Update of the Avatar #241 – 2017.18.08: Making of Crooked Shank, Norgard Garments, R44 Questions, Free Trial 5 Continues, Hiring Web Developer, Rent Flash Sale, Community Spotlight, and More!

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

Game Development

News Announcements

Community Updates

Making of Crooked Shank

We are focusing the next few releases on building the lower tier scenes near the cities along the paths of Truth and Courage. Most of these scenes have been clones of other scenes and will now be replaced with completely original scenes. In Release 46 one of these scenes being updated will be Crooked Shank which is a mountainous area in the Verdantis region.

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

Whilst looking for an elven village in Forgotten Vale, I seemed to have misread my map, and stumbled upon a quaint human settlement tucked along a bend in the road. The locals kept their neighborhood very well tended, and while not excessively talkative, they were happy to point me to locations of note within their tidy little town.

This welcoming arch marked the entrance to the main, winding avenue through what the locals dubbed ‘Crooked Shank’. There seemed to be a lot of planting and construction, and truth be told, I could not really tell how old the town was.

At this point, I wandered into the lovely back yards of some of the inhabitants, and noticed they all seemed to share a penchant for gardening.

Then, the Mayor of Crooked Shank himself appeared and hurried me away for a visit in his home.

The mayor then directed me to the lovely Two Fountains Inn, further down the road, though he warned they might not have any vacancies, and thanked me for my brief visit. 

Thanks for following! More soon.

Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski
World Builder

New Norgard Garments (cont.)

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 updated the Guards in the region. 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 “Scathanna” Kinnear]

Hello all! We wanted to give you a quick update on the Norgard NPC’s!

Fletcher Kinnear
Character Artist

Middle Downs Sneak Peek Video

Another area of significant development for R45 is the South Paladis region, where players can explore the updated scenes of Middle Downs and South Broken Road. Middle Downs is a hilly Tier 1 scene near the mountains with a network of burial mounds and an abandoned village. South Broken Road is a Tier 2 scene comprised of a winding road through the mountain full of various encounters including plunderers and undead.

Here is a sneak peek of Middle Downs…

More developer videos and livestreams at: www.youtube.com/portalarium

R44 Postmortem Missed Questions Answered

We had 20+ pages of questions left unanswered after the R44 Postmortem! With assistance from the team we were able to get to those questions and we posted them to the forums Tuesday.

Here are the questions that we did not have time to get to during the LB Birthday Telethon. I tried my best to answer these (with help from the rest of the team) but some we just don’t have details yet to provide. I probably won’t have time to do any follow ups to these. The community did a great job assisting us this telethon to make sure we didn’t miss a single question. July is a crazy busy month for us with R43 just having gone live, RTX, Comic Con, and the Seed Invest campaign. So please forgive the brevity of some of my answers.

Also please note I deleted a bunch of duplicated questions and also deleted any questions that we answered with the Q3 Post or with the Release of R44. I also deleted questions that were super open ended, were super vague or were needlessly confrontational.

BayRidge: Regarding NPC Farming vendor and seeds changes (mandrake/nightshade). In this release stock seed selections were redone for Farmer NPC’s. For example mandrake and nightshade were taken away. What are the plans for the game mechanic to get nightshade and mandrake seeds now?
They are on still on other merchants, just regionalized so therefore not on every merchant. You just need to seek the seeds elsewhere.

Pleasedrivefast: with the last release, supply bags were added as a way to increase loot chances. Do you see any adjustments needed to the drop rate or loot tables within these supply bags?
When we first released them there was a bug in the percentage for the drop rates that we fixed so they should drop at a higher rate now. We will continue to evaluate if the drop rate needs to be increased.

Pleasedrivefast: In the Q3 2017 Update, could you clarify what UI improvements you’re updating aside from chat windows?
We make these calls quickly from release to release so no specifics that I can provide.

Jack102367: Can we get a toggle or arrow that will change all the skills in a particular tree to either Train, Unlearn, Not Train, or Maintain?
Good suggestion, added to backlog

Jack Knyfe: Can we get a third attack spell in the Water Magic tree?
Will consider but we don’t want every school to have full offensive capabilities because then all of the magic schools start to become the same.

Jack Knyfe: Will the website stores ever have the ability for guest users to send in-game gifts (from the various categories) to accounts without having to have an account themselves?

Graham: Is Troll Fall meant to be a 360 degrees attack?
Yes but we likely need to look at the point where that attack is being applied.

Graham: Can we get craftable beer steins for oktoberfest
Good suggestion!

