From the Shroud of the Avatar Team
Please note that December 20 – 28 and January 1 are official company holidays for Portalarium which means there will be no developer presence nor customer support on those dates.
Greetings Fellow Avatars!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
- The Space Bards’ cover of Iolo’s “Stones”
- Scepter of Dread Artifact
- First Quarter 2015 Schedule Update
- $5 for $5 Holiday Bonus
- In-game Community Weekend Events
- Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
- Holiday Specials
- Last Chance Exclusives: Smithing Hammer, Village Pavilion, and Barn Village Home
- How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
- Recruitment Bonus Allocation Expiration
- Upcoming Events
One of the backer rewards for The Space Bards (aka Recap) Neon Milk album Kickstarter was “Set our course by having us cover any song of your choice“. Richard “Lord British” Garriott’s requested cover song was “Stones” by David Watson (aka Iolo).
“We Recapped the hell out of this one for you,” said Space Bards Dom, Dan, and Steven. “Pray Iolo doesn’t decide we should awaken with a few bolts in our chest for it.”
Here, for your listening pleasure, is The Space Bards cover of “Stones (opb. David Watson A.k.a. Iolo)“:
Scepter of Dread Artifact
Legend says the Scepter of Dread will cause all who gaze upon it to fall to the ground in fear. Others claim that if such an artifact existed, then the Obsidians of old, would have wielded it to consolidate their dominion over Novia. Since none have seen it, it remains the stuff of legend and rumor.
First Quarter 2015 Schedule Update
As the fourth quarter of 2014 draws to a close it is time to look ahead to what we have planned in the coming year. Here is Starr Long’s public forum post where he outlines the First Quarter 2015 Schedule Update:
As we stated in previous posts, our goal is to once-per-quarter post an updated schedule for our monthly releases. Even though these goals will likely change somewhat as we react to feedback, we feel it is important to provide you an updated road-map periodically.
Our goal continues to be to deliver our backers content each and every month so that we can get feedback, and use it to iterate improvements. This has already paid off, with additional game features like jumping and swimming, as well as improvements to systems like crafting, conversations, and combat. Meeting that monthly goal is our highest priority, but we require flexibility in our deliverables to meet that goal. As you have seen in previous releases, sometimes we push things out, but we also often pull new things in.
As always, all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change as we adjust our designs based on direct feedback from you, our backers.
RELEASE 14, January 29, 2015
- Scenes: Brightbone Pass and Blackblade Pass Entrances will expand the mainland while another Desert scene will expand the Vale. We will also add the Shardfall biome to the game, along with a shardfall scene (this is the biome for our Open PVP scenes).
- Unity 5: We will begin transitioning the project to the latest version of Unity. For R14, it will most likely be a separate build, purely for testing.
- Banks: Players can now start storing things in the bank. This is also where all your pledge rewards will be at the start of the game, so you won’t start so encumbered that you cannot move.
- Encumbrance: The weight of items will now factor into how much you can carry. Your carrying capacity will be derived from your Strength stat.
- Pledges Tied to Game Account: Your pledge will now be tied to your game account. This means you will start the game with your pledge rewards in your bank storage.
- Customization: A pass will be made to improve hair and facial hair.
- Combat: Various skills will be added to finish out Earth, Water, Ranged, Blades, Bludgeon, Tactics, and Heavy Armor schools.
- Housing: Lot Deeds will be introduced to the game so property claiming will first require purchasing a lot deed in the game (or receiving one via pledge rewards). Also, more basements will be available.
- Crafting: We will also be adding more Cooking and Alchemy recipes and ingredients including the ability to put magical enchantments and stat enhancements (durability, weight, value, etc) on gear.
- Shopkeepers: Prices will now fluctuate based on available stock, and each vendor will have “I will buy” and “I will sell” lists. This means that the fruit vendor might not be interested in buying that sword from you.
- Creatures: Our bestiary will expand to include Man-Eating Plants, Water Elementals, Greyhounds, and various Human Enemies (mages, archers, etc.).
