Update of the Avatar #222 – 2017.04.07: Free Trial Test 2 Begins, R40 Postmortem, Summer Telethon, Weapons Flash Sale, Job Openings, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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


The Making of Solace Bridge Outskirts (update)

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, 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]

An update:

Farmland Area

Wide-shot of the map from the East (looking inland, West)

Gratuitous sunset shot


Release 40 Postmortem

We have been extremely happy with the community’s reaction to Release 40 so far, and want to hear more of your valuable feedback! Join us Tuesday, April 11th at 3:00 PM Central (20:00 UTC) on Twitch for our monthly Hangout of the Avatar. We will be answering your questions and looking ahead at what’s on the development schedule in Q2 2017!

Once you get a chance to check out Release 40, post your questions in the comments section of the original post at this link. Only one post submission per player allowed, and keep questions to 3 or less. This will allow us to get to as many questions as possible.

As always, we will be giving out rare artifacts of immense power and glory. 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!

Follow @ShroudofAvatar to keep updated as the postmortem approaches!


Summer Telethon 2017 Part 1

Avatars! Get ready to soak up the summer sun with us. Today, we’re announcing the Summer Telethon 2017 Part 1! Telethons are livestreamed on Twitch and include a complete schedule of developer Deep Dives, answers to your gameplay questions, community activities, prize giveaways, sales on items, and more! See what’s all included below…

Summer “Hot Air” Expirations Sale Begins!

In honor of the waves of hot air that will be blowing over us this summer we are expiring all of our hot air Aeronaut items. At Midnight CST, May 31, 2017 (5:00 UTC, June 1, 2017), we are expiring the following content from the Add On Store (and the in-game Crown Merchants). This means that these items will no longer be available at all after this date.

Before the following items expire for good, we have put them on sale at approx. 20% off. Check out what’s now on sale:

Help us to achieve the following goals during this next event!

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 Summer Telethon 2017 Part 1 Funding Stretch Goal Rewards are:

  • $10,000: /smokevirtue: blow the virtue symbol in smoke from a pipe
  • $25,000: Balloons: a small cluster of balloons held in your hand. These particular balloons are black with a silver virtue symbol.
  • $35,000: Miner’s Helmet with flame on top (generates light)
  • $50,000: Flame Pattern Stained Glass Oil Table Lamp (3 Pack)
  • $65,000: Fire Elemental Statue with flame effects
  • $80,000: Flame Shaped Shield and Scimitar
  • and more to be revealed if we hit these goals…

Did you see what was unlocked in the last telethon? This one might be even bigger!

Cheer on the Devs!

StarrDancingFor 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! The wheel will have 14 items at any given time, but dozens of sales will happen! Each time an item comes up it will go on sale for approx. 20% off for 1 hour.

As the wheel is spun, what is selected will be replaced by something else. 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!

Wheel of Fortune Flash Sales:

  • Pattern Packs
  • Make A Difference incl Blood Reliquaries
  • Kobold Bundles
  • Viking Bundles
  • Shogun Bundles
  • Elven Bundles
  • Obsidian Bundles
  • All Lot Deeds
  • Water Homes & Decorations
  • Pattern Packs
  • Greenhouses (incl Ornate Glass Roof Rowhouse)
  • Music
  • Emotes
  • Fireplaces and Lamps
  • Pavers, Fences, and Walls
  • Trees & Statues
  • Signs
  • Row Homes
  • Village Homes
  • Town Homes
  • City Homes
  • Clothing and Wings
  • Pipes, Fans, Umbrella & Cane
  • Hats & Masks
  • Pets
  • Games & Gustball Court
  • Dyes
  • Basements

Telethon Schedule*

  • 12:00 PM: Welcome to the Summer Telethon!
  • 12:30 PM: R42 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 & Community Hour
  • 7:00 PM: Crafting & Economy Deep Dive (Chris, Starr, Richard, Brandon)
  • 8:00 PM: Boss Fight! (Chris, Richard, Starr)
  • 8:30 PM: Combat & PVP Deep Dive (Chris, Starr, B, Richard)
  • 10:00 PM: Artifice Tour and Lore discussion (Scottie, Lum, Richard)
  • 11:00 PM: Q&A / Wrap-up (Chris, Starr, Richard)

* Schedule subject to change, check back here before the telethon to for final schedule.

