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!
- Homes of New Britannia – House Decoration Contest
- Clasped Gauntlets Cloak for Community Events
- Breast Cancer Month
- GDC Europe Interview: Lord British on the Virtues of Shroud of the Avatar
- Markee Dragon and the Museum of the Avatar
- Fancy Hand Fans
- Policy Changes: Unclaimed Bundles & Pending Gifts of Pledges
- 12 New POT Templates Now Available
- New Elven Bundles, Spooky Value Packs, and Add-On Store Goodies
- Upcoming Events
- Community Resources – Players Helping Players
- Job Openings (1)
- Recommended Projects to Back
For all new purchases (including bundles, bundle upgrades, add-on items, player owned town upgrades, and Make a Difference items) between Midnight CDT October 6, 2016 (5:00 UTC, October 7, 2016) and Midnight CST, November 28, 2016 (6:00 UTC, November 29, 2016), we will add an additional 15% bonus to your Store Credit! You can use your Store Credit toward additional purchases (which includes bundles, bundle upgrades, add-on items, and player owned town upgrades).
[NOTE: The 15% bonus is calculated every day at 1:00 pm CT for any purchases within the previous 24 hours and added to your Store Credit account; Store Credit cannot be applied toward the purchase of Make a Difference items]
You can use the 15% Bonus to save on your next purchase! For example, if you have the $45 Elven Starter Bundle and really want to upgrade to the $90 Elven Tool Bundle, 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 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 Elven Tool Bundle.
Homes of New Britannia – House Decoration Contest
Get those creative house decorating ideas ready, Avatars! Show the community the curb appeal you can bring to a town as folk walk down the street, and the wonder in the eyes of those who step in to visit your cozy abode. Throw it all up on the walls for this contest and see what sticks!
As the contest progresses, each week on either Monday or Tuesday, we will announce on social media the latest submissions in a Facebook screenshot gallery. Peruse the screenshots there, or go to the forum submission thread to find coordinates to the homes so you can tour them in-game!
We will be awarding prizes on a theme basis. All house theme winners will receive $100 in store credit. The costume theme winner will receive a $50~ store credit. Winners will be announced on the R35 postmortem livestream, which is not yet scheduled but will be in early November.
Deadline to submit is 11:59pm CDT on Sunday, November 6th. For prize categories and submission guidelines, check out the main contest announcement.
Clasped Gauntlets Cloak for Community Events
We believe very strongly that community events that extend into the real world are very important and we have always worked hard to support them. We have been considering for a long time now how players who attend these real world events can display their attendance inside the game. With all that in mind, we came up with the Clasped Gauntlets Cloak! Any Shroud of the Avatar community event, of any size, is eligible to receive a cloak for each attendee. The organizer will need to submit a request for approval and then, once approved, provide a list of backers who attended. Large events can request a customized version of the cloak with a unique color scheme and a custom name. The first approved use of these customized versions are SotA Con East 2016 and Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary Party (see “Project to Back” section below for more details on how to get these rare exclusive versions of the cloak).
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. As many of you know, earlier this year we added a Breast Cancer Charity section to our Make a Difference Store. This was made possible by a generous donation from Shooter Jennings of a ton of content related to his newest album, Countach, in honor of his wife who suffered from Breast Cancer.
Many of you are also probably aware that we recently lost a beloved community member, Lacey, to the disease. Community member Minerva suggested we add a new juggling emote for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in honor of Lacey…and we have! It’s called Juggle Pink Lights Emote (/jugglepinklight), a variation of the /jugglelight emote, available now in the Make a Difference Store!
As with the other Breast Cancer charity items, Portalarium will donate 50% of its share* of the purchase price to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation; an organization that works to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by providing critical funding for innovative clinical and translational research at leading medical centers worldwide, and increasing public awareness about good breast health.
(NOTE: *Portalarium will donate 50% of the net purchase price of this item to the designated charity on a bi-annual basis. Net purchase price is determined by subtracting any transaction service fees and/or platform service fees from the full purchase price paid by the customer)
Sam Bishop at GameReactor interviewed Richard Garriott during GDC Europe and both wrote an article and posted a video interview.
Following GDC Europe we were lucky enough to talk to the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award Richard “Lord British” Garriott and we talked to him about Shroud of the Avatar, an upcoming fantasy MMORPG that builds on the legacy Lord British has created in the past.
Garriott wants it to differ from the usual formulas and trends for RPGs, in part drawing upon his older games as well as trying new things. He believes that modern trends in RPGs can be a bit lacking in some aspects and so we started by asking him what the overall mission was for Shroud of the Avatar.
“In homage to my previous work”, Garriott said, “there are things that I think that my team and I have done uniquely and uniquely well in the thirty or forty years of writing fantasy role-playing games that we’ve done and those would be detailed, simulated worlds where the NPCs have full lives, where there’s weather and astronomy that predicts what might be happening in the world, that there are character classes that are very deep”. He continued “we have done that in the past and I think we are doing it now as good or better than other games that have been offered. But there’s also some things where the state of the art has moved into some areas where I’m somewhat critical of, that we’re trying to find new solutions to with Shroud of the Avatar.”
