Update of the Avatar #237 – 2017.21.07: NEVERDIE, Norgard Clothing, Scene Polish, Trailer Contest, New Flash Sale, Origin PC Offer, Free Trial, Comic-Con & PAX Dev, Community Spotlight & Events, and More!

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


New Norgard Garments

We have begun creating the Viking-inspired clothing for the NPCs in the Northwest regions of Novia, including Norgard and Verdantis. This will complement the already established architectural character of the region and help to better define the area as a whole. We are creating garments for Guards, Citizens, and Merchants/Nobility, all of whom “courageously” display the color yellow which everyone knows drives the Kobolds mad, or so they say.

For Release 44 we hope to have the Guards in the region updated. In Release 45 we will update the other NPCs (Citizens, Upper Classes, and even enemies) in the region and we will create player wearable versions of these outfits.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “SkullMuncher34” Kinnear and Kevin “UglyFist” Wells]

Hey all! So we thought we’d make a post showing our current progress with Norgard clothing. So far we’ve modeled out a few variations of basic shirts and pants for NPCs and are starting to create player wearable versions of everything. Keep in mind that these images are subject to revision as we move forward. Cheers!


Fletcher Kinnear
Character Artist


Etceter Polish

Etceter was cloned from Kingsport originally and while we made significant changes to the scene to make it unique we still felt it needed more polish. It also needed more obvious visual references to the historical locations mentioned in The Sword of Midras (the prequel novel written by Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott). Additionally after building Xenos we established a characteristic Greco-Roman ruins look for that region of the world and we wanted to propagate that look to nearby towns. For instance Aerie now has a “Little Xenos” quarter.

Since Etceter is the main port that takes you to Xenos it only made sense that it should have some strong influences from that style.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Scott “Scottie” Jones]

Hello my friends!

It’s time for another update from yours truly! For the last few weeks I’ve been working to revamp the town of Etceter, one of the southern gateways to the tempestuous Bay of Storms, and the old stomping ground of the pirate lords in the centuries before the rise of the Obsidians, when the small seaside port generated enormous wealth from the now-abandoned Etceter Crag Mines. You will see from my following images how this old port-of-call has begun to change its face!

Though little has changed near the common entrance into the scene, passing through the town will eventually lead to the primary crossroads, where the port-side commerce and housing district (seen on the right) gives way to the richer estates that once belonged to the wealthiest privateers (seen up the rise of the hill to the left) who made their fortunes when the Etceter Crag Mines were at the height of production! From here we can get a better view of some of the newest points of interest I’ve added.

Turning left to look up the hill past the occupied estates, one can see the somewhat overgrown remnants of the main road leading straight from the docks below, to the abandoned ruins of the Baroness’ Keep! Just downhill and across the road from the keep is the walled, crumbling remnants of the stockade building that once served the keep, and further up the hill you can glimpse the rotting and moss-covered remains of smaller houses, both inside and outside of the wooden barricades built soon after the occupation of the Obsidians nearly 200 years ago. Among those ramshackle hovels is the long-abandoned cottage of Amanda, sister of Syenna.

Now, a little history might be in order to help explain what you are about to see.

Etceter was a small coastal mining town first and foremost, but its wealth eventually drew in raiding pirates, first on the seas, and then overtaking the town itself as they decided to involve themselves directly in the mining operations. Over time, it slowly became a more respectable town as the wealthy pirate lords chose to settle down and involve themselves in the less-dangerous pastime of trade. It is here that the culture that eventually blossomed in Norgard was born, and it was here that the Council of Might convened to discuss the rising Obsidian threat more than two centuries ago. This offense to the Obsidians was not forgotten, and before their eventual collapse they descended on Etceter, slaughtered its nobility, shattered the Baroness’ Keep, set up a garrison here with satyrs and fauns as a workforce, and continued to draw wealth from the mines until the fateful day the miners uncovered something terrible in the depths of those distant mountains. Eventually, after the Obsidian’s defeat, the town grew back again, with all the old structures still fairly intact, and an addition to the population in the form of the satyrs and fauns that escaped their dark masters toward the end…

The old stockade had housed some of the Obsidian garrison in those days, and though abandoned and decrepit now, it can still be visited by those who might not mind a broken ankle or two.