RELEASE 15, February 26, 2015:
- Maps: We will continue to expand the mainland scenes to include Resolute, Xenos, Desolace Town, The Necropolis, and the Verdantis Shardfall.
- Spells & Skills: Sun and Moon Magic will expand to include more spells. The combat schools of Shields will also expand, and more combos will be added to the game.
- Housing: Property ownership will now incur regular fees (unless you are using a tax free deed from a pledge). If the fees are not paid, the player will lose their claim, and their possessions (including the house and decorations) will be moved to their bank.
- Crafting: Crafting skills will start to come online, and be used during crafting to modify results.
- Creatures: Our creature list will continue to expand with the Fauns, the Phoenix and Wisps.
- Combat: Stealth mechanics will begin to appear.
- Customization: Clothing and Armor will now be dye-able.
- Overworld: Roving encounters (patrolling creatures) will now appear on the overworld map and can be engaged (pulling you into a scene) or avoided if you wish to sneak past. We will also have the first pass of the Novia map.
- Player Titles: Players will now be able to display their title in the game.
- Emote “Teaching”: Emotes will now be teachable to other players. Some emotes (like the ones tied to pledges) will only be teachable by the original owner. For now, “teaching” will be trading a consumable item that adds the emote via secure trade.
RELEASE 16, March 26, 2015
- Steam Achievements: Players will now be able to earn Steam Achievements
- Maps: Mainland scenes will continue to come online including Blood River Village, Vertas, and the Grunwald Shardfall.
- Spells & Skills: Chaos Magic will expand to include more spells, and more combos will come online.
- Housing: Permissions for property will greatly expand to better support groups sharing of property, including tools to rent rooms and set “per area/room” permissions.
- Crafting: Crafting will now have events that occur during the crafting process that the player can interact with to influence the results.
- Creatures: Our creature list will continue to expand with Emps and Chaos Demons added to the game.
- Combat: The cover system will be introduced that modifies attack and defense values when you (or your target) are behind cover.
- Customization: New armor and clothing items will appear in the game.
- Player Made Books: Players will be able to write in blank books in the game, and share them with other players.
- Localization: We will begin crowdsourcing the translation of the game into various languages
We continue to be incredibly thankful for the support we receive from this amazing community. While the funding you provide makes all of this possible, it pales in comparison with the faith you have in us, the feedback you provide us, and the content you are making for everyone to enjoy. We are humbly grateful, and we cannot wait to see you again in New Britannia!
Before I go, I wanted to include an excerpt from my original post about our Early Release Schedule that is important to set the framework for our ongoing schedule:
As a crowd funded and crowd sourced project, we feel it is incredibly important that we provide our backers with information and access well before game studios would normally do so in a traditional development model. Traditionally, the players are given information and access only after the development team has already decided exactly how things will be done, and at times, even after it has already been implemented. By the time the public normally has access to the product, there is usually no time to meaningfully react to the public feedback.
Shroud of the Avatar is different than the traditional model, as we intend to offer our backers extremely early access to information and even the game itself. With that said, we also want to be very careful that we only provide access to portions of the game when they are ready for a wider range of feedback. If we can play it internally and we know it is not ready, then there is nothing to be gained by having a wider audience come to the same conclusion. In fact, it could be quite damaging to do so.
Our strategy over the next few months is to provide you with focused and iterative releases of content. Your feedback during these releases will be critical to making the final product the best it can be, and we appreciate that you are all so willing to devote your time to helping us. With each release, we will have specific tests we will ask you all to make. As we get closer, we will send instructions on how to download, install, report bugs, etc. After each release we will review the results and reevaluate the plan including the duration of availability of each release. Please note that game data will be wiped periodically during early access.
It is important to note that all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change.
Shroud of the Avatar
$5 for $5 Holiday Bonus
If you make any purchase of $5 or more on the SotA website between 12 pm CST December 18 and 12 pm CST January 2 we will make a one-time deposit of an extra $5 into your Store Credit!
[NOTE: The $5 for $5 offer can be exercised only once during the promotion period.
