Q4 2018 Schedule Update

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by DarkStarr, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. DarkStarr

    DarkStarr Executive Producer SOTA Developer

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    Greetings Avatars,

    As 2018 comes to a close we can reflect on what an amazing year it has been! We moved out of Early Access in March and Collector’s Boxes shipped in Q3! As we have finished our Kickstarter promises we have been able to focus on polish and serious improvements to quality of life! The final quarter of 2018 is going to be amazing with Player Made Dungeons, Fishing Phase 2, Seasonal Content, and more polish!

    [​IMG]

    PLEASE NOTE: The last two releases of the year (Nov/R60 and Dec/R61) will be very early in their respective months so that they are released well ahead of the US winter holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas).

    Q4 is just a warmup for 2019 which will be an amazing year for Shroud of the Avatar players! Crafting specializations (choose your effects!), Grandmaster Craftsman only effects, more loot improvements, more expansions to the fishing system, better boss fights and more! 2019 will of course culminate with Episode 2 which will have a new story, new lands, a revamp of the Quest and Journal system, a Theater System, Treasure Hunting with treasure maps that show up as loot, Item Affinity, Taming system expansions, Customizable NPCs, and expanded permissions for containers and doors!

    As we have stated previously, we intend to publish quarterly schedule updates detailing our monthly releases and those monthly releases will continue just as before, on the last Thursday of each month. Even though the goals outlined in these schedules are likely to change somewhat as we react to feedback, we feel it is important to periodically provide you with an updated roadmap.

    Our priority continues to be to deliver new content to our players regularly, so that you can give us feedback that will help us iteratively improve Shroud of the Avatar. This collaborative process continues to benefit the game, and often results in sweeping changes such as the recent balance passes to combat. As you have seen in previous releases, the flexibility inherent to this process means that we sometimes push things out, but we also often pull new things in.

    Q4 Top 10 Priorities: As mentioned previously we keep a running list of our Top 10 priorities at all times that we use when building our schedule and prioritizing where to allocate our team's resources. We often refer to it when making decisions about the project. While it has a VERY strong influence on what we work on at any given time, it does not mean that we only work on something that is on the list. It just means that if someone can assist with something that will help address an item on the list, then we will make sure they do that first before working on anything else. Sometimes team members cannot assist with anything on our top priorities, so they work on other tasks such as visual polish, combat balance, or content that helps us raise funds. Q4 will focus on lots of polish including systems, user interface, bug fixing, loot, performance, new user experience, as well as continued improvements to quality of life. We will also be upgrading the Fishing system, adding seasonal content for Halloween and Winter, and adding the new Player Made Dungeon feature.
    1. Quality of Life: Midway through Q3 we shifted focus to general improvements to quality of life by starting to remove slowdowns and annoyances in gameplay. We will continue this effort in Q4.
    2. Systems Polish: Polishing and improving existing systems will continue to be a major focus of Q4. This will take priority over new systems.
    3. Bug Fixing: We will continue to focus more on fixing bugs versus new content and new features.
    4. Performance: While the game is much more playable now we feel there is still more to be gained so in Q4 we will continue making code and content changes to improve performance.
    5. User Interface Polish: In Q3, we polished various UI elements and we will continue to do so during Q4.
    6. Seasonal Content: Content to support Halloween and Winter festivals (Christmas, etc.) will be created.
      [​IMG]
    7. New User Experience: We will be revisiting the starting areas and new user experience to adjust balance, fix bugs, and generally improve the overall experience for new users. We will also be updating the website.
    8. Improved Reward Cycle: Q4 will focus on a systemic and game-wide upgrade to the quality and quantity of loot.
    9. Fishing & Player Made Dungeons: Fishing Phase 2 will go live including new water types, new fish, and more skills. We will also introduce the new Player Made Dungeons feature.
      [​IMG]
    10. Shipping Phase 2: Collector’s Boxes will start shipping to those who did not get theirs in the first round and Retail boxes will be available on Amazon along with a limited run of signed retail versions on our website.
    As always, all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change as we adjust our designs based on direct feedback from you, our players.

