Update of the Avatar #216 – 2017.02.24: Play R39 Now, New Scenes, Weapon Polish, Weekend Homes Flash Sale, Lot Raffle Winners, Telethon, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

Play Release 39 Now!

Release 39 successfully launched yesterday, February 23, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, and logging in to check out the changes! There’s lots of new content to explore, including:

  • Path of Courage Polish
  • Quest Discovery & Navigation Improvements
  • K’rul Dungeon
  • K’rawl Dungeon
  • North Drachvald Spur Adventure Scene
  • Upper Fortus Adventure Scene
  • Tier 6+  Enemy Additions
  • Traps and Interactions Additions
  • Decorated Lot/Decorated Basement Moving & Saving (aka Magic Movers)
  • Town Blessings
  • Combat Cover
  • “Utility” Bar
  • New Poisons
  • City Kobolds
  • Attack Clockwork Creatures
  • Mushroom Monsters
  • New Weapons
  • Patterns System to re-skin gear
  • New Recipes
  • R38 Lot Deed Raffle Winners

…and much more

Check out the Release 39 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 this Release!

If you have not backed the game yet, go to www.shroudoftheavatar.com and click the “Play Now” button. Game Early Access is also available on Steam Early Access.

Release 39 Player Instructions

Release 39 Known Issues

The Making of Serpent’s Spine Mines

The Serpent’s Spine Mines are located in the northern end of the Serpent’s Spine mountain range in the North Paladis region of Novia. Kobolds have ranged farther west than normal to exploit the rich ore veins and crystal deposits in this vast mine. This will be one of our most vertically oriented mines to date with a large central chamber featuring deep vertical shafts, elevators, and mine carts.

This scene started as a clone of Graff Gem Mines but is being completely rebuilt for a live date hopefully in Release 41.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Chris “Sea Wolf” Wolf]

Hey folks, today I’ll be sharing a sneak peak of my overhaul of Serpent’s Spine Mines. The new look is inspired by Goblin Town from the Hobbit, The Cave of Crystal Giants in Mexico, and the second Death Star from Return of the Jedi. ( yes, you read that right ). I’ve only been working on this for about a week, so all of the screenshots represent a work in progress. I’ll add some updated screenshots as I get closer to wrapping this scene up. Enjoy!

The Cavern

The Chasm

The Kobold Work Camp

~ Chris Wolf
Level Designer

The Making of The Fall

No one is quite sure who built this mysterious dungeon beneath Blood Bay, but it is filled with an incredible array of dangers, and rewards. The Fall gets its name from the giant vertical open space that defines the middle of dungeon with crisscrossing bridges and elevators. This dungeon is an Open PVP area, so enter at your own risk! We hope to have this live in Release 40 or 41.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski]

Here’s some early shots of progress on the PvP Dungeon located beneath Blood Bay:

Thanks for following the thread! More soon.

Ignite Weapon Polish

As mentioned in the Release 39 Instructions, we polished the Ignite Weapon visual effects and our Senior Technical Artist / VFX Artist Damon Waldrip provided us a short video of the inflammatory goodness! Note you can read about Damon, who is our newest team member, here.

NPC submissions requested for Estgard

Humility[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Scott “Lum” Jennings]

Thank you for your continuing support of Shroud of the Avatar! This month, we’re seeking entries for inhabitants of the village of Estgard!

Estgard is the port of entry to the kingdom of Norgard, which is very much consumed with a war with the kobolds of Skrekk (spoiler: the humans are losing the war). Estgard especially believes that they are safe by flying yellow banners through the town, believing the kobolds see it as a symbol of surrender. This is not a happy place – but it may be an interesting one, esepcially with your help!

Note that Estgard is not the only town we will be seeking submissions from for R40. If you do NOT want your backer NPC to be in Estgard, you may want to wait. I will update this thread if we are running low on submissions – generally we are OK on duplicate submissions for characters who don’t get adopted (such as guards) but if you absolutely have a character who should be in a given city (such as Brittany) you should wait until we advertise for that city.First, some brief notes:

  • Estgard is one of our “uncloning” scenes, where we go back post-final wipe and fill out unique content for each village and city. Thus, the NPCs are already in the game, but we can change appearance (to a degree, as seen below), gender, etc. to suit your request. If you want to pick a specific NPC (for example, one near your own house) we will do our best to accommodate you but may not be able to. Note that this process is just to make Estgard NPCs different – Estgard has already had a physical uncloning pass and its layout is basically final for release. We are backfilling NPCs that should have backstories at this point.
  • NPC visual customization, as you may have noticed, is still at a very early stage in development. Right now for the backers who want to be added to Estgard, we cannot offer any visual customization options beyond our standard gallery of NPC models. If you would like to have input over the visual customization of your NPC, you can wait for further releases when we can offer this. We will also allow a one-time visual re-customization once customization has been added if you would like to add your NPC now.
  • Response to this will be on a first-come first-served basis for each call for responses. If your NPC doesn’t appear in Estgard, feel free to respond again in future posts. We have quite a few towns and cities to populate!
  • We are allowing people who have already submitted NPCs to submit their ideas for Estgard as well if they like, but people who have not yet submitted an NPC will take priority over those who have.
  • When responding, please list a first and second choice for profession.
  • NPCs for Estgard must be human. No kobolds, please.

