Update of the Avatar #66 – 03/28/14: Play Release 4 Now!, Star Citizen Crossbow, Greyhound Pet, Rustic Village Home, BotA, Alienware Promotion, 1-Year Events, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Come Play Release 4 Now!
  • SotA’s One-Year Anniversary Events
  • Star Citizen Crossbow and Vanduul Polearm
  • Expert Crafting Stations
  • Brindle Greyhound Pet
  • Rustic 3-Story Village Home
  • Town and City Lot Homes
  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 15
  • Alienware R5 Weekend Access Keys and $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupons
  • Upcoming Events
  • This Week In The News
  • Only 10 Days Remain to Purchase/Upgrade/Gift Founder Pledges

Come Play Release 4 Now!


Release 4 successfully launched yesterday, March 27, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, logging in, and exploring the new content!

In this release we’ve added the first iteration of our combat system (auto swing with equipped weapon), the Overworld Map navigation system, 10 scenes to explore (including towns, wilderness, caves, and dungeons), quests, loot, resource gathering for crafting (and more recipes), player housing in multiplayer mode, swimming, Mac/Linux patching, and multiplayer performance enhancements!

The initial players helped us uncover some important bugs so we published a new patch yesterday and another patch today with the following fixes:

PC-v85; Mac-v10; Linux-v12

  • Overworld now picks better paths based on tile types
  • Red Sash Quest now works: Added new red sashes back to Enmar’s quest, Laurent’s merchant bundle, and the Red Sash loot bundle.
  • Replaced old Skeleton Models with New Skeleton Models
  • Added wand, staff 10% drop to skeletal mages
  • Players should now land facing away from exit points 
  • Cleaned up some performance issues caused by lighting gone crazy
  • Sped up combat by halving cool down for Avatar attacks (from 2.0->1.0)
  • Fixed some decoration items that were unable to be moved once placed
  • Female avatar can now rotate in character creation
  • NPC text barks should now appear again. 
  • Increased cool down on Skeletal Mage attack (they were a bit too hard)
  • Reduced hitpoints on all mages (they were a bit too hard)
  • Fixed sorting issues with using a wand or staff when offhand item (shield, torch, etc.) is equipped
  • No longer able to see edge of map in the water from Baron’s Frigate in Kingsport

PC-v86; Mac-v11; Linux-v13

  • Entering a hex will now put you in an instance tied to that specific hex on the map versus sorting everyone into the same scene. In other words there will now be multiple instances of the forests, not just one.
  • Entry and exit points for the clink should now work correctly
  • Lich now does damage (and lots of it)
  • Added sounds to some weapons and visual effects
  • Adding a few more music triggers in various locations
  • Humanoids (Satyrs, Skeletons, and Elves now 10% harder)
  • Fixed issue that was causing players to fall through the ground when destroying crates & barrels
  • Disabled flickering light script that was displaying incorrectly
  • Fixed Ore and Cotton Nodes in Forest
  • Fix sliding for female characters
  • Fixed incorrect text on ore nodes (said “Harvest Wood” instead of “Harvest Ore”)
  • Fixed ruins in forest LODs that was popping
  • Fixed issue that was trapping players in Owls Nest (aka Red Sash Bandits)
  • Lich loot revisited
  • LOTS of music changes. Braemar is where the bards are…
  • Memory work for Braemar and beyond
  • Trees cleared from player lots should now also clear their collisions
  • Myron properly flags when the player finishes his dialog. Myra only gives the player one key.
  • NPCs no longer announce “excuse me” bump style barks when they are colliding with other NPCs, or when they are dead.
  • Slash commands for party invite/uninivite
  • Text directed to NPCs does not broadcast to the entire zone. And there was much rejoicing.
  • You can no longer see edge of map in the water from Baron’s Frigate / Galleon
  • NOTE: Player lots in Owlshead were reset with this patch

We need all your help with testing the new patches, putting more stress on our multiplayer servers, and testing the new game content, so please join us in playing Release 4.

[Note: This early release contains both multiplayer and single player online mode. Release 4 access will end on Sunday, March 30, at 10:00 PM Central Time]

Hurry and join us in playing Shroud of the Avatar while Release 4 access is open! If you have not backed the game yet, you will need to register and login at www.shroudoftheavatar.com, select the “Pledge or Send Gift!” button in the right side-bar, and purchase a pledge at the $45 Adventurer level or above. For a limited time, you can get the Adventurer pledge for only $25 with the Alienware Pledge Upgrade Coupon (see details below).

