Avatar’s Update #252: New Low-level Mines!

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

New Low-level Mines

Until now all our mines have been Tier 5 dungeons making it impossible for low-level players to find high concentrations of ore. After many requests from the community and an intense roundtable at SotA Con Austin we have made the decision to add three Tier 2 mines to Novia. Each mine is located along one of the three paths (Truth, Love, Courage) approximately between the outskirts map and the starting town for that path. The mines are mainly sources of metal ore (iron and copper) with a very small occurrence of gold or silver (no gems).

The Making of Lost Whiteguard Silver Mine

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

Hey folks, I have some screenshots to share of the upcoming Tier 2 mine, Lost Whiteguard Silver Mine. This will be one of three low-level mines that are planned for this release.

This mine was once a primary supplier to local military units. After a collapse, it hasn’t been used in decades. Its recently been unearthed by Ebon Dawn humans.

The East ChamberThe Lower Passage (east side)The Lower Passage (west side)The Upper ChamberThe Cavern

Chris Wolf
Level Designer

The Making of Understorm Gold Mine

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

Hey guys, Sorcerous Steve here to give you an update on my latest map! The Understorm Gold Mine, a new Tier 2 Mine in the Longfall Region. The Understorm Gold Mine is a functioning elven mine located in a mossy, wet cavernous environment made for the extraction of copper and gold…

Much of the mine is dark but in areas such as these where sunlight comes in we can catch a glimpse of the forest above: The Longfall Woods.

Stalagmites fill this flooded area of the mine.

Moss covered planks and beams line the hallway that leads to the eastern section of the mine.

Banners at the mine entrance indicate the presence of elves, these may be elves that have now gone bad…

Mining in these caves is backbreaking work, a recent accident left this elf to be sent home in a body bag.

A dangerous job indeed.

See you next time!

Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar
Level Designer

First Look at Broken Echoes Silver Mine

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

Broken Echoes Silver Mine is a Tier 2 mine located in the South Paladis region. It’s a working mine, run by Satyrs and Fauns.

Here’s some early screenshots:

Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski
Level Designer

Truth, Love, and Courage Armor

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Starting in Release 48 Avatars will be able to quest for pieces of the fabled armors of Truth, Love, and Courage. Each piece of armor has been lost but can be recovered by intrepid followers of the principles.

For now we have just built the helms and chest pieces but eventually there will be a full set of armor for each including gauntlets, boots, and legs.

Here are the pieces that Fletcher @Scathanna Kinnear has built so far.

Cloth Armor of Truth

Plate Armor of Courage:

Leather Armor of Love:

Scottie’s Yuletide Objects of 2017

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

Hello again folks!

Welcome back to my little 3DS Max Scene containing the various kinds of Gift Boxes and Yule Stockings I’ve worked on! Here, in the lower right corner, you can see the newest Yule-themed gift boxes for 2017!

Just for a fun comparison, I’ve set them beside the 2016 Yuletide gifts so you can see the changes I decided to make for this year. In addition to designing some new base papers, I’ve also added a few more decorative elements with which to festoon the tops of the festive wrappings. I’ll add more such variety every time I’m tasked with these, just to throw in some differences here and there…My general goal with these is to create an overall visual variety of colors, sizes, and heights. Eventually I may start playing with different shapes as well, though that will require a new texture-map template to account for new shape configurations and mapping. Once finished in Max, and mapped with the proper textures, I bring them into Unity and create new materials for them with all the good specular effects to help make them look more realistic! Here are several images showing the new gift boxes from different angles and in broad daylight, so you can enjoy the details.Lastly, I test the finished items in a scene that properly lights them in an atmosphere representative of where players would most likely place them when decorating their homes! In this image, the details and rich materials of these new Yule gift boxes really shine! You can see the glinting of lights from the surrounding room on the surfaces of the decorative bells, the glimmer of the firelight on the wrapping paper and the bows, and even the sheen of the upturned holly leaves and rounded berries in some cases.

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

OK! Today was the day for the creation of the 2017 Holiday Candelabra!

