Update of the Avatar #63 – 03/07/14: Dev+ Test Results, PvP & Death Megapost, Alienware $20 Pledge Upgrade, Knight Rewards, BotA, Domesday Certificate, Black Cat, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Post-Mortem: Dev+ Party on the Baron’s Frigate
  • PvP & Death: Current Thinking Megapost
  • Knight’s Round Table
  • Founder Knight House Servant
  • Patron Domesday Certificate
  • Black Cat Pet
  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 12
  • Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade
  • Upcoming Events
  • This Week In The News
  • Only 31 Days Remain to Purchase/Upgrade/Gift Founder Pledges


Post-Mortem: Dev+ Party on the Baron’s Frigate

Last week we invited Dev+ backers to join us for a one-hour, online party on the Baron’s new frigate in Kingsport to test performance enhancements the team’s been working on since Release 3. Here’s what Chris Spears (Technical Director) had to say about the results:

Thanks to all Dev+ backers who took part in the impromptu performance test!  While performance was better, there were a number of huge finds that came up by getting real players in the game that we will be addressing before doing another performance test, likely next week!  The biggest items impacting frame rate were a bad error function that happened when one player’s network view got out of sync somehow, name plates being handled VERY poorly, footstep sounds being played far too much and in a costly manner, animations being played for things that weren’t visible, and no cap on the number torches that cast shadows!  These were all things that didn’t come up in our personal testing that quickly become horrible problems with lots of players present. We’ll get these and other issues fixed and do another test sometime in the next week or so! Thanks again!

[Check out Chris’ Performance Test Results conversation in the Dev+ forums (Dev+ forum access available to backers at the Developer Pledge level, or above).]


PvP & Death: Current Thinking Megapost

Starr Long (Executive Producer) moved the PvP conversation from the Dev+ forums (available to backers at the Developer Pledge level, or above) to the public forums (available to everyone). Only took five hours to explode into 10 pages of comments (and rapidly expanding). Never would have predicted that! ;)

Here’s an excerpt from Starr’s PvP & Death Megapost on the public forums:


Out of all the features we are planning for, PVP seems to bring with it some very passionate interest and emotion. We feel that same level of emotion, and we are as excited as you are to have fun and meaningful PVP in Shroud of the Avatar. Our goal with PVP is to balance the thrill of unpredictable encounters with the desire by a large segment of the community to feel “safe” at all times. Rest assured that no matter what we do, players who wish to avoid PVP will never be forced to participate in PVP nor will there ever be non-consensual PVP.

Some games have segregated PVP from PVE worlds (Such as UO’s Trammel and Felucca). But we feel this complete segregation makes both sides less interesting. Yet, an open “free for all” which only serves one half is exactly what the other half fears. We feel we can successfully blend these two extremes into a world where PVE players can experience the FULL game (other than the PVP they are trying to avoid), while PVP players can shift the dynamics of the game environment thus; encouraging others to contest them in PVP.

Most importantly, the proposals below are just that; proposals. They have neither been coded nor tested by you, our players. Trust that we will find a way to successfully blend these play styles. We just feel the blended answer provides a unified world with the most safety and excitement combined, and is thus worthy in our minds of exploration. The solution for this goal will involve compromise on both sides, but we are confident those compromises will be worth it. We ARE going to find a solution, and we are going to do it together

Our current thinking about this blended world, is something like this:

The foundation of PvE is a guarantee that players will be able to play against NPC opponents without being forced into combat against other players. PvP play begins with a consensual choice to engage in combat against other players (e.g. duels, guild wars, and PvP “zones”). The key, we feel, is to try and create a co-existence between the two systems that blends PvP and PvE when possible, while still maintaining the player’s choice of whether to engage in either mode. Some examples include, but are not limited to; players being offered a PvP quest to hunt down a player “criminal” (who is also flagged for PVP), PvP strongholds with objectives, and rare resources that will be available elsewhere in the world but more abundantly in PvP zones.

I would like to extend special thanks to our Developer + backers who did initial vetting and feedback of these ideas before we posted here.