(click here for more complete instructions on downloading and playing Release 4)


Get Ready for SotA’s One-Year Anniversary Events

Our 1-Year Anniversary events kick off in just 3 short days! It has been an amazing year with an amazing community! In celebration, we are planning the following events, so be sure and mark your calendars:

  • One-Hour Daily Developer Hangouts from March 31st thru April 6th
  • Noon to Midnight Video Hangout Telethon on April 7th
  • Allow Backer Access to SotA Release 4.x from Morning to Midnight on April 7th
  • Assorted free prizes to be given away during the final week, including:

    • April 7th Drawing for one (1) Alienware Gaming Laptop
    • April 7th Drawing for one (1) trip to Austin, Texas for a tour of the Portalarium Studios and some design brainstorming with the SotA Dev Team (flight & 1 night hotel expenses covered)
    • Ten (10) Founder Adventure Pledges given away during each daily hangout
    • Ten (10) Weekend Access Passes to Release 5 given away during each daily hangout

All New Britannians are eligible for the drawings, no pledge or purchase required, just make sure you are registered on the Shroud of the Avatar website.

Star Citizen Crossbow and Vanduul Polearm

Our friends over at Star Citizen posted an update yesterday about the SotA crossbow promotion for backers of both games. Here’s an excerpt:

Last year, we promised that every Citizen who backed Richard Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar crowd funded project would receive a SotA-inspired crossbow weapon for use in Star Citizen’s FPS mode. The Shroud of the Avatar team similarly promised a unique Star Citizen artifact would appear for early backers in their game. The SotA team recently revealed their Vanduul Polearm, based on our Vanduul warrior concept art (pictured below.)

That’s not all: we would like to confirm that the Star Citizen Crossbow is still in the works, and it will make its appearance when an appropriate Star Citizen module launches. For now, you can enjoy your very first look at our current WIP model of the weapon, plus the bolt and ammo box!




Due to the popularity of this cross-promotion, we are continuing it past the April 7th deadline. We’ve added the Vanduul Polearm to both the Benefactor and Founder rewards of the Immortal Adventurer pledge level, each identifiable by their unique symbols:


Knight and Lord Expert Crafting Stations

These unique, expert level crafting stations are available as Founder rewards at the Knight pledge level (1 station) and Lord pledge level (2 stations), uniquely identifiable as Founder crafting stations. Here are two examples of the Founder expert crafting stations:




Brindle Greyhound

Brindle Greyhounds are quiet, gentle, loving, and loyal, enjoying the company of their humans and other pets. The brindle greyhound is a non-combat pet that can follow you wherever you go (available in the Add-On Store) .


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

Rustic 3-Story Village Home

For those that prefer the rustic look, we’ve added this spacious, 3-story, 4-room, 2-entrance, village home to the Add-On Store (Does this look familier? It is also used as an inn in Braemar):












Get Your Rustic 3-Story Village Home Now for 50% off!

For a limited time we’re offering 50% off the Rustic 3-Story Village Home!  Reserve yours (or send as a gift) at the Add-On Store!

Town and City Lot Homes

The Property Deeds in the Add-On Store now show the actual homes that are included with the deeds (you may recognize the Town Home as one of the NPC homes in Owl’s Head, and the City Home as an inn in Owl’s Head):

Town Lot (30 x 40 meters) includes the Wood & Plaster 2-Story Town Home


City Lot (40 x 60 meters) includes the Wood & Plaster 3-Story City Home SotA_City_LotIf you purchase your Property Deed through the Add-On Store, you will have lot placement priority over everyone else that waits until SotA launches before they purchase a property deed.

Property Deeds purchased through the Add-On Store will have an in game currency tax that must be paid monthly or the lot reverts to being for sale and the Lot Deed is returned to the owner. Backers at Citizen level and above receive a tax exempt Lot Deed. All lot deeds are transferable between players. Refer to the FAQ for lot placement priority.

Blade of the Avatar Novel

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 15: Innocents

“Six days I’ve been here,” Aren frowned. “Six of the most miserable days of my life.”

