Avatar’s Update #258: Play Release 49 Now!

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


Play Release 49 Now!

Release 49 successfully launched yesterday, December 14, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, and logging in to check out the changes! There’s lots of new content to explore, including:

…and much more

Check out the Release 49 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!

If you have not backed the game yet, go to www.shroudoftheavatar.com and click the “Play Now” button. Game Early Access is also available on Steam Early Access.

Release 49 Player Instructions

Release 49 Known Issues


R48 Telethon Items

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

We have begun creating the items from the Release 48 Postmortem Telethon. The theme was once again Icy and our very own Fletcher “Scathana” Kinnear and Reid Rollo have been hard at work freezing their hands off sculpting new frozen treats for you!

Ice Shield


New Movember Items

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

We were so excited after our successful month of Movember fundraising ($2,889!) that we had to add more Movember items! We are adding a Moustache Shield to the Movember Make a Difference Store and special Darkstarr and Lord British color variants of the Moustache Cloak, Moustache Helm, and Moustache Shield to the Cloth Map Bundle as well as the Darkstarr and Lord British Follicular Reliquaries. NOTE: The Darkstarr Follicular Reliquary and Cloth Map Bundle have already sold but the Lord British Follicular Reliquary is still available!

Darkstarr Moustache Shield

Lord British Moustache Shield

Darkstarr Moustache Helm

Lord British Moustache Helm


Q1 2018 Schedule and Candidate Launch Date

We are excited to announce a candidate launch date for Shroud of the Avatar! On Tuesday March 27, 2018 (Release 52), we are planning to launch out of Early Access!

So what does that mean exactly for a game that has been both persistent for over a year and been doing monthly releases for over 4 years? Well, for us it means that we are delivering the list of features, including physical goods, promised during the Kickstarter albeit with a few exceptions and/or replacements (see below). It also means that we are going to grow our community through marketing campaigns

As we have stated previously, we intend to publish quarterly schedule updates detailing our monthly releases and those monthly releases will continue. Even though the goals outlined in these schedules are likely to change somewhat as we react to feedback, we feel it is important to periodically provide you with an updated roadmap.

Our priority continues to be to deliver new content to our backers regularly, so that you can give us feedback that will help us iteratively improve Shroud of the Avatar. This collaborative process continues to benefit the game, and often results in sweeping changes such as the recent polish passes to the user interface. As you have seen in previous releases, the flexibility inherent to this process means that we sometimes push things out, but we also often pull new things in.

Most recently we have been collaborating with our partner Travian to survey our backers on their experience with the game so we can correlate feedback scientifically with the metrics we are collecting in the game. Thank you everyone who has participated, your survey answers have helped guide our Top 10 priorities for launch and our Q1 schedule.

Q1 Top 10 Priorities: As mentioned in last quarter’s schedule update we keep a running list of our Top 10 priorities at all times that we use when building our schedule and prioritizing where to allocate our team’s resources. We often refer to it when making decisions about the project. While it has a VERY strong influence on what we work on at any given time, it does not mean that we only work on something that is on the list. It just means that if someone can assist with something that will help address an item on the list, then we will make sure they do that first before working on anything else. Sometimes team members cannot assist with anything on our top priorities, so they work on other tasks such as visual polish, combat balance, or content that helps us raise funds. Q1 will focus on performance, launch preparations, and polish.

  1. Performance
  2. Localization
  3. Launch Readiness
  4. Physical Goods
  5. Improved Reward Cycle
  6. Clearer Player Direction
  7. New User Experience (NUE)
  8. Story Polish
  9. Improved Enemy Behaviors
  10. User Interface Polish

To repeat what I said in the Q1 2017 post:

“We believe that we have reached the final 20% of development before Commercial Release, at which point we will transition out of Early Access. The next two quarters will be the most exciting and challenging times for the project so far. This will be when we get the final features and content in the game and make the last important balance changes. The changes will be fast and furious, and they may occasionally be hard to understand when you become accustomed to the way things were before. Please trust that we firmly believe that every change we make is best for the long term health of the project.”​

As always, all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change as we adjust our designs based on direct feedback from you, our backers.

NOTE: Release 52 launch date is a Tuesday vs. a Thursday due to Easter weekend.

