Update of the Avatar #220 – 2017.03.24: New Vile Weapons, The Making of Verdantis Mines and Other Scenes, Easter Flash Sale, Community Livestream, Player Town Spotlight, and more!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

The Vile Weapons of the Obsidian Cabalists

The Obisidian Cabalists will begin appearing in Town Sieges in Release 40. Each Obsidian Cabalist wields a unique artifact weapon made from Obsidian and bearing their anti-virtue symbol. Players who defeat Cabalists have a chance to find these weapons on their corpses as loot (along with hoods, robes, and plate boots). We made sure that each weapon type (including a shield) was represented so that players would have a chance to get a weapon of the type they favored.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “SkullMuncher34” Kinnear]

Hello all! We have new weapons coming for the next release for the Obsidian Cabalists!

Deceitful Vile Wand: Dolus’s wand, comprised of black branching twigs (View image):

Dastardly Vile Sword: Nefario’s long, thin 2-handed blade (View image):

Gaudy Vile Spear: Fastus’s 1-handed spear has a mirror on it to distract opponents: (View image):

Oppressive Vile Hammer: Nefas’s 2-handed Judge’s gavel is a mockery of Justice (View image):

Indignant Vile Halberd: Indigno’s horrific 2-handed polearm is covered in barbs (View image):

Punishing Vile Flail: Avara’s flail is made up of multiple blades in a 1-handed sword (View image):

Despicable Vile Crossbow: Temna’s large repeating crossbow (View image):

Carnal Vile Shield: Corpus’s shield sports the Anti-virtue symbol of Carnality (View image):

The Making of Verdantis Mines

Verdantis Mines are in the northern tip of the Mariah Mountains in the Verdantis region which can be found in the northwest of Novia. The elves of the region have been mining these mountains for many years and recently they broke through to an ancient underground city full of rich ore nodes and other treasures. Unfortunately it is also full of undead and in its deepest places Fire and Earth Elementals.

Verdantis Mines started as a clone of Graff Gem Mines but is being completely rebuilt and will hopefully go live in Release 41 or 42.

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

Hey folks, today I’ll be sharing a sneak peak at the updated Verdantis Mines. The new look for the mines is inspired by the Waitomo Glowworm caves in new Zealand, The ancient city of Petra in Jordan, Pompeii, and The Bridge of Khazad Dum from The Lord of the Rings.

In this map, a group of elves have uncovered a hidden city while mining for ore. The Elves have taken the opportunity to loot the artifacts and precious ores that were left behind when the city was flooded with magma in a natural disaster. Their disruption has awoken the undead, who they now fight for control of the city.

Feel free to leave feedback, but keep in mind this is still a work in progress. You can expect a few updates to lighting and atmosphere, more rubble, an Elven camp, and more evidence of mining and looting. I’ll make further updates to the post as the map comes closer to completion. Enjoy!

The Ancient City Ruins
The Market RuinsThe Bridge to The Citadel The Ramparts The Keep

Chris Wolf
Level Designer

The Making of Solace Bridge Outskirts

For several years now our backers have been providing us feedback that the first few hours of our game have several major issues. Those issues include too many loading screens, scenes that are too small, and starting towns that include player housing / vendors. As we shift our focus to improving the New User Experience (NUE) and as we are able to measure new player progress through events like our recent free trial we realize that we must address these issues sooner versus later.

As we announced during the Spring Telethon our solution to this is to add three new maps to the game that we are calling “Outskirts”. These scenes will be very close to the three starting scenes and players will go directly there after finishing those starting scenes. Outskirts will be very large scenes, similar in scope to some of our recent big scenes like Blood Bay. This will allow them to be large enough that players can base themselves in a single scene for adventuring and resupply for their first couple of hours without having to go through multiple scene loads or having to use the Overworld. Each scene will have a small outpost that will include some shopkeepers, trainers, crafting stations, and a few quest givers (and no player housing!). The scenes will also include plenty of adventuring areas (forests, ruins, bandit camps, etc.).

Our first Outskirts scene is Solace Bridge Outskirts. It is downriver from Solace Bridge where the Solace River meets the ocean. The small army that was defeated at Solace Bridge has retreated here and sent on the villager refugees to Soltown. They have made camp in a ruined tower overlooking the swampy shoreline. However they are not getting to rest in their retreat for a nearby bandit camp is preying on them, stealing supplies. Plus across the river lie the ruins of an ancient village infested with the very undead they just retreated from! We hope to have this scene live in Release 41 or 42.

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

Some early shots of progress on Solace Bridge Outskirts.

This is a new zone designed to come after the Solace Bridge starting map, to give starting players a better, more cohesive/informative beginning in the game (where previously they’d load straight to Soltown).

Wide shot of the camp area

Road out of the Camp (heading towards bandit country!)

Bandit Swamp Camp

Thanks for following the post!
More to come soon (Farmland, Graveyards, Ruined Town etc.)

The Making of Kas Ruins (update)

The Kas Ruins are one of the six ruined cities found in Novia that date back to the period in Novian history in which the Obsidian Order rose to power. (As described in the Sword of Midras prequel novel by Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott). The exact history of some of these cities has been lost to time, but it is rumored that some of them may have been abandoned even before the rise of the Obsidians. Kas is the site of the ruins of an ancient Paladin fort high atop a mountainside. At the foot of the mountain is an abandoned village with a small graveyard. The entire area has become overrun by the undead.

