Release 48 Instructions

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

Avatars,

Please read this entire message, as well as the linked instructions and known issues.

Thank you for being a loyal backer and follower of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 48 access for all Early Access backers begins this Thursday, November 16, at 10:30 AM US Central Standard Time (15:30 UTC).

NOTE: The last two releases of the year are much earlier in the months than normal due to the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas). However despite the brevity of this release you will see that we still managed to get a huge amount of work done!

Release 48 is the third release in which we focused on our Top 10 Priorities for Launch. We continued to make strong progress on load time reductions, story polish, and creation of  new scenes. We also created more side quests and tons of other new content, including virtue armor and holiday content.

Load Times: This was the third release in which we worked on reducing load times. We updated to the latest version of Unity (2017.2), which resulted in an overall reduction in load times across all scenes by approximately 5 seconds! Our latest load time tests (on a slightly better than minimum spec machine) put most scenes at or below our 15 second goal for our target spec machine. However, big cities and large adventure scenes are still above 20 seconds, so we will continue to work on optimizations until we get those scenes down to 15 seconds as well.

Volumetric Lighting: We have upgraded our lighting model this release to “Volumetric Lighting”, which lends depth to the environmental lighting by simulating the scatter of light as it passes through particulates in the air (such as dust, smoke, or humidity), and allows the viewer to see beams of light shining through the environment (“crepuscular rays”).

Worldbuilding: Once again, a huge amount of work went into worldbuilding and scene polish this release. Three new low-level mines were added to the game, multi-entrance locations were added to a ton of additional scenes, and four scenes got polish passes, including Solace Bridge Outskirts.

Story Polish and Side Quests: We made various tweaks to the story along all four paths (Truth, Love, Courage, and Oracle). We also continued adding more side quests across the game, including quests that grant pieces of the new virtue armor.

Artifact Changes and Better Loot: Artifacts can now be enchanted and masterworked, but must also be repaired using ancient essences that can only be salvaged from other artifacts! We also continued adding unique components that can be salvaged from gear found on enemies.

Audio Polish: Our new sound designer has been focused on the Oracle, Isle of Storms and footsteps to really improve the opening audio experience of the game and change the tone of the Oracle and her minions to be much less threatening.

I want to express a huge amount of gratitude to the backers who tested the below listed items on the QA server. They found many bugs and also provided editorial feedback on this post so that it is easy to read and actually matches what is in the game.

While we are getting closer to launch, we are still in a constant state of change. We do not yet have all of the in-game systems needed to inform players about these changes, and to help them to explore new content and systems. This means we rely mostly on this message, and the linked instructions and known issues to convey the current game state. We regularly have to answer questions or filter bug reports because some players elect not to read this valuable information.

By taking a few moments to read through this information, a great deal of our time and efforts can be redirected to focus on new “unanswered” questions and addressing critical issues impacting each release. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to review this post and for all the truly valuable feedback you continue to provide.

Also, remember that while we are providing new content with each release, our community is also working overtime to make new events for you to enjoy. Be sure to check out when there are player-run events in one of the calendars (via in-game book or the player-run website: Avatars Circle). You can also get the latest official events on the Main Website.

Without further ado, here is a list of what you can expect to see in Release 48.

Key:

  • Plain Text: The original plan for the Release deliverables from the Quarterly update. We intentionally preserve the original text so that our backers can compare plan versus actuals.
  • Italics: Detailed notes of what was actually delivered.
  • Strikethrough: These are items that did not make the release (but are still planned).

