Greetings Fellow Avatars! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
- Play Release 47 Now!
- The Making of the Oracle Temple [SPOILERS!]
- Release 48 Major Artifact Changes
- More Make a Difference and Fall Item Screenshots
- Make a Difference Expansions
- R47 Postmortem Telethon – Nov. 3
- Portalarium at SXSW 2018
- Nightmares of New Britannia – Halloween Contest Ends Next Week
- Introducing Kory “Kor” Kirk – Portalarium’s New Web Developer!
- Free Trial Test – This Nov. 1-15
- Cyber Monday Crown Bonus Continues
- Upcoming Events Calendar
- Community Livestream – The Oracle Temple
- Extra Life Schedule and Livestreamers Needed – Nov. 4
- Think Pink 24 Hour Stream-A-Thon Results
- R47 Welcome Quest in Moonglade – Oct. 28
- EVL Presents: 2017 Halloween Fashion Show – Oct. 29
- Mynwent Haunted House Dance Party – Oct. 31
- Resources: Players Helping Players
- Recommended Project to Support: Torment: Tides of Numera
Release 47 successfully launched yesterday, October 26, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, and logging in to check out the changes! There’s lots of new content to explore, including:
- Reduced Load Times
- Story Polish
- More Side Quests
- Highvale Outskirts Polish
- Starting Scene Polish
- Blackblade Foothills (new)
- North Midmaer Way (new)
- North Quel Way (new)
- New Artifacts
- Unique Components (Elven Bowstrings)
- Named / Boss Components (Torc’Dawl’s 2H Axe Blade)
- Increased Pattern Salvage Chances
- New Recipes
- Scene Labels
- Scene Information
- Combat Balance
- Fall Holiday Items
- Telethon Items
- SeedInvest Items
- Hospital Make a Difference Items
- New Emotes
- R46 Lot Deed Raffle Winners
…and much more
Check out the Release 47 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!
The Making of the Oracle Temple [SPOILERS!]
SPOILER ALERT! This post contains spoilers for the Oracle Temple scene that is the story climax of Episode 1…
With R47, we have finished the art requirements for the climactic Oracle Temple scene! When I stopped to consider the long road leading up to this point, I was struck by how this scene, perhaps more than any other single scene in the game, involved contributions from nearly every member of the Shroud team, either directly or indirectly. It is also a great example of how our iterative process worked to build one thing upon another.
Like anything else it all started with an idea. In this case, it was Richard’s initial idea that was the creative spark, and what followed was a process of evolution over years, as ideas changed, and grew, and became fully formed. Development of the objects, characters, and story followed a sequence of connected tasks, each one informing the next. Over time, it was this deliberate process that built all the smaller parts that contributed to the cohesive whole.
The importance of the Oracle becomes evident from the very first moments of the game, when you meet her in the Confirmatory on the Isle of Storms. That’s part of what makes the Oracle so special – she is there when you start the game, is present throughout your progress, and is there when you ultimately reach the story climax. But long before the Confirmatory was included on the Isle of Storms map in Release 31, the Oracle had already undergone several iterations.
Everything started, of course, with Lord British himself. During the initial development of what became Shroud of the Avatar, Richard worked directly with concept artists (beginning very early with Scott Jones and then a bit later with Stephen Daniele) to develop the look of the Oracle architecture, her Watchers, and the Oracle herself.
Early Oracle design as seen in concept art…
…and with the 2013 statue head decoration
While the initial glimpse of the Oracle came in December of 2013 with the Oracle Statue Head (made by former team member Jay Reichman), it would prove to be merely a teaser of what was to come…
Michael “Hutch” Hutchison
Release 48 Major Artifact Changes
Artifacts will undergo a major refactor in Release 48 in order to better align them with the rest of the economy. In order to not have them directly compete with crafted goods they can no longer be repaired like regular items.
Instead they will only be able to be repaired by salvaging other artifacts to get “Artifact Essences” that will be used in Artifact repair. This will cycle Artifacts out of the economy and require players to re-acquire them periodically or destroy other artifacts (thereby simulating “production”).
Additionally we will make Artifacts a bit more dynamic by giving players the ability to enchant and masterwork them.
More Make a Difference and Fall Item Screenshots
As mentioned in a previous update we created several new threads to show off content that we have been creating for SeedInvest Perk Packs, Telethons, and the Holiday Season. We will be making and posting in these kinds of threads going forward so that our players can stay up to date on the latest images of these items as we make them. In the case of the Telethon and holiday content they will first go in Dev+ and then later be included here in the Weekly Update.