The late afternoon sun had just dropped below the western horizon, casting beautiful, soft shadows among the buildings of Opalis under its afterglow. Laughter sparkled through the air as groups of shop owners and craftsmen, some with the lamps already lit in the windows of their homes above, went about the work of closing for the day. Vendors, whose business time was only just beginning, were wheeling their carts to and fro along the great curve of the Muse Way – that great circular avenue that carried the carts and citizens around the outer ring of the city – each looking for their favorite place from which to sell their prepared foods and art.

“The most miserable days of your life?” Syenna rolled her eyes as she popped another small, steamed dumpling in her mouth from the greenleaf basket in her hand. She managed to talk around it as they strolled past the Fields Gate in the direction of Elders Hall. “I’ve watched you march through the mud in the rain, try to set up your tent in the midst of a blizzard so strong that it might have blown your horse away, and even watched you make your way across parched land where the only standing water would kill you from the smell alone. Now you’re trying to tell me that you’re miserable here?”
Aren looked balefully about at the gentle evening settling over the streets of Opalis.

“Very well then, Captain Bennis,” Syenna said, turning angrily toward her charge. “What is so terrible about your life here in Opalis?”

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 1000 Release 5 Weekend Access Keys

Every week for four weeks, starting March 24th, 250 members of the Alienware Arena Shroud of the Avatar Group will receive Weekend Access Keys to SotA Release 5, scheduled for April 24-27.

Access Key Giveaway Periods (does not reflect game availability dates):

  • March 24 – 30 (completed)
  • March 31 – April 6
  • April 7 – 13
  • April 14 – 20

250 members of the Alienware Arena Shroud of the Avatar Group will be able to gain weekend access to SotA’s Release 5 during each giveaway period. For more details, jump on over to the Alieware Arena site and make sure you’re registered in their Shroud of the Avatar Group!

[Note: Weekend Access Keys are non-transferable and primarily for use by non-backers to check out the game; Make sure that your SotA account uses the same email address as your Alienware Arena account in order to utilize the Weekend Access Keys]

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

2014.03.27 – Release 4 Weekend Access
2014.03.31 – Beginning of SotA’s One-Year Anniversary Events
2014.04.07 – SotA’s One-Year Anniversary Telethon
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
2014.08.29 – SotA at Dragoncon


This Week In the News

March 23 – CrowdfundingCode.TV Episode1: Richard Garriott, Founder of Shroud of the Avatar

March 27 – Massively: Shroud of the Avatar’s Release 4 starts today, combat added

2014.03.27 – MMORPG AMA with Richard Garriott



Only 10 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 10 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. Blood0menBlood0men

    Like the Rustic home, dont care for the Greyhounds eyes tho; look a Lil weird; other then that Great update on some upcoming info.

  2. Jonathan Harbour

    I’m frankly tired of these update emails which have been going on for a year now with trickle changes to the game. Please just finish the game and stop it with the massive PR campaign and post a notice when it’s a fully playable “beta” (note: the “betas” up to this point have been “alphas”).

  3. bastien454bastien454

    Maybe i missed something, and dont get me wrong the crossbow looks cool but it also looks like a weapon from call of duty modern warfare. Not a renaissance period weapon.

    Great release though, had a lot of fun!

    1. DarkStarrDarkStarr

      The crossbow is for use in Star Citizen so it is supposed to look futuristic/modern, not historical.

  4. MaharetteMaharette

    The rustic house is very nice, same as the crafters advanced, but yes the crossbow looks more like neocron or call of duty.

    But i still say i am impressed about Sota i cant wait its release.

  5. Kalorexoc

    Iolo! my old friend!
    Anyways, I know this game is still very early, but i am very excited about it! I hopped on board about 2 weeks ago, and am loving it. Yes I know it is still very early in production (guy please keep this in mind before berating the game) BUT it has MORE potential than any other MMORPG out there, because it is being created by the Best! Lord British himself!

    I loved the Ultima series! especially Ultima 7 pt 1 and pt 2. and Ultima 4. Richard Garriott is no new comer to RPGs and Id argue forever that he knows his stuff more than any developer out there, especially in-terms of what players like us want!

    With that in-mind, and his crew included that heinous Blackthorn (Starr Long) working on a new Ultim….MMORPG, I feel that we are all in for one hell of a good game once it is finished!

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