RELEASE 48, November 16, 2017

    • Story: We will continue to work on adding sidequests and polish to the Paths of Truth, Love, and Courage including the continued addition of unique virtue themed rewards for these quests. Additionally, we will be doing polish work focused specifically on the starting scenes. Finally, some adventure scenes in various regions of Novia will be rebuilt from scratch, including East Longfall Wetland.
      • Path of the Oracle Polish: (SPOILERS) Players must now find a new way to reassemble a broken lens. Instructions on how to do this can be found where the first part of the broken lens was originally found.
      • Path of Truth Polish: (SPOILERS) Players on the Path of Truth may now earn a one-way free bypass of the treacherous Vertas Pass if they speak with Kiakis before venturing through. Additionally, the elves in Vertas now make much more commentary about humans (you and other Outlanders) in their midst. Also, we made some improvements in Jaanaford, including having Jenna know less about the dagger (which gives more reason to seek out Dion in Kiln) and giving Olivia Grace more conversation about bonesteel.
      • Path of Courage Polish: (SPOILERS) Brigid in Resolute now has conversation parts where she recognizes completion of the path. Also, Quinn in Ferig’s Battle Camp will now actually talk about Ferig, and Ferig also has a better response to the warrant that you deliver.
      • Solace Bridge Outskirts Polish: (SPOILERS) We are continuing to polish the starting scenes with our focus this release mainly on Solace Bridge Outskirts. We made various changes including the following:
        • Valdis the Undying: We swapped the Ebon Dawn Ritual Master for a new, mysterious villain: Mistress Valdis the Undying. Only a smattering of lore exists about this Ebon Dawn demi-goddess, but there is literature hidden in abandoned places that can give some insight on who, and what, she is. The ritual site also has its center piece augmented with a Blood Stone instead of a camp fire.
        • “The Ballad of Bloody Bones”: We have added a new, roaming mini-boss: Bloody Bones! A servant to Mistress Valdis, this formidable undead monstrosity roams the land looking for victims in which to harvest their blood. Defeat Bloody Bones and there’s a chance you may acquire a little memento of the battle from him. Find the Bloody Bones fairy-tale rhyme that all the kids are raving about! Seriously, there are three creepy kids in the refugee camp that think Bloody Bones and his associated song are the bee’s knees.
        • Undead: More undead have invaded the area! Some lurk beneath dirt mounds, waiting to strike some poor, unsuspecting passers-by. Some wait until nightfall to invade the human refugee camp. We increased the respawn rate at the cemetery so multiple players can find needed fresh zombie body parts in a timely manner. There aren’t MORE, just shorter respawn times so solo players won’t get overwhelmed.
        • Alpha Wolf: Killing the Alpha Wolf for Filmore the farmer will now yield a rewarding memento that can accent any player’s abode! Don’t worry, even if you’ve already completed this quest in the past, Filmore will offer up the item if you inquire about the Alpha.
        • Bandits: We adjusted the aggro ranges of the bandits in this area so not all of them attack a single player all at once.
        • Light: We added more torches in the refugee camp so players CAN see their hands in front of their faces… or approaching zombies.
        • Quest Highlighting: We added a glowing effect to certain hard-to-find/see quest items in the open world.
      • Tier 2 Mines: Until now all our mines have been Tier 5 dungeons, making it nearly 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 each of the three paths (Truth, Love, Courage), in the vicinity of their respective outskirts map and the starting town for that path. The mines are mainly sources of common ore (iron or copper) with a very small occurrence of gold or silver (no gems).
        • Lost Whiteguard Silver Mine (Love): Located in the Perennial Coast in the mountains that separate Solania and the Whiteguard Foothills, this mine was once a primary supplier of ore to local military units. After a collapse, it hasn’t been used in decades. It has recently been unearthed by Ebon Dawn Cultists.
        • Understorm Gold Mine (Truth): Located in Longfall and connecting Longfall Woods with the island of Storm’s Reach, the Understorm Gold Mine is inside a cluster of damp and mossy caverns that stretch underneath the Bay of Storms. The elves that mine the rich ore nodes for copper and gold will fiercely defend their claim.
        • Broken Echoes Silver Mine (Courage): Located in the South Paladis region between Jaanaford and South Broken Road, this giant vertical cavern is rich in copper and silver. This mine is operated by Satyrs and their faun thralls from a concealed “office” in Jaanaford.
        • Side Quests: (SPOILERS) We added several side quests.
          • Solania: An old woman in the crafting pavilion hopes you’ll complete a task for her within the new Lost Whiteguard Silver Mine. The one who helps her will receive a new Leather Chest Armor of Love gift.
          • Storm’s Reach: A man near an entrance to the new Understorm Gold Mine believes the elves that operate the mine are up to no good, but he needs evidence. Will you help him find out if his conspiracy theory is correct? Successfully completing his mission will inspire him to award you the new Cloth Robe of Truth.
          • Jaanaford: A satyr awaits at the concealed entrance to the Broken Echoes Silver Mine, hoping to find a human to act as an intermediary between him and his irate miners. Those who successfully help the satyr will be awarded the new Plate Chest Armor of Courage.
          • Highvale Outskirts: Huntsman Sven in his hunting cabin is looking for courageous Outlanders to kill the rogue Kobold Frostgeist. Doing so will lead you to the quest that awards the Plate Helm of Courage.
          • Blood River Outskirts: Gus, the friendly automaton, is looking for his dormant automaton monkeys. Returning one to him will lead you into the quest that awards the Cloth Hood of Truth.
          • Solace Bridge Outskirts: Farmer Filmore is in mourning for his love, Betty the Chicken. Avenging her for him by killing the wolves will award you the Leather Helm of Love.
          • Devotional Caretakers Polish: Wondering if you’ve talked to a devotional caretaker about their virtue? Ask a caretaker the name of a patron city and they’ll tell you if you’ve talked about its virtue with its caretaker.
          • Bad Romance Polish: Added task journal support for this Path of Love side quest.
          • Harvest / House on the Hill Polish: We updated the directions in the “Dare of the Witch” conversations. We also added “nonbeliever” conversations to most guards and adults (and the child named Sergeant) via unlinked keywords for “witch” and “house on the hill” and “legend” that will describe the nonbeliever perspective of the witch legend. Finally, more children were added to the scene and gave unique names to all the children instead of leaving them with no names.
          • North Midmaer Way: Added more dialogue to the NPCs involved in “The Witch’s Solution” (Elias the traveller, Sigmund the woodsman, and Bellis) to better explain the situation.