[Read More…]

Portalarium is Hiring: Web Developer

We currently have an opening for a Web Developer for Shroud of the Avatar. Qualifications for the ideal candidate are:

  • Minimum 5 years industry experience
  • *nix experience (OpenBSD or Linux)
  • Web development experience (PHP, web services, JavaScript)
  • Relational database architecture experience (MySql preferred)
  • Server deployment and cluster orchestration (virtual and/or dedicated machines)
  • Server load balancing, traffic prioritization, etc.
  • Extensive experience with server security
  • Strong debugging skills
  • Ability to work in unstructured, non-hierarchical environment
  • BONUS SKILLS (any one or more of these):
    • NoSQL experience
    • Strong C#/C++ skills
    • Windows programming experience
    • ASP.NET
    • Mac development
    • MMO game development experience
    • Minimum of at least 1 shipped game

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

Free Trial Test #5 (Aug 9-30) is Now Live! 

Free Trial Test #5 continues and will run from August 9th thru the 30th. As with our previous tests this will let us continue to gather 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.

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!

Join us in New Britannia for free!

gamescom devcom Panels Announced

As part of our new partnership with Travian we are going to have a strong presence at the devcom part of gamescom in Cologne, Germany next week. Richard “Lord British” Garriott will be on two panels including a panel with our sister Travian project Crowfall!

Crowdfunding, Publishing, and Cowboys – Texas meets BavariaFrom crowdfunding to global publishing, the journey of 2 Texan “indie” studios on how to live up to backers’ expectations after an extraordinary kickstarter success; keep focus in the project and move to global publishing with the collaboration of a Bavarian publisher. J. Todd Coleman, Gordon Walton, Richard “Lord British” Garriott and Lars Janssen will hold an open discussion with the audience and share their experience in designing, producing and publishing Multi-Player RPGs. Tuesday, August 22 • 16:30 – 17:30

The Golden Age of Games is Now – How to Rise to the OccasionExplore to Create. Richard “Lord British” Garriott discusses how in his 43+ year game development career, he has been inspired to and by exploration to create lasting intellectual property, as well as reach the final frontier himself. Wednesday, August 23 • 15:00 – 16:00

Shroud at PAX Dev 

If you are attending PAX Dev be sure to see Starr “Darkstarr” Long’s talk: ‘Evolution of Crowdsharing: Sourcing, Funding, and Equity’ at 11:45 AM PDT on August 30 in the Fifth Avenue Room in the Westin Seattle Hotel:

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.

Shroud at Dragon Con 

If you are attending Dragon Con this year you will have plenty of chances to see Richard Garriott and Starr Long as they are on 11 different panels between the Video Game Track, Space Track and other miscellaneous tracks.

  • Friday Sept 1: 10:00 AM EDT
    • Future of Video Gaming: What’s next in video games? What new technologies are on the horizon and who’s making it happen?
    • Panelists: Starr Long
    • Location: Augusta E-G – Westin
  • Friday Sept 1: 01:00 PM EDT
    • Androids and Automatons: This presentation will cover the history of artificial life from the ancient Greeks to modern automata artists. Techniques for creating your own automata will also be shared.
    • Panelists: Brett King, Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux, Anthony Francis
    • Location: Augusta – Sheraton
  • Friday Sept 1: 04:00 PM EDT
    • How to Write the Game Everybody Wants: TBD
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux, TBD
    • Location: International North – Hyatt
  • Friday Sept 1: 05:30 PM EDT
    • An Hour with Lord British: A deeper dive into the past and future adventures of Lord British covering subjects like the Ultima franchise, space travel, deep sea exploration, IP development, and game design principles. There will also be a discussion of Richard’s new book, “Explore and Create”
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux, Jason Gonding
    • Location: Augusta B-D – Westin
  • Friday Sept 1: 07:00 PM EDT
    • Space Tourism: Private Access Needs Private Destinations: Commercial space launches for private citizens are not far in the future but where are they going to go? Russia can give access to their section of the ISS but not something they will do unless they are paid for bringing that person up. Not happening these days so what’s left?
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux
    • Location: 212-213 – Hilton
  • Saturday Sept 2: 11:30 AM EDT
    • Behind the Scenes of Commercial Space: Rocket launches seem to get all the news regarding commercial space but that encompasses just a few big name companies. Many smaller companies lay behind the scenes pushing forward the needs for commercial space and what makes it go.
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux, A.C. Charania, Sam Ortega, David J. Hewitt, Andy Dykes, Laura Seward Forczyk
    • Location: 212-213 – Hilton
  • Saturday Sept 2: 02:30 PM EDT
    • World Building 101: TBD
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux, TBD
    • Location: Centennial I – Hyatt
  • Sunday Sept 3: 10:00 AM EDT
    • Living & Working on the ISS: Being in the Space Station is cool! Flying through the modules in zero gravity, ask anyone who’s been there – they’d do it again! But it’s not always easy & if you’re there you’ve got work to do!
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux, Garrett Reisman, Rebecca Kim
    • Location: Grand East – Hilton
  • Sunday Sept 3: 01:00 PM EDT
    • Shroud of the Avatar Q&A: Lord British will provide a development update and host an open Q&A on the current status of his latest project.
    • Panelists: Starr Long, Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux
    • Location: Augusta B-D – Westin
  • Sunday Sept 3: 07:00 PM EDT
    • Avoiding Tropes and Stereotypes: Panelists will identify common pitfalls that lead to boring plot lines and unoriginal characters and discuss ways to avoid them.
    • Panelists: Alison Carrier, Starr Long, David Haddock
    • Location: Augusta E-G – Westin
  • Monday Sept 4: 10:00 AM EDT
    • Crowdfunding – How to Successfully Kickstart Your Game: Join industry professionals who have successfully kickstarted games in a discussion on what worked and didn’t work for them, followed by Q&A.
    • Panelists: Starr Long, David Haddock, Mark Jacobs
    • Location: Augusta B-D – Westin

