Hi, folks, I'll get into my new user experience later on, but first I wanted to give you a glimpse at the expectations I'm coming in with. I am NOT an avid gamer. I wish I could be, I've spent the past 30 years designing gameworlds in my mind, and enviously pining after the new games I hear other people playing. But I live on a low income, have never had access to a fancy gaming computer, and have rarely had the budget to play subscription games. On the other hand, when I do occasionally have the money for nonessentials, I'd rather spend it on gaming than anything else, so I'm happy with the free-to-play/pay-for-add-ons model. Nor do I have the hours a day to spend on recreation that seem to be necessary to succeed in so many online games. Any thing that requires me to log in every day, or even consistently a few times a week, is not going to work for me -- real life has to come first, and while designing game worlds is at the top of my dream list, recreation has to be at the bottom of the actual-doing list. And I come to gaming for fun, creativity, and relaxation -- not more stress about paying in-game bills on a constant tight turnaround or people (other players or NPCs with quests) constantly wanting my attention. I get more than enough of both of those things in real life, thanks. I did get a new computer in December -- not one designed for gaming, but a perfectly decent 2018 laptop, running Linux. So of course one of the first things I did was set out to see what free games were out there that I might be able to try now and couldn't on my older computers. I ran across Shroud of the Avatar during that bout of Googling, but didn't look deeply into it -- the "Shroud" led me to believe it was darker-themed than I'm interested in, and the other brief bits I saw implied it was more fighting-based, more religious-based, and more heroic-savior story than I'd like. It was coincidence that I happened to be looking again, on Steam this time, the day Release 63 came out. This time, it seemed incredibly appealing. And the thing that was MOST appealing was the single-player option -- the ability to live in a shared persistent world, interact indirectly with other players via vendors, have the option to uncloak and interact directly when I choose, but still spend most of my time safely in single-player. I live in the mountains with old phone lines and a flaky Internet connection -- I could have the most high-end gaming computer in the world, and having multiple players moving and chatting around me would still make me lag. And I'm an introvert; my job takes all my social energy and then some. A gameworld with only multiplayer mode is going to be more hassle than its worth to me. But SotA promised I could do single-player online. And it was free-to-play, with the promise that even free players could get housing and many of the paid cosmetic options. Even if it takes steady work and a bit of luck to get there, that's fine, as long as I know it's possible. So I delved in. My primary goal was to have a beautiful, persistent, nature-heavy, semi-social world with a well-designed backstory and unique culture, where I could build and decorate a comfortable house, craft and make neat things to earn money, occasionally socialize, and gradually learn more about the world -- all activities that wouldn't take a lot of energy or brain cells, so I could use the game to give my eyes and hands something to do while I listen to podcasts for an hour here, an hour there, when I'm too tired to do anything useful. And then, my secondary goal -- which I'd be lucky to indulge in for a few hours a month, since it requires free time when I'm not already exhausted -- would be quests and adventuring. Being able to do the quests and adventuring in the same world with the same character as my dollhouse-veg time made the game sound much more appealing than any environment where I can only do one or the other. I do want the ability to do both minor and major quests. But I don't want to be railroaded into a storyline where I'll be penalized for not being able to quest several hours a week. So that's where I was, coming in. And although I have been drawn in and do want to keep playing (more than is good for me), I'm sure plenty of you have already identified lots of ways that the game and my expectations are not compatible.