Just up the hill from that is an abandoned hovel or two, including the cottage of Amanda, the sister of Syenna, described in “The Sword of Midras” as having beautiful yet somewhat Elvin features, the product of the terrible Obsidian Reshaper experiments that left her somewhat crippled.

There is little left of her life there centuries ago, and its barren interior bespeaks of sadness and loss. Syenna had hoped for a cure for Amanda, but in the end realized that the only cure the Obsidians would offer her sister was a vial of poison, and the release of death. Though little is known of Syenna’s fate, for it is said that she followed Aren Bennis to the northeast after the fall of Opalis 200 years ago, it is written that Amanda once loved to rest upon the stairs at her doorstep and chat over the stone fence with her neighbors, and to sit with great yearning inside her bay window, from which she could gaze down the earthen main road toward the center of town and the harbor beyond in the vain hope that one day she would see her beloved sister Syenna walking up that long path to finally come home for good.

Across the road and just down from Amanda’s cottage still stands the shattered and crumbling remains of the Baroness’ Keep. Here Aren Bennis was taken, Sword of Midras in hand, to speak before the Council of Might and be interrogated about the activities of the Obsidians before their fall. Within those somewhat treacherous ruins can still be seen the Great Hall where Aren stood before the seven chairs which contained the Baroness’ guests from distant lands. In retaliation for this affront, the Obsidians came and dealt a terrible blow to Etceter, and left this great Keep broken but still impressive despite its ruined state. May it forever stand as a testament to the sacrifice of those that helped to bring an end to the Obsidian Empire!

Heading back down the long hill towards town, the main road offers a great vantage point for checking out the changes I’m now making to improve the look of the town itself, and specifically the various approaches to the numerous properties and estates. My hope, of course, is to add a bit of personal touch to insure they seem authentic and welcoming, while maintaining the look and feel of centuries of varied habitation and development. I’ll be adding retaining walls, more obvious paths, stairs, more lanterns, and a broader degree of cultivation and flora.

Since this is such a small scene by comparison to places I’ve touched before (such as Xenos), there won’t be near the amount of time and resources invested in it, but hopefully it will eventually feel much more developed and “lived in” by the time I’m done with it. There will be at least one more post to show you other improvements as I continue, but as a last stop this evening you can get a gander at what has now become a sort of “market square” near the center of town, where the main road now passes beside the crafting pavilion. I’ve opened this area up, improved the view of those living nearby a tad bit, and hopefully upgraded the look of the area in general!

Ah well, time to call it a night. Join me here later as I reveal some coastal/dock-side details and final polish! Take care, my friends!

Scottie ^_^
Senior Environmental Artist


Vertas Polish 

As we are focusing on the Path of Truth we are spending time to not only polish the story elements (dialogue, NPC names, quests, etc.), we are also updating visuals along the path as needed. For Release 44 this includes polishing the visuals for three of the towns you visit along the Path of Truth: Aerie, Vertas, and Jaanaford. Each of these towns is getting updated to include more color (especially blue, the color of Truth), more visuals related to Truth (books, libraries, statues of the Titan of Truth, etc.), and general polish (terrain, foliage, etc.).

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

Hey guys! SorcerousSteve here to give you a look at another town on the Path of Truth that we took a visual polish pass this R44!

In order to emphasize that Vertas is on the Truth Path the color blue was used throughout the town alongside the green that represents the elves.

A new elven structure now lies in the town center and houses a library.

Pennants, banners, and awnings now cover the town streets alongside manicured walkways and potted plants.

Library inside the central building in Vertas.

