Release 49 Instructions

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


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 49 access for all Early Access backers begins this Thursday, December 14, 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, Hanukkah, Christmas, etc.). However, despite the brevity of this release, you will see that we still managed to get a huge amount of work done!

Release 49 is the fourth release in which we focused on our Top 10 Priorities for Launch. We continued to made strong progress on framerate, 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.

Framerate: This was the first release where we shifted most of our focus from load times to framerate improvements and we are already making great strides forward. Players on high end video cards will see the most improvements this release with 10–15 frames per second increases across the board and even double frame rate or more in some cases! We still have work to do on lower end cards, and we still have issues with the CPU, but this is a great first step!

User Interface Polish: We continued polishing the User Interface in various areas, including more information in the overworld tooltips, more in-game maps, better sorting for the compass, and much more.

Worldbuilding: Once again, a huge amount of work went into worldbuilding and scene polish this release. Two scenes were completely rebuilt (Elysium Mines and East Longfall Wetland) and over a dozen scenes got polish passes (including Blood River Outskirts, Highvale Outskirts, and Central Brittany).

Story Polish and Side Quests: We made various tweaks to the paths of Love and Courage, and improved NPCs’ “I don’t know” responses to better guide players back to the story. We continued adding more side quests across the game, including another set of quests that grant additional pieces of the new virtue armors.

NPC Behaviors: This release was the first release we were able to move from optimizing NPC behaviors to actually improving them! They range from the mundane (indoor lighting awareness) to the frustration relieving (lower heal rates and interruptibility on mage NPCs) all the way up to the spectacular (Dragons now attack more but hold their fire breath until the last half).

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 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 the 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 49.


  • 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 49, December 14, 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 Sunless Barrens.
      • Path of Love Polish: (SPOILERS) After finishing the Path of Love, you can now revisit the dungeon of Malice with your friends if you wish to continue fighting the infestation of undead that inhabits it. Also, Sequanna will now discuss Anapa. Additionally we fixed some typos in Arabella’s dialogue in Soltown.
        • Path of Courage Polish: (SPOILERS) After finishing the Path of Courage, you can now revisit the Battle Camps of Demig and Ferig—although Demig and Ferig will no longer be there. Also, added more responses and directions to the guards in the battle camps. Additionally Kobolds will no longer refer to Korabar as “king.”
        • Blood River Outskirts Polish: (SPOILERS) We are continuing to polish the starting scenes with our focus this release mainly on Blood River Outskirts. We made various changes including the following:
          • Difficulty Lowered: To assist new players starting the game we lowered the difficulty of the enemies in this scene by approximately 30% and we also lowered the damage done by traps and fires significantly.
          • Chest Mimic Deletion: All but one mimic have been removed and replaced with treasure chests.
          • Harvesting Quest: See Zosimus in the Elven Refugee Camp, near the Elven Food Supply, to acquire the Resource Gathering quest.
          • Quest Highlighting: We added a glowing effect to certain hard-to-find/see quest items in the open world. Also, key quest givers and completers show up in the compass in order to assist with beginner quest progress.
          • Formal Truth Salute: See Alberic in the Elven Refugee Camp or Phineas in the Vigilante Camp to acquire the Formal Truth Salute emote.
          • Phineas Polish: We removed some dialogue from his conversation that made it seem like he was intended to refer to a very famous real world personality.
          • Quest for the Hood: Gus now gives proper directions to the locations in this quest and we added the door location to the journal entry.
        • Highvale Outskirts Polish: (SPOILERS) While our main focus was on Blood River Outskirts we also made several changes to Highvale Outskirts including the following:
          • Bedrolls & Wheats Sacks: We added clearer directions to the “Bedrolls and Wheat Sacks” task.
          • The Steeple: We added points of interest locations to the mirrors that are part of Esmeralda’s tasks and also gave clearer directions to “The Steeple.”
          • Copper Camp POI: We renamed the “Copper Golem Last Seen” POI to “Copper Camp” so it makes more sense if you find it before you get the associated quest.
          • Difficulty Lowered: The difficulty of the enemies in this scene was lowered by approximately 50% to assist new players starting the game.
          • Trial Users: We now start Trial Users on the Path of Courage so that they start with melee weapons versus ranged weapons for ease of use.
        • Ore Distribution in Low Level Scenes: We reviewed all of our Tier 1 and 2 scenes to evaluate ore distribution and make sure there was adequate coverage of all the ore types. This resulted in adding iron, silver, and gold ore nodes, and in some cases converting a few copper nodes to iron in the following scenes:
          • Blackblade Foothills
          • Blackblade Pass
          • East Perennial Trail
          • Kingsroad
          • Longfall Woods
          • Soltown Catacombs
          • South Broken Road
          • South Celestial Wetlands
          • South Midmaer Way
          • South Varisalla Foothills
          • Whiteguard Foothills

