Avatar’s Update #262: The Making of Sunless Barrens and South Drachvald Spur

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

Making of Sunless Barrens

As we wrap up rebuilds of all the Tier 1 and 2 scenes we are now moving on to Tier 3 scenes like Sunless Barrens. This area is located west of the Hellfire Rift between the Jade River and the Blackblade Mountains in the South Paladis region. It’s sunless name comes from the smoke and steam coming from the lava of the Hellfire Rift as it cuts through the rock of Novia and pours into the Bay of Storms. Geysers, lava flows, Ebon Dawn Cultists, Fire Elementals, and Plunderers are amongst the dangers, and potential rewards that await travelers to this perilous area. Even before the Cataclysm this area was rich in mineral deposits and efforts to extract those continue to this day despite the many obstacles.

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

I have a few screenshots to share of the uncloning of Sunless Barrens, a volcanic tier 3 adventure scene. Cultists have taken refuge in an ancient geothermal facility in the upper geyser fields, which overlooks lava flows infested by Fire Golems, and Plunderer settlements nestled in forested mesas. The look for this scene is inspired by sulfurous hot springs throughout the world, including Yellowstone, as well as the magma flows in Hawaii.

The Lowlands

Plunderer Settlement

“The Hellfire Fingers” lava flow

Path through the Geyser Fields

The Cultist’s lair

Chris “Seawolf” Wolf
Level Designer

Making of South Drachvald Spur

South Drachvald Spur is a Tier 2 scene in the Drachvald region and is one of the very last lower tier scenes to be rebuilt. It is an arid hilly area once populated by a powerful equestrian people, now lost to the ravages of the cataclysm. Their horse carvings can still be seen on the buttes of the region and rumors abound of ghostly horse riders appearing at night.

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

Here’s some early shots of our progress on South Drachvald Spur.

This is a Tier 2 scene, fashioned after steppe-land and inspired by Mongolia, as well as the fantasy ‘Wickan’ race of peoples (a nod to one of my favorite writers, Steven Erikson). Without giving too much away.. this area was once peopled with a horse-loving culture, evidence of which can be seen in the carved and half-carved horse sculptures in and around the natural rock formations. Those people are long gone, but their rituals seem to retain some amount of power, in that the spirits of the descendants of their proud steppe-ponies are in danger. (All background fluff, with a puzzle implemented by @PlagueOfLocust !)

Thanks for following our progress!

Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski
Level Designer

Making of Yew (cont.)

The Elven city of Yew has been shielded from outsiders by a nearly constant shroud of fog that only clears during certain alignments of the heavenly bodies. The city itself is full of wonderful Elven architecture and because of the natural foggy defenses has never been fortified. Yew is currently a clone of Jaanaford but is being rebuilt for Release 50. As with other town rebuilds the locations of player lots, merchant locations, and scene exits will not be changed.

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

Hey guys, SorcerousSteve here to give you the latest update on the final detail pass for the city of Yew!

Detail Pass:
As I was wrapping up work on Yew this week, I decided to go back and do another pass this time focusing on pushing the elven aesthetic even further and the overall forest feel. Below you can see ivy and roots adorning the town entrance to Yew. 

Utilizing our Real Ivy tool I was able to hand paint roots onto the town entrance and create some self supporting root/ivy archways.

Real Ivy – Procedural Ivy Generation https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/86134

Archways consisting of roots and ivy adorn the Moonlight Spring. 

The roads leading up to player housing have been manicured, elven colors line their length.

Another spring located just outside the town, nestled among the deep woods. 

Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar
Level Designer

R48 Telethon Items (cont.) 

[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!

This week we finished the last two items with the Icicle Cloak and Ice Elemental Statue!

Icicle Cloak

Ice Elemental Statue

R49 Postmortem Telethon Results

Our Release 49 Postmortem Telethon was a huge success and achieved a bunch of our Stretch Goal Rewards! A heartfelt thank you from the entire Dev Team to all of you, our backers, that have contributed to the development funding of Shroud of the Avatar. Monday’s Telethon was yet another example of your amazing support and contributions!