$5 Store Credit should show up in your account within 24 hours of a qualifying purchase]
In-game Weekend Community Events
Our amazing community has another great lineup of in-game events planned for this weekend. If you missed out on these player events during the previous Releases, we highly recommend you check some of them out this weekend. Here is the latest schedule of player events from the Avatar’s Circle Community Events calendar (http://avatarscircle.com/community-events/):
Friday, December 26
10:00am CST – Dungeon Run – Braemar Cemetery
7:00pm CST – Dungeon Run – Braemar Cemetery
Saturday, December 27
9:00am CST – PaxLair Working Hours – Host Winfield (in Valemark)
11:00am CST – Church of the Dark Star – The Monsters that Dwell Within – Forgiveness (PaxLair, Valemark)
1:00pm CST – Scholarly Lecture – Shardfall and the Sundering (Port Phoenix Fairgrounds, Kingsport, or “/zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre”)
5:00pm CST – PvP Tournament: 1v1 Double Elimination $$$ (Vengeance in The Brave Coast)
Sunday, December 28
5:30am CST – Explore Novia with royalsexy (Owl’s Head entrance)
7:00pm CST – PaxLair Meeting (in Valemark or “/zone Winfield PaxLair”)
Just as in our last few releases, we’ve included a Grand Tour Quest designed to guide you through all the new content. And just in time for the holidays, you will be able to get the Yule Hat by completing the Release 13 Grand Tour Quest. This reward can only be unlocked during Release 13 (did someone say rares?), so be sure to log in to R13 and talk to all the Tour Guides!
If you need help completing the R13 Grand Tour Quest then be sure and watch The Mad Hermit’s video guide and he’ll take you through it step-by-step: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiC2bH4MWOw
Steam Access Keys Available for All SotA Backers
SotA successfully launched on Steam Early Access on November 24, and we’ve made Steam Access Keys available to all our backers as part of their basic pledge rewards! Once you’ve redeemed your Steam Access Key you’ll have the option of playing SotA either with the Steam client or the regular game client (or both).
If you play SotA on Steam you can collect the SotA Trading Cards! Collect a full set of SotA trading cards to earn SotA badges, profile backgrounds, and emoticons that help you customize your profile and show off your Shroud of the Avatar gameplay. Check out Steam’s trading card FAQ for more information.
Yep, it’s that time of the year again. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve brought back all of your holiday favorites. You can get all 7 of the 2014 holiday items at an even greater savings with the 2014 Holiday Bundle! Includes Taming Turkey Call, Taming Reindeer Call, Cornucopia, Yule Tree, Menorah, Replenishing Fireworks Box, and the Replenishing Snowball Box. Available for a limited time in the Add-On Store.
Last Chance Exclusives
Every week going forward we are removing select items from the Add-On Store, so if you want them you better get them before they are gone! Over the past few weeks we’ve phased out over 20 items, including such items as the Scissors of Prosperity, Blade of the Avatar Cloak, and Shingle-Roof Village Homes. This week, the following items are available for an additional 20% off, and then will no longer be available in the Add-On Store.
This unique, indestructible, smithing hammer increases the ability to make higher quality items, enhance existing items and repair damaged items. While hammers with similar effects can be crafted and purchased in the game this particular hammer never needs repair.
This Village Pavilion is perfect for late night hot tub parties, or set up as your own crafting workshop! (you may recognize this building as the public crafting pavilion in Owl’s Head)
Ever want to live in a barn? Well, now you can with this rustic, 2-story, 4-room, barn village home (this home is also used as a barn in Owl’s Head).
How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
Remember that Pledge payment plans are not canceled automatically after reaching the desired pledge. You must manually cancel your monthly payment plan, which can be done at anytime on your SotA Account page. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, but it is a result of how recurring billing functions with PayPal, Amazon, and Stripe (our credit card service).
Recruitment Bonus Allocation Expiration
The Recruitment Bonus Program ended at 12:00 pm CST December 2, 2014, but you will have until midnight CST December 31, 2014 to alter the allocation of your recruitment bonuses on your Account page. After the deadline, the “Recruits” user interface on your Account page will no longer be available, and any unallocated recruitment bonuses will be automatically applied to your pledge (or to your highest valued pledge if you have more than one).