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Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues - All News

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Box Art

Wednesday - October 31, 2018

Shroud of the Avatar - Free to play

by Hiddenx, 20:52

Rock Paper Shotgun reports that Shroud of the Avatar is now a free-to-play game:

Shroud Of The Avatar virtuously goes free-to-play today

Blimey – Richard Garriot’s Ultima successor MMO Shroud Of The Avatar: Forsaken Virtues only launched back in March. Despite leaving early access just seven months ago (to tepid critical response), Portalarium’s dragon-bothering epic has now gone free-to-play. This second debut (third, if you count its 2014 early access launch) comes with an overhaul to the game’s criticised earlier areas, hopefully making for a smoother ride for newcomers. Below, a trailer featuring dungeoneering, dragon-bothering and jolly online co-operation.


Thanks henriquejr!


Friday - June 29, 2018

Shroud of the Avatar - RPG Codex Review

by Silver, 14:53

Shroud of the Avatar has been reviewed by the RPG Codex.

On the outside, the first thing a player is bound to notice is what is customarily called a “technical mess”. The game's framerate is abysmal, often dropping down to 20-30 FPS in city areas on my I7-4790k with Geforce 980 GTX, a machine that is no longer top of the line as I write this review, but is strong enough to get 60 FPS in games that look much better than Shroud of the Avatar. It becomes even more incomprehensible when you try to analyze what's killing the game's performance. In the busy scenes that trigger the slowdowns, I tried setting the graphics quality to low and there was absolutely no improvement. Meaning the bottleneck was my CPU, which is astonishing considering nothing much happens in the game physics-wise (can I even say nothing at all? I'm not even sure I ever saw basic gravity effects), and in terms of AI the NPCs only need to do some pretty basic pathfinding (and that's only a very small number of them) and follow simple scripts (far from the Ultima VII-style living world that we were promised). I think it may have something to do with the scene being large, and the CPU needing to take care of objects that are extremely far away because of poor optimization?

Who cares! This game is an unoptimized mess. And I'm not sure they'll ever be able to fix it, considering people were complaining about performance years before it launched. Portalarium are clearly aware of the problem - that they do not address it says a lot about what you can expect from the game in the future. Release 54 supposedly featured numerous speed improvements, which went entirely unnoticed by me and even worse, introduced a new bug that made the game ignore my resolution settings, resetting it to 1080p during map transitions. Thanks for that.

But is it pretty, at least?



Saturday - April 14, 2018

Shroud of the Avatar - Review @ Sirius Gaming

by Hiddenx, 09:01

Sirius Gaming reviewed Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues:

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Review – Choose Your Path

Shroud of the Avatar is a role-playing game developed by Richard Garriot, Starr Long, Chris Spears, and Tracy Hickman. The game is depicted as the successor to the Ultima Series from Origin Systems, Inc.


The game environment is not that bad, it has a weather and night/day system. The snowy part of the map needs improvement though, as well as smoother trees and rocks. Because even when my graphic settings are at the highest setting, the low quality shows. The graphics aspect of the game needs to be improved as it will also be a huge factor in the game aside from the combat dynamics and interface.

All in all, this game is okay but really needs improvement when it comes to the user interface and the combat dynamics as what I have mentioned earlier. In spite of that, I would still play it because there are still more in this game that I need to explore.

Score: 6/10


  • Weather system
  • Good crafting system
  • Interesting map travel
  • Trading system
  • Good loading screen art
  • Lack of combat dynamics
  • Weapons not showing when stowed
  • Old school damage floaters
  • Mediocre graphics

Thanks Farflame!

Sunday - April 08, 2018

Shroud of the Avatar - Richard Garriott Interview

by Hiddenx, 17:42

Dualshockers interviewed Richard Garriot about Shroud of the Avatar:

Shroud of the Avatar Interview – RPG Legend Richard Garriott talks Ultima’s Spiritual Successor

Richard Garriott, the legendary Lord British from the Ultima series, is back with Shroud of the Avatar, that will feel very familiar to the fans, and yet new.

Today legendary Ultima creator Richard Garriott and his team at Portalarium finally brought a five-year-long journey to fruition with the release of Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues.

In order to know more about the game, I had a chat with Garriott himself, who also showed me the really impressive improvements the game received over the past several months.

Shroud of the Avatar is the spiritual successor of all things Ultima, with a complex story based on the virtues, deeply interconnected roles like Ultima Online did, and a detailed world simulation.

The world itself has a day/night cycle, movements of the starts, and orbiting moons. The alignment of those moons with the constellations actually creates gameplay, so learning the astronomy of the world is relevant.

The game has evolved massively in its visuals compared to what we saw in early footage. According to Garriott, this is due to the fact that the first 80% of the game is made of creating systems. Only during the final 20% of development, those systems are connected and the true quality of the title really gets exposed.


Thanks Farflame!

Tuesday - March 27, 2018

Shroud of the Avatar - Release Day

by Hiddenx, 20:16

The MMORPG Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues leaves Early Access:

Launch is Here! Release 52 This Tuesday


Welcome to the launch of Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues (Episode 1)! After a successful Kickstarter and several years of amazing open development with our community we are finally ready to leave Early Access! The launch build (aka Release 52) goes live this Tuesday, March 27, at 10:30 AM US Central Daylight Time (15:30 UTC).

Release 52 is the third, and final, release in which we focused on the current iteration of our Top 10 Priorities for Launch (from Q1 2018 post). Once again, we were able to address almost every single item on that list in some fashion. We made incredibly strong progress on performance, player direction, story polish, enemy behaviors, and UI polish. We also finished more physical goods, including the certificates and runic card. Simultaneous to all of this, we had our launch event and participated in SXSW with a booth and numerous talks.

Wednesday - March 14, 2018

Shroud of the Avatar - Housing Not Impossible

by Silver, 03:13

@MassivelyOP Shroud of the Avatar housing is not impossible to acquire but will take a lot of grinding.

The bad news is that you need a lot of gold. The player did a test run hunting bandits for cash and found that he was able to make around 4000 gold per hour, meaning that by conservative estimate it’d take him about 78 hours to earn enough to buy a small housing plot. But that number assumes all other things being equal, and they’re not. You’d be leveling up, getting lucky drops, improving your merchanting, and most likely eventually figuring out that there are better ways to make bank, like hunting resources. It also assumes a stable price for Crowns (apparently the market is fluctuating wildly right now ahead of launch).

If you’re accustomed to getting an MMO house for nothing, that’s going to seem like a lot, to be sure, but old-school Ultima Online players probably aren’t even going to flinch at that kind of grind.

Tuesday - December 19, 2017

Shroud of the Avatar - Set to Launch March 27 2018

by Silver, 03:56

@MassivelyOP Shroud of the Avatar is set to launch March 27th 2018.

If you’re a Shroud of the Avatar player, you’ve just gotten the last major update of the year. Release 49 rolled out ahead of the holidays last week as planned, but that’s far from the biggest news that came over the weekend. Indeed, Portalarium announced the game’s launch date: March 27th, 2018. That coincides with R52, for those of you keeping score at home.

So what does that mean exactly for a game that has been both persistent for over a year and been doing monthly releases for over 4 years? Well, for us it means that we are delivering the list of features, including physical goods, promised during the Kickstarter albeit with a few exceptions and/or replacements (see below). It also means that we are going to grow our community through marketing campaigns. As we have stated previously, we intend to publish quarterly schedule updates detailing our monthly releases and those monthly releases will continue.


Monday - October 09, 2017

Shroud of the Avatar - C3PO look alike

by Silver, 23:44

MassivelyOP reports that a C3PO look alike has been added to Shroud of the Avatar. In addition the latest newsletter teases the remake of North Midmaer Way and North Quel Way.


C3PO like automaton
OK, so C-3P0 isn’t really being imported into Shroud of the Avatar, but the game’s new automaton sure looks a lot like him (minus his silver leg!). He’s one of the golden clockwork critters and automatoi included as an investor perk from the game’s recent SeedInvest campaign.



Tuesday - August 01, 2017

Shroud of the Avatar - Now Story Complete

by Silver, 13:41

Portalarium has partnered with Travian games for Shroud of the Avatar.

Travian Games and Portalarium Partner for Shroud of the Avatar as it Reaches Story Complete Milestone

AUSTIN, Texas, July 31, 2017 - Portalarium®, an Austin, Texas based game developer, and Travian Games, a Munich, Germany based publisher and developer, are pleased to announce today a formal partnership to bring Shroud of the AvatarTM, the much-anticipated fantasy role-playing game from legendary game designer Richard "Lord British" Garriott to Europe, South America, Central America, the Middle East and North Africa. Travian Games will be coming on board as a partner immediately as Shroud is moving closer to the game's commercial launch later this year.

"We were looking for the best upcoming MMORPGs in our industry as well as a strong cultural fit, so we are truly excited about the opportunity to work with Richard and the Shroud of the Avatar team on bringing another great game to our community," notes Lars Janssen, CEO of Travian Games. "Portalarium's vision is very similar to ours and we believe this is the start of a long-term relationship between our two teams."

"Europe has always been a strong market for the Ultima games so we wanted to be sure we found the very best partner who could who truly understands what we wanted to accomplish with Shroud," explains Richard Garriott.

"Travian Games is that partner because they really understand community and development which has allowed them to build a huge base of millions of players."

To date, backers of Shroud have logged more than three-million hours of game testing, and the latest update, Release 44, now permits backers to complete the entire Episode 1 story, from beginning to end.

Shroud of the Avatar, the spiritual successor to Garriott's Ultima series of fantasy role-playing games, is a "selectively multiplayer" game, and includes a deep story crafted by Garriott and New York Times bestselling author, Tracy Hickman ( Dragonlance series). The game combines a detailed sandbox style Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) with a single player narrative mode. With Release 44, players can now complete the paths of Truth, Love and Courage and ultimately discover the secrets of the Shroud of the Avatar.

"The story craft is not at an end," said Garriott. "More side quests and revisions to improve quality, will continue to be added to the game month after month, yet this is the first time the full plot has been playable, and is among the last major milestones needed for a commercial launch later in the year."

The remainder of the game is already in what would traditionally be considered a beta state. There are some skill trees and recipes still needing to be completed, and plenty of balance and debugging remains, but Portalarium is now shifting its team and company into the stance of a publisher as the commercial release approaches.

"This marks the 44th monthly release for Shroud of the Avatar," exclaimed Garriott. "And these updates have occurred on the last Thursday of the month on time, and the servers have had nearly four years of continuous software stability. In Release 45, players actively testing the game will receive the ability to ‘reset' their story status, and thus be able to get a fresh run through the now completed main quests, without having to start a new character."

Shroud of the Avatar's original crowdfunded campaign began in 2013. Currently with more than $11.8 million in crowd funding, Shroud is the second highest fully crowd funded game ever. More information about the crowdfunding campaign and the game can be accessed at .

Recently Portalarium extended their crowdfunding efforts to include equity crowdfunding using the SeedInvest platform. This allows people to invest in Portalarium while backing the project. To learn more go to .

At this year's Gamescom in Cologne, journalists have the opportunity to interview Richard "Lord British" Garriott and Lars Janssen about the game and the new partnership.

Friday - July 21, 2017

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ Shane Plays

by Hiddenx, 00:25

Shane interviewed Starr Long and Mathew Anderson from Portalarium about Shroud of the Avatar:

Shroud of the Avatar! - Shane Plays Radio Ep. 108


Highlights: Portalarium's Starr Long and Mathew Anderson join to talk about Richard "Lord British" Garriott's fantasy MMO Shroud of the Avatar!

Monday - June 05, 2017

Shroud of the Avatar - Golden Castle for 30K

by Hiddenx, 15:21

PCGAmesN reports that Shroud of the Avatar is finding new ways to get money:

Invest $30,000 in Shroud of the Avatar to get a golden castle

With the first episode of Ultima Online successor Shroud of the Avatar hoping to release in July, developer Portalarium is looking for more crowdfunding to continue development. Following a Kickstarter, independent crowdfunding and investment from outside parties, the studio still needs more cash to create this expansive fantasy MMORPG.

Founded by industry veteran Richard “LordBritish” Garriott, Portalarium has to raise a whopping $2 million in the next two months in order to keep Shroud of the Avatar going. As they have already had a Kickstarter, Portalarium have taken to the crowdfunding website SeedInvest to raise the cash needed to develop and now publish Shroud of the Avatar. There are special investor rewards for this round of crowdfunding, but you have to invest a minimum of $500 to even support their campaign. They range from a golden cloak and golden clockwork armour if you invest $500, right up to a solid gold castle and airship if you invest $30,000.


Thanks Farflame!

Friday - June 02, 2017

Shroud of the Avatar - Running out of Cash?

by Hiddenx, 19:38

CGM reports that Portalarium will start another crowdfunding campaign for Shroud of the Avatar:

Shroud Of The Avatar Developer Announces Crowdfunding Campaign

Portalarium announced an equity crowdfunding campaign to help alleviate their transition into publishing.

Shroud Of The Avatar, Portalarium’s latest game release which is set to come out in a few months, comes on the heels of the company’s decision to move forward with their transition from being a games developers to a publishing company.

Portalarium is an Austin-based games company. Their title Shroud of the Avatar is their first major project. The new game promises to mix the nuances of a strong, single-player narrative-driven story with the sandbox of massively multiplayer or MMOPRG games together in their upcoming, flagship title.

“We are forever grateful to our backers under our current funding campaign who have helped us reach levels of support that we never dreamed of having; that support has helped us develop Shroud of the Avatar to where it is today,” says Richard Garriott de Cayeux CEO of Portalarium. “And with a commercial launch now in sight, it’s time to focus more on marketing and user acquisition as we scale up our player base and the service. It’s also a chance for our supporters to invest in our company as we take this next critical step with equity crowdfunding.”


Thanks Rune_74!

Monday - March 06, 2017

Shroud of the Avatar - Free to try

by Hiddenx, 21:56

PC Gamer reports that Shroud of the Avatar is free to try until Thursday:

Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar is free to try until Thursday


From now through March 9, a slightly limited version of Shroud of the Avatar is free to try. Players who sign up can't swap items with other players via trade, for example, and cannot purchase or sell items via Player Vendors nor Public Vendors. Players can't own property either, interact with public chests, move or interact with items on a plot even if given permissions, or create ransom items when they kill or are killed in PvP. The free trial also prevents players from playing in Offline Mode.


Thanks henriquejr!

Wednesday - February 01, 2017

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview with Garriott

by Hiddenx, 21:32

Rune_74 has spotted this interview with Richard Garriot at Polygon:

Richard Garriott: the man, the myth, the mischief

Early in his autobiography, Richard Garriott characterizes himself as a storyteller, a lover of yarns. After reading his new book, stuffed with tales of derring-do, I interview him via Skype. True to form, he answers almost all my questions with anecdotes, occasionally waving props into the mini-cam. He's as practiced as a Toastmaster Grand Wizard.

I'm familiar with some of the stories he tells because I've just read them in his book. Others have only a glancing relationship with the actual question asked. But no matter, he's an entertaining old cove. Among video gaming's elite auteurs — the multi-millionaire club of game design innovators — he's probably the one you'd most readily invite to a dinner party.

You're probably thinking of Garriott as that fella who wrote the Ultima games and then bought a ticket to space. But his stock of reminiscences go far beyond merely helping to shape video games and visiting the International Space Station for a fun fortnight. He's explored the Titanic. Hiked the Antarctic. Built amazing ghost houses.

My dad was an astronaut

Garriott is not the sort to hole himself up in a mansion like some 21st Century Charles Foster Kane, secluded with his greenbacks and his toys. He's out there, living it large, splashing about in the joyful puddles of existence. It's enough to make the rest of us feel a twinge of envy, perhaps even a nasty lick of resentment.


Shroud of the Avatar

I ask Garriott about Shroud of the Avatar. My question is framed along the lines of "people seem to be pretty disappointed and underwhelmed by the game." As evidence, I point towards a raft of bad reviews on the in-development game's Steam Early Access page as well as negative comments on its Kickstarter page. I wonder if things are perhaps not going as well as might be hoped?

He looks genuinely amazed at my prognosis. "I don't think so at all," he says. "We've had naysayers since the beginning. But I think what you're seeing is a side effect from open development from day one."



Tuesday - January 17, 2017

Shroud of the Avatar - Conversation & Lock System

by Silver, 23:21

Portalariums latest newsletter explains the changes to the conversation window and lock system for Shroud of the Avatar.

New NPC Conversation Window

In Release 38, we are updating the conversation window used for interacting with NPCs to make it both more immersive and easier to use. For immersion, we are hiding almost all of the other interface elements, including all other chat and the hotbar. We are also placing the chat in the very middle of the screen where you are looking at the NPC in order to keep you focused on the interaction. We have also tried to keep the interface itself to as minimal as possible with very few borders and as much transparency in the elements as we can.

For ease of use, we are placing all the keywords in a toolbar at the bottom of the window. This toolbar will include every keyword you can use with the NPC including keywords relating to quests you are currently on and keywords learned from past conversations with that NPC. This saves you from having to scroll back to find keywords you might not remember. There will also be some hidden keywords to discover though, so exploration will still be rewarded. Above you can see the work in progress as of today.


Important Update to Keys and Locks in Release 38

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Keith "Sannio" Quinn]locked-cage

As you adventure throughout Novia and the Hidden Vale, you'll find that many keys now have a chance to break on each use.

Keys may have a good chance to break (such as the keys for the locked passages that interconnect underground scenes and the cages found in wilderness scenes throughout Novia), while others break about half the time (such as the key for the Kiln Cistern Alchemist's Workshop), and some will never break (such as special keys required for quests).

When a key breaks, a message will appear in your chat window telling you so: "Your key () broke during use."

If you use a lock for which you have several of the same key, only one key will break. (In other words, not all keys of that type will break, only one at a time.)

If there is ever a situation where more than one key type can be used to open a lock, the system will use a key that never breaks when one is available, otherwise it will use a key that has the greatest chance to break. (Note that we don't have this situation in the game yet, but an example would be "Prison Cell A" opened by either "Key for Prison Cell A" or "Warden's Key.")

Tuesday - September 13, 2016

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview with Garriott

by Silver, 05:15

Gamezone interviews Richard Garriott about Shroud of the Avatar and asks him how the game will change RPGs.

Tom: That is clear in your games, and I'm sure Shroud of the Avatar will have some sci-fi tendencies.

Richard: What's interesting is, it originally started as sort of a steampunk historical future, but at first my core fanbase was like "What are you doing?! We really want medieval!", and so I kind of hid the steampunky, clockpunky stuff and we promoted the medieval stuff and everybody felt comfortable. Now that everyone's comfortable, we're actually putting back in the steampunk and clockpunk. Because after a while we were like "This is too traditional. What can we do to mix it up?" but we had this [steampunk] right here, so we pulled it back in. So yes, we will sort of see a historical future edge to it.


Tom: Shroud of the Avatar is your latest project. That was funded through Kickstarter, with Forsaken Virtues being the first in a series of five episodes. It’s been deemed a spiritual successor to Ultima: in fact, you even said you’d call it Ultima if you had the rights to it.

Richard: Yeah! In fact, every year I give EA a call and say “Look. It wouldn’t be hard to make it an Ultima! You’re not doing anything. We could make a deal. Let’s do it.” And every time I called their executives go “Yeah. That’s a great idea!” And then they shop it around internally, and there’s always some group internally that goes “No. Someday, I’m gonna use it.” And so EA understandably favors their in-house studios, and so the potential deals have fallen apart every time. And so I’ve been very careful to make sure it’s not a derivative work. There're no references in Shroud of the Avatar to names, places, events that happened before. But Shroud of the Avatar is clearly a Lord British, medieval game that includes virtues as a core concept and is not incompatible with anything I’ve done in the past. And therefore, in your own mind’s eye if you don’t want to break the continuity I’m not forcing you to break that as a player.

Saturday - July 09, 2016

Shroud of the Avatar - Garriott Sells Real Blood

by Aubrielle, 02:05

In what might be his most macabre PR move yet, Richard Garriott is planning to sell a vial of his own blood as part of a "reliquary" for Shroud of the Avatar.

Even though the event has been immortalized on video, the item is indeed on sale on eBay and Eurogamer already wrote an article on this, I still find this difficult to believe. In one of his possibly most eccentric moments, Richard "Lord British" Garriott has had a professional nurse draw some of his blood to be sold on eBay as part of a limited "reliquary" that also includes a plethora of digital items for his upcoming Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues.

The starting bid for this oddity is $5,000, but this initiative might be stopped by eBay, considering that their policy on human body parts is pretty restrictive:

Examples of prohibited items include, but are not limited to:
Native American grave-related items, including skulls and skeletons intended for medical research
Tibetan prayer skulls
waste products
body fluids
any of these items included as a gift, prize or giveaway in connection with another item listed on eBay

I wonder if this stunt will bring the spotlight back on Shroud of the Avatar, considering the title seems to have lost the interest of mainstream publications during the long road to the official release.

Source: GameBanshee

Sunday - May 22, 2016

Shroud of the Avatar - Capital City of Brittany

by Hiddenx, 18:10

Couch spotted a walkthrough of Shroud of the Avatar's Capital City of Brittany:


Take a guided tour with Level Designer Esteben Zaldivar, as he walks you through Brittany, the Capital of Novia, in Lord British's epic game, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues.

Friday - April 01, 2016

Shroud of the Avatar - Just a World for Digital Goods

by Myrthos, 12:10

Clicqist's Joanne Mueller has written a piece about Shroud of the Avatar, which states that the game is nothing more than a world to store digital goods in and that Portalarium are milking their backers and players for more money.

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is currently available as an “Early Pre-Access” Alpha build on Steam. For a title that promised to be the first of five I think it’s a little disappointing that they haven’t managed to advance to a complete version of the first game yet. How many years will it be before the story finds a conclusion at this rate? Despite the lack of polish, the game retails for $44.99 and is updated frequently, though many promised features are still noticeably lacking.

This seems to own in large part to Portalarium Inc.’s focus on the MMO aspects of the game over the solo experience that role playing fans were so passionate about when they backed Shroud of the Avatar.

Portalarium has stated that they needed to fully build the infrastructure for the multiplayer mode first, then go back and layer the single-player narrative on top of that. This may very well be true, I’m no game developer, but some of the things they’ve allotted time and resources to working on don’t seem necessary, except as a means of squeezing more funds out of their player-base.

Thanks Couch.

Friday - January 29, 2016

Shroud of the Avatar - Final Wipe in July

by Aubrielle, 02:06

Rune_74 tipped us off to Shroud of the Avatar's goal.  They plan to do their final lot selection and final character wipe in July.  Launch is still TBA, and they admit that a normal launch may not happen...

Thanks, Rune_74.

Greetings Avatars,

We are incredibly excited to announce that we have scheduled final lot selection and our final wipe, including all social data (names, friends, guilds), for Release 32, July 28, 2016! After Release 32, we will no longer be wiping the game state. Your characters and your properties will be persistent from that date forward!

Please understand that final wipe is not “launch”. We will continue to be working to finish the game's story content well past final wipe, while we remain in Early Access. Until then, the game is neither "launched" nor complete, but as mentioned below, the concept of “launch” may not even be applicable to this development model. Launch will be when we pull the game out of Early Access and we start marketing / public relation campaigns to pull in new customers. We have no plans to do those things in July. We know that this plan will generate a lot of questions and stir up plenty of emotions, but we firmly believe this is the best possible course of action for the project.

More information.

Tuesday - January 05, 2016

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #157

by Aubrielle, 04:24

Shroud of the Avatar rings in the new year with a huge update.

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Happy New Year!
  • Only 4 Days Remaining Until the Winter Reward & Price Expiration Deadline
  • Resolute
  • North Varisalla Foothills
  • The Making of The City of Aerie – Part 2
  • NPC Submissions Requested for Aerie and Resolute!
  • Dev+ Asset Packs Galore in December!
  • Brass Clockwork Raven
  • White Stone Castle Wall
  • Release 24-25 Christmas Decoration Contest Winners!
  • 24 Hours of New Year’s Parties!
  • New Years Day Costume Party In Obsidian Caverns
  • 4B’s Get In Shape Maze
  • In-game Community Events
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended projects to back

More information.

Monday - April 06, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ GamersNexus

by Couchpotato, 05:35

Portalarium Lead Richard Garriott was interviewed on a site called GamersNexus to talk about the origin of the MMORPG genre, his innovations, and Shroud of the Avatar.


In the interview, we cover just a few of Garriott & team's most memorable contributions to the gaming world:

  • Introduction of 3D perspective line drawings and tile graphics.
  • The adaptation of the Sanskrit word “avatar” as a means to represent the player's effective in-game incarnate, replacing the incumbent “character” name.
  • The concept (and even the word) of “sharding” servers to better accommodate large player bases.
  • Coining the term “MMORPG” as a game genre, later to become one of the world's most successful categories of games.

