Greetings Fellow Avatars!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
- Only 6 Days Until Release 6!
- Plantronics Partnership
- Lord Town Homes
- Royal Founder Rewards
- New Dev Team Member: Alyssa Reuter, Technical Artist
- Richard Garriott’s DND #1 Contest Update
- Barn 2-Story Village Home
- Upcoming Duke and Lord of the Manor Events
- HoBLotH II: Legends of the Hearth
- Only 3 BotA Chapters Left!
- Alienware $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupons
- Upcoming Events
Only 6 Days Until Release 6!
The dev team is burning the midnight oil getting Release 6 ready for launch in just 6 short days! Next Wednesday you’ll receive the full Release 6 Instructions, but if you want a reminder of what is included in Release 6, check out Starr’s forum post about it.
We really hope you join us in playing Shroud of the Avatar Release 6! 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 when combined with the Alienware Pledge Upgrade Coupon (see details below).
We are happy to announce that Shroud of the Avatar will be a featured game at the Plantronics booth at E3. We want the audio landscape of SotA to be as immersive as the visual landscape and Plantronics is a great partner for us to work with on achieving that goal. During our one year anniversary promotions you may have noticed that some of the prizes we were giving out were Plantronics headsets and at that time we hinted about more to come, like this, from that partnership. Richard Garriott, Starr Long, and Finn Staber will be representing the game at the Plantronics booth in the South Hall at booth 515 so if you are at the show come see us!
If you’re a fan of Plantronics Gaming Headsets (like we are), then check out their Plantronics Gaming Facebook page, and if you like what you see then give them a “Like”!
Lord Town Homes
This week we’re introducing the new Benefactor Lord Town Home and the remodeled Founder Lord Town Home, shown here side-by-side:
Founder Lord Town Home
The revised Founder Lord Town Home (included in the Lord pledge tier) is comprised of 3 floors with 5 rooms (including a secret room), a second floor side deck, and a large rear deck on the third floor with a balcony wrapping around the front and sides of the house.
Based on feedback from our Lord backers, Bob Cooksey and Michael Hutchison did some major remodeling to the original Founder Lord Town Home, including:
- Entire home was scaled up 10%-12%
- A closet was added underneath the stairwell on first floor
- Crenelations on the 2nd story, side turret balconies were lowered for better visibility
- Staircase on second floor moved to middle of floor
- The second floor was enlarged by expanding the space under the rear roof deck
- Two rooms were added to the third floor
- A small secret room was added
- The size of the third floor deck was greatly increased by expanding the rear deck and by adding front-facing and side-facing sections
Benefactor Lord Town Home
The Benefactor Lord Town Home (included in the Lord pledge tier) is comprised of 3 floors with 7 rooms (including a secret room), and two front-facing decks on the third floor.
Royal Founder Rewards
We’ve completed in-game versions of three more of our uniquely identifiable Royal Founder items (see Starr’s forum post for complete list). “Royal Founders” are backers that have a pledge made prior to May 20, 2013 (see FAQ): Royal Founder items have a white background, differentiating them from the blue background of “Founder” items. The three Royal Founder items for this week are:
- Special Founder Level plaque as a digital, in-game decoration for your house (available in the Citizen thru Lord of the Manor pledge rewards)
- The Royal Founder Crystal Sword, a single-use weapon, capable of killing almost any enemy you encounter with a single blow (included in the Founder pledge rewards).
- A Creature Taming Call used to tame an elusive monster that an ordinary player could never tame! (included in the Royal Artisan pledge rewards)
New Dev Team Member: Alyssa Reuter, Technical Artist
Join us in welcoming our newest Dev Team member, Alyssa Reuter, bringing our total team size to thirty-nine. As our team’s first technical artist, Alyssa will be contributing to SotA’s VFX and other visual areas of the game. Here’s her bio from the Dev Team page:
Alyssa Reuter first decided that she wanted to be a game developer after exploring the ages of Myst when she was seven years old. In 2010, she was part of the first graduating class of Carnegie Mellon University’s integrated Computer Science and Arts program, where she focused on digital and interactive media. While at school, she also completed internships at EA (Command & Conquer 4) and SilverTree Media (Disney’s Pixie Hollow Online).