RELEASE 50, January 25, 2018

  • Story: We will continue to work on adding side quests and polish to the Paths of Truth, Love, and Courage. Additionally, we will continue doing polish work focused specifically on the starting scenes. Also, we will continue to add and update maps for the in-game map system. Finally, some scenes will be rebuilt from scratch including the city of Yew.
  • Performance: Performance work will mainly focus on improving framerate and reducing hitching during gameplay. Work will also continue to be done on load time reduction on the few outstanding scenes that are not meeting our 15 second load time target.
  • Crafting & Economy: We will continue adding more loot to the game, including unique components for crafting, more Virtue Gear, and Barbarian wearables. We will begin adding refining skills that increase the overall output of the refining step of crafting by increasing speed, batch size, and raw good to component ratios.
  • User Interface Polish: We will make various improvements to the in-game map system, including support for localization and quest locations. We will begin adding options to disable assistive features like quest highlighting. Additionally, we will polish targeting to better identify your current target and whether your target is in or out of range of your weapon.
  • Physical Goods: Production of the physical goods including the cloth map, box, and manual will continue.
  • Combat: A pass will be made on combat balance looking at different combat and magic schools.
  • Character: We will be adding wild boars as a new creature and doing polish passes on the wolves and female peasant NPCs.

RELEASE 51, February 22, 2018

  • Story: We will continue to work on adding side quests and polish to the Paths of Truth, Love, and Courage. Also we will continue to add and update maps for the in-game map system. Additionally, we will continue doing polish work focused specifically on the starting scenes. Finally, work will be done on “The Lost Vale”; new mini-adventure centered around a lost valley previously hidden to players, now visible only during special astronomical alignments.
  • Performance: Performance work will mainly focus on improving frame rate and reducing hitching during gameplay. Work will also continue to be done on load time reduction on the few outstanding scenes that are not meeting our 15 second load time target.
  • Combat: More balance passes will be made through combat. Additionally, Cabalists will get some behavior improvements so that fights with them will be more interesting. Also, Chaos Magic will finally get more spells! Finally, we will be making a Training Accelerator Potion that temporarily increases how fast your skills use experience out of your pool to advance (note that a replenishing box of these potions will be a replacement for the 2 Week Skill Head Start reward).
  • Crafting & Economy: We will continue adding more loot to the game, including unique components for crafting and more Virtue Gear. Also, we’ll continue adding refining skills that increase the overall output of the refining step of crafting by increasing speed, batch size, and raw good to component ratios.
  • User Interface Polish: We will make various improvements to the in-game map system including support for Offline Mode and Linux. We’ll continue adding options to disable assistive features like compass notations.
  • Physical Goods: Production of the physical goods including the cloth map, box, trinket, and manual will continue.
  • Loot Rules: Parties will now be able to choose from a set of rules on how loot is allocated between party members.
  • Heraldry: Players will be able to create heraldry through a blazon system that can be displayed on shields, tabard chest pieces, and banners in game.
  • Character: Polish passes will continue to be made on various creatures and non-player characters including the bandits and various woodland creatures like the bear.

RELEASE 52, March 27, 2018 <LAUNCH CANDIDATE> Note that R52 launch date is a Tuesday vs. a Thursday due to Easter weekend.

  • Story: We will continue to work on adding side quests and polish to the Paths of Truth, Love, and Courage. We’ll continue to add and update maps for the in-game map system. Additionally, we’ll continue doing polish work focused specifically on the starting scenes. Finally, some adventure scenes in various regions of Novia will be rebuilt from scratch.
  • Frame Rate Increase: Performance work will focus on improving frame rate and reducing hitching during gameplay.
  • Names on Brittany Graveyard Tombstones/Domesday Book/Credits Page: Players will be able to select what name they wish to display in these locations via a name entry function on their account page.
  • Player Towns & Player Housing: Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will start appearing in the game again. Additionally, the globe decoration that replaces the Map Atlas reward will appear in the game. Finally in-game Lot Deed Raffles will resume.
  • Crafting & Economy: We will continue adding more loot to the game including unique components for crafting.
  • User Interface Polish: We will provide more feedback about locations on the compass and map for quests, services, points of interest, etc.
  • Multiple Characters: Players will now be able to have multiple characters on a single account. Note that these characters will share virtue and will have a common bank account. Characters will also share guild membership and land ownership ( including lot access permissions and rentals).
  • Physical Goods: Physical goods including the cloth map, box, trinket, manual, lot deeds, etc. (and the signed versions of each) will begin shipping.
  • Localization: All interface text and quest dialogue will be fully translated into our launch languages including English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.

Read the full post, including a comprehensive list of launch content, here.


R48 Postmortem Missed Questions

We had over 16 pages of questions left unanswered after the R48 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 R48 Postmortem. 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.

Sorry for the extreme delay (yet again) on getting these answered but since the end of year releases are mid-month time is super compressed. Thank you for your patience!