Our current thinking is that PVP would happen in the following circumstances (note that there are multiple ways to participate in constant open PVP with other PVP folks)…

[Read the rest of Starr’s PvP & Death Megapost in the public forums]

Knight’s Round Table

Included in the rewards of the Knight pledge tier is this round table, an in-game decoration for your home, uniquely identifiable as Benefactor or Founder:






Founder Knight House Servant

Included in the Founder rewards of the Knight pledge tier is your very own, unique, house servant, appropriate to your stature as a Knight!

Patron Domesday Certificate

At the Patron pledge tier, your name is permanently listed in the in-game Domesday Book, pictured here in this concept art by Stephen Daniele:

You will also receive this digital, framed certificate of your inclusion in the Domesday Book, as an in-game decoration for your house.



You are hereby recognized for your inclusion
in the New Britannia Domesday Book

Black Cat Pet

Want the purrrrfect pet? Then you’ll want this cute, furry feline (available in the Add-On Store). The black cat is a non-combat pet that can stealthily pad along with you wherever you go.


For a limited time we’re offering 50% off! Reserve yours now (or send as a gift) at the Add-On Store!


Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 12

The latest installment of the serialized SotA novel, Blade of the Avatar (BotA), written by Tracy Hickman & Richard Garriott, is now available for download! If you are a Founder, or you purchased BotA in the Add-On Store, then you will find a download link for the current installment of the novel on your personal SotA account page (log into SotA website and click on “Account” in the top-right corner).  If you are a Kickstarter backer you’ll need to have your Kickstarter account linked to the SotA website (click here for instructions to link your Kickstarter account).

Here is a brief excerpt of the latest installment (illustration by Denis Loubet):

Chapter 12: The Bay of Storms

The Cypher set sail from Etceter the day after the Council had pronounced their decision. Given the size of the ship – she was a rather large ship with three masts – it was remarkable to Aren that they had managed to provision her in so short a period of time.

Aren was not, by any definition of the word, a ‘man of the sea.’ He didn’t know a belay from a barnacle, although he did recall hearing both terms while aboard the Mistral; especially the last as it had often been applied to him. Even so, he could read a map and knew enough about the world as to make reasonable estimates about distance. They had come aboard the Mistral along the coastline somewhere south of the Blackblade Range and it had taken the ship eight days to arrive at Etceter. He had seen the port in Quel on a chart in the captain’s cabin once, as well as the position of Opalis in the South Paladis. If they sailed eastward from Etceter and back along the same coast they had stayed with while coming here, it would take those same eight days to get back to the mouth of the Fang River and, given the distances involved, another three or four days to reach where the Jaana River emptied into the Bay of Storms. Then, given the overland distance into Opalis, another six days before they arrived.

As the ship slowly drew away from the dock at Etceter, Aren leaned against the rail and congratulated himself on a brilliant plan. Eighteen days, more or less, at sea and in transit to learn all he could from his captors. Eighteen days and his friend Evard Dirae would come for him. Eighteen days and then he would be free to return to his service in the Obsidian Empire, deal at last with General Karpasic, and figure out the most profitable way to be rid of this ridiculous sword.

Download your copy of the latest installment of BotA to read the rest of this exciting chapter!

Map Reveal

For your map puzzle collection:



Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon

Alienware’s powerful gaming rigs are a perfect match for Shroud of the Avatar! To show their support, Alienware is sponsoring $20 SotA Pledge Upgrade Coupons to members of their Alienware Arena community!

These coupons can be used to start a SotA pledge account (for new backers), or to add $20 to an existing pledge account. If, for example, you have a $90 Royal Artisan Pledge, you can use the Alienware coupon to bump you up to a $110 Virtual Collector Pledge.

Pretty sweet deal, right? So, hurry over to the Alienware Arena website and get your $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon now!