We also discuss Garriott's first encounters with Star Citizen's Chris Roberts, prior to the hiring of Roberts onto the Origin team. Closing dialogue focuses on Garriott's return to fantasy RPG roots – Shroud of the Avatar – and hopes to continue a legacy of innovation in the new title.

Saturday - March 28, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Schedule Update

by Couchpotato, 04:35

Portalarium posted an updated development schedule for Shroud of the Avatar.

As we stated in previous posts, our goal is to once-per-quarter post an updated schedule for our monthly releases. Even though these goals will likely change somewhat as we react to feedback, we feel it is important to provide you an updated roadmap periodically.

Our goal continues to be to deliver our backers content each and every month so that we can get feedback, and use it to iterate improvements. This has already paid off, with additional game features like jumping and swimming, as well as improvements to systems like crafting, conversations, and combat. Meeting that monthly goal is our highest priority, but we require flexibility in our deliverables to meet that goal. As you have seen in previous releases, sometimes we push things out, but we also often pull new things in.

It is worth noting that we develop in an iterative fashion. This means we will often get systems and content in the game as soon as we can, even if they are only partially functional. In general until you see me say something is “final” you can safely assume we will continue to improve on that feature. An example is our Pets which are in very early development and do not include a lot of their functionality like being able to hang out in your house.

As always, all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change as we adjust our designs based on direct feedback from you, our backers.

As you might notice many of the deliverables from Q1 are now in Q2. This is due to many factors including the Unity 5 conversion, conventions (we had not planned to attend GDC), bug fixes, and other completely normal game development challenges. This now obviously puts our launch by end of 2015 at risk. We are currently working on various strategies to keep launch within 2015 but as always our goal is to ship the product when it is ready, not before. We will do everything in our power however to complete Episode 1 in as timely a manner as possible without sacrificing scope or quality. It is worth noting that based on our current funding and fundraising data trends that we we will still be able to complete the game without any financial issues, even with slips like this. NOTE: With this schedule change we will be extending payment plans to November.

Sunday - March 15, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ Rebull

by Couchpotato, 03:27

"We would love to call this game an Ultima," Garriott exclusively tells Red Bull. "To date though, we have had little luck in discussions to re-acquire such rights." Even without the iconic name, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is unquestionably cut from the same cloth as Garriott's famous RPG franchise. "What made Ultima unique was a set of design principles which remains unique to much of gaming," he continues.

"In simplified form it includes such items as a living detailed world with stories about virtue and social issues; challenging a player's personal beliefs and holding up a mirror to the way these might be viewed, fiction supporting you coming to our world as an Avatar, stripping away most overused fantasy conventions while using only parts that clearly add to the experience and, finally, deep use of social tools and player communities."

Shroud of the Avatar is another Kickstarter success story. The initial campaign raised a not-inconsiderable $1.9million (€1.7m), while additional crowdfunding has brought in an extra $1.1million (€1.1m) as of January last year. Garriott is a man who has clearly had to take some big risks during his illustrious career, but even he found this new crowdfunding experience daunting, at least at first.

"It is exciting and terrifying to step off that cliff," he says. "If it hadn't worked, I'm not sure what we could have done next. But after adjusting to life building with, and for, the community, it's obvious this was the perfect way for us to proceed. At this point we get much more than financial support from our community; they inspire and often lead us along the way."

Monday - March 09, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ GamersNexus

by Couchpotato, 04:30

GamersNexus posted a new three minute video interview with Richard Garriott.


We sat down with Richard Garriott at PAX East 2015, discussing Shroud of the Avatar's latest release, update plans, and gameplay updates.

Sunday - March 08, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #115

by Couchpotato, 03:48

If anyone is still interested Portalarium posted the next weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar. As usual here is the lists of topic covered in the update.

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

  • Community Sponsored Decoration Contest
  • Abe’s Overworld Work-in-Progress
  • Release 16 Grand Tour Quest Reward: Black Lepus Mask
  • Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Raises 143% of Goal!
  • Crowfall Kickstarter Passes $1 Million Stretch Goal!
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Sir Frank’s Writing Contest (with Prizes!)
  • Receiving Pledge Rewards and Add-On Items
  • Changes to Store Credit Conversions
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • How to Cancel Monthly Layaway Payment Plans
  • This Week In The News
  • Upcoming Events

Monday - February 23, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ MMORPG

by Couchpotato, 04:39

MMORPG posted a new one hour YouTube video interview for Shroud of the Avatar where they talk with Starr Long and Richard Garriott of Portalarium.


On this evening our hero's Richard, Rob, and Starr traverse the world of New Brittannia.

Saturday - February 21, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Single Player Features

by Couchpotato, 05:56

Portalarium finally released information about the single player offline version of Shroud of the Avatar. Lets all give thanks to Rune for sending in the link with the information.

This post is intended to be a quick update on some future plans for how we will handle Single Player Offline and how it will differ from the Online modes of play. None of this is set in stone but it is our current thinking so, as always, feedback is welcome!

As you review this remember that Offline Mode is completely separate from Online Modes. Characters cannot move between these modes.

As we have stated elsewhere we have to build the sandbox first and then layer the narrative on top of that. It will totally fail if we try to do that in reverse. Please be patient and know we are as committed to the Single Player Offline mode of play as we are to online, we just have not gotten to it yet.

  1. Save Games: One of the benefits to our distributed server model is that even though we are a client-server game we offload some of the server work to the local machines of our users. For offline mode the server (including all data) will be entirely client side so we can relatively easily provide the ability for users to restore their game from backups, aka Save Games. For Episode 1 launch we are planning to give players the ability to have multiple Save Games!
  2. Companions: In Online modes companions will appear to the players from time to time along the story but they will not travel with the players. We did it this way for the Online modes because we did not want clones of these key NPCs in the same party of players. For offline mode we don’t have to worry about this though! This is, by far, the most requested feature and we intend to provide a small set of Ultima like companions that will journey with you. They will still periodically go off to do “their thing” as part of their virtual lives but for the most part they will indeed be companions. We intend for them to each have robust conversation and AI so that they truly feel like individuals (as they did in the linear Ultimas). In combat they will have commands similar to the pet commands we have now. For Episode 1 we have a long wishlist of features that are probably outside scope but
  3. Spawn Rules: Some scenes will never respawn (creatures and resources) in offline mode (clearing a dungeon for example). The scenes that do respawn may do so on a very slow timer or only if there is a game state change that requires them to respawn (ex. a Town Siege by the Undead). We will balance this to make sure the game feels like it is reacting to the player but it is also providing enough resources for crafting.
  4. Content: There are a few items that we are not going to sell in game in Online mode including the Castle and Keep sized lots. However we do plan to make those available in Offline mode along with a handful of other items yet to be finalized.

Monday - February 09, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #111

by Couchpotato, 04:18

Here is the next weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar from Portalarium form the games official website. As usual here are the various topics from the new update.

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

  • Raise the Underworld
  • New Pledge Rewards: Bank Slots
  • Receiving Pledge Rewards and Add-On Items in Release 14
  • includes SotA in Top 50 Most Anticipated Games of 2015
  • The Release 15 Grand Tour Silver Jester Carnival Mask
  • Limited Edition Jester Carnival Mask
  • Massively Overpowered Kickstarter
  • $10 for $10 Bonus Promotion
  • Novia Overworld Work-In-Progress
  • Changes to Store Credit Conversions
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Last Chance Exclusives
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
  • This Week In The News
  • Upcoming Events

Monday - February 02, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #110

by Couchpotato, 04:04

Here is the next weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar, and as usual it contains the same topics as the hundred of other posts, but it does talk about Underworld Ascendant.

We are pleased to announce that our long-time friend and former Origin protégé, Paul Neurath, is launching a Kickstarter campaign on February 4th to reboot the legendary Ultima Underworld games.

It has been more than a decade long wait, but the stars have aligned and Paul has long last freed the rights to move forward with the franchise, sans only the “Ultima” brand itself. He is joined by some of his Looking Glass colleagues who worked on the original franchise, as well as on System Shock and Thief, in the newly formed company, OtherSide Entertainment. The team has vowed to stay true to the spirit of the original Underworld, while at the same time innovating in all new ways. And they want you to be a part of it.

We’re especially excited to reveal that, just as the original Ultima and Underworld shared a connection on backstory and fictional elements, so too will Shroud of the Avatar and Underworld Ascendant. There is a portal between the two worlds, which over the ages travelers have crossed, some bringing with them artifacts and arcane lore.

Our partnership, forged in the bonds of creativity, inspires us to continue the legacy. As backers of Shroud of the Avatar, you know how pivotal you are in the development of the game. No longer is there a wall between the fans and the developers. Through the magic of crowdfunding, we can develop the game and check in with fans along the way. We can get a reality check at each step so we’re truly making the game you, the player want. Not only are we sharing storyline elements with Underworld Ascendant, but we share this philosophy of collaborative development. It is a powerful time in game design, where game creators can connect directly to you, the community.

So as you have shown your allegiance to Shroud of the Avatar, bring forth that same spirit and make your pledge to raise the Underworld on February 4th.

At least we now know the date for the Underworld Ascendant kickstarter.

Friday - January 30, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 14 Instructions

by Couchpotato, 04:17

Release 14 of Shroud of the Avatar is now available for all backers, and Portalarium has once again released instructions on how to download, and play the new update.

Release 14 is our first release of 2015 and represents several major new features (Banking, Pledge Rewards, Encumbrance, Enchantments) as well as overhauls to existing features (Crafting). It is also a milestone because now more than half of the Adventuring schools (magic and combat) are complete! Of course, with new content comes new bugs and balance issues, so help us out by posting bugs and feedback in our official forums.

Also, remember that while we are providing new content with each release, our community is also working overtime to make new events for you to enjoy, so be sure to check out the Community Events Calendar (via in game book or the player run website Avatars Circle).

Monday - January 26, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #109

by Couchpotato, 04:47

Well It's time for the next weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar from Portalarium. It contains the usual adverting, and new items to buy. Here is the list of topics.

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

  • SotA at PAX South
  • Banks in Release 14
  • Changes to Store Credit Conversions
  • First Glimpse of Novia Overworld
  • SotA in Game Informer Magazine
  • MMORPG.COM – Release 14: Strong Start to a New Year
  • Shack News: CES Interview with Starr Long
  • GDC Next – Crowd Sharing: Crowd Sourcing + Crowd Funding
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • New Britannia Theater Troupe: Live Double Feature
  • Last Chance Exclusives: The Axe and Wood & Plaster Homes
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
  • Upcoming Events

Saturday - January 24, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Lay of the Land Video

by Couchpotato, 05:38

The Mad Hermit released a new four minute video earlier this month that give anyone who is curious a virtual tour of the lands you will visit in Shroud of the Avatar.


Need a high-level overview of where the various cities, towns and villages are in Shroud of the Avatar? Jump in my hot air balloon and sail with me as we survey the land from high-up above!

Although most of our adventures at this point are confined to the "Hidden Vale", boats and Lunar Rifts allow us access to some of the cities and points of interest that exist on the Island of Novia (where the core part of the story will eventually take place).

Friday - January 23, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - GDC Vault Video

by Couchpotato, 01:01

Gamasutra is hosting another movie from the GDC vault this time with Shroud of the Avatar developer Starr Long who talks about crowdfunding being a tricky business.

It's often now hailed as a way to free developers from the shackles of publishers, a way to make very specific products for very specific audiences; but what seems to be missing is ongoing dialogue about building this into a self-sustaining ecosystem of development where the crowd is sharing, not just funding and sourcing.

Crowdsharing is a combination of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing in a sustainable loop. Using his recent experience on Shroud of the Avatar, Long -- a 20-year veteran of game development -- spoke about the various ways you can make this loop work for your next project at GDC Next 2014.

It's a good talk and we've gone ahead and embedded the video of "Crowdsharing: Crowdfunding and Crowdsourcing" above, but you can also watch it here for free on the GDC Vault.

Tuesday - January 20, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ GamerHubTV

by Couchpotato, 04:21

Executive Producer Starr Long was interviewed on GamerHubTV this week.


At CES 2015, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Executive Producer Starr Long was at the Plantronics booth discussing crowd development and the latest improvements to the Portalarium MMO RPG in this exclusive interview.

Saturday - January 17, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 13 Postmortem

by Couchpotato, 03:49

Its time again for another postmortem video from Portalarium games. This time they talk about the recently released build thirteen of Shroud of the Avatar.



Richard, Starr, and Chris will be chatting about Release 13, recounting their favorite moments while also looking ahead to Release 14. And as usual, I’ll be taking your questions and feedback about R13 live in the chat-room and also in advance in the comments section!

Sunday - January 11, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #107

by Couchpotato, 01:19

Portalarium. has posted the 107th weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar.

A Year of Portalarium: 2014 in Review

GolemDragon posted an amazing article on the Ultima Codex site entitled “Shroud of the Avatar- A Year of Portalarium: 2014 in Review“. He starts the article by saying:

"As Kenneth likes to do “A Year in Review”posts on Ultima Codex, He and I are both pleased to bring you, Shroud of the Avatar – A Year of Portalarium: 2014 in Review, in which we look at the news related to Richard Garriott, #Portalarium, and #LBSotA that came out in the last year. As you can see we have everything organized monthly. Enjoy!!!"

He then provides a summary of the key SotA events for each month, with links to the original material. He closed by saying:

"It really has been an amazing year. Alot has changed for Shroud of the Avatar. We have multiple systems that have been created and are in the stage of being expanded, changed, and polished. Other systems still have yet to be developed and so 2015 will be another year of major changes. Many community members have only just started their own community projects or have moved on from past projects to new projects. May you all look back on 2014 as a good year of development for SotA and look forward to all 2015 may bring us."

We encourage you to check out GolemDragon’s 2014 in Review article at Ultima Codex because it truly captures what an amazing year 2014 was for all of us traveling this journey together!

Saturday - January 10, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ Gamers Nexus

by Couchpotato, 03:36

Scott Griffin of Gamers Nexus interviewed RichardGarriott about Shroud of the Avatar.


The ability to hook players into a game -- ideally without requiring a never-ending grind to get to the "fun part" -- is an ever-challenging quest for companies. This problem is one that actually benefits the modding community, which is probably one of the ultimate forms of complimenting a game's developers. Modding communities show that players are so committed to what they were given that they want to keep it alive as long as possible. Morrowind is a prime example of this; even after a decade, players are still keeping the game alive by porting it into newer engines even the game's Lead Designer acknowledges this, 10+ years later.

Monday - January 05, 2015

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #106

by Couchpotato, 04:07

As usual here is the next weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar from Portalarium.

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

  • Shroud of the Avatar #1 Most Anticipated MMO of 2015 and Beyond!
  • SotA at CES Next Week
  • Brightbone Pass
  • Shardfall Biome
  • Wyrmsands
  • Dragon Pass
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Last Chance Exclusives: Skinning Knife, Wood & Plaster Row House and Town Home
  • Holiday Specials
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
  • Upcoming Events

Tuesday - December 30, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #105

by Couchpotato, 05:18

Well here is the next weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar from Portalarium.

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

  • The Space Bards’ cover of Iolo’s “Stones”
  • Scepter of Dread Artifact
  • First Quarter 2015 Schedule Update
  • $5 for $5 Holiday Bonus
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • Holiday Specials
  • Last Chance Exclusives: Smithing Hammer, Village Pavilion, and Barn Village Home
  • How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
  • Recruitment Bonus Allocation Expiration
  • Upcoming Events

Wednesday - December 24, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #104

by Couchpotato, 15:31

It's time for the next weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar from Portalarium.


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

  • Play Release 13 Now and Get Your Grand Tour Yule Hat
  • Vote for Shroud of the Avatar as the Most Anticipated MMO of 2015!
  • $5 for $5 Holiday Bonus
  • SotA Community is Rockin’ It!
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • Holiday Specials
  • Last Chance Exclusives: Smelting Tongs and Blue Tile Roof Row Houses
  • How to Cancel Monthly Payment Plans
  • Recruitment Bonus Allocation Expiration
  • This Week In the News
  • Upcoming Events

Friday - December 19, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 13 Instructions

by Couchpotato, 05:15

 Release 13 of Shroud of the Avatar is now available for all backers, and Portalarium has once again released instructions on how to download, and play the new update.

I'm still waiting on the news for when I can play the single player version.

When we first released our Q4 2014 schedule over 3 months ago we were quite optimistic about how much we could accomplish in that period of time, while at the same time transitioning to 24/7 uptime with persistence. While we were able to complete as much work as we had planned (and in many cases more) that work ended up being very different than what we first planned. This is what comes out of a very iterative and responsive approach to development. Our velocity is almost exactly what we had hoped but the direction of our efforts varies.

We believe that this approach will result in a much better game than if we simply marched along with a rigid plan that had no room for adaptation. We hope you share that belief and continue to support us on this unique journey.

Release 13 is our first release since launching on Steam Early Access last month and we believe that the changes and additions we have made are making the game both more beautiful and more playable. From the incredible stark beauty of the desert scenes to the rush of flames engulfing your axe, you will find much to enjoy. Of course with new content comes new bugs and balance issues, so help us out by posting bugs and feedback in our official forums.

Tuesday - December 09, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 13 and Deserts

by Aubrielle, 10:30

Shroud of the Avatar's Release 13 will introduce deserts to the growing title.

Release 13 is prepped and raring to hit Shroud of the Avatar's servers on Thursday, December 18th. One of the new additions that will be coming to the game is the inclusion of desert biomes for the sandbox title.

Release 13 will also allow players to see part of their hair while still wearing hats, which is more of a big deal than one might expect. It will also contain a new "grand tour" quest that will dish out an exclusive reward to those who complete it before the next release.

Shroud of the Avatar recently launched on Steam Early Access, and keys for this version of the game are available to all backers.

Original article.

Source: Massively

Saturday - November 29, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Lord British's rough new world

by Hexprone, 07:11

Any love left for Richard Garriott? His Shroud of the Avatar is now on early access, and apparently it does have some unusual features for an MMO -- like an old-fashioned keyword-based dialogue system. 

Shroud of the Avatar isn't one of those games with NPCs balancing big exclamation marks over their heads; here, you have to chat up the local populace to dig for information. As in, you type out questions and carry out conversations.

I love it, even if you'll come across occasional oddities ... It's fun mainly because it lets me speak to these people as I want to, and most of their responses yield clickable words for prompts if you want to minimize the guessing games. 

Everything old is new again. And the story's by Tracy Hickman, if anyone was a Dragonlance fan. The reviewer is guardedly enthusiastic:

As the warning that pops up when you play the Early Access version now available on Steam proclaims, it "still needs a LOT of work," but there's nevertheless the rough draft of something wonderful on display here.

Source: PC Gamer

Tuesday - November 25, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Released on Early Access

by Aubrielle, 07:52

Shroud of the Avatar has finally come to Steam Early Access, for those of you who can't wait to stride waist-deep into the treacherous Pre-Alpha sea.  Thanks, Benetar.

Shroud of the Avatar is currently in pre-Alpha. This game still needs a LOT of work, it will be under construction for some time, and data wipes will happen periodically.
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is a new type of third person fantasy RPG that combines a single player narrative with a sandbox MMO. It is being created by a team that includes: Richard "Lord British" Garriott the creator of the Ultima series, Starr Long the original Director of Ultima Online, and Tracy Hickman the author of the beloved Dragonlance Novels and Dungeons & Dragons modules.
We estimate reaching a Beta version with all features and content sometime in the middle of 2015. All features and plans listed here are subject to change. We may modify, add or remove features as we see fit during the development process.

Website for more information:

More information.

Thursday - November 20, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 12

by Myrthos, 23:13

Release 12 of Shroud of the Avatar is coming to you (if you want). As usual there is a long list of stuff in the game and still no news on the status of the single player version. Get the info here.

Monday - November 10, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #98

by Couchpotato, 05:33

It's time for the next weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar from Portalarium.

Release 11 Stays Open!

As we have mentioned previously, we intend to maintain continuous up-time (versus 4-day access windows) once Shroud of the Avatar launches on Steam Early Access on November 24th. In preparation for that event we decided to leave Release 11 open to see how the game handles up-time longer than the usual 4 days. So far so good!

The Grand Tour Quest

Just as in our last release, we’ve included a Grand Tour Quest designed to guide you through all the new content. And just in time for Halloween, you will be able to get the Tricorn Hat with Carnival Mask by completing the Release 11 Grand Tour Quest. This reward can only be unlocked until we launch Release 12 (did someone say rares?), so be sure to log in to R11 and talk to all the Tour Guides!

Steam Access Keys Now Available

SotA will launch on Steam Early Access on November 24, but we’ve made Steam Access Keys immediately available to all our backers as part of their basic pledge rewards! Once you’ve redeemed your Steam Access Key you’ll have the option of playing SotA either with the Steam client or the regular client (or both).

Monday - November 03, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #97

by Couchpotato, 05:32

Here is the next weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar from Portalarium.

We reached $5M in total pledges raised yesterday, a year and a half after starting down this incredible journey! Congratulations to our community for making Shroud of the Avatar one of a very small handful of games that have crossed the $5M mark in crowdfunding! It is a testament to this incredible community and the incredible game we are creating together!

All of us at Portalarium continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that all of you so generously contribute! Because of you, and with you, we are able to make Shroud of the Avatar so much more than we could have ever imagined. We are honored to be able to share this once-in-a-lifetime journey with each and every one of you, and we will never be able to thank you enough!

Tuesday - October 28, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Preview @ MMORPG

by Couchpotato, 03:35

MMORPG posted a preview of Shroud of the Avatar based on the Release 11 version. 

I am quite literally just back from Austin as I sit down to write this latest update on Shroud of the Avatar.  I wasn’t able to make it up for my typical week-before-release hangout with the guys, so today was pretty much a drive by.  It’s well worth staying up past my bedtime to hack this article out, though.  Despite the brevity of my visit, I got a load of cool information to share with you folks, and I’m excited to do it.

Right…  So a triple shot expresso later, and we’re rolling into paragraph number two, but my energy crisis isn’t what you’re here for.  You want to know about the things coming up for Release 11, like character advancement and some of the new crafting changes.  You probably already know about that stuff, and about the recent news concerning Steam.  There’s even cooler stuff in store though, so read on!

Saturday - October 25, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 11 Instructions

by Couchpotato, 05:09

Portalarium has posted the Release 11 Instructions on the Shroud of the Avatar website.

We are moving full steam ahead (oh yes, I went there) towards our Steam Early Access launch on November 24. We were nervous at first about moving to Steam, but are feeling great now based on the overwhelmingly positive and speedy results of our Steam Greenlight campaign, and the incredible support Steam has been giving us. With that said, we need this launch to be super smooth. So we need your help in R11 to play the game through Steam if you are willing. As a reminder Steam is optional for playing Shroud. You can still play without using Steam.

We have lots of new content for you to play with (over a hundred!), and some major changes, including the addition of advancement (finally a sense of progress through gameplay), modifications to combat systems (movement penalties, sprinting, encumbrance, durability, etc.), crafting (cooking, repair, alchemy), and a major change to how wilderness scenes work on the Overworld map (see below for more details).

Monday - October 20, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #95

by Couchpotato, 06:24

Here is the 95th Update of the Avatar from Portalarium has been posted this week, and as usual it contains new information, items, and a few other details.

Release 11 Steam Access Keys Now Available

SotA will not be available for purchase on Steam Early Access until November 24, but all our backers can use Steam to play Release 11 by redeeming their Steam Access key, which we made available yesterday. You won’t be able to play until Release 11 is launched next week (Oct 23), but you can install it now to help us make sure the Steam access/installation process is bug-free. Here are the instructions for redeeming your Steam access key and installing the SotA client:

  1. If you are not currently a backer of SotA you will need to purchase a pledge. Click here for more information about our pledges.
  2. Log into SotA and go to your Account page
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a box on the right side labeled “Play SotA through Steam”. Click on the link that reads “…click here to redeem an access key by signing in through Steam!
  4. You’ll be instructed to Sign in through Steam
  5. Click the “Allow” button to redeem and activate the SotA key on your Steam account
  6. You’ll see a SotA “Congratulations” message confirming successful Steam activation. Click the “account page” link to return you to your SotA Acccount page.
  7. Scroll to the bottom of your account page and you’ll see “Play SotA through Steam” box now states that your Steam access key has been redeemed, and displays the Steam Account it is associated with.
  8. You will need to launch your Steam desktop client to see Shroud of the Avatar in your Steam Library (because SotA is not yet available in the Steam Store to the general public, it will not show up in your library if you view your Steam account through a web browser)
  9. Select Shroud of the Avatar in your Steam Library and click on “INSTALL”
  10. Follow the Steam installation instructions and once the download is complete you will be able to launch SotA from Steam (but remember, you won’t be able to play SotA until Release 11 launches next week, Oct 23).