The total as of 07:00 PM CDT, January 8th was an amazing:

** $45,000 **

As promised, Telethon Funding Stretch Goal Rewards will be rewarded to any backers that pledged a minimum of $5 from 12:00 PM CDT to Midnight January 8th (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply). These rewards should show up on your account page within the next couple of weeks and will begin showing up in the game over the next few releases starting as soon as Release 51.

  • ACHIEVED! $10K: /jugglesnowballs
  • ACHIEVED! $25K: Frost Pipe
  • ACHIEVED! $35K: Snowdragon (snowman dragon made of sticks and such)
  • $50K: Ice Chess Set
  • $65K: Ice Halberd, Ice Spear, Ice Axe
  • $80K: Ice Dragon Statue with icy effects

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

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

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

New Clasped Gauntlets Cloak Option for Community Events

In October of 2016 we created the Clasped Gauntlets Cloak for community events. 

“We believe very strongly that community events that extend into the real world are very important and we have always worked hard to support them. We have been considering for a long time now how players who attend these real world events can display their attendance inside the game.”

Any Shroud of the Avatar community event, of any size, is eligible to receive a base cloak for each attendee. The organizer will need to submit a request for approval and then once approved provide the number of cloaks needed and which of the organizer’s characters the cloak will be delivered to.

Large charity, wellness, or in-person real life events can also request a customized version of one of these cloaks with a unique color scheme (main color and trim color) and a custom name.

Since we started this program we have created over 15 customized versions of this cloak and awarded many more of the base version!

For Release 50 Fletcher “Scathana” Kinnear has created a new in-game craftable front clasp cloak that we liked so much we decided to make it an option that players can choose when requesting a community cloak! Check it out below:

Here is what the craftable front clasp cloak (without the clasped gauntlets) looks like in-game.

If you have an event that qualifies for a cloak, please email support@portalarium.com.

Markeedragon Interview: Something About Bob

Want to know more about the team working on Shroud of the Avatar? Markeedragon came by the studio recently and sat down with our Senior Environmental Artist, Bob Cooksey, to chat about Bob’s recent telethon appearances. Here’s what Bob had to say about his work at Portalarium!

For more Shroud of the Avatar development videos and interviews, be sure to Subscribe to the game’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/portalarium.

Livestream: New Log Homes Revealed

We kicked off 2018 with a big reveal on our first Community Livestream!

Reid “ReidtheRollo” Rollo, Bob Cooksey, and Starr “Darkstarr” Long revealed the new log homes we’ve been working on. There was also a ton of news to catch up on from over the break, and as usual, we be gave away seasonal prizes.

For more livestreams and gameplay videos, be sure to subscribe to www.youtube.com/portalarium

Last Chance for Shroud Perks via BrightLocker Equity Crowdfunding

You only have a little time left in BrightLocker’s equity crowdfunding campaign to participate and get exclusive Shroud content!urlogo

BrightLocker is a revolutionary platform that enables gamers to connect with their favorite developers and gain exclusive access and interaction as they make upcoming games.

Gamers receive exclusive content, such as unique in game items, physical rewards and more whilst also enjoying revolutionary and unique studio interaction. This interaction comes in all varieties, from forum chats with developers to livestreams of games while they’re being made.

We are providing BrightLocker’s equity crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine with some special in-game Shroud of the Avatar items! Support BrightLocker and you can receive the following bundle, along with many of their other offered Perks:

  • Shroud of the Avatar Game Access
  • Golden Viking 1-Story Village Home
  • Tax Free Player Owned Town Village Lot Deed

Golden Viking 1-Story Village Home (this is NOT the same as the one for SeedInvest)

Tax Free Player Owned Town Village Lot Deed

New Free Trial Continues!