After graduating, Alyssa took a six month break from games to study fashion design at Parson’s New School of Design in New York City, and then decided to move to Austin for the warmer weather. She started at Edge of Reality in early 2011, at first working as a VFX artist on The Sims 3: Pets and then as a technical artist / engineer on Loadout, Mass Effect Compilation (PS3), and most recently, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark.
She is now happy to be on the Shroud of the Avatar team, helping to create a visually rich, immersive interactive world with her unique blend of technical and artistic abilities!
Richard Garriott’s DND #1 Contest Update
Predicted simulated original output style
We received 21 entries by yesterday’s deadline for Richard Garriott’s DND #1 Contest! Richard will evaluate all the entries and winners will be announced in an upcoming Update of the Avatar!
Best Unity Version & Best no-plugin Browser Versions will receive a Citizen Level Pledge worth approximately $550, and two runners up in both categories will receive a $165 Collector Level Pledge each.
Barn 2-Story Village Home
First in our line of Barn homes is this rustic, 2-story, 4-room, village home, now available in the Add-On Store (you may have seen this barn in Owl’s Head):
Get Your Barn 2-Story Village Home Now for 50% off!
For a limited time we’re offering 50% off this home! Reserve yours (or send as a gift) at the Add-On Store!
Upcoming Duke and Lord of the Manor Events
On November 14, 2014, in Austin, TX, Portalarium is hosting a VIP Design Roundtable and Portalarium Studio Tour as part of the basic rewards for the Duke pledge tier (and above). We will begin the morning of November 14th at the Portalarium studios for a tour and roundtable design meeting with Richard Garriott. Later that afternoon, the VIPs will attend breakout design sessions with the development team.
On the following two days, Saturday and Sunday, November 15 & 16, our guests are encouraged to check out Rustic Dragon’s HoBLotH II: Legends of the Hearth (see details below).
HoBLotH II: Legends of the Hearth
On November 16th and 17th 2013, Rustic Dragon’s Hearth of Britannia opened its Indianapolis, IN doors to thirty Ultima, Shroud of the Avatar, and Lord British fans across the country for the Hearth of Britannia Lords of the Hearth (HoBLotH), a 1:1 recreation of the meal served just a month prior at Britannia Manor IV. There was Britannian food, plenty of libations, celebrity guests, themed activities, and a host of garbed attendees.
One year later, Rustic will once again assemble a semi-exclusive group of fans for HoBLotH II: Legends of the Hearth. While the details won’t starting coming into public focus until July, the date and location are set: November 15th and 16th at Castleton, Lord British’s own Medieval village in Austin, TX. While many things will be different, much will remain the same: there will still be delicious food, plenty of libations, celebrity guests, and intense participation required to complete the themed activities.
Keep thine eyes peeled toward the Hearth of Britannia’s website. In July, details will surface. RSVP and attendee vetting will also open at that time. Until then, thou canst peruse the original HoBLotH Event page to fuel thy speculation.
Only 3 BotA Chapters Left!
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 22: The Open Door
“Are you sure this is going to work?” Syenna whispered into the air between them.
“No,” Aren answered in hushed tones into that same air. “But who is sure of anything anymore.”
Syenna sat upright, her back stiff as the horse beneath her walked down the tunnel between the two sets of gates. She felt vulnerable without her armor. She especially felt the absence of her sword and scabbard. It had hung so long at her side that it had almost become a part of her. Now it lay abandoned among the pile of weapons left in the center of the city’s marketplace along with every other weapon in the town.
She turned slight in her saddle to look at Aren. She wondered for a moment why it was that his strange weapon would be the only one carried out of this place by anyone whom she was willing to call a friend. Everything had been arranged according to Aren’s will, but now, faced with the helpless reality before her, powerless before their enemies on open ground, she wondered if Aren had some private game that he was playing with all of their lives.
Aren rode on the back of his own horse beside her. He wore what remained of his Obsidian armor; the breast and back plates and one of the spike-adorned shoulder guards. He even looks like one of them, Syenna thought.
Behind them were arrayed all of the citizens of Opalis, prepared to follow them through the gates and, they hoped, to longer life.
