Greetings Fellow Avatars!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
- Play Release 37 Now!
- 17 Days Left for 10% Holiday Bonus!
- Xenos Polish
- The Making of Vauban Pass
- The Making of Blood Bay
- Richard Garriott on Exploding Dice
- R36 Lot Deed Raffle Winners
- Community of the Avatar Livestream – Clockwork Monkeys Strike!
- Hangout of the Avatar ~ Release 37 Postmortem: Next Week
- More Obsidian Bundles and Add-On Store Goodies!
- Community Spotlight: Numinous Gleann – Player Owned Town
- Upcoming Events
- Community Holiday Party at Portalarium!
- Community Resources – Players Helping Players
- Recommended Projects to Back
Release 37 successfully launched yesterday, December 15, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, and logging in to check out the changes! There’s lots of new content to explore, including:
- Superstition Canyon Rebuilt
- Ardoris Polish
- Tons of Performance Improvements
- Town Sieges
- Obsidian Bundles
- New Crown Merchants: Obsidian, Kobold, and Caretaker (aka Spooky)
- New Custom NPCs: Ardoris Guards
- Loading Screen Hints
- R36 Lot Deed Raffle Winners
…and much more
Check out the Release 37 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 37!
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.
17 Days Left for 10% Holiday Bonus!
Just in time for the holidays, we are announcing our 10% Holiday Bonus! For all new purchases (including bundles, bundle upgrades, add-on items, player owned town upgrades, and Make a Difference items) between 10:30 am CST December 15, 2016 (16:30 UTC, December 15, 2016) and Midnight CST, January 2, 2017 (6:00 UTC, January 3, 2017), we will add an additional 10% 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 10% 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]
Xenos Polish (cont.)
Right before we went persistent, we uncloned Xenos and made some modifications to it for specific plot points. However, we were not satisfied with the level of polish so we are revisiting this scene and doing a polish pass this release. We hope to have this pass complete by Release 38. Xenos is on the island of Elysium, southwest of Novia, and is a critical juncture on the Path of Truth.
Hello my fine folks!
As I continue to develop the details of Xenos, my thoughts keep going back to the rocky entrance through the coastal hills from the Elysian Plains southwest of the city… Though many will choose to visit the land of Elysium by ship from the mainland of New Britannia, thus arriving at the port of Xenos, those adventuring out into wilderness and rolling hills of Elysium and returning again will enter from the south, passing through forested acres festooned with the tents of travelers unable to pay for richer housing within the city.
Since the draw of Xenos is the Lottery, and the laws of the land allow fair passage to all races, assuming they behave in a civilized fashion, the tents of the people of many lands can be found here, as well as the occasional encampment of friendly elves and kobolds. This will hopefully be a place where many different tales can be found and shared, and the hopes and dreams of supplicants awaiting their chance at the Lottery of Artifice can be wistfully imparted upon those who will listen.
This being one of the main roads leading into the city, it will eventually receive the same treatment I am giving to the other primary thoroughfares, namely the paving stones lining each edge of the cobbled pathway, as well as the upraised borders with dusty foot-trails etched along the grassy way to either side. The well-traveled road leads past the ancient caravanserai stationed near the edge of the Lagoon of Pleasures which I showcased in an earlier sub-post.
This building (one of the larger “desert” style homes, actually) I have adorned with various Greco-Roman features and details, and have reserved it as a place for the more quaint travelers to barter and trade. Within will eventually be found the same types of tented merchant stalls as can be discovered along the busy docks near the town center…
The idea with a caravanserai, however, is that the visiting merchants with their wagons and caravans would actually reside (at least temporarily) in one of the many different rooms available in this building, and pitch their wares in the stalls either within the inner courtyard (accessed straight through that little door you see below), or upon the second story roof balcony overlooking it from above…
Not far to the east of here several neighborhoods stretch away toward the plains and the bay, and if one were to gaze out over them from atop one of the many taller building found here, one could see the northeastern aqueducts stretching like a crooked stone snake from the taller heights into the residential areas below.
Though it may be interesting to see the placeholder houses I have chosen to display, these will eventually become the domiciles of whomever has purchased those plots, and the spaces in between will be dotted with little gardens and follies decorated with bits of ancient ruins and artful statuary of my choosing, while the coasts will have steps leading into the water, and platforms here and there bedecked in flowering plants and tall sculpted junipers.
Those who enter the city from the north, however, will enjoy the finely sculpted stone docks of Xenos, and its busy port full of market stalls, garden paths, and the Grand Gate leading into the Forum of the Lottery itself! Only the dazzling city of Ardoris, who shares with Xenos the need for aqueducts, has a similar flavor and mystique, with its paved streets and many alleys.