      • Scene Rebuilds: The following scenes were previously clones of other adventure scenes but were completely rebuilt for this release.
        • East Longfall Wetland: East Longfall Wetland is the companion scene to South Longfall Wetland. It is a swampy Tier 1 area directly east of Aerie in the Longfall region, and contains remnants of an Oracle statue that may be familiar to some. Also, beware of the sealed sarcophagus puzzle that draws out the Vengeful Bogmen—although those that see their horrific visages are in the perfect position to take the hidden Banner of Honesty!
        • Elysium Mines: While digging some of the deeper tunnels for the Elysium Mines, the Satyr miners discovered an elaborate labyrinth with two giant statues looming over the entire complex. Legend has it that the statues are of twin brothers, one of whom killed the other in a deadly feud that became the source of the undead haunting the maze. NOTE: Mines were never meant to have both Gold AND Silver ore nodes. These were always meant to be kept to separate mines. For a while now, Elysium Mines has been the only mine where this error has persisted. We have corrected this error and now Elysium Mines only has Silver (and Copper) ore nodes. To balance this removal of Gold ore nodes, we have added more Gold to the lowest level of Etceter Crag Mines.
      • Desert Encounter: We have added a new roving encounter to the world. Getting too close to a corpion on the overworld could draw you into this dangerous new territory!
      • Side Quests and Special Rewards: (SPOILERS) We added several side quests.
        • Undelivered Mail (Magic Prints): Completing the “undelivered mail” side quests now has a chance to offer players a bonus reward from a set of four prints of elemental magic (earth, air, fire, and water).
        • Virtue Armor Glove Quests: While fighting in random encounters, sometimes killing low-tier animals will draw out high-tier creatures. And some of those times you’ll meet a new person after those high-tier creatures are defeated. But whatever could they be doing in such a remote area? Whatever their reason for appearing, you might want to talk with them and see if they have a quest that results in something valuable! (Some of the quests offered by these characters will reward players with Truth, Love, and Courage gloves.)
        • “Rake” emote: Thrent the farmer in Aerie is a simple man with simple needs. If you’d like to help out at his farm, he’ll teach you how to rake.
        • Banner of Honesty: A puzzle reward in the revised East Longfall Wetland includes the ability to collect the Banner of Honesty.
        • Banner of Justice: Deep in the Elysium Mines is a powerful ghost, doomed to haunt the mines after being betrayed ages ago by his own twin brother. Find a way to engage the ghost in combat and take his treasured Banner of Justice!
      • Scene Polish:
        • Control Points Final Waves: The infamous “endless” waves of increasing frequency are back at Superstition Canyon and Sanctus Spine control points. Hold these control points for several waves and you’ll find they come faster and faster! The return of these “beloved” waves is facilitated by the introduction of a soft cap on experience that limits experience gained above one million per hour (see below).
        • Lost Whiteguard Silver Mine, Understorm Gold Mine, & Broken Echoes Mine: We added special bonus loot packages to the miners in these scenes, which could give you a chance to loot ore when you defeat these enemies.
        • Blood River Massacre: To assist new players starting the game we lowered the difficulty of the enemies in this scene by approximately 30% and we also lowered the damage done by traps and fires significantly.
        • Central Brittany: We paved the main roads from the gates to the city center to better indicate where players should proceed when they enter the city for the first time. We also replaced one of the warehouses with an antique store called Goudeau Antiques.
        • Hilt Fortress: Added some notes throughout the scene that explain some of the happenings of the past concerning an adventuring party that attempted to reach the Obsidian Forge.
        • Nightshade Pass: Added smoke and lava to the volcano in the background.
        • Etceter Crag Mines: We have added more Gold ore nodes to the lowest levels of Etceter Crag Mines to balance out the removal of Gold ore nodes from the newly-rebuilt Elysium Mines.
        • Solace Bridge Outskirts The difficulty of the enemies in this scene was lowered by approximately 30% to assist new players starting the game.
        • Roving Encounters: Added two-stage challenges to some encounters. For example, killing wolves in some scenes may draw out higher tier wolves to defend their pack.
        • Elad’s Lighthouse: We added an Orrery to the lighthouse.
        • Ardoris: Blackmoor the trainer was hard to find, so we have given him a building with a sign and training dummies, added trainer to his name, and given him some appropriate emotes.
        • Vertas: We fixed the merchant names and titles in this town so that they match their merchant type and made sure they all had unique names. We also swapped out one of the redundant fruit and vegetables merchants for a reagent merchant.
        • Rock Slides: Large rock slide traps, such as can be found in North Drachvald Spur, have had a visual polish pass with improved animation and dust and rocks VFX.
      • Improved “I don’t know” Response: NPCs now have a better response when you say something to them they are not aware of. Instead of simply saying “I don’t know,” they will now instead say something along the lines of “I am unaware of that but I would love to talk to you about the undead threat.” In the example case, “undead threat” would be what the NPC wants to talk about with you which they will always try to steer the conversation back to instead of just simply saying “I don’t know”. Sometimes that might simply be something they wish to sell (in the case of a merchant) or in other cases it will be about rumors and quests they might know about.
      • Waking NPCs and Virtue (SPOILER): Waking an NPC will affect your virtue once again. We had to temporarily remove this for a few releases as there was a bug where it would hit every player in the scene!
      • Fiona FitzOwen Polish: Fixed various issues with Fiona’s conversations including adding the songs she barks about to the “sing” keyword.
      • 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:
        • Blackblade Foothills
        • Brittany Fields
        • Broken Echoes Silver Mine
        • Celestis
        • Crag Foothills
        • Crypt of the Avatar
        • Etceter
        • Graff Island
        • Harvest
        • Highvale Outskirts
        • Jaanaford
        • Longfall Woods
        • Lost Whiteguard Silver Mine
        • Malice
        • Necropolis
        • North Drachvald Spur
        • North Hulenholt
        • Northwood
        • Opalis Ruins
        • Owl’s Head Sewers
        • Paladis Shardfall
        • Plains Road Encounter
        • Sanctus Spine
        • Sequanna Colossus
        • Solace Bridge Outskirts
        • The Epitaph
        • Ulfheim
        • Understorm Gold Mine
        • Wynton’s Folly
      • Sun VFX vs. Terrain: Volumetric lighting is now disabled when shadows are disabled, so visual effects associated with the sun (like lens flare) will no longer show through terrain.
      • Scene “Flooding”: The issue when a scene appeared to be “flooded” was because the scene wasn’t fully loaded and the terrain was not visible. We believe this issue has been fixed.
      • Companion Name Fix: We fixed an issue where companion names (ex. Samael) would appear as “Merchant” despite you knowing their name.
      • Tree “Curtains” Fix: We fixed an issue where the big walls of trees (we call them Tree Curtains) that we use to line the edges of scenes were sometimes rendering as solid black.
      • Sunless Barrens Delayed: We decided to work on Elysium Mines and East Longfall Wetland instead of Sunless Barrens.