Starting off in Max as always, I wanted to create a design that was significantly different from the other three we’ve already made, while still retaining the basic elements that Starr requires from it. This time I also wanted to combine silver and gold into the design for some rich variety, and have candles that were a bit more orange than the typical tallow yellow that one of the earlier ones used. Below you can see this year’s candelabra compared to the 2016 version you see peeking out on the left (in Max it’s still using the older yellow color for the candles)…Of course (as always), in Max’s building windows there’s a limit to how nice the textures look (they’re often flat and drab when seen there), so it becomes necessary to bring the item into Unity to take full advantage of the materials and metallic shininess. The next few images shows them in the editor in broad daylight, where you can begin to see the lovely glints of the silver and gold portions. The first image is the new candelabra by itself, while the second shows it with its candles lit while comparing it to the nicely-rendered 2016 version I created.And, as usual, I always like to place it in the little scene with all the correct lighting cues and surrounding objects. Here you get a good idea of what this piece will usually look like when illuminating your home during the Yuletide season!

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

Oh! I almost forgot to showcase another item I created, which isn’t a part of the items to be sold in the store, but is instead another craftable item for you all to enjoy!

Do you recall the more “generic” gift boxes that had themes such as Chaos, Spirituality, and Virtue (Ethos)? Among them was the 2016 Craftable Gift Box, which you can see below, along with the one I created for this year on the bottom right of the first image! In the second image you can see it up-close as compared to last year’s version! To make it a bit more special I added one of the same hand-crafted decorations that I designed for the other gifts…And, of course, I would be remiss if I did not show it displayed in that same cozy Yuletide scene by the roaring fire. It’s always good to check it in Unity to make sure my materials are functioning properly…Hopefully you fine folks will like having a new gift box style to craft yourselves!

Next I’ll begin working on the 2017 Yuletide Candelabra as well as some new Yule Stocking variations for 2017! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my progress on these items so far. Watch for Part 2 of this post in the next weekly update, which will include the designs for this year’s Yuletide stockings, as well as the brand new garlands to hang on your walls, which will match some of our existing wreaths!


Scottie ^_^

Winter 2017 and R46 Telethon Items

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 started a threads about the R46 Telethon items and the Winter 2017 items.

Winter 2017 Items

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

This year we are again making Winter themed items to celebrate this festive time of year. These items will only be available for a limited time in the Add On Store.

2017 Yule Wreath: Will come in a variety of sizes

2017 Yule Tree: Will come in a variety of sizes including tabletop and 4-story2017 Snow Family:

Release 46 Postmortem Rewards (Spooky)

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

We have now begun working on the R46 Postmortem rewards which were Spooky themed.

Skull Cloak:

Torn & Tattered & Bloody Wedding Dress:

Torn & Tattered & Bloody Wedding Tuxedo:

Spooky Fountain:

R47 Postmortem Telethon Results

Our Release 47 Postmortem Telethon was a huge success with most of the Stretch Goal Rewards achieved! A heartfelt thank you from the entire Dev Team to all of you, our backers, that have contributed to the development funding of Shroud of the Avatar. Friday’s Telethon was yet another example of your amazing support and contributions!

The total as of 07:00 PM CDT, November 3rd, was an amazing:

** $60,000 **

As promised, Telethon Funding Stretch Goal Rewards will be rewarded to any backers that pledged a minimum of $5 from 12:00 PM CDT to Midnight November 3rd (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply). These rewards should show up on your account page within the next couple of weeks and will begin showing up in the game over the next few releases starting as soon as Release 49.

  • ACHIEVED! $10K: Snowflake Pattern Cloak
  • ACHIEVED! $25K: Big Silver Fur Hat
  • ACHIEVED! $35K: Winter Pattern Stained Glass Oil Table Lamp (3 Pack)
  • ACHIEVED! $50K: Ice Staff & Ice Bow
  • $65K: Ice Elemental Statue with icy effects
  • $80K: Ice Dragon Statue with icy effects

NOTE: We stopped tracking towards stretch goals at the end of the telethon at 7:00 PM CDT.

We had world building tours, answered questions, danced, sang, did shots, spun the Wheel of Fortune for flash sales, and handed out tons of prizes!

Did you not get your question answered? Fret not! Starr “Darkstarr” Long (with help from the rest of the team) will answer some of the questions that we did not have time to answer during the telethon at some point in the forums next week.

Movember: Moustache of the Avatar

[From a Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

The Movember Foundation’s mission: “The state of men’s health is in crisis. Men experience worse longer-term health than women and die on average six years earlier. Prostate cancer rates will double in the next 15 years. Testicular cancer rates have already doubled in the last 50. Three quarters of suicides are men. Poor mental health leads to half a million men taking their own life every year. That’s one every minute. Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends are facing this health crisis and it’s not being talked about. We can’t afford to stay silent.”

