Update of the Avatar #234 – 2017.06.30: Play R43 Now, Q3 2017 Schedule, Free Trial Starts Monday, RTX Event Attendance, Lord British Telethon & Sales, Raffle Winners, Community Events, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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


Play Release 43 Now!

Release 43 successfully launched yesterday, June 29, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, and logging in to check out the changes! There’s lots of new content to explore, including:

  • Performance Improvements
  • Path of the Oracle Polish and Expansions
  • Bloodriver Outskirts
  • Sequanna Colossus Rebuild
  • Boreas Colossus Rebuild
  • Libris Ruins Rebuild
  • Celestis Rebuild
  • Crypt of the Avatar, Isle of Storms, West Ravenswood, and Ravensmoor Polish
  • More Lunar Rifts
  • Summer Telethon Gear
  • Arabella
  • Offline Economy Balance
  • Cloth and Leather Armor as Decorations
  • Bulletin Boards
  • Mail System
  • User Interface Polish
  • R43 Lot Deed Raffle Winners

…and much more

Check out the Release 43 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 43 Player Instructions

Release 43 Known Issues


Q3 2017 Schedule Update

Starr_avatar

[From a forum post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Greetings Avatars,

As we have stated previously, we intend to publish quarterly schedule updates for our monthly releases. Even though the goals outlined in these schedules are likely to change somewhat as we react to feedback, we feel it is important to periodically provide you with an updated roadmap.

Our priority continues to be to deliver new content to our backers each and every month so that you can give us feedback that will help us iteratively improve Shroud of the Avatar. This collaborative process continues to benefit the game, and often results in sweeping changes such as the upcoming addition of the Outskirts scenes. As you have seen in previous releases, the flexibility inherent to this process means that we sometimes push things out, but we also often pull new things in.

Performance: One of our biggest priorities for the third quarter will be to improve performance. A significant portion of each release will be spent on improving client stability, framerate, memory usage, and load times.

New User Experience (NUE): Another large priority for the third quarter will continue to be about improving the new user experience. These efforts will include adding the final two Outskirts maps and polishing the User Interface.

Story Complete: Our goal is to complete the story no later than the end of Q3 (most of it will actually be done in R44 minus one Outskirts map), so story efforts in Q3 will be focused on finishing the Path of the Oracle (aka the finale) as well as polishing the paths of Truth and Courage (including adding side quests along those two paths), and refining the last two Outskirts map. Since the story will be complete in Q3, we plan to allow all players to make a one-time-only reset of the story status for their character (so they can start fresh with their current character) at some point during Q3.

To repeat what I said in the Q1 post:

“We believe that we have reached the final 20% of development before Commercial Release, at which point we will transition out of Early Access. The next two quarters will be the most exciting and challenging times for the project so far. This will be when we get the final features and content in the game and make the last important balance changes. The changes will be fast and furious, and they may occasionally be hard to understand when you become accustomed to the way things were before. Please trust that we firmly believe that every change we make is best for the long term health of the project.”

As always, all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change as we adjust our designs based on direct feedback from you, our backers.