    • Frame Rate Increase: Performance work will shift towards improving framerate and reducing hitching during gameplay.
      • Level of Detail For Terrain Shader: Between half and a third of our total graphics time was being spent on rendering terrain. In R49 we now have several terrain level of detail optimizations.
      • Improved Culling: For the first time, we are turning on occlusion culling for a number of maps. This helps dramatically in some towns and scenes for those with less powerful graphics cards.
      • Nearby Entity System Rewrite: This system was the primary source of low frame rates in crowded situations such as dance parties in crowded player lots. This system is figure out possible targets for combat, interactions, and who should know about various events and grew exponentially in cost as areas became more and more crowded. This system has been refactored and went from biggest time hog to effectively zero time.
      • Asset Optimization: Several assets in the game were either too high polygon count, too large of a texture, made of too many individual objects, had unoptimized VFX, etc. We have begun making passes through those objects and fixing those issues.
        • Lord British Birthday Cakes
        • Log Bridge
        • Pyramid (a point of interest in Blood River Outskirts)
        • Stone Ruins
        • Headless Horseman Statue
        • Swinging Log Trap
    • Player Towns & Player Housing: Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
      • Clock Towers: These large towers have working clocks that are synced to New Britannian time. They can be placed on village lots or in player owned towns. There is an ornate version for the Add-On Store and an in-game craftable version.
      • Runic Letter Decorations: Much like the number decorations that we introduced in Release 45, these decorations can be used to designate rooms in your inn or to name your location. There is an ornate brass set for the Add-On Store and an in-game craftable wooden set.
      • Ornate Kitchen Items: We created whole suite of Ornate Kitchen items including pots, pans, cutlery, utensils, plates, bowls, and even a display rack that players can use when setting up a table and kitchen area. These come in both pre-placed settings (so as not to use up decoration limits) and also as individual pieces (knives, forks, etc.). There is are Ornate versions for the Add-On Store and in R50 we will be adding recipes for in-game craftable versions.
      • Street Signs: There are now street signs with customizable tooltips that players can place on their lots or player owned towns to designate streets. There is an ornate version for the Add-On Store and an in-game craftable wooden version.
      • Prints of the Magic Elements: One of our players, Themo Lock, created some very interesting representations of the four elemental magic schools (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water). We have turned those into in-game prints that you can collect by completing the Undelivered Mail tasks (see above).  
      • Ornate Hanging Plants: The latest addition to our ceiling decorations is a set of hanging plants, including an Azalea, Ivy, and Sword Plant in ornate planters for the Add-On Store. In Q1, we will be adding in-game craftable versions of these.
      • Ornate Wall Mirror: Until now, the only mirror decoration was a pledge reward, but now there are two more! The first is this ornate version you can find in the Add-On Store. In Q1, there will be an in-game craftable version as well.
      • Ornate Taming Signs: We have created a set of taming signs for players who wish to advertise their taming wares. In R49 these can be found in the Add On Store. In Q1, we will be adding in-game craftable wooden versions of these.
      • Ancestor Tombstone: We added the ability to customize the text tooltip for this decoration. (Our apologies that this took so long to get updated.)
      • POT Island Template Polish: We added fast travel access to the boat docks to the secondary island in all the POT island templates. We also added a boat for transport back and forth to one of the small islands at (-462.6,79.5, -521.8)​ that did not have one, and smoothed out part of the shoreline on that island to facilitate water lot placement.
      • 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:
        • Halberd of the Sun
        • Fishing Poles (now can be hung as wall deco)
        • Steam Hammer (now can be hung as wall deco)
        • Virtue Dirndl Skirt
        • Cloth Tunic
      • 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:
        • Ancient Columned City Home
        • Cloud Imperium Airship
        • Crafted Shingle Two Story w Balcony
        • Golden Kobold Four-Story Great Hall
        • Gothic Inn
        • Grand City Chateau
        • Knight Marshal Home
        • Lord Founder Town Home
        • Lord of the Manor Keep
        • Pirate Galleon Town Water Home
        • SOTACON 2017 cloak (deco version)
        • Stucco 4-Story w/Left Alcove Row Home
        • Town Stone Arena Basement
        • Twin Spire Manor
        • Wood & Plaster Inn
      • R48 Lot Deed Raffle Tickets: The drawings will be held on December 14, 2017 and winners will be announced shortly thereafter. Deeds will be delivered in Release 49.
        • 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
      • No R49 Lot Deed Raffle: Lot Deed raffles will be on hold until launch (more information will be in the Q1 2018 schedule post).
      • New and Updated Dynamic POTs:
        • Arx Draconis Lowlands: Upgraded to Village.
        • Beran’s Reach: Ownership changed.
        • Blackrock Cove: Converted to Forest 01b.
        • Blue Rose Isle: Upgraded to Crossroads Village.
        • Bravehaven: Upgraded to Village.
