Greetings Fellow Avatars!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
- Play Release 35 Now!
- R34 Lot Deed Raffle Winners
- The Making of Elad’s Lighthouse (cont)
- The Making of Graff Island (cont)
- Game System Changes for R35
- 31-Day Countdown to Expirations and Fall into Winter Telethon
- Winter Holiday Goodies, Elven Bundles, Magical Dyes, Halloween Sale, and More!
- Get Your 15% Black Friday Bonus Now!
- Upcoming Events
- Community Resources – Players Helping Players
- Recommended Projects to Back
Play Release 35 Now!
Release 35 successfully launched yesterday, October 27, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, and logging in to check out the changes! There’s lots of new content to explore, including:
- Roving Encounters
- Ardoris Polish
- Harvest Rebuilt
- Tower of the Shuttered Eye Polish
- 25 New Cooking Recipes
- Water Gathering for Planting
- Fall Content
- R34 Lot Deed Raffle Winners
- Start Point Selection for Dynamic POTs
- New NPC Faces
…and much more
Check out the Release 35 Instructions update for detailed information about all the new content.
We need all your help with testing the new patches, putting more stress on our multiplayer servers, and testing the new game content, so please join us in playing Release 35!
If you have not backed the game, you will need to register and login at www.shroudoftheavatar.com, select the “Get Early Access!” button in the right side-bar, and purchase one of our game access bundles. Game Early Access is also available on Steam Early Access.
Release 34 Lot Deed Raffle Winners
Yesterday we had the drawing for our second Lot Deed Raffle and we awarded 675 lot deeds to lucky winners who bought tickets. Winners can claim their deed simply by logging into the game and claiming rewards at any bank. As a reminder, here is the breakdown of how many deeds of each type and size we awarded:
Place Anywhere Deeds (75):
- Row: 40
- Village: 20
- Town: 10
- City: 5
- Brian Parris
- fireSpHere FluffyWhale
- Gideon Thrax
- Lorelei Huntington
Player Owned Town Deeds (600):
- Row: 320
- Village: 160
- Town: 80
- City: 40
- Alex Kidd
- Boedy Arc
- Brian Skelton
- Deiter VomPasker
- Eternal Knightmen
- Frederick Glasgow
- Ginger Sporran
- Kvasir Viator
- Lomyr Edain
- Luca Xante
- Modu FoeSlayer
- Paul Scar
- Paul Sirdalus
- Peter VonPickledPepper
- Rada Torment
- Reflet Desombres
- Ribald Hornpipe
- Ritter Runkel
- Roycestein Kaelstrom
- Rufus D’Asperdi
- Shinzar Rabenflug
- Stryker Sparhawk
- Titania Xylia
- Two Socks
- Vintage Tangstra
- William Brodie
- Yinki Starter
- Ylva Rasa
For a complete list of all winners, please see this post.
The Making of Elad’s Lighthouse (cont.)
Elad’s Lighthouse is located in Spindrift Bay directly across the water from Brittany. It is home to Elad, who retired to the island after an illustrious career as Lord British’s shipbuilder and lighthouse builder. As with many of our scenes, Elad’s Lighthouse started as a cloned scene using one of our PRT / POT templates based off of the Forest 01 base template (aka PaxLair). However, it always had the unique feature of Elad’s Lighthouse which will continue to be a prominent feature. Now though, it will have unique terrain featuring dramatic cliffsides, a dockyard, lumbermill, and many other unique changes.
Note that when we un-clone these scenes, we do NOT change lot placements. We only make cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage. One of our new worldbuilders Chris started work on Elad’s this release and we hope to have it live in the game in its newly uncloned state in Release 36.
Sea Wolf here with a few more screenshots of Elad’s Lighthouse. Let me know what you think!
The New Waterfall
The Making of Graff Island (cont.)
Another update on Graff Island! Graff Island is located in the Drachvald region. It is in the northernmost reaches of Spindrift Bay across from Port Graff and is central to the gem trade of the region. It is the site of a factory that sculpts the gems into weapons, armor and other goods. It is also the home of the Graff family and their sprawling mansion. Note that when we un-clone these scenes we do NOT change lot placements. We only make cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage. In the case of Graff Island, we are replacing the terrain and foliage, adding the Graff family mansion and the Graff Gem Factory. One of our new worldbuilders, Travis, started work on it this release and we hope to have it live in the game in its newly uncloned state in Release 36.
Edge of Graff Market area
Graff Manor grounds
Leaving town and heading south, pastoral windbreaks
Thanks for following the updates!
