So it's a year since I stepped away from Shroud and, coincidentally, a couple of things have happened in recent days which see me returning to make a post here. First, my Facebook reminded me of posting this image four years ago: I still cannot fully express what a thrill it was to see Richard in-game. Although I was a UO player, I never saw any of his appearances in it. So to see him in such a close-up way, in a very early alpha, was fabulous. But, second, and more importantly... the reason I was alluding to in my farewell post that would trigger me to return to the forum... the game actually launched. And I went back to the start to play from scratch. My thoughts: * The new user experience is far superior to what it once was. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. * Many scenes are quite large, allowing a genuine sense of exploration before you leave them or hit an invisible wall. * The game clearly got to a good enough point to launch and that's good to see, rather than staying in persistent-but-early-access mode. To be brutally honest, I'm still encountering issues with quests bugging out and the world not feeling alive due to low player numbers which are both genuine issues that need improving, but 'the core' is present. Where to from here? What I'm hoping is the game picks up players. I haven't seen a discernible jump, here at launch, but it may be a slow burn. Who knows? With a larger population -- particularly if the majority of newcomers are socially-inclined and possibly role-players -- the world could actually start to feel quite neat. Advertising, reviews, perhaps less of an emphasis on RMT (which absolutely scares the pants off people), and more of an emphasis on what can be achieved with a little hard work, might bring people in. I hope so anyway, because my assessment, here at April 2018, is that the game has done enough to be worth continuing with. Good fortune and for now, I return to the shadows.