Greetings Fellow Avatars!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
- Get Your 15% Black Friday Bonus Starting Now!
- The Release 11 Grand Tour Quest Reward
- R11 Grand Tour POI: Swamp Scene
- Chris Spears’ R10 Perspective
- Edelmann Pledge Reward: Birdbath Decoration
- 4-Pack of Prosperity
- Through the Lunar Rift
- Last Chance Exclusives
- Flexible Placement Stretch Goal: Greenhouse and Garden Shed
- Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon
- Upcoming Events
Last year our Black Friday Promotion ran for 6 days. This year you get 8 weeks to take advantage of our Black Friday 15% Bonus! Here are the details:
For all new purchases (including pledges, pledge upgrades, add-on items, player owned towns, and stretch goal items) between 12:00 am CST October 10, 2014 and 12:00 am CST December 2, 2014, we will add an additional 15% bonus to your Store Credit! You can use your Store Credit toward any additional purchase (including pledges, pledge upgrades, add-on items, and player owned towns).
[NOTE: The 15% bonus is calculated every day at 1:00 pm CST and added to your Store Credit account; Store Credit cannot be applied toward stretch goal items]
For example, if you have the $45 Adventurer pledge and really want to upgrade to the $90 Royal Artisan pledge which includes Episodes 2 and 3 as pledge rewards, you would normally pay the extra $45 for the upgrade. But using the 15% bonus you can immediately save $5. To do so, you would first purchase $40 worth of Store Credit Gift Coupons (via PayPal, Amazon, Bitcoin, or credit card; excluding existing Store Credit) then use the “Convert to Credits” option on your account page to transform the Store Credit Gift Coupons back into Store Credit. Within 24 hours an additional $6 bonus ($40 x 15%) would be applied to your Store Credit account, bringing it up to $46. You would then use $45 of your Store Credit to upgrade to the $90 Royal Artisan pledge.
[Update: This section was modified to reflect the 15% bonus is calculated at 1:00 pm every day and that Store Credit cannot be used to purchase stretch goal items]
The Release 11 Grand Tour Quest Reward
The Cavalier’s Hat, only available as a quest reward for completing the Grand Tour Quest in Release 10, turned out to be a very popular item! And now, just in time for Halloween, you will be able to get this Tricorn Hat with Carnival Mask by completing the Release 11 Grand Tour Quest. This reward can only be unlocked during Release 11 (did someone say rares?), so be sure to log in to R11 (Oct 23-26) and talk to all the Tour Guides!
Tricorn Hat with Carnival Mask!
R11 Grand Tour POI: Swamp Scene
A swamp area is one of the new scenes and biome types we are introducing in R11. It will also be part of the R11 Grand Tour Quest.
Chris Spears’ R10 Perspective
So Starr stole my thunder by posting all the player stats so now I’m at a loss as to how to start off my post! To summarize, participation was way up, total play time was up, crashing… was up… hat envy, was also up! In case you missed it, for each release going forward, we’re adding a special reward that will only be available during that release. These will only be trophy items with no real purpose other than to prove you took part in the test.
R10 was supposed to be a polish release but we apparently need to read up on what polish means because we crammed a ton of features and bugs in instead of polishing. So, in short, we suck. Sorry, we’ll do better! Now I’ll tell you about a particularly hairy bug our players discovered and then I’ll dive into a bit of design talk!
So, for this release we added a “Challenge Dungeon”. The idea is, we need a way to test out and prove what it means to be a hard PVE encounter. For those who didn’t play it, the dungeon is basically linear and gets progressively harder with occasional variations in layout and presentation of the encounters. My direction on it was to make it so hard that no solo player can make it past 10 rooms and no party can make it to the end. Then, once you think it is so hard that not even a full party of 8 can make it to the end, go add 5 more rooms that are even harder! Aside from testing difficulty, it lets us observe strategies used and exploits and gives some replayable content.
As I expected, at least 4 groups looked to have finished the dungeon to the last room! So much for impossible. :p I unfortunately didn’t have great metrics data in place for the dungeon yet so I could only tell how far people got through the heat map data we store.
So the reason I bring up the challenge dungeon here is because it was the source of one of our nastier bugs we uncovered this release. We tested it a hundred times locally, on live, simulating a bad connection, and had no issues with it. Once it got to live, 95% of the people could get in just fine but 5% would get stuck on the zone in screen and then get kicked back to the front end. No amount of testing ever let us reproduce it…
This is reason #937 why I love having real users for our testers. Before any network coders post it, yes, we have ways to simulate net lag and packet loss. We just don’t have the bandwidth (human bandwidth, not internet) to catch all the problem cases with so much content getting added in late each month…
Edelmann Pledge Reward: Birdbath Decoration
This birdbath property decoration, included in the Edelmann pledge tier, not only looks beautiful, but will also attract birds to your property!
The 4-Pack of Prosperity
If you love the 6-Pack and 6-More Pack of Prosperity (and we know you do), then you’re going to love the 4-Pack of Prosperity too!
Get the latest items of Prosperity for a discount in our 4-Pack of Prosperity bundle, available now in the Add-On Store! Includes the Tanning Knife, Loom Shuttle, Cleaver, and Mortar & Pestle.
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.
Who Watches the Watcher?
I finally mustered my nerves and stepped through the Lunar Rift and found myself in a majestic city known as Ardoris. I was immediately taken with its urban sprawl, charming architecture, and bustling markets. Here I saw great potential for a new home… a new Tavern; one that would easily rival the two existing establishments. Truth be told, I could probably buy out the Tavern of the South Wind with the gold I have squirrelled away. That place looks like it has seen better days, and though I’d have to scrub it down (and be sure to evict “Blowhard von Strife” from his barstool. Permanently.), it had potential… not to mention location, location, location.
But it didn’t take long for me to abandon that plan. As it would seem, the entire city has a bit of an insect problem. One that not even an expert exterminator could fix. Large, invasive, mechanized insects called Watchers.
Now, I’ve survived, even thrived here for probably close to a year now, and I credit that to a fair amount of carefully constructed deceptions and staying off the radar. Nothing malicious of course, just a friendly ruse to help me assimilate more easily into my new life when I first arrived in this new land. Yes, I inherited my Tavern from a dying man who mistakenly, maybe even wishfully, believed that I was his estranged daughter. Apparently, I’m the spitting image of her… go figure! But I was the one who cared for him on his deathbed, and from what I could tell, I brought him more pride and joy then she ever did…
Last Chance Exclusives
Starting this week, we are removing select items from the Add-On Store, so if you want them you better get them before they are gone! For the next week, the following items are available for an additional 20% off, and then will no longer be available in the Add-On Store.
The Shingle-Roof Stone Village home is a single-story dwelling with one room:
The Shingle-Roof Plaster Village home (also included in the Village Lot Property Deed in the Add-On Store) is a single-story dwelling with one room:
Flexible Placement Stretch Goal: Greenhouse and Garden Shed
If you’d like to support the flexible lot placement with multiple structures stretch goal then head over to the Stretch Goal Store and purchase the lovely new greenhouse or garden shed, shown here:
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]
2014.10.23 – Release 11 Access
2014.10.24 – SotA at Captivate
2014.10.29 – Monthly Video Hangout: R11 & R12 Discussion
2014.11.03 – SotA at GDC Next
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
2014.11.24 – SotA launches on Steam Early Access
2014.11.26 – Monthly Video Hangout: R12 & R13 Discussion
2014.12.18 – Release 13 Access