This week we added some new Make a Difference items we are working on for Water.org and Children’s Hospitals / Doctors Without Borders and a new Fall item.
Make a Difference:
After reviewing the first set of Hospital assets we decided that they would become in-game craftable versions and that the store versions would include a custom version of a caduceus and be made of brass vs. steel.
Make a Difference Expansions
In accordance with Portalarium’s founding purpose to promote goodwill and make a positive difference in the world, we are excited to add more “Make a Difference” charity items to our store as a channel through which our community of backers can contribute to causes that they support.
In Release 47, we are adding a Kobold Indoor Toilet for Water.org’s International Toilet Day, as well as a whole suite of hospital themed items to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Doctors Without Borders just in time for the Extra Life Streamathon on November 4.
In the giving spirit of the holidays we have also expanded the Make a Difference concept outside the confines of the Make a Difference Store and now over 90 items in the Add-On Store are also tagged to share revenue with charities. Just look for the virtue symbol! In total Release 47 represents an expansion of over 100 items that will Make a Difference.
Water.org Kobold Indoor Toilet
This ingenious contraption brings bodily evacuations indoors through the clever use of Kobold technology. It even flushes when you use it!
This is in support of Water.org’s World Toilet Day on November 19, 2017. World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Today, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste.
The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to a safely-managed household toilet by 2030. This makes sanitation central to eradicating extreme poverty. In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated November 19 as World Toilet Day. World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners.
We are very excited to announce the support of two new charities in our Make a Difference store through the addition of a whole set of hospital themed items. Of the 50% revenue we will contribute to charity for these items, half will go to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and half will go to Doctors Without Borders. We timed creation of these items with the Aerie Fund’s Extra Life streamathon which supports CMNH.
Note that many of the items below will have craftable version in game for Release 48.
- Ornate Wheelchair
- Doctor’s Outfit
- Doctor’s Outfit Pattern Pack
- Nurse’s Outfit
- Nurse’s Outfit Pattern Pack
- Ornate Hospital Cloth Room Dividers
- Ornate Hospital Bed
- Ornate Head Bandage
- Ornate Head Bandage Pattern Pack
- Ornate IV Stand
- Ornate Surgical Tray with Instruments
- Hospital Sign Pack
In the giving spirit of the holidays we have greatly expanded the Make a Difference concept outside the confines of the Make a Difference Store and now over 90 additional items in the Add On Store are also tagged to share 10% of revenue with charities.
Just look for the virtue symbol on Add On Store items and read the description to see which charity the item supports. We chose items that generally supported the themes of the charities we currently support. For instance water items for Water.org and trees for Autism Awareness.
- Tabletop Titan of Courage Statue (digital)
- Tabletop Titan of Truth Statue (digital)
- Titan of Courage Statue (digital)
- Titan of Truth Statue (digital)
- Pirate Galleon Dry Dock Town Home (digital)
- Pirate Galleon Town Water Home (digital)
- Shogun Lighthouse Village Water Home (digital)
- Rustic 3-Story Village Water Home (digital)
- Obsidian Tower Village Water Home (digital)
- Viking Village Water Home (digital)
- Elven 3-Story with Dual Cabanas Town Water Home (digital)
- Obsidian Tower Town Water Home (digital)
- Pristine Gothic Mansion Town Water Home (digital)
- Shogun Ship City Water Home (digital)
- Shogun Ship City Dry Dock Home (digital)
- Pirate Galleon City Water Home (digital)
- Pirate Galleon Dry Dock City Home (digital)
- Longboat Water Decoration (digital)
- Gondola Water Decoration (digital)
- Small Longboat Water Decoration (digital)
- Gondola Dry Dock Decoration (digital)
- Small Longboat Dry Dock Decoration (digital)
- Ornate Water Platform (digital)
- Ornate Post & Rope Water Fence Set (digital)
- Player Owned Town Village Water Lot Property Deeds (digital)
- Player Owned Town Town Water Lot Property Deeds (digital)
- Player Owned Town City Water Lot Property Deeds (digital)
