Greetings Fellow Avatars!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
- SotA Backers Raise $4,000+ for Rize Up Gaming’s Water.org Charity Drive
- Who’s Gaming Now Game/Music Bundle in Support of Alive Inside/Music & Memory
- Abe’s Desert Biome Template – WIP
- Play DND1 on the SotA Teletype
- Release 18 Grand Tour Quest Reward: Bycocket Hat
- Twin Spire Manor City Home Now Available to PoTs and LotM Pledges
- In-game Community Weekend Events
- The Bard’s Tale IV Coming to Kickstarter
- Blade of the Avatar Pledge Reward and Add-Ons Expire May 31
- 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
SotA Backers Raise $4,000+ for Rize Up Gaming’s Water.org Charity Drive
Rize Up Gaming is sponsoring a charity marathon this weekend for Water.org, an organization that brings water to those who cannot get clean, safe water. The marathon started at 7PM CDT on May 21st and runs until 2AM CDT on May 25th with a goal of $1500 USD. On May 23rd, starting from 2PM CDT until 10PM CDT, Rize Up Gaming will be streaming Shroud of the Avatar community events and conversing with members of the community throughout the event. If you would like to donate directly to the event, you may do so on this page: http://give.water.org/f/RizeUpGaming/
Last week, as part of Portalarium’s founding purpose to promote good will and make a positive difference in the world, we added our first “Make a Difference” charity items to the Add-On Store. For each of these items you purchase, Portalarium will donate 50% of its share of the purchase price to the designated charity. By purchasing these items, you are helping to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. These first items are dedicated to Water.org, a nonprofit organization that has transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America by providing access to safe water and sanitation. Learn more here: water.org
Our backers totally blew us away with their outpouring of support! In just one week they purchased over $9,000 of these items, with over $4,000 of this being donated to Water.org! These items will remain available in the Add-On Store after the weekend drive, but let’s see how much we can raise during Rize Up Gaming’s Marathon which ends Monday, May 25.
Not only does this magical Wishing Well look stylish in your yard, but when you throw coins in it there is a random chance that you will receive something in return! And as an added bonus, wearing the Water Magic Cloak increases your chance to receive an item from the Wishing Well.
Not only do you look stylish wearing this Water Magic Cloak, but it also increases the duration of the /rain emote and increases your chance to receive an item from the Wishing Well.
This emote allows the player to summon a rain cloud that rains for a short time. And as an added bonus, wearing the Water Magic Cloak increases the duration of the /rain emote.
Buy all three of the water.org charity items and get a bundle discount! Includes the Wishing Well, Water Magic Cloak, and Rain Emote!
Who’s Gaming Now Game/Music Bundle in Support of Alive Inside/Music & Memory
Whosgamingnow.net (WGN) is a rapidly growing, community-centric gaming community with a mission statement to promote, market and support game development teams and communities ranging from small independent titles to AAA games. WGN aims to promote the people and supporters of today’s greatest upcoming games and enable fans to connect in a greater capacity to game development teams at a deeper level than ever before.
Game and SotA Music Sales Bundle for Charity – Alive Inside/Music & Memory
WGN is donating 20% of the net sales of their Greenlight games and music bundle to support Alive Inside. ALIVE INSIDE is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short.
This stirring documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it. Rossato-Bennett visits family members who have witnessed the miraculous effects of personalized music on their loved ones, and offers illuminating interviews with experts including renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain) and musician Bobby McFerrin (“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”).
Shroud of the Avatar Music included in the bundle!
Portalarium is donating the Shroud of the Avatar’s soundtrack (still in development) to support WGN’s charity drive for Alive Inside. Their goal is to sell over 5000 bundles and raise over $1000 to donate. You can help support this cause by purchasing the bundle here: https://groupees.com/
Abe’s Desert Biome Template – WIP
Abe Robertson has been reworking the Player Owned Town Forest Template that Michael Hutchison built to terraform it into a desert biome template. For comparison, here’s the initial Forest Biome Template he started from:
And here are a few work-in-progress images of the new Desert biome version, which will be available soon for selection in the Player Owned Town Submission form:
Play DND1 Winning Entry on the SotA Teletype
There is a new teletype device available as a deco item in the the Add-On Store. This is a special teletype, in that by activating it you will be able to play Richard Flemming’s winning DND1 game from Lord British’s Royal Challenge (see Update #78 for more details of the DND1 Contest).