        • Brittany Undercity: Renamed (formerly Crystal Caves). Ownership changed. Interconnections (changed nested interconnection to within Brittany Wharfs; added Brittany Alleys, Brittany Fields, Central Brittany, Brittany Estates, Elad’s Lighthouse, Celestial Gardens, and New Heaven).
        • Caelestis Canton: Converted to Desert 01b.
        • Hameln: Renamed (formerly Nightdiamond). Converted to Forest 01b. Ownership changed. Changed location.
        • Insulam de Nocte: Ownership changed. Changed location. Removed interconnection (with Elad’s Lighthouse).
        • Kai: Upgraded to Town.
        • Light City: Upgraded to Village.
        • S Mart Factorium: Renamed (formerly Tenakill). Converted to Mountains 01. Ownership changed. Changed location. Removed interconnections (with Caelestis Canton, Lockbrier, PaxLair, Golden Cove, Islands of Wonders, Knowhere, and Dragons Watch).
        • Salisbury Plains: Upgraded to Village.
        • Tenebrae: Upgraded to Town.
        • Tortuga: Upgraded to Crossroads Village. Interconnection (with Northwood).
        • Vale St. Julie: Upgraded to Hamlet.
    • Crafting & Economy: We will continue adding more loot to the game, including unique components for crafting.
      • Signs Section in Recipe Book: The signs now have their own section in the decorations area of the Carpentry section of the recipe book.
      • Broken Tool Indicator: We now indicate when you have a broken tool with an on-screen icon, different cursors, and improved feedback at crafting stations.
      • New Recipes & Patterns: Several of the recipes we are adding this release are craftable versions of the Winter Holiday items or items we added to the Make a Difference Store last release.
        • Wheelchair (recipe)
        • Operating Table (recipe)
        • Gingerbread (recipe)
        • Gingerbread House (recipe)
        • Sled (recipe)
        • 2017 Gift Box (recipe)
        • 2017 Yule Wreath (recipe)
        • 2017 Yule Stocking (recipe)
        • 2017 Yule Garland (recipe)
        • Wooden Runic Letters (recipe)
        • Clock Tower (recipe)
        • Skull Sword (pattern from dropped weapon)
      • Purchase Orders Expanded: We expanded the purchase orders on vendors to include carcasses and dyes.
      • Quest Items on Crafting Tables: Quest items can now be placed on crafting tables via drag-and-drop whereas previously this could only be accomplished via double clicking on the recipe. SPOILER: This is critical for finishing the game, because near the end of the storyline you’ll need to put together several broken pieces of a certain object.
      • More Gold Crown Merchants: We added two new automaton crown merchants that greatly expand the inventory of items that are purchasable in-game for gold crowns. One automaton crown merchant sells equipment and other personal items, like pets. The other automaton crown merchant sells housing related items including POT property deeds, homes, basements, and decorations. These vendors sell a LOT of items. We understand that the sorting and presentation of these items is not optimal, please bear with us over the next few releases as we work towards finding a better way to find the things you’re looking for. You can find these vendors in our five major cities including: Ardoris, Central Brittany, Resolute, Aerie, and Owl’s Head.
      • Gold Crown Merchant Buyback Change: Previously, items bought from Crown Vendors could be sold back to vendors for an amount of gold coins. Going forward, newly purchased items will not be able to be sold for gold coins to the system, mimicking items that are delivered to player banks when purchased from our web-based Add-On Store. This change is to preserve the economy against potential exploits.
      • More Torches: Torches now drop commonly from humanoid enemies and can be purchased from crafting merchants.
      • SDD Modifier Replaced: We have replaced all the weapon SDD modifiers with a Strength bonus. The SDD stat was used on very few items and was confusing in its application. The Strength bonus is a very similar stat bonus.
      • Fishing Visual Target Polish and Fix: The visual targeting indicator for fishing no longer appears as a cylinder, and the visual effect has been improved.
      • Cloth Helm Patterns Fix: We fixed an issue that was preventing patterns from being applied to Cloth Helms.
      • Riposte Masterwork Fix: We removed deprecated Riposte Defense Masterwork. Any existing item with this effect now instead has the effect of Archaic Riposte Power (which is Riposte Power).
      • Shadow Form Enchantment Fix: The Shadow Form Length enchantment now correctly modifies Shadow Form duration.
      • Scraps Stacking Fix: When salvaging several items at a time the scraps now stack properly.
      • Cabalist Hood Fix: These now properly provide essences when they break during masterworking and enchanting.
      • Virtue Armor Non-Salvageable: We have set the Virtue Armor (Plate of Courage, Cloth of Truth, etc.) to be non-salvageable.
      • Artifact Enchant/Masterwork Fixes: In R48 we made artifacts enchantable and masteworkable however there were some that we did not set up completely, or did not even set up at all. NOTE: Some artifacts are not intended to be both! In R49 we fixed the following artifacts:
        • Cabalist Boots
        • Cabalist Robes
        • Deceitful Vile Wand
        • Hammer of Breaking
        • Heart of Vrul
        • Ring of Gambler
        • Shard of Night
        • Staff of Anarchy
        • Staff of Death
        • Sword of Speed
        • Thunder Branch
      • Components Delayed: We did not add more components this release and instead we focused on fixing bugs, new recipes, UI polish, and expanding crown vendors.