[NOTE: Only one Alienware Pledge Upgrade Coupon can be used per account. Coupon does not apply to Add-On Store items]

Upcoming Events

2014.03.07 – Duke & Lord of the Manor VIP Design Roundtable with Lord British and Portalarium Tour
2014.03.07 – Portalarium at SXSW
2014.03.22 – Lord of the Manor Dinner and Tour of Britannia Manor
2014.03.27 – Release 4 Access
2014.04.07 – End of One Year Founder Pledge Promotion
2014.04.18 – Duke & Lord of the Manor VIP Design Roundtable with Lord British and Portalarium Tour
2014.04.24 – Release 5 Access
2014.05.22 – Release 6 Access
2014.06.26 – Release 7 Access


This Week In the News

March 5 – MMORPG.COM: Shroud of the Avatar Interviews: How the Community is Shaping Garriott’s Ultimate RPG

March 6 – MMORPG.COM: Shroud of the Avatar Videos: Lord British Updates Us On Progress


Only 31 Days Remain to Purchase/Upgrade/Gift Founder Pledges

Until the promotion ends on April 7th, 2014, Founder backers will be able to purchase and/or gift additional Founder pledges containing all the original Founder rewards, as well as upgrade any of their pledges at original Kickstarter prices. After April 7th, prices for upgrades, gifts, and purchases will increase to Benefactor prices and no new Founder pledges can be created. Don’t miss out!

Referral Bonus for Gifted Pledges!

Early Founders who wish to act as patrons to their family, friends, guildmates, or members of the SotA community, will also continue to receive the $25 Referral Bonus for every additional pledge they purchase as a gift for others. Not only are you helping out others to become Founders, but you are also growing your own pledge account by $25 every time you do! Win-win for everyone!

Community member, The Mad Hermit, has a great video walkthru explaining all this, called “How to Become A Founder Through ‘Gifting’“.  We highly recommend you check it out!

We’ve created the Player Marketplace area in the forums to help facilitate these transactions between our community members and we ask that you keep these transactions in that section.

Hurry and take advantage of this tremendous offer as there are only 31 days remaining until the Early Founder Pledge Promotion ends on April 7, 2014.

[NOTE: Any pledge payment plans started prior to April 8, 2014 will remain in effect at the original Early Founder price until that plan is completed or cancelled. Until we automate the process, you can send a request to support@portalarium.com to have your pledges merged.]


      1. HazardHazard

        It would be nice if we can send them out on minor town errands (later on), with some sort of flag on whom they belong to. “Go fetch me a keg from Strongbeard….squire”. Or alternative Find “x” character and say the following DX “x”. Or just, “stay in your room and do not come out”. ;]

  1. Death-KnellDeath-Knell

    A “domesday” book. We are celebrating spherical enclosures now?

    Maybe a doomsday book?

      1. Drocis FondorlatosDrocis Fondorlatos

        Wow, I had no idea that’s where that came from. Why would player characters want their name in that book, exactly? :)

      2. Death-KnellDeath-Knell

        I don’t see how that relates to the game. Sure it’s merry ole england but a doomsday book still sounds better

        1. tradyblix

          In case you are unaware of the dramatic irony of your post, it is a Doomsday book.

          It’s just using the early middle english spelling convention that is all.

  2. O`SullivanO`Sullivan

    Digging the table. It’s big enough that I can pass out completely smashed on it without falling off.

  3. TheLarperTheLarper

    That is the knight servant is the higher tier ones different Like the lord and up and do u get each level one?

  4. myllerobby

    just a comment from a 38 year old player that loved ou online.
    i have bin a litle worried when i heard the talk that pvp would not be forced upon you.
    dont make the same mistake by making it a farm building game with no risk of losing your stuff
    wile hunting dungeon exploring.
    that makes it just so adictive.
    when trammel felucca can and the risk from pk’s was gone ,the game killd itself.
    pk’s were a big pain in my ass ,but they made partly the game , then the skill gaining building exploring.

    sorry for the bad englis

  5. Seon

    The tables made me want to place swords on in in a radial pattern where the tips of the blades come together in the middle :). Very well done!

  6. MalteseMaltese

    I have only managed to find two puzzle pieces (the one above and another non-border type piece).
    Where can find the others to-date? Thanks!

  7. ByTorByTor

    I’m loving the pets in the add on store! I’ve had a few friends ask me this question though: do you have to be a certain pledge level to get them (as in Founder level since that’s the tier with the first pet)?

Comments are closed.