Let us know if you have any problems and thanks for helping us test the Steam Access key redemption and download/installation process!

Sunday - October 12, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #94

by Couchpotato, 08:33

The 94th Update of the Avatar from Portalarium has been posted this week, and as usual it contains news, items, and a few more videos. Here are the details.

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Get Your 15% Black Friday Bonus Starting Now!
  • The Release 11 Grand Tour Quest Reward
  • R11 Grand Tour POI: Swamp Scene
  • Chris Spears’ R10 Perspective
  • Edelmann Pledge Reward: Birdbath Decoration
  • 4-Pack of Prosperity
  • Through the Lunar Rift
  • Last Chance Exclusives
  • Flexible Placement Stretch Goal: Greenhouse and Garden Shed
  • Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon
  • Upcoming Events

Sunday - October 05, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #93

by Couchpotato, 05:00

The 93rd Update of the Avatar from Portalarium has been posted this week. As usual here is the list of various topic covered this week if you're interested of course.

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Release 10 Perspectives
  • Q4 Schedule
  • Duke’s Custom Avatars
  • Lord Marshal’s Coronated Helmet
  • Pledge Rewards: Nightshade, Mandrake, and Garlic Reagents
  • Bitcoin Accepted Here
  • Fandomania Interview: Starr Long on Watch Collecting
  • Pen of the Avatar
  • Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon
  • Upcoming Events

Friday - October 03, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 10 Postmortem

by Couchpotato, 04:25

Portalarium has posted another hour long postmortem video this time for Release 10, and I have to say  only watch the video if you have time to spare.

Richard, Starr, and Chris will be chatting about Release 10, recounting their favorite moments, and looking ahead to Release 11.

Monday - September 29, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #92

by Couchpotato, 05:50

Well we all know the drill here is another Update of the Avatar post from Portalarium.

Play Release 10 Now and Get Your Cavalier’s Hat

Release 10 successfully launched yesterday, September 26, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, logging in, and checking out the new changes! Lots of new content to check out, including:

  • Combat/PvP: Challenge anyone to a duel anywhere, spectator mode in arenas, auto-deck and starting deck revamp, universal cool-down abolished, hot swap decks during combat, new combat visual effects
  • New/Improved Scenes: Ardoris Castle areas are open, Oracle Confirmatory enhanced, New Vertas Pass, plains/hills/road scenes polished
  • Challenge Dungeon: New dungeon that gets increasingly difficult the deeper in (your gonna need help with this one!). Located near the starting point in Braemar (rumor has it this dungeon may be the path to Lich Mountain).
  • Creatures: Lich Mage & Lich Archer (below Owl’s Head and Kingsport), New AI Agro System, New Slime behaviors, etc.
  • Overworld: The Overworld map has become a real scene with your avatar animating on it and navigable with WASD keys.
  • Character Customization: Modify cheeks/jaw, much improved hair, bigger beards.
  • Summoned Pet Commands: Attack, dismiss, stay, follow, teleport (to owner), defensive, aggressive, passive
  • …and more!

The Grand Tour Quest

Starting with R10, we have a new type of quest, called the Grand Tour. You can talk to any Tour Guide (one is near where new players appear, in Braemar) to begin the quest. Visiting all the Tour Guides (who are stationed near the new content introduced with that release) will earn a reward for your account (for R10, a Cavalier’s Hat). This reward can only be unlocked during that release (did someone say rares?), so be sure to complete the Grand Tour before the release is over!

Community member (The Mad Hermit) created a How-To Video Guide describing how to complete the Grand Tour and get your Cavalier’s Hat.

Thursday - September 25, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Greenlit on Steam

by Couchpotato, 01:35

Portalarium announces that Shroud of the Avatar has enough votes to be Grennlit.

As you can see on the page your overwhelmingly positive support has resulted in an incredibly fast green lighting of Shroud! Thank you all so much for your support. Stay tuned as we now work with Valve to get Shroud in the Early Access section of Steam as soon as we can.

Monday - September 22, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #91

by Couchpotato, 06:13

The 91th Update of the Avatar from Portalarium has been posted this week. The most important part of the update to me is about the game on Steam Greenlight.

Help Us Greenlight SotA on Steam

We created a Steam Greenlight page for Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues in an effort to get Shroud into Steam Early Access, hopefully by the end of this year. We believe this is a great way for us to both reach a wider audience while at the same time offering our existing backers who use Steam a way to play Shroud in that ecosystem of friends, achievements, etc.

This will NOT be a replacement for direct download and play of Shroud, but instead it is an option. Players will still be able to directly download and play the game through our website, patcher, etc. if they so wish.

We have yet to work out the details with Steam but our plan would be to give our backers Steam Keys to play the game on Steam if they request it so that they won’t have to repurchase the product on Steam. We have seen several other products do this so we do not anticipate this being an issue.

If SotA passes the Greenlight process and becomes available on Steam, our current thinking is to offer a version of the game priced at the low end of our current pledges, that includes:

  • Digital download of the game (Episode 1)
  • Alpha + Beta access

SotA’s long-term success depends upon us reaching as wide an audience as possible, and Steam is a great way to do that. So please help us out by going to the Shroud of the Avatar Steam Greenlight page and voting yes to make SotA available on Steam!

Sunday - September 14, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #90

by Couchpotato, 04:46

The 90th Update of the Avatar from Portalarium has been posted this week, and as usual it contains news, items, and a few more videos. Here are the details.

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

  • Darkstarr Training Montage
  • New Designers Join SotA Dev Team
  • Founder’s Developer Blog: Daily Standup Notes and Developer Q&A
  • Baron’s Cloak
  • Knight’s Cloak
  • Creature Spotlight: Elves
  • Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon
  • Upcoming Events

Tuesday - September 09, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 10 Plan

by Couchpotato, 02:44

The Executive Producer of Shroud of the Avatar Starr Long has a post on the games forum with information on the updated plans for release 10.

Release 9 was another large push forward on combat with over 50 new skills and a new PVP Team Mode. We were able to get a lot more data on combat, balance, and skills. Obviously we have a lot left to do to get balanced, but the framework is solid to work from so we are pleased with the progress.

As always, the community continued to create some incredible events like the PVP tournaments, Welcome Quests, theatre productions, mazes, and a host of other activities big and small. Again the foundation you are building shows what an incredible community we have with this game. Congratulations to all of you for that.

R10’s main purpose is stabilization, performance, polish and testing. Additionally some tasks that were pushed from R9 will get worked on. We will post a Q4 schedule update sometime after the beginning of R10.

RELEASE 10, September 25 - 28 2014:

  • Stability: Updates to item architecture, characters, and other systems will hopefully improve stability and prevent characters from getting into bad states that prevent logging in or loading maps.
  • PVP: The Team PVP arena and possibly the Open Team Arena will be modified to support spectators.
  • Combat Skills: Players now will start with a default deck equipped that is the sum total of your “spent” skill points. You can modify this deck simply by adjusting your skill points, no need to open the deck building interface. Additionally a few more combos and a small handful of new skills will be available.
  • Magic School Naming: Magic school names are changing to more thematic names:
    • Thaumaturgy (Life Magic)
    • Necromancy (Death Magic)
    • Atenism (Sun Magic)
    • Lunaism (Moon Magic)
    • Gaiaism (Earth Magic)
    • Theurgy (Air Magic)
    • Tempestry (Water Magic)
    • Sorcery (Fire Magic)
    • Omnipotence (Focus)
  • Scenes: The Ardoris Castle areas will open up to make that city complete. We are also going to experiment with a Challenge Level to test scaling difficulty for combat against AI.
  • Creatures: An updated version of the wolf and our first dog (the Rottweiler) will appear in the game.
  • Crafting: Adjustments will be made so that characters who were scaled up or down during character creation will animate properly with crafting tables. We will also add another round of visual effects to tables that do not yet have any (Milling, Carpentry, etc.)
  • Overworld as a Real Scene: The Overworld map will move to a real scene. This will allow us to easily add features like animating avatars, full user interface access, etc.
  • Visual Effects Polish: We are going to work on various environmental effects (smoke, steam, falling leaves, etc.) to get them working better with lighting.
  • Character Customization: At least one new facial feature will come online. Additionally an update to how we handle hair and facial hair will add layers, transparency, and animations.

Monday - September 08, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ MMORPG

by Couchpotato, 05:12 posted a new video interview with Richard Garriott, and Starr Long of Portalarium.The topic of discussion is Shroud of the Avatar.'s Rob interviewing Richard Garriott and Starr Long of Portalarium on Shroud of the Avatar update 9

Tuesday - September 02, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Preview @ Joystiq

by Couchpotato, 05:10

Joystiq posted a short hands-on preview of Shroud of the Avatar from PaxPrime 2014.

The team is currently working to polish up the current game, although additional world builders have been hired to beef up Shroud's PvE content and add a lot more dungeons. Promotions are planned to call burned-out testers back into the game, and efforts are being made to get players together in a spread-out world so that everyone doesn't get too lonely and isolated.

Features are all well and good, but what I really wanted to do was to watch the fireflies dance around more. Sometimes it's the little things that evoke wonder, y'know?

Sunday - August 31, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #88

by Couchpotato, 04:03

The next Shroud of the Avatar from developer Portalarium has been posted. As usual it's more items, and news mixed together with a few new videos.

In celebration of the PAX and Dragoncon conventions this weekend, we are excited to announce that Release 9 is re-opening from 10:30 am CST Aug 29 thru 10:30 am CST Sep 1. Richard Garriott and Starr Long are representing SotA at Dragoncon while Chris Spears, Brandon Cotton, and Finn Staber are representing SotA at PAX. In the spirit of friendly rivalry, we’ve temporarily renamed the opposing teams in the PvP Castle Arena to PAX and Dragoncon. So, log into the game, make your way over to the PvP Castle Arena (at the starting point in Braemar), and join the side of your favorite convention. We’ll report which convention was the overall winner in next week’s update! Here is an updated version of the SotA Trailer that we prepared for PAX and Dragoncon.

Friday - August 29, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 9 Postmortem

by Couchpotato, 06:06

Portalarium has posted the next hour long postmortem video for Release 9. Sorry to say I have no transcript, and only watch the video of you have time to spare.

Monday - August 25, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #87

by Couchpotato, 05:54

For all those still waiting to play Shroud of the Avatar the games developer Portalarium has posted the next update. As usual it's more items, and news mixed together.

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

  • Team Combat Is Here – Play R9 Now!
  • Release 9 In-game Community Events
  • PaxLair Player Town in Release 9
  • Release 9 Welcome Quest
  • Player Hosted PvP Tournaments
  • Developer Pledge Reward: Aether Vibration Amplifier (aka SotA Wireless Streaming Radio)
  • The Island of Choices
  • Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon
  • This Week In The News
  • Upcoming Events

Friday - August 22, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 9 Instructions

by Couchpotato, 05:27

Portalarium posted instructions on the next Alpha release for Shroud of the Avatar. It seems Release 9 will focus on the games combat system.

Thank you to our loyal backers of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 9 access for all backers at First Responder level and above (as well as winners of the R9 sweepstakes) begins this Thursday, August 21 at 10:30 AM Central Time. Release 9 access will end on Monday, August 25 at 10:00 AM Central Time. Starting today, you can begin installing and patching (see instructions below), but login will not be enabled until Thursday morning.

Here are links to instructions and known issues. NOTE: Mac and Linux users will have to completely re-install the client for this release. We apologize for that inconvenience.

We are incredibly excited to share this latest release with all of you. We continued to make major progress on combat with huge increases in content (50 skills, combos, reagents, consumables, PVP Team Games, etc.). At the same time we are steadily expanding the world with multiple new maps to explore and new creatures to fight.

Tuesday - August 19, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of The Avatar #86

by Couchpotato, 06:04

Well here ae a new week and Portalarium has posted the next update for Shroud of the Avatar. As usual the update is a mix of news, and more items offered for more cash.

The opening moments of Shroud of the Avatar where first you learn of the mysterious lands of Novia, and you feel the alluring pull of your destiny…

Monday - August 11, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #85

by Couchpotato, 05:57

Well for thosw who stiil care Portalarium has posted the next update for Shroud of the Avatar. As usual the update is a mix of news, and more items offered for more cash.

Here is the list of topics.

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

  • Release 9 Weekend Access Sweepstakes!
  • Player Run Town Welcome Quests
  • New Britannia’s First Player Run Theatrical Production
  • Duke’s Cloak
  • Lord Marshal’s Great Hearth
  • Hangout of the Avatar: R8 Postmortem & R9 Preview
  • Call for Lore: Player Written Books
  • Through the Lunar Rift!
  • Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon
  • World Builder/Level Designer Job Opening
  • Upcoming Events

Thursday - August 07, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 8 Postmortem

by Couchpotato, 06:11

Portalarium has posted a new hour long Release 8 Postmortem video. Sorry to say I have no transcript, and only watch the video of you have time to spare.

Richard, Starr, and Chris will be chatting about Release 8, recounting their favorite moments, and reflecting on the R8 PvP and combat experience, while also looking ahead to Release 9. Don’t forget, I’ll be taking your questions and feedback about R8 live in the chat-room.

Tuesday - August 05, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #84

by Couchpotato, 05:53

Portalarium has posted the next update for Shroud of the Avatar. As usual the update is a mix of news, and more items offered for more cash. Here is the list of topics.

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

  • Release 8 Perspectives
  • Player Hosted PvP Tournaments
  • Lord Marshal Throne
  • Lord British and Darkstarr Outfits
  • Through the Lunar Rift!
  • Blade of the Avatar Cloak
  • More Stretch Goal Store Goodies
  • Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon
  • World Builder/Level Designer Job Opening
  • Upcoming Events

Monday - July 28, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #83

by Couchpotato, 15:57

Portalarium has posted the next update for Shroud of the Avatar. As usual the update is a mix of news, items, and information on the new patch.

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

  • It’s PvP Time – Play R8 Now!
  • The Mad Hermit’s Video Guides to Release 8 Combat
  • Shardfall Ruins – Open PvP Zones
  • Starr Long shows off Release 8 with MMORPG!
  • Sequanna, The Titan of Love
  • Always Read the Comments
  • Lord Marshal Drinking Horn
  • Underground Player Towns
  • Alienware Sponsors 1000 Access Keys and Prizes for Release 8
  • World Builder/Level Designer Job Opening
  • This Week In The News
  • Upcoming Events

Thursday - July 24, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 8 Instructions

by Couchpotato, 15:51

The latest update for Shroud of the Avatar has information on the new version eight release, and gives detailed instructions on how to install & play.

Release 8 Instructions – It’s PvP Time!

Thank you to our loyal backers of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 8 access for all backers at First Responder level and above begins this Thursday, July 24 at 10:30 AM Central Time. Release 8 access will end on Monday, July 28 at 10:00 AM Central Time. Starting today, you can begin installing and patching (see instructions below), but login will not be enabled until Thursday morning.

This has been yet another incredible release to work on. We kicked it off with a bang by completely redirecting the entire release to focus on pulling PVP in earlier than previously planned. We then followed it up with an incredibly positive showing at the Rooster Teeth Expo here in Austin where we signed up over 300 potential backers for Release 8 access. Right after RTX , we managed to pull in Deck Building and Glyph Combat (originally planned for R9) and then we hunkered down and spent every day making combat and PVP better. We do daily dev death matches in the Castle Arena Basement and they are epic! The team has never been more engaged and excited. Even team members who are not traditionally drawn to PVP were pulled in and had fun. After each death match, we meet to discuss the results and decide what we want to fix / add for the next session. The end result is combat that offers a truly refreshing and compelling experience that is completely different than anything we have played. Is it still rough? Of course it is, but it positively seethes with potential and you, our incredible backers, are going to help us reach that potential.

Monday - July 21, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #82

by Couchpotato, 13:48

Well you guys know the drill by now as Portalarium has posted the next update for Shroud of the Avatar. As usual the update is a mix of news, and new items.

Here is the list if topics.

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

  • Are You Ready for some PvP?
  • Dev+ Early Early Release 8 Access
  • Lord Reward: Noble’s Magical Discourse Orb
  • Knight Marshal Winged Helm
  • Row House Expansion
  • Crowdsourcing Music Update
  • Hangout of the Avatar Developer Roundtable ~ Player Owned Towns
  • Flexible Placement Stretch Goal
  • Alienware Sponsors 1000 Access Keys and Prizes for Release 8
  • World Builder/Level Designer Job Opening
  • Upcoming Events

Monday - July 14, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #81

by Couchpotato, 06:13

Well it's time for the 81st update from Portalarium for Shroud of the Avatar. As usual the update is a mix of news, and new items for you to buy. Here is the list if topics.

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

  • SotA a Hit at RTX!
  • Are You Ready for some PvP?
  • Dame Lori and Sir Frank Receive ONBE medals via Robot Lord British
  • People Playing Together: A Worthy and Inspiring Purpose
  • Alienware Sponsors 1000 Access Keys and Prizes for Release 8
  • Dev+ Backers: We Need Your NPCs
  • Sword of the Ba’Heer
  • Starr Long Keynotes DragonCon Videogames Track
  • Layaway Plan for Player Owned Towns
  • In The News
  • Upcoming Events

Saturday - July 12, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Roundtable PvP Video

by Couchpotato, 05:35

Portalarium hosted a new video for Shroud of the Avatar about PvP will work in the game., I must warn you though as the video isa n hour long, and has no transcript.

We’re gearing up for Release 8 with a PvP Developer Roundtable hosted by our very own Chris Spears!  On Thursday, July 10th at 3pm CDT, FireLotus will be taking your questions about PvP and combat in the chat-room, and in advance right here in the comments.  So be sure to mark your calenders and join us for what should prove to be an exciting and high energy hangout!

Tuesday - July 08, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Happy Birthday Lord British

by Couchpotato, 09:57

The Shroud of the Avatar web page have news that July 4th was the birthday of Lord British, and they offer a cake in the game to celebrate until July 30th.

Celebrate Lord British's birthday on July 4th with the Replenishing Birthday Cake. This is a special birthday cake, that each year on the anniversary of when you created your pledge account, will generate a random item!

The only negative here is the item will cost you money.Wink

Saturday - July 05, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #80

by Couchpotato, 04:22

Well for anyone still waiting to play Shroud of the Avatar Portalarium has posted the next Update of the Avatar on the games webpage. Here is a list of the topics covered.

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Release 7 Re-Opens For RTX Weekend!
  • 10% Pledge Bonus Extended thru July 6th!
  • Release 7 Perspectives (and R8 Focuses on PvP)
  • The Mad Hermit’s Video of Net’s Crazy Maze
  • Alienware Sponsors 1000 Access Keys and Prizes for Release 8
  • Duke’s Keep Lot
  • Ancestor’s Cloak
  • Admiral’s Outfit for Boats Stretch Goal
  • Upcoming Events

Thursday - June 26, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release #7

by Myrthos, 12:53

Today marks the day, the backers that pledged enough can play Shroud of the Avatar release 7.

Thank you to our loyal backers of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 7 access for all backers at First Responder level and above begins this Thursday, June 26 at 10:30 AM Central Time. Release 7 access will end on Sunday, June 29 at 10:00 PM Central Time. Starting today, you can begin installing and patching (see instructions below), but login will not be enabled until Thursday morning.


RELEASE 7: June 26 - 29, 2014

  • 3D Overworld Map System: We are switching our dual scale navigation system from the 2D version you have seen so far to a 3D version more like what we showed during Kickstarter. This initial release will mainly be about the visuals, so players will still be represented as markers and there will be no random encounters. Since this is first release with this version of the map it is missing many features including visible roads, hex grid, animating avatars, encounters, etc. (all of which you can expect to see in future releases).
  • Player to Player secure trade: Did you discover something cool you want to give your friend? Need to share some potions with a party member? Did you craft something amazing you want to trade? Secure trade is the answer, and will allow you to make exchanges of goods between you and other players. Note that gold cannot be traded currently but that will come soon.
  • Water Lots: We will be adding water lot functionality to the game. This includes 7 water based buildings including: Citizen Cabana, Edelmann Cabana, Knight’s Lighthouse, Lord’s Houseboat, Duke Island Castle, Baron Galleon, and Baron Frigate.
  • NPC Collision / Responsiveness: We will be spending time on polishing NPC collision and general movement responsiveness to combat things like NPC standing inside you, spreading out when attacking, avoiding players while moving, etc. While we did some iterations on this in R7 we still don’t feel this is where it needs to be so we will continue working on this in R8.
  • Animals: Currently all our animals (bears, wolves, etc.) are purchased assets and the skinning, rigging, and animations for them is not meeting our quality standards, so we are going to reskin and rig them so that we can redo their animations. Stag and Bear are now complete. Canines (wolves and dogs) will start going in Release 8.
  • Player Housing Built-in Lighting: We have gotten consistent feedback that it is too hard to get player placed lights in the right configuration to really light the player houses. So starting with R7 we will begin placing built in lights (chandeliers, sconces, etc.) to provide a base lighting level for all the player houses. These lights will turn on and off just like regular lights and can be augmented with player placed lights as well. Long term these lights will be decorative objects that can be removed, moved, etc. but currently they are permanent fixtures.
  • Scenes: A few new scenes will come online, including Player Towns on Islands (to feature water lots) and the first scene on the mainland (The Graff Gem Mines). We also replaced the entrance map to the Ravensmoor dungeon with a new map based on one of Stephen Daniele’s early concept pieces (see below). NOTE: The Lunar Rift in Owl’s Head now takes you to the Graff Gem Mines, NOT Kingsport. Also the Kingsport rift is disabled.
  • Crafting: We will be adding more ingredients (spider silk, gems, precious metals, etc.) as well as instructions on how to do crafting in the recipe book itself. We also added images to support the instructions and themed them like medieval wood cuts.
  • Lighting Fine-Tuning: We still have some work to do in order to get the balance right between bright day and dark night.
  • Character Faces and Skins: We want to update at least one of the player faces and also do more polish work on the skin. While we are doing these upgrades to the faces we are deleting the old faces. For R7 this means you are limited to only one head type per gender.
  • 64 Bit Build: For those of you running 64 bit OS on your system we will now release 64 bit builds (in addition to the 32 Bit Builds) so you can address more system memory. The good news is that we have a working 64 bit build. The bad news is that cloth simulation (cloaks) does not work and sometimes asset loading is slower than the 32 bit build (ironic!).
  • Promotional Trailer: We were excited to be a featured game at the Plantronics booth at E3. In support of that and our continued fundraising, we released an updated trailer (our last one was at the 6 month mark) that shows off gameplay and provides a few sneak peeks of the intro cinematic. As mentioned in update 73, Bill Johnson, aka The Guardian, did the voiceover.
  • New Pledge Rewards, New Pledge Tiers: On Friday June 6th we announced some new pledge rewards, some new pledge tiers and the Stretch Goal Store.
  • Character Customization Blend Shapes: We added a new blend shapes system for customization that will offer an incredibly detailed variety of options for players. Our first example is with the eyes and that alone has 8 different parameters to adjust. We plan to add a new facial feature section every other release.
  • Player Property Permissions: Player can now start setting permissions on their property so that other players can also decorate (among other things). This is the first pass at this feature so expect further refinements in later releases.
  • New Target Highlighting: There were several circumstances where the targeting effect was not visible (NPCs standing behind counters for instance) so we are moving the effect to be a full highlight over the entire target. This is a work in progress so expect further refinements in later releases.
  • NPC Behaviors: We put in the frameworks for two behaviors: schedules and using items. In Owl’s Head you can see both of these in action when night falls and NPCs go around turning lights on (or conversely at dawn when they go around turning lights off). You can also see it in the Clink when one of the guards opens the door for you. Note that these were just initial system work with a couple of examples.
  • Borderless Window Mode: For those of you who like to multi-task you can now run the game in this mode which allows you to either have something else on a second monitor or alt tab between applications without logging out! Note that this option has to be set via the options menu in the launcher (cannot be set using the in game options screen)
  • NPC Names and Chat Tabs: NPCs now spawn a separate chat tab when you talk to them to make it easier to follow their conversation when others are chatting around you. You also now have to learn NPC’s names through conversation versus you magically just knowing all their names without ever meeting them.
  • Scene Names: The name of the scene you are in now appears underneath the compass. Should help in those “what map are you in?” questions we all end up asking each other over and over.
  • Containers on Player Lots: Storage chests now work on player lots so you finally have somewhere to store items that you don’t wish to display. Chests can be placed just like any other decorative object.
  • Linux Stability: We fixed some major stability issues with the Linux build which should make the penguins happy!
  • New Player Houses: We added 19 new player houses this release including the water ones mentioned above plus row houses (two styles), Knight Marshall Keep, Tavern, and the Crafting Pavillion.