RELEASE 44, July 27, 2017

  • Story: Polish will continue on the Path of the Oracle (aka the Finale) including work on the Destiny Pool and the Grannus Colossus (which is getting completely rebuilt). This will make the core of the story for Episode 1 complete and playable from beginning to end along all three paths (Truth, Love, and Courage). Bloodriver Outskirts, the new scene that players start in after Bloodriver Massacre, will get a polish pass. Also the first three cities along the Path of Truth (Aerie, Vertas, and Jaanaford) will get visual polish passes to better show off the fact that they are cities of Truth and to generally improve visuals (terrain, flora, etc.). Finally some adventure scenes in the northwest regions of Novia will be rebuilt from scratch, including Hallowed Plains.
  • Performance: Significant focus will continue to be made on performance including stability, framerate, memory, and load times.
  • Player Towns: Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
  • Rent: Property Owners will be able to add an additional “Tenant” permission for users of their lot and also set those permissions on doors.
  • Combat: Avatars will be able to wield the Dread Artifacts (Heart of Sorrows, Bone Steel Crown, Scepter of Dread) for the first time and unleash their powers, if they dare. We will also continue our polish pass on all the visual effects related to combat. Additionally work will continue on overall combat balance.
  • Character: We will begin creating Viking-inspired clothing for the NPCs in the Norgard and Verdantis areas of Novia to better define that region, including outfits for Royalty, Guards, Citizens, and Merchants.
  • Looking For Group: A tool to help players find a group to adventure with will appear in the game.
  • Economy: Loot on mid-level creatures will be adjusted to be more rewarding while still maintaining game balance.

RELEASE 45, August 31, 2017

  • Story: Highvale Outskirts, a new scene that players start in after the Battle of Highvale Village, will come online for the first time. We will also focus on adding sidequests and polish to the Paths of Truth and Courage. Finally some adventure scenes in the northwest regions of Novia will be rebuilt from scratch, including Longfall Woods.
  • Performance: Significant focus will continue to be made on performance including stability, framerate, memory, and load times.
  • Single-Player Offline Combat Balance: We will adjust and balance combat for play in offline mode with companions.
  • Player Housing: Players will be able to claim property in Blood Bay, in our first Open PVP housing area. Additionally, updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
  • Combat: We will continue to polish visual effects related to combat, and we will continue work on overall combat balance.
  • Character: At least one new creature will appear in the game as well as several new weapons.
  • Crafting: More recipes and more patterns in gear that is dropped from enemies will appear in game.
  • User Interface Polish: Time will be spent polishing the user interface.  This will include the ability to separate chat tabs into separate windows.

RELEASE 46, September 28, 2017

  • Story: Highvale Outskirts will get a polish pass and the Paths of Truth and Courage will keep growing with additional sidequests. We will also continue rebuilding adventure scenes in the northwest regions of Novia, including Crooked Shank.
  • Performance: Significant focus will continue to be made on performance including stability, framerate, memory, and load times.
  • Offline Spawning Rules: The rates and rules for how creatures and resources respawn will be adjusted to work differently in Offline mode so that while some areas (wilderness) can be “farmed” with regular respawns (just like in online mode), and other areas can be cleared/conquered (dungeons and story-related areas).
  • Crafting: Polish will be done on Agriculture and Fishing including the additions of new skills and functionality like Batch Planting. Additionally the ability to brew and consume Alcohol will come online.
  • Character: At least one new creature will appear in the game as well as several new weapons.
  • Player Housing: Tools for Player Owned Town Owners will come online to assist with building and maintaining their towns includings a lawn mower. Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
  • Combat: We will continue our polish pass on all the visual effects related to combat and continue work on overall combat balance.

We continue to be incredibly thankful for the support we receive from this amazing community. While the funding you provide makes all of this possible, it pales in comparison with the faith you have in us, the feedback you provide us, and the content you are making for everyone to enjoy. We are humbly grateful, and we cannot wait to see you again in New Britannia!

Before I go, I wanted to include an excerpt from my original post about our Early Release Schedule that is important to set the framework for our ongoing schedule:

As a crowd funded and crowd sourced project, we feel it is incredibly important that we provide our backers with information and access well before game studios would normally do so in a traditional development model. Traditionally, the players are given information and access only after the development team has already decided exactly how things will be done, and at times, even after it has already been implemented. By the time the public normally has access to the product, there is usually no time to meaningfully react to the public feedback. Shroud of the Avatar is different than the traditional model, as we intend to offer our backers extremely early access to information and even the game itself.

Our strategy over the next few months is to provide you with focused and iterative releases of content. Your feedback during these releases will be critical to making the final product the best it can be, and we appreciate that you are all so willing to devote your time to helping us.