      • Scene Polish:
          • Volumetric Lighting: With R48, we are introducing new lighting effects to the game. “Volumetric Lighting” lends depth to the environmental lighting by simulating the scatter of light as it passes through particulates in the air (such as dust, smoke, or humidity), allowing the viewer to see beams of light shining through the environment (“crepuscular rays”). With this release, we focused on setting up the volumetric light parameters of the directional sunlight for every weather situation, and for each of the custom sky domes that are used in the game. Individual weather parameters are needed  to ensure that the technique does not produce unnatural lighting in weather situations where the sun is mostly obscured. These lighting effects can be seen clearly as you walk under tree canopies or other overhead structures, but you may also notice a bit of extra atmospheric brightening around the location of the sun itself.

        • Shardfall and Alpine Skies: As part of the work involved with implementing volumetric lighting, we also polished various aspects of the sky domes used in our shardfall and alpine maps to improve lighting colors and fog values throughout their day and night cycles.
        • Rocks: We improved the look of rocks in three scenes: Ulfheim, North Hulenholt, and Solace Forest.
        • South Broken Road: The area around the minstrel has been cleared of hostiles.
        • Solania: The crafting area in the center of town now uses the Shogun Crafting Pavilion which better fits the Perennial Coast building style and improves access to the crafting stations within.
        • Highvale Outskirts: Respawn rates for Frostgeists throughout the scene have been reduced.
        • The Fall: Adjustments were made to the bottom area of The Fall including the addition of new terrain islands, smoothing of existing island edges for ease of movement, and the removal of hostile plant spawners.
        • Crooked Shank: Ulricka the waitress and Soren the blacksmith will no longer attack you if you try to talk to them after you become an enemy of the town. Instead, they will only warn you. NOTE: They will still attack you if you attack one of their fellow residents.
        • The Crags: Added text to a book inside the crypt.
        • Desolis: Phocas the beggar should now properly accept coin, and Brittany Bowling’s conversation about her husband and children has been updated.
        • Blackblade Pass: The lava surfaces found throughout the scene have had their damage significantly increased.
        • Solace Bridge (After): Improved guidance has been added to the “after version” of Solace Bridge for players that approach the Path of Love as their second or third path choice, and thus not directed through the Outskirts scene. Tasks have been added for acquiring and delivering Edvard’s notes to Stanley in Soltown.
        • Ardoris: Players will no longer be considered thieves for taking the books “Kindness in Giving Creates Love” and “The Mouse and the Camel” which are necessary for quest completion with Ardoris students.
      • Sieges and Astronomy: We fixed a bug where the Cabalists were not matching properly to the planetary alignments when sieging cities.
      • Multiple Entry Points from Overworld: In Release 46, we added the ability for players to unlock additional entry points for a scene when they enter that scene from the overworld. In that same release, we added that functionality to a few scenes. In Release 48, we have added this to more scenes in the game including those in Hidden Vale:
        • Brisach Maple Forest
        • Crag Foothills
        • Deep Ravenswood
        • Deep Savrenoc Timberland
        • East Vauban Foothills
        • Elysian Plains
        • Greymark Forest
        • Kingsroad
        • Midras Ruins
        • Moors of Northshore
        • Mysterious Swamp
        • Naryad Moors
        • Naryad Woods
        • Norgard Fens
        • North Drachvald Spur
        • North Hulenholt
        • North Majestic Forest
        • North Quel Woods
        • North Ravenswood
        • North Valeway
        • Northern Grunvald Barrens
        • Northmarsh
        • Owl’s Nest
        • Plains of Righ Inis
        • Rhun Ruins
        • Rumor Peaks
        • Savrenoc Stronghold
        • Savrenoc Timberland
        • Sawtooth Thicket
        • Sequanna Colossus
        • Shaminian Hills
        • Skrekk
        • South Drachvald Spur
        • South Hulenholt
        • South Majestic Forest
        • South Quel Woods
        • South Ravenswood
        • South Valeway
        • Southern Grunvald Barrens
        • Southmarsh
        • Spectral Peaks
        • The Crags
        • The Sirens Foothills
        • Twins Foothills
        • Valhold
        • West Ravenswood
        • West Vauban Foothills
        • Whispering Woods
        • Wynton’s Folly
        • Wyrmsands
      • Scene Fixes: We went through tons of scenes in the game fixing major and minor bugs including conversations, stuck spots, floating assets, missing assets, bad NPC patrols, inaccessible ore nodes, missing collision, audio issues, falling through the world, tree issues, etc. The list includes:
        • Ardoris
        • Artifice
        • Blackblade Foothills
        • Brittany Alleys
        • Brittany Wharfs
        • Central Brittany
        • Demig’s Battle Camp
        • Eastreach Gap
        • Elad’s Lighthouse
        • Elysium Mines
        • Estgard
        • Etceter
        • Ferig’s Battle Camp
        • Graff Gem Mines
        • Hallowed Plains
        • Harvest
        • Highvale
        • Highvale Outskirts
        • Jaanaford
        • Kiln
        • Kobold Expeditionary Camp
        • Necropolis
        • North Midmaer Way
        • North Quel Way
        • Owl’s Head
        • Resolute
        • Serpent Spine Mines
        • Shores of Malice
        • Solace Bridge Outskirts
        • Solania
        • South Varisalla Foothills
        • Southern Grunvald Barrens
        • Storm’s Reach
        • Superstition Canyon
        • Swamp Road Encounter
        • The Clink
        • Ulfheim
        • Vertas
        • Whispering Woods
      • Scene Rebuilds Delayed: Instead of rebuilding existing cloned scenes we chose to focus our time on building the three new mines (see above and map optimizations (see below).