Sunday - June 15, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - New Update & Trailer

by Couchpotato, 05:15

Portalarium released the next update for Shroud of the Avatar on the games website, and as usual it includes new items for you to buy.

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

  • Big Week for SotA at E3!
  • Knight Marshal Tower Keep
  • Royal Artisan Pledge Rewards
  • Royal Founder Rewards
  • Elves As Playable Race Stretch Goal
  • Oracle Cloak
  • Village Pavillion
  • More Row Houses
  • Through the Lunar Rift!
  • 10% Pledge Bonus!
  • Alienware $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupons
  • Upcoming Events

The best part of the update was the new E3 trailer.

Friday - June 13, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 05:18

PC Gamer interviewed Lord British at this years E3 to talk about Shroud of the Avatar.

PCG: What’s day-to-day like for you guys working on the game?

Garriott: Two things have made this development cycle really special. One is the crowdfunding, which is what we’ve been talking about. The other is Unity. I feel a huge debt to Unity. I think we’re finally to the era as a game industry where we don’t have to rebuild the camera from scratch every game. And there were render pipelines that have been very good, like Unreal or Crytek, but the thing to my mind about Unity is, all of the developer tools, which are incredibly well integrated and the UI is completely standardized, and the asset stores and the community that’s built around it. Unity is phenomenal. It literally is a game changer, not just for us, but it’s a harbinger for what’s to come in the industry.

What those two things have allowed us to do is, while most MMOs would take four years and $40 million minimum, we’re going to be able to do this in two years, head to tail. Because we’re not building the engine from scratch. Not only that, but because of all of the asset stores and community pieces that we've been able to glom in, we've been able to reduce our team size down to 30. So for a quarter of the cost, we are able to produce at a level that would have taken us much more trouble or time or money in any previous iteration. And the value of being at a small 30 person team is that everyone knows what’s happening. No one’s just hanging out. And it means the people like us that have been in the management business for the past 20 years, meaning we do no game design and no work in the trenches, both of us are now back in the trenches completely.

Ultima 7 was the last Ultima that I designed the story and every character and pretty much every word they said. But I did that in concert with Warren Spector, who was kind of my partner in the writing of that game. Now with Tracy Hickman in this case, equally well qualified writer, I’ve re-drafted the story three full times, written out every NPC and every line of dialogue, up until it goes to the real writer, who will wordsmith it. But I know the story intimately, and I’m very happy with the story personally, because I wrote the damn story. Which in those bigger teams was just not possible.

So for people who liked Ultima 4 - 7, in particular, or Ultima Online, we’re doing that work again ourselves. It will very much be like what people hopefully remember fondly. Because it’s being done the way it was done in those days.

Tuesday - June 10, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #76

by Myrthos, 12:55

Here we go with another update of the Avatar. Next to the news we brought earlier about their E3 presence, backers can play the game for the entire week of E3. Next to that the update contains the usual news that apparently is interesting to many and requires you to throw money at them if you want to use it, such as another type of house you can own, that you can even own an entire village, new tiers, a stretch goal store, a birthday cake and a fireworks box.

Monday - June 09, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - On Display at E3

by Couchpotato, 06:21

Portalarium announces in a press release that Richard Garriott will at this years E3 later this week to present Shroud of the Avatar, and  to answer a few questions.

Shroud of the Avatar on Display at E3

Portalarium partners with Plantronics to present Richard Garriott’s next great fantasy RPG; Shroud team also rolls out sweeping changes for pledge tiers and awards

AUSTIN, Texas, June 6, 2014 — Richard “Lord British” Garriott makes his return to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year and will be showing off the latest version of his epic fantasy role playing game currently under development, Shroud of the Avatar (SotA) at the Plantronics booth in the Los Angeles Convention Center June 10-12. Portalarium®, Garriott’s development studio, and Plantronics have partnered to provide E3 attendees with a chance to see, hear and communicate inside the game using headsets from Plantronics, one of the global leaders in audio technology. Shroud of the Avatar will be on display at the Plantronics booth, #515 in the LACC’s South Hall.

Audio, music and voice communication are all critical pieces in Shroud’s development process. Most of the music and sound effects in the game are crowd sourced and much of it is curated and peer reviewed by players using voice communications. Many of the players use third party voice software and the game itself is being created by a distributed development process where voice communications are important.

“We couldn’t have found a better partner for Shroud of the Avatar than Plantronics,” said Richard Garriott.  “Their long history in audio technology and hardware is unmatched. Their headsets are high quality, reliable and perhaps most importantly provide clarity and excellent sound isolation that lead to the very immersive worlds that we want to create for our players.”

“It’s a privilege to work with Richard Garriott and Portalarium,” said Dorothy Ferguson, director of marketing for Plantronics Gaming. “We anticipate Shroud of the Avatar to be a huge success and are honored to share it with E3 attendees at the Plantronics booth."

Garriott and Executive Producer Starr Long will be providing demos of the game throughout the Expo. The two will also be discussing some major additions to Shroud’s pledge rewards and pledge tiers announced today on the Shroud of the Avatar site, Also announced were new housing types and plans in the game for player owned towns and a stretch goal store.

Additionally the Shroud team will be giving away access to the upcoming Early Release 7 (scheduled for June 26-29) to anyone who submits their email address at the Shroud of the Avatar demo area in the Plantronics booth.

Shroud of the Avatar is a multiplayer fantasy RPG for the PC that is the spiritual successor to Richard Garriott’s previous works in the genre. It is expected to launch at the end of 2014. It is a crowd funded and crowd sourced game built in Unity that has raised more than $4.1 million from backers to date. For more information on the game and to become a backer of the project, go to

Monday - June 02, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #75

by Myrthos, 11:57

Another week, another update for Shroud of the Avatar. This weeks update brings us information on the following topics:

  • Release 6 Perspectives
  • Blade of the Avatar: The Final Chapter
  • Release 7 and Q3 Update
  • Royal Founder Rewards
  • Founder Teachable Emotes
  • Through the Lunar Rift!
  • Wood & Plaster 3-Story with Open Floor Plan Village Home
  • Plantronics Partnership
  • Alienware $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupons
  • Upcoming Events

Monday - May 19, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #73

by Couchpotato, 05:39

Well it's time for the next weekly update from Portalarium for Shroud of the Avatar. The update has some information on the about the release of the next build called R6.

The rest you can skip as it's more housing, and item news.

Only 6 Days Until Release 6!

The dev team is burning the midnight oil getting Release 6 ready for launch in just 6 short days! Next Wednesday you’ll receive the full Release 6 Instructions, but if you want a reminder of what is included in Release 6, check out Starr’s forum post about it.

Monday - May 05, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #71

by Myrthos, 12:00

This weeks update of the Avatar tries to cover many things, such as:

  • Release 5 Perspectives & Release 6 Revisions
  • Benefactor Baron City Home
  • Founder Teachable Emotes
  • Recruit-A-Friend Emote
  • Dev+ Crafting Table Unity Asset Pack
  • Castle Stone Arena Basement
  • Rustic 2-Story with Loft Village Home
  • Wood & Plaster 3-Story Village Home
  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 20
  • Alienware $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupons
  • Upcoming Events

Here is part of the Release 5 perspectives:

From Lord British:

We made it! The team was scrambling till the 11:59th hour, and the last few bits made it in during our live patches, but it all worked out! Release 5 went very well.

Once this gem in the rough was in YOUR hands though, you did some MIGHTY impressive things with it. We turned on persistent housing that would not roll-over every hour and added quite a few new player towns, and you ran with it! The RP’ers and homesteaders could finally begin to dig in, and what they created was outstanding! We even saw the 1st player town, Pax Lair, which was also the 1st player town in Ultima Online…

[Read the full post in their forums]

From Chris Spears:

Because of the timing many of the most visible elements the players were in a very unpolished state for this release. In fact, even just two days before we went live the game was in a completely unplayable state. Combat didn’t work at all, AI’s weren’t working, switching maps would crash 100% of the time, other players couldn’t see objects placed on lots, all the scenes were either too bright or so dark you couldn’t see anything, and conversations weren’t working at all. So while the release was really rough for this release, I have to admit that internally we were high fiving each other that it was not MUCH worse.

…on the positive side of player facing stuff, a LOT of good changes were made to help us improve the visuals going forward. The largest was switching from gamma to linear lighting model.

Now for the less obvious stuff that is even more exciting…

[Read the full post in their forums]


From Starr Long:

Greetings Avatars,

Thank you everyone for another successful release. Once again you have proved what an amazing community you are and how we are on track to making the greatest crowd funded and crowd sourced RPG ever! At this point, some of you might be saying, “You call that successful? What release were you playing? Can we get that one please?”

It is important to understand what we define as success with these releases. For us the definition of success is clear:

  • Create and test new content / features as they are made
  • Keep team in the discipline of shipping content every month
  • Engaging our backers to provide feedback on direction and improvements of the game
  • Keeping the game playable for at least 90% of our backers
By those definitions we feel Release 5 was a resounding success. However we feel like the overall quality and polish of the game has decreased in many areas. Additionally we feel like we need to apply a more concerted effort on upgrading the visuals and user interface of the game. For those reasons we are in the process of rethinking our current release schedule and in particular we are going to refocus Release 6 on more polish and less content. We feel that about once per quarter we should have one of these polish releases to keep the quality of the game up to ours, and your, standards.

At this point many of you might be saying “Several systems have been pushed for more than one release now. How are all these changes affecting the stated goal of an October release?” Well thank you for the tough question. I have a mantra about ship dates: “No one remembers when you shipped but they always remember how you shipped.” With that in mind you should rest assured that we will launch when you tell us the product is ready. That might mean October is not feasible, but let’s focus on making the right product, not the when product.

Friday - April 25, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release #5

by Myrthos, 12:38

This weekend you can play release 5 of Shroud of the Avatar. It has a range of new things available, so if you are a backer at a high enough level or have weekend passes you could have a go at it.

  • Combat and Magic Skills: Finally you will no longer be confined to auto attack now that a wide array of combat and magic skills will be at your disposal. To let you test out a wide variety of these skills we will give you a bunch of skill points to allocate up and down as you wish.
    35 (of 171) Skills: Here is the skill list for R5. Most of these are in a very simple first state so some of them are missing secondary effects, like movement (Trip, Tumble, etc.), speed (Ice Fist), etc.
    - Blades:
        - Thrust
        - Double Thrust ("double swipe")
        - Whirling Blades
    - Bludgeon:
        - Crushing Blow
        - Knockback
    - Heavy Armor:
        - Defensive Stance
        - Inner Strength
    - Light Armor:
        - Dodge
        - Tumble
    - Medium Armor:
        - Glancing Blow
        - Trip
    - Polearms:
        - Push
        - Puncture
    - Ranged:
        - Aimed Shot
        - Disabling Shot
        - Piercing Shot
    - Shield:
        - Deflect
        - Shield Bash
    - Air:
        - Gust
        - Discharge
    - Lightning Death:
        - Death Touch
        - Death Ray
        - Corpse Explosion
    - Earth:
        - Stone Fist
        - Root
    - Fire:
        - Flame Fist
        - Fireball
    - Life:
        - Heal Self
        - Healing Ray
        - Purify
        - Resurrection
    - Sun:
        - Light
        - Searing Ray
    - Water:
        - Ice    - Fist
  • Linear Lighting Model: As part of an ongoing effort to improve our visuals we have have switched from gamma lighting to linear lighting. This makes a lot of the details in our textures more visible but it has required us to touch every shader, texture, lighting setting, etc. in the game. Note that this is still a work in progress.
  • Add On Store Conversion (Website): Our backers now have the ability to convert their add on store purchases into credits that can either be applied to their pledge or used for other add on purchases (this feature available on website only).
  • Weekend Access Keys (Login): We added functionality to support weekend access to potential backers
  • Journal: Results of conversations with the characters in our world will now appear in your Journal. This should aid questing tremendously without going as far as exclamation points overhead.
  • Crafting: We have increased the number of starting recipes to give players a wider array of recipes so that discovery can be more intuitive.
  • Compass: Navigating through our scenes can be quite challenging so we have added an on screen compass to help guide you around .
  • Overland Map Polish: We continued iterating on the overland map. We added panning and zooming, animating objects (waves, windmills, etc.) and visibility of your party members.
  • Combat Floaties: For those of you craving more information about what exactly is happening in combat we have added combat numbers that appear overhead during combat if you have Names Overhead toggled (via the N key).
  • Health Bars: Discerning status from the health dot alongside the name in R4 did not work for many of you so we have moved to a more traditional health bar.
  • New Creatures:
    - Chest Mimic
    - Skeleton Archer
    - Satyr Mage
    - Satyr Archer
  • Traditional Combat Shortcut Bar: While we are still heavily committed to card style combat we quickly realized when playtesting this very early version that we don’t yet have enough supporting features (deck building, skill locking, etc) in place to make it fun.
  • AFK Mode: When you type /afk or you are idle for a while your character will sit on the ground and [AFK] will be appended to the character name
  • New Vale Scenes: We shifted focus to more Vale scenes so we could create a more complete area of the game (replacing placeholder maps) versus proceeding to the main map. Player Housing: We have added 12 new player houses (4 Rustic, 6 Wood & Plaster, 2 Duke Castles) and as mentioned above we increased the number of locations that players can place houses to a total of 13. That raises the number of lots to around 600. With that change we have decided that for R5 we will no longer impose a time limit on ownership.
    - Kingsport Sewers: An intense adventure area under Kingsport infested with the undead!
    Standard Scenes: No more placeholders!
        - Road through the forest
        - Road through the grassland
        - Road through the hills
        - Grassland
    Player Forest Village Variation 2: We used this plus Forest Village 1 to create a total of 10 Player Towns on the Vale
  • Player Housing: We have added 12 new player houses (4 Rustic, 6 Wood & Plaster, 2 Duke Castles) and as mentioned above we increased the number of locations that players can place houses to a total of 13. That raises the number of lots to around 600. With that change we have decided that for R5 we will no longer impose a time limit on ownership

Sunday - April 20, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - D&D #1 Contest

by Couchpotato, 05:16

Richard Garriott is holding a new contest for Shroud of the Avatar.

D&D #1 represents one of the earliest known computer role playing games. Originally created and refined between the years 1975 – 1977, this game is one of the few true founding efforts of the entire computer gaming genre. Interestingly the ascii based “tile graphics” are a clear forerunner of what followed in Ultima and many other computer role playing games, and thus remains relevant to the genre’s history.

Richard has been eager to see this simple BASIC program, resurrected in a modern usable form, but remaining true to the original in as many ways as possible.

To achieve this end, Richard is offering a bounty of Shroud of the Avatar pledge rewards for the best reincarnations of D&D #1!

Starting April 15th 2014, just past one year into the development of Shroud of the Avatar, and running for 1 month through May 15th, Richard via Portalarium will be accepting submissions of D&D1 Resurrections in each of two versions. Submissions may be a Unity Version, and or a no-plug-in Browser Version. Winners will be announced shortly after the submission deadline.

Monday - April 14, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Limited Edition Art Poll

by Couchpotato, 05:21

Portalarium has a new poll on the game forums for Shroud of the Avatar with a poll about what Limited Edition Art Print you want them to sell.

You've asked for it, We've thought about and now it is time to take it to task! The first Shroud of the Avatar limited edition art print.

What we are thinking; a limited run of a single SotA image signed and numbered by the artist on archival paper. The art is 18" x 9" with at least a 1.5" border, 21" x 12" overall. Available for sale in the SotA store and shipped directly to you. What's an art print? What's the image? What's the cost? Is there a better way to do this? We are a community driven project and we all have a voice! :) This is our first time doing something like this so if you have suggestions please share!

Friday - April 04, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - One Year Anniversary

by Couchpotato, 07:44

Portalarium announces that Shroud of the Avatar is approaching its One Year Anniversary, and offer more details in a new press release.

One Year Anniversary for Shroud of the Avatar

Fantasy role-playing game from Richard Garriott at $3.7 million in crowd funding and growing; Promotions close on Monday ending a week of celebrations

AUSTIN, Texas, April 3, 2014 — Monday, April 7 marks the one year anniversary when Portalarium® ended the successful Kickstarter campaign for Shroud of the Avatar and began development on Richard Garriott’s next epic fantasy role-playing game. Since that day in 2013 when the initial Kickstarter campaign helped raise a total of slightly more than $2 million, the crowd funding effort has continued and today has surpassed the $3.7 million mark in total funds.

“Wow, what an amazing community we have,” said Portalarium Creative Director, Richard Garriott. “In March of last year, when we announced a one million dollar Kickstarter, we could only hope that fans of our past work would want to join us in the mission to rekindle games like we had made with the Ultima series including Ultima Online. We were incredibly pleased to reach two million dollars during the 30 days of the initial campaign. Then starting just the second month after the Kickstarter close, players have continued to join us in ever greater numbers and at faster and faster rates month to month. As crowd funding pledges continue to increase, we are able to grow our team and deliver more game content and features to the community.

“Portalarium is deeply grateful to be working with and for, such an amazing community of gamers / explorers of what can be done in games.”

In celebration of Shroud of the Avatar’s one year milestone, Portalarium is rolling out several promotions including a final chance for new backers and current backers to purchase, upgrade and/or gift founder level pledges. These contain all the original founder rewards and upgrades and can be made at the original Kickstarter prices. After April 7, those prices will increase to Benefactor prices and new Founder level pledges will be closed.

Other promotions/special events planned for the days leading up to and including April 7 are:

  • Daily one hour developer hangouts that take a closer look at the game’s development
  • A final 12 hour live stream marathon from noon-midnight on April 7 that will include special guests and announcements
  • Special backer access to Release 4 from morning to midnight on April 7
  • Prize giveaways throughout the week
  • April 7 drawing for one Alienware gaming laptop
  • April 7th Drawing for one trip to Austin, Texas for a tour of the Portalarium studios and some design brainstorming with the Shroud of the Avatar dev team (flight & one night hotel expenses covered)
  • Founder Adventure Pledges given away during each daily hangout
  • Weekend Access Passes to Release 5 given away during each daily hangout
  • Alienware promotions
  • For the next three weeks, Alienware is sponsoring 250 weekend access keys to Shroud of the Avatar Early Release 5 later this month. The keys are available through the Alienware Arena Shroud of the Avatar Group. You can learn more about the giveaways here.
  • Alienware is also sponsoring $20 pledge upgrade coupons to members of the Alienware Arena community. The coupons are good for new backers or current backers looking to upgrade their accounts. More on the coupon promotion can be found here.

Shroud of the Avatar is a multiplayer fantasy RPG for the PC that is the spiritual successor to Richard Garriott’s previous works in the genre. It is expected to launch at the end of 2014. It is a crowd funded and crowd sourced game built in Unity that has raised more than $3.7 million from backers to date. For more information on the game and to become a backer of the project, go to

Thursday - March 27, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release #4 Available

by Myrthos, 12:11

Today marks the availability of release number four of Shroud of the Avatar, which is available to all backers that paid enough. Here is what has been added/changed in this release:

  • Performance Optimizations: Introducing multiplayer in Release 3 exposed some performance issues that needed resolution sooner than later. To that end, we made this a top priority for Release 4 so more players can enjoy the game.
  • Overworld Map System: Our dual scale navigation system will launch and players will be able to use it to navigate between towns and adventuring areas.
  • 10 Scenes: The Hidden Vale, a hidden island northeast of the mainland, will be complete with 10 scenes, including towns, wilderness, caves, and dungeons. NOTE: We actually have 14 scenes (although two are merely placeholders).
  • Combat: Those first scenes will have nasty beasts in them, so we’ve decided we should give you a way to fight back! This first release of combat will be extremely simple and focus just on auto swing using your equipped weapon. Death will also be kept simple for now: you will auto resurrect at your death location after a short time interval.
  • Quests: Players will be able to participate in quests that will send them around the world and even change game state in the scenes based on quest flags. Testing this early is important because our quest system operates differently than the current standards (e.g. no exclamation points or convo trees). NOTE: For R4 we were unable to get the Journal UI implemented but you can still get the data by typing /journal in the chat window.
  • Loot: Killing those nasty creatures you encounter and quests you complete will generate loot, including gold and resources.
  • Crafting: Resource Gathering will be added to crafting including resource nodes placed in the world. More recipes will also become available. NOTE: For R4, gathering includes tree chopping (wood), field dressing (animal hides), harvesting (cotton) and mining (ore).
      -  More Recipes: 16 more recipes bring our grand total to 169.
  • Player Housing: The housing system will be re-launched with persistence in the online space. Since we are still on the small island of Hidden Vale there are not yet enough lots to go around. To continue to allow everyone to try out player housing, the ownership of the lots will cycle every hour or two. NOTE: While waterfront housing and basements are not working yet, we wanted you to still be able to view them. Waterfront houses (Frigate, Galleon, Houseboat, Lighthouse, Duke Island Castle, etc.) can be found in Kingsport and basements can be found in various buildings around Owlshead, Kingsport, and Braemar. These are static buildings / scenes and not player owned.
  • Parties: We will continue to expand our social systems by adding a Party system so players can group together and adventure.
  • Mac/Linux Patching: No longer will you have to download a full executable whenever we release a new patch. Mac and Linux versions will patch just like the Windows version.
  • Swimming: Jumping was just the first step to giving players a much greater feeling of movement freedom. Like jumping, swimming will eventually be governed by game systems like encumbrance and focus.


Wednesday - March 19, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ GamerHubTV

by Couchpotato, 03:54

GamerHub TV is back again with another video interview from SXSW 2014 in Austin. This time they get a hold of Star Long to ask a few questions.

Shadow of the Avatar Forsaken Virtues executive producer Starr Long discusses the University of Texas Denius Sams Game Academy at SXSW in Austin.

Tuesday - March 18, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Two Video Interviews

by Couchpotato, 04:29

GamerHub had the chance to talk with Richard Garriott at the SXSW 2014 Conference about Shroud of the Avatar in a new video interview.

Video game veteran and Portalarium founder Richard Garriott previews Shadow of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues in this exclusive interview from SXSW 2014 in Austin

He was also interviewed in new video podcast as part of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy Podcast. Thanks SER for sending in the link fot the interview.

More episodes featuring George R. R. Martin, Richard Dawkins, Simon Pegg, Paul Krugman, Margaret Atwood, William Gibson, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and more:

Monday - March 03, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 05:37

Well it's time for another weekly update from Portalarium for Shroud of the Avatar. The update has some information that might intrest the backers on our site.

Early Access Schedule Update: Releases 4 – 7

It has been an incredible journey so far has it not? When we first proposed this monthly release schedule back in November of last year we were hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. As Chris Spears, our Tech Director, likes to say we were “doing it wrong but in the best way.” Not only were we giving access to players earlier than most any game but we were also committing to definite dates of releases every month with detailed lists of deliverables! Were we crazy? I am pleased to say that our faith in this community was rewarded and you completely understood what we were doing and were able to give constructive and valuable feedback.

Our goal continues to be to deliver our backers content each and every month so that we can get feedback and react to it. This has already paid off with additional game features like jumping and swimming as well as improvements to systems like crafting and conversations. Meeting that monthly goal is our highest priority but we require flexibility in our deliverables to meet that goal. As you have seen in previous releases sometimes we push things out but we also often pull new things in.

Q1-2014 Release

  • Release 4: March 27 – 30, 2014

Q2-2014 Release

  • Release 5, April 24 – 27, 2014
  • Release 6, May 22 – 25, 2014
  • Release 7, June 26 – 29, 2014

Friday - February 21, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Early Release Build #3

by Couchpotato, 04:31

Portalarium sent out a press release that Early Release #3 is now available to play.

Newest Shroud of the Avatar Early Release Adds Multiplayer

Players get a chance to interact with other players as Portalarium and Richard Garriott roll out the latest set of early release features in the company’s highly anticipated fantasy role-playing game

AUSTIN, Texas, February 20, 2014 —  Backers of Richard Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar™ fantasy role-playing game are getting yet another chance to try out some of the game’s new features as Portalarium opens access to Early Release #3 today. For the first time, players will now be able to interact with other players in Shroud’s virtual world via several social systems including chat and emotes. These are some of the latest features to be unveiled as the team continues to deliver new early release content to backers of the crowd funded project every single month.

 “It’s been almost a year since we first announced Shroud of the Avatar and started our Kickstarter launch,” said Portalarium’s® creative director and co-founder Richard Garriott. “In the last eight weeks we’ve asked our backers to enter the world so they can experience our progress first hand. The momentum is building and now we have a chance to see how our multiplayer functionality stands up to the test. These short three to four day tests allow us to see how we are doing and to close the loop with our fans so we can make the game they want and we want.”