    RELEASE 59, October 25, 2018
    • Story: Each harvest season, Novians warn their children to not go into the fields at night because of Pumpkin Head! The starting areas will be improved with the addition of a new tutorial focused area on the Isle of Storms.
    • [​IMG]
    • Performance: Performance work will mainly focus on improving frame rate and reducing hitching during gameplay. Work will also continue to be done on load time reduction on the few outstanding scenes that are not meeting our 15 second load time target.
    • Bug Fixing: Time will be allocated to a general sweep through all systems, features, and content to reduce overall bug counts.
    • Crafting & Economy: The fishing system will be expanded to include different water types (fresh vs. salt), more fish types, more loot, and other improvements. Additionally there will be systemic and game-wide upgrades to the quality and quantity of loot.
    • Player-Made Dungeons: We will continue to expand and iterate on the system that allows players to place and customize dungeons on their properties. Blueprints and recipes for these dungeons can be found in loot, purchased from in-game merchants, or purchased from the store and then used to craft the various dungeon pieces needed to assemble these dungeons.
    • [​IMG]
    • Player Towns & Player Housing: Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
    RELEASE 60, November 15, 2018
    • Performance: Performance work will mainly focus on improving frame rate and reducing hitching during gameplay. Work will also continue to be done on load time reduction on the few outstanding scenes that are not meeting our 15 second load time target.
    • Bug Fixing: Time will be allocated to a general sweep through all systems, features, and content to reduce overall bug counts.
    • Crafting & Economy: We will continue expansions to the fishing system. We will also dramatically increase the salvage rates for in-game patterns (common patterns will be almost 100%). Additionally we will continue systemic and game-wide upgrades to the quality and quantity of loot.
    • [​IMG]
    • Player Towns & Player Housing: Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
    • Livestream and Seasonal Content: We will add recent livestream stretchgoal items and 2018 Winter items.
    RELEASE 61, December 13, 2018
    • Story: Have you been naughty or nice? The Krampus doesn’t care! He and his captured minions will eat you either way!
    • Performance: Performance work will mainly focus on improving frame rate and reducing hitching during gameplay. Work will also continue to be done on load time reduction on the few outstanding scenes that are not meeting our 15-second load time target.
    • Bug Fixing: Time will be allocated to a general sweep through all systems, features, and content to reduce overall bug counts.
    • Crafting & Economy: Back slot items (cloaks, wings, backpacks, etc.) will now be able to have stats, enchantments, and masterworks associated with them. We will also continue expansions to the fishing system. Additionally we will continue systemic and game-wide upgrades to the quality and quantity of loot.
    • [​IMG]
    • Player Made Dungeons: More features and content will be added to the Player Made Dungeon System.
    • Player Towns & Player Housing: Updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
    • Livestream and Seasonal Content: We will add recent livestream stretchgoal items and more 2018 Winter items.
    • [​IMG]
    We continue to be incredibly thankful for the support we receive from this amazing community. While the financial support you provide makes all of this possible, it pales in comparison with the faith you have in us, the feedback you provide us, and the content you are making for everyone to enjoy. We are humbly grateful, and we are always excited to see you each month in New Britannia!

    And remember Q4 is just a warmup for 2019 which will be an amazing year for Shroud of the Avatar players! Crafting specializations (choose your effects!), Grandmaster Craftsman only effects, more loot improvements, more expansions to the fishing system, better boss fights and more! 2019 will of course culminate with Episode 2 which will have a new story, new lands, a revamp of the Quest and Journal system, a Theater System, Treasure Hunting with treasure maps that show up as loot, Item Affinity, Taming system expansions, Customizable NPCs, and expanded permissions for containers and doors!

    Sincerely,
    Starr Long
    Executive Producer
    Shroud of the Avatar
     
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  2. High Baron O`Sullivan

    High Baron O`Sullivan Avatar

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    is everything.
    Very noice.
     
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  3. Dulayne

    Dulayne Avatar

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    There is plenty to look forward to for sure, it will be great when all of the new player tutorial section comes into place. It will make it easier to persuade people to come in with a more newbie friendly start.

    Whenever a new player comes into my stream we try to provide as best we can some little bits and pieces to enhance their start. However at that point it will mean even more because they will feel less overwhelmed/intimidated as well as welcomed by our little slice of the shroud community as a whole too!
     
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  4. Leinad Laurelwreath

    Leinad Laurelwreath Avatar

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    Quest system delayed to 2019, no date.
    At least i'll say thanks for confirming it is NOT a priority, as the post-layoffs announcement originally said.

    Everyone saying they were already working on this, please say hi!
     
  5. Vladamir Begemot

    Vladamir Begemot Avatar

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    I thought it was common knowledge that the quest system revamp isn't coming until later.
     
  6. DarkStarr

    DarkStarr Executive Producer SOTA Developer

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    We are very sorry if there was some kind of miscommunication. We feel we have been very consistent that the overhaul for this system was always scheduled for Episode 2 so we are unsure of what "delay" you are referring to.
     
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  7. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

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    Thanks @DarkStarr so many things to look forward to and imo you have hit so much that will pull this game together. As to the new quest system and journal to look forward to we do have a lot of fun still dealing with the a bit awkward system in place. New players I've met are having lots of challenge sometimes with it but still lots of fun with it. This is what they tell me. I wish you all the very best going forward. I will be here.

