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Shroud of the Avatar - Some Good Things

Discussion in 'Release 53 Feedback Forum' started by Greyhaven, May 11, 2018.

  1. Greyhaven

    Greyhaven Avatar

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    Some Good Things

    Far from the initially expected "It will run on a tablet" Ultima X that we were expecting for our $1m Kickstarter, people's happy memories of past Ultima games have allowed Shroud to net significantly more cash and grow into a much more ambitious creature. But can it compete for your free time against AAA rivals like the innovative, pacey, meta-event riddled zerg-fest that is Guild Wars 2 or the caviar-quality, fully voice-acted, $200m (how much???) gargantuan, hard-disk gobbling slab of roleplaying goodness that is Elder Scrolls Online?

    Y'know I really think so!

    Here's some stuff I really like and some comments:

    Starting off - new user experience is sound

    The character creation is more interactive and nothing like that found in other games. It is something we will recognise as much more "Ultima" in feel. The Oracle suggested I would make a good mage and set me on the Path of Truth. I thought "No, I will be who I want to be, matey!"

    There have been complaints about a general lack of quests but that is not the case in the starting zones. After those areas and the first major city you will soon have a fat list of things to do - I like the way you click on the list of current quests/tasks and it brings up the relevant page of the journal without you having to flick through.

    Having an adventure trainer in the starting areas is a good idea as new players can begin unlocking different skill branches, testing out different weapons and spell skills straight away. Only 100G each too - thats only about 2 or 3 mobs worth of loot drops.


    Freedom - Just right

    Arabella encourages you to progress the three paths simultaneously. Or you can just say "sod-it" and wander off in any direction to do your own thing. What a change from the painfully linear fare you get in Eastern MMOs where you just continually press F and Autopath to the next destination in the quest chain.

    You can use any armour, any weapon or any spell. And if you don't like it, just untrain the skills you want to get rid of. In most other games you have to commit yourself and then you are stuck with it! (Unless you fork out some real world cash to buy a character class change token...)


    Keep developing the in-game map!

    The map is a god-send - it merits continued development as a priority I think. Very handy when it works - just mouse-over the little icons to see the locations & npc's. Huge groan when you enter an area and you get the "Map not found in database" black window of death, or even more offputting, the map of a different area altogether!


    Keep the puzzles coming

    These are not related to quests and you just happen upon them whilst exploring.

    In South Longfall Woods I found a sizeable building with no obvious entrance. Wandering around I found I could gain access climbing up some rubble to one side. Upon entry I am promptly attacked by a nest of spiders and after seeing them off I find a written clue about two brothers. I just so happens that there are two staues here which can be rotated! Following the clue and rotating them towards the sea unlocks a tomb door and you can get the treasure. A sequence of events which was totally unexpected and... cool.


    Housing - Brilliant but needs to be more easily accessible to new players

    I think it is astounding how much effort players have obviously put in to decorating their homes. I can quite understand why - it is great fun and easy to place decorations and the amount of different possible placeables is staggering. I think it must be made easier to acquire lot deeds to help new players experience this. To miss out on owning a property is to miss out on a key part of SOTA. Relying on an expensive lottery ticket (or a one in a million loot drop) just doesn't cut it. Rent levels are also a bit of a joke. Stick to village lots and row lots folks.


    The good fight!

    Those are some good things. SOTA is laid-back, sizeable, charming and, rather amusingly, not easy to play. Yes, it will fight you!

    For example, travel is tricky. There is no zipping all over Novia via wayshrines here. Indeed, you had better start friending everyone you see and carrying around a ton of teleport scrolls otherwise you are left with having to navigate passes or wait for very slow Moongates (how many cups of tea and biscuits can you get through before the Moongate points to where you want to go???)

    For example, crafting is... tricky! Consider: I want to craft a mace. I have a recipe for a mace head, but not the mace itself. So then I have to discover who sells a mace recipe because not many NPC's do... Arrgh! I have the mace recipe but it tells me I need to craft a handle. Now I need to find an NPC that sells a handle recipe!

    There is a great sense of achievement you get when you can craft all of the required components of the item you want. Oh, and the crafting interface is much improved from what I remember. Click on what you want to make and if you have the ingredients they pop up in the crafting window without you having to search for anything. Nice!


    Addictive

    Yes, Shroud is a compulsive little puppy isn't it? A good time-burner. Obviously I can't let down the good folks of Tyria, or those of Tamriel, but for the moment I think Novia is "where it's at" !
     
  2. Barugon

    Barugon Avatar

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    Since neither of those games run on Linux, they can't compete at all.
     
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  3. Floors

    Floors Avatar

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    It'll barely run on a 1080 so I think we can forget about mobile systems for now lol
     
  4. Dermott

    Dermott Avatar

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    I'm running it on a GTX 960 (with the secondary 960 and RX980 cards mining Monero while playing) without a problem. Now once the system has been running for a couple weeks, I do have to do a reboot to clean out the RAM and get things running smoothly again, but it's been doing fine for me on the whole (the 960s are 4Gig card, the 980 is an 8gig card).

