jam & Recruit-A-Friend Winners, Skills Design, Windmill Home, Basements, Taming Turkey Call, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

We have another fun-filled edition of Update of the Avatar:

  • Unity Scene Jam Grand Prize Winners
  • Recruit-A-Friend Winners
  • Story Sneak Peek #6 & Map Reveal
  • Magic, Combat, and Crafting Skills Design
  • Thanksgiving Specials: Taming Turkey Call & Cornucopia
  • Windmill Village Home
  • Village Mine Basements
  • Movember: Shroud of the Mustache

Unity Scene Jam Grand Prize Winners!


[Chris Spears narrates a walk-thru of the Scene Jam Grand Prize Winner]

We had our work cut out for us this week determining the Grand Prize winner of the Challenge of the Avatar: Unity Scene Jams! The entire SotA dev team was involved in deciding which of the four 1st Place Scene Jam winners would take home the Grand Prize. It was a very close call between Scene Jam II winners, Justin and Kevin Eslinger, and Scene Jam III winners, Petur Agust and Bill Lowe. In the final analysis, the Scene Jam II winning submission by the Eslinger brothers edged out the Scene Jam III winning submission by Petur and Bill, making Justin and Kevin Eslinger our Challenge of the Avatar Grand Prize Winners!

The Eslinger brothers submitted scenes in all four of the Scene Jams, taking 1st place in Scene Jam II and Scene Jam IV! Their originality, attention to detail, high level of polish, and extensive participation in all four events advanced them to the head of the pack!

Congratulations Justin and Kevin! Your Grand Prize rewards include:

  • Shroud of the Avatar DUKE Level Pledge
  • Unity Pro 4 license
  • UnityVS license
  • Occulus Rift Dev Kit
  • Shroud of the Avatar T-shirt signed by the dev team

Recruit-A-Friend Winners

We had great participation with our Recruit-A-Friend Promotion that ran thru October 31st! Thanks to everyone’s recruiting efforts, hundreds of new recruits have joined the ranks of backers supporting Shroud of the Avatar!

And the #1 Recruiter, earning a Duke Level Pledge, is Sargon! Congratulations Sargon, and thank you for your extensive recruiting efforts!

The Top 5 Runner-up Recruiters earning a Citizen Level Pledge are:

Congratulations to all our winners, and a heartfelt thanks to everyone’s recruiting efforts that helped bring hundreds of new backers to our community!

Story Sneak Peek #6 and Map Reveal

Welcome again, traveller, to the journey that you will soon take…

We have talked earlier of the pathways that you are destined to walk, mirroring the virtues that our land has forsaken… truth, love, and courage… yet once you unwind those threads, all the strands of your destiny will lead you inexorably to the city of Brittany.
Brittany, the City State of the Oracle, is the crown jewel of Novia, its largest city by far. While much of Novia still struggles to survive each day, Brittany is a land of majesty, truly a city apart. Surrounded by farms sufficient to feed its large number of inhabitants, with water flowing easily through a wondrous array of aqueducts, canals and reservoirs. The Dam of Regalis, one of the wonders of this world, can be found here as well, harnessing the elemental power of the dammed up river into etheric energy, used by the city for so much. The people of Brittany walk at night under lights man-made, brighter than the moon. A large central energy tower is here as well, using an immense etheric surge to protect the people of Brittany invisibly from the forces ravaging much of Novia.

At the center of Brittany, its keystone; the Great Hall of the Oracle. What lies within its gates and barriers, few know. The Eyes patrol the perimeter, and they do not speak, only watch. Yet here you must go, traveller; the prophecies have foreseen the path and its destination. The Oracle herself no one has spoken to directly, outside the Affirmation Chambers, yet she is the one you must meet. No one has entered the Oracle’s domain in many generations, yet you must. And what lies beyond that meeting, the prophecy is silent on, save that the world will be forever changed.

Lord British is known to the people of Brittany, though his influence has not been felt outside its gates for many an age. Though of late he is more often to be found in the lands beyond Novia, elsewhere in this sundered world in lands still suffering from the Cataclysm’s fall, still his words and advice ring true to many. Though the virtues may be foreign to many, they do know of the traveller beyond this world, and you may find, paradoxically, an easier passage here than elsewhere because of it. Yet the virtues he espouse… those, I fear, have been forsaken of late.