  • User Interface Polish: We will provide more feedback about locations on the compass and map for quests, services, points of interest, etc.
    • POIs & Quest Locations on Overworld: Some discoverable points of interest and a few quest locations related to your active tasks will now show up on the compass on the Overworld. NOTE: This is an ongoing data task so this will expand to include all quest tasks and points of interest over the next few releases. You can manage how many are visible at any time by hiding specific tasks. (Right-click on a task in the task list for the option to hide it. Right-click on the title of a hidden task in the Journal to unhide it.) This currently applies to all compass sparkles, not just the ones on the overworld. This means that there will be less sparkles in non-overworld scenes this release, but the sparkles that are exist on the compass will more accurately reflect your current tasks and will be able to be toggled on/off by showing/hiding tasks on the HUD task list.
    • Cardinal Direction Sorting: Once you pick up a lot of tasks and points-of-interest, the cardinal directions on your compass can be quickly obscured. Now, when you click and hold the compass, the task and POI icons will temporarily fade so you can see the cardinal directions.
    • Overworld Quest Tooltips: We have added quest information to the scene tooltips on the overworld that will indicate if a scene contains Quests Active, Quests Available, Quests Active & Available, or No Quests.
    • NPC Quest Discovery Tooltips: The names of NPCs now update properly when you learn their name from their generic label (ex. Prisoner) to specific label or name.
    • Multiple Entry Points from Overworld: We made a few improvements to this functionality, namely not showing this menu if you only have one option and making this feature work with island locations including island POTs and island NPC towns (ex. Celestis).
    • Compass Quest Sparkles: These now increase and decrease in intensity based on your range from the target.
    • Discord Removal: Unfortunately, Discord has made some changes to how they authenticate which makes it now impossible for us to integrate it into the game client, so we have removed Discord until further notice.
    • New In-game Maps: We added several new in-game maps
      • Blood River Outskirts* (added as patch to R48)
      • Solace Bridge Outskirts* (added as patch to R48)
      • Highvale Outskirts
      • South Broken Road
      • Grannus Colossus
    • In-Game Maps Arrow Directions: Fixed incorrect arrow directions in a bunch of in-game maps including:
      • Ardoris Sewers
      • Blackblade Pass
      • Brittany Sewers
      • Caverns of Skrekk
      • Crypt of the Avatar
      • Elysium Mines
      • Halls of Artifice
      • Harvest
      • Highvale (return)
      • Kiln Cistern
      • Kingsport Sewers
      • K’rawl
      • K’rul
      • Midmaer Passage
      • Owl’s Head Sewers
      • Serpent’s Spine Mines
      • Solania Catacombs
      • Spectral Mines
      • The Clink
      • The Fall
      • Valhold
      • Valhold Palace
      • Verdantis Mines
  • Telethon & Holiday Content: We will add the R47 Telethon items and more 2017 Winter Holiday items.
    • 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. For Release 48, we added in game craftable versions of several of the items. In Release 49, we have added a few more in game craftable versions of these items.
      • Wheelchair (in-game craftable)
      • Operating Table (in-game craftable)
    • Release 47 Postmortem Telethon Items: We have completed all the stretch goal rewards from the R47 Postmortem telethon that were icy themed. For everyone who is eligible, the following items should be available to claim at the bank in Release 49. You can see if you are eligible in the Special Rewards tab on your Account page. If so, it says “Release 47 Telethon Rewards.”
      • Snowflake Pattern Cloak
      • Virtue Fur Hat
      • Winter Pattern Stained Glass Oil Table Lamp
      • Virtue Ice Bow
      • Virtue Ice Staff
    • Winter Items: In Release 48, we added a lot of winter items to our Add-On Store. In Release 49, we have added a few Winter Recurring items to the store and in-game craftable versions of many of the Rare Winter and Recurring items.
  • Load Time Reduction:
    • NPC Loading: In scenes with a large amount of decorations and player houses, NPCs were being delayed by the loading of these assets. We have optimized loading for NPCs so they are not competing with player houses and decorations during scene loads.
    • Solace Bridge Outskirts Optimization: We targeted this scene specifically as it is still taking longer than our target 15 seconds or less. We will continue to target individual scenes as needed each release.
  • Character
