Update of the Avatar #89 – 2014.09.05: PAX vs Dragoncon, R9 Perspectives, Dev+ Asset Pack, Nature to Nutrition, Clockwork Pet, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • PAX vs Dragoncon: And the Winner is…
  • Chris Spears R9 Perspective
  • New Developer+ Asset Pack
  • Hangout of the Avatar: Nature to Nutrition
  • Pledge Rewards: Clockwork Pets
  • Pen of the Avatar: Character Armor Variations
  • Through the Lunar Rift
  • Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon
  • This Week In The News
  • Upcoming Events


And the Winner is…

In celebration of the PAX and Dragoncon conventions last weekend, we re-opened Release 9 for the duration of those conventions. In the spirit of friendly rivalry, we renamed the opposing teams in the PvP Castle Arena to PAX and Dragoncon.

The combat was intense, with some really awesome combatants on both sides. PAX is the larger of the two conventions based on number of attendees, so you might expect PAX to have the advantage. But that’s not how it turned out. Dragoncon put some serious hurt on PAX and was the undisputed winner with 34 wins to PAX’s 14 wins!

Congratulations to all the Dragacon combatants!


Chris Spears R9 Perspective

Chris was busy at the Shroud of the Avatar booth at PAX last week so was a little delayed in posting his Release 9 perspective. Here are a few excerpts from his in-depth forum post:


So…[spell] reagents was a hot topic both internally and externally…For release 9 we knew people would only have a limited time in game. This means that if we had gone with any of the “Requires Reagents” options then many players would just simply not be able to use magic at all. Those who did want to use magic would have to spend significant time gathering reagents or earning gold to buy reagents. For people unfamiliar with Ultima, this would likely be a confusing and scary experience without an in-game tutorial ready to welcome them…

So based on the short play window and lack of tutorial, we decided that requiring reagents would be a bad idea for this release and probably R10 as well. We ended up going with a mix of elements. We made tier 1 and 2 spells not require reagents and then made tier 3+ spells have reagents but just cost significantly more and fizzle more if you didn’t have them. I know some people raged against this in the forums but I still believe this was the right balance for a weekend release…

A global cooldown was added to everything and for many it made combat painful. Those of us that move fast in combat, discard fast, roll through the cards fast, were not happy campers during R9…We have already fixed this for release 10. We also fixed a bunch of the other annoying little stuff like not being able to drink potions while moving and the weapon range issue that was making it look like you attacked but didn’t do damage and vice versa. Also, making it so you can hotkey swap between decks and deck swapping will work as it should with time and focus cost. Not sure we’ll have 100% of the skills finished for release 10 but I can promise that combat will be a better experience for everyone…

So, as longtime readers know, we have been very open that the client was still very hackable as most everything was trusted and we’ve just been slowly moving logic from the master client to the server…

Release 9 was the first time all inventory and bags were on the server and all trading logic was handled server side. For release 10, all vendor logic will be on the server and their data will be stored on the scene server and not the instance server! So what does that mean? That means that the items the vendor has will be constant across all instances. Switching to single player online will no longer let you get around this. On the positive side, you’ll be able to see what other people have sold soon which should help. Also, we’ll probably speed up the rate at which vendors get their deliveries…

Also for release 10, crafting logic should be on the server instead of the master. Shouldn’t matter to most but it is just another one of the security holes that has to be moved to the server to avoid dupes and exploits. This also opens up the option for us to have secret recipes on the server that don’t exist on the client in any way…

[Read the rest of this post in the forums]

New Developer+ Asset Pack

[From a Dev+ forum post by Chris Spears]

Since we missed getting you guys something for August, I made this one double sized. This asset pack includes both the leather and cloth armor sets for both male and female!

Each one is split by body part so you can just use the chest or gloves if desired. Due to some dependencies I had to remove the skin shader so the skin is just using bump diffuse.




Unity Asset Packs containing original Shroud of the Avatar assets are included in the Developer Pledge tier rewards.