Among the other new features in this early release is the addition of an “add friend” menu that appears when players touch the “F” key. Also there will be a new village to explore, Braemar, which in addition to the previously unveiled Owls Head and Kingsport, provides a virtual world that is growing and will continue to expand with each successive release in 2014. There is also improved crafting functionality in Release 3 as well as access to merchants which should give players who like to create their own items a chance to craft and sell to their heart’s content. Release 3 also includes several songs created by the community via The Bards of Poets’ Circle, a player run guild.

Instructions to backers for downloading the Release 3 client, installing and then playing and interacting in New Britannia are located here: download, install, play.

Monday - February 17, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 04:35

It's time for another weekly update from Portalarium for Shroud of the Avatar.

Happy Valentine’s Day Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Hearts of Britannia Valentine’s Poetry Reading!
  • Extra, Extra Early R3 Test Results
  • Founder Lord Waterfront Houseboat
  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 9
  • Hearth of Britannia Cabinet of Virtues
  • Tanning Knife of Prosperity
  • The 6-More Pack of Prosperity
  • Stretch Goals: Lord British vs. Darkstarr
  • Last Week for the Pantheon Kickstarter Special Cross-Game Cloak
  • New Events Page
  • Only 52 Days Remain to Purchase/Upgrade/Gift Founder Pledges

Tuesday - February 11, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ TTH

by Couchpotato, 05:42

TenTonHammer interviews Tracy Hickman about the story of Shroud of the Avatar.

Ricoxg: One thing Richard is known for is his unique way of making you face yourself and ask big questions about morality and bigotry. You also are known for a similar depth with your extraordinarily complex characters. Is this something we should expect in Blade as well?

Hickman: Oh absolutely! One of the central themes in Blade of the Avatar, at least for me, is that our main character is essentially a Nazi. He’s a captain in the military of what amounts to an evil empire, and one that’s attempting to take over the world. They’re so typically evil, even to the point where they’re wearing awesome-looking black armor, which is the quintessential trademark of bad guys. He discovers this ancient sword of ultimate good, a relic of the past that he alone can wield. So to have this character from the evil empire holding this sword of ultimate good, the dichotomy of that just has you questioning what really is good and what really is evil. How can’t this bad guy hold this good relic, and how come the good guys can’t hold the relic? That really forces you into taking a look at what is good and what is evil, and thinking about it.

Ricoxg: Only you and Richard would manage to write a story about virtue and then have people confused on good and evil. Where in the world do you manage to come up with this sort of stuff?

Hickman: That’s just a really central point to this story that we decided we’d like to tell. We want to take a very careful look at these labels that we very easily put on people. For us all, I think that’s a central question and I think that’s why these stories connect so well with people, because we’re all faced with that every day. What is good and evil, and what are our motivations in that? Understanding what the motivations in others are is part of the central question we’re addressing in this novel. Trying to get outside your own perspective and take a look at people from a different angle.

Sunday - February 09, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - New Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 02:44

It's time for the next weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar.

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 8
  • Stretch Goals: Lord British vs. Darkstarr
  • Upcoming Duke and LoM Events
  • Star Citizen Vanduul Polearm
  • Royal Founders: Recognizing our Original Backers
  • Ancestor Tombstone
  • Developer Tinkerer Certificate
  • Pets at Founder Tier: Option to get all 3?
  • Knight’s Lighthouse Animation
  • Cubit Measure of Prosperity
  • Website Upgrades: Pledge Page & Campaign Statistics Page
  • Pantheon Kickstarter Special Cross-Game Cloak
  • “Hearts of Britannia” Valentine’s Poetry Competition!

Monday - February 03, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Multiplayer Q&A Video

by Couchpotato, 02:26

Portalarium talked about the games multiplayer in their latest Hangout of the Avatar.

Please join us for our next Dev Hangout on Thursday, January 30th at 3pm CST. We’ll be chatting about the Multiplayer aspects of Shroud of the Avatar, led by Lord British himself.

In case you don't want to watch the whole video here is a transcript.

Saturday - February 01, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 03:20

Portalarium has posted the next weekly update for Shroud of the Avatar

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Release 2 Perspectives
  • Pantheon & SotA Co-Backers Receive Special Cross-Game Cloak
  • “Hearts of Britannia” Valentine’s Poetry Competition!
  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 7
  • Early Founder Knight Village Waterfront Lighthouse
  • Founder Tier Pets
  • Virtual Collector Iolo Lute
  • Early Founder Royal Artisan Iolo Crossbow
  • Smelting Tongs of Prosperity
  • Stretch Goals: Lord British vs. Darkstarr

Wednesday - January 29, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Community Spotlight

by Couchpotato, 03:19

Portalarium has posted the next Community Spotlight this time it's

This week’s Community Spotlight shines on  This past weekend, many of you may have gotten familiar with this fantastic resource, as they have a growing library of crafting recipes, but I thought it would be fun to get to know SotaWiki founder Baron Violation a bit more as well!  Here is what he had to say during our interview.

Sunday - January 26, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 01:55

It's time for another update from Portalarium for Shroud of the Avatar.

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Come Play Release 2 Now!
  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 6
  • The Spoony Interviews
  • Early Founder Royal Artisan Starter Bow
  • Immortal Adventurer Ankh of Virtue Necklace
  • Lord British’s Silver Serpent Necklace
  • Scissors of Prosperity

Friday - January 24, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Release 2 Instructions

by Couchpotato, 01:32

Portalarium has released information for Release 2 of Shroud of the Avatar.

Thank you to our loyal backers of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 2 access for all backers at First Responder / Adventurer level and above begins this Thursday, January 23, at 10:30 AM Central Time. Release 2 access will end on Saturday, January 25, at 10:00 PM Central Time. Starting today you can begin installing and patching (see instructions below), but login will not be enabled until Thursday morning.

We are happy to say that not only are we are going to deliver just about every single Release 2 item (except for Shopping) but that we also were able to put in some extras. Here are those deliverables again, along with some extra notes and the bonus deliverables in italics.

Thursday - January 23, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Video Guides

by Couchpotato, 03:56

Are you still confused with how housing works in Shroud of the Avatar? If you are here some videos from the websites Community Spotlight.

For this week’s Community Spotlight, I had the privilege of sitting down with The Mad Hermit.  Many of you may already know of him though his exceptional Shroud of the Avatar Home Walk-though series.

Sunday - January 19, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 04:55

Well you all know the drill by now it's time for another update from Portalarium for Shroud of the Avatar. As usual I can't list every topic so here are the details.

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Lord British Hosts Hangout to Celebrate $3 Million Milestone
  • 6 Day Countdown to Release 2 Launch!
  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 5
  • The Spoony Interviews
  • Founder Edelmann Village Waterfront Cabana
  • Founder Melee Weapons
  • Cooking Pot of Prosperity
  • Village Lots Make A Comeback
  • 80 Days Remaining for Early Founder Pledge Prices

Monday - January 13, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 04:55

Well it's time for another update from Portalarium for Shroud of the Avatar. Here are the details, and a new interview video from Spoony.

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Welcome to another edition of Update of the Avatar! The team is working hard to get Release 2 ready for this month’s launch, and the excitement is mounting! Stay tuned for more Release 2 launch information in an upcoming update. Here’s what we have for you this week:

  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 4
  • SotA on More Top Ten MMO Lists for 2014
  • The Spoony Interviews
  • Founder Citizen Village Waterfront Cabana
  • Founder Royal Artisan Taming Creature Call
  • Carpentry Hammer of Prosperity


Friday - January 10, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Unofficial Writing Contest

by Couchpotato, 03:48

Portalarium has news of an unofficial writing contest for Shroud of the Avatar.

Greetings Community and welcome to the latest edition of the Community Spotlight!  One of our very talented users, grnarrow (who has also submitted some awesome art assets) is holding an an unofficial contest for aspiring writers and fans of storytelling.  His goal is to generate a series of fables for The Dev Team to collect and put in a book called “Cave Fables” that will tentatively show up somewhere in-game! These fables would be ones that would have been written during the time that humans who survived the cataclysm were forced to live underground.

The contest will run through Noon CST on Monday, January 13, 2014, so if you have a gift for storytelling, you should definitely check out the full details and submit your Cave Fable on our forums.  I, for one, look forward to reading everyone’s entries!

Saturday - January 04, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 04:51

Portalarium has a new Update of the Avatar for Shroud of the Avatar. As usual they have to many topics to list so here is a brief description.

Happy New Year Fellow Avatars!

Welcome to our first edition of Update of the Avatar for 2014! We hope all of you enjoyed your holidays and brought in the New Year with a bang! We’ve got some cool stuff to help get your New Year off to a great start:

  • SotA Makes the Forbes and Top Games Lists of 2014
  • More Spoony
  • Benefactor Cloak
  • Add-On Store Conversion
  • Let’s Talk About Lots
  • Darkstarr Salute
  • Hammer of Prosperity
  • Sigil Capes
  • Changes to Chat

Sunday - December 22, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 04:15

It's time for another Update of the Avatar were Portalarium talks about a vairety of topics to long to list once again. I'll just post the video interview from the update.

So be sure to read the whole update after the video for the huge wall of text.Smile

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Welcome to this week’s Edition of Update of the Avatar! We have a lot of great information to share about our successful launch of Release 1, plus much more!

  • Release 1 Results
  • Britannia Burns – Part 3, the Spoony Roast
  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 3
  • Founder Duke Island Castle
  • Founder Knight Home Renovations
  • Founder’s Tunic
  • Town and City Lots
  • Oracle Statue Home Decoration
  • Hoe of Prosperity
  • The 6-Pack of Prosperity

Sunday - December 15, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 04:41

It's time for another update for Shroud of the Avatar were Portalarium talks about way to much to list. The major point of the release though is about Early Access.

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

It’s been a super exciting week as backers are finally able to log into Release 1 of the game and explore character creation, home decorating, and NPC conversations! Read more about it in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar, which includes:

  • Release 1 Open to Play until December 14!
  • Britannia Burns – Part 2, the Spoony Roast
  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 2
  • Founder Starter Armor
  • The Darkstarr Cloak
  • Sickle of Prosperity
  • Holiday Specials

Friday - December 13, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Selective Multiplayer

by Couchpotato, 04:49

Game Industry at posted a four part article about the Selective Multiplayer for Shroud of the Avatar. Here are the links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

In a follow-up session to my earlier interview with Richard Garriott, we discussed the asynchronous multiplayer technique being discussed for Shroud of the Avatar, known as Selective Multiplayer.

A system which allows people to play offline in an MMO setting, even on a consumer tablet, such as an iPad is a rather bold goal. Take a read, and see what you think.

Shroud of the Avatar - Early Access Available

by Couchpotato, 03:52

Portalarium announces that backers of Shroud of the Avatar can now download an early version of the game. Here are the details.

Portalarium Announces Release 1 of Shroud of the Avatar

Fantasy role-playing game from legendary designer Richard Garriott is ready for public viewing; Backers get a chance to gauge early progress of highly anticipated crowd funded game

AUSTIN, Texas, December 12, 2013Portalarium®, the Austin-based development studio headed by acclaimed game designer Richard Garriott, announced today the first release of Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar fantasy role-playing game. Backers of the crowd funded project today can log in to their accounts, download the client, create a character and begin to wander and explore the streets of Owl’s Head, the game’s first town open for business. The release comes only nine months since the project was announced by Portalarium in early March.

“We are pleased with our progress,” said Garriott, “and we are excited to show our fans what we’ve created in the short amount of time we’ve been working on the game. It’s still very early in development, and this is not your traditional development model. Since the game is crowd funded and crowd sourced, we feel it’s important to give our community an early glimpse of the game’s progress…earlier than what you’d normally see in traditional game development. But this is important because player feedback at this stage will be utilized in helping us understand any changes we need to make and to possibly reaffirm that we are on the right track.”

In Release 1, players will also be able to converse with non-player characters (NPCs) and try out the game’s dialog system. Players will also be able to equip their avatars with different clothing, armor and weapons and they’ll be able to select a house from the entire list of player houses, even the vast Lord of the Manor estate. There will also be chests of furniture and decorations all over Owl’s Head for players to pick up and outfit their newly established homes. This early release is single player online only. In later releases, the Shroud of the Avatar team will roll out multiplayer online modes.

“These early systems are ready for players to try out and test for us,” said Executive Producer Starr Long. “We hope the community understands how critical they are to helping us make Shroud of the Avatar the game that we all want it to be. Throughout 2014, we’ll be rolling out even more features and systems on a monthly basis for players to try out including crafting, combat, questing, multiplayer and of course many other towns, dungeons and lands to explore.”

Instructions to backers for downloading the Release 1 client, installing and then playing and interacting in Owls’s Head are located here: download, install, play.

Thursday - December 12, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Early Access Preview

by Couchpotato, 03:05

Tentonhammer has a new preview of the Early Access version of Shroud of the Avatar.

I went up to Austin last week for a first look at the new release and my experience started the same way as many will their first time into the game, in the soon-to-be infamous “chicken room.” Logging in to a single room with a torch, a chair, and a couple wandering chickens was an unusual experience. At first, I looked around trying to figure out if I’d just been allowed in on some sort of inside joke, the sort you find in every gaming community. After a minute or so of being mildly amused and not a small amount of confused, I reminded myself that I had a job to do and I got serious.

The second more serious look was when this room started really making a little sense, and I think shows some seriously deep thought on the part of the developers. In this simple room, you’re exposed to the quintessence of what Shroud of the Avatar is. It actually heightened the experience of wandering the larger world a short while later, which everyone else will have the opportunity to do on Thursday.

I also have a new movie as a bonus for those interested in watching Lord British roleplaying the Avatar.

Sunday - December 08, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 04:22

It's time for another update for Shroud of the Avatar were Portalarium talks about Pre-Release Access, Kariela’s Song, Crystal Sword, Skinning Knife, and more.

Early-Early Access to Pre-Release 1 for Dev+ Backers Starts Today!

Chris Spears put out a call on the Dev+ Forums today, to all backers at Developer pledge level or above, to help us test our installer and patcher before we open Release 1 to all 25k+ backers next week. Here is what he posted:

Hello Dev Plus people! Today we have a special surprise for you! As you likely know, next week we are opening Release 1 up for the weekend so you guys can help us test a few things. Before we do that, we wanted to do a smaller test and let you guys help us test our installer and patcher system so we can verify it works for the vast majority of people and fix any major issues that come up before doing a larger roll out. If this all goes well then we’ll put out another patch early next week and open login to a small scene to verify dev plus people can login successfully.

You will not be able to login today but feel free to try. Early next week we’ll enable dev plus login only to help us test that system before Dec 12th.

Since you guys are dev plus and we’re trying to share as much dev stuff as possible I’ll give you some info on how it works. There is a standards installer that runs first and installs the app. When you run the Shroud app it starts up a bootstrap patcher that checks to see if the patcher needs to be updated and updates it if needed and then relaunches. Once you have the current patcher, it will start patching out the full game.

The patches are all deltas of previous versions and then compressed to keep them as tiny as possible. We also can package multiple updates into a single patch. Today’s path will be a “0 to 40” patch which means versions 0,1,2,3,4,5… 40 all rolled into one patch. We can also do things like a patch to take you from 40 to 50.

As for bandwidth, that is part of what we’re experimenting with today. To maximize patch speeds and minimize costs, by default the client uses a torrent like system so you’ll see that you’re uploading as well as downloading. In case you’re wondering, YES, we could track how much people have uploaded and yes, we’re talking about awards and achievements for people who upload the most. For those who are in secure locations or locations that try and block torrent traffic through packet inspection that mistakenly block the client, after 5 minutes of low or no downloading it switches over to a fallback. The fall back uses a more standard http type download direct connection through port 80.

For seeding, we’re using 5 dedicated boxes each with dedicated 100mbit connections in a few different locations. Depending on how much sharing we see, we might add a few more seed boxes before release 1.

Sadly, today’s test will be for Windows only.

Chris “Dippy Dragon” Spears

BurningToad (aka Ken Pfile on the server team) further explained in the thread that “After patching completes, it should run the game, bring up a screen with a play button, which you can then click to get to a login screen. So if that works, then the patch testing worked, but yes… sorry that you can’t login just yet“.

So, if you are a backer at Developer pledge level or higher, please join us in testing our installer/patcher. If all goes well, a new pre-Release 1 version will be released early next week that will allow Dev+ backers to login to a sample scenario (endearingly referred to by the dev team as the “Chicken Room”).

Thanks to all our Dev+ backers for helping us work the kinks out of our installer/patcher/login process before we open the full Release 1 to all 25k+ backers on December 12!

Friday - November 29, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 02:17

Portalarium has posted the lastest Update of the Avatar with news about the Blade of the Avatar novel, combat design, immortality fruit, and black friday goodies.

Blade of the Avatar Novel, Installment 1 – Prologue

The first installment of the serialized SotA novel, Blade of the Avatar (BotA), written by Tracy Hickman & Richard Garriott, is now available for download! Digital version of BotA is included as an Early Founder reward at all pledge levels $25 or higher, and is also available in the Add-On Store for everyone. Early Founders can download the first installment at the new Early Founder Rewards area in the community forums (accessible to Early Founders only; Early Founders are backers that pledged any amount by May 20, 2013). If you are a Kickstarter backer you’ll need to have your Kickstarter account linked to the SotA website (click here for instructions to link your Kickstarter account).

If you purchased BotA in the Add-On Store, then you will find a download link for the first installment on your personal SotA account page (log into SotA website and click on “Account” in the top-right corner).

(Click here to download the full first installment of Blade of the Avatar)

Combat FAQ:

Head on over to the public forums to read the entire post and share your feedback!

Black Friday Weekend Promotions

We have some great promotions lined up for Black Friday Weekend (& Cyber Monday)! Check these out:

15% Pledge Bonus on all New Pledges and Pledge Upgrades!

For all new pledges or pledge upgrades that you purchase for yourself, or as a gift, between 12:00 am CST November 27 and 12:00 am CST December 3, we will add an additional 15% bonus to your pledge account! For example, if you purchase a new Founder pledge for $65, we will add an additional $10 to your pledge account ($65 times 15% equal $9.75 rounded up to $10; our pledge package doesn’t handle cents so we round up to nearest dollar).

NOTE: The 15% bonus pledge won’t show up in your account immediately. Give us about a week after the end of the promotion period to tally everyone’s purchases and add the bonus pledge to your account.

15% Discount on Add-On Store Items!

We’ve dropped the prices in the Add-On Store by an additional 15% during the promotion period, so now would be a great time to get that special item you’ve been drooling over (or as a gift for some lucky person).
The Return of the Darkstarr Metronome and Moondial at a 33% Discount!

If you missed your chance to get a Darkstarr Metronome or Moondial back in July then now is your chance to grab one (for yourself or as a gift)! We’re bringing them back for Black Friday weekend only, at a 33% discount from the original price! Reserve yours now!

50% Discount on Viking Village Home!

The Viking Village Home was the first home we made available in the Add-On Store, and it has proven to be quite popular. For Black Friday Weekend only we are re-introducing the 50% discount off the regular price!

15% Discount on T-Shirts and Challenge Coins in the Merchandise Store!

If you don’t have a SotA T-shirt or Challenge Coin yet, or want to get one as a gift, then head over to the Merchandise Store and get them 15% off regular price!

Thursday - November 28, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Video Interview

by Couchpotato, 02:10

The Spoony Experiment has posted part two of thier interview with Richard Garriott talking abut his upcoming game Shroud of the Avatar.

Sunday - November 24, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Video Interview

by Couchpotato, 04:27

Portalarium has posted Spoony's "Britannia Burns" video interview with Richard Garriott that was part of the games kickstarter stretch goals.

Britannia Burns! The Long Awaited Spoony Interview/Roast!

You wanted it! You earned it in our Kickstarter Stretch Goals! You waited for it! Well, wait no longer! Presenting… Spoony meets Lord British, Part 1!


Tuesday - November 19, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 04:22

Portalarium has posted the lastest Update of the Avatar with news about the Scene Jam & Recruit-A-Friend Winners, Skills Design, Windmill Home, Basements, and Taming Turkey.

Magic, Combat, and Crafting Skills Design

Executive Producer Starr Long shared the dev teams design notes for the Magic, Combat, and Crafting skills in a comprehensive public forum post earlier this week. Here is a brief excerpt from that post:

As we have described previously we want Shroud of the Avatar to be a classless system that allows players to define and play any role they choose. We also want a clear path for growth and specialization while also maintaining opportunities for competition and cooperation. This is our current thinking on how to accomplish those goals. Remember this is just current thinking and we will probably change many of these details. Note that we use the term “skill” to cover all player abilities including spells, combat moves, etc.

Windmill Village Home

Ever wanted to live in a Windmill? Well here’s your chance! Bob Cooksey and Michael Hutchison have designed this 2-story Windmill Village Home, with a comfortably sized room on each floor and an external stairway leading to a wrap-around deck on the second level. And yes, the windmill blades actually spin!

Tuesday - November 12, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ Game Industry

by Couchpotato, 00:15

Game Industry at posted a three part interview with Richard Garriott from the Unite 2013 conference. Here are the links: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

So, big picture, how is development on Shroud of the Avatar going?

Very well. Almost every day I see the output of our team, and am constantly reminded about how much faster this development process going in any other game I’ve been involved with in decades, and largely thanks to Unity. We’re just now about a hundred and twenty days in, and it would be hard to find something to complain about.

We do have a lot to accomplish within eighteen months or so, so we definitely feel the burn of the urgency of getting things done, but it's so far so good.

We're hoping that even by this Christmas, Decemberish or whenever we can, we're hoping to put a version into players’ hands.

That version will probably be more of a technical demo. It wouldn’t really be fair to call it an alpha or a beta, but it's enough to where we can exercise the multiplayer system—I hope—and the combat and the crafting and player housing and some of the other core features that we need to get into the players’ hands to even know if they're working properly, and then we’ll probably take it back down for a month or two at a time and have iterative times when it’s up to test out new systems.

So what are you most excited about in the title right now?

 I’d say there are three areas I’m most excited about right now. The first is working with Tracy Hickman on the story. I'm a big story guy, story is hard to do well. I think I do it reasonably well, but I'm not a professional writer, so having a top notch writer in my corner can really help that a lot.

I'm really excited about the conversation system. The fact that we are not doing what most roleplaying games do these days, which is menu-based conversations that feed into a menu-based quest system that feed into repetitive level grinding… There are arrows on the map that lead you to the repetitive level grind. We are not doing that. Instead we are going a little old-school with a little bit of new tech, with the conversation where you just walk up to NPCs and converse—as in, to type like you would to any other player in the world. And the fact that it can also extract multiple sentences the time… to respond to multiple queries concurrently… It wasn’t something I asked for from the designer, he just made it so. It’s just great when you stand in front of an NPC, and say “Greetings, bartender. My name is Richard. What kind of beer do you have on tap? I am especially interested in an ale.” And the bartender will respond to all of that.

 The third [feature I’m excited about] is the crafting system. And we still might even expand it from here, but the basis of it is allowing us to create many, many more discoverable and shareable recipes for doing things.

So, if you go back to Ultima Online. Ultima Online was one of the best MMOs for living in a diverse world, beyond combat, and I think we’re going to beat that mark pretty well with Shroud of the Avatar.

So, not only will you be able to go out into the world and gather raw materials, but that raw materials list is much broader than it ever has been before. And raw materials are usable in a number of crafting trees concurrently. You then refine those resources, meaning that you refine ore into ingots, you can then pull it through wire molds, or sword blanks, then you go to a blacksmith hypothetically, and then forge those into other things. We’re even making all the tools that you need for all these sorts of processes things that you make through other versions of the processes, and keep them all in good repair, and in working order in things you do with each other’s’ things in an interconnected way.

And because of the way that falls out also, the recipe itself is not a requirement, and so you can discover good recipes, so to speak. Which means that we can also invent new recipes later, and just not tell anybody we did it, and someone may or may not figure it out.

Monday - November 11, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 00:29

Portalarium has posted the lastest Update of the Avatar with news about the Scene Jam IV Winners, Story Sneak Peek & Map Reveal, Early Access Release Schedule, and the Baron Home.

Unity Scene Jam IV Winners!

The challenges for the first three Scene Jams were:

  • I: Build an ancient lunar rift
  • II: Create a catacombs
  • III: Build a village

For Scene Jam IV, the challenge was to pick any piece of Stephen Daniele’s concept art, create it in Unity, and tell the rest of the story. Show us what lies beyond that mouth to the cave, what is behind those ruined castle walls, or what lies deeper into that forest.

Once again, we had many exciting submissions! After long and careful evaluation, we are pleased to announce the winners of Unity Scene Jam IV:

  • Third Place (score 82) and winner of a $50 pledge: Paul Drotleff (Thoreandan)
  • Second Place (score 83) and winner of a $50 pledge: Mike Headley (LoneStranger), Nicholas Colla (Kilhwch), and Matthew Compean (Syipress)
  • First Place (score 88) and winner of a Knight’s pledge: Justin Eslinger (jeslinger) and Kevin Eslinger (KEslinger)

Congratulations to the winners and our deepest thanks to all of you that participated!

