Avatar’s Update #263: New Wolves Attack!

Greetings Fellow Avatars! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

Game Development

News Announcements

Community Updates


New Wolves Attack!

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

The wolves throughout New Britannia are getting a makeover! We originally purchased our wolf from the Unity Asset store to save time and money, but it was not visually competitive. To address this shortcoming, Kevin @UglyFist Wells completely rebuilt the wolves for Release 50, including all the variations, the wolf hat, wolf mask, wolf trophies and the wolf clan barbarians. The wolf trophies will be updated in Release 50 with the updated Timber Wolf and in R51 we will add all the variants!

Timber Wolf

Grey Wolf

Arctic Wolf

Desert Wolf / Coyote

Obsidian Wolf

Wolf Hat:


Making of Sunless Barrens (cont.)

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 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 updated screenshots

The Ritual Site

The Cultist’s lair (now with more bones!)

One of the Hellfire Fingers (visuals updated by Hutch)

Chris “Seawolf” Wolf
Level Designer


Introducing the Watermill Home

Our newest water based home is two stories and includes a water wheel that rotates. It will be available in the Add On Store next week for Release 50!


Valentine’s Day Items

Once again it is the time of year where an Outlander’s thoughts turn to love and we have prepared a few items for you to express those feelings. With our focus on launch we have kept the number small this year and one of them will be an emote that we added to the Path of Love (see R50 post when it goes live).

Heart Tub: This heart shaped ornate tiled hot tub will be sure to help get everyone in the mood and will be available in the Add On Store for Release 50. This item will be a yearly recurring item for the Valentine’s season and will expire on March 2, 2018 (to return briefly at the beginning of 2019).

2018 Valentine’s Day Gift Boxes: This year’s wrapping paper on the Valentine’s gift boxes will be sure to show that special someone that you really care about what goes on the outside. These will be available in the Add On Store only this year and will expire forever on March 2, 2018.


Release 49 Postmortem Missed Questions

We had over 12 pages of questions left unanswered after the R49 Postmortem! With assistance from the team we were able to get to those questions and we posted them to the forums Thursday.

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

Here are the questions that we did not have time to get to during the R49 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.

Please note I deleted a bunch of duplicated questions and also deleted any questions that we answered with the Q1 post or with the release of R49. 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.

Xee: Can we get spell books, mystical items as another caster option vs a wands/staffs?
We have discussed these as offhand items

SmokerKGB: Why is AI hard to develop for NPCs, Pets, etc.?
Because AI must simulate millions of years of evolutionary biology that resulted in the computational power of your brain that lets you make decisions about real time data with the equivalent of the brain of a mosquito trying to communicate with paper cups and string. Seriously the amount of decisions a single NPC has to make about where to step, who to attack, who to ignore, which spell/skill to use, whether they should call for help, whether they should go back to home or venture farther, etc all while the data is constantly changing makes them very hard to keep on a trajectory that is in any way meaningful. All of those decisions have to be weighted against each other and they are constantly being interrupted as new data emerges (players attacking, players moving, players dying, players resurrecting, players appearing in the scene, players leaving the scene, players summoning pets, players using spells/skills, etc.). On top of all that the NPCs rely on a simulation layer of collision shapes, pathfinding nodes, interest points, data hooks (ex lights, fires, lava), etc. that has to be “perfect” which is rarely that. Finally most projects have an AI team of multiple programmers and at least one designer. We have a single programmer and a part time designer.

Cypher Black: What are you planning to do to turn the shard falls (pvp zones) into locations that players will want to risk entering?
Dhanas: What do you think about adding more special rewards and resources (related to pvp) in pvp zones like you did with “The Fall”‘s artifacts?
When we have higher player populations and we have the tech feature to control spawning based on the number of players in a scene we do plan to balance the risk vs. reward by increasing resource yields of certain resource types (ex. Obsidian).
Atos:
Step 1: Make PVP more fun. That means get some more balance in the combat systems and more Rock paper scissors. Also, it means improving performance in high player situations and fewer hitches. It also means MORE PLAYERS that we should see post launch.
Step 2: Give more global reasons for players to PVP. In the long run, this means ladders, bounties, more ransom options, more trophies.
Step 3: A raid system, so more than one group can get together.
Step 4: Give more location specific reasons for players to play in PVP scenes. It isn’t just enough to have extra loot there but unique drops or resources is a start. Eventually we need content in PVP scenes to be driven by the players. For example, sequence boss mob fights where you have to fight large PVE elements, followed by a rewarding boss mob or treasure exposure. Make those fight challenging enough that a few opposing PVP players could disrupt it all. Obviously that isn’t all happening by release but we’re working on the top

Ancev: My guildmates were wondering if a subterranean level could be added to deep ravenswood, particularly in multiplayer mode, where more obsidian bears and obsidian wolves could be found, and the entrances could be at the bear cave and wolf den?
We will consider but will be super low priority versus rebuilding scenes that are currently clones, making maps for scenes that don’t have maps, and updating maps that have errors.

