Greetings Fellow Avatars!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
- Steam Special Promotion: 25% Off Thru April 21
- Abe’s Vertas Pass Upgrades
- Judging a Book by its Cover
- Fences Galore
- TableTop with Wil Wheaton & Richard Garriott
- The Mad Hermit’s Video of Lord & Lady British’s Easter Celebration
- In-game Community Weekend Events
- Community In-Game Images and Videos
- Receiving Pledge Rewards and Add-On Items
- Changes to Store Credit Conversions
- Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
- How to Cancel Monthly Layaway Payment Plans
- Upcoming Events
Steam Special Promotion: 25% Off Thru April 21
If you’ve been thinking about pledging to Shroud of the Avatar at the starting $45 Adventurer pledge tier (or buying one as a gift for someone), now’s a good time to do it over on Steam Early Access. Steam is running a 25% discount on the basic $45 package thru April 21st.
Abe’s Vertas Pass Upgrades
Lately we’ve seen some very exciting improvements to our game, notably the Unity 5 lighting, the standard shader, speedtrees, as well as an ever growing library of high fidelity art assets. I recently had some time to reiterate on one of our older scenes, Vertas Pass, to see what could be aesthetically possible after integrating all of these improvements. I’ve included a few before and after screenshots, as well as some sneak peek screenshots at the bottom.
The above screenshot was one of the first areas I revisited, beginning with the replacement of all of the old rocks. (A few devs told me they looked like meatballs) The desert rocks worked perfectly after a texture pass to make them appear arctic themed. I also integrated a retextured version of a rock pile asset I built for the Spectral Mines exterior, to improve the blending between the terrain and the natural walls.
Here is an example of some winter themed speedtrees, which look far more detailed than the previous palette, and are animated in a more realistic manner. Lighting contrast has been increased to make the environment appear colder.
More rocks are being used to line the cliff so it feels more natural and more detailed.
I covered the background hills in spruce trees to give a better sense of depth, and to evoke a feeling of being surrounded by a forest.
Sneak Peek Screenshots:
Hope you guys like the changes!
Judging a Book by its Cover
In Update #119 we introduced you to the some of the new book covers that Scott Jones has been working on for Release 17. Each unique book cover is designed to give players a hint of the book’s contents. Rick Holtrop has been integrating the books into R17 and decorated these shelves using the new books:
Here are more of Scott’s new book covers you can expect to find in Release 17:
We’re adding sixteen new fence styles to Release 17 which launches on April 30. Some of the fences will be available in-game and some in the Add-On Store, and some will even be added to basic pledge rewards (stay tuned for that info in an upcoming Update). Below are seven of the sixteen new fences.
We’re also adding a variety of new “pavers” to R17 that can be used for decoration, and will showcase them in an upcoming Update. In the following screenshot, the cobblestone pavers used in combination with the Ivy Covered Stone Fence make for a very attractive look.
Ivy Covered Stone Fence (add-on)
Ornate Iron Fence (add-on)
Viking Wooden Fence (add-on)
Rough Stone Fence (in-game)
White Picket Fence (add-on)
Wooden Palisade Fence (add-on)
Wooden Privacy Fence (add-on)
TableTop with Wil Wheaton & Richard Garriott
Wil Wheaton and guests Jenna Busch, Satine Phoenix, and Richard Garriott play Five Tribes in this episode of TableTop!
The Mad Hermit’s Video of Lord & Lady British’s Easter Celebration
From The Mad Hermit’s YouTube channel:
On Saturday April 4th, Lord and Lady British held their Annual Easter Celebration in Castleton…I was honored and privileged to have been in attendance. Here is a brief look at what that experience was like.
In-game Weekend Community Events
Our amazing community has another great lineup of in-game events planned for this weekend. Here is the latest schedule of player events from the Avatar’s Circle Community Events calendar and the Events of the Avatars community calendar:
Saturday, April 18
9:00am CST – PaxLair Working Hours (PoT Test Ideas) – Host Winfield (Valemark; “/zone Winfield”; details)
11:00am CST – Church of the Dark Star – Saturday Service (PaxLair, Valemark; details)
3:00pm CST – Novian Academy – Citizenship 100 Course – Covers the basics of character building, Weapon/armor choices, travel points/community sites/groups to know (“/zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre”; details)
Sunday, April 19
6:30am CST – Explore Novia with royalsexy (Owl’s Head entrance)
12:00pm CST – Ranged Arena (Highest lot in The Brave Coast; or “/zone Net”)
2:00pm CST – Hangout of the Avatar – Equipping the Community
5:00pm CST – BMC Grid Iron Feast and Registration (details)
6:00pm CST – BMC First Blood at Grid-Iron (details)
7:00pm CST – PaxLair Meeting (Valemark, or “/zone Winfield”)
8:00pm CST – Fishing with Winfield (some lake or pond, “/zone Winfield”)
9:00pm CST – Beach Party by BMC (details TBD)
Be sure and check out the Release 16 Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events that may not be included here.