You may ask what relationship Lord British has with the Oracle. It is one many ask, and this is one question I cannot answer for you. Surely it is no coincidence that the rule of the Oracle, indirect as it may be, has brought peace, of a sort, to much of Novia. Yet, Novia’s peace is fraying at the edges, and soon the chaos may envelop even fair Brittany. And if Brittany’s light goes out, there is little hope for anyone here in Novia.

As for me, my name is Arabella, and if you come to Brittany, you may see me again. But for now, I must prepare you for your first destination…


Magic, Combat, and Crafting Skills Design

Executive Producer Starr Long shared the dev teams design notes for the Magic, Combat, and Crafting skills in a comprehensive public forum post earlier this week. Here is a brief excerpt from that post:

As we have described previously we want Shroud of the Avatar to be a classless system that allows players to define and play any role they choose. We also want a clear path for growth and specialization while also maintaining opportunities for competition and cooperation. This is our current thinking on how to accomplish those goals. Remember this is just current thinking and we will probably change many of these details. Note that we use the term “skill” to cover all player abilities including spells, combat moves, etc.

NOTE: This post is not going to delve into our combat system but we will be posting more information about that soon.

There are 3 Base Stats: Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence that work as you would expect. There are 3 Calculated Stats: Health, Defense, and Focus (aka Mana).

Players gain two kinds of experience (Crafting and Adventuring) based on the kind of activities they are doing. Players level up in either Crafting or Adventuring at certain experience point totals. When players level up they get skill points and increases to their stats. The players can use those skill points to learn skills from a trainer. There are no classes so players can spend skill points on any kind of skill as long as they meet the prerequisites (almost always a preceding skill in a tree).

Skills System:
There are Active Skills (yellow) and Innate Skills (white). Active skills are used by the player during combat to produce a desired effect (fireball, heal, parry, etc.). Innate Skills are on all the time and increase the effects (power, range, etc.) of all skills in the school. Adding skill points to an Innate Skill increases the effect of that innate skill. This has the knock off effect of eliminating the need to pump Active Skills. Adding skill points to Active Skills increases the number of copies of that skill the player has therefore increasing the frequency that skill will appear during combat. There are “hidden” Active Skills that can only be used by doing combos with skills during combat.

Damage Types:
There are 6 damage types (with corresponding resistances)

  • Physical: Armor provides most protection against. Weapons, Poison, etc.
  • Magical: Tends to ignore armor. Encompasses magical damage not covered by an elemental type
  • Electrical: Stuns targets. Lightning, static charges, etc.
  • Cold: Slows targets. Ice, Snow, etc.
  • Heat: Does damage over time. Fire, Radiant energy (like the sun), etc.
  • Chaotic: Impossible to resist

The post then goes into great detail on the various Schools and Skills, including:

  • Magic Schools: Life, Death, Sun, Moon, Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Chaos and combos.
  • Combat Schools: Blades, Polearms, Bludgeons, and Ranged
  • Defensive Schools: Light Armor, Medium Armor, Heavy Armor, and Shields.
  • Crafting System: Recipes, Gathering, Refining, Production

Head on over to the public forums to read the entire post and share your feedback!

Thanksgiving Specials: Taming Turkey Call & Cornucopia

Taming Turkey Call

Need a turkey for your Thanksgiving feast, or maybe you’ve always wanted your very own pet turkey? Then you need the Taming Turkey Call! This unique indestructible item can be used to call a Turkey which is then automatically tamed. While items with similar effects can be crafted and purchased in the game this particular call never needs repair. Reserve your Taming Turkey Call in the Add-On Store now at a 33% discount!



No holiday table would be complete without its own cornucopia centerpiece! But it is more than just an attractive table decoration, this Horn of Plenty generates a random edible item or ingredient per day (food, fruit, berries, mushrooms, flour, egg, etc.). During the Fall and holiday seasons there is a percentage chance of other kinds of items being generated. Reserve your Cornucopia in the Add-On Store now at a 33% discount!