    Still though, I'm not sure how well the game itself will translate to mobile, however, I think I did read that there was some goals for some mobile-based tools to interact that way, so we'll see.

    That being said, I agree with many of the good points above. I think the LACK of voice acting has been a plus (many voice-enhanced games come off as hearing one side of a phone call IMO) and having in general to read through the conversations helps get a better idea of what's going on and why beyond having the window with the quest information followed by the simplified objective (Collect 20 kobold toenails, Reward: Special Sword) of a WoW or other such MMO.

    On the other side of the coin, there is STILL a LOT of work to be done. After finishing the main storyline and settling into the MMOG side of things, I decided to start a scene by scene adventure of my own starting on the Hidden Vale island. Since it was really more of a prototype/start point for the development of the game, the scenes found there are tiny compared to the Outskirts scenes. The Plains of Righ Inis uses the same small scene used for Plains Encounters. The Moors of Northshore are a bug riddled mess with blocked off areas and an entire section BEHIND the exits. That scene has been bugged since the days of single-numbered releases and should be stripped out and replaced on the whole.

    Hopefully as well as fleshing out currently cloned scenes, I hope that existing, older scenes are given a second look, revamped and given a purpose as well.

    So yea, right now I'm happy. I do see the issues and need for advancement of the game, but I think the monthly releases are doing a great job of providing them.
     
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  5. Vladamir Begemot

    Vladamir Begemot Avatar

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    Yeah, I agree. I'm all in, this game has a bit more to go and it's going to be a staple for the next decade or two.
     
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  6. Kpopgurl

    Kpopgurl Avatar

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    For me the latest changes and announcement add something to the game that has been dearly missing over the last years. Conflict and goals for groups.

    The game world feel empty and dull to a lot of people. Coming from games like UO or other more sandbox oriented titles the missing player control over the world and lack of impact people have on each other is something that I didn't expect from a Ultima game.
    That being said I understand that they tried to make a complete single player experience first and then flesh out the multiplayer and longterm goals. It is not wrong to give people time until they dive into the depth and complexity that is sandbox conflict: be it in trade, economy or simple war.

    Very positive I would say are the development of the unofficial official reddit, and the new discord Blood Bay. I feel myself enjoying the much leaner moderation doing good for the overall community as discussions are seldomly moderated and consensus can be found and is not choked like it happened here so many times. This is also rewarded by probably the best dev interaction towards suggestions etc. I have witnessed in this game so far. For people who are/were here more for the gameplay aspects that's a grace!

    I want to mention @Ben_Hroth in that regard as he is doing a great job moderating. Portalarium should hire him, if they can afford him ;)
     
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  7. FrostII

    FrostII Avatar

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    Is that where Chris hangs out now-a-days ?
     
  8. Kpopgurl

    Kpopgurl Avatar

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    Yes, with Kor and List.
     
  9. Ben_Hroth

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    Well, that made my day! Thanks, @Kpopgurl! :)

    It's an honor to moderate both the unofficial reddit and the Blood Bay discord channel. Everyone is welcome to either community!
     
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  10. Lord British

    Lord British Lord British SOTA Developer

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    "Housing - Brilliant but needs to be more easily accessible to new players

    I think it is astounding how much effort players have obviously put in to decorating their homes. I can quite understand why - it is great fun and easy to place decorations and the amount of different possible placeables is staggering. I think it must be made easier to acquire lot deeds to help new players experience this. To miss out on owning a property is to miss out on a key part of SOTA. Relying on an expensive lottery ticket (or a one in a million loot drop) just doesn't cut it. Rent levels are also a bit of a joke. Stick to village lots and row lots folks."

    Great whole thread!
    Taking this part to heart, especially!
    - LB
     
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  11. Burzmali

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    Getting a home is one of the few real accomplishments the game has. It frees you from the restrictions of the bank, it lets you use those items you got for your pledge that require land, and it is a heck of a lot more impressive than a cloak. Were it not for the RMT concerns, I'd say that the main quest should have handed out a non-transferable row lot deed at some point.
     
  12. Rada Torment

    Rada Torment Community Ambassador (ES)

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    Thank you @Greyhaven for your honest feedback.
     
  13. Oyjord Hansen

    Oyjord Hansen Avatar

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    This is VERY encouraging to read. I'm and old backer and have a home and love it. But I have many friends and family who've recently joined SotA and though they love the game, they won't get hooked on it without being to experience housing and all the fun it entails. Lowering the barrier to entry, significantly, can really help with player retention IMHO.
     
