Updates

Update of the Avatar #228 – 2017.05.19: Ornate Moondial Video, Making of Sequanna Colossus, Blood Bay Puzzles & Treasure, Our Community, Flash Sales, Free Trial, Event Calendar, and More!


Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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


Moondial Effects First Look Video

As a recap, we recently did some re-ordering of the celestial bodies in the heavens. There are now more game systems directly tied to the positions of these celestial bodies. Due to these changes, Richard “Lord British” Garriott has decreed that we update our orreries to not only accurately reflect these new sequences, but also add the constellations in an outer ring.

Here is a video of the Ornate version of the Moondial that we talked about in last week’s update. This moondial version will go in the Add On Store and will come in a variety of sizes ranging from tabletop to a giant version that you can walk under! These versions are due to make an appearance in Release 42:

Read more…


Community Livestream – Magic Movers!


Community of the Avatar

We will be kicking off this week’s Community Livestream by giving players an in-depth look at how the Property Manager helps you move your home and lot belongings (a.k.a. Magic Movers) works by visiting Hometown and trying the feature out!

As mentioned in the Release 39 Instructions, we added a really powerful new feature to Player Housing where:

“Players can now save a fully decorated lot or basement and reload it later onto that same lot or onto a different lot in that same scene (as long as that lot is the same size). Players will start with 5 slots and, in future releases, will be able to purchase more for Gold Crowns. In a future release, we will expand this feature to allow movement of a fully decorated lot/basement between separate scenes for an, as yet, undetermined cost.”

Details for how to use this new feature can also be found in the Player Instructions document. Darkstarr also posted a detailed explanation in the forums.

The fun begins on Twitch this Friday at 4pm CT! Also join the community watching on Discord chat to ask your questions about the Property Manager.


Shroud of the Avatar – A Community Like No Other



Written by Berek, your Wood Elf Community Manager…

When I came on board to Portalarium early last year, I was already a dedicated Shroud of the Avatar (SotA) player and guild member, eagerly checking out the content in-game as it was added each release. The community’s excitement up to that point had seeped deep into my veins, compelling me to see how I could join the team to help the community move to new heights.

From the very first day at the office, I quickly realized there was so much more to discover with the community than I originally thought. I saw huge potential as I learned more about how each of you contributes content and feedback. From player-created resources on various community-led websites to a ton of in-game activities and real life meetups, I also quickly realized I was going to need the community’s help to succeed at this role!

In my years working with communities, I have seen few as passionate and determined as what we have for Shroud of the Avatar. A sense of belonging and camaraderie is imbued in all corners of the community. Many of the players come from as far back as the Ultima days (circa 1981-1999 including Ultima Online to the present day). Everyone should be proud of what has been built up to this point!

Little did we all know how exciting and wild of a ride it was indeed going to be in just this past year, eh? Let’s take a look back and see what’s changed!

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Moondial Madness Update


From last week’s Update #227, and picking up from the first mention of changes to the Moondials, a Moondial Madness update from Scott “Scottie” Jones!

Recently we did some re-ordering of the celestial bodies in the heavens. Additionally there are now more game systems directly tied to the positions of these celestial bodies. For instance Town Sieges are directly tied to these. Due to these changes Richard “Lord British” Garriott has decreed that we update our orreries to not only accurately reflect these new sequences but also add the constellations in an outer ring. The first pass is to update the Darkstarr Moondial that players already own. We also created a new Silver Darkstarr Moondial that will only be available through our Referral program when that comes back online. Other variants that look very different from the Darkstarr versions will then be created including a craftable version (more mechanical in nature) and an Ornate version for the Add On Store that will come in a variety of sizes ranging from table top to a giant version that you can walk under!

The updated Darkstarr Moondial is live in Release 41. Stay tuned for updates on when the other versions will become available.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Scott “Scottie” Jones]

OK!!! After having the chance to consider and discuss the feedback, I was able to talk with Starr and Richard, and the decision was made to scale the constellation placards down by 15% further! After testing this by going into the game, hitting “V” a few times to go into first-person mode, and trying to read the runes at the new scale, it seems it’s still possible to make out the words, which is really all we were trying to maintain… This is the “normal” way they’ll be seen with the character near them for size comparison…

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Update of the Avatar #227 – 2017.05.12: New Free Trial Begins, Black Sun Game Publishing Partnership, Oracle Update, R41 Postmortem Recap, Localization Update, Flash Sales, Community Events, and More!


Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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


The Making of Oracle Colossus

SPOILERS: Now that all three paths (Truth, Love, and Courage) are playable we have begun work on the Finale part of the plot, aka The Path of the Oracle. One of the crucial scenes of that path is the Oracle Colossus. This is of course the famous depiction of the Oracle from the concept painting by Stephen Daniele inspired by passages from The Sword of Midras prequel novel by Tracy Hickman. This scene was built as a placeholder and is now being polished into a final state.

We hope to have the Oracle Colossus ready for Release 42 or 43.

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

Here are some early shots of progress on the Oracle Colossus area.

I, explorer Earl Greyhot, arrive at the site of the Oracle Colossus, where a previous expedition from the University of Britannia dissapeared under dubious circumstances.

Read more…


Community Livestream – New Inn First Look!


Community of the Avatar

We will be kicking off this week’s Community Livestream by giving players a first look at the upcoming Wood and Plaster Village Inn Player Home!

While room renting will work in any player home, the layout of the Wood and Plaster Village Inn is specifically optimized for renting out rooms to other players. We hope to have the Inn and Room Renting live in Release 43.