It is important to note that all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change.

Sincerely,
Starr Long
Executive Producer
Shroud of the Avatar


Free Trial 4 starts Monday!

The fourth test of our Free Trial system is coming up on July 3 and runs through July 26. This will be the longest test so far of the system so that we can gather even more data about uptake, drop-off, conversions, etc. 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. You will be able to explore hundreds of scenes, talk with thousands of players, adventure through the opening quests, and gain experience and skills as you get used to the world of New Britannia!

Keep watch on the main www.shroudoftheavatar.com website, as well as on Twitter and Facebook for details of when this latest free trial starts!


Shroud at RTX 2017 Next Friday!

We are incredibly excited to announce that we are returning to Rooster Teeth Expo July 7 – 9! Come find us in Booth 323 at the Austin Convention Center where you can play the game, get a challenge coin, and meet various members of the development team including Richard “Lord British” Garriott, Starr “Darkstarr” Long, and others.

We go back a long way with Rooster Teeth. Richard actually made the very first mention of Shroud of the Avatar on their show before the Kickstarter! We then attended RTX that same year (2013), right after Starr joined the team, where we gave a presentation and a live demo of a very early version of Release 1. 

The next year (2014) we returned to the show and this time we had a corner booth on the show floor with crowds of people moving through our space every day.

Hope to see you at this year’s event!


Alienware Arena Steam Key Giveaway

Our partners at Alienware are helping us celebrate Release 43, and more importantly, Lord British’s birthday with a gigantic Steam Key giveaway to members of the Alienware Arena community!

When we were planning this with them they said they wanted to make sure that this was big enough in scope to properly celebrate Richard’s birth so they needed at least 1500 Steam Keys, therefore we gave them 4000 keys!

You can learn more here.


Shroud in the News: Antwand Pearman, MMORPG, Massively OP Podcast 

It has been quite the last few weeks for us and the press. The combination of our SeedInvest campaign, the launch of last month’s Release 42, our Q3 Schedule, Richard at Gamelab, and now Release 43 has all generated quite a lot of attention. Click the link below for details on what’s been talked about! Here are a few of the best highlights:

Antwand Pearman vs. The Interview: This really unique interview format includes Richard playing a custom board game that involves saving Matt Damon in space. Meanwhile it highlights what an extraordinary life Richard has lead.

“In this episode of Antwand Pearman Vs The Interview, Antwand interviews game developer and explorer Richard Garriott over a very special game of “Save Matt Damon.” They talk about how Richard developed the Ultima series, weird things about space travel and much more! Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues.”

MMORPG: Red Thomas writes about Release 43 and our upcoming Q3 schedule in his article “Offline is On”, with a special focus on our latest efforts to balance and expand the Offline Economy:

“Richard Garriott, Starr Long, and all the other folks at Portalarium have always taken a stand on the other side of the question, though. I don’t think I’ve been onsite once in three years or so of interviewing the team that offline gameplay didn’t come up in the list of things they were working on. For Richard especially, the offline portion of the game has always been every bit as critical to the initial vision as providing space for player communities online.”

Massively OP Podcast:  Richard and Starr fielded a bunch of great questions from Justin Olivetti including: “Why a spiritual successor?”, “How do you retrain players to this type of game?” and “What are the paths?”.

On this special bonus episode, Justin catches up with Richard Garriott and Starr Long about Ultima Online’s spiritual successor, Shroud of the Avatar. How is this project shaping up now that it’s nearing launch? Listen and find out!”


Weekend Flash Sale: Lord British Birthday Party Supplies!


If you are planning to throw a party in honor of Lord British or any other kind of party then this weekend is your chance to stock up on supplies! Lord British created a shopping list of his very favorite items including emotes, fireworks, music, and games!