Still with us? Great! Here’s what we need this month:

(Counts updated 2/22 8:00p Central)

  • 14 guards (these are Knights of Norgard, and must be in character for them – please talk to guards in Resolute if you are unfamiliar with the background of Knights of Norgard).
  • 1 innkeeper
  • 1 waiter/waitress
  • 1 crafting merchant
  • 1 housing decorations merchant
  • 1 housing deeds merchant
  • 1 blacksmith
  • 1 alchemy supplies merchant
  • 1 combat trainer
  • 1 crafting trainer
  • 1 banker
  • 1 town crier
  • 1 public vendor
  • 1 guild registrar

If you’d like to have your namesake be a resident of Estgard please respond via private message on this forum to me (Lum) using the following format:

  • NPC name:
  • NPC gender:
  • NPC profession (first choice):
  • NPC profession (second choice):
  • NPC background (optional): A paragraph on whom your NPC is, how they would respond to nosy outlanders poking about their business, what brings them to Estgard (or keeps them there), or anything else you’d like to add. We reserve the right to edit and/or reject any background that does not fit the lore and setting of the game.

Please specify in your submission that this NPC is for Estgard.

We will respond if: your NPC is used; if it is rejected for whatever reason (such as an inappropriate name); if a supplied background is inappropriate, or if your NPC missed the cutoff for this release.

Thanks for your support, and see you in Estgard!

R38 Lot Deed Raffle Winners

The latest Lot Deed Raffle was drawn with 50 lot deeds awarded to lucky winners. There were two raffles, one for each lot type:

  • Place Anywhere Deeds: 10 Total
    • Row: 5
    • Village: 3
    • Town: 1
    • City: 1
  • Player Owned Town Deeds: 40 Total
    • Row: 20
    • Village: 12
    • Town: 6
    • City: 2

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 latest raffle where we limited winners to one deed per raffle type. 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.

Click here for a list of the winners.

Spring Telethon Update: Schedule and New Expirations

Reminder that our Spring Telethon is only two weeks away! We will be streaming for 12 hours with deep dives into game systems and answering your questions. We will be giving out tons of prizes, there will be lots of flash sales, and items will be expiring! Additionally anyone spending at least $5 during the telethon will receive the Spring themed stretch goals:

  • $10,000: /flowerleap emote (leap into the air and throw flowers)
  • $25,000: Butterfly Mask
  • $35,000: Stained Glass Hand Lantern
  • $50,000: Floral Pattern Stained Glass Oil Table Lamp (3 Pack)
  • $65,000: White Flowered Topiary Creature Statues (3 Pack of Dragon, Bear, Satyr)
  • $80,000: Leaf Shield and Leaf Spear
  • $100,000: Large Spring Themed Fountain with Floating Candles
  • $130,000: Shield of Thorns and Thorn Sword
  • and more to be revealed if we hit these goals…

Schedule: This week we updated the post with the schedule for the Telethon.

  • 12:00 PM: Welcome to the Spring Telethon of the Avatar 2017!
  • 12:30 PM: R39 Postmortem (Chris, Richard, Starr)
  • 2:00 PM: Player Housing & Player Owned Towns Deep Dive (Starr, Hutch, Bob Cooksey)
  • 3:00 PM: World Building Tours (Esteben, C-Wolf, Keith, Dan)
  • 4:30 PM: Story Deep Dive (Lum, Richard)
  • 5:30 PM: ONBE Awards
  • 6:00 PM: Community Hour
  • 7:00 PM: Crafting & Economy Deep Dive (Chris, Starr, B, Richard)
  • 8:00 PM: Boss Fight (Chris, Richard, Starr)
  • 8:30 PM: Combat & PVP Deep Dive (Chris, Starr, B, Richard)
  • 10:00 PM: Symbols: The Making of the Devotionals and Anti-Virtue Symbols (Scottie, Richard)
  • 11:00 PM: Q&A / Wrap-up (Chris, Starr, Richard)

Expirations: We decided to extend the expiration deadlines of the 2017 Valentines content and the Fireworks Mystery Box to coincide with the Telethon.

Homes and Basements Weekend Flash Sale

In celebration of Magic Movers coming online, we are having a 20% off weekend flash sale on all Homes and Basements, representing over 60 items!

Here is a complete list of all the Homes and Basements you will find on sale this weekend:







*Basements are listed in their own tab in the Store here.