After the tour of the Inn, we have Damon Waldrip ready to talk about the visual effects in the finale sequence of the Titan Grannus story character that went into the game in Release 41. If there is any time remaining in the hour, we also have Fletcher Kinnear ready to show off the Oracle, which is due for appearance in Release 43.

The fun begins on Twitch this Friday at 4pm CT! Also join the community watching on Discord chat to ask your questions about Room Renting, the Inn, Titan Grannus, and the Oracle.


Free Trial Test #3 Live Now!


We are excited to announce the third test of our Free Trial system, running live now through May 31! This will be the longest test so far of the system so that we can gather even more data on uptake, drop-off, conversions, etc.

If you know anyone who would like to try the game for free, then send them to the download page. These tests are invaluable for us in order to improve the New User Experience and the Free Trial System itself.

Free Trial access during the game’s current Early Access period allows you to play the entire game in any of the Online modes with a few key differences in game play:

  • Free Trial Current Time Period: May 10-31, 2017
  • The term (Visitor) is appended to your Character Name
  • Cannot give items to other players via Trade
  • Cannot purchase nor sell items via Player Vendors nor Public Vendors
  • No ownership of property nor use of lot signs
  • Cannot interact with public chests
  • Cannot move/interact with items on a plot even if they are given permissions
  • Cannot flag as Open PVP
  • Cannot gain nor do they create any ransom items when they kill or are killed in PVP (in Open PVP zones)
  • Character data may be deleted after Free Trial period is over if character is not upgraded to a paid account
  • Items purchased in the Add On Store cannot be accessed after the Free Trial Period is over unless you purchase Game Access
  • Cannot play in Offline Mode
  • Can only start on the Path of Love

You can still 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! If you wish to continue playing after the free trial concludes, you can obtain an Early Access account here.

For those in the Free Trial, we would love your feedback! We have opened up of our Release 41 Feedback Forums. If you have a constructive comment about this release that will help the game to improve, please post it there. You can also say hello in the New Player Forum!

Have fun, and thanks for trying out Shroud of the Avatar in Early Access!


Partnership with Black Sun Game Publishing


Press Release AUSTIN, Texas, May 10, 2017:

Portalarium®, an Austin-based game developer, today announced the completion of a deal with Black Sun Game Publishing in Moscow, to publish and operate Shroud of the Avatar™: Forsaken Virtues in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Baltic States. Shroud of the Avatar is the spiritual successor to the hugely successful Ultima series of fantasy role-playing games created by legendary game designer Richard Garriott. The game is one of the largest crowd funded games ever, with more than $11.3 million raised since early 2013.

Shroud combines a single-player narrative story with a sandbox massively multiplayer online (MMO) experience. The production team includes Executive Producer Starr Long, who along with Garriott helped produce the groundbreaking Ultima Online MMO and New York Times bestselling author Tracy Hickman, who wrote the popular Dragonlance fantasy novels.

“We are extremely pleased to announce this deal with Black Sun Game Publishing,” said Portalarium CEO Richard Garriott. “We have a large and growing fan base in Russia and the surrounding countries. The Black Sun team is experienced and enthusiastic. They know their regional gaming community well and are ideally suited to bring Shroud of the Avatar to a very eager fan base.”

“It is a great honor for us to work with Richard Garriott, a legend of the games industry, and his team,” exclaimed Black Sun CEO Alex Yarovit. “There are many fans of his games, especially the Ultima series in Russia, the CIS, and the Baltic States. Shroud of the Avatar takes a lot of Richard’s hallmark RPG design principals and brings them up to date in a modern MMO and single player experience. We are looking forward to working further with Lord British and providing his newest creation to all Russian-speaking players. New Britannia beckons!”
Read more…


Update of the Avatar #226 – 2017.05.05: Telethon Weapons Update, Bloodriver Outskirts Update, Free Trial Test #3, Music Weekend Flash Sale, Lord British Interviews, Community Events, and More!


Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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


The Making of Bloodriver Outskirts (update)

SPOILERS: Players following the Path of Truth encounter the Elven village of Bloodriver massacred by vigilantes from Aerie. The elves have fled for their lives into the forests upriver and invaded the home of an Elven hermit who dwells in a ruin deep in the forest. They have set traps to protect themselves from the vigilantes who have pursued them here and are harassing them still. Elven soldiers from Vertas are arriving from the north to protect them while Aerie soldiers are streaming in from the south east to try and stop all out war between the humans and elves. We hope to have this scene live in Release 43.

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

Hey guys! SorcerousSteve here to give you another update on Bloodriver Outskirts!
As the map approaches its polish phase I’ll be preparing for spawning!

An ancient abandoned temple Pyramid deep within the forest.

Read more…


Community Spotlight: Novia Market – Player Town


This week’s Player Owned Town spotlight has me, ‘Berek’ as I go by in the community, travelling to the center of New Britannia to visit the bustling trade town of Novia Market.

Many of the fair towns in New Britannia have built a strong, steady popularity and long history. By contrast, I had heard rumblings of a young upstart of a community of 50+ merchant residents which seemingly had popped out of nowhere, in the southern hinterlands of Brittany called Novia Market.

I had seen flyers for Novia Market proclaiming each and every Sunday as a “promo day”, and it piqued my interest enough to start a short pilgrimage to the town. Upon reaching the entrance to the town, I was struck by two things: the hustle and bustle of the community, and an odd couple of gentlemen laying wait to greet me beside the town crier and banker at the entrance.

Read more…