    • Load Time Reduction: We will continue work on load time optimizations.
      • Load Times: This was the third release where we worked on reducing load times. We updated to the latest version of Unity (2017.2) which resulted in an overall reduction in load times across all scenes by approximately 5 seconds! Our latest load time tests (on a slightly better than minimum spec machine) put most scenes at or below our 15 second goal. However big cities and large adventure scenes are still above 20 seconds so we will continue to work on optimizations until we get those scenes down to 15 seconds as well.
      • Nested Prefabs: All nested prefab building arrangements (i.e. the decorated buildings in most towns, including banks, magic shops, taverns, etc.) have had their decorations and lighting optimized to improve scene performance. Some nested prefab objects other than buildings received similar optimization updates.
      • Scene Optimizations: We did targeted optimizations on the following scenes that had load times that were greater than 30 seconds, even after general optimizations. The targeted optimizations involved looking for items that were used only a few times in a scene and deleting them, or replacing them, with items used more often. It also involved the opposite: looking for items that were overused and looking for ways to combine and/or optimize them. For example, if a stone was used along the edge of a long roadway, we would combine that stone into a single longer edge piece.
        • Ardoris
        • Blood Bay
        • Brittany Alleys
        • Highvale Outskirts
        • Blood River Outskirts
    • Player Towns & Player Housing: Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
      • POT Tree & Grass Removers: We have added new items for POT owners that they can place that remove trees and grass from areas in their town. These items are invisible rectangular decorations that come in a variety of dimensions. Some remove just trees and some remove both trees and grass. Once placed, other decorations can be placed over these without colliding. POT owners will receive a large allotment of these as an automatic reward that they can claim in their bank. Note that these will count against decoration limits but we are increasing decoration limits to account for this (see below).
      • POT Decoration Limit Increase: Since we have made steady performance improvements over the last three releases and because of the requirement that the removers hit the deco limits we have increased the deco limits for Player Owned Towns. The increase is the maximum we can increase without impacting performance so for now the greatest percentage benefit is at the lower levels even though the actual number increases are greater for the higher level towns. To say it another way, if we did the same percent increase across all towns the highest level towns would get too great of an increase and performance would be too greatly impacted. In the list below the first number is the original number and the second is the new, higher number.
        • Holdfast: 40 > 50
        • Hamlet: 60 > 75
        • Village: 80 > 100
        • Crossroads Village: 100 > 125
        • Town: 160 > 190
        • City: 200 > 235
        • Metropolis: 260 > 300
      • Forest POT Template Polish: A road that formerly led to a dead end canyon has been transformed into a small path that leads into a little tree-flanked flowery meadow.
      • Virtue Banner Polish: The virtue symbols were originally developed for use on the shrines and were stylized to look like they were chiseled from heavy stone. When we first created the banners we simply copied the entire symbols over onto the banners, including the heavy carved outlines. We have now created a new set of symbols for the banners without those heavy outlines because they were obscuring the symbols and taking up a lot of room on the banners – plus, the carving style outline just did not make sense on cloth.
      • Decoration Movement: With the addition of new cursor highlighting (see below) to make clearer whenever a deco is within adjustable range, we have also increased the distance from the camera at which players are able to grab and move their decorations. This distance now matches the maximum distance grabbed decorations can also be set back down.
      • House and Furniture Fixes: Fixed various issues with homes and furniture including places where decorations could not be placed, where stairs could not be climbed without jumping, where furniture could not be used, etc. The list includes:
        • Adobe Stables
        • Baron Benefactor
        • Elven 2-Story Globe Home
        • Elven City Home
        • Golden Gothic Mansion
        • Golden Ornate Greenhouse
        • Golden Viking Village
        • Gothic Inn
        • Gustball Field
        • Knight Founder
        • Knight Marshal Home
        • Kobold Great Hall
        • Lord Benefactor
        • Lord of the Manor Keep
        • Obsidian Tower Village
        • Obsidian Tower Town
        • Ornate Gustball Field
        • Ornate Post-Mounted Mailbox
        • Shogun Crafting Pavilion
        • Village Arena Basement
      • R47 Lot Deed Raffle Tickets: The drawings will be held on November 16, 2017 and winners will be announced shortly thereafter. Deeds will be delivered in Release 48.
        • Place Anywhere Deeds (10):
          • Row: 5
          • Village: 3
          • Town: 1
          • City: 1
        • Player-Owned Town Deeds (10):
          • Row: 5
          • Village: 3
          • Town: 1
          • City: 1
      • R48 Lot Deed Raffle Tickets: Raffle tickets can be purchased with in game gold from home merchants. Each person can only win a single deed of each type (maximum of one place anywhere and one POT). The drawing and winners will be in R49.
        • Place Anywhere Deeds (10):
          • Row: 5
          • Village: 3
          • Town: 1
          • City: 1
        • Player-Owned Town Deeds (10):
          • Row: 5
          • Village: 3
          • Town: 1
          • City: 1
      • New and Updated Dynamic POTs:
        • Alexandria: Renamed (formerly The Eventide Enclave). Converted to Tropical Island 01a. Ownership changed. Changed location. Interconnections (added Aerie and Dragomir Mori; removed Goti). Removed PvP flag.
        • Avallon: Upgraded to Hamlet.
        • Da New Pitmuck: Renamed (formerly Sea Nymph Grotto).
        • Formosa: Upgraded to Town.
        • Ishum: Renamed (formerly Castle Barataria). Ownership changed.
        • Light City: New addition.
        • New Heaven: New addition.
        • Painted Caves: Ownership changed. Interconnections (changed nested interconnection to within Ardoris; kept Oceania; added Redmill and Aldwater).