- Ornate Tile Hot Tub (digital)
- Ornate Wooden Hot Tub (digital)
- Wooden Outhouse (digital)
- Cinereous Stone 2-Tier Outdoor Pedestal Fountain (digital)
- Isabelline Stone 2-Tier Outdoor Fountain (digital)
- Carved Decoration Fountain (digital)
- Water Magic Sign 9-Pack (digital)
- Bamboo Tree 6-Pack (digital)
- Blue Spruce Tree 6-Pack (digital)
- Common Aspen Tree 6-Pack (digital)
- Common Linden Tree 6-Pack (digital)
- Dead Tree 6-Pack (digital)
- Dead Tree with Spider Webs 6-Pack (digital)
- Epic Bamboo Tree (digital)
- Epic Blue Spruce Tree (digital)
- Epic Common Aspen Tree (digital)
- Epic Common Linden Tree (digital)
- Epic Dead Tree (digital)
- Epic Fountain Palm Tree (digital)
- Epic Juniper Topiary Tree (digital)
- Epic Juniper Tree (digital)
- Epic Webbed Dead Tree (digital)
- Epic Yellow Cedar Tree (digital)
- Fountain Palm Tree 6-Pack (digital)
- Juniper Topiary Tree 6-Pack (digital)
- Juniper Tree 6-Pack (digital)
- Potted Bamboo Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Potted Blue Spruce Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Potted Common Aspen Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Potted Common Linden Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Potted Fountain Palm Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Potted Juniper Topiary Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Potted Juniper Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Potted White Oak Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Potted Yellow Cedar Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Tabletop Bamboo Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Tabletop Blue Spruce Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Tabletop Common Aspen Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Tabletop Common Linden Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Tabletop Dead Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Tabletop Fountain Palm Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Tabletop Juniper Topiary Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Tabletop Juniper Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Tabletop Tree Pack (digital)
- Tabletop White Oak Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- Tabletop Yellow Cedar Tree 3-Pack (digital)
- White Oak Tree 6-Pack (digital)
- Yellow Cedar Tree 6-Pack (digital)
- Yew Tree (digital)
- Earth Magic Sign 9-Pack (digital)
- Tabletop Titan of Love Statue (digital)
- Titan of Love Statue (digital)
- Ballet Outfit with Ballet Emotes (digital)
- Fairy Wings (digital)
- Ornate Floral Kimono (digital)
- Ornate Floral Kimono Pattern Pack (digital)
- Ornate Wealthy Merchant Outfit (digital)
- Ornate Wealthy Merchant Outfit Pattern Pack (digital)
- Ornate Tabletop Moondial (digital)
- Ornate Moondial (digital)
- Ornate Village Moondial (digital)
- Ornate Keep Moondial (digital)
- Moon Magic Sign 9-Pack (digital)
- Resurrection Ankh (digital)
- Resurrection Chaos (digital)
- Alchemy Sign 9-Pack (digital)
- Hospitaller Sign 9-Pack (digital)
- Life Magic Sign 9-Pack (digital)
R47 Postmortem Telethon – Nov. 3
The next Postmortem Telethon, for Release 47, is already fast approaching! New frosty cool stretch goal items are ready to be achieved to celebrate the release, which is due to go live this October 26. The following week after the release will be the telethon on November 3!
LIVESTREAM SCHEDULE (Central Time Zone)
Telethons are livestreamed on Twitch and include answers to your gameplay questions, world building tours, prize giveaways, sales on items, and more! See what we have planned below beginning at 3:00 PM CT on November 3:
- 3:00 PM: Introductions
- 3:30 PM: Postmortem Q&A
- 4:30 PM: World Building Tour
- 5:30 PM: Postmortem Q&A Continues
- 7:00 PM: End of Telethon!
Schedule is subject to change. Check back here before the livestream begins!
STRETCH GOALS (Frosty Themed!)
As a special bonus, we are offering funding rewards to any backer that pledges a minimum of $5 for twelve hours during the day of the telethon, November 3 from 12:00 PM to 11:59 PM CT. (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply)
NOTE: While the livestream ends at 7pm CT, everyone will have until 11:59 PM CT to spend $5 to get the stretch goals. We will announce the final total on the following day.
- $10K: Snowflake Pattern Cloak
- $25K: Big Silver Fur Hat
- $35K: Winter Pattern Stained Glass Oil Table Lamp (3 Pack)
- $50K: Ice Staff & Ice Bow
- $65K: Ice Elemental Statue with icy effects
- $80K: Ice Dragon Statue with icy effects
CHEER ON THE DEVS!