Back in 2013 we created a Portalarium Movember team called Shroud of the Moustache and raised $1,680 for charity. Last year we reformed the team as Moustache of the Avatar. Several of us are doing it again by growing moustaches (or hiking if we are Mo Sistas) in order to raise awareness about men’s health issues. Starr “Darkstarr” Long even shaved off his signature soul patch! Community members are welcome to join our team and/or contribute!

Additionally, we are creating a few more Movember related items for our Movember Make a Difference store including a Moustache Helm and a Moustache Cloak.

Moustache Cloak:

Moustache Helm:

UO 20th Postmortem at GDC 2018

Portalarium’s Starr Long and Richard Garriott will be joining Raph Koster to give the 20th anniversary postmortem of Ultima Online at GDC 2018.

Kal Ort Por! The death of Lord British. Simulated ecologies. Playerkillers. The Bank of Britain. City sieges. Weddings. Sports events. Players who were orcs. Living the Virtues. In September 2018, we marked the 20th anniversary of the launch on Ultima Online, the pioneering massively multiplayer RPG that changed online gaming forever. Join three key members of the team as they talk about the things that went wrong and right: Richard Garriott de Cayeux, the legendary Lord British and producer on the game; Starr Long, the original director; and Raph Koster, the creative lead.

Portalarium at SXSW 2018

SXSW (March 9 – 18) has made programming announcements for 2018 and Portalariumwill 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 Seed Invest. 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.

Free Trial Test – Nov. 1-15

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!

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.

Russian Version Launch Sale Week 1: Wearables and Property Deeds

In honor of our partners Black Sun launching the Russian version of Shroud today we are coordinating a three week long series of sales that represent some of our biggest sales with some of our deepest discounts ever!

Tune in each Friday to find out what will be on sale. Week 1 (November 3 – November 9) is all of our Wearable items and all Property Deeds!



*Some items may be rounded to 35% sale price by a few fractions of a percent.

Upcoming Events Calendar

Nov 1 – 15, 2017 – Current Free Trial
Nov 3 – 9, 2017 – Russian Version Launch Sale Week 1
Nov 4, 2017 – Extra Life 24-Hour Event
Nov 10 – 16, 2017 – Russian Version Launch Sale Week 2
Nov 16, 2017 – Release 48
Nov 17 – 23, 2017 – Russian Version Launch Sale Week 3
Dec 1, 2017 – R48 Postmortem Telethon
Dec 14, 2017 – Release 49
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.

Halloween Contest Winners!

Congrats to the following winners of the Halloween Decoration and Costume Contest!! Property Top Winners receive 500 COTOs, Runnerups receive 100 COTOs, and Costume Entries Top Winners receive 100 COTOs with Runnerups reciving 50 COTOs. Visit the forums to view all the entries!

Costume Category

Top Winner: Datendrache

Top Winner: Macnlos

Top Winner: Soleidad

Honorable Mention: Lace

Honorable Mention: EclipseMaiden

Decoration Category

Top Winner: Vooch

Top Winner: AthenaBorune

Top Winner: Magicpanda

Honorable Mention: Applerust

Honorable Mention: Kabalyero

[Read More…]

Extra Life Charity Livestreams This Saturday, Nov. 4!

From the AERIE Fund:

For 24 hours we’ll be raising funds for the CMHN, while doing what we love to do: playing games! We’ve created 2 teams – Avatars of Virtue and Avatars of Chaos – to battle for complete altruistic supremacy. Sign up to join one of our SotA teams!

Here is the current schedule of livestreams:

WANTED! The Hispaniola Treasure Map Hunt

To All Ye Treasure Hunters: Listen to the bard at the Inn tell tales of the sea, and the songs of the heart. Have a drink and get ready for the hunt to continue Saturday, November 4th at 6:30 pm NBT, when all the rest of the clues will be placed and ready for you to follow.

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 Support – Wasteland 3

Our friends over at inXile are well on their way to developing Wasteland 3! The game is a party-based role-playing game with complex story reactivity and strategic combat. It also features an engaging story utilizing a newly-revamped dialog tree system from Torment: Tides of Numenera!

By including vehicles, environmental dangers, and a revamped action system, inXile is evolving on Wasteland 2’s deep tactical turn-based combat and unique encounter design. Play solo or with a friend in story-driven synchronous or asynchronous multiplayer. Choices open or close off mission opportunities, areas to explore, story arcs, and lots of other content.

Backer Shipping Addresses

SotA_ShippingAddressIn 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 support@portalarium.com is unblocked from your e-mail account!