But it is the historical nature of Xenos’ very foundations which entice the traveler with thoughts of the cultures that thrived here long ago, ancient even before the rise of the Obsidian Empire,…older than the catastrophe that shattered the moon itself. In the images below you can see the work I’ve done re-creating the docks, making way for the colorful merchant stalls near the piers, and lining the streets and walkways leading into the city center with decorative plants and statuary.
Here we begin walking inward toward the Forum itself, through the Grand Gate, beneath the statue of Boreas, and between the guardian Shedu which gaze forward toward those who seek admittance. Beyond the Grand Gate is a domed rotunda held aloft by ancient pillars and surmounted with an oculus open to the sky. It rests within the inner courtyard between the gate and Forum, and is a place where those who wait for the ceremonies meander and greet one another.
Above the Grand Gate you can see the insignia of Xenos, its broken-shackled hands holding aloft the gear-work icon reminiscent of the wooden gears and cogs of the many waterwheels found within the city at various points, providing power to the aetheric generators that feed various buildings and services here and there.
Again, this courtyard, with the rotunda and its statue-adorned fountain, are still a work in progress, and will eventually be even more filled with decorative plants, pathways, and other things to please the eye,…as will the rest of this central area as a whole. And all of these details, as I design them, will spill out and inform the rest of the city, and will enrich even the outlying areas of rural estates and ruin-littered countryside. There’s so much more to come!
Thank you for your patience with this process, and hopefully your excitement for these additions is well rewarded! Yours in earnest endeavor…
The Making of Vauban Pass
Vauban Pass is one of the numerous Control Points that limits travel between regions in Novia. It is located between the Grunvald and Drachvald regions and is controlled by the Undead armies of Anapa. Vauban Pass started as a clone of Sanctus Spine but is being completely rebuilt for Release 38. When completed this will make all the Control Points unique scenes.
Hey folks! I have a new un-cloned level to show you that I’m currently working on for release 38! The new look for Vauban Pass is inspired by the Hindu Kush mountains, and will include a small village, a spider’s den, a graveyard, and some catacombs.
As always, feel free to leave feedback!
~ Chris Wolf
The Making of Blood Bay (cont.)
Blood Bay is going to be an Open PVP area with two NPC towns, player housing, adventuring areas, and entrances to underground adventure areas. It is going to be a testing ground for several systems that will, in turn, propagate to other parts of the game if successful. We hope to have a first iteration of this map live in Release 38. We showed the scene during the Telethon and talked more about how we hope to have certain systems working. This is the third update we have posted so far on this map.
Richard Garriott on Exploding Dice
Our very own Richard “Lord British” Garriott was the featured guest on the D&D Twitch show Fuzzy Dice which is a weekly feature of the Exploding Dice D&D Twitch Channel. That evening Fuzzy Dice happened to also be the Table Top Featured Twitch stream on Twitch!
You can view the hour long interview here:
R36 Lot Deed Raffle Winners
Yesterday we had the drawing for our latest Lot Deed Raffle and awarded 170 lot deeds to lucky winners whom are being announced today. There were two raffles, one for each lot type:
- Place Anywhere Deeds: 20 Total
- Row: 10
- Village: 6
- Town: 3
- City: 1
- Player Owned Town Deeds: 150 Total
- Row: 80
- Village: 40
- Town: 20
- City: 10
Raffle tickets grant the holder a chance to win deeds of any size (Row, Village, Town, or City). Raffles will be held monthly (total deed numbers will vary each month). Place-Anywhere Deed raffle tickets are more expensive but will have fewer deeds in each raffle than POT raffle tickets, which are more affordable and will have many more deeds in each raffle. This means your chances to win a POT deed are much greater.
This is the first raffle where we limited winners to one deed per raffle type. Click here for a complete list of the winners for this release’s raffle. Winners can claim their deed(s) simply by logging into the game and claiming rewards at any bank. A reminder that you may have received multiple deeds to claim if you received tickets for a guild or other group.
If you wish to review all of your account rewards outside of the game, you can do so by going to the Account menu on the main website and then selecting the ‘Special Rewards’ tab in the page menu.
Community of the Avatar Livestream – Clockwork Monkeys Strike!
Last week’s Community of the Avatar Live stream kicked off with Matt Schmitz, our Lead Animator, showing the community in 3DS Max how the animations for the Clockwork Monkey were designed. This special pet reward was one of the stretch goals the community obtained during the Summer Telethon, and is now in the game as of Release 37! We also be toured Aldwater, a PRT town which was recently spotlighted.
If you missed the stream you can see it below or on the Shroud of the Avatar YouTube channel.