For 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 12 different categories of sales plus the Lord British and Darkstarr wildcards where they get to choose any category! Each time a category comes up it will go on sale at approx. 20% off for 1 hour.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE FLASH SALES:
- Viking Bundles
- Obsidian Bundles
- Kobold Bundles
- Elven Bundles
- Shogun Bundles
- Make a Difference
- Home Decorations
- Outdoor Decorations
- Property Deeds, POT Upgrades, Homes and Basements
- Pets and Music
- Emotes and Fireworks
- Wearables, Dyes, and Patterns
WIN THESE GREAT PRIZES!
- Frosty goodies!
- Bank Upgrades
- Store Credit
- RelicsbyRild.com merchandise
- and a bunch of items we will announce on the livestream!
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 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.
SXSW (March 9 – 18) has made programming announcements for 2018 and Portalarium will be there! Starr Long is moderating a panel during SXSW Gaming entitled “The Ever Evolving Nature of Game Crowdfunding”:
Working with communities has expanded beyond mere feedback loops between developers and players. It has formalized with the growth of Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and marketplaces like the Unity Asset Store and most recently equity ownership via platforms like SeedInvest. Attendees will gain expert knowledge about all the various options and platforms available in this constantly evolving world using real examples from industry veterans Mary Flanagan, Starr Long and Gordon Walton.
Richard Garriott is participating in a panel during SXSW Interactive about the future of mass transit entitled “Overhead Transit: Cable, Hyperloop, PRT & Drones”:
Urbanization is creating a congestion crisis in and between cities. But when we go to add mass transit we find little usable eminent domain. The streets and highways are full. Yet if we look up we find space in fields or between buildings & above streets. This session will examine technologies that can add mass transit in that overhead space. Urban Cable, Personal Rapid Transit, Hyperloop and Aerial Taxis. The technology amplifies other modes leading to Smart Transportation Cities.
Stay tuned for exact dates and times as they are revealed.
Nightmares of New Britannia – Halloween Contest Ends Next Week
Spooky content abounds in New Britannia this Halloween season, some of old, some of new! Here’s your chance to show it off to the rest of the community in your own unique style!
This month is a two-part challenge of decorating a home or property in a spooky theme, or wearing a themed costume. You can submit an entry for both segments, though you are only eligible to win in one of them. As we get entries, we will announce on social media the latest entries in a Facebook gallery. You will also be able to view the entries as they are posted in the forums.
Submit your entries in a single post reply to this forum thread. The submission cutoff has been extended to Oct. 31!
Introducing Kory “Kor” Kirk – Portalarium’s New Web Developer!
Starting a new position at Portalarium has been a lot of fun, and I have been learning a lot. It’s only my second week, but it feels like I have done so much here already. It seems to me that everyone who works here “wears different hats” depending on what is needed. Right now the only hats I have are “Web Developer” and “Bug Chris about Combat Imbalances.” One thing that I like about my job is that I am not bound by the monthly releases. I work on the web software, so don’t have to wait until release time to update our websites.
Our recent acquisition of SotAMap has fallen into my hands. I have been working to convert the original source code to a version we can easily maintain on our own servers. I am excited that we have control of this project now, as I have seen a lot of cool suggestions coming from the community about how to make it harder, better, faster and stronger.
Some community members have been asking me if I can still play the game like I was now that I am a developer – of course I can! I have been playing SotA since persistence, and transitioning from a community member to a developer has been interesting for me. Feel free to continue to treat me as a community member, because I will continue to be one. I will still be interacting on discord and the forums, playing my non-dev characters in game, and streaming SotA gameplay on Twitch!
Kory “Kor” Kirk
Senior Web Developer
This latest Free Trial Test runs from November 1st thru the 15th. 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 when the test starts!
Cyber Monday Crown Bonus Continues
‘Tis our favorite time of year: the holiday season! It is that special time where you purchase gifts for the ones you love (including yourself) and it is that special time where we release all sorts of fun holiday goodies for Halloween, Fall, and Winter.
To celebrate we are rewarding all purchases of $15 or more with a bonus of Gold Crowns.