Here is a video of Richard Flemming’s winning entry from last year’s contest:
Release 18 Grand Tour Quest Reward: Bycocket Hat
Just as in our past several releases, we’re including a Grand Tour Quest in R18 designed to guide you through all the new content. When you complete the R18 Grand Tour Quest you will be rewarded with a Bycocket Hat (commonly known as the Robin Hood hat). This reward can only be unlocked during Release 18 (did someone say rares?), so be sure to log in to R18 starting May 28 and talk to all the Tour Guides!
Time is Running Out to Get Your R17 Grand Tour Quest Reward
Better hurry if you want to add the Fez Hat to your collection because the R17 Grand Tour Quest ends on May 28 when we launch Release 18. If you need help getting your R17 Fez Hat reward, then check out The Mad Hermit’s video guide to completing the R17 Grand Tour Quest:
Twin Spire Manor City Home Now Available to PoTs and LotM Pledges
Greetings PoT Owners,
Earlier this year we began working on the PoT submission form which many of you have begun using. Winfield was helpful enough to create a first draft of the form and in it he noted that we simply listed “Add On Store Homes” in the descriptions of Towns without any further clarity. We quickly realized that this could be a issue because in the store different sized homes had different costs. It would lower the value of homes if you could select all town sized homes since they were more expensive than village or row sized homes.
So we decided to add clarity to the description and increase both the number and size of homes you could select as you moved up to a bigger PoT. In our pledges we have Row, Village, Town, and City lots so we just replicated those sizes in this plan and modified the descriptions on the website to reflect this change. We all reviewed the change and none of us caught the super obvious issue: we have NEVER had any city sized buildings in the add on store.
In fact we did not realize this was an issue until we were about to launch the PoT Submission Form last week. At that time we had to decide if we would revert to the original description or leave the newer description but strike through the word “City”. We chose the latter to maximize transparency. However we neglected to explain why we had to make this change. We should have taken the time to explain what happened and we apologize that we did not.
For now in order to fulfill our promise of city sized homes we are going to resurrect the original Lord of the Manor house and provide that as the City sized option you can pick from for your PoT. We will also be providing this house to all the Lords of the Manor as a bonus home since some preferred that layout to the current one.
We have also decided that because of our mishandling of this, as soon as we create more city sized homes, owners whose towns are Village sized or larger (which include city sized homes) will receive the new city sized homes as additions to their current selections instead of substitutions. This means, for example, that the owner of a Metropolis can earn up to 4 additional city sized homes (provided they do not select the original LotM home prior to the creation of new city sized homes). We do not yet have an estimate on when these new city sized homes will be available, but please note that these are the biggest and most complex structures to create, so it will be a while. Until that time, we ask your patience and understanding.
Accordingly, we have resurrected the original Lord of the Manor City Home (first revealed in Update #44) to make it available in the Player Owned Towns Submission form. We are also adding this house to all the Lord of the Manor pledge rewards (Royal Founder, Founder, and Benefactor), in addition to the Lord of the Manor house they already have. Even though this city house is listed as an Add-On Store House in the PoT descriptions and submission form, it will not be available for general sale in the Add-On Store. Here are a few images of that home:
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:
- Novian Academy: Deans Working Hours (Fridays, 4:30pm CST)
- New to the game? Have questions or comments? Dean Kazyn Phoenixfyre shall be in office to instruct any new students how to play or where to go in the game to get on your feet. (PaxLair, /zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre)
- PVP Event 30 Day Tournament
- Order of Vengeance is proud to host the first month long tournament in Shroud of the Avatar (PaxLair; details)
- R17-R18 Deco Contest – PUB CRAWL!