Please note I deleted a bunch of duplicated questions and also deleted any questions that we answered with the Q4 post or with the release of R48. Also note that we are generally going to stop answering questions about “when?” as those are answered by our quarterly schedule posts and any other answers are going to be either “No ETA” or “soon” or “will update with the next quarterly post”.

A final thought: we see a LOT of repeat questions and requests. Please consider reading one of the other missed question posts, watching one of the previous post mortems, reading one of the post mortem transcripts, and/or reading our Post Episode 1 plan post before posting a question. Your question might have already been answered.

Mugly Wumple: Do you have any “Top Priorities” post launch?
Definitely. A big one for me is to make sure all game systems we have started are fully fleshed out. For example we really want to include weather and fertilizer in agriculture. Another example is to really make the rent system viable. Right now one of the biggest issues is connecting landlords to potential tenants, especially if the landlord is offline when the potential tenant is online. 

Rosemourne: After a telethon would it be possible to have the funds between a reached stretch goal and an unachieved stretch goal go into a persistent pot that could unlock previously unachieved stretch goals? (This could also help maintain motivation when a stretch goal seems unlikely)
Well we intentionally put the most aspirational goals at the top of the list to drive excitement so it would not make sense to make the biggest most aspirational goal more easily achievable with previous funds. If we did that then there would be less reason for folks to be excited in the next telethon.

Merrik: with the changes over the past several releases, how does damage and to hit work? (adv level vs skill level)
Atos: Nothing has changed in the normal attack math recently. Critical hit math got some love but mostly just to make it so the min and max damage can be modified by effects or gear. Adventurer level only matters when fighting PVE stuff that is more than 40 levels higher than the player and then it just decreases base hit chance by 1% per 2 levels beyond 40.

Stryker Sparhaw: Are we still going with similar weapon classes for offhand attacks, or a plan to have them eventually be allowed to be mixed (sword/blunt, blunt/piercing)?
Same weapon types is still the plan. While we have considered allowing mixed we worry that it would drive EVERYONE to adopt this style as it could easily become overpowered and further undermine specialization.

Tedio: Will you remove the autoattack on autotargets (or make an option for it)? This is very annoying and messes with the combat. (Only want autoattack on the targets I targeted)
Atos: I don’t believe we want to continue to support the near infinite variety of options that players continue to ask for. This one for instance, would turn into multiple more options. For instance, as soon as we add this we will get a request to not auto-attack most stuff but do auto-attack when I’m directly attacked. As we near launch, we need to focus on fewer options and making the default be what most people expect.

Kron Caledon: Do any of the new artifacts drop from existing bosses such as Torc’Dawl, Phoenix, Daemon, etc.? 
Atos: Yes! Some of the new items were added back to the loot bundles for existing boss types. Also, most can be found in loot bundles.

Echondas: How about having potion usage be faster/better if the player has an empty hand, and adding animation of swigging the potion then throwing away the empty bottle?
We are changing the anim in R49 to show you throwing the empty bottle down

[Read More…]


Pledge Reward Replacements

Greetings Avatars,

Back in August we stated in a forum post about priorities that there were a couple of pledge rewards from the original Kickstarter that no longer made sense, so we were going to retire them.

When we started the Kickstarter, we were still designing the game and many systems were in flux so it was not always clear what the viability would be of some rewards years later. Now that the game is near completion, some rewards do need to be retired. It is worth noting that we have added at least 5-10 items per pledge since the Kickstarter, not to mention the tons of new features and content we have also added to the game.

With that said we understand that those new items and new content were not specifically noted as replacements for these retired items so we will be creating new rewards to replace the retired items.

Retired Items + Replacements:

  • 2 Week Skill Head Start: This would have serious balance implications and would only discourage players who did not have access to it.
    • REPLACEMENT: Replenishing Box of Training Accelerator Potions: These new Obsidian potions temporarily increase how fast your skills use experience out of your pool to advance the skill. This box of 12 potions replenishes annually.
  • Pick Last Name Early: This simply does not work at all with our current naming system.
    • REPLACEMENT: Character Name Change Request Vouchers (2) & Ornate Runic Letter Set: Backers will receive two name change request vouchers and one set of Ornate Runic Letter Decorations.
  • Map Atlas: With the acquisition and implementation of the in-game map system (formerly known as SotAMap) this reward no longer makes any sense because maps will no longer be in-game objects. The existing object that is a container that looks like an atlas and the few maps we made will still remain but they will be collector items.
    • REPLACEMENT: New Britannia Globe Decoration: This home decoration shows the known world of Novia and Hidden Vale. In the Great Cataclysm we lost touch with the other continents and explorers have not yet given enough information to globemakers to fill in those areas accurately.