Additionally, he included the Movember charity items because they include the very first map he created for Shroud and the follicular relics of Darkstarr and himself all of which would make amazing birthday presents. Finally he included the Pirate ships (Dry Docked and Water Lot) because his wedding party was on a pirate ship on the river Seine in Paris (true story).

Here is a complete list of the sale items:


Pre-Telethon Flash Sales: The Lord British Collection

With Lord British’s upcoming birthday on July 4th, and the subsequent mini-telethon event on July 6th, we are celebrating by putting on sale a selection of Lord British store rares at 20%* off now and through the telethon day! Below is a list of the items on sale.

*Depending upon the week’s complete list of items on sale, some items may be rounded to 20% by a few fractions of a percent.

Click here to find these items and more in the store!


R43 Lot Deed Raffle Prize Winners

The latest Lot Deed Raffle was drawn with deeds awarded to the following 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: 10 Total

  • Row: 5
  • Village: 3
  • Town: 1
  • City: 1

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 may vary each month).

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.

Release 43 Lot Deed Raffle has begun! Details in the forums.


Lord British’s Birthday Bash Telethon Next Thursday!

Avatars, get ready for a birthday bash like no other! We will be having a special mini-telethon around Lord British’s birthday! Event begins on July 6th and runs from 3-9pm CT. Lord British’s birthday is on July 4th, a couple of days before the telethon.

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!

Celebrate with the community as the telethon approaches in one of the many soon-to-be-announced party contest celebrations!

Expiring Items

In honor of Lord British’s birthday, at 9pm CT, July 6, 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 in our store after this date.

Before the following items expire for good, we have put them on sale at approx. 20% off!

[Read More…]


New Store Content

For R43 we added lots of new items to the Store, including Assassin’s Armor, two Inns, mailboxes, a bulletin board, a backpack, a grand piano, new furniture, glowing mushroom lights, and more!


Movember Make A Difference Items

During our Spring 2017 Telethon Richard Garriott unveiled the first cloth map for Shroud of the Avatar that he created with concept artist Stephen Daniele. It is a truly one of a kind artifact! We created a Cloth Map Make a Difference bundle that includes this item along with the same digital rewards as the Blood Reliquary bundles.

During the Summer 2017 Telethon Richard Garriott cut off a length of his famous braided ponytail and Starr Long shaved his mustache. Both of them put them in elaborate reliquaries which like the Cloth Map we made into Lord British and Darkstarr Follicular Reliquary Make a Difference bundles that included the same digital rewards as the Blood Reliquary bundles.

However pairing these items with Blood charities and blood themed items just did not make much sense so we have created a new section of the Make a Difference Store that directs a portion of the proceeds from these three items to Movember. We have also swapped the blood themed items for Lord British and Darkstarr themed items.


Comic-Con Panels with Richard Garriott and Starr Long

Attending San Diego Comic-Con this coming July 20-23? Richard Garriott and Starr Long will be there to meet you! Richard has two panels with one talking about his adventures in space. The other panel is with Starr Long about Shroud of the Avatar!

Explore/Create: Richard Garriott’s Adventures from Gaming Pioneer to Space Adventurer – Richard “Lord British” Garriott authored the famed “Ultima” series and coined the term “avatar”. In 2008, he became the first American second-generation astronaut when he flew to the ISS. Learn more from his new memoir “Explore/Create”.

Shroud of the Avatar: Richard “Lord British” Garriott (creative director) and Starr Long (exec. producer) will discuss their latest venture, Shroud of the Avatar, currently the second highest crowdfunded video game of all time. Learn how they have developed the game while honing cutting-edge crowdfunding techniques.

Panel times and location have not yet been announced. Keep watch for updates on the official Comic-Con website.


Community Contest: Rock Me Avatarus! – Party Showcase Contest

Get your party spot ready for a contest that’s sure to wow all the guests! Over the next two weeks, you will have the opportunity to show off your party hosting skills in today’s contest – Rock Me Avatarus – Party Showcase Contest. Contest begins now and runs until 12pm (Noon) CT on July 5th, a day after Lord British’s birthday on the 4th!