Origin PC Steam Key Bundle

As we announced in Update #210, we have started a new partnership with Origin PC. We, of course, love the name of their company. We also found out that their community manager and one of their founders are huge Ultima Online fans! Our very own Richard Garriott uses Origin PCs for his desktop and laptop computers, so this partnership is a mutual admiration party. In Richard’s own words:

“I have been a hard core PC developer and gamer since the beginning, including when I was making some of my earliest games for Origin Systems. Origin games, like Ultima and Wing Commander, always pushed the envelope on what gaming machines were capable of. And to develop them, I knew I needed the best gaming hardware available. The same holds true for my current game, Shroud of the Avatar; a spiritual successor to Ultima which is in now in development at Portalarium.

 So, about a year ago, I went looking for the best game system available to me, and I bought my first Origin PC. I was incredibly impressed! Everything from the ordering process through the delivery was top notch, and performance is that of a clearly superior machine. I was indeed so impressed, I now use Origin computers for both my home and office desktops and, of course, have an Origin laptop for when I travel. I could not be happier with these machines, and the great service at Origin PC!”

Our latest promotion with Origin PC is their “Share the Love” February bundle where, when you purchase select desktops or any 10-Series laptop, you get an Early Access Steam Key for Shroud of the Avatar (and other goodies). If you have friends who have been wanting to try Shroud and are looking for a great new computer, send them to the promotion here.

Alienware Steam Key Giveaway
If Alienware’s powerful gaming rigs are your preferred hardware, we have teamed up with Alienware Arena to give away Shroud of the Avatar Early Access Steam keys to Alienware Arena members.

This week they have opened the promotion up to Level 4+ members (it was previously only available to Level 6+ members). You can learn more by clicking here.

R39 Offline Data Format Change – Character Preservation Notice

Greetings Avatars,

Just like in Release 38 during Release 39, the Offline Mode save game format is changing to support new and upcoming gameplay features.

Here’s what you need to do in order to preserve your Offline Mode save games and characters:

  • Patch your game client to Release 39.
  • Load each saved game and then re-save. This will convert your save file into the latest format.

If you do not convert your saved games during Release 39, your saved games (from releases prior to R39) may not load in releases after Release 39. In other words we cannot guarantee the ability to load pre-R39 saves after R39.

Our sincere apologies if this change causes any disruption in your gameplay. We always make every attempt to avoid having to make these kinds of requirements of our players when we make changes like this. After very careful consideration, we’ve deemed this change, and the accompanying requirement, as necessary. Please note that this change will not affect the online game or characters in any way.

As a reminder, Release 39 starts on February 23 and runs through March 29.

Please let us know if you have any questions on this update!


Please let us know if you have any questions on this update!

Spring 2017 Crafter’s Competition

Fire up those kilns and ready your hammers! The Spring 2017 Crafter’s Competition has begun! This first event will be a Gear Design Contest with other events, possibly quarterly, kicking off throughout the year.

In the last contest segment we had you capture a fight with a boss monster in the game. To survive such an intensive fight, a great deal of armor and powerful weaponry must be wielded! In this follow-up contest, we want you to design the most powerful weapons and armor you can muster.

As we receive submissions, they will be announced on Twitter and Facebook with eventually a gallery of all submissions on Facebook. If we get enough of them, we may make this a regular quarterly crafting event!

[Read More…]

Community of the Avatar Livestream – Crawling to K’rul

Explore a newly released dungeon with us from last week’s community livestream! We’re going to adventure through K’rul and a secret connecting tunnel called K’rawl, including hopping on a fun minecart ride through the tunnel!

Livestream starts at 5:17 into the video and should autoplay at this starting point:

Follow the game on Twitter at www.twitter.com/shroudofavatar for news of the next livestream!

Upcoming Events

Feb 25, 2017 – Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary Event
Feb 28, 2017 – GDC Community Management Summit: Care and Feeding of Wild Fansites
Mar 9, 2017 –  
Spring Telethon of the Avatar 2017
Mar 17, 2017 –
 SXSW Gaming: Is Video Game Early Access Too Early?
Mar 30, 2017 – Release 40
Apr 27, 2017 – Release 41
May 25, 2017 – Release 42
June 29, 2017 – Release 43

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: Release 39 Welcome Quest!

By Royal Warrant, we present to you the Welcome Quest! You are invited to join the Welcome Quest in Release 39. It will be held on Saturday, February 25 2017 starting at 12pm (noon) central time/new britannian time and lasting an hour. It is added on the Avatar’s Circle community calendar for easy time zone conversion. Plus it is in your in-game Events book.

Greagoir Pendragon will be active 30 minutes before the event and during the event. This time we are traveling to Insulam de Nocte! Located in Spindrift Bay on the island where Elad’s Lighthouse it located. You can teleport to Greagoir Pendragon.

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

Torment: Tides of Numenera is the thematic successor to Planescape: Torment, one of the most critically acclaimed role-playing games of all time. Immerse yourself in a single-player, isometric, story-driven RPG set in Monte Cook’s Numenera universe. What does one life matter? Find your answer.

The game had a successful Kickstareter and is now due to launch this coming February 28th, 2017. It is currently available to play on Steam Early Access. It can preordered for PS4 and Xbox One here.

Backer Shipping Addresses

SotA_ShippingAddressIn 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 support@portalarium.com is unblocked from your e-mail account!