“You’re sure about the Titans?” Syenna asked and not for the first time.
“Grannus has remained to maintain the shield,” Aren answered. “You can see that for yourself.”
“But the others…”
“Each of them has sent word,” Aren reassured her once more. “Everything is as ready as it can be made.”
“Is that ready enough?” she asked.
“Well, we are about to find out,” Aren said as their horses walked through the outer gate of the city…
Download your copy of the latest installment of BotA to read the rest of this exciting chapter!
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]
2014.05.22 – Release 6 Access
2014.06.10 – SotA at E3
2014.06.26 – Release 7 Access
2014.08.09 – SotA at synDCon
2014.08.29 – SotA at Dragoncon
2014.11.14 – Duke and Lord of the Manor VIP Design Roundtable with Lord British and Portalarium Studio Tour
2014.11.15 – HoBLotH II: Legends of the Hearth
Thank you for the revised changes to the Lord home, looks mighty impressive now and makes me glad I upgraded to Lord. Great job with the Benefactor home to, though the I know I’ll be sticking with the Founder version, hope others are as pleased with the changes as I am.
Love how the Lord Homes came out. Looking forward to walking through them. Also, welcome Alyssa Reuter! Glad to see the team growing as quickly as it is.
Great update Dallas…thank you all for the hard work. Looking forward to playing R6! And yes, welcome to employee number 39, Alyssa! That’s awesome, 39 employees.
Great job with the Lord Home – really love the new look and the feel of it. People will like some parts and dislike others but the house feels like a big step up now from the Pledge Below. Can’t wait to go find my secret room!
I love the changes made to the Founder Lord Home… unfortunately I’m a benefactor. The benefactor version is…’ok’ but you can certainly see the difference between the two. Still, thank-you for putting in all the work that you have up to this point. Keep up the great work.
The work on the 2-Story barn looks great. Good luck and have fun at the Plantronics booth.
The Founder Lord house revision is another example of how special this project is for the backers. Unlike other games, the devs aren’t just listening to what the players have to say… they’re acting on it. Thank you again, Portalarium.
Wow, very nice Benefactor Lord Town Home ! I wish i could have one …
Ok, this is giving me serious visions of the barn at the head of U7. Where are the proper “decorations”? On a more serious note, nice job – liking the atmosphere of the rustic lot of structures.
And.. go Tracy go!
The Lord Town houses look really great now, especially the Founder version – well done!
May I pray for a bit of remake of the Baron (founder) city house too?
I have always felt the Lord Town house has felt more expensive, like in material choice and layout wise.
That lords home looks mighty nice. I have just upgraded on installments
Not highly area efficient yet.. though can understand the need for aesthetics in prior to that since its the home of lords…
But I really appreciate the changes made, congratulations sota team! it is really a remarkable improvement and also makes me glad I backed you guys. Thank you very much.
I also agree with Bytor… really happy the sota team listen to it’s backers. Ive seen many arrogant companys simply ignore requests so it’s a relief to know u guys are not those people.
I’m glad you revamped the Lord Keep, It looks awesome now! I didn’t care for the old one to much and was planning on selecting the Knight’s Keep instead. Now I’m glad I upgraded to Lord from Knight.
Positively love the top floor of the Founder Lord Town Home , however y’all just made it quite difficult to try and figure out an explanation why the High Priestess will be living in a barn . Adore that !
Heyas, Great that you expanded the Lords home and made it bigger and “Raised the roof” so to speak; Just wondering tho on the Founder Lord home is it still set that you have to go thru Two doors to get inside or did they fix that??
Thx BTW : D
Its really good to see more female talent being added to the company!
You may not like my response. As a Founder Lord level pledge I love the house, I just hope you do not make it take up more land space, especially in the front. Don’t be angry people. Remember that we are going to get basements soon. You will be able to put all your crafting stations down there. One of the reasons I upgraded was to have a fountain in the front. If it gets any bigger I will end up with the same problem I had as a Knight level pledge–no yard. I guess I will have to try out the Unity software and make myself some lounge chairs and place them on the deck to have some beer with friends. I really need that basement to put all my crafting stations in.