    • Crafting & Economy: We will continue adding more loot to the game, including unique components for crafting.
      • Artifact Repair, Salvage, Enchant, Masterwork: Artifacts have undergone a major refactor 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 can only be repaired by salvaging other artifacts to get “Ancient Essences” that are used in Artifact repair. This will cycle Artifacts out of the economy and require players to re-acquire them periodically (thereby simulating “production”). Additionally, we have made Artifacts a bit more dynamic by giving players the ability to enchant and masterwork them. Please note that artifact belts and instruments are not yet fully supported by our crafting system, so they cannot be Masterworked or Enchanted.
        • Cabalist Gear (hoods and weapons) are becoming artifacts.
        • Dread Artifacts (Heart of Sorrows, Scepter of Dread, Bone Steel Crown) remain quest items and are not being changed by this.
      • Artifact Tooltip: Artifacts are now indicated by a tooltip.
      • Unique Components: We continued adding unique components that can be gained by salvaging weapons from certain enemies. These new components offer unique effects that can only be gained by using them as components in gear when crafting. For Release 48, we focused on weapons on lower tiered creatures (0–4) from which unique components can be salvaged:
        • Bandit Blade
        • Bandit Dagger
        • Bandit Shortsword
        • Bandit Spear
        • Heavy Halberd
        • Heavy Two-handed Hammer
        • Heavy Two-handed Sword
        • Sturdy Axe
        • Sturdy Hammer
        • Sturdy Mace
      • Wooden Tier 2 Component Power: In Release 47, we increased the power of Tier 2 components (ex. Meteoric Iron) in order to better balance the effort versus reward. However in the process we inadvertently did not increase the power of wooden components enough. We have better balanced this in Release 48 so that wooden Tier 2 components now better match their metal counterparts. Note that this is retroactive.
      • New Recipes & Patterns: Several of the recipes we are adding this release are craftable versions of the items we added to the Make a Difference Store last release.
        • Cloth Divider (recipe)
        • IV Stand (recipe)
        • Norgard Citizen (pattern)
      • Resistance Tooltips from Masterwork/Enchant: We fixed a bug that was preventing these from showing up in tooltips on crafted items. Now if you add an effect during Masterworking or Enchanting that adds a resistance (ex. 5% Stun Resistance) that effect will now properly display as a tooltip on the crafted item.
      • Salvage Fix: Some items had the rare chance to accidentally provide the wrong form of resource when salvaged (e.g. Elven Mage staff creating metal scrap). This has been fixed.
    • User Interface Polish: We will provide more feedback about locations on the compass and map for quests, services, points of interest, etc.
      • In-game Maps: We have moved the in-game maps (formerly known as SotAMap) to Amazon Web Services and optimized the size of the assets. This should result in much faster loading of the maps. You can also now access this new version on our website. Our long term goals now that we have this in-house are to reopen community submissions for POTs, enable localization, introduce Linux support, add missing maps, automate lot ownership information (with opt out), automate housing placement (with opt out), update existing maps that need it, and much more! Missing maps should start appearing in R49 along with the first automation.
      • Quest Highlighting on Overworld: If you have an active task in a scene that scene will now sparkle on the overworld making it easier to locate and navigate to scenes in which you have an active quest. NOTE: Many (if not most) of these assistive features will have an option to disable for those of you who wish to challenge yourselves.
      • Scene Labels Expanded: The scene labels on the overworld have been expanded to include the presence of Devotionals (Town Blessings), PvP, Oracle Confirmatory, New You Merchant, Guild Registrar, and Resources. We have also added Scene Labels to the teleporters for nested POTs and island POTs.
      • Quest Item Highlighting: In recent releases, we introduced white sparkles as placeholder visual effects for important quest items, locations, and interactive objects. We have updated this visual in Release 48 so that these items now appear to highlight and glow rather than sparkle.
      • Compass Quest Icons: Tooltips for these icons now properly display the names of the Points of Interest and NPCs instead of a generic “Quest” tooltip.
      • Combat Mode UI: We have adjusted the Combat Hotbar UI to better indicate which combat mode an Avatar may be in. If an Avatar is in Auto-Attack mode, the sword icon on the Combat Hotbar will flash Red.
      • Low Ammo Indicator: The value required for the Low Ammo UI indicator to appear has been increased from 20 to 250 to better reflect the rapid use of arrows for our ranged players.
      • Decoration Selection: Cursors will now highlight yellow when hovering over a moveable decoration. If the decoration is out of reach or beyond one’s permission, it will return to default colors. Interactive decorations (e.g. lights/chests) will continue to highlight the cursor green.
      • Character Sheet: The Character Sheet window now properly updates Adventure Level values based on equipment worn. This affects items like the Warlock’s Chain and the Necklace of Civility.
    • Telethon & Holiday Content: We will add the R46 Spooky Telethon items, 2017 Winter Holiday items and Doctors without Borders/Children’s Hospitals Make a Difference items.
      • Movember Items: November is Movember, the month where we focus on Men’s health issues for the Movember foundation. To help raise funds we have created some unique items for the cause and formed team Moustache of the Avatar. Note items marked with an * are exclusive to the Movember bundles and the Cloth Map bundle is already sold.
        • Moustache Helm
        • Moustache Cloak
        • Darkstarr Follicular Reliquary*
        • Lord British Follicular Reliquary*
        • Framed Cloth Map with Lord British Crest*
      • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals/Doctors without Borders Items: In Release 47, we added a bunch of new content in support of these two charities, and for Release 48 we have added in game craftable versions of several of the items as well as an Ornate Hospital Gown.
        • Ornate Hospital Gown (Make a Difference Store)
        • IV Stand (in-game)
        • Cloth Divider (in-game)
      • Release 46 Postmortem Telethon Items: We have completed all the stretch goal rewards from the R46 Postmortem telethon that was spooky themed. For everyone who is eligible, the following items should appear in your bank for claiming in Release 48. You can see if you are eligible in your Account page on the Special Rewards tab: if so, it says “Release 46 Telethon Rewards.”
        • Skull Cloak
        • Prisoner’s Mask
        • Torn & Tattered Wedding Dress
        • Torn & Tattered Tuxedo