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  14. Synergy Blaize

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    @Lord British @Berek
    This is an absolutely Stupendously Fantastic Idea!
    So many towns are Ghost Towns & owning even a small piece of Britannia, to call your own would be highly appealing to new players!
     
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  15. Asclepius

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    I’m only one voice, and others can legitimately differ. I backed this game because I believed in it and wanted it to succeed (and still do). And yes in return I got a house and lots of nice digital fluff. If Portalarium lowered the barrier and made it easier for everyone to get housing I for one would not be upset or offended. The game’s the thing, I’ve made my contribution, I don’t begrudge anyone getting a house as well.
     
  16. digriz

    digriz Avatar

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    Be careful LB, your posts may be moderated with ideas like that in here. *KAPPA*
     
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  17. Koldar

    Koldar Avatar

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    I've already sold all of my properties - go ahead and lower the price. :D

    There was a reason some of us backed the game at high levels during the KS. We believed in a vision. Now that the vision has changed, who knows? Maybe you will find thousands of new backers. But, in reality, I don't think backers will come in droves to buy cheap property either. Just my 2 cotos.
     
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  18. Greyhaven

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    Howevermuch I hate to follow such a “helpful” post (I think he can keep his 2 cotos worth don’t you folks?) here are a few suggestions of ways to approach the housing issue. I’m not expecting any of these to be followed, but in the past I have entered into the spirit of the project by making suggestions about such matters as diverse as log-in screens and the noise giant spiders make - so why not housing?

    1) Amend the Lottery
    The point about lotteries is to get as many people to play as possible. That is done by having attractive prizes and cheap tickets. I can’t imagine anyone will sustain 10,000 gold to keep entering the current lottery time after time (an entire week of playing for some). I would make the cost of a ticket 100 gold (yes, that low). Do that, and you will have everyone playing, increase the fun factor and promote a more inclusive approach. It would not discriminate against and punish new players. And there would be zero difference to Portalarium in the long run as it is still just one deed given out as a result.

    2) Remove the RNG wall from obtaning a lot deed
    i) Make lot deeds available from the vendors above the banks again. The price can be set to whatever level is appropriate. Even if they are expensive at least new players will have a tangible goal to aim for instead of just crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.
    AND/OR
    ii) Take that sound advice of having a lot deed as a reward for a quest. An existing “main” quest or a long, arduous, new quest created for the purpose and taking you all over the continent. The point of the matter is that it would get people playing the game and striving for something, would it not?

    3) Chop the rent levels in half
    Yeah, that’s right, in HALF. Some calculation has been done to determine what players can be expected to earn in an hour and the rent is related to that. OK, but the calculation is flawed and players want to earn money to afford other things as well as pay off the rent. Plus players want to engage in other activities that don’t earn money (explore, craft, fish, socialise, play music, jump around naked on the bar.... whatever floats your boat, right?)

    That’s got to be more than 2 cotos worth, and I don’t make these suggestions for my own benefit - I already have a more than satisfactory property on a great lot. Instead such suggestions are made for the good of the collective..

    “For we are, are we not, all jolly companions together?”

    (Insert screenshot of a empty POT with tons of empty lots. Or just a picture of a green field. Same difference).
     
  19. majoria70

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    IMO I don't think it's the point that it is easily accessible as much as is it an achievable goal, is it fun, is it challenging? Is there something interesting about it? Just throwing it into loot is fine but an interesting quest line perhaps with an interesting story about it would have been a thought. Like I said it took me two years to get my house in UO and I just didn't care because the game was interesting and fun and there was so much to do. We don't have in game achievements or tasks which always imo was a mistake. We could have had goals to eat one of every food, to catch one of every fish, to eat one of every food and the rewards could have been interesting to do these such as earning points towards cotos, later special mounts, boats, or rare paintings, even getting a house could have been and achievement, climbing the highest mountains, exploring all areas of the game and then there could be another type of achievement which would the most of type achievements like catching heaviest fish and we need fish weights and lore and bait and etc too for fishing ;)

    Have you looked at Project Gorgon at all? I'm not saying we need to be that game since we are a different game with our own strengths that that game doesn't have but something is always going on in that game. Also IMO rent is too steep. Its fine to have it but 500 a day is silly. Perhaps 500 a week. I think we should change it. Having housing should not be so stressful. Taxed is taxed which is fine but not daily.

    Edited

    P.S.S And EASY does not equate to fun. Fun is fun, having goals that are interesting, challenging, rewarding is fun. Once you've done it you've done it. Because someone complains does not mean they want it given to them just like that. They want the goal, they want the challenge, they want the fun, they want to know it is something they can personally achieve and that it is created in game and that their is a route to getting it. Even though we can of course do it ourselves and figure it out ourselves which is great but housing is an emotional thing. It involves someones place, their own place in the world and to just give it to them without giving the purpose too is taking away something from this game. We need purpose. We need the routes to achieving, and we need achievements and tasks to get to them.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
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