Weekend Flash Sale: Rent

In celebration of the Tenant and Door permissions going live in Release 44, we are putting various items related to rent on sale this weekend! The list includes the two inns, bulletin boards (for noting that you have rooms for rent), mailboxes (to collect rent or complain to your landlord), the Inn Signs, Village lot deeds (you need somewhere to put that inn), and backpacks (what renters might start with before they have any furniture).

Get a look at the items on sale below. You can also view each item individually in the Add-On Store:

Upcoming Events Calendar

Aug 9 – 30, 2017 – Free Trial 5
Aug 24 – 25, 2017 – gamescom (Cologne)
Aug 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
Sept 29 – Oct 1, 2017 – IgroMir Expo (Moscow)
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.

Community Trailer Contest Ends Aug. 22!

You have from July 13, 2017 to August 18 22, 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…]

Spotlight: Lake Cusabo Player Town

This week’s Player Owned Town spotlight has me, ‘Berek’ as I go by in the community, travelling to Lake Cusabo to visit this beautiful area in northern Novia.

After a hectic few weeks of work and outside activities, I realized that it’d been quite some time since I’d had a full day to relax and wind down from the travails of daily life. I made my way north from Central Brittany, past Brekken Bay, and onward toward the Serpent Spine foothills. As the road turned west, I arrived at the town of Lake Cusabo.

Upon entering the town, I was immediately greeted with the scent of fresh pine and the cool brush of a lovely breeze. Lake Cusabo sits high in the mountains, and the great majesty of the views from atop these mountains took my breath away.

[Read More…]

This Week’s Featured Events

BMC Crafting Fair – Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 2pm CT

The BMC Guild will host a Crafting Fair this coming weekend. Besides hooking up with GMs to greatly boost your skills, we will be giving away prizes every hour on the hour. All characters who attend will be given 1 hour food buffs cooked by yours truly. Currently we have Patterns for armour and weapons as grand prizes and food items with 2, 4 and 8 hour buffs. Time will be 2 to 6pm, Saturday 8/19/17. Take the left fork when you enter Black Rock Cove, but don’t forget to stop at the devotionals to get a boost. We are just down the hill from the main entrance.

GMs from other guilds are welcome to help out. This is a community event. And of course we will have music playing. James Murphy will be the Teleport target. See you there! – Duke James Murphy

Welcome Home Roast Party 4 Kaz Phoenixfyre – Sunday, August 20, 2017 at 2pm CT

Please join us in celebrating Kazyn Phoenixfyre’s return home to Port Phoenix on Sunday, Aug. 20th at 2pm CT at the Chaos Gardens in Port Phoenix.
Dress is casual, so come as you are!

Some well-known guests will be present to dish out their barbs to our beloved turkey, who enthusiastically agreed to be roasted. Some of the roasters may include Lace, Mal Hari, Stryker Sparhawk, Berek, Duke William of Serenite, Wind Silvermoon, Minerva, and Sean Silverfoot.

We hope you will attend our event! – Stella Moon

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

We’ve been following the development of Underworld Ascendant for a while now, ever since it appeared on Kickstarter. 505 Games, a subsidiary of Digital Bros. S.p.A., announced this week a partnership with OtherSide Entertainment to publish Underworld Ascendant.

“The original Underworld games broke new ground in the world of video game RPGs, and the Ascendant team is committed to innovation at that level,” said Warren Spector, studio director, OtherSide Entertainment. “Early builds already prove that, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

Underworld Ascendant will be published on Steam for PC in the second half of 2018. Players can Wishlist the game now at: http://store.steampowered.com/app/692840.

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. Lockey

    Are there any pictures of the flame leather armor from telethon a while back? Also, when can we expect it?

    1. BerekBerek

      Hi Lockey! We are still working on getting that item in-game, apologies about the delay :(. We hope to have it in by Release 46 if all goes well.

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