Thank you everyone so much for the incredible support you’ve shown us these past four years with your constant testing, your feedback, and of course your financial backing. That is what makes this all possible. I also want to thank all of you for your incredible patience with this entire process that is full of changes and uncertainties.

Starr “Darkstarr” Long
Executive Producer


R48 Lot Deed Raffle Winners

The latest Lot Deed Raffle was drawn with deeds awarded to the following lucky winners!

Raffle tickets grant the holder a chance to win deeds of any size (Row, Village, Town, or City). Raffles will be held monthly (total deed numbers may vary each month). Winners can claim their deed(s) simply by logging into the game and claiming rewards at any bank.

No R49 Lot Deed Raffle: Lot Deed raffles will be on hold until launch (more information will be in the Q1 2018 schedule post).


Job Opening: Office Admin / Executive Assistant

Thank you for your interest in Portalarium! We currently have an opening in Austin, Texas for a full-time, Office Administrator / Executive Assistant position, as described below. If you’d like to join the Portalarium Tribe, the team building the ground-breaking Shroud of the Avatar game, please submit your resume/cover letter to: jobs@portalarium.com

Job Description:

Coordinating general office activities and operations to secure efficiency and compliance to company policies, maintain stocks of office supplies, manage phone calls and general office correspondence (e-mail, letters, packages etc.), support budgeting and bookkeeping procedures, create and update records and databases with personnel, financial and other data, assist colleagues whenever necessary. Assist founder/CEO with company and personal administrative tasks including: managing calendars, making travel plans, meeting and event arrangements, payment and filing of invoices, managing mail, preparation of reports, and errands.

Requirements:

At least 2 years experience as an office administrator or executive assistant to a C-level executive

Presentation/Communication/Writing skills

  • Has a professional writing style that represents Portalarium and CEO well
  • Able to follow creative/technical/business conversations
  • Has a professional writing style, with the ability to craft business emails, as well as ~750 word articles when provided general ideas to develop

Organization skills

  • Able to efficiently translate assigned tasks (verbal or written) into prioritized checklists/schedules and can effectively manage those checklists/schedules.
  • Is able to self-organize and self-prioritize when necessary
  • Expert Outlook Calendar management, able to clearly detail pertinent event information

Research skills

  • When given research materials or  a publicly available topic to research, will be able to conduct search and summarize key points on a topic efficiently.

Other critical skills

  • High attention to detail
  • High adaptability & takes feedback well
  • Self-driven with high work ethics, able to stay focused on work-related tasks, seeks out tasks during down time.
  • High level of self-reliance
  • Willingness to tackle all kinds of tasks for any and all admin needs
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Windows environment and Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, Word),  Adobe Acrobat, Docusign, etc.

Optional skills

  • Basic accounting including use of Quickbooks
  • Familiarity with Google Docs, Google Sheets, Dropbox, Slack, and JIRA


Party: Portalarium Studio Grand Holiday Party – Jan. 12

Let it be known far and wide that a Grand Holiday Party will be held at the Portalarium Studios and in Shroud of the Avatar on Friday, January 12, 2018 at 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM Central Standard Time (US)(2300 UTC to 0400 UTC).

We are going to have a lot of fun and activities for people attending in Austin AND also all those online from around the world:

  • Meet the Developers
  • Plenty of Drinks and Food
  • White elephant gift exchange
  • Games, Storytelling and Jokes
  • Live in-game party in Shroud of the Avatar
  • Video live stream
  • Live music
  • Twitch streaming
  • Audio streaming
  • Discord chat

Visit the discussion forums for details on this community hosted party!


Upcoming Events Calendar

Dec 20, 2017 – Free Trial 
Jan 8, 2018 – 
R49 Postmortem Telethon
Jan 12, 2018 – Portalarium Grand Holiday Party
Jan 25, 2018 – Release 50
Feb 2, 2018 – R50 Postmortem Telethon
Feb 22, 2018 – Release 51
Mar 9 – 18, 2018 – SXSW
Mar 21 – 23, 2018 – GDC
Mar 22, 2018 – Release 52: Launch Candidate

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.


R49 Dance Party: Special Guest DJ Darkstarr


Photo courtesy of Speck

Our very own Starr “Darkstarr” Long will be doing his first ever full length DJ set at the Release 49 Dance Party next Friday December 15 at 2 PM CST in Lux Sanctuary!