From a Release 16 Event Forum Post by DavenRock [MGT]:
The Moongate Travelers presents a Scavenger Hunt for all the Avatars of Novia to participate in!…All entries must be proven by screenshot, everyone who submits a completed list will be entered into a random drawing for a Hot Tub from the Add-on store, courtesy of Dinsoo! Contest ends Opening day of Release 17, Random Drawing will be R17 Weekend….The best ways to present your found items is to use a chest/container, or go into a trade with a player, move all the items into the trade window and then take a screenshot. You could use Postimage.org (image hosting) to be able to post the screenshots in the forum here.
Community In-Game Images and Videos
Player Owned Town Price Changes
In a previous Update we shared Starr Long’s forum post that discussed the scope and design for Player Owned Towns. If you’ve been thinking about getting your own Player Owned Town, then you might want to take advantage of the current price, because the price for all Player Owned Towns will be increasing approximately 20% starting May 1, 2015.
Receiving Pledge Rewards and Add-On Items
Go to any bank to claim your Add-On items and Pledge rewards. There is a banker NPC in every map where there is player housing because when you switch houses or unclaim a lot, all the decorations will go to your bank. In most locations the Town Crier is now also a banker.
Banks are local only. You can see your items in other bank locations (they appear in location tabs), but you can only access the items in the bank you are currently at. Pledge rewards are an exception to this and can be accessed from any location.
[NOTE: there are some Add-On and Pledge reward items that have not been built yet so you may notice some of your items not showing up in your bank. If you delete your character, all equipped and inventory items, including pledge reward items, will be deleted and cannot be recovered until the next wipe]
Player Bank Upgrades
Your bank inventory size can easily be upgraded with in-game gold, with the price in gold increasing the larger your bank gets. For those that need/want really big banks faster, we’ve added a Bank Upgrade to the Add-On Store. Currently, each Bank Upgrade adds 10 more slots to your bank inventory, but that number is subject to change based on game balancing needs.
Changes to Store Credit Conversions
If you wish to convert any of your purchased Add-On items to Store Credit, you will need to do so before logging into Shroud of the Avatar.
The instant you log into the game all of your available Pledge reward items and available Add-On items will be flagged as “claimed” and deposited in your in-game bank. Once the Add-On items are “claimed” they cannot be converted to Store Credit until the next wipe (which is currently unpredictable). After you’ve logged into SotA, the “Convert to Credits” button on your account page will be deactivated for all those items available in the game, so if you had any plans to sell back some of your Add-On items, make sure you do it before you log into the game!
We intend to change the claiming process in an upcoming Release so that items are not automatically claimed when logging in, but will require you to actively claim them in your bank before they can be used.
If you purchase any new Add-On items, or upgrade your Pledge tier, those new items and upgraded rewards will automatically appear in your in-game bank the next time you log into the game (providing those items are available in the game).
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.
Our goal is to make Shroud of the Avatar the best game we can for you, our backers, and the best way we can do that is by growing our community of backers through the power of word-of-mouth marketing. That’s where we could use your help! With essentially no marketing budget, we rely on things like press coverage and friend-to-friend networking on platforms such as Facebook and Steam. Here’s how you can help us with your word-of-mouth efforts:
Current Facebook Likes: 5,815 (+44 from last week)
Facebook can be a powerful word-of-mouth marketing tool at very little cost, but only if we can reach a large enough network of Facebook users. You can help us to reach a larger Facebook audience simply by going to the Shroud of the Avatar Facebook page and clicking on the “Like” button. If every one of our 50k backers gave us a “Like” the marketing reach of our Facebook posts would be incredible!
If You Like SotA then Write Us a Positive Steam Review
Current Positive Steam Reviews: 340 (+7 from last report)
One of the most important word-of-mouth tools on the massive Steam platform is their user reviews. Many Steam users rely on a game’s Steam reviews to help them decide if they want to play a game or not. If you feel positive about SotA, or feel positive about what SotA may become, even if you have concerns and issues, then please jump over to our Steam Store Page and give us a positive review (and feel free to include your concerns and issues in that review as well)!
How to Cancel Monthly Layaway Payment Plans and What In-Game Rewards to Expect
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).
If you are on a monthly payment plan, the rewards you receive in-game may not reflect the final pledge tier you are making payments toward, but will reflect the rewards for the current pledge tier that your cumulative monthly payments have reached (your current pledge tier is shown on your Account page on the SotA website).