Windmill Village Home

Ever wanted to live in a Windmill? Well here’s your chance! Bob Cooksey and Michael Hutchison have designed this 2-story Windmill Village Home, with a comfortably sized room on each floor and an external stairway leading to a wrap-around deck on the second level. And yes, the windmill blades actually spin!








Get Your Windmill Village Home Now and save 50%!

For a limited time we’re offering a 50% discount on the Windmill Village Home! Reserve yours at the Add-On Store!

Village Mine Basements

Bill Kirkman has crafted some new basements, stylized as mines. Here is a view of his Village Mine Basement (available at a 25% discount in the Add-On Store), sitting beneath an Edelmann home on a village lot, followed by a few interior images with sample decorations:






Last Week to get 2, 3, or 4 story Stone & Timber Basements

If you want a 2, 3, or 4-story Stone & Timber Split-Level Basement then you better hurry, because they will only be available in the Add-On Store until November 22, 2013. The 5-story Stone & Timber basement will still be available.

Movember: Shroud of the Mustache

We’ve made it halfway through Movember month and it’s time for an updated picture of our Movember team members:

Please join us and support a great cause!

Even some of our SotA characters are getting in on the Movember action:

The Movember Effect

Globally, the funds raised by our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas support world-class men’s health programs that combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges. These programs, directed by the Movember Foundation, are focused on awareness and education, living with and beyond cancer, staying mentally healthy, living with and beyond mental illness and research to achieve our vision of an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health.


  1. VengerVenger

    Very cool, but I hope these items are truly limited and we won’t see the same things used next holiday season. The more unique items in the game, the better, imo.

  2. Duke Crachazz

    boah, how about finally showing the dukes homes too? It’s like we’re at the bottom of the food chain, everybody else saw theirs already? :(

    1. DarkStarrDarkStarr

      We are working on the Dukes’s house next (after Knight Benefactor). Our goal is to have it ready in December.

  3. KoldarKoldar

    Congratulations to the winners!

    Have you guys worked out any mechanics on taming yet? Can one have multiple animals tamed at the same time? For instance, once I tame my turkey, what will happen to my pet eagle that I tamed last week?

    The windmill looks great!

    1. DarkStarrDarkStarr

      Taming is still being designed but here’s the rough outline:
      – Taming a creature requires a Taming Collar (made by Tailors).
      – Taming Collar Quality influences Taming Chance.
      – Taming Collars can be enchanted by Alchemists to improve their taming ability.
      – Taming chance is calculated based on Creature Difficulty (Lions=hard), Collar Quality, Collar Enchantment, Forestry Skill, Gathering Quality Skill, Creature Health.
      – Taming is done by using a Taming Collar on a creature*

      *WARNING: Taming collar manufacturers do not insure the safety of tamers when trying to tame dangerous creatures. :)

  4. danceswithstaplers

    Wow, all the skill trees are really deep! I know you said the names are just placeholders but they actually sound just fine as they are.

  5. KeldrinKeldrin

    Not sure where to point this out.
    In the add-on store
    Both the wizard tower village home and the new Windmill village home say this

    (NOTE: You will need a Village, Town, or City Level Property to place the Tower Village home in-game. Citizen Level pledges and higher will still receive the home included in their rewards if they purchase the Wizard Tower home as an add-on)
    The Wizard Tower, isn’t a Tower Village home.
    The Windmill isn’t a Tower Village home or a Wizard Tower home.

  6. Selat

    i hope see some options about resolution, ambiente occlusion, anti-aliasing, stencil shadow, hdr for bloom, etc, etc.

    some interiors and exteriors have a steril visual, even the normal map is difficult to see, without some specular map and so on.

    a little love for the GPU enthusiasts. ;)

  7. VengerVenger

    Does the Windmill actually DO anything? What’s the purpose of the “mill”? Shouldn’t it be doing more than just looking like a windmill?

    Please say yes and insert functionality here:

      1. KeldrinKeldrin

        or maybe pumps water? That wouldn’t be anything effecting game play, but would give the windmill some kind of purpose.

        1. KeldrinKeldrin

          Yes, if I had a windmill that allowed running water, I would make fun of the people in the castles, saying how can you call that luxury? you don’t even have running water!

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