Hangout of the Avatar ~ Release 37 Postmortem: Next Week
Join us Tuesday, December 20th at 3:00 PM Central (21:00 UTC) on Twitch for our monthly Hangout of the Avatar! The team will be chatting about the upcoming Release 37, the recent holiday events, and looking ahead to what’s going on in the next year!
As always, we will be giving out rare Lord British artifacts of immense power and glory, and answering your latest questions. For a chance to win an artifact, or to speak your voice on the latest game changes, be in Discord chat during the livestream. There will be multiple chances to win throughout the broadcast!
Submit Your Questions!
Once you get a chance to check out Release 37, or have questions that apply regardless of release, post your questions in the comments section of the Postmortem web posting. Only one post submission allowed, and keep questions to 3 or less. This will allow us to get to as many individual players’ questions as possible.
More Obsidian Bundles and Add-On Goodies!
Last week we introduced the new Obsidian Bundle Store with a few of the starting bundles, and this week we have completed all twelve of the Obsidian Bundles, all of which are being delivered in-game now with Release 37!
Add-On Store Goodies!
Check out all the new items in the Add-On Store, including pet Clockwork Monkey, Dragon Mask, new Battle Banner, Vases, Gustball Field, and more!
Community Spotlight: Numinous Gleann – Player Owned Town
Today’s community spotlight explores the metropolis of Numinous Gleann. Adjoined to Ardoris, the city of Love in the South, you will discover that Numinous Glenn is but a nice weekend trip from many other nearby towns.
We are touring all kinds of towns and talking with guilds and other groups throughout this spotlight series, brought to you by Berek, your community wood elf druid.
Entering from the main bridge, I saw the prominent Statues of the Virtues guarding the town center. Just beyond the statues was a farm of greenhouses for as far as the eye could see. Already in awe of the great sights I was witnessing, I knew I was going to enjoy my time here.
As I walked across the main bridge, I was greeted by a Town Crier, who welcomed me to Numinous Gleann and quickly introduced me to govenor Frederick Glasgow.
Frederick escorted me to the the town’s common crafting area, located in the shadows of the Statues of the three Virtues. The members of the Numinous Gleann Merchant Society are just a few steps away under a row of awnings and ready to assist everyone that comes on by.
Dec 20, 2016 – R37 Postmortem
Jan 26, 2017 – Release 38
Feb 23, 2017 – Release 39
Feb 25, 2017 – Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary Event
Feb 28, 2017 – GDC: Community Management Summit
Mar 17, 2017 – SXSW Gaming
Mar 30, 2017 – Release 40
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.
Event of the Week: PaxLair Annual Holiday Party – Dec. 17th from Noon-3pm CT
PaxLair invites all New Britannian’s, young and old, to our annual Holiday Festival. We will feature on-air music, live music, market place, pet race and more. Located at the mouth of the Briasch River, east of Britanny. Please send a message to Sean Silverfoot in game for any help.
Looking forward to seeing you all! Remember never leave home without your snowballs!!
Event of the Week: Shadow’s Rest 2016 Secret Santa Event – Now-Dec. 24th in Shadow’s Rest
Shadow’s Rest would like to welcome all new and returning players to their 2016 Secret Santa event! Feel free to message Aidenolm Rosemourne and choose a gift box. On the 24th, those gifts will be filled by avatars all over Novia and, as rumour has it, even Santa himself! So if you’re looking for some support this holiday, contact Rosemourne and choose a gift box! If you’re in the giving mood, find a named present and put your gift in! Contact Aidenolm Rosemourne for details.
Community Holiday Party at Portalarium!
5:00 PM to 10:00 PM Central Standard Time (US)
(2300 UTC to 0400 UTC)
To attend either on-site at Portalarium, or celebrate with us online, please RSVP!
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.
Here’s the latest from BrightLocker, the first crowd publishing platform for games. BrightLocker was launched by fellow ex-Originites Mark Rizzo and Ruben Cortez, members of the original Ultima Online Network Ops team from back in the day.
On Dec. 13th it was an exciting day in history for the BrightLocker community, marking the end of the Season 2 Finals and a wrap to the second official season of voting. The batch of seven winning game ideas will go on to be evaluated by BrightLocker for one ultimate winner to be pushed into Funding and Development.
The qualifying winners include several RPGs, action games, a narrative, a simulation, and a strategy title. The ultimate winner that will go on to production is set to be announced on Jan. 23rd. Also, starting Dec. 17th through Jan. 2nd, BrightLocker will be hosting a winter-themed, game submission round where participants will be competing for cash prizes, BrightLocker votes, and more.
Our very own community member Amberraine, founder of Avatar’s Radio, is one of the Season 2 finalists with her game Wanna be a DJ?
You can check out all the BrightLocker finalists currently being evaluated here.
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!