Win These Great Prizes!

  • Seasonal Rare: 2017 Lepus Mask (last day to get!)
  • Ornate Chainsword
  • Wood Duck pet
  • Wings and other wearables
  • Several wearables pattern packs
  • Large and Tabletop Statues
  • Trees and Tree Packs
  • Ancient Wall Sculptures
  • Baby Clockwork Dragons
  • Water Decorations
  • Lord British vs Darkstarr Battle Banner
  • Bank Upgrades
  • Remote Bank Access Device
  • COTOs and Store Credit
  • Several items that are expiring tonight
  • Plus more prizes from the Add On Store
  • And several items courtesy of RelicsbyRild.com

We will be giving prizes away on an hourly basis with many being given away multiple times. If you wish to win prizes during the Telethon event, be in Discord chat! We will be active on Twitch and YouTube chats as well, but they will not be our portal for prize giveaways.

Watch The Telethon on Twitch and the final recording will be archived on YouTube! after the event as well. Please be aware that if we have any connection problems, YouTube will be the first service to be dropped from the stream.

Submit your questions! We will be answering questions throughout the telethon so submit them in the comments section of the original post (see here) or through Discord during the Telethon. Please keep in mind that questions and feedback related to each segment will be given priority and really verbose questions may be skipped, as they can be a challenge to shorten and summarize live on the air. In brief… please keep your questions… brief. When you submit your questions in the Comments section of the original post (see here), please keep it to 3 total questions max!


Free Trial Test 2 Begins! This April 6 – 10

We are excited to announce our second test of our Free Trial system April 6 – 10. If you know anyone who would like to try the game for free, then send them to the download page. These tests are invaluable for us in order to improve the New User Experience and the Free Trial System itself.

Free Trial access allows you to play the entire game in any of the Online modes with a few key differences in game play.

  • Free Trial Current Time Period: April 6 – April 10, 2017
  • The term (Visitor) is appended to their character name
  • Cannot give items to other players via Trade
  • Cannot purchase nor sell items via Player Vendors nor Public Vendors
  • No ownership of property nor use of lot signs
  • Cannot interact with public chests
  • Cannot move/interact with items on a plot even if they are given permissions
  • Cannot flag as Open PVP
  • Cannot gain nor do they create any ransom items when they kill or are killed in PVP (in Open PVP zones)
  • Character data may be deleted after Free Trial period is over if character is not upgraded to a paid account
  • Items purchased in the Add On Store cannot be accessed after the Free Trial Period is over unless you purchase Game Access
  • Cannot play in Offline Mode


Weapons Weekend Flash Sale

We added over 20 new weapons and shields to the game in Release 40! Most were added as in-game loot drops, but a few got added to the store as well! To celebrate we are putting all weapons (including shields) on sale this weekend for 20% off.

Here is a complete list of the weapons and shields that you will find on sale this weekend:


Tech Talk Tuesday Episode 3

Community member Violation Clauth reached out to our Technology Director Chris “Atos” Spears about doing a regular hangout where they dug into the the details of the “numbers”. Chris of course agreed and this wonderful thing is now a regular semi-regular thing! Enjoy!

Technically this latest episode happened on Wednesday but let’s not quibble!

[From a forum post by Violation Clauth]

Issue #3

  • Experience types in SotA
  • Adventuring Experience
    • How to gain experience
    • How to apply experience
    • How to lose experience
  • Crafting Experience
  • Combat Math revisited: Crit Math (with math on notepad screen!)



Community Livestream: TRAMMUCCA!