You can read the entire article here.
Markee Dragon and the Museum of the Avatar
Recently Markee Dragon visited Portalarium (see Update #196). While here Richard Garriott gave him a tour of our Wall of History and regaled him with stories about the highs and lows of game development.
Fancy Hand Fans
For our Summer Telethon of the Avatar Part 1 we created a /fan emote along with a fan you could hold in your hand. We recently had Scott “Scottie” Jones create some more fans along with a unique fan for the telethon reward. All of these fans can be equipped and displayed and if you also want to use the /fan emote you can learn it from anyone who got it during the telethon since it is teachable.
Hello once again! ^_^
As a fun little side task I was asked to expand upon the idea of the rustic, rigid woven-reed hand fan I created earlier. You’ll eventually see this simple, craft-able version in-game once you are able to use the fan emote. It looks like this!
To add to the hand-fan selection by way of even fancier versions you can purchase in the Add-On Store, I was tasked with creating four new versions made of obviously richer materials. When considering what to make, I also had to consider the kinds of limitations we have concerning the “effect” these fans could have… We chose rigid fans for the initial designs because they are easier to implement, as opposed to fans made of materials that look like they should easily bend or that look like they should animate through an articulated “opening up” event (like folding fans would do).
Additionally, I wanted to begin considering the “theme” of these fans based on our in-game cultural regions. Fans popular throughout or own world’s history often came to be recognized as valuable and coveted because they came from remote and exotic locales. I wanted to create a similar feel for our world’s items, whenever possible, and so I chatted a bit with Keith to see if I could decide on at least four cultural paradigms to pattern these new fans from. For instance, this first set of fans pictured below might have been created in the regions of Elysium (for the gilded peacock feather fan) and the Perennial Coast (for the more “Asian influenced” fan that could have been made by a craftsperson in Ardoris).
Likewise, the two fans pictured below might have been made in the region of Norgard (for the fan on the left), and in the areas of either Midmaer or Regalis (for the one on the right with the more “Gothic” medieval European feel)… At some point I’d love to apply the same cultural logic for a variety of our other areas so that as we create more and more items from specific places, we have a general “template” of cultural designs that we might be inspired to apply… Imagine an area with the flavor of the Moorish culture, for instance!
What makes this fun (to me at least) is the idea that in-game merchants might then begin to promote the value of items in one land as being more “exotic and valuable” when sold in another land… And of course, being able to speak of items in this way lends to more interesting tales of travel and adventure if you return from such outings with interesting looking goods from far away shores…
Lastly, allow me to unveil the look of the fan that will be going to those who helped us reach the “Fan Emote” goal for the Summer Telethon! It is of a similar rustic design (based on the basic straw fan geometry), but with a darkly-painted interior adorned with a striking silver weave over its tan base! We decided to grace it with the symbol of Virtue (Ethical Hedonism), featured prominently on each side. Here’s what it looks like!
Those who received the fan emote through the telethon will have access to both this special “Virtue” fan as well as the basic rustic straw version (seen at the beginning o f the post), and can teach this emote to others in-game. Those they teach (and any taught from then on) will be able to craft the basic rustic straw fan for themselves in turn, once that recipe is made available… Fun!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this quick post. Have a wonderful weekend!
Unclaimed Bundles: In order to claim the reward of House Stacking that comes with Bundles you MUST claim your Bundles BEFORE midnight on November 28, 2016 (when House Stacking in Bundles expires). This means that if you purchase a Bundle or upgrade a Bundle prior to the expiration you MUST login to the game and claim your rewards in addition to making the purchase or you will only receive a single house for that Bundle. As a courtesy we will be doing a one time automatic claiming of rewards for all accounts who have Unclaimed Bundles on Monday November 21. However if you upgrade after Monday you will still need to login and claim rewards again to get the additional homes.
Pending Gifts of Pledges: Any Pledges bought as gifts but not yet gifted will be taken out of that pending state and assigned to the purchaser’s account on October 21. At that point you will need to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you wish to do with those pledges if you don’t want to claim those pledges’ items yourself.
12 New POT Templates Now Available
As mentioned in the Release 34 Instructions, we created several new POT templates including Walled variations of the Island and Tropical Island POT templates as well as Stone Dock variations of the Forest and Desert templates. Those templates (including all 3 directional variations of the Island templates as well as the cobblestone variants of the Coastal templates) are now finally available in the POT submission form. We also added these to the POT Temlates page.
Island 01a (Walled):
Tropical Island 01a (Walled):
Forest 01c (Stone Docks):
Desert 01b (Stone Docks w/Cobblestones):
Desert 01c (Stone Docks):
Additionally we added some dock shots to Desert 01 and Desert 01a to better illustrate the differences between those templates.