Be sure and check out next week’s project update where we will announce the overall Grand Prize Winner of the Unity Scene Jams!

Founder Baron City Home

Next in our parade of homes is the Founder Baron City Home, only available as a Founder reward in the Baron level pledges. Bob Cooksey and Michael Hutch have knocked it out of the park again with this gloriously elegant dwelling, custom-crafted to befit a Baron’s regal status. A spacious three-story mansion with two front entrances and a rear exterior stairwell to the second floor, comprised of nine rooms, with open-air decks on the second floor, third floor, and roof-top!

Friday - November 08, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Early Access Schedule

by Couchpotato, 00:20

Shroud of the Avatar is the next RPG planning to use Steam Early Access according to a forum post with their Early Access schedule.

We are incredibly excited to get Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues on your desktops very soon! As you have seen via our updates and progress videos, we have been making steady progress since our successful Kickstarter earlier this year. We have built out sections of the world while also developing housing, combat, crafting, conversations, AI, story and inventory. As our backers, you have a critical role to play in our development by providing feedback on design and soon the game itself.

As a crowd funded and crowd sourced project, we feel it is incredibly important that we provide our backers with information and access well before game studios would normally do so in a traditional development model. Traditionally, the players are given information and access only after the development team has already decided exactly how things will be done and even after it has already been implemented. By the time the public has access to the product, there is usually no time to meaningfully react to the public feedback.

Shroud of the Avatar is different than the traditional model, as we intend to offer our backers extremely early access to information and even the game itself. With that said, we also want to be very careful that we only provide access to portions of the game when they are ready for a wider range of feedback. If we can play it internally and we know it is not ready, then there is nothing to be gained by having a wider audience come to the same conclusion. In fact, it could be quite damaging to do so.

Our strategy over the next few months is to provide you with focused and iterative releases of content. Your feedback during these releases will be critical to making the final product the best it can be and we appreciate that you are all so willing to devote your time to helping us. With each release we will have specific tests we will ask you all to make. As we get closer we will send instructions on how to download, install, report bugs, etc. The first few releases will be very tightly scoped so access will be confined to a few days. After each release we will review the results and reevaluate the plan including the duration of availability of each release. With Release 4, we will have a representative game loop and we will increase access time. Please note that game data will be wiped periodically during early access.

Wednesday - November 06, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Editorial @ RPS

by Couchpotato, 00:41

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a short article on the reaction to the new six month progress video released earlier this week.

The combat system is a first draft, so to speak, but even with that knowledge it’s not particularly inspiring. Killings things is always the worst part of this sort of game though, I find, so perhaps it was wise to concentrate on housing before moving on to the tedium of hitpoint-reduction systems.

I’ll admit to being surprised that a lightning strike only did two damage to a bear. That was probably the most unexpected part of the hacky-slashy part of the video.

Comments that the game looks ‘dated’ and suchlike are entirely expected, however, and they’ve been spattered across the internet like the contents of a Saints Row septic truck. Next to The Witcher 3, Shroud looks like the product of a union between two ugly sticks that have been bopping each other and bumping uglies all night, but so does every other game. Shroud’s goals are different and if it can offer a world that responds to the presence of players in meaningful ways, backed up by a variety of possible virtual lifestyles, I won’t give a hoot what it looks like. Well, to a point. If every NPC was replaced by a crude 3d model of Danny DeVito, the game might well suffer. Then again, it’d certainly grab some headlines.

Sunday - November 03, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #7

by Couchpotato, 03:21

Shroud of the Avatar has another update with more details about the new Progress Video, Story Sneak Peek, Founder Starter Shield, and Fishing Pole of Prosperity.

In case you missed the video view yesterdays post here.

Six Month Progress Video!

It’s been a little over three months since we released our 3 Month progress video, and we’re excited to share the progress we’ve made since then. We encourage you to set your playback quality to HD, switch to full-screen, and enjoy our six month progress video, narrated by Richard “Lord British” Garriott!

Here is a time index for the main segments of the video:

  • Cities: (0:00) A tour of the scenic waterfront village of Kingsport and the larger, heavily fortified Owl’s Head (1:08). Shows the exteriors of several player houses and the types of property lots to claim for player’s homes.
  • Parade of Homes: (2:32) A look inside the Edelmenn and Viking (2:50) homes, Wizard’s Tower (3:19), Druid House (4:22), Town Tower (5:11), Lord’s House (6:12), and Lord of the Manor Keep (6:52).
  • Basements: (8:12) An exploration of the sub-levels available for housing and various sample ways to personalize them.
  • Home Decorating: (9:38) A demo of item interaction and home decoration using convenient parent/child object manipulation.
  • Conversations: (11:38) A peek into the full sentence conversation system for interacting with NPC’s.
  • Crafting: (13:13) Richard explains the phases of crafting and walks through the process of creating some items. (Chicken killing 15:06)
  • Adventuring and Combat: (15:20) A brief exploration of a prison, known as The Clink by the locals, showing off dungeon mechanics and a look at some very preliminary combat action (16:33). Some further exploration and preliminary combat in the Old Forest (17:03). Afterward, a look into some natural caverns occupied by kobolds, bears, and glowing fungi (18:42). Finally, a look at the Dragon Field (20:28)
[NOTE: Our combat system is in very, very, very early stages of development, so please understand that it will continue to evolve as it is developed, tested, redesigned, etc. We will welcome backer feedback once we've released the combat prototype for play-testing and are prepared to keep enhancing the design until it is fun!]

Saturday - November 02, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Progress Report Video

by Couchpotato, 02:11

IGN has a new video of Richard Garriott showing what his team has accomplished after six months of development.

Lord British himself, Richard Garriott, shows off new features like housing, crafting, creatures, maps, combat, magic, and more in this progress report of the upcoming RPG, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues.

Monday - October 28, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #6

by Couchpotato, 03:43

Shroud of the Avatar has another update with more details about the Unity Scene Jam #3 Winners, Story Sneak Peek, City Basements, Wizard Tower, and a new Baron 3 Pledge.

Unity Scene Jam #3 Winners

The Unity Scene Jam #1 challenge was to build an ancient lunar rift.  The second scene challenge took a step forward in time to when people retreated underground and created the catacombs.  For Scene Jam #3 we took another step forward in time to when people moved back to the surface and rebuilt villages and towns, so the challenge for Jam #3 was to build a village scene.

Next we get a new story sneak peek.

Welcome again, traveller. I am Arabella, and I have been sent to guide you…

Earlier, I described to you the choice you face initially; which path to take in your journey into the lands of New Britannia. Now, I will endeavor to shine some light on those choices, and the impact upon you and those you will meet. The first, your possible pathways among the seekers of Truth.

Among the truths you will learn is that much of our knowledge of the land of New Britannia is lost to the ages. The survivors of the Cataclysm four centuries past have settled in the land we call “Novia”, a large island which, while bearing the scars of that time, still harbors enough life to support our people. And others, as well… many of which you will meet on your travels. The Vertas people that live in the Forsaken Vale, for example, a new race borne of the Cataclysm which we have grown to call “elves”; Lord British has told me this may be reference to a long-distant legend that the people of Novia have since forgotten. The Vertas elves for their part are like men, but different… different enough. They struggle to live alongside the rest of us, but where a man might burn with emotional fire, an elf will be cold, distant. They worship history, knowledge and truth, and those who wish to learn the wisdom they hold would do well to discover the ways of these people. It is certain you will encounter them on your way.

The elves are not the only new race you may encounter, traveller. The lands of the southwest are rich and full of life, and that is rare in Novia. Men and mythical creatures mix throughout, and that brings conflict, as it always does. As our numbers recover from the Cataclysm, the settlements of various races meet, and begin to argue about land and water and right and wrong and truth and lies. Peace lies on a fine edge; it is an edge you may have to walk along. And always the Fomorians, remnants from the Dark Armies of wars past threaten; from their strongholds in Blackblade Pass they often strike looking for prey.

You will see many wonders on your path, traveler; the fauns of Midmaer and the barrens of Quel, the sailors who brave the Bay of Storms (whose name is well earned) seeking to take travellers to the legendary lands of Elysium, where lies the halls of Artifice. There, your destiny will take you, traveller, though it will challenge you in ways you do not yet expect.

This, then, will be one of the challenges facing you as prophesied – the journey of Truth. Will it be the Truth you wish to find? Or will it be the Truth that you wish would be? Or, will you see the Truth as it truly is? The choice will be yours…

The rest deals with housing and pledges.Wink

Sunday - October 20, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #5

by Couchpotato, 02:46

Shroud of the Avatar has another update with more details about the Lord of the Manor Home, Crafting Sigil, Story Sneak Peek #2, Avatar Outfits, and much more.

Here is the story sneak peak as the rest is the usual housing and item news.

Story Sneak Peek

“…it shall come to pass four long centuries after the fall
There shall come one from beyond the circles of the sundered moon
Who shall bind the world together once again
From its shattered stone and boiled seas…”

– The Dire Prophecies

Greetings, traveller. I am Arabella, and I have been sent to find you. There are those who believe you are the one of whom the prophecies speak. A great burden, and a great destiny, if in fact you are the one foreseen…

In this appointed hour, we have been taught to expect one from another world, one distant from ours in both time and space… the world of Earth, of Lord British. Yes, he remains with us, and if all goes well, he hopes to meet you on your travels…

Yet, there are paths that you must walk, as the prophecies foretold. There are many who would challenge your place here, in the lands of New Britannia. There are many who have forsaken the virtues, and embraced a world out of balance. This, too, was forseen.

However, what you must always remember, traveller, is that prophecy is but a guide. Your destination may become clear, but what you make of it, and how you shape the world in your wake, is up to you. I beseech you, always remember this… and let it guide you. Always remain true to yourself, and to the virtues. For the sake of New Britannia, you must.

Where shall you begin then, traveller?

Among the seekers of truth, the elvenfolk of legend, lost in the mists of their own illusions? Can you find your way, the way of Truth, among so many who have lost their own?

Or what of the shields of courage, the brave lords of the northwestern lands who act as bulwarks, fighting in the endless war against the kobolds who shape technology and magic to challenge the dominance of man? Will you have the Courage to understand why they still fight, and will they?

Perhaps your path will begin where the dead rise again in torment, the undead armies of Spite, who have stolen compassion itself in a cold fury aimed at everyone yet alive? Can you find Love in a land so stricken with hatred?

The map lies open before you, traveller. It is only for you to choose the path of your destiny. For at your path’s end, as the prophecies have forseen, you must face the hidden ruler of this world, and then you will need all the wisdom our world can teach you…

And at that time, only fate can know what time holds in store for you. For us all.

It is time to choose, traveller…

Friday - October 18, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Video Presentation from NYCC 2013

by Couchpotato, 00:49

MMORPGcom has posted a new video with Richard Garriott's Panel from NYCC 2013.

Lord British himself discusses the art of making games and what he and Portalarium have in store for Shroud of the Avatar.

Sunday - October 13, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #4

by Couchpotato, 00:43

Shroud of the Avatar has another update with more details about the combat sigil, story sneak peek, basements, druid home, and bonus rewards.

Now I'm going to skip the housing news and go straight to the story part.Wink

Story Sneak Peek

Very little has been revealed of the Shroud of the Avatar story that Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott have been crafting. They are ready to start revealing snippets of that story a little at a time. Here is the first tantalizing morsel:

“Few know the tales of the dark times, much less what happened before them. Since the great Cataclysm 400 years ago the world has slowly recovered but much was lost…”

– Arabella

Where do we start, when telling a tale? We would start at the beginning, but so much of those days have been lost to us. We can see the fragments of the world that came before all around us; under a hill near a quiet village there might be a ruined building, made of alabaster and marble, speaking quietly of days past and glories lost. Occasionally an inscription can be seen carved in a wall, a fragment in a language similar to ours, yet different enough to be unclear.

The ruins of the world past tell us little, so we turn to myth, prophecies and legends retold. They speak of a cataclysm long ago, when the sky burned and the ground tore itself apart, and the long years afterward, the cold, dark famine. The stones of the past tell little of who survived and how. The legends tell us only that so very few did.

We know a little more of their children, the men and women who rebuilt our world from the shattered past. They were a practical people, those who passed through far more than we can imagine. They left few grand monuments; you could say that their greatest monument was their own survival.

And of their children, we know more. The desire for power and control returned, as it always does, to consume the weak and the strong. Wars were fought then, amongst the ruined cities of their forefathers. New magic came to the world then, as warlords vying for power sought any advantage over each other. New, terrible monsters thought only whispered legends began to walk the earth in those days, serving their purpose in the endless conflict, even if that purpose was only chaos.

And their children understood it could not continue, and united to defend themselves against the warlords and the sorcerers. The city states arose in those days, and we learned that together we could defend ourselves. Yet still the darkness and the chaos pushed at us.

We are still a practical people, traveller. We do not think much about the why, only the how. We are young, after all, and it has not been very long in the shape of things that we have had the luxury to breathe. We are still building our world back to where we can shape our own monuments of alabaster and marble.

Legends and myths tell us little traveller, but they are very specific at times, and those are the times when legends can frighten you. I tell you this, because there is one legend in particular that should interest you. It tells that the world will begin its next cycle, led by a power horrible and great. It is very specific as to the year, traveller. And I think you can guess which year that is foretold.

And that, traveller, is why we fear you…

Friday - October 11, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Preview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Couchpotato, 01:05

Ten Ton Hammer has a new preview of Shroud of the Avatar about how crafing. Look on the brightside at least it's not another house update.

Starr Long says, “We don’t want the world to be filled with stuff we made. We want the world to be filled with things that the players made.” And I think that really sums it up very nicely. In the end, I think that’s what we all expect and will likely find in Shroud of the Avatar. Those small touches that don’t really seem all that significant on the surface, but that give the in-game world more depth and texture. Touches added not because it was the shortest route to completing that piece of the game, but because it gives players that greater sense of ownership of the world.

Crafting is a direct extension of a development team’s philosophy, and by looking at this system we can see more directly than anywhere else what the motivation behind the game is. It’s the foundational component used by developers to empower their customers to own the product, and from what I’ve seen so far, Portalarium wants you to have as much ownership over the in-game world as possible. They have some pretty cool ideas and only time will tell if they can live up to them or whether they fall beneath the Axe of Deadlines. I have a good deal of hope for them, though and I think they’ll find a large number of fans are rooting for them as well.

Sunday - October 06, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #3

by Couchpotato, 00:44

Shroud of the Avatar has another update with more details about the games Founder Lord Home, Benefactor Edelmann Home, Avatar Outfits, and Scene Jam #2.

Founder Lord Town Home

Artists Bob Cooksey and Michael Hutchison came up with a dignified design for our Founder Lord Town home!  Only available to Founders (included as a reward in the Lord level pledge). An extremely spacious two-story dwelling, with an open-air roof deck suitable for crafting or entertaining:

Benefactor Edelmann Village Home

Here is Bob’s finished design for the Benefactor Edelmann Village Home. This home is available to both Benefactors and Founders (included as a reward in the Edelmann level pledge). It is a single-story dwelling, similar in floor space to the Founder Edelmann Home:

Female Avatar Leather and Plate Armor

Isaac Oster and Geoff Mellon have been working on new avatar outfits, and they’re looking pretty sweet! Here are a couple samples of the leather and plate armor female outfits.

You can view the images Here and Here since they are to big to fit the newsbit.

Wednesday - October 02, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Editorial @ TenTonHammer

by Couchpotato, 00:14

TenTonHammer has a new article about Shroud of the Avatar that talks about how the game makes you the developer.

With everyone churning out games cut from the proven mold, it’s been a little hard to get excited about a new MMO in the fantasy genre. I’ve been a Richard Garriott fan for years, but that didn’t keep me from being skeptical. Until now I have to admit that I’ve really only been that excited about Shroud of the Avatar because of the name attached to it.

My recent trip to Austin sort of started changing my mind, though. I’m a big fan of the open-source movement and what I see here is something cut from the same cloth. It’s not enough for the guys at Portalarium to just make a game, they want to empower the community around them, and that’s something I can respect.

It may seem odd to some folks for that to be the sort of thing to change a person’s mind, but to me it shows a guiding principle that I’m glad to see the game being built around. A game that empowers the players to take ownership of everything from development to eventually creating their own story is the sort of game that I’m really excited to see made. Plus, the spirit of community you find in the development team is definitely something I think worthy of a little support.

Saturday - September 28, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #2

by Couchpotato, 08:02

Shroud of the Avatar has a new update for once doesn't include housing. Now joking aside the update covers the Sigil of Magic, Collector’s Coin, Crafting Stations,  and Unity Scene Jam Winner.

Unity Scene Jam #1 Winner

Our first Unity Scene Jam was a great success! This scene challenge involved a design that included a “Lunar Rift” and the ruins around it. We asked for the Lunar Rift to be one up on a plateau or at least on top of a very steep hill (see challenge design description here). We received a total of 48 submissions, with some awesome talent participating!

It was tough to choose the winner from among the top entries, but after much deliberation, Richard, Starr, and Chris unanimously chose Richard Matey as the First Place winner of our first Shroud of the Avatar Unity Scene Jam!  Chris Spears prepared this video walking you through Richard Matey’s sweet looking scene. So crank the quality up to HD, switch to full-screen, and enjoy!

Next they talk about the sigil of magic with various screenshots on the website.

The Sigil of Magic

There are nine schools of magic in Shroud of the Avatar: the eight elemental schools of Fire, Air, Water, Earth, Sun, Moon, Life, and Death with the ninth school of Chaos in the center of them all. Each school has a focus. Fire magic, for example, directly damages your enemies but also has a tendency to light them on fire, prolonging the damage dealt. Water magic on the other hand is about slowing your opponents with ice and healing your allies with soothing rains. The sigil represents how all the schools relate to each other and it will appear inked on parchment, carved into stone, sewn into cloth and minted into metal coins.

Then we get a glimpse into crafting with more screenshots on the website also.

Cooking Up Some Crafting Tables

Just as with all Lord British games, crafting plays a big part in Shroud of the Avatar. As described in our recently updated FAQ:

Players will be able to make almost anything in the game including furniture, consumables, and equipment. The results of all crafting elements have value as consumables and components in the combat system, as well as maintenance and upgrade elements for housing and cities.

Also explained in the FAQ, you can allow your friends to enter your property and use your crafting stations. And you can have NPC vendors stationed on your property to sell the goods you craft to other players.

Scott Jones (environmental artist; known as Scottie in the forums) has a great thread in the Dev+ forums (and reposted in the Founder Developer Blog) discussing his ongoing work with the crafting stations.

And for last they have a new FAQ to answer various questions that people have asked.

New and Improved FAQ

Starr Long (Executive Producer) recently updated and expanded the SotA FAQ. Many of the questions we receive on the forums and in support tickets have been covered in the revised FAQ, so we highly recommend that you check it out if you haven’t seen it lately. Here are a few juicy morsels to whet your whistle:

The Housing section of the FAQ has been greatly expanded, so check it out if you’d like to learn more!

Thanks go to rune_74 for sending in the link.Wink

Monday - September 23, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 00:34

Shroud of the Avatar has another update about the Decorating Demo Video, Edelmann Home, Tower Homes, & Unity Scene Jam!

Decor of the Avatar

For many of us, home decorating is central to our role-playing experience. It affords us the opportunity for self-expression, a display of status, showcasing the spoils of our adventures, or advertising our craft. The home decorating system in SotA continues to evolve both in power and ease of use. Mere words cannot do it justice, so Rick Holtrop choreographed this video demonstrating the latest progress in our home decorating system, narrated by Lord British. Enjoy!

Founder Edelmann Village Home

Bob Cooksey (environment artist) modified his concept of the Founder Edelmann Village Home based on the results of the community Poll in our Dev+ forums. Here is the revised version, only available to Founders (included as a reward in the Edelmann level pledge). It is a single-story dwelling, comparable in size to the Founder Citizen Village Home.

Get Your Tower Home Now and SAVE 50%!

For a limited time we’re offering a 50% discount on the Tower Homes! The Tower Village is available for $50 (regular $100) and the Tower Town is available for $75 (regular $150)!

Reserve your Tower Home at the Add-On Store!

• You will need a Village, Town, or City Level Property to place the Tower Village home in-game, and a Town or City Level Property to place the Tower Town home in-game.
• Citizen Level pledges and higher will still receive the home included in their rewards if they purchase the Tower Home as an add-on.

Friday - September 20, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Avatar Unity Scene Jam

by Couchpotato, 00:32

Shroud of the Avatar is hosting a new contest starting tomorrow. Head on over to the games webpage for more information.

The Shroud of the Avatar has been involving fans in the creation of the game since the start of the project. Now we’re giving you a chance to contribute in a whole different way!  On September 20th at 6PM CST (UTC-6), we will kicking off the first in a series of Shroud of the Avatar Unity Scene Jams!

Before we dive into the details of what it is, let me tell you why you should keep reading.  The overall winner receives:

 Unity Pro License – $1500 value
 Oculus Rift – $300 value
 Alienware Grab Bag (Backpack, mouse, keyboard, headset) – $350 value
 UnityVS 1.2 License – $249 value
 Shroud of the Avatar Duke Pledge – $5300 value

Interested?  We thought you might be! For all the details, head on over to the 48-Hour Scene Creation Challenge of the Avatar contest page!

Sunday - September 15, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Knight’s Home & Property Deeds

by Couchpotato, 00:20

Shroud of the Avatar has a new update with information on the games website for the knights home, and how property deeds work.

Founder Knight Village Home

Here is our unique, upscale, Founder Knight Village home, only available to Founders (included as a reward in the Knight level pledge). A two-story dwelling, with a split-level roof deck:


200 Village Property Deeds Available in Add-On Store

We have added 200 Village Lot Property Deeds to the Add-On Store at an introductory price of $150 (a 25% discount off the regular $200 price)!

Village lots are located in almost every village, town, and city across New Britannia. The Village Property Deed in the Add-On Store includes the Shingle-Roof Village Home, shown here next to an empty village lot.


At 20 x 30 meters, there is ample room for a variety of homes, including the spacious Knight Village Home and Viking Village Home!

There are many benefits to being a property owner in SotA, including:

  • Having a permanent residence, a place to put down roots, to hang your helmet, to decorate to your taste, to invite your friends over to hang out.
  • Provides a location for you to have a vendor to sell your wares.
  • Provides a location to set up private crafting stations, saving you the trouble of visiting public crafting stations to produce your wares.
  • Plant your own gardens to grow whatever you need.
  • Dramatically increases your storage space. Your house can be filled with decorations, and you can place chests at your house to expand your backpack inventory.

Saturday - September 14, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Post-Funding Update #38

by Couchpotato, 00:59

Shroud of the Avatar has another post-funding update with a variety of new topics.

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

More cool stuff to share with you this update, including Geoff Mellon's revamping of the male avatar outfit, Bren Wilson putting some moves on the avatar attacks, the Edelmann House Poll, Tracy Hickman's awesome Sojourner Tales Kickstarter campaign, and changes to how project updates are being shared.

The Edelmann House Poll

The rewards for the Edelmann Pledge Tier included "Unique, upscale, German Benefactor/Founder Edelmann's home (German home styles to be submitted and voted on by community; available only to pre-launch backers)"

Bob Cooksey (senior environmental artist) has generated his recommendation for an Edelmann home, and you can vote on his version, or alternate versions, at the Edelmann House Poll thread in our forums.

Project Updates Transitioning to SotA Website and Emails!

Since we completed our Kickstarter campaign on April 7, 2013, we have been double-posting our project updates to both Kickstarter and the SotA project website. To help consolidate our communications with our community of backers, we will start posting the updates only on the SotA website, but we will continue to send an email version of the updates to all of our Kickstarter backers using the email addresses provided to us by Kickstarter.  This way we can consolidate all of your replies and comments to our updates in one place.

Please Register on SotA and Link Your Kickstarter Account!

Stay on top of all the latest game development news by registering on our website, And if you have not already done so, please be sure to Link your Kickstarter Account, so we can ensure that you receive all of your backer rewards as soon as they are ready to roll out!

Thursday - September 05, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Post-Funding Update #37: More About Homes

by Myrthos, 02:00

An update was made for Shroud of the Avatar showing various houses that were designed for the game, including de houses that are available on one of the pledge levels and a house that you can buy for half its price. Although I don't see myself pay the $50 to own this house (or any other house) in the game, you might.... or not.

With this next house, we experimented with something that allowed for a larger variety of color, yet still appropriate for the time period and overall art style. This Viking Village home is a two-story dwelling, with a single large room downstairs and a wrap-around loft on the second floor:


Wednesday - September 04, 2013

Telethon of the Avatar - Results

by Couchpotato, 00:47

If anyone remembers my previous post about the Telethon of the Avatar it's now over. Today I have the results from Hearth of Britannia.