        • Spooky Fountain
        • Dead Hedge Fence Set
        • Nightmare Statue with flaming mane and glowing eyes
      • 2017 Winter Rare Items: The following items are only available in the Add-On Store until February 1, 2018. Note that in-game craftable versions of many of these (stockings, wreaths, gift boxes, and garlands) will appear in Release 49.
      • Winter Recurring Items: The following items are only available in the Add-On Store until February 1, 2018, but will reappear next Winter. Note that an in-game craftable version of the sled will appear in Release 49.
    • Character
      • Elf Children: The elf children found in various scenes along the Path of Truth are no longer just scaled down adult elves but actual custom-made elf children.
      • Elf Corpse Polish: Elf corpses now match the visual polish we did on living elves way back in Release 34. They also now react when you interact with them like human corpses.
      • Kobold and Satyr Animation Expansions: We have re-rigged the Kobolds and Satyrs so that their animations can match the breadth and range of other humanoids (humans, elves, skeletons). This will allow them to not only have more combat animations and wield more weapons but it will also allow them to do non-combat animations like conversations, sitting, etc.
      • Virtue Gear: In addition to the virtue-themed decorations introduced in earlier releases (Virtue Banners), we have also begun creating virtue-themed gear that players can earn by completing quests in the game. The first six of these are chest pieces and helms with the symbols of the three principles on them.
        • Leather Chest Armor of Love
        • Leather Helm of Love
        • Plate Chest Armor of Courage
        • Plate Helm of Courage
        • Cloth Chest Armor of Truth
        • Cloth Hood of Truth
      • Norgard Citizen Clothing: Players can now acquire Norgard citizen clothing as drops from mid- to high-tiered Barbarian NPCs. These items can also be salvaged for rare pattern drops to use on other armors.
      • Dark Elven Kinsman Buckler VFX: This small shield now has a glowing effect in the center associated with the gem.
      • Sparklers: Time to get your celebration on with all new sparkler fireworks! Release 48 will be introducing SIX Replenishing Sparkler boxes for Red, Yellow, White, Green, Blue, and Rainbow colored sparklers on our Add-On Store! Each box will deliver 50 sparklers per use and regenerate periodically.
      • Shock Monkey Interaction: We have fixed a bug that only allowed for a small portion of a shock monkey’s body to be lootable after death. All shock monkeys should now be much easier to loot!
      • Sliding Bodies: In previous releases, NPCs that died with existing waypoints or schedules queued would appear to slide on the ground. This has been fixed for R48.
      • Blanket Horses: The texture applied to Blanket Horses in our game has been fixed, and will now display correctly as spotted brown and white.
      • Potion Animation: Offhand items now remain visible when drinking potions (no more disappearing torches!).
      • Community Cloaks: We created two cloaks to support community events this release:
        • SotA Con 2017
        • 2016 Dragon Con Community Cloak
      • Equipment Decorations: Many missed equipment pieces have now been set up as decorations. We also fixed a few bugs where some of these were not displaying properly. These include:
        • Ardoris Shogun Outfit
        • Elite Elven Archer Armor
        • Elite Elven Fighter Armor (female boots)
        • Elite Elven Mage Armor
        • Fancy Merchant Outfit
        • Fancy Riding Outfit
        • Firedancer Outfit
        • Founder and Royal Founder Cloth Tunic
        • Gentleman’s Admiral Outfit
        • Gentleman’s Riding Outfit
        • Highvale Defenders Sword
        • Ladies’ Admiral Outfit
        • Ladies’ Riding Outfit
        • Norgard Merchant Ouffit
        • Ornate Doublet Outfit
        • Ornate Kimono Outfit
        • Ornate Wealthy Merchant
        • Red Dress
      • Ornate Wealthy Merchant Hat Radio Fix: The hat with the wealthy merchant outfit accidentally had the radio functionality connected to it. We have now removed this. This is supposed to be exclusive to Kobold technology items like the headphones (persistence gift), clockwork armor helmets, the Star Citizen helmet, etc.
    • Combat:
      • Decay on Revive: We moved the application of decay from the point of death to the point of reviving.
      • Resurrection Spell Halves Decay: As part of the decay change on revive mentioned above we also made it so that the Resurrect spell now only invokes half of the normal decay!
      • Spells Persisting Through Scene Changes: With the rapidly improving load times, it now makes sense to allow some medium duration spells to persist across scene changes. The following spells/skills will now persist through scene changes:
        • Air’s Embrace
        • Celestial Blessing
        • Death Shield
        • Enlightenment
        • Inner Strength
        • Night Vision
        • Shield of Air
        • Shield of Crystal
        • Shield of Ice
        • Sprint
        • Strength of Earth
      • Area Effect Spell Radius: AOE spells previously applied effects to all within a sphere shape based on the casting position. The actual effect area for these spells is now represented by a cylinder to more accurately reflect the targeting circle.
      • Chaos Bolt: The lighting effect in the chaos bolt has been increased to match the normal lightning bolt.
      • Regen and Focus Regen Frequency: In previous releases, the health and focus regen tick occurred once a second. This resulted in a lot of extra updates and work for little benefit. The regen tick will now occur once every 5 seconds for 5x as much.
      • Eagle Eye: Previously, this archery passive skill increased attack skill. The result was that it slightly increased hit chance for archery but this really only helps at a fairly low level. This skill has been changed to increase maximum critical hit damage.
      • Buff Effects in The Fall: Several buff effects in The Fall have been increased from 2 to 5 minutes.
      • PvP Ransom Gravestone Ownership: We have applied a fix for PvP Ransom Gravestones losing expected ownership or interactivity.
      • Body Slam Debuff Fixed: The armor durability debuff is now working correctly.
      • Taunt Fixed: We fixed Taunt so that it now properly applies to targets.
      • Enemies Ignoring Attacks Fixed: Fixed an issue where enemies would sometimes ignore players even when attacked.
      • Banish Undead: This spell now works properly on the Ghost Corpion.
      • Titan Smash: The range for this combo skill has been fixed to actually allow players to hit targets when used.
      • Trolls: Trolls will now properly engage players in combat.
      • VFX Polish: We once again spent time polishing the visual effects for various magic spells including the following:
        • Blind
        • Death Shield
        • Night Vision
        • Shield of Air
        • Shield of Crystal
        • Shield of Ice
        • Soothing Rain
        • Torpid Torment