It all started when Starr went to visit Amber Raine in Abbotsford. Over dinner they discussed how much Starr loved music and Amber asked if he had ever considered DJ’ing. Starr has a theatre degree and had always wondered what it would be like to do radio so he agreed!

This week Starr did his first test set. After figuring out how to actually NOT get disconnected (and to be heard once the mic was really on) things went great! So tune into Avatar’s Radio at 2 PM CST on December 15 to hear the DJ Darkstarr set! Starr promises that “you will laugh, you will cry, it will be better than Cats! You might even shake your bootie.”

“I am a D.J., I am what I play
I got believers
Believing me, oh”
– David Bowie


Spotlight: Festival – Player Owned Town

Located as a Nested POT in Owl’s Head, Festival was founded as a village alongside the more well known Owl’s Head town. Now these two towns share heavy traffic as goods are traded on a daily basis. Festival has that frosty holiday cheer to it, so now is a perfect time to visit!

As told by town Govenor, Engineer (aka Datendrache)

How does a miner become the Govenor of a Hidden Vale reach, home to lavish parties and known as a playground for nobility and avatar alike? Well, friend, let me tell you a story…

[Read More…]


AERIE Fund Dev Crafting Competition & Charity Auction

The charity auction kicked off last week with the addition of items from Lord British! This first annual Master of the Forge competition showcases the devs’ creativity and skill at the crafting tables. Click the link below to see the available items, and how you can participate in other community led crafting competitions!

If you wish to bid on items, please visit The AERIE Fund Shoppe! The auction ends on Dec. 16.

Details of the auction at: [A Forum Post by Thexedor Markhamm]


Contest: The New Britannia Carolers Creative Writing Contest

Sing along with us! Just like last year’s contest, this one is simple and fun – for the next couple of weeks, from December 15, 2017 to January 2, 2018, we want to see what songs, poems, and other holiday stories you can come up with that are related to Shroud of the Avatar.

When you have a submission ready, please post it in this thread! You are allowed to edit your entry up until the contest deadline.

THEMES

Similar to previous contests, we will be judging entries based on the following themes:

  • “Most inventive”…
  • Romantic theme
  • Holiday theme
  • Adventure theme
  • Character/NPC theme
  • PvP/Combat theme
  • Unexpected theme

If a theme doesn’t get any entries, we will add a winner to a theme that has multiple entries. Please limit entries to no more than 800 words and 3 pages with up to 4 images (if you need imagery). Shorter is usually better, so don’t feel you need to max out these limits.

PRIZES

Each winner will be awarded 25 COTOs, as well as the 2016 Winter Holiday Soundtrack – Wax Cylinders – perfect for replaying holiday tunes well into the 2018 new year.

Have fun being a creative creator, Avatars!

[Read More…]


Contest: The Avatar’s Guide to Knowledge and Virtue – Weekly Winners!

Congrats to the following two weekly winners in the still going video creation contest!

Kabalyero’s ‘What is Shroud of the Avatar?’

Lace’s ‘Spying on POT’s to Enhance Your Shopping Experience’

All current entries can be found here.

The ‘Avatar’s Guide to Knowledge and Virtue’ video contest continues through the holidays. You have until Jan. 15, 2018 to design a walkthrough video for all New Britannians to use as a resource for making their way successfully in the game.

When you have a video to submit, please post it in this thread. You are allowed to edit your posts up until the submission deadline on Jan. 15, 2018 at 11:59 PM CT (Jan. 16 at 5:59 AM UTC). We will be posting all final videos on Portalarium’s YouTube channel in a Playlist after the contest ends.

Below are the details of the contest, including what you can win!

[Read More…]


Project to Support – Town of Salem’s The Savior of Salem

Less than a week to go to get in on The Savior of Salem Kickstarter!

The Savior of Salem is a simple, easy to learn, multiplayer RPG dungeon crawling card game. You fight monsters, grow your mob, work with and backstab other players in order to be the first player to overpower the Coven and become the hero of the Town.

Created by BlankMediaGames (a fellow Austin developer), the company that brought you Town of Salem, the popular online game that got its start on Kickstarter. BlankMediaGames has had 3 successful Kickstarters in the past, including the hugely popular Town of Salem – The Card Game that had almost 10,000 backers.

You can play the online game for free here: www.blankmediagames.com/TownOfSalem/


Resources – Players Helping Players

SotA_NewPlayerWelcome_Forum

The official SotA New Player Welcome Forum and the Player Created Resources Forum have the best player created resources for Shroud of the Avatar, whether it’s a Player Written Guide, a Video Walk-through, or a Wiki-type Website.

Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing of all things community.


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!



1 Comment


Leave a Reply