Game System Changes for R35
As part of our continued commitment to explain Game System changes Chris posted details about the changes we made in R35 including Encumbrance, Decay, and Interrupts.
Greetings avatars! Last release I promised I would document the reasons behind major changes in future releases. Prepare yourself for my usual wall of text! As always, my dream is that players don’t think about the details of exactly what is happening and just play the game but for those who insist on seeing behind the curtain, here you go and enjoy!
So first up, Decay has now been enabled but with tighter limits on how much it can accumulate. I’ve written many pages on the why and how of decay in the past but since there are probably some new readers out there, I’ll give a shorter summary.
What is decay? When players die they will lose a tiny fraction of the experience off of all their skills. The current maximum that can be lost in a single death is 0.04% of the experience applied. Not 4% but 0.04% or 0.0004 times the amount that has been applied to the pool. So if you had a skill that was at 80, you would lose around 82 experience points off the skill. If the skill was at 100, you would lose around 500 experience points. Doesn’t sound like much, but that amount is lost off every adventurer skill. Also, the penalty is roughly 0.0001 per hour so dying multiple times in rapid succession isn’t extremely punishing. Currently we have the max accumulation set at 0.0004
If you have the skill set to maintain or train, then the experience will be pulled from your pooled experience assuming you have any. This is part of why, last release, the application rate of experience from the pool was reduced. That change made it so players would generally have more experience in their pools to help buffer versus decay so they would be less likely see skills lose levels on a death.
Why have decay? There are several reasons to have decay. First, death should not feel trivial, even for an Avatar. Second, when we decided to switch to a use based skill system we had to make some decisions on how to limit players. We could have gone with hard cap for max number of skill points like UO, but few people were fond of hard caps and it didn’t really make sense with our larger skill sets and more complex combat systems. We had to have someway to limit players progress so everyone doesn’t end up with 150 skills at GM.
So instead of just making it so players couldn’t progress any more as they banged against hard caps, we chose to go with a system of gentle decay. The decay is small but, since it is based on a percentage of a player’s total experience, over time they will get to a point where they are earning and losing roughly the same amount.
So next up is the change to shield spells so they no longer stack. For those unaware, in previous releases players could and would stack 5+ shield spells all the time. The results dwarfed the effectiveness of armor and made the best tanks in the game people wearing cloth armor. The spells affected are Shield of Crystal, Death Shield, Immolation, and Shield of Ice. Shield of Air couldn’t be made exclusive just yet due to how our channel systems currently works, but it will be on that list next release.
During this change, I also addressed some balance issues in Earth magic. The shield spells in each group were supposed to also grant an attunement bonus and in Earth magic, Earth’s Embrace actually had the bonus. I correct that and also re-evaluated the HP bonus on Shield of Crystal and bumped it up significantly to get it more inline with the target of it adding 20% extra health for players. Those sad to lose the bonus on Earth’s Embrace should still be happy because Earth’s Embrace can still stack with any shield spell. Also, Earth casters can now gain attunement without losing move speed.
On to the next major change… Interruptions! The existing interruption system was actually placeholder code. When you got hit while casting some spells, it did a random 1 to 100 and, if that was less than the damage you took, you were interrupted! This didn’t scale in any way. That meant that low level players rarely got interrupted and high levels frequently got interrupted. Players with 80 hit points who took 50 hit points in a single shot had a 50% chance to get interrupted and players who had 600 hit points who took 50 hit points would have the exact same 50% chance!
The new system now scales the interrupt chance based on the player’s max hit points. There is also now a skill that decreases the player’s chance to be interrupted. This Release, interruptions will probably happen at about the same rate as in the past or possibly a little less — BUT two new changes will go in for R36 that will likely increase the number of interrupts.
First, a new value was added to all spells/skills that determines how likely they are to interrupt. This was added for this release, but only a few skills had it set. The idea being that some effects interrupt more and others less. Second, the window where spells can be interrupted is currently small to non-existent for most spells. These will be tuned in R36. I would have tuned them for R35, but I wanted to give players a chance to level up the concentration skill.
Last major game system change for this release was encumbrance! This is a change we tried to make many times but always ran into situations where it might end up leaving someone permanently stranded. The old system would slow you to a walk speed at most, no matter how much you carried. It also used focus, but that focus burn didn’t scale with weight. The result was carrying 2X or carrying 2000X your encumbrance limit had the same result. Worse yet, there was a bug that made it so running out of focus didn’t stop your movement.