A tremendous thank you to everyone pledged, participated, donated, or was otherwise involved with the Telethon of the Avatar. With your help, we raised $12,999. It was, in so very many ways, a rousing success.

However, I now must sleep for I've been awake for far longer than I care to admit. Please allow me the next several days to rest, recover, and comb through the spreadsheets, emails, and handwritten notes to sort out everything, and to finish making the Virtue and Legends of Ultima Cards. Once that is finished, the final drawings will take place and the orders for the cards will be placed. The Digital Locker should be available by the weekend. Ideally, everything will get to you by the end of September.

Thursday - August 15, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - News Roundup

by Couchpotato, 00:52

It seems Richard Garriott is going to Attend the Telethon of the Avatar.

Rustic Dragon could barely contain his excitement on Twitter this afternoon:

"Rustic Dragon @RusticDragon

Tuesday - August 13, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Telethon of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 00:41

Ultimacodex brings word of a telethon to raise more funds for Shroud of the Avatar.

Rustic Dragon had something…massive…planned for later this month. All the anticipation, all the teasing, has been build-up for this:

That’s right…Rustic intends to hold a 24-hour marathon fundraising drive for Shroud of the Avatar, and aims to raise $1,000,000 more for Richard Garriott’s upcoming project.

Now, it goes without saying that what Rustic Dragon is doing is in no way officially affiliated with Portalarium or development on Shroud of the Avatar. However, Rustic Dragon would like to see that project’s coffers enriched, and is putting on this event to stoke more interest in Shroud of the Avatar…and to encourage people to pledge (or pledge more) to its development. He won’t be collecting pledges at his site; pledges should be made to Portalarium at the Shroud of the Avatar website.

For more details, check out the FAQ page that Rustic Dragon has set up. And get ready for August 24th; it’s going to be a big day!

Wednesday - August 07, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - About the Music

by Myrthos, 12:44

Richard Gariiot was hanging out at Google+ and shared his views on the music in Shroud of the Avatar.

If you can't be bothered to watch the video, there is also a brief summary available.

Richard Garriott:
For Shroud of the Avatar, I have musical goals which include inspiration from Ken Arnolds work in Early Ultima's, historical style pieces akin to Iolo's Stones and other work.

I still have a strong affinity for the early Ultima music scored by Ken Arnold, that even with only 3 voices, had great memorable melodies. Don’t listen to the simplicity nor the instrumentation, just the fact that they have memorable simple melodies.

My favorites for inspiration are:
Ultima 3
· Campfire
· Wanderer
Ultima 5
· Captain John’s Hornpipe
· Worlds Below
Ultima VI
· Bootup

Other Music that inspires me while working on SotA
· AWOL Nation – Sail: Love the power, instrumentation and melody, lyrics unrelated.
· Beats Antique – Beauty Beats : Love the instrumentation and melodies
· Beats Antique – Mission: Ditto
· Synthetic Dream Foundation – The One Eyed Maiden: Ditto
· Steam Powered Giraffe - Automatonic Electronic Harmonics: Ditto
· Metallica – Enter Sandman: Metallica Power Ballads fit the melodic, powerful style I would like to achieve for some parts and the “intro” theme song.
· Metallica – Unforgiven
· Metallica – Nothing Else Matters

Found at UltimaCodex.

Tuesday - July 30, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - First Developer Asset Kit Released

by Couchpotato, 01:44

Ultimacodex has news on the First Developer Asset Kit Released avaiable to those that have pledged more than $450.

The Shroud of the Avatar Facebook page has some good news for those of you who have pledged at least $450 to Shroud of the Avatar:

"Exciting News for Dev+ backers! Our first Downloadable Asset Kit is up and ready for you to download! Log into the Dev+ Forums for more information and to get your Dungeon Kit Assets today! *Note* ~ The Dungeon Kit and Dev+ Forums are available only to backers who pledged at Developer level and above."

To get access to the kit, head to this section of the Shroud of the Avatar forums (only available to Developer-level backers and above); you’ll have to fill out a survey to get access to the asset kit. At this time, the asset kit is not available via the Unity Asset Store. Portalarium technical director Chris Spears also put together a handy tutorial video showing how to use the assets in Unity:

As well, Portalarium are actively looking to crowd-source dungeons for Shroud of the Avatar, and have published a set of guidlines for prospective builders to follow:

"We’re looking for prospective dungeoneers to help create some of the dungeons within Shroud of the Avatar…We’d like each submission to include a short document walking us through the dungeon you created, the modified scene containing your dungeon layout using the provided dungeon kit, and any other extra assets you may have used or created for your dungeon."

"Each dungeon scene is a mini-story that should take about 5-30 minutes to complete. Think of these as an encapsulated adventure taking place within the world of Shroud of the Avatar. These will likely contain a little story of their own."

A link to where you can submit completed dungeons is also provided in the forum post linked above.

Wednesday - July 24, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Post-Funding Update #34

by Myrthos, 11:51

Update number 34 of Shroud of the Avatar talks about the Darkstarr Moondial we reported about before and the Darkstarr Metronome.

For those of you planning to play virtual instruments this mechanical metronome can help keep the tempo! Place this in-game decoration near your instrument, set the desired beat, and start the scythe to swinging! At over 8-feet tall and swinging a blade, this Grim Reaper apparition can also double as an intruder deterrent! The Darkstarr Metronome is included as a reward at the Virtual Collector level pledge.

Like with the Darkstarr Moondial, I also get the feeling with this Metronome that I just can't wait not to get this decorative item with some functionality that I don't think I'll miss not having. But that is me, I'm sure it will get them more funding for the game as there will be plenty who will buy this as an add-on.

Monday - July 22, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Darkstarr Moondial

by Couchpotato, 00:02

Ultimacodex has a post about the Darkstarr Moondial baker reward.

Portalarium’s technical director, Chris Spears, posted a video to the Shroud of the Avatar forums, in which the current in-game model of the Darkstarr Moondial backer reward gets shown off a bit:

"For those who were following this thread, just thought I would share that I actually put the moon dial into the game engine earlier and captured it. Before anyone says anything about no AA, I was using 8X AA, the jaggies are from Youtube compression. I do think we need to turn up to the normal map a bit and maybe was to a specific metal shader but that can wait till tomorrow.

Here it is on the upstairs balcony of your future house… if you like trees at least.

…it isn’t 100% done. The pivot points are off just slightly which gives each ring a bit of a wobble. I actually kind of like that but I would really like to be able to make the planet in the middle rotate as well."

Source: N4G

Thursday - July 18, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ MMORPG

by Couchpotato, 02:37

MMORPG has the latest interview for Shroud of the Avatar with Executive Producer Starr Long. As usual it covers only the online side of the game. Shroud is a very different approach to a fantasy online game. Tell us how you approach development, what is your process when looking at a new world?

Starr Long: I believe in establishing a core vision and then getting to a playable version of that vision as quickly as possible. From there you iterate until it is the best it can be. Now with our incredibly tight communication loop with the community they can have direct input on those iterations. What elements of the game will you be working on directly? Do you have your team in place already?

Starr Long: I will be managing the entire project including milestones, budgets, etc. I will also be heavily involved with all aspects of game design. There is already a very strong team on Shroud, which is part of why I was so attracted to the project. We have a very small, tight team that works great together and we hope to stay very lean. Where do you see the MMO genre going over the next few years? How does Shroud fit into this future?

Starr Long: I feel like we are seeing the MMO genre diversify and disperse itself amongst what were more traditionally multiplayer games. I think we are seeing the boundaries of what an MMO like experience can be. Games like Shroud and Destiny are great examples of taking MMOs in new directions where you can have a “massive” experience while still having the opportunity to enjoy a more intimate gameplay experience.

Friday - July 12, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Narrated Demo by Richard Garriot

by Couchpotato, 01:43

Ultimacodex has a new demo video and screenshots for Shroud of the Avatar.

Thursday - July 11, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Hangout of the Avatar

by Couchpotato, 01:45

Shroud of the Avatar has a new video in their Hangout of the Avatar updates. This time the team plays an early demo of the game, and answers questions. It comes with the usual warning of not to watch, unless you have more than 30 minutes to spare.

Wednesday - July 10, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Richard Garriott Convinced Me

by Couchpotato, 01:46

Twinfinite has an editorial were the writer tries to convince us that we should all care about Shroud of the Avatar.

I understand the appeal of online RPGs. I bought one a long time ago, and I instantly understood every positive and negative moment I could find in an hour or two. Then, I put it away, never wanting an online RPG again. The reason is because picking any online RPG is a commitment. You don’t play these games. You live them. I just don’t have that kind of commitment to any one game.

In effect, I tend to ignore much of the news about this genre. When I found out about Richard Garriott attending and presenting his new RPG to the RTX crowd, I was conflicted. The aura of Lord British’s legacy in gaming makes him a sort of rock star. He actually went into space. It’s exciting to watch a man unveil his product for the first time to an audience of people walking around with boxes of Ultima under their arms. However, he is talking about an RPG focused on online.

So I sat in front of a crowd of people genuinely excited about a product that I could care less about, just to see what Richard Garriott can do as a creator. I left that conference genuinely interested in Shroud of the Avatar. I was shocked, to say the least. He shocked me by showing me his concept of an RPG that exists in an online world. Its not an MMORPG (or at least not what I think of one).

Sunday - July 07, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Demo From RTX 2013

by Couchpotato, 18:03

As a followup to the other announcement Richard “Lord British” Garriott showed a gameplay demo at RTX 2013. Just a word of warning the video is over an hour long.

Richard “Lord British” Garriott talks about the next generation of Game Development, The power of Crowd-sourcing, and play though a Demo of our latest progress on Shroud of the Avatar at RTX 2013.  If you missed the presentation, you can catch up right here!

Shroud of the Avatar - Starr Long Joins Portalarium

by Couchpotato, 01:21

Ultima Online Project Director Starr Long last collaborated with Richard Garriott on Tabula Rasa,has joined the team at Portalarium. He is to work on the upcoming Kickstarter-funded Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues as an Executive Producer.

Starr Long Joins Shroud of the Avatar Development Team at Portalarium

Starr to team with Richard Garriott on crowd sourced game; Duo collaborating for the first time on fantasy RPG genre since Ultima Online

AUSTIN, Texas, July 5, 2013 — The last time Starr Long and Richard Garriott teamed up to create a fantasy role playing game (RPG) was 1997. That game, Ultima Online, quickly became the first commercially successful massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) and many credit the duo with reinventing the RPG with that ground breaking product. Now Richard Garriott and Starr Long are preparing for yet another collaboration to reinvent the genre, this time on Portalarium’s™ Shroud of the Avatar™ PC based game. Starr was announced today as the project’s executive producer.

The announcement was made during RTX 2013, currently taking place at the Austin Convention Center. Garriott is a guest speaker at this year’s event. He is showing a demo of Shroud of the Avatar during a special presentation at 4:30 pm CDT, Saturday, July 6, in room 19 of the convention center. The entire presentation will be live streamed on RTX Live. Additionally, Garriott will be formally introducing Starr during his talk.

Starr is a 20-year veteran of the gaming industry. He started his career at Austin’s legendary Origin Systems studio where he worked directly with Garriott to produce and create Ultima Online, which continues its position today as the longest running massively multiplayer online game ever. In 2010, Ultima Online was inducted into the Online Game Developers Conference Hall of Fame, becoming the first MMO to be so honored. Starr later helped co-found Destination Games with Richard and Robert Garriott (the company was soon acquired by NCsoft) and as producer he again collaborated with Richard Garriott on the futuristic MMO game, Tabula Rasa. In 2008 Beckett’s Massive Online Gamer magazine named Starr Long as one of the Top 20 Most Influential People in the massively multiplayer online industry.

Saturday - June 15, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Post-funding Update #31

by Couchpotato, 05:07

Shroud of the Avatar has a new post-funding update and it's a long one. The topics cover the new monthly payment layaway plan, new public & private forums, and team bios.

Monthly Payment Layaway Plan Goes Live!

During our Kickstarter campaign we received many requests for a monthly payment plan from backers that couldn't afford to pay for their desired pledge all at once. In Update #25 we mentioned we were working on a Layaway Plan that would provide for recurring monthly payments toward a desired tier. We're happy to announce that our Monthly Payment Layaway Plan has now been rolled out!

Can I Make Monthly Payments Toward New Pledges and Upgrading Existing Pledges?

The monthly payment plan is available to new backers making their first pledge, as well as existing backers that want to make monthly payments toward upgrading their pledge. You'll notice the changes on the front page of the SotA site, right side-bar, where it says "Select Full Payment or Monthly Payments". The drop-down menu now has a new item, "Monthly Payments - CreditCard". If you select that, and click on Pledge, it'll take you to a new Monthly Payment page, allowing you to select a new pledge to start making payments toward, or upgrade an existing pledge (if you have one) with monthly payments. It'll automatically show you the lowest monthly payment amount based on how many months are remaining until September 2014, however, it won't go below $10 per month. You can adjust the monthly payment amount, and the number of months to reach your pledge will automatically change.

What's Up With the Service Fees?

There is a monthly service fee associated with the Layaway plan, thus increasing the overall amount paid for a tier. Part of this service fee goes to cover the monthly charges passed on to us from your payment provider (credit card, PayPal, or Amazon), part goes to cover our additional processing costs, and part covers the extra benefit you receive for  reserving a potentially limited tier, and getting the rewards for that tier, prior to actually paying the full amount for that tier. For example, if you decide to make $80 monthly payments for the $800 Knight tier, we have to remove one of the Knight's pledges from the limited pool, and you immediately have access to the Private Developer Forums, even though you have only made one $80 payment. This would be unfair to all the backers that paid $400 or more in a single payment, so they could have access to the Private Developer Forums. The additional service fee you are paying each month covers these benefits.

Tracking Developer Posts

Many of you asked for a tool to help you find forum postings made by members of the SotA Development Team, so we added the "Developer Tracker" button to the forum menu. If you're logged in, it'll list every developer posting, sorted by date. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Private Founders Developer Blog

In the past week, we've also added the private Founders Developer Blog, which is available to all backers at the Founders tier and above. The Dev Team will be making regular posts in this area (including the transcript of our daily team stand-up meetings), so come check it out to see what the team is up to.

New General Forums

We have also completed the migration of all the public general forum posts over to the new forums, and have closed down the old forums, so head on over and check them out at (or click the "Forum" button on the SotA home page).

Checkout the Team Bios!

Our Dev Team has grown considerably in the past 2 months (we're up to 22 now)! For those of you that want to get to know our Dev Team a bit more, we just published a Bio for each and every one of them on our new SotA Developers page. We'll add new bios as we add new team members (we just interviewed a new artist intern, so look for her bio shortly).

Wednesday - June 05, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Post-Funding Update #30

by Myrthos, 12:16

There is a new update for Shroud of the Avatar on their Kickstarter page. This time it is about the developer forums, amazon payments, new team members and more.

The Development team at Shroud of the Avatar is delighted to announce that the private Developer Forums are up and ready for everyone who pledged at the Developer level and above. If you already have a Shroud of the Avatar forum account, getting started is as easy as signing in at the new address: You'll need to bookmark this link until we modify the navigation buttons on the SotA website.

Several new, incredibly talented artists have joined the team. You can meet Isaac Oster, Bren Wilson, and Geoff Mellon in an upcoming Shroud of the Avatar Dev Hangout.

And just in case there is a lost sole who wanted to pledge but was unable to collect enough money for it for a single pledge, you can now set a small bit of money aside on a monthly basis instead:

The Layaway Plan we first mentioned in Update #25 is almost ready to launch! This plan is for backers that can't afford to pay for their pledge all at once. There will be a monthly service fee associated with the Layaway plan, thus increasing the overall amount paid for a tier. The monthly payment plan will be available to new backers making their first pledge, as well as for existing backers that want to make monthly payments toward upgrading their existing pledge. The monthly payment system is currently being tested, so look for an upcoming KS Update in June announcing when it is ready.

Saturday - June 01, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Video Updates #2

by Couchpotato, 01:51

Shroud of the Avatar has a few more videos again, but this time dont worry there is a recap for the impatient viewers.

Shroud of the Avatar Dev Hangout

To busy to watch? Then be sure to check out the recap, complete with screen captures, on Forsaken Virtues!


Pen of the Avatar 

In today’s Pen of the Avatar, SotA Concept Lead Stephen Daniele created the first concept piece for an alchemist shop nestled in a grand hollowed-out tree. Also revealed were some first looks at the way lot sizes and housing styles compare in Villages, Towns and Cities.


Sunday - May 26, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Video Updates

by Couchpotato, 00:22

Shroud of the Avatar has two more video updates in the last week.

Dev chat with Richard and Tracy!

Questions will be taken in the chat room for this one. Richard Garriot, Tracy Hickman, Chris Spears, and Mojito Spears will be on camera!

Pen of the Avatar

Our next Dev Chat feature with Stephen Daniele in Pen of the Avatar

Saturday - May 18, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Dev Chat #3 And Tier Changes

by Couchpotato, 04:41

Shroud of the Avatar has a few posted updates on their website. The first update is the Dev Chat video. The second update deals with teir changes, and reminds everyone the grace period ends May 20.


Thursday - May 09, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Request for New Tier Titles

by Couchpotato, 02:53

It seems Lord British wants your help renaming the tier titles for new and old backers.

Greetings and Salutations!

Lord British has a request to make of you, his Royal Subjects.  We are in the process of defining the new titles for new tiers and would like your input!  Our current thoughts are to add the prefix Royal to many of the Kickstarter only titles, making the basic title available to any new pre-launch pledges.  We would like to know what you think of that!

And then, there are a few titles that just didn’t seem to work with the Royal Prefix, like Lord (and have been left blank in the chart below).  So we would like some feedback as to what titles should be given to new backers for those tiers.

We are also open to considering new names for the existing tiers.  For example, during the Kickstarter campaign, some players suggested that “Lord of the Manor” be changed to “Archduke”.  So if you have any suggestions for alternate titles, now is the time to share your feedback!

Please leave your feedback in the comments, or preferably on the forums in the following thread: Community Feedback Request for New Tier Titles.

Saturday - May 04, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Art Time with Stephen Daniele #2

by Couchpotato, 00:32

Shroud of the Avatar is back with another video in their weekly dev chat. This time it's Art Time with Stephen Daniele #2.


Wednesday - May 01, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Tracy Hickman Video

by Couchpotato, 01:38

Shroud of the Avatar has a new video with Lead Story Designer Tracy Hickman discussing the story behind the game.

Friday - April 26, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Housing Developments and Upcoming Guild Features

by Couchpotato, 01:26

Shroud of the Avatar has a new video talking about housing developments and upcoming guild features.


Wednesday - April 24, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #28, Translation To German and a New Tier

by Myrthos, 22:13

If you want you can still pledge for Shroud of the Avatar. As they are translating to German first, they added a 'German' tier as well.

$550 EDELMANN TIER - The Edelmann Village House Tier contains the following:

  • Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Edelmann" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player)
  • Rent free, Village Level House Deed, transferable between players
  • A special, commission free Vendor!
  • An upscale, German Edelmann's home (German home styles to be submitted and voted on by community)
  • A waterfront, German-style Cabana, sitting on stilts, in the water, attached to your Village property by a bridge (**Village waterfront lots available to Village, Town, or City property deed holders; higher value pledges have lot selection priority over lower value pledges**)
  • Unique Beer Brewing Ability adhering to the German beer purity law, Reinheitsgebot.  Only you will be able to teach this unique beer formula to others!
  • An animated, German Automaton house decoration (we are inspired by the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in Munich)
  • Unique, in-game, Deutsche Dogge house pet (or maybe a Dachshund)
  • Special Founder Level plaque as a digital, in-game decoration for your house
  • Printed Shroud of the Avatar novel signed by Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott!
  • Printed Village Property Deed, hand signed by Richard "Lord British" Garriott

There will also be an all digital version of the Edelmann tier available for those that do not want physical goods shipped to them:

$545 EDELMANN - ALL DIGITAL TIER - Contains only the digital rewards of the Edelmann Tier

Also Garriott is talking at the Quo Vadis German game conference.

Shroud of the Avatar - Art Time with Stephen Daniele

by Couchpotato, 02:19

Shroud of the Avatar's website has posted a new video with Stephen Daniele. The video showcases the various artwork in the game.

Join Stephen Daniele and FireLotus for another Art Hour! We’re looking for a groovy new title for our weekly art hangout, so come prepared to offer some suggestions!


Saturday - April 20, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview with Richard Garriott

by Myrthos, 00:51

Here is another Pure Sophistry's interview, this time with Richard Garriott. He talks about Shroud of the Avatar, why graphics aren't that important and moreover about Kickstarter and gaming. The interview is part of a larger sets of talks and this specific interview can be found at 31:30 (The Witcher 3 interview is also on this and can be found at 21:00).

Wednesday - April 17, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update # 26 & 27

by Couchpotato, 09:56

Well we missed two updates on this popular Kickstarter. So without any further delays here is the news. Update #26 is called Welcome to your new Home.

We have great news for all of our Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter Backers! We are now ready to merge your pledge information on the Shroud of the Avatar Website. And the process couldn't be easier!

If you are already registered on our official website:

  • Log in to

  • Click the account button at the upper right corner of the screen.

  • Select the "Link Kickstarter Account" button.

  • Follow the instructions. That's it, you're done!

If you haven't already done so, we really need for everyone to register on our site and link your Kickstarter accounts so we can manage your pledges and rewards going forward!

Update #27 is called Extended Grace Period and Ongoing Kickstarter Integration.

We had a pretty exciting weekend after launching Kickstarter integration functionality on the SotA website last Friday! Due to email exchange glitches, many of you had trouble receiving confirmation emails allowing you to register on the SotA website and link your Kickstarter account. Fortunately, we were able to track the issues down and get that email pipeline unclogged by Saturday! As of today, there are over 13,000 registered members on the SotA site, and more coming in every day!

There are over 22,000 Kickstarter backers for SotA, so we still have over 9,000 backers that haven't registered on the SotA site and linked their Kickstarter account. For those of you that haven't linked your Kickstarter account on the SotA website, please click here to do so at your soonest convenience!

Extended Grace Period

It is taking us a little longer than expected to get everyone migrated across and the new tier functionality integrated into the SotA website. We expect to have the new tiers ready to go early next week, so we are extending the grace period until then. Once that integration is complete, all Kickstarter backers will be able to purchase/upgrade to both the previous tiers (pending availability of limited tiers), and the new tiers, whereas new backers after the grace period ends will only have access to the new tiers.

So, tell your friends to come take advantage of the few extra days that the Kickstarter Tier Rewards are still available!

Wednesday - April 10, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #25, Thank You

by Myrthos, 12:15

A big thank you and information on what is next is provided by the Shorud of the Avatar team.

Wow! Words can't adequately express how overwhelmed we are with the incredible outpouring of support and dedication that all of you gave to the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter campaign, and to all of us on the SotA Team! Because of your incredible support, we raised a total of $2.03M, double our original goal!

We were totally amazed by how many stretch goals we blew past in our final 24 hours! We began Saturday morning at the $1.5M stretch goal, and were really, really hoping for some miracle to get us to the magical $1.8M stretch goal (yeah, along with all of you, we really want Tracy Hickman's prequel novel, plus all the other cool stuff in the $1.6M & $1.7M stretch goals)!

Quite honestly, with only 24 hours to raise almost $300,000 we felt the $1.8M stretch goal was out of reach. Boy, were we wrong! You guys showed us the incredible power of community! Reading through all of your comments going into the final stretch, the relentless cheering, challenging, shout-outs and sharing, it was apparent that all of you created the rocket fuel that caused the pledges to explode like nothing we could have imagined! You not only drove us to the unexpected $1.8M stretch goal, but your infectious enthusiasm propelled us past the $1.9M stretch goal, and with less than an hour before the end of our campaign...because of all of you...we pushed past the $2M stretch goal! 

We couldn't have gotten this far without you, and together we will continue this incredible journey! We have learned so much from you about what this game should become, and we very much look forward to continuing that interaction, so please continue to discuss your ideas with us on our official site at! We’ll have regular updates and information for friends old and new. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter, or tweet us with #LBSOTA to keep the conversation alive!

Together, we will craft Shroud of the Avatar to be a truly unique, amazing, and FUN gaming experience!

For anyone who missed the final moments of our 24-hour, Kickstarter Live Dev Cam, here it is, forever archived for your enjoyment!

Sunday - April 07, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Updates 23 & 24

by Woges, 12:14

With four hours to go there are a  few updates for RG's Kickstarter; one update with property and another with concept art and videos. Update 23:

FINAL DAY BONUS REWARDS: Waterfront Property, Island Castles, Custom Avatars, Collector’s Edition Story of Mondain, & More!