The now always-on Free Trial continues! Here are the detailed changes as of Dec. 14, 2017:

As a reminder this version of the Free Trial has a few changes in it. We have moved Free Trial users to the Path of Courage because using melee weapons is an easier introduction to the combat system. We are also going to limit interaction with the story to only the Path of Courage. Visitors will no longer be able to start the other story paths. Also, we are now going to limit how far Visitors can advance their skills to only level 50.

Free Trial access allows you to play the entire game in any of the Online modes with a few key differences in game play. You will be able to explore hundreds of scenes, talk with thousands of players, adventure through the opening quests, and gain experience and skills as you get used to the world of New Britannia!

Here is the updated list of Visitor limits:

  • The term (Visitor) is appended to their character name
  • Max skill level set to 50
  • Start on and limited to the Path of Courage story line
  • Cannot purchase nor sell items via Player Vendors nor Public Vendors
  • No ownership of player property nor use of player property signs
  • Cannot move/interact with items on a player property (even if given permissions)
  • Cannot interact with public chests
  • Cannot give items to other players via Trade or Mail
  • Cannot flag as Open PVP
  • Cannot gain nor create ransom items when you kill or are killed in PVP (in Open PVP zones)
  • Character data may be deleted if not eventually upgraded to a paid account
  • Cannot play in Offline Mode

Join us in New Britannia for free today!

Job Opening: Executive Assistant

Thank you for your interest in Portalarium! We currently have an opening in Austin, Texas for a full-time, 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 Summary:

Assisting 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. General office administration tasks include coordinating general office activities and operations, 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.

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • 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.Coordinating general office activities and operations
  • Assist executive staff and colleagues whenever needed
  • 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

Qualifications and Skills:

  • Minimum 2 years experience as an executive assistant to a C-level executive
  • Has a professional writing style that represents Portalarium and CEO well
  • Able to follow creative/technical/business conversations
  • Ability to craft business correspondence, as well as ~750 word articles when provided general ideas to develop
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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: Basic accounting including use of Quickbooks
  • OPTIONAL: Familiarity with Google Docs, Google Sheets, Dropbox, Slack, and JIRA

This position starts as a full-time contract position with potential transition to full-time employee within 6-12 months. Once the transition to employee occurs, then the employee position includes company paid medical, dental, and vision through United Healthcare.

Job Types: Full-time, Contract

Salary: $15.00 to $22.50 /hour

Weekend Flash Sale: Party Supplies

In honor of the holiday party that our incredibly generous community is throwing for us today all “party supplies” are on sale this weekend including music, musical instruments, emotes, and more!

Get a look at the lineup below. All of the sale items are available on the Add-On Store, and several are also available for sale on in-game Gold Crown Merchants (located in Ardoris, Central Brittany, Resolute, Aerie, and Owl’s Head):

Upcoming Events Calendar

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
April 26, 2018 – Release 53
May 31, 2018 – Release 54
June 28, 2018 – Release 55
July 26, 2018 – Release 56
Aug 21 – 25, 2018 – Gamescom
Aug 30, 2018 – Release 57

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.

The Avatar’s Guide to Knowledge and Virtue Contest – Final Weekend!

The ‘Avatar’s Guide to Knowledge and Virtue’ video contest ends Jan. 15, 2018, so you still have time to design a walkthrough video for all New Britannians to use! Here are the winners of this week’s random drawing awards:

ShurTugal’s ‘All About Housing Series – The Rental System’

Kabalyero’s ‘Getting Some Game Gold as a New Outlander’

All current entries can be found here.

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…]

Virtue Marathon 2018: Children’s Miracle Hospital Network

Avatars, on your marks!

Join Lord British and the crew from Portalarium, AERIE Fund, and Meretz as we tackle the 5K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon to raise funds and awareness for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Network at the Austin Marathon 2018.​

This event is open to all community members, friends and families to attend and/or support!