The Elven Symbol can be seen on a banner just south of an elven glass home.

For a tie-in to Vertas, check out my work on Aerie last week (which is making its way into Release 44 next week!).

See you next time!

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer


Making of Hallowed Plains (cont.)

On the outskirts of the Boundless Forest and to one side of the Broken Road is the Hallowed Plains, a sacred site to humans because of a massive battle once fought in this location. Kobolds do not have the same respect for this land and have begun building along the road despite protests from locals. This scene was temporarily a clone of another scene but is being completely rebuilt. We hope to have the Hallowed Plains ready for Release 44.

Last week Sea Wolf revealed the first images and this week reveals more of this haunted battle plain.

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

I have new updated screenshots of Hallowed Plains! Check them out:

The Kobold Construction Site

The Kobold Checkpoint

The Trenches

No Man’s Land

The Revenant Fortress

The Tunnels

Chris Wolf
Level Designer


Free Trial 4 Ends July 26!

The latest Free Trial Test period for Shroud of the Avatar is nearing an end on July 26th!

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!

Get started in New Britannia for free!

For those in the Free Trial Test, we would love your feedback! You can type /bug in the game to report issues in our bug forums or give feedback. We have also opened up of our Release Feedback Forums. If you have a constructive comment about this release that will help the game to improve, please post it there. You can also say hello in the New Player Forum!


Portalarium Joins Forces with NEVERDIE – Ethereum-Based NEVERDIE & Teleport Gaming Tokens!

We announced this week a partnership with Neverdie Studios to support the company’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Neverdie Studios produces games, live action movies, records and virtual products. Their ICO is a blockchain-based project aiming to create an Ethereum-based gaming platform. Shroud of the Avatar is the first game outside the Neverdie product lineup exploring how to utilize Neverdie Coins (NDC). The two companies also announced today that Garriott would become an advisor to Neverdie Studios.

Jon “Neverdie” Jacobs, Neverdie Studios founder said, “This is a historic accord between two iconic avatars aligning to champion avatar rights. With the wise council of Richard “Lord British” Garriott, a legendary avatar, adventurer and world builder, providing priceless insight into the development of the gamified virtual reality infrastructure to unite MMORPGS and virtual worlds, I’m confident that our noble ambitions will remain virtuous and have the greatest chance to succeed. Richard’s council on the structure and balance of universal gaming tokens will be invaluable.”

“We are devout believers that people living in and contributing to our virtual worlds can and should earn real world value for the time and value they bring to our world,” said Garriott, Portalarium’s CEO and Shroud’s creative director. “Having direct access to a publicly tradeable currency is a great way to provide this. I’m also extremely pleased to be invited to advise Neverdie on this exciting and ambitious project. Additionally, Shroud of the Avatar already has a deeply committed player base while in early access. We are exploring how our players can earn market based value with NEVERDIE NDC and TPT tokens that are both useable directly in the game as well as traded on the open market.

To learn more about the offering and how you can get Neverdie coins, visit the official ICO page. The copy above came from today’s press release.


Explore/Create Panel at Comic-Con Saturday

Comic-Con International: San Diego continues through Sunday. Our Shroud of the Avatar panel was yesterday, though you can still catch Richard “Lord British” Garriott at his panel about his book ‘Explore/Create’ this Saturday. Starr Long will be on hand to handle the Q&A with the audience.

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 about his memoir ‘Explore/Create’. Saturday, July 22 • 2:30pm – 3:30pm. Room 24ABC

Panel times and location subject to change! Watch the official Comic-Con website for updates.


Shroud at PAX Dev Next Month – Starr’s Crowdfunding Panel

After Comic-Con, we will be attending PAX Dev August 29-30 in Seattle! Starr “Darkstarr” Long will be speaking on the panel, ‘Evolution of Crowdsharing: Sourcing, Funding, and Equity’:

Working with communities has expanded beyond a mere feedback loop between developers and players. In the last decade this relationship has formalized with the growth of Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and marketplaces like the Unity Asset Store. Most recently communities can even gain ownership via equity platforms like Seed Invest. Using projects like Shroud of the Avatar, 25 year game veteran Starr Long will describe this evolution of Crowdsharing and share techniques.