    • Norgard Barbarians: In the wilderness of the Verdantis and Norgard regions, hordes of barbarians and cannibals hold sway and terrorize the inhabitants. Occupied with their fruitless war with the Kobolds, the Norgard nobility and military do little to keep the barbarian raids under control, only protecting the largest cities. The barbarian clans each identify with an animal totem and the Dragon clan is the most fearsome. In Release 49, we have updated the existing placeholder NPCs with this custom art and they will now drop the recipes for the animal head recipes (wolf, stag, bear). In Q1 we will be adding wearable gear to the drops that will yield patterns when salvaged.
    • Faun Animation Expansions: Much like we did for the Satyrs and Kobolds in R48, in R49 we have re-rigged the Fauns 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 Armor: We are continuing to expand the number of pieces in the  virtue-themed armor that players can earn by completing quests in the game. We have built the complete set for all three armors and in Release 49, we are adding the gloves for the three sets of armor as quest rewards (see above).
      • Leather Gloves of Love
      • Plate Gloves of Courage
      • Cloth Gloves of Truth
    • Professor’s Old Time Camera: This new version of the equippable camera has silver metal highlights and green cloth. When used, it takes a black and white screenshot of the game (just like the original version). It is a prize for the “how-to” video contest.
    • Merchant NPCs and Indoor Lights: In R44—to prevent situations such as patrolling guards going into shops and turning off their lights during the day—lights were tagged either indoor or outdoor, and NPCs were setup to only interact with outdoor lights. This release, many scheduled merchants should now turn on nearby indoor lights while working, and are inclined to turn them off at bedtime.
    • Potion Animation: After drinking a potion, avatars will now smash the empty flask on the ground thereby explaining why there is not an empty flask remaining afterwards and immersion is saved!
    • Breaking Animation: The animation for breaking items (crates, barrels, kicking open gates, etc.) now allows your equipped items to remain visible. This is very handy if you are holding a torch in a dark dungeon and are trying to break through a wall!
    • Sheath/Unsheath Animation for Staves: If you have a staff equipped you now properly animate sheathing and unsheathing it.
    • Sitting Fidgets: Avatars now play various fidget animations while sitting.
    • Sitting After Idle: Your avatar will now automatically sit on the ground if you are idle for more than five minutes.
    • Spider and Corpion Colliders: We standardized the collider sizes on these creatures to better match their shape, scale, and size across all variations.
    • Gear Fixes: We fixed issues with various gear including sorting problems, missing textures, incorrect dye application, etc.
      • Wealthy Merchant Coat
      • Epic Cloth Legs
      • Skull Cloak
      • Cloth Chest of Truth (fixed backwards letters on left sleeve)
      • Virtue Yule Hat
    • Invisible Slimes: Fixed an issue where slimes were almost completely invisible.
    • One Man Band Fix: We fixed an issue where the One Man Bands were playing music back incorrectly.
    • Swimming Fix: We fixed an issue where avatars would sometimes continue the swimming animation in the air when exiting water onto land.
  • Combat:
      • Soft Cap on Experience (Online Only): As experience gained from combat approaches 1 million xps per hour, you will gain a debuff that slows down your gained experience (this debuff will be visible on screen next to the pooled experience displayed in the skills UI). This cap will allow us to start adding back in endless wave experiences, which we used to have in places like the control points (see above). Note that this ONLY applies to experience received through combat in Online mode. (For example, experience gained from quest completion is not limited.) Offline mode has no soft cap on experience.
      • Dragon Behavior Polish: We made some improvements to the Dragons’ behaviors so they are no longer as easy to get into a point where they are trying to reposition themselves a lot instead of attacking. Additionally, they will mostly use their melee attacks until they are below 50% health, at which time they will start using their deadly flame breath attack.
      • Casting Interrupts on NPCs: Players are now able to interrupt some spell casting NPCs.
      • Mage NPC Heal Rate: We have increased the cooldown for NPC mages on their heal spells so they no longer chain-heal themselves.
      • Chaotic Clone: This spell now works properly on NPC enemies provided your aggro on them is not too high and they can be distracted.