Missed last week’s Community Livestream and heard about the mysterious land called TRAMMUCCA? Watch this recording and have a good hearty April Fool’s laugh with us :). Broadcast starts at 0:59:

Watch other videos and livestream recordings at: www.youtube.com/portalarium


Upcoming Events

Apr 6 – 10, 2017 – Free Trial Test 2
Apr 11, 2017R40 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.


Community Events of the Week

Grand Opening of Vyrin & Womby’s New Britannian Bookstore – Apr. 8th @1pm CT

Thanks to the graciousness of Lord Andernut, Governor of the New Britannian Market, Womby & Vyrin are pleased to announce the opening of our FIFTH bookstore!

Please join us for an open house marking the occasion: Saturday, April 8, 1-2 PM NBT in New Britannian Market

This event is a casual meet-and-greet for authors, bibliophiles, and friends. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about writing and publishing. Our vendors will be selling new books from five different authors! The offerings are described here. Following on the Spring Telethon, we will be commemorating the event with free Spring-time giveaways. (No matter the season in game!) We will also be going on a duck hunt! The first to identify the locations of all the hidden ducks in the store will win a copy of the published chapters of Vyrin’s series Revelations. These are limited edition collectors items!

Serpent’s Watch – Race Challenge – Apr. 8th @4pm CT

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! All ye Kings and Queens, Knights and Nobles, Citizens and Peasants! Serpent’s Watch invites you to attend their Race Challenge! To be held on the 8th of April at 4pm CT (NBT).

If you consider yourself fleet of foot, a bit of an acrobat or just enjoy a good laugh, then this is the event for you! See the forum announcement by Woftam for details on how to attend and how to sign up to the challenge.


Community Resources – Players Helping Players

SotA_NewPlayerWelcome_Forum

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.


SotA_WorldBuilding

Job Openings: Quest Writer / Designer and Localization Coordinator / Quality Assurance

We currently have openings for a junior-level to senior-level Quest Writer / Designer, and a Localization Coordinator / Quality Assurance agent for Shroud of the Avatar. All jobs are full time contract positions onsite here in Austin, Texas. Qualifications for the “ideal candidates” are:

Quest Writer / Designer

  • Preferred 2 years industry experience for junior-level (preferably on a shipped game but experience working on mods will be considered as well)
  • Preferred 5 years industry experience for senior-level (minimum of at least 1 shipped game)
  • Strong writing skills with an ability to craft believable characters
  • Scripting ability
  • BONUS: Unity3D proficiency
  • BONUS: Level design experience
  • BONUS: Experience with Quest design and implementation specifically for RPGs and MMOs

Localization Coordinator / Quality Assurance

  • Strong communication skills
  • Avid game player
  • Experience with RPGs and MMOs
  • Willingness to also do Customer Service tasks as needed
  • Desire to expand into other areas of game development long term
  • BONUS: Experience with Quality Assurance
  • BONUS: Can speak and write two languages
  • BONUS: Experience with Game Localization

If you’d like to join the Portalarium Tribe working on the ground-breaking Shroud of the Avatar, please submit your resume to jobs@portalarium.com. Provide links to your work (if possible), including actual game play, videos footage, and documents (images, maps, and event descriptions).


Recommended Projects to Back

Starfighter Inc. is a hard-science multiplayer space combat sim in development by a 20+ international team. They recently launched a Kickstarter to add more support and provide fans with exclusive content. With rigorous attention to scientific detail, this game is set in a plausible future 200 years from now. Players are mercenary pilots who fulfill contracts for corporations and other organizations that have settled into our solar system. A rich background narrative provides context for the events and battles the players are part of. The international team is led by industry veterans Jack Mamais (MechWarrior 2, Crytek), David Wessman (X-Wing and TIE Fighter series), and Rusel DeMaria (original X-Wing and TIE Fighter fiction) and was just awarded the Seal of Approval by the popular science site, Atomic Rockets, alongside Kerbal Space Program.


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!



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