[Read More…]


Community Livestream: Questing in Bloodriver Outskirts

We kicked off last week’s Community Livestream by giving players a first look at all the new quest content in Bloodriver Outskirts! Damien “Puuk” Foletto drove the master build machine as we quested around the scene and discovered its hidden secrets.

SPOILERS: The vigilantes of Aerie believe that the elves of Bloodriver attacked a human settler caravan, unprovoked. The retaliation on the village was justified by this alleged assault. The elves tell a different story of the vigilantes attacking their village because they were an easy target and the land was desired by the vigilante leader. The Aerie regiment that is encamped nearby is indeed there to prevent all-out war. However, they do not yet have solid proof of who is telling the true story. It is up to you to gather evidence and prove who is truthful, or manipulate the evidence for your own agenda. Choices! Are you truthful or are you deceitful?

We have even more content coming in future releases, so stay tuned for the next livestream!

Watch live video from shroudoftheavatar on www.twitch.tv
For more videos and livestreams, be sure to subscribe to www.youtube.com/portalarium!


Make Your SeedInvest Reservation Official!

A couple of weeks ago we launched the SeedInvest campaign and started taking reservations. Many of you immediately made a reservation (thank you!), but some of you have yet to be converted to campaign investments.

Those of you who’ve made a reservation, please convert it to an investment!

To convert, head to the official SeedInvest website, log in to your account, and from there you will be able to complete your investment. You can also go to the mentioned linked to become an investor!

Thank you Avatars!
Lord British and the Portalarium Team

*Disclaimer: Portalarium is offering securities under Regulation CF and Rule 506(c) of Regulation D through SI Securities, LLC (“SI Securities”). The Company has filed a Form C with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with its offering, a copy of which may be obtained here: https://www.seedinvest.com/portalarium/series.b


Upcoming Events Calendar

July 3-26, 2017 – Free Trial Test #4
July 7-9, 2017 – RTX 2017 – Booth #323
July 20-23, 2017 – Comic-Con Panels with Richard Garriott and Starr Long
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 – Austin 2017
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.


Community Event: R43 Welcome Quest Festival

What is “The Welcome Quest”? Hosted by Duke Greagoir, the Welcome Quest is a way to introduce players both old and new to new Player Owned Towns and their governor.

Why attend? Besides meeting awesome people, seeing fresh ideas, and doing something new, you also receive an exclusive “Welcome Quest Only” item called a “Welcome Torch”.

What is Festival? It’s a Player Owned Town that is nested to Owl’s Head that can be accessed by the Hot Air Balloon at Owl’s Head’s entrance.

What is a nested POT? Its a POT without surface access, you can access it by entering a town and selecting one of the links at the entrance to reach there (wagon, balloon, or iron hatch)

What can you do to help? If you can assist in escorting and directing new players to the Welcome Quest from starting zones, via teleport scrolls maybe, it would help more people attend.


Prism Putt Putt Golf Charity Event – Friday, June 30 @Multiple Times

First time should state 12-2pm. This event is to raise awareness and benefiting Aerie Fund/Trevor Project – Just 1 Life Community Cause.

Prism and Diamond Fields invite you to come challenge our finally persistent putt putt golf course On June 30th during one of 3 “flights” to be hosted. This will be wrapping up our month long Trevor Project Charity Drive in conjunction with the Aerie Fund.


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.


Recommended Projects to Back – MidBoss

Emma Massen created the ABC music framework that we now use in Shroud of the Avatar for player instruments. Thank you Emma! We noticed your project on Steam and wanted to give it a shout out.

Avatars, MidBoss is easy to pick up and play if you’re new to the genre of traditional roguelikes (turn-based strategic RPGs with permadeath), but still has the depth and complexity that veterans expect and enjoy. Give it a try!


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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