Austin Marathon Event Info:
When: Sunday, February 18th
Where: Downtown Austin, TX

Although the deadline to participate as a member of Team Avatars has passed, you can still show your support by making a tax-deductible donation (via this page) to the CMHN. Every bit helps and will push Team Avatars to cross that finish line!! Donate $25 or more to the CMHN and receive a Virtue Marathon 2018 in-game digital cloak! (pictured above). No need to attend the event in Austin to redeem. ​

See the full forum post for details!

UO Forever 5th Anniversary: Richard and Starr Live Video Conference

Richard “Lord British” Garriott and Starr “Darkstarr” Long will both be attending the 5th Anniversary of Ultima Online Forever on a live video conference! Mark your calendar for January 21st from 7:30-11:30pm CT! Watch www.uoforever.com for details on connecting to the live event which will be streamed from within UO Forever.

Weihnachten Holiday Party – Jan. 14 at 8-9:30pm CT

From HannahAlpenglow: “The first annual Weihnachten holiday party will be held in Rauchbier Platz on Thursday, December 14 from 8-9:30 PM New Britannia Time!

Rauchbier Platz is a POT nested in Central Brittany and Brittany Alleys; use the wagon at the main entrance of Brittany Alleys or the Snowy Biome wagon at the main entrance of Central Brittany to find Rauchbier Platz (or just friend Hannah Alpenglow to teleport). Detailed directions are on the Alpenglow Biergarten website linked at the bottom of this post.

Weihnachten festivals exist in many towns and cities in Germany around the holidays and have holiday themed vendors along with festive food and drink; a traditional festive libation is Glühwein, a warm spiced red wine drink.

Rauchbier Platz wants to bring a little bit of this across the rift to New Britannia, and has set up a holiday festival village just outside the city walls. Follow the snowmen to get to the festival grounds! There will be an ice bar, ice skating rink, warming huts, holiday vendors and of course, Glühwein.

During the event, there will be games to give away prizes such as COTOs, rare pets, rare deco items, and more. There will also be a raffle to win a Tax Free POT Village Deed – everyone who attends will get a raffle ticket from Hannah and the drawing will occur at the end of the event (you do not need to be present to win, so do not worry if you need to leave before the drawing). Those who attended Oktoberfest know these games and prizes are not to be missed.

As with Oktoberfest, this event will help support our friends at the AERIE Fund – Hannah will donate $20 on behalf of each avatar that attends, up to $600.

We look forward to seeing you at Rauchbier Platz Weihnachten 2017! For those that attended Oktoberfest, we will be playing “Wheat, Wurst, Bread” again (this time “Wine, Wurst, Bread”).”

Did You Know: You Can Get Combat Trophies?

Avatars! This is Elgarion from @SotAHelp with a regular “Did You Know?” feature kicking off in 2018! Expect to see these posted regularly on community channels, and here in the weekly update!

Avatars! Did you know @ShroudofAvatar allows players to not only ransom player loot from victims but to also claim trophies? Collect the skulls, hands and jawbones of your enemies, and display them (or sell them) proudly! Even craft with them!

Recommended Project to Support – Underworld Ascendant

We’ve been following the development of Underworld Ascendant for a while now, ever since it appeared on Kickstarter. New updates have been posted as the game approaches a launch in the second half of 2018:

Underworld Ascendant is the next-generation follow-up to Ultima Underworld, the critically acclaimed series credited with creating the ‘Immersive Sim’ genre and influencing such game series as Bioshock, Deus Ex, Dishonored, Elder Scrolls, and even Minecraft. OtherSide Entertainment, which includes original creators of the Ultima Underworld series, is innovating upon the series’ signature player-authored gameplay in bold new ways.

Underworld Ascendant will be published on Steam for PC. Players can Wishlist the game now at: http://store.steampowered.com/app/692840.

Resources – Players Helping Players


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

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

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. Sway

    that ice elemental statue looks nothing like the ice elementals in the game ? are they changing the ice elementals in the game?

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