    • Free Trial Changes: Free Trial users can now only advance each skill to level 50 (previously there was no cap on their skills). Past trial players with skills over 50 will keep their current level but not be able to advance the skills further. Our trial data analysis shows that starting the game is easier with a sword than with a bow so now all trial users are going to start on, and be limited to, the Courage Path which starts with swordsmanship. NOTES: With these new changes in place we are now going to leave the Free Trial in place all the time starting on 12/20. Current trial users on other paths will not be reset nor switched.
    • VFX Additions and Polish: Once again, we spent time polishing the visual effects for various magic spells and adding effects where they were missing including the following:
      • Air’s Embrace
      • Berserk
      • Berserker’s Stance
      • Dash
      • Enlightenment
      • Mind Lock
      • Mind Wipe
      • Purify
      • Spellbinder’S Stance
      • Strength of Earth
    • Bowstrings and Skills: Bowstrings now pull back properly when using Ranged Combat Skills like Multi-shot, Disabling Shot, Aimed Shot, etc.
    • Bludgeoning Skills with Staves: If you have a staff equipped you now properly animate when using bludgeon skills (Knockdown, Knockback, etc.).
    • AFK Auto Logout Fix: We fixed an issue where automatic logout was not being invoked by the game when your character was not receiving mouse or keyboard input.
    • Negative Effect Tooltips Fix: Fixed an issue where these were not properly displaying in red.
    • Soothing Rain Fix: Fixed a bug where the visual effects would continue to play after the spell was finished.
    • Spellbinders Stance Fix: Fixed a bug where the visual effects were visible when the character was stealthed.
    • Testudo Fix: Testudo no longer displays duplicate buff icons.
    • Evaporate Fix: Evaporate’s fire resist debuff is now based upon the caster’s skill instead of the target’s fire resist.
    • Celestial Blessing Fix: Fixed an issue where the Focus debuff was not showing for Celestial Blessing.
    • Ring of Fire Fix: Fixed an issue with this spell where it would not damage enemies who were at any kind of elevation.
    • Fireflies Fix: In R48, it (incorrectly) increased the amount of critical damage an NPC does to you, instead of the amount of critical damage you do to the NPC. This has been fixed in R49.
    • Evasion Fix: The Evasion buff can now be dismissed.
    • Death Shield VFX Fix: Fixed issue where the VFX for Death Shield were showing as white boxes on the overworld.
    • Bear Melee Fix: Fixed an issue where bears would step out of range of melee attacks but still be able to attack the avatar.
    • Death Shield & Celestial Blessing versus Stealth Fix: Fixed an issue where these two spells would remain visible when a character using them was stealthed.
    • Cabalist Indigno Teleport After Death Fix: Fixed a bug where Cabalist Indigno would still teleport players around even after death.
    • Shield of Ice Fix: The duration of the attunement buff now matches the duration of the avoidance and fire resistance (i.e. the full length of the buff).
    • Rapid Shot: Stacking rapid shot will no longer increase the number of arrows. It will still increase the damage. Also, the issue with not being able to take cover from this skill should be fixed as well. Because this bug fix is a large “nerf”, we will be adding all ranged skills to the 100% unlearn list.
    • Piercing Shot: Will now be unblockable (shield) and also ignore glancing blows.
    • Armor Piercing: Effects that have armor piercing will no longer be blockable by shields and will ignore damage avoidance.
  • Audio: Updated and added sound effects (SFX) throughout the game.
    • Additional Isle of Storms SFX polish
    • Sequanna finale SFX
    • Finale Oracle movement SFX
    • Potion drinking SFX
    • Oracle Hacked Watcher Pet dance and other movement SFX
    • Oracle Fly SFX
    • Kobold Toilet 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 49 we were able to finally give major focus to framerate. While we made great improvements (10 fps increase and double framerate in some scenes) it will only really affect those with higher end videocards.
  • 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.