So with R35, the lower end of movement speed will be much slower than a walk. It will though so just being 2X over will probably move faster than before but slowing down to a crawl at higher levels. Focus use will also scale based on how overloaded they are. Finally, players who are overloaded and out of focus will not be able to move and have to wait to catch their breath a bit.
This change was important for realism, local economies, and to block botting. There were players who were carrying 10,000+ weight in ore out of mines at a time without breaking a sweat.
31-Day Countdown to Expirations and Fall into Winter Telethon
Only 31 days until our Fall into Winter Telethon and your last chance to purchase a bunch of items that are expiring!
- House Stacking in Bundles (only 1 House per Bundle going forward)
- Adobe 2-Story with Upper Deck Village Home
- Adobe 2-Story with Patio & Balcony Village Home
- Adobe 2-Story Village Home
- Adobe Brick 2-Story with Roof Access Village Home
- All Kobold Masks (some will still be exclusively available in Kobold Bundles)
- All Prosperity Tool Packs (will still be available as part of Bundles)
- Wax Cylinder Soundtrack Vol 1
- Battle Banner
- 2016 Jack O Lanterns
- 2016 Jack O Lantern Mask
- 2016 Jack O Lantern Mask with Glow
- 2016 Grim Reaper Statue
- 2016 Grim Reaper Mask
- 2016 Rotten Armor
- 2016 Rotten Flesh Cloak
- 2016 Spooky Soundtrack
At noon on that same day, we are starting a 12 hour telethon that will include an array of fun activities and engaging content, many of which you can directly participate in with us in-game! We are also giving away a ton of fabulous prizes*, and as always we will be having stretch goals that based on how much players spend during the telethon (see below).
As usual, your questions will be answered throughout the event. You can pre-post your questions in the article’s comments section (linked here), or post questions during the telethon in Discord chat.*
As a special bonus, we are offering Telethon Funding Stretch Goal Rewards to any backer that pledges a minimum of $5 from the start of the telethon, until Midnight (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply). The Fall Into Winter Telethon of the Avatar Funding Stretch Goal Rewards are:
- $10K: /rainautumnleaves
- $25K: Autumn Leaf Crown (increases length of /rainautumnleaves emote)
- $35K: Autumn Fairy Leaf Dress + Autumn Leaf Wings
- $50K: Pet Squirrel
- $65K and beyond: Secret Winter items!
Did you see what was unlocked in the last telethon? This one is going to be even bigger!
Cheer on the Devs!
For every $2,500 donated, all developers on camera have to either dance, sing, or drink a shot of alcohol.
Additionally, we will be spinning the Wheel of Fortune & Doom! The wheel will have 14 items at any given time, but dozens of total prizes ultimately will be given away! This includes developers that, if selected, have to either dance, sing, or drink a shot of alcohol.
As the wheel is spun, what is selected will be replaced by something else. Details list of wheel items coming soon. Items already selected will be removed for a time (some may not come back onto the wheel for the rest of the telethon. Keep in mind that some of these may never come up, so cross your fingers for your preferred item!
Winter Holiday Goodies, Elven Bundles, Magical Dyes, Halloween Sale, and More!
For those of you that like to start celebrating the Winter Holidays early, we’ve added a few Winter Holiday themed items to the Add-On Store:
We’ve completed our line of Elven-themed bundles with the inclusion of the new Village Keep, Town, and City bundles:
Created by the Obsidian Alchemists, these magical dyes will add a hypnotizing effect to many styles of clothing, distracting your enemies long enough to take the kill. And they’re also a big hit at disco dance parties!
In celebration of the spooky holiday, we are putting all our 2016 Spooky Value Packs on sale through Halloween, October 31st!
Get Your 15% Black Friday Bonus Now!
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.
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.
Howl-O-Scream is a community led Halloween costume decorating contest! Anyone can dress up and participate in the event, which begins in-game at 1pm CDT in Rift’s End player owned town. Get ready to get spooked and have a great time this coming weekend!
Complete event schedule posted in the forums.
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.
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.
Our friends over at inXile have launched a crowdfunding campaign for Wasteland 3, a party-based role-playing game with story reactivity and strategic combat! The game features a deep and engaging story utilizing a newly-revamped dialog tree system from the writers of Torment: Tides of Numenera!
By including vehicles, environmental dangers, and a revamped, more fluid action system, inXile is evolving on Wasteland 2’s deep tactical turn-based combat and unique encounter design. Play by yourself or with a friend in story-driven synchronous or asynchronous multiplayer. Choices open up (or close off) mission opportunities, areas to explore, story arcs, and lots of other content.
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!