Shroud of the Avatar has an innovative Selective-Multi-player system, which allows players to select the play experience they want; from a completely offline solo player mode, through a solo player online mode where you can view and contribute to the persistent world, multi-player online modes where you can select whom you explore the game with. We think this lets people play the game in a way that can feel very much like a traditional MMO, or solo player as they desire.
Here are the ways we anticipate the game can be played:
Single player offline:
This is the DRM free, completely off-line version of the game. Your character is stored on your computer and can not be used in any of the online modes.
Single Player Online (SPO)
In the SPO mode you connect to the server, receive content updates, and can see the long term changes others are having on the world. However, you are not visible on anyone else’s screen, nor for grouping, and you don’t see anyone else in the world. You can switch from SPO to FPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or overland map. Some parts of the main storyline quests may temporarily force the player into SPO mode for some parts of the quest.
Friends Play Online (FPO)
In friends play online, you only see people you have flagged as friends in the game and only they can see you. Like single player, this is just a server side filter. For those who prefer the quieter game with friends or maybe for those who prefer a more focused role playing experience, this lets you enjoy a more limited online experience. You can switch to SPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or in the overland map.
Open Play Online (OPO)
In OPO players will see everyone that the server thinks they should see. This will not necessarily be all people in the area but should be people you care the most about based on what we believe is their relevance to you.
For the most part, OPO will feel like an MMO. Lots of social interaction options with friends and other players. We are trying to distinguish ourselves from traditional MMOs only in that, unlike a normal MMO players are frequently connected directly to each other instead of all data flowing through our servers. We believe this will provide numerous advantages to both players and our service, but does differ from a traditional MMO in that the upper limit of players simultaneously on one map may be restricted.