Kas started as a clone of the Opalis Ruins, but is getting completely rebuilt this release to have a unique layout and visuals. Like all the other Ruins and Shardfalls, this is an Open PVP area so we are expressly focusing on being sure the map has interesting setups for PVP conflict, with plenty of space for hiding, escaping, ambushing, and skirmishing. Our goal is to have Kas Ruins go live in Release 41 or 42.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar]

Hey guys! SorcerousSteve here with an update on the Kas Ruins!

Wide shot of the Kas Ruins with the Tears River on the foreground.

The ruins of the old Paladin Fort located along the steep cliffs of the mountains.

Sunset along the Kas Ruins.

Plenty of traps and dangers await so you can rain damage onto your opponents!

Entering the Kas Ruins from the South.

An elevator can be spotted along this mountainside offering another point of access in to the ruined Paladin Fort.

Stay tuned for more soon!

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer

2017 Easter Content Flash Sale

It is that time of year again where the infamous Death Bunny haunts the caves of Novia. To celebrate we are putting our 2017 Easter items (available in-game in Release 40) on sale this weekend for 20% off. NOTE: These items will only be available in the store until May 31, 2017.

Here is a complete list of the 2017 Easter items that you will find on sale this weekend:

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!


Supporting World Water Day – A Letter of Thanks

This past Wednesday was World Water Day. We supported Water.org’s charity efforts through new Make a Difference store items. We have been participating in their charity for two years now, and since 2015 have raised for Water.org over $27,000 with your support.

This morning we received the following kind letter from someone who was able to receive help from the charity and your donations:

Community Livestream: Boss Fight!

We take on several of the meanest, scariest, and massive bosses in the game with the community! Watch how each fight played out in this recording of last week’s livestream.

More videos and livestream recordings at: wwww.youtube.com/portalarium

Community Spotlight: Owl Sky City – Player Owned Town

Owl Sky City is a player owned metropolis located right next door to Owl’s Head. It is a non-PvP city with a variety of arenas for high skilled duelers of many sorts! Owl Sky City is great for both new players and veterans, and has some great scenic spots for visitors.

Owl Sky City is well-known for having the cheapest prices for spell, crafting, and repair kits. There are vendors selling the most rare and unique of items in all of the Hidden Vale. The local folk are currently expanding player vending at strategic locations.

The OWL guild also resides here, where they have been active since 2014. The guild is friendly to new players, but are known to hunt mid and high level players as well… those wearing PVP flag of course :).

[Read More…]

Upcoming Events

Mar 30, 2017 – Release 40
Apr 6 – 10, 2017 – R40 Free Trial
Apr 11, 2017 – R40 Postmortem
Apr 27, 2017 – Release 41
May 25, 2017 – Release 42
June 29, 2017 – Release 43
July 27, 2017 – Release 44
Aug 10 – 14, 2017 – Syndcon (Austin)
Aug 31, 2017 – Release 45
Sept 1 – 4, 2017 – Dragon Con
Sept 22 – 23, 2017 – Ultima Online 20th Anniversary Party
Sept 28, 2017 – Release 46
Oct 13 – 15, 2017 – SotA Con 2017 (Austin)
Oct 26, 2017 –
Release 47

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 – EVL Spring Fashion Show

It is with great pleasure that Every Virtue is Lasting [EVL] cordially invites everyone to our quarterly community fashion show on Sunday March 26th at 4:00PM NBT (CT) in the picturesque village of Cottage Grove. Put on your finest attire!

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 – Underworld: Ascendant

Far more than a dungeon crawl, Underworld Ascendant is a next-generation sequel to the legendary fantasy RPG’s Ultima Underworld & Ultima Underworld 2. It not only modernizes the series’ visuals and user interface to take full advantage of the today’s powerful PC’s, it innovates in bold new ways.

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!


  1. Drake AedusDrake Aedus

    I really like the idea of “outskirts”. I couldn’t participate in the full live stream and missed this from the recaps. I look forward to testing it out.

  2. Sir_MichaelSir_Michael

    As I said in one of my last posts:
    Every Release of the last months is surprising in a really positive way! :)

    The Making of (Solace Bridge) Outskirts is a very good idea for leading new players from the first steps of a starting scene to a interesting -quest oriented- gameplay :)

    It fills a great gap from starting a path and having a good time to lvl up.

    Thank you for this :)

  3. Sir_MichaelSir_Michael

    And thank you for supporting water.org! It’s great to share success with others who are in need :)

  4. DancingShadeDancingShade

    I really enjoy the “making of” updates where we get to see the transformation from concept art into in-game environments!

  5. NeiroNeiro

    Regarding design:
    I love the new color scheme. For the first time I’m able to actually read the email, instead of having to click the title to go read the content.
    However, because you’ve now removed the content from the email, the new colors aren’t helping. I still have to click the title.
    I’d prefer if you had the content in the emails, but with the current color scheme.

      1. TalonZorchTalonZorch

        Thanks Berek!

        I am glad that I can help!

        I am not that fast, that I can publish them directly on the release of the news, but I try to get faster :-)

Comments are closed.