If you’re in the Seattle area next month, swing by PAX Dev to meet Starr!


Shroud in the News: Interviews and Livestream with Starr Long

For yet another week it continues to be quite an exciting time for us and the press. The combination of our SeedInvest campaign, work on the upcoming Release 44, Richard and Starr at Comic-Con, and of course the Free Trial and Key Giveaways, has all generated quite a lot of attention.

Here are a few of the latest highlights featuring recent interviews:

Starr was on NextGen’s livestreamed show right before he headed off to Comic-Con. On the show Starr talked about Portalarium’s currently running SeedInvest campaign and how important it is to the success of Shroud of the Avatar:

Starr also spent time chatting with Tony Chan on Tony’s Game Dev Loadout podcast. Have a listen:

And last but certainly not least, this past Saturday both Starr and Mathew “Berek” Anderson had a fun chat about Shroud of the Avatar and many other things with Shane from Shane Plays radio show. Have a listen at what we talked about!

For more news from the press, including this fantastic MMO Site review of the game, visit the ‘In The News’ section of the main website.


Origin PC’s July Promo Bundle – Free Copy of Shroud!

The awesome team at ORIGIN PC Corporation just included Shroud of the Avatar in their new PC Bundle special! Bundle includes a new computer, credit for other games, an Amazon gift card, and of course Shroud! Check it out at Origin PC.


Weekend Flash Sale: Comic-Con San Diego Cosplay Wearables Sale

We’re celebrating our presence at Comic-Con San Diego this week with a wearables flash sale! Get a look at all of the items in the sale below. You can also view each item individually in the addon store:

Visit the Addon Store and select a section’s tab to browse even more items!


SeedInvest: Time is Running Short to Join Portalarium!

Time is running short to join Portalarium on a journey from being just a developer to also becoming a full fledged publisher! We are currently using the SeedInvest platform to take investments in the company that will make it possible to expand our marketing resources for Shroud of the Avatar and future products.

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 above link to become an investor! A reminder that there are now several new in-game gold perk additions, including detailed images of the perks, and entire new perk tiers for more investing options.

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 20 – 23, 2017 – Comic-Con Panels with Richard Garriott and Starr Long
July 27, 2017 – Release 44
Aug 10 – 14, 2017 – Syndcon (Austin)
Aug 29-30, 2017 – PAX Dev Panel
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 6, 2017 – Mad Hatter LAN Party (Chicago)
Oct 13 – 15, 2017 – SotA Con – Austin 2017
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.


‘Welcome to New Britannia’ Community Trailer Contest

Get those eye popping video ideas ready, Avatars! Like last year’s trailer design contest, this is your chance to show that Shroud of the Avatar is both the game, and community, that new players will want to play to launch and beyond.

The ‘Welcome to New Britannia’ Community Trailer Contest is in full swing!

You have from July 13, 2017 to August 18, 2017 (11:59 PM CT) to design a video trailer for all New Britannians to admire. Capture shots of key city districts, bustling player-owned towns, luxurious houses, intense combat, majestic outdoor scenes, crafting of valuable goods, or any of the other amazing features of our game that you think will help sell the game to other players.

[Read More…]


Community Livestream: Grannus Colossus and Hallowed Plains

We kicked off last week’s Community Livestream by giving players a first look at all the new changes making their way into Hallowed Plains! Chris “Seawolf” Wolf will be driving the master build machine as we explore around the scene and discover its hidden secrets.

After Chris showed us Hallowed Plains, Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski jumped on the stream to show off his work on some finishing touches with the Grannus Colossus.