Starr Long
aka Darkstarr
Executive Producer



  1. Belladonna RoseBelladonna Rose

    Very cool.
    My question is simple The Undelivered Mail quest…..where are we supposed to get this mail to turn in. I have as of yet to even see anything called Undelivered Mail. I have seen this mentioned many times but not sure where we are supposed to find it. And if its supposed to be loot drops has it already been in the game and if so will it be increase in drops as to be able to attain the prize for returning it. Kinda confused on it.
    Also is there a lower area in Elysium below the trench. You say the ghost to fight for the Banner is in the lower level of Elysium. I assume we must find the way down through the top buildings or is there other ways down there.
    Other than those two questions i pretty much am pleased with things. LOL. Spent quite a bit of time in QA mainly researching things and liked it alot
    Thanks for the hard and quick work on this release….
    HAppy HOlidays to the Dev Team and everyone else in Sota

    1. SannioSannio

      Belladonna Rose, I’ve got some answers for your questions!

      Regarding the Undelivered Mail quest: While adventuring, there’s a (small-ish) chance you might stumble onto a corpse (someone who died before you even entered the map) near a main road that contains an “Undelivered Package” or “Undelivered Letter” item. The most common place to find such a corpse is in a “road” scene (such as East Perennial Trail or South Broken Road), but there’s no guarantee one will be there.

      Regarding the ghost in Elysium Mines: He’s waiting for you in the “Lost Brother’s Palace” above the trenches, in the north of the ruined city. However, the doors are locked until you solve a city-wide puzzle that unlocks its doors.

      Good luck with the puzzle and your eventual defeat of the “ghost boss”!

      1. Belladonna RoseBelladonna Rose

        Thanks for that clarification. The description of the ghost in the mine made it seem he was way deep somewhere. LOL.
        And on the corpse thing….will that affect Virtue for taking something off a corpse. My Virtue is dogged for that enough as it is. LOL.
        Thanks for the reply .

        1. SannioSannio

          You asked this: “And on the corpse thing….will that affect Virtue for taking something off a corpse. My Virtue is dogged for that enough as it is. LOL.”

          No, “looting” the undelivered mail off those corpses doesn’t affect your virtue.

        2. krashdkrashd

          I’ve always found undelivered packages and letters on the maps that take place on paths, such as East Perennial Trail on the way to Ardoris or South Longfall Road on the way to Aerie, which makes sense seeing as a courier would naturally meet his fate on a road. On these maps you’ll often find at least one corpse lying directly on the central path through the map, there’s a good chance he or she was a courier.

  2. Acaelus FireharpAcaelus Fireharp

    Vertas: We fixed the merchant names and titles in this town so that they match their merchant type and made sure they all had unique names. We also swapped out one of the redundant fruit and vegetables merchants for a reagent merchant.

    Sweet move guys, it will be great to be able to get Regs in Vertas!

  3. Paulie WalnutsPaulie Walnuts

    This is some fantastic progress in a short amount of time. Great job, very reassuring! Getting amped up for what’s to come. Thank you and happy holidays.

  4. Belladonna RoseBelladonna Rose

    WIsh there was an easier way to see quest items on the ground and such. Having a tough time seeing things in East Longfall. Cant see things in the water. And I wish there was an easier way to use location coordinates. Right now its really difficult . Compass should be able to plug it in or some sort of sphere compass to put the coords in so you can locate things better

  5. GrandpaT

    Great stuff. I have to say this disappoints me: No R49 Lot Deed Raffle: Lot Deed raffles will be on hold until launch (more information will be in the Q1 2018 schedule post).
    In my honest opinion,this is too little too late as many of the multiple winners have an large advantage over new players who will be without lots or housing. The raffle should have never happened after persistence.

    1. BerekBerek

      Greetings Robert, welcome to the Shroud community!

      Well, the next step would be to download and install the game. Shroud of the Avatar is a sandbox mmo, so there’s many things you can do in it.

      What is your favorite type of thing to do in a game? Do you like combat? PvE or PvP? Do you like going exploring, or perhaps crafting?

  6. Belladonna RoseBelladonna Rose

    With the Random encounter thing now going we need a slight increase in these encounters. Walked for hours to find animal encounters only to get one that doesnt progress. LOL. So with everyone out there hunting these things down makes it a bit rough to find some of them

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