  • Audio: Note that SFX is an industry acronym for Sound Effects.
    • Avatar Movement: We did a lot of work this release to improve sound associated with avatar movement. The biggest improvement was different sounds for different terrain types.
      • Jump, Land, and Tumble SFX
      • Updated Swim and Enter Water SFX (will add more)
      • Walk and Run animations are now tagged so they sound different
      • Terrain Types (note that this requires hand tagging per scene so there will be a lag time while this propagates throughout the game):
        • Dirt
        • Grass
        • Mud
        • Rock
        • Sand
        • Snow
        • Loose Rock
        • Wood footsteps have been made but will be tagged differently
    • Reaper Death SFX Bug: Reaper’s death sound effects should now play!
    • Isle of Storms Polish: We spent a lot of time polishing the ambient soundscape for the Isle of Storms.
      • Nighttime birds and other creatures
      • New tonal loops
      • New water SFX
      • New, subtle, mystical loops
      • New thunder SFX
    • Oracle and Minions: We re-recorded and processed the Oracle’s greeting because we wanted her to sound a little warmer, easier to understand, and also mechanical. We also reworked the Oracle watchers because we wanted to have them sound less harsh and menacing and give them more of an inquisitive and benevolent soundscape. New players should not be scared of them.
      • Oracle
        • Revised Voiceover greeting
        • New and revised movement SFX
        • Oracle ambience
        • New blink SFX
        • New mouth SFX
        • New subtle movement SFX
        • Spooky Oracle room ambience (temple)
        • Subtle Oracle monitor SFX (temple)
      • Oracle Spiders
        • New mechanical footsteps
        • Death SFX
        • New scanning SFX
        • Damage SFX
        • Dance SFX (pets)
        • Spawn SFX (pets)
        • Sit SFX (pets)
      • Oracle Fliers (still in progress)
        • Death SFX
        • New scanning SFX
        • New flying SFX

