Update of the Avatar #226 – 2017.05.05: Telethon Weapons Update, Bloodriver Outskirts Update, Free Trial Test #3, Music Weekend Flash Sale, Lord British Interviews, Community Events, 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 Bloodriver Outskirts (update)

SPOILERS: Players following the Path of Truth encounter the Elven village of Bloodriver massacred by vigilantes from Aerie. The elves have fled for their lives into the forests upriver and invaded the home of an Elven hermit who dwells in a ruin deep in the forest. They have set traps to protect themselves from the vigilantes who have pursued them here and are harassing them still. Elven soldiers from Vertas are arriving from the north to protect them while Aerie soldiers are streaming in from the south east to try and stop all out war between the humans and elves. We hope to have this scene live in Release 43.

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

Hey guys! SorcerousSteve here to give you another update on Bloodriver Outskirts!
As the map approaches its polish phase I’ll be preparing for spawning!

An ancient abandoned temple Pyramid deep within the forest.

The Bloodriver as it flows through the Bloodriver Forest.

Waterfalls dot the lush cliff forested region.

A road heading North cuts through a forest clearing where the dense vegetation gives way to a patch of dead trees

A free-soul nature loving automaton has chosen to make his home in this abandoned cave of the Bloodriver Forest.

Forest Spider Lair…

Spring Telethon Weapons Update: Thorn Mace, Staff, Wand, and 2-Handed Sword

Fletcher Kinnear has just completed the final Spring Telethon weapons: The Thorn Mace, Thorn Staff, Thorn Wand, and Thorn 2-Handed Sword. As a reminder these were the stretch goals from our Spring Telethon 2017 for $150K. As always anyone who spent $5 or more during the telethon will be receiving these in Release 42.

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

Greetings everyone! Here’s an update on the other thorn weapons for the upcoming release!
We have a Thorn Mace, Thorn Staff, Thorn Wand, and a Two-Handed Thorn Sword!

Free Trial Test 3: May 10 – 31

We are excited to announce our third test of our Free Trial system May 10 – 31. This will be the longest test so far of the system so that we can gather even more data about uptake, dropoff, conversions, etc. 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: May 10 – May 31, 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
  • Can only start on the Path of Love

In the News: Getting2Alpha, Pong to Pokemon Exhibit, UbiTalks

Getting2Alpha: Amy Jo Kim over at Getting2Alpha interviewed Richard “Lord British” Garriott for her podcast to talk about “Systems Thinking & Meaningful Challenges”

Richard Garriott is a pioneering game designer, gifted world-builder second-generation astronaut, arctic explorer – and ever-inspiring creative force. I first met Richard when I was teaching online community design at Stanford; half my class was in the Beta for Ultima Online, and I jumped in enthusiastically to learn the ropes. I ended up working with Richard, Raph Koster and their amazing crew of developers through the launch & growth of that early graphic MMO. Like many great game designers, Richard is a sophisticated systems thinker who sees the world through a unique lens that’s on full display in this far-ranging & fascinating conversation.

Pong to Pokemon Exhibit: Richard Garriott and Starr Long helped advise the Bullock Texas History Museum on their upcoming exhibit “Pong to Pokemon: The Evolution of Electronic Gaming”. Richard also donated a substantial amount of his personal collection to the exhibit. Starr also connected the museum to John Romero who also donated to the exhibit. John Keefer over at Shack News covered the delivery of John’s goods with the article: “Museum Takes Possession of Original Doom Memorabilia Under Guard.”

Richard Garriott, aka Lord British, who created the Ultima series of games and is now working on Shroud of the Avatar MMO, donated quite a bit of memorabilia as well. “I am and always have been a huge pack rat,” he said via email. “I have kept every note, every disk, every bit of hardware or materials I/we have used in making games.” Among the items he will be sharing with the exhibit are a teletype and operational Apple II running Akalabeth, which Garriott designed in 1980. He also has included Ultima in his items, from original artwork of all the covers and illustrations from the Ultima games to the design documents from them as well. He said he also loaned “non-game items that inspired aspects of the work, though I suspect they may not have room for it.”

UbiTalks: Ubisoft invited Richard Garriott to guest lecture at their studio in Quebec City for their series UbiTalks which they generously broadcast live on Facebook. Richard spoke about his history in the game industry starting from the beginning all the way through Ultima, Origin, and now Shroud of the Avatar.

Summer Telethon 2017 Part 1 Update

Our Summer Telethon is only a few weeks away and we have been steadily working on the stretch goal items. This week we unveil the Flame Scimitar and Miner’s Helmet! The Miner’s Helmet will have an open flame in the front and will project a spotlight.As a reminder 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) will receive all these items if we reach these funding levels during the telethon. 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

Additionally we wanted to remind everyone that at the end of the telethon we are expiring all the Aeronaut items from the Add On Store.

Music Weekend Flash Sale

In Release 40 and 41 we added three new instruments: the Kettle Drum (R40), the Large Harp (R40), and Lord British’s favorite: the Harpsichord (R41)! In R40 we also added the Ballet Outfit with Ballet Emotes that is perfect to dance with while someone plays these instruments.

To celebrate we are putting all music related items on sale this weekend for 20% off.

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

Join the Localization Team

[From a forum post by Attenwood]


Thank you for your interest in helping our team localize Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues!

We are reestablishing development support translating our game to Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese languages! In order to meet the vast translation needs of our project, we return to you, our amazing community, in search of qualified volunteers with a passion for seeing our project reach many more players!