TeddyMIT: I hope that the respawn number and respawn speed of the monster in the Multiplayer online mode is much higher. For example, triple the number of respawn monsters and reduce the respawn time to about 10-15 seconds.
We need a new tech feature to control spawning based on the number of players in a scene to do that because we don’t want single players or small groups swamped by groups of NPCs respawning too quickly.
Atos: We tune this frequently. I think we had things on the low side to keep the high level farmers in mid tier scenes from getting too much benefit. I think now that the XP is in place and only ruffled a few feathers, we can look at turning up spawn rates in more areas.

[Read More…]


Release 50 on the QA Server

An early version of R50 went live on the QA server on Monday and players started testing almost immediately. They also started reviewing and offering feedback on an early version of the R50 post.

R50 is full of new content most of which is now on the QA server for early testing.

  • Framerate improvements
  • Scene Rebuilds: Sunless Barrens, South Drachvald Spur, Yew
  • Polish on all the starting scenes
  • Quests that reward Virtue Boots
  • New Recipes and Patterns: Barbarian Armor, Log Cabin, Wild Boar Trophy, and more!
  • UI Polish including Target Highlighting and Item Inventory Locking
  • Refining Skills
  • Ransom Improvements
  • Wild Boars and Polished Wolves

Reminder that testing on QA makes you eligible for Testing Incentive Rewards including gold crowns, the Ant Farm, Antennae, Bug Cloak, and Bug Paintings!


DJ Darkstarr’s Revenge: The Sequels (Release 50 & Holiday Party)

DJ Darkstarr had a fantastic time spinning tunes at the Grand Holiday Party (pictured above) and posted his playlist in the forums in the Avatar’s Radio thread. You can catch him next at the Release 50 Dance Party (which is also Avatars Radio 4th Birthday) which will be held in the Player Owned Town of Rift’s End on Friday January 26 at 2 PM CST.

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

Here’s a Spotify playlist of the set that was a mix of holiday tunes and groovy / dancy / funky stuff:

https://open.spotify.com/…/…/playlist/0eswJEMju2i6CwsDazKp6S

The playlist is missing a couple of holiday songs that Spotify doesn’t stream and of course all the mashups (marked in italics below). If you want the mashups you have to go get them separately at http://bootiemashup.com/best-of-bootie/

Here’s the actual playlist that I aired:

  • Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah
  • MC 900 Ft Jesus: Spaceman
  • Solid Gold: Calm Down
  • She & Him: Baby, It’s Cold Outside
  • Dusty Springfield: Spooky
  • LCD Soundsystem: You Wanted A Hit
  • The Pogues: Fairytale of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl)
  • Modest Mouse: Float On
  • Stereolab: Metronomic Underground
  • Death Cab For Cutie: Christmas (baby please come home)
  • Death Cab for Cutie: Soul Meets Body
  • The Postal Service: Brand New Colony
  • Say Hi To Your Mom: Sweet Sweet Heartkiller
  • The Shins: Wonderful Christmastime
  • Sly & The Family Stone: If You Want Me To Stay
  • Fatboy Slim (Beats Intern.): Won’t Talk About It
  • Galactic : Heart of Steel (feat. Irma Thomas)
  • The Polyphonic Spree: Happy Xmas (war is over)
  • Morcheeba: The Sea
  • David Bowie: Fame
  • Parliament: Flash Light
  • Run-DMC: Christmas In Hollis
  • Outkast: Dracula’s Wedding (Featuring Kelis)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers: Taste The Pain
  • MGMT: Kids
  • The Flaming Lips: Christmas at the Zoo
  • Metric: Hustle Rose
  • Cake: The Distance
  • Jamie Lidell: Do You Hear What I Hear?
  • Bjork: Human Behaviour
  • The Beta Band: Assessment (Radio Edit)
  • New Order: Blue Monday
  • The Stone Roses: Fools Gold
  • The Dandy Warhols: Little Drummer Boy
  • !!!: AM/FM
  • Fujiya & Miyagi: Collarbone
  • M.I.A.: Paper Planes
  • Bing Crosby & David Bowie: Little Drummer Boy (Peace On Earth)
  • David Bowie: The Heart’s Filthy Lesson
  • Nine Inch Nails: Down In It
  • Siouxsie & the Banshees: Cities In Dust
  • The Flaming Lips: White Christmas (Demo For Tom Waits)
  • Ellie Goulding: Lights [Single Version]
  • Flight Of The Conchords: Robots
  • Sia feat. Sean Paul: Cheap Thrills
  • Six By Seven: I Believe In Father Christmas
  • Ghostland Observatory: Shoot ’em Down
  • Prince: Kiss
  • The Ting Tings: That’s Not My Name
  • Eels: Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas
  • Butter 08: Shut Up
  • Radio 4: Dance to the Underground
  • LCD Soundsystem: call the police
  • Kaskade: Deck the Halls (feat. Erika)
  • The Crystal Method: Trip Like I Do
  • Jane’s Addiction: Been Caught Stealing
  • House of Pain: Jump Around
  • El Vez: Feliz Navi-Nada
  • The Prodigy: Diesel Power
  • The Chemical Brothers: The Big Jump
  • DJ Schmolli: Bulletproof Radar (La Roux vs. Britney Spears)
  • Kaskade: Winter Wonderland
  • DJ ShyBoy: Feel Good Feelings (James Brown vs. Flo Rida vs. Black Eyed Peas)
  • The Kleptones: Gimme Gimme (Rolling Stones vs. Rick James)
  • Jay-R: My Other Car Is A Beatle (L’Trimm vs. Armand Van Helden vs. Beatles vs. Gary Numan)
  • Gent & Jawns: Turn Up Ye Merry Gentlemen
  • Germany vs. Lobsterdust vs. MashMike: Can’t Hold Roboto (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton vs. Bob Marley vs. Elton John vs. Ludacris vs. The Doors vs. Styx vs. Pink)
  • Dave Wrangler: Pumped Up Kicks Take Over Control (Foster The People vs. Afrojack)
  • Dunproofin’: Groove Is In The Girls (Deee-Lite vs. The Prodigy)
  • DJ Zebra: Roxanne Should Be Dancing (The Police vs. The Bee Gees)
  • The Webb Brothers: Every Day Is Christmas