- The theme for this contest is some kind of drinking establishment! Prizes to the top three winners! (details)
- Daily Breakfast Club – 12am CST (London UK); 6am CST (Central US); 3pm CST (Sydney Australia)
- Breakfast Clubs offer a time when people from around different time zones can gather. (Wody’s Pub, Paxlair)
- Shardfall Madness PVP – Everyone fights it out in a royal rumble (Fridays, 6pm CST; Verdantis Shardfall, Novia or /zone harry underworld; details)
- Phoenix Republic Open Mic Night (Thursdays, 7pm CST)
- Come hang out in Wody’s Bar. Have a story or a song, Maybe want to do some stand up? Every Thursday the audience will vote on the winner of the weekly prize (PaxLair, Wody’s Bar, /zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre or Jack Knyfe)
- Beach Party by BMC (Fridays at 9pm CST)
- Come join the BMC for dancing and fun at the Beach (/zone River Beauchamp or Wind Silverrmoon)
Saturday, May 23
- 9:00am CST PaxLair Working Hours
- PaxLair town and community “working hours” are for anyone interested in PaxLair. (/zone Winfield)
- 9:30am CST & 3:30pm CST(Encore) 1st Soldier’s Memorial Ball at PaxLair
- In honor of good service rendered by the town guard and the soldiers of the free states of Novia, the town of PaxLair will be hosting the 1st Soldier’s Memorial Ball at Winfield’s castle. (/zone Bowen Bloodgood; details)
- 11:00am CST Church of the Dark Star – Saturday Service
- Join Lady Amber Raine, High Priestess of the Church of the Dark Star along with Kazyn Phoenixfyre of the Church of the Sun, as they bring another thought provoking service.(PaxLair,; details)
- 12:00pm CST- BMC Crafting Fair
- Come and learn the finer arts from the master craftsmen of the BMC!(Owl’s Head; details)
- 2:00pm CST Rize Up Gaming Streaming SotA for Water.org Charity Drive
- Join Rize Up Gaming from 2pm to 10pm CST as they stream Shroud of the Avatar community events and converse with members of the community for their Water.org charity drive
- 2:00pm CST Port Phoenix Storytelling Event
- Join Kazyn Phoenixfyre and other Port Phoenix individuals as we gather around and share stories, poems, songs and other verses. (Paxlair, /zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre)
- 5:00pm CST Free 1V1 Tournament
- Come sign up for a free 1v1 tournament! $20 in Prizes! (/zone Violation)
Sunday, May 24
- 6:30am CST – Explore Novia with royalsexy (PaxLair Moon Tower, /zone royalsexy)
- 10:00am CST – Phoenix Republic Town Hall/Working Hours
- A Gathering of members of the Phoenix Republic to cover important topic areas of the month. (PaxLair, /zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre or Jack Knyfe)
- 1:30pm CST – 4B Maze Event (PaxLair, central lot by Moon Tower, /zone Sindariya Tyelma; details)
- 3:00pm CST Gustball
- Two teams are pitted against each other by using Gust to a “gustball” (aka avatar) around the field and into your opponent’s goal. (PaxLair, Gaelis Trajan’s Basement, /zone The Ball; details)
- 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 (PaxLair, /zone Winfield)
- 8:00pm CST – Fishing with Winfield (some lake or pond, /zone Winfield)
Be sure and check out the Release 17 Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events that may not be included here.
The Bard’s Tale IV Coming to Kickstarter
Our long-time friend and colleague, Brian Fargo, and his team over at inXile recently announced they are reviving one of our favorite RPG series, The Bard’s Tale! Here’s the announcement from a recent update:
We’re very excited about our upcoming Kickstarter for The Bard’s Tale IV, which we recently announced will kick off on June 2nd! Follow our countdown on our official The Bard’s Tale IV site or sign up to get notified when we launch. We have also provided an early viewing of the Kickstarter tiers we plan to make available, you can join the discussion on our official forums.
Bard’s Tale IV will help drive the revival of the dungeon crawler genre. As described by inXile, it is a single-player, party-based cRPG with dynamic phase based combat, challenging puzzles and riddles, and a game heavily invested in music, set to gorgeous Gaelic songs. Cool stuff! If you’re as excited as we are to see one of the most amazing RPG series live again, then head over to inXile’s Bard’s Tale IV site and sign up to be notified of their Kickstarter launch!
Blade of the Avatar Pledge Reward and Add-Ons Expire May 31
In preparation for an upcoming publishing agreement with a major book publisher, the Blade of the Avatar novel, both digital and printed versions, are expiring on May 31, 2015. After that date, BotA will be removed from the Add-On Store and from the Pledge Rewards. All backers with pledges containing the BotA reward that pledged prior to the expiration date, or that purchased it from the Add-On Store, will still receive that reward when it comes available.
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:
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
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).