    One thing I did not see specifically mentioned that many of us are very curious about is travel functions. Later perhaps reason to sometimes have to be on the map could be implemented but we want to travel as we want to travel on any given day. It is a big step to make travel in this game more convenient to those who do not want to depend on friends lists as fast travel. It was a quick fix and appreciated too as such. So many fast travel ideas have been thrown out there on the forums to replace the friends list. I would love for it to be interesting as in UO we could hope that specializing in some skill trees could later bring new skills to players for their specialized efforts and that one choice over another offers something to compete with. One such specialization could offer gating to player known locations. Players could then be allowed to sell their gates or offer these if they wished free of charge.

    So many of us loved the ability to mark places and have runes set around to touch to go to so many places with freedom. Some limits and timers could be put in place but many players are asking for more freedom and less limits in a world that is broken up by load screen after load screen.

    Making it easier to get around is not a sin given the way this game has evolved. One aspect is in a economy that will be based now more on competition now that we let go of regional economies to hold us back.

    Some tools to make competition more exciting and interesting is vendor improvements such as:

    -Ability to post on our npc town bulletin boards where to buy things

    - And a big wish list of being able to trade bags of goods to others with visuals to whats in the bags before purchasing except in cases you get the grab bag with a chance of surprises included.

    We need little bags to create to make our vendors selections special and interesting. This is my true belief. I have song sets I want to trade for groups to play. I want that to be easier to sell. I have fashion wear I want to trade like all blue formal ensemble including blue formal, shoes, gloves, and hat. We could compete with other vendors with interesting things we think of to put on our vendors to be unique vendors like UO did. Please, please.

    And @DarkStarr thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the wonderful this game has going for it and for never, never stopping. We have so much going for us as we continue forward.

    And sorry I do notice you addressed travel option in the new release notes which I did not read before posting here. Still I have ideas as usual. Thanks again so much.

    edited
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  8. mystarr

    mystarr Avatar

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    I personally think every day that they keep the current system is costing them players, but they have been pretty clear that the quest revamp isn't going to start until episode 2. (First thing new players do is start questing and that's a pretty frustrating/confusing experience in this game. )

    Don't get me wrong, I love this game, but I still haven't finished the quest line (too buggy). If questing was a deal breaker for me I wouldn't be here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  9. Arradin

    Arradin Avatar

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    What are you even talking about? Noone ever said they are working on it now????

    They have said that they have it on the to-do list, but there has never been any doubt that it was Ep2 ?!
     
  10. Steevodeevo

    Steevodeevo Avatar

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    ..Back items with stats! Wooters!
     
  11. Rufus D`Asperdi

    Rufus D`Asperdi Avatar

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. Echondas

    Echondas Bug Brigade – Bug Hunter

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    :D
    So we’re getting buffalo wings for back items!!?

    ..nevermind I thought that was an “H” :p
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
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  13. Rufus D`Asperdi

    Rufus D`Asperdi Avatar

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    And some of us thought it was the second worst thing about UO.
     
  14. gtesser

    gtesser Avatar

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    How do you guys do this with such a small team!? Good job as always, I can't wait for these updates.
     
  15. Rada Torment

    Rada Torment Community Ambassador (ES) Moderator Ambassador

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    Passion moves mountains ;)
     
  16. Winfield

    Winfield Legend of the Hearth

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    Did he say more advances to fishing? I think he did ... yes he did! Superb! FISH!

    As for Portalarium being able to do so much with a small team ... I'd say it is a testimony to how hard they worked over the past years (with us and for us) and how patient they were to get the core things as right as possible. Now they can add a lot using those core systems (I guess excluding areas they may/will re-vamp in Episode 2 development).

    It's also a testimony to how every Dev and former Dev on the Portalarium team worked hard and those still there continue to work very hard with multiple hats. I've seen them in action in Austin a lot, as most of you know. I've learned from their work ethic, focus, and consistent "production" drive ... so much so that I've carried their methods to my own professional workplace in San Antonio.

    Huzzah to the Team! Thanks!

    [​IMG]
    Portalarium Shroud of the Avatar Booth (July 8, 2017) at RTX 2017 in Austin, Texas
    (Sorry, it's a bit blurry. I was also holding my fishing pole while taking the picture.)
     
  17. craftymethod

    craftymethod Avatar

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    "Winter festivals (Christmas, etc.)"

    You mean summer? ;)

    (grats on the update everyone)
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
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  18. Barugon

    Barugon Avatar

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    Summer II.
     
  19. Gorthyn

    Gorthyn Avatar

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    Some great stuff here but no mention of a guild and guild war revamp ?
     
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  20. Earl Atogrim von Draken

    Earl Atogrim von Draken Avatar

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    Summer RELOADED ^^