Here is the exact award chart (NOTE: Dollar amounts between tiers will be awarded the Gold Crown amount of the tier below it. E.g., Spending $100 will get you 10 Gold Crowns.):
- $15 = 2 Gold Crown
- $35 = 5 Gold Crowns
- $70 = 10 Gold Crowns
- $165 = 25 Gold Crowns
- $325 = 50 Gold Crowns
- $665 = 100 Gold Crowns
- $1665 = 250 Gold Crowns
- $3325 = 500 Gold Crowns
- $5000 = 750 Gold Crowns
- $6665 = 1000 Gold Crowns
The above will be awarded for all new purchases (including bundles, bundle upgrades, add-on items, player owned town upgrades, and Make a Difference items) between 10:30 AM September 28, 2017 and Midnight CST, November 27, 2017 (6:00 UTC, November 29, 2017). NOTE: This will not count for purchases made with store credit.
[NOTE: The crown bonus is calculated every day for all purchases within the previous 24 hours and then added to your account]
Original post here.
Upcoming Events Calendar
Nov 1 – 15, 2017 – Free Trial
Nov 3, 2017 – R47 Postmortem Telethon
Nov 4, 2017 – Extra Life 24-Hour Event
Nov 16, 2017 – Release 48
Nov 22 – Dec 13, 2017 – Free Trial
Nov 27, 2017 – Cyber Monday Crown Bonus Ends + Spooky Rares & Recurring Items Exit Store
Dec 1, 2017 – R48 Postmortem Telethon
Dec 14, 2017 – Release 49
Feb 1, 2018 – Fall + Winter Rares & Recurring Items Exit Store
Mar 9 – 18, 2018 – SXSW
Mar 21 – 23, 2018 – GDC
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 Livestream – The Oracle Temple
SPOILER ALERT! The Oracle Temple tour is going to reveal the finale of the game story, so do not watch if you wish to discover all the story secrets on your own!…
Extra Life Schedule and Livestreamers Needed – Nov. 4
From the AERIE Fund:
This year we’re going to run an Extra Life team event to see who can raise the most support for the Children’s Miracle Hospital Network. If you haven’t heard about Extra Life, I recommend you visit their site to learn more about Game Day, which is on Nov. 4, 2017.
And, while you’re there – sign up to join one of our SotA teams! For 24 hours we’ll be raising funds for the CMHN, while doing what we love to do: playing games! Oh, and it’s free to join.
Thanks AERIE Fund for all the great work you do in the community!
Think Pink 24 Hour Stream-A-Thon Results
And big congrats AERIE Fund on a successful Think Pink 24 Hour Stream-a-Thon to raise awareness and support for breast cancer research, and thanks to Shooter Jennings for hanging out to support the event!
R47 Welcome Quest in Moonglade – Oct. 28
You are invited to join the Welcome Quest in Release 47! It will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2017 starting at 12pm (noon) central time/New Britannian time and lasting an hour. Greagoir Pendragon will be active 30 minutes before the event and during the event.
We are traveling to the town of Moonglade! Located in the North Paladis region next to the the village of Yew. This town is governed by @Asbury Baker.
EVL Presents: 2017 Halloween Fashion Show – Oct. 29
It is with great pleasure that Every Virtue is Lasting cordially invites everyone to our quarterly community fashion show on Sunday October 29th at 4:00PM NBT (Central-Server-Time). This event will be held in the charming village of Cottage Grove.
Put on your finest attire & strut your stuff!! Walk down the catwalk to try and be crowned the best in show. Charm the judges, win the crowd over!
Mynwent Haunted House Dance Party – Oct. 31
Join us a the Mynwent Haunted House Dance Party! Event is located in the Player Owned Town Mynwent at the City lot owned by Vooch (381.8, 46.3, 218.4). After you enter the Player Owned Town of Mynwent, turn around and head East along the dirt road. You will see the Haunted House on the left island. The basement entrance to Mynwent Haunted House is located inside the Foyer and then to the left: at Mynwent (385.5, 47.0, 245.9).
P.S. This house has an innovative audio home tour feature, so be sure to bring your Portable Aether Vibration Amplifier if you would like to take the Haunted House Tour! We recommend showing up 30-45 minutes into any hour (tours begin at HH:49). Twilight Tempest or Vooch would be more than happy to give you a private tour during the month of October 2017 as that is the best way to enjoy the experience! Happy Halloween everyone!
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, currently on sale this weekend on inXile’s 15th Anniversary event on the Humble Store for 55% off!
Backer Shipping Addresses
In preparation for shipping backers’ physical pledge rewards around the game’s launch period, on your Account Page, please 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 firstname.lastname@example.org is unblocked from your e-mail account.