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!

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: Signs, Numbers & Letters

In honor of in honor of the Runic Letter Decorations, Street Signs and Taming Signs going live in Release 49 we are having all signs go on sale this weekend!

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 14, 2018 – Launch Event at Bob Bullock Museum
Mar 21 – 23, 2018 – GDC
Mar 27, 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 – Winners Announced!

The ‘Avatar’s Guide to Knowledge and Virtue’ video contest has ended! We are amazed with all 200+! walkthrough videos created by the community over the course of the past several weeks.

We eagerly watched the videos to carefully select the winners. There were several series that covered multiple topics, as well as numerous individually produced videos. All eligible entries were restricted to no longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds, so they are a quick view for any Avatars that wish to refine their gameplay strategies or learn more about a particular aspect of the game.

And the winners are!…

Series Grand Prize Winner (1):

Lace! She created over 40 excellently produced walkthrough videos, including:
Player Owned Town Activity Using the Overworld!

Grand Prize Winners (5):

Datendrache – Crafting Complete Series!

Vladamir Beggemot – Movement, Skills, and Combat!

ShurTugal – Locked and Unlocked Combat Deck Builds!

Kabalyero – How to Get Started in Mining!

Woftam – Taming Introduction Series!

Runner-up Winners (2):

Liltipsy – Malice Dungeon Walkthrough!

Kalidorn – Gold Making Tips!

Many of these winners also created other videos in a range of subjects, including how to own your own home in a player town, so don’t miss viewing them all! You can view the entire playlist on www.youtube.com/portalarium:

We will also be sharing these videos on Twitter and Facebook in the coming weeks ahead as we ramp up toward Launch. Congrats again to all participants!

[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.


PaxLair 20th Anniversary – Jan. 21

From Sean Silverfoot: “The 20th Anniversary is almost upon us! This is two decades – quite a run. Soon enough we’ll be able to express it in generation. This Anniversary will run from Jan 15th thru Jan 19th (actual anniversary date) and on Jan 20th in SOTA.

10 AM CT/NBT at the PaxLair Tavern: Informal dance party ~ Words from some folks ~ Music by Avatars Radio’s @Amber Raine ~ Streaming by @LazarusLong ~ Church Service to follow. Connect to zoom.us/j/3995307038 – this is NBNN’s ZOOM service – you can test anytime, even screen sharing.”


Did You Know: Shroud of the Avatar Features Taming Skills?

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

Did you know @ShroudofAvatar features Taming Skills? Acquire or craft a Taming Collar and Summoning Whistle, then use your Tame Creature skill on a skill level appropriate tamable creature. Tamers can even sell their pets to other players!


Recommended Project to Support – Denis Loubet Patreon

Our good friend Denis Loubet, and the one responsible for Shroud of the Avatar’s cover art and almost every piece of cover art for Ultima, as well as many other art pieces in SotA’s early days of development, is now running his own project. Denis is creating more Science Fiction and Fantasy Art for you to enjoy. Check it out over at Patreon!

If you remember the Ultima series of computer games, I’m the guy that did most of the covers and the manual illustrations, as well as a lot of the in-game art and animation. I’ve been doing game art since the 80s for companies such as Steve Jackson Games, Hero Games, Origin Systems Inc, Kingsisle, Disney, and many more.

I want to try doing art directly for my fans, with no middleman. That’s the reason for this Patreon project.


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!