Joining the Localization Team

As we get started rebuilding our teams and community, all potential applicants will be required to send an email to rromero@portalarium.com with a subject of “Localization Application: [Username]” from the email address tied to your Shroud of the Avatar Account. Applications from emails not associated with an SotA Account will not be accepted.

The content of the email should include the following information:

  1. Your forum Username (preferred) or desired Username
  2. Your desired translation Language (We currently support localization volunteers for Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese)
  3. Any notes/comments on experience or interest in volunteering.

As our localization teams restructure, we will eventually start to work through and rely on the support of our Localization Leads for community outreach, and reviewing candidates before applications are accepted.

Getting Started

Once your application is accepted you will be contacted through both email and Private Message on our forums with introductions, instructions, and details for how to get started translating.

An account will be created for you on our internal Localization server using the Zanata platform. Your account will automatically have privileges set to immediately dive into translating text strings for your selected Language Group.

We highly encourage applicants to engage with other Localizers, especially those that are members of the same language team. They will be invaluable resources to help answer questions and address issues going forward.

In addition to your private Zanata Localization account, your SotA account will have forum permissions applied that will allow you to have access to the Localization Team subforums where community discussion and translation/text/content bug reporting can be submitted, and feature requests and concerns made.

Further details will be provided in the application acceptance message.

Translation Incentives

In recent months we introduced as part of our Bug Reporting effort the Testing Incentives Program to provide rewards for players that provide valuable ongoing support to the growth and quality of our project. We would like to provide similar incentives here!

Unique Titles: By dedicating your time to Localizing our Project, whether it be translating directly, submitting bugs, or assisting in reviewing and fixing content/keyword errors, you will receive the unique in-game title of “Scribe” reserved for the great writers or New Britannia.

Volunteers that have provided significant contribution to Project Localization will be rewarded with the highest honor of “Royal Scrivener” and will be recognized for their outstanding work and dedication.

COTO: As with the Testing Incentives Program, volunteers that have contributed significantly in Localization over the course of a Release cycle for will be rewarded 5 Gold Crowns of the Obsidians.

We want to reiterate that these are volunteer roles and that incentives are provided as appreciation (not payment) for the time and work submitted. The real worth and reward from this process is a localized game that better brings broad communities together.

Visit the main announcement post for additional details and a terms of use update.

Community Livestream: The Outskirts, Part 1

What we’re about to show you is going to take two livestreams! For Part 1, we will brought back Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski to show off the now live Solace Bridge Outskirts. Then Chris “Seawolf” Wolf and Damien “Puuk” Foletto showed a sneak peek of the upcoming Highvale Outskirts scene.

As we announced during the Spring Telethon, we are adding 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.

One month from now (don’t worry, we will have livestreams in the interim), we will be talking about all three Outskirts scenes, including Bloodriver Outskirts!

Subscribe to www.youtube.com/portalarium to watch other videos and livestream recordings!

Upcoming Events Calendar

May 8, 2017 – R41 Postmortem Livestream
May 17 – 31, 2017 – Free Trial 3
May 25, 2017 – Release 42
May 31, 2017 – Summer Telethon Part 1
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
Nov 9-12, 2017 – HoBLoTH IV

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.

Trophy Room Contest

Get your houses ready for the most intense contest yet this year! Over the next several weeks, you will have the fun opportunity to show off your hunting heroism, crafting coordination, and trophy triumphs in this new three part contest kicking off today.

PART 1: Hunt down a creature, kill another player (to get their skull), or catch a fish!

PART 2: Craft the trophy from that creature (human skulls come as-is, no preparation needed…)

PART 3: Display your trophy triumphs in a single room of a house you have access too!

As we receive contest submissions, they will be announced in the forums and on social with eventually a gallery of all submissions put together.

[Read More…]

Community Events of the Week – RPOTA Writing Contest

RPOTA Writing Contest

Hear ye! Hear ye! Biographers, Historians, Diplomats, Journalists, Story Writers, Quest Designers, Videographers and Musicians! RPOTA.COM is in dire need of your amazing talents! Role-Players of the Avatar is hosting a monthly contest to award those most famous with their quill, camera, piano or lute! Simply have your creations submitted by midnight of the last day of every month to be eligible for that month’s contest! See Elgarion for (details)

Community Spotlight: Novia Market

This week’s Player Owned Town spotlight has me, ‘Berek’ as I go by in the community, travelling to the center of New Britannia to visit the bustling trade town of Novia Market.

Many of the fair towns in New Britannia have built a strong, steady popularity and long history. By contrast, I had heard rumblings of a young upstart of a community of 50+ merchant residents which seemingly had popped out of nowhere, in the southern hinterlands of Brittany called Novia Market.

I had seen flyers for Novia Market proclaiming each and every Sunday as a “promo day”, and it piqued my interest enough to start a short pilgrimage to the town. Upon reaching the entrance to the town, I was struck by two things: the hustle and bustle of the community, and an odd couple of gentlemen laying wait to greet me beside the town crier and banker at the entrance.

[Read More…]

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 Project to Back – Torment: Tides of Numenera

The thematic successor of Planescape: Torment, Torment: Tides of Numenera is a single-player, isometric role-playing game, set in Monte Cook’s Numenera, and with original team members like Chris Avellone, Colin McComb and Mark Morgan involved, inXile is looking to deliver a deep story-driven experience reminiscent of the original Torment.

If you haven’t already backed Torment: Tides of Numenera, then check it out, now available on Steam!

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!