New Elven Bundles, Spooky Value Packs, and Add-On Store Goodies
We’ve added 3 new property bundles to the Elven Bundle Store, including the 3-Story and 4-Story Row bundles and the Elven Village bundle. The Village bundle comes with two village-sized Elven homes that you get to choose from.
Oct 11, 2016 – R34 Postmortem
Oct 21, 2016 – Pending Gifts of Pledges assigned to purchasers account
Oct 27, 2016 – Release 35
Nov 4-6, 2016 – Sota Con Fan Convention
Nov 10, 2016 – R35 Postmortem
Nov 17, 2016 – Release 36
Nov 21, 2016 – Courtesy Automatic Claiming of Rewards
Nov 28, 2016 – Fall into Winter Telethon and Expirations (House Stacking in Bundles, etc.)
Dec 15, 2016 – Release 37
Dec 20, 2016 – R37 Postmortem
Jan 26, 2017 – Release 38
Visit the official Community Calendar to see the great lineup of activities our amazing community has planned for this weekend! And be sure to check out this month’s Release Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events.
Community Resources – Players Helping Players
- The official SotA New Player Welcome Forum and the Player Created Resources Forum have the best player created resources for Shroud of the Avatar, whether it’s a Player Written Guide, a Video Walk-through, or a Wiki-type Website.
Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing of all things community.
Job Openings (1)
We currently have an opening for a Programmer for Shroud of the Avatar. Qualifications for the “ideal candidate” are:
- Minimum 2 years industry experience
- Strong C#/C++ skills
- Database development experience
- Awesome debugging skills
- Windows programming experience
- Network programming experience
- Extensive Multi-threaded programming experience
- Ability to work in unstructured, non-hierarchical environment
- Strong software architecture skills
- BONUS SKILLS (any one or more of these):
- Minimum 5 years industry experience (minimum of at least 1 shipped game)
- Unity development experience
- Mac development
- Avid game player
- UNIX experience
- MMO game development experience
If you’d like to join the Portalarium Tribe working on the ground-breaking Shroud of the Avatar, please submit your resume to email@example.com. Provide links to your work (if possible), including actual game play, videos footage, and document form (images, maps, and event descriptions).
Recommended Projects to Back (2)
Special Cross Promotion: Anyone who backs both Shroud of the Avatar (at a level with Game Access) and SotA Con East 2016 ($25+) will get a special custom Clasped Gauntlets Cloak in Blue and Yellow that says “SotA Con East 2016”.
Portalarium is excited to participate in the first ever community organized convention for Shroud of the Avatar – SotA Con East 2016! SotA developers and players alike will be gathering together for a casual for a casual weekend filled with exciting activities, engaging panel discussions, and of course plenty of gameplay sessions.
SotA Con East runs from November 4-6, 2016 in Baltimore Inner Harbor, Maryland. Registration is still open, so get your tickets by visiting the official event site links below!
SotA Con is entirely planned and funded by the players, for the players and developers. This once again shows how our passionate and dedicated players are creating exciting opportunities for the rest of the community, and succeeding magnificently.
Special Cross Promotion: Anyone who backs both Shroud of the Avatar (at a level with Game Access) and the Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary ($30 Recommended) will get a special custom Clasped Gauntlets Cloak in Blue and Silver that says “Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary”.
Join the Ultima Dragons as they celebrate twenty-five years of one of the oldest online fan-created gaming clubs! More than just a party, the Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary Bash is a celebration of an entire online culture. We were one of the first communities to emerge from the early Internet, and our roots go even further back! It is this beginning, as a gaming club of Prodigy, that we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of today. Many factions of Ultima fans formed there in 1992, but only the Ultima Dragons survived.
“We’re going to Disneyland!” This decision was as random as the UDIC itself. We’re bringing together Dragons from all over the world, many of whom are friends but have never met in person before, at the Happiest Place on Earth. The party will be kid-friendly, and all Dragons, their friends and family, and fans of the Ultima Dragons are invited. Those who have made the games we’re fans of have also been fans of US for almost as long as we’ve been around, so we’re inviting everyone who worked for Origin Systems or who currently works for Portalarium, the company currently making Shroud of the Avatar, the Ultimas’ spiritual successor.
To that end we’re renting a “Fellowship Hall” in the Disneyland Hotel for the weekend of February 25th and 26th. You’ll get to meet Origin Systems veterans Richard Garriott, Denis Loubet, and Dr. Cat, play games with Dragons and by Dragons, try out various Ultima games, and participate in some Ultima-inspired activities.
Backer Shipping Addresses
In preparation for shipping backers’ physical pledge rewards later this year, we have added Shipping Address fields to your Account Profile page. To enter your shipping address, log in to the SotA website, select “Account” in top right corner, then select “Edit Profile” located in top left corner, beneath your Avatar image.
A reminder to be sure that firstname.lastname@example.org is unblocked from your e-mail account!