So, now that it is clear what you can expect, we should also be as clear about what you should NOT expect:

  • Performance: In Release 48, we were able to reduce load times even further and take our first steps towards improving frame rate in high player/creature situations! Frame rate still needs much more work though, and efforts in Release 49 will receive our first major focus in that area.
  • Game Loop: While release 48 is a further iteration on our game loop, it is still missing a few key components and some balance. Expect this to expand with each subsequent release.
  • Visual Quality: With the upgrade to Volumetric lighting, visual quality should be greatly improved! With that said, efforts to improve visual quality are ongoing. We will continue to iterate on these until we have highly competitive visuals.
  • Pledge Rewards: Pledge Rewards that have been built and have tech to support them are in the game; all other rewards are awaiting either content creation or tech support. You can find an updated list of these items in the known issues.
  • Story Additions: The main storyline is now complete, but many aspects surrounding the main storyline are incomplete. Various side-quests and opportunities to gain or lose virtue are yet to be added. Content of this nature will be continually added and improved upon, even beyond the commercial launch of Shroud of the Avatar.

As Lord British often says: “80% of the quality of a game goes in during the last 20% of the development.” We are in that final 20% right now. Be warned that this is a time of great change, but also a time of great improvement! In addition to completing the last few deliverables, the important work ahead of us is refining and tuning the feel of the game. If you are not yet “feeling it,” don’t be alarmed! It is perfectly normal that during this phase of development we are just now getting to the point that we can start delivering that feeling—so stay tuned!

Here are links to instructions and known issues. Thank you again for your continued support. This is truly the most amazing community we have ever worked with, and we are proud to be on this journey with you.

Sincerely,

Starr Long
aka Darkstarr
Executive Producer

 



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