SPOILERS: On the outskirts of the Boundless Forest and to one side of the Broken Road is the Hallowed Plains, a sacred site to humans because of a massive battle once fought in this location. Kobolds do not have the same respect for this land and have begun building along the road despite protests from locals. This scene was temporarily a clone of another scene but is being completely rebuilt. We hope to have the Hallowed Plains ready for Release 44.

After these changes go live, we have even more content, including quests, you can look forward to in future releases!

For more livestreams, be sure to subscribe to www.youtube.com/portalarium


Community Spotlight: Shadow’s Rest – Player Owned Town

Shadow’s Rest is a Player Owned Metropolis due West of Brittany, along the coast of Lake Equitas. The town is the headquarters for the A Rose From Sequanna services offered to members of the community and welcomes all members regardless of reputation, guild affiliations, or other neutral status.

Founded in Marse 3rd, 482 PC, Shadow’s Rest was a small holdfast residing along the source of the Oso River in Norgard. Aidenolm Rosemourne built his home in that location in hopes of one day bringing peace between the Kobolds and Avatars in the area. With his extra land deed he allowed anyone who needed a home to stay for free.

[Read More…]


Community Events: Kahli Writing Contest and Treasure Hunt

Kahli (RP-PVP POT) Writing Contest

Kahli Writing Contest

The ancient city of Kahli was lost to the world during the Fall. Five centuries have spanned since its horrible demise. What became of its peoples, temples, stories, and lore? Only recent whispers from a mysterious sorcerer bring hints of this locale’s vibrant history. In the years since The Fall, the territory became a place of peril, one which harbors only the bravest of souls or those fraught with such depravity, they are shunned elsewhere. Settlers here must prepare themselves for engaging warfare and political betrayal, for your neighbors might not be your friends, and your friends might be too distant to render aid. Numerous outposts abound and await claiming. Will these outposts make war or peace? Will a large faction attempt to claim them all? Will the Virtues hold any sway within this land of strife? Only time will tell.

Hi there! Elgarion here. Check out the latest Kahli Writing Contest.

Thought I’d throw a bit more prizes into my monthly bin of prizes awarded for creative writers (and soon to be artists when I get the art module finished at RPOTA.COM). From now on, if I notice any of the winning entries at RPOTA.COM featuring lore about Kahli, I’ll chip in an extra $10 bucks of add-on store credit for the prize. This will in no way influence how I pick my winners, by any means, but it’ll just be a little added thank you for visiting and sharing a story about Kahli.

The Hidden Treasures of Kahli (Persistent Treasure Hunting Quest)

Treasure Hunting Quest

Just within the borders of Kahli, an ancient and forgotten city of yesteryear, you are greeted by traveling merchants, disheveled and panicked, in dire need of your assistance

What say you, Avatar? Do you take up this challenge? Do you venture forth into the lands of Kahli in search of the treasure chests scattered therein? And what say you, oh virtuous one? Do you in fact return these treasures to the traveling merchants in hopes they will provide resupply to other travelers such as yourself? Or do you horde these treasures, forsaking the virtues only just now returning to these depraved lands?

There are 9 Treasure Chests Total. See what you can find! More about the event in the Community Event Forums.


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 Project to Support – Denis Loubet Art

Our good friend Denis Loubet, and the one responsible for Shroud of the Avatar’s cover art and almost every piece of cover art for Ultima, as well as many other art pieces in SotA’s early days of development, is now running his own project. Denis is creating more Science Fiction and Fantasy Art for you to enjoy. Check it out over at Patreon!

If you remember the Ultima series of computer games, I’m the guy that did most of the covers and the manual illustrations, as well as a lot of the in-game art and animation. I’ve been doing game art since the 80s for companies such as Steve Jackson Games, Hero Games, Origin Systems Inc, Kingsisle, Disney, and many more.

I want to try doing art directly for my fans, with no middleman. That’s the reason for this Patreon project.


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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