If you missed the previous Asset Packs, Dev+ members can download them here:


Hangout of the Avatar: Nature to Nutrition

Curious about consumables?  Want to craft delicious delicacies or mix up creative concoctions? Then be sure and watch the latest episode of Hangout of the Avatar: From Nature to Nutrition.  Richard “Lord British” Garriott hosted an in depth discussion on the reagents and recipes that will be used in creating food and drink in Shroud of the Avatar.  Several of our very own community members joined Richard live during the hangout as FireLotus shared viewers questions and feedback live from the chat room!

Pledge Rewards: Clockwork Pets

The Royal Artisan, Explorer, and Patron pledge tier basic rewards includes your choice of one of three non-combat, clockwork pets: cat, dog, or raven! Here are the Clockwork Cat and Clockwork Dog pets:





Pen of the Avatar: Character Armor Variations

Here is the latest episode of Pen of the Avatar, Stephen Daniele’s behind the scenes video of Shroud of the Avatar concept art creation. Each episode airs live, with viewers providing immediate feedback and posing questions.

This episode was about creating new looks for armor and clothing. Stephen discussed shape psychology and incorporated viewers ideas into his designs.

Our own master of words, Scott Jennings  aka Lum the Mad, challenged Stephen to take the ALS “Ice Bucket” Challenge, which Stephen did live on the show!

[You can check out all the previous episodes of Pen of the Avatar (PotA) here]

SotA_ThroughLunar Rift

Through the Lunar Rift!

These tales, told as a series of journal entries written by Gina “FireLotus” Dionne, will feature the people and places of New Britannia and give you a bit of insight, and hopefully some inspiration, when creating your own stories while exploring the lands of Shroud of the Avatar.

Stone Circles and Paths Taken

Not too long ago, I noted that the Lunar Rift outside Owl’s head had begin working again. That, at the time, seemed only relevant in regards to my own decision (or lack of) to step into it again. But slowly, and now that I really reflect on it, unsurprisingly, more people like me have started emerging from it. Outlanders, I suppose… at least that it what the “locals” would call us. Some even patronize the Tavern. I’ve tried to maintain appearances, that I have always been here, but the desire to connect with others like me…. Well, that’s a powerful desire not to act on.

So I have started whispering my secret to a select few that I’ve gotten to know and gotten to trust. All of their experiences are unique to each of them, but they do share some things in common. They all speak of arriving here in a blinding light. They all speak of never really feeling like they belonged back where they were. And they all speak of feeling connected to this place somehow, like on some unconscious level they always knew that they belonged here.

In turn, I’ve shared the knowledge I have gathered during my time here with those whom I trust. They understand that my being shrouded in secret makes things easier, as they have all experiences the distrust and skepticism of the people who live here. I suppose I was lucky to have arrived alone, to have resembled the long lost daughter of a beloved merchant here who had recently boarded up his Tavern to go search for her…

Read the rest of the story in the forums


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]


This Week In the News

August 31 – Massively: PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with Shroud of the Avatar

September 3 – Super Bunnyhop Interviews Starr & Richard at Dragoncon

September 4 – MMORPG.com: Shroud of the Avatar Interviews: Checking in on Update 9

Upcoming Events

2014.09.25 – Release 10 Access
2014.10.01 – Monthly Video Hangout: R10 & R11 Discussion
2014.10.23 – Release 11 Access
2014.10.24 – SotA at Captivate
2014.10.29 – Monthly Video Hangout: R11 & R12 Discussion
2014.11.14 – Duke & Lord of the Manor VIP Design Roundtable with Lord British and Portalarium Studio Tour
2014.11.15 – HoBLotH II: Legends of the Hearth
2014.11.20 – Release 12 Access
2014.11.26 – Monthly Video Hangout: R12 & R13 Discussion
2014.12.18 – Release 13 Access


  1. CaladhanCaladhan

    The Clockwork Dog looks like a docked (the caudal vertebra and ears cut) dog, that’s awful! Please don’t do that!

      1. CaladhanCaladhan

        That’s right. And it is just a computer game.
        But I think it sends a wrong message. It is not ok to maim dogs, just because you like the look.
        Maybe you think I’m taking this to serious, but I see dogs suffering every day. I want to play SotA to switch reality off and have a nice time. I just don’t want to get angry or sad evertime I see a Clockwork Dog ingame. :-/

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