We're down to less than 20 hours to go for our Kickstarter campaign, and we need everyone's help for our last big push! We're adding even more bonus rewards that make for some juicy upgrades!

Waterfront! Waterfront! Waterfront! Houseboats, House Ships, Lighthouses, and Even Island Castles! Yeah Baby!!!

You asked for it, and here it is: we've added waterfront property options to villages, towns, and cities, allowing you to live on houseboats, ships, and islands! Oh yeah!

We received feedback that the Baron 2 tier is priced too high compared to the Baron 1 tier, so we're juicing up the rewards for the Baron 2's! Now you get a huge, double-decker Galleon to moor on your waterfront property, and you'll be the talk of the town when everyone sees the uniquely glorious crown perched proudly atop your avatar's head!

Update 24:

The Final Countdown, a Chat with Chris Roberts, and Lord Blackthorn!

We are in hour 10 of our 24 hour sit-in here at the Portalarium offices and we are so very humbled by your continued support and feedback!  If you haven’t swung by the Kickstarter page lately, we are hosting a continuous LIVE Dev Cam as we count down the final moments of the campaign with you, our community!

We also have some new Concept Art and special videos to share with you!

The Forgotten City: New Concept Art by Stephen Daniele 

In the arid lands to the East lies a forgotten city filled with magic and wonder.  A place where few venture and even less return.  Are you ready to accept the risk for the chance of reward?

A Forgotten City

Friday - April 05, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #22, More Bonus Rewards

by Myrthos, 09:11

With little over 2 days to go this update for Shroud of the Avatar brings us more bonus rewards, like these.

Many of you may get all glassy eyed and nostalgic when you hear we added a special Crystal Sword to the $60 tier that has the ability to kill almost any enemy you encounter (single use)! And with Early Skill Access available at the $50 tier (and above), you'll be the envy of all the players when they see you wielding new skills they don't yet have access to!

Not only are we crowdsourcing content from users but we're also crowd sharing! At least once a month we will release Unity content packs for download by those at the Developer tier (and above)! These Unity content packs contain a large number of game assets which can be used, free of charge in your own creations. Now that's a sweet deal!

Many of you suggested we add a tier to bridge the gap between the $500 Village house and $1500 Town house tier, so we added the $750 KNIGHT tier, which comes with a high-end, unique Village level Founder's home, appropriate to their stature as a Knight, complete with their very own house servant!

We also added a bunch of new rewards for all the SotA Homeowners, including unique high-end houses, house pets, house servants, unique furniture, and special Founder's Expert-level Crafting Stations!

So, without wasting another second, check out all our exciting new bonus rewards and pick your upgrades! And remind all your friends that haven't already pledged to come on out and get in on these Kickstarter-Only pledges before our campaign ends on Sunday morning!

Thursday - April 04, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #21, Their Art, Your Art and Emotes

by Myrthos, 12:05

With 3 more days to go, this update for the Shroud of the avatar Kickstarter brings us a piece of artwork.

If you want to leave your mark in the game you can also provide them with your art.

With Shroud of the Avatar, our team is breaking new ground in crowdsourcing art through the Unity Asset store AND the crowd sharing of assets to help build a powerful community!  During the prototyping phases of SotA we found the Unity asset store immensely valuable.  After seeing how the use of informal crowd sourced art and code from the Unity store enhanced our team’s velocity during prototyping, we decided it was time to take the next step and formalize the process.

We want our players to have a hand in creating content for the game. Our plan is to put out calls for art on a bi-weekly basis and then take submissions over the two weeks following the call for art. To help artists better understand how to create their pieces for SotA, a full art style guide will be published on our website, a SotA asset starter pack will be added to the Unity store before the first calls for art, and a detailed description or concept art for the piece we’re in need of will also be included for each new call.

If any submission is selected for use in Shroud of the Avatar, we will not only pay the artist four times the Unity store price for it, but you will also be rewarded in-game with appropriate trophies, or in some cases, a statue version of your art for display.We will also announce the winning art on our website and include it in our art blog with full credits to the maker and include them in the credits of the final game.  And you continue to own the rights to your work, allowing for you to sell your piece in the Unity store, where it will include a “Shroud of the Avatar Approved” art banner.

For quality pieces that are not accepted, we will provide constructive feedback from our veteran art staff to help with future submissions.

Our next goal is targeted at our Developer Level Backers ($400) or higher, and is the addition of monthly Unity asset packs that include a variety of SotA in-game art assets! While the SotA Unity art packs won’t include 100% of our assets, it will include the majority of our non-quest related elements as well as some code systems. This will only include assets created within Portalarium, and not user submitted assets.

The assets will be useable and royalty free in any project the backer is directly involved in and will only carry the requirement that Portalarium is listed in the credits! Our goal is to get professional game assets in the hands of our most ravenous fans and indie game developers.

For indie game developers or small game teams, this gives them access to a stream of top quality fantasy content for their own creations. For the super fans out there, they can use the assets with the free or paid versions of Unity to make their own fan applications! Fans who are developers can also submit their own scenes created with the assets for use in the final game! Look for more details on the scene submission process and rewards after our Kickstarter ends!

And ther is a video on the emote system.

Wednesday - April 03, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #20, Crafting and an Interview with Warren Spector

by Myrthos, 12:39

Update number 20 of Shroud of the Avatar offers the opportunity to enter a contest involving a video you should make related to SotA and information on crafting.

When we started the crafting design discussions there were a number of differing opinions on how to attack the problem a design standpoint.  One idea was essentially work in reverse and figure out the outputs we wanted from the system and design the crafting system around the outputs.  Another important voice on the topic was that crafting itself should be able to stand on its own without regard to the output because if not we could be asking a whole class of players(crafters) to endure a system that was designed only with another class of people (adventurers) in mind.  Finally, some voices believed that we should address it from the head and base everything on realism because that is what people will expect from a Richard Garriott game.

In the end we feel have a system that will please most everyone and, most importantly, is a solid foundation from which to build on for future expansion.  During production we will continue to tune both the systems, the inputs, and the outputs based on both player feedback and player behavior.

So now that we got all that BS out of the way, let’s get to some of the reveals!

We’ve split the large category of “Crafting” skills into two major categories of resource production and crafting.  While we haven’t revealed much information on the skill system just yet, players who prefer to split their time between crafting and adventuring will be happy to hear that the crafting skill trees and adventurer skill trees are completely separated and do not share skill advancement points in any way.  In other words, working on crafting skills will not hinder your combat or magic skills in anyway other than the time you lose to crafting!

Each of the five categories for the resource production is split into a gathering skill section and a refining skill section.  For instance, for mining, there is one skill tree dedicated to the collection of ore and gems, and another for the refining of those into final forms for use by the crafting skills.  This same idea is mirrored for the other four categories of hunter(skinning/tanning), forager(herb collection/preparation), woodsman(lumber collection/lumber cutting and planing), fishing(fish catching, fish cleaning).  

Skill trees for each of the above categories has branches for faster collection/refining, more output from each collection/refining, higher quality collection/refining, and greater tool endurance for collection/refining.

The output from the above sets of skill result in the majority of the input for what most people think of as crafting.  The major categories for crafting are Blacksmithing, Cooking, Tailoring, Alchemy, and Carpentry. The outputs from crafting are any of dozens of various recipes but the the outputs tend to fall into the categories of consumables, wearables, and decorations.  They also generally fall into one of three categories for durability which are hard goods (never breaks), soft goods (wears out through use and needs maintenance), and consumables (use it is gone).

More info in the update, which also offers more information on Farming. Besides that you can also watch this video

And to wrap things up Richard Garriott has interviewed Warren Spector.

Tuesday - April 02, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #19, New Stretch Goals and Bonus Rewards

by Myrthos, 12:06

You can't have enough Kickstarter bonuses and stretch goals, so here are a few more for Shroud of the Avatar.

$1.5M: Content is King + Iolo + Spoony interviews Richard

  • Denis Loubet Cover art! (Denis made every Ultima cover except Ultima 2)
  • New David “Iolo” Watson musical composition! (Iolo created “Stones” for Ultima!)
  • Noah “Spoony” Antwiler interviews (roasts?) Richard “Lord British” Garriott
  • 20 additional unique scenes including arctic scene sets
  • Starting continent doubles in size

$1.6M: Shipping Lanes Open for business + New Island Content Set + Soundtrack

  • New “Mysterious Island” content, city, and scenes
  • Ports with boats that run on schedules to transport players to areas beyond the mainland; Safety not guaranteed! (In short, be prepared to defend your vessel!)
  • Trans-Atlantic shipping lanes open the way for localization to other languages (languages for consideration based on player support: German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, etc.)

$1.7M: Dynamic and Contested Resource Nodes + Optional Minimap System

  • Meteorites, volcanic eruptions, outbreaks of rare plants and animals can appear and vanish suddenly (online and offline) for those who are paying attention. Some PVP focused resources appear in tile
  • Optional minimap system for the directionally impaired!
  • The Lost Vale - A new mini-adventure centered around a lost valley previously hidden to players, now visible only during special astronomical alignments.

$1.8M: Tracy Hickman Novel + Catacombs + Apprentice System + Cloaks!

$1.9M: The World is a Stage!

$2M: Players Take over the World!!!

$2.25M: Mod tools + Unique Art Creation skill + Expanded Player Customization

$2.5M: Full VR Treatment!

If you like to see more details or would like to know about the additional bonuses, check their update page.

Monday - April 01, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #18, Terrain and Weather

by Myrthos, 23:39

The terrain and weather systems are the most important parts in update #18 of the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter.

Let's start by talking about Terrain. As you know, we are working with a hex style map. One of the things we've done to streamline content development is to assign hexes with terrain presets, such as swamps, forests or mountains. Each terrain type can then be assigned primary characteristics such as height maps, textures, basic physics, which allows for simplified world building. In addition, the hexes are also meshed to give them a certain unique look and feel. These hex presets allow engineers to take what the designers want and easily translate it into the game world. Whether we want to add an ancient, forgotten desert to explore, or remote island ruins filled with treasures and peril, this tech allows us to change one tile and change the world!

We also want to focus on maximizing player performance as well, and have developed several systems to optimize data flow. Overall, hexes will be processed in 3 x 3 chunks for basic rendering, and only the data currently onscreen is processed. Behind the screen, we will be utilizing two different styles of GPU acceleration, which will automatically adapt based on your hardware specs to ensure the best possible performance while allowing for breathtaking visual impact.

A great example of this tech in action is our new Weather system, which we were able to implement partly because of these presets. We want the weather to look and feel real, while also having a meaningful impact on the player. Our weather will be simulated to not only look realistic, but to provide for evolving weather patterns that influence other aspects of the game. Weather, along with the day and night cycle, will be an important part of each scene. For example, perhaps a player can only approach a secured location under the cover of darkness, or maybe there is a rare herb that can only be gathered during a thunderous rainstorm.

Saturday - March 30, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #17, Summary and Character Concept Art

by Myrthos, 17:47

In the latest update a summary of Shroud of the Avatar is can be found:

Shroud of the Avatar is the “spiritual successor” to Richard’s previous work in the FRP genre. Our primary objectives are to tell a story even more compelling than Ultimas IV-VII, create a virtual world more interactive than Ultima VII, develop deep rich multi-player capabilities beyond combat akin to Ultima Online, and offer a bold new approach to integrate them with “Selective Multi-Player”.

  • Shroud of the Avatar is infused with rich storylines, deeply integrated into game play, developed by Best Selling Author Tracy Hickman and RPG legend Richard Garriott.
  • Players will adventure in an interactive world where their choices have consequences, ethical paradoxes give them pause, and they play a vital part in weaving their own story into the immersive world and lore surrounding them.
  • Shroud of the Avatar is a Selective Multiplayer game, allowing players to choose how they want to play!  Whether in Single-Player Offline mode or any of three online modes, the main quest line will provide greater than 40 hours of focused, story driven content.
  • Shroud of the Avatar can be played as an offline DRM free solo experience or online, where our servers will enable player to player transactions, group finding, patching, streaming of dynamic content, and exploit prevention.
  • Built using the Unity Game Engine, Shroud of the Avatar will support Win/Mac/Linux for official launch.
  • Players can specialize in a wide range of combat and non-combat skills, provided by a robust, classless skill system, and full-featured crafting and housing mechanics.  Play the way you want to play, molding your character into the hero, anti-hero, or artisan you want to be!
  • Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtue is the first of a 5 game series of full-length, stand-alone games (each using the same game system), referred to as Episodes 1 thru 5. Estimated availability of Episode 1, Forsaken Virtues, is October 2014, with Episodes 2 thru 5 estimated for subsequent yearly releases.
  • Shroud of the Avatar is a “buy-to-play” game that, once purchased, does not require a subscription to play!

Also a new tier has been added at $80, which gives you episodes 1, 2 and 3 as a reward and some new concept art is given.

Now we know that there is really no NEW information in there, so we wanted to give you something else!  For those of you who have asked, “Will I be able to play as a female Avatar?”  Yes you can, as seen in this new Character Concept art! (The full sized version can be downloaded from the Shroud of the Avatar Media Gallery.


Wednesday - March 27, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #16, Bonus Rewards

by Myrthos, 23:35

Update #16 brings us more bonus rewards: future episodes, new tiers, immortality fruit, indestructible artisan tools, unique taming ability and more.

We received great feedback on our forums for additional Pledge rewards, and based on this feedback we're adding lots of new bonus rewards!

Two frequent suggestions included access to future episodes and a bridge tier between $60 and $100, so we combined those suggestions and added a great new tier! We are introducing the reward-packed, $80 Royal Artisan Tier! This tier is loaded with goodies, including full access to future Episodes 2 & 3, a David "Iolo" Watson-designed range weapon, indestructible artisan tool, unique (teachable) emote, and special ability which will allow players to tame a normally untamable monster!

We also added a new $50 tier, the Immortal Adventurer, that includes an awesome, one-of-a-kind Immortality Fruit, used with the farming craft to sow a regenerating seed and an edible fruit that grants a full damage heal!

Tuesday - March 26, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #15, What Influences Art and a Video

by Myrthos, 22:55

The Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter enters its 15 update and brings us news on how design and story influenceses art and Garriott answering the Popeye question.

This piece of concept art, by Stephen Daniele, was a truly collaborative piece and has gone through multiple revisions. It started with the ideas that the statues could have been part of a large promenade that led to the citadel at the base of the volcano. That is where a closer look at the lore introduced the idea that they were part of an ancient culture that had harnessed the power of the volcano using it as an energy resource.

That idea led us to contemplate; if this ancient race of monument builders were able to harness the power of the volcano, what were they like? What imagery and symbols would appeal to that society? Perhaps Dragons and Succubi!

But these powerful, ancient society flourished during a time long past. Now, the statues are in a semi-ruined state, cracked and somewhat broken up with rock caked around their bases. They are standing in the lava because they have been there since before the lava flowed freely from the volcano. So what would compel adventurers to traverse the dangerous landscape?

Riches beyond imagine.

What if this area was the only source for rare resources? Obsidian, diamonds, rare metals not found elsewhere in the land! What if some, very rare resources could only be gathered in extremely dangerous areas, like a lava field? One thing we are confident of, is that resourceful players will find a way.

And then there is news on the AMA at Reddit we already posted about and the video where LB answers the Popeye question.

Also the $1.3M and $1.4M stretch goals are announced:

$1.3M  Interactive Music Instruments

$1.4M  Taming

Shroud of the Avatar - Reddit AMA

by Myrthos, 13:04

As mentioned before Richard Garriott did an 'Ask Me Anything' session at Redditt, which you can read here.

Good day Richard Garriott. Are you planning to have the farming system work along with the seasonal weather system? it only seems logical to me. plant in spring harvest in summer :D also the hexes surrounding the villages would make good purchasable farming plots.

Wow, great idea... my team (or at least Chris Spears) will freak out on that one... I do hope we get to the weather stretch goal ($50k to go). If so, I will look into "seasonal" influence as well!


Excited for your responses and loved your Matt Chat interview My question: Played UO when it first released and use to get murdered by PK's all the time and hated it. Turns out I now miss that in games. I miss the literal fear I would have for my things and the loss that would happen if I died. Why are games so easy now and will Shroud of Avatar have PK's running around murdering me?

We fully understand the potential horror as well as exhilaration that comes from being in full PVP. We are working hard to properly thread the needle, such that newbies don't get ganked, and yet mature players are encouraged to become exposed to PVP risk, such that the feeling is returned. We know this is a hot button issue, and we are working hard aon what we hope is an elegant answer!

Monday - March 25, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Matt Chat Interview

by Myrthos, 12:17

Matt Barton has interviewed Richard Garriott on Shroud of the Avatar and him being one of the first making role playing games.

Source: GameBanshee

Sunday - March 24, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #14, Paypal and Virtues

by Myrthos, 22:32

Update #14 brings us news that you can now pledge through Paypal.

The tier rewards are identical both on Kickstarter and at our Shroud of the Avatar store. It is simply an alternative that will allow new backers to pledge using PayPal as a payment option.

Then there is a video on virtues where Richard Garriott asks on of their programmers a set of questions about player virtues.  If this video makes it past 25000 they will post Richard's answers in a future update.

Also, Richard Garriott will be hosting a IamA session on March 25th at 4 pm CST.  Join him here:

Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ Dagon's Lair

by Myrthos, 22:01

Dagon from Dagon's Lair informed us that they had the opportunity to chat with Richard Garriott with a focus on the single player part of Shroud of the Avatar. The inhhteview comes in two parts and is available in both French and English (part 1 and part 2).

So in essence, the way you do it so that the single player experience is not say gimped by multiplayer is by building the multiplayer around it?

That’s right. That’s exactly right. And I also think than when you think of multiplayer, the… in a multiplayer sense, it’s actually very uncommon that your actual friends, people you actually know will happen to be online at the same time you happen to be online. You know if you think of your friends in the world. Most people have maybe a hundred people they would really call their friends and maybe only thirty of those people are actually as hardcore gamer as you are, and so the probably if you log on every other night, once every other night let’s say, the probability of you and your other thirty friends being online at the same time and in the same city at the same time is not a very likely occurrence. It’s actually, you know, it’s not something that will constantly be happening it’s something that’ll only occasionally happen and so I actually think as much… I want to convince people first of all to play online, not offline. But also by the way I think there is no reason not to expose yourself to letting your friends and you see each other because it’s not gonna happen that often, and whenever you happen to be in the same town, or happen to be travelling across the same part of the map, what a great joy it is to say, “Hey Bob, Chris, you know, what’s up? Hey how are you doing?” and make a celebration of the fact you found each other in this virtual world. Now if what you don’t wanna do is play with thousands of stranger tromping across your map, and killing all of your monsters, and getting all the loot ahead of you, and struggling for limited resources and you don’t to play that what I call competitive aspect of what sometime happens in multiplayer games, then don’t. We have a very simple slider that you move and set anywhere you want between travelling literally alone to only with people you know, to only with people you know and the know, so kind of two steps, or frankly anybody that happens to be nearby and so you can adjust and choose your level of comfort and you can change it on a daily basis. You can be going like you know last time I played I went ahead and slide that slider to let other people play and I didn’t like it. Well okay, you‘ll slide it back to solo player, no harm.

For those who don't like to read, there is also an audio version available on Youtube.

Friday - March 22, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #13, Housing

by Woges, 20:04

It's all about housing.

As promised, we’re ready to reveal more design details.  Based on feedback from the forums we’re revealing some details on housing!

Let me jump right into the stuff you guys really want to hear:

  • House maintenance and acquisition can be paid for with in game currency (KS houses have no upkeep cost ever)
  • House deeds can be traded between players
  • Houses are 100% secure for items stored in them though not always 100% accessible due to nasty sieges by evil forces
  • Houses exist in shared spaces (not instanced) and everyone will see your house and its decorations
  • Houses can be decorated both inside and out
  • Houses will be fairly limited but more will be added over time as we grow the world
  • City houses > Town houses > Village houses
  • Vendors for houses will be paid a percentage of the item that they sell (KS vendors will not take a cut of the profits)

Ok, hopefully that answered 80% of the housing questions we've received! For the other 20%, here are details, in written and video form:


Thursday - March 21, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #12, Art Direction

by Myrthos, 23:38

In update number 12 of the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter the art direction is discussed.

When we first started discussing Art Direction for Shroud of the Avatar, we felt it was critical that the virtual world be steeped in a traditional medieval fantasy feel, but have added a modern twist that we think will be a real treat for players to experience, taking them into something fresh.

There are an abundance of medieval fantasy games out there—so we asked ourselves how do we set the game apart, how do we create a unique and marketable identity in an oversaturated market?  The answer came in Richard’s natural storytelling ability.  Over the last few months, Richard developed a complex, rich story in which two worlds collide, the ancient world melding with the modern, and the world art we’re creating will reflect that in a fresh and unique way.

We started with traditional medieval elements and layered in elements of a primitive electro-mechanical future.  Our objective is to create a visual aesthetic that is both familiar and unique.  And now with the addition of Tracy Hickman to the team, his vision for the story will continue to evolve that world, and in turn, evolve our depiction of that world.

Richard’s attention to detail and sense of direction demands that all characters, weapons, objects, and buildings need to “make sense” and not just exist as eye-candy.  We are creating a world that sets Shroud of the Avatar apart from the pack-- but also one where form always follows function.  We believe this design process will create believable, fascinating worlds and our art will follow that vision.

Shroud of the Avatar - Sharing Stories

by Myrthos, 12:50

Richard Garriot share stories on the Ultima games, ducks and Shroud of the Avatar.

Source: GameBanshee

Tuesday - March 19, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #11, Stretch Goals and Bonuses

by Myrthos, 10:05

Now that Shroud of the Avatar is officially funded it is time for some stretch goals.

$1.1 M     PET SYSTEM!

  • One word, "Pets!"  We're adding both social and combat pets which players can control using simple commands


  • Grab your cloak, because we're adding Weather to the game!

$1.3 M     To Be Revealed!

And the following tiers have received one or more additional bonus rewards:

$60 Tier (FOUNDER) - Founder level now contains:

  • NEW: Special tunic for your in-game avatar to wear, proudly displaying unique symbology identifying you as an early Founder of the game.
  • NEW: 2 starter melee weapons, uniquely identifiable as Founder weapons
  • NEW: 1 non-combat pet (out of 3 to choose from; dependent upon reaching $1.1 M Pet System stretch goal)

$100 Tier (VIRTUAL COLLECTOR) - Virtual Collector level now contains:

  • NEW: You will receive the box cover art as a digital, uniquely framed, in-game decoration for your house.
  • Added 3/12: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Royal Archivist" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).

$125 Tier (EXPLORER) - Explorer level now contains:

  • NEW: You will receive the new world map as a digital, uniquely framed, in-game decoration for your house.
  • NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Explorer" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
  • Added 3/12: Special Collector's Box
  • Added 3/12: Recorded media game (format of recorded media TBD)
  • Added 3/12: Recorded media game soundtrack (format of recorded media TBD)
  • Added 3/12: Old-school style, illustrated, printed manual

$150 Tier (COLLECTOR) - Collector level now contains:

  • NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Royal Curator" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
  • Added 3/12: Mysterious physical artifact! (Is it an ankh? Is it a serpent necklace? What could it be?)
  • Added 3/12: Special Collector's Box
  • Added 3/12: Recorded media game (format of recorded media TBD)
  • Added 3/12: Recorded media game soundtrack (format of recorded media TBD)
  • Added 3/12: Old-school style, illustrated, printed manual

$200 Tier (PATRON) - Patron level now contains:

  • NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Patron" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
  • NEW: You will receive a digital, framed certificate of your inclusion in the Domesday Book, as an in-game decoration for your house.

$250 Tier (ANCESTOR) - Ancestor level now contains:

  • NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Ancestor" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
  • NEW: You will receive a duplicate of your digital tombstone as an in-game yard decoration for your house.

$350 Tier (NAVIGATOR) - Navigator level now contains:

  • NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Navigator" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).

$400 Tier (DEVELOPER) - Developer level now contains:

  • NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Tinkerer" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).

$500 Tier (CITIZEN) - Citizen level now contains:

  • NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Citizen" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
  • NEW: Printed Village Property Deed, hand signed by Richard "Lord British" Garriott

$1,500 Tier (LORD) - Lord level now contains:

  • NEW: Printed Town Property Deed, hand signed by Richard "Lord British" Garriott

$3,000/$3,500 Tier (BARON/BARON 2) - Baron/Baron 2 levels now contains:

  • NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Baron" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
  • NEW: Printed Town Property Deed, hand signed by Richard "Lord British" Garriott

$5,000 Tier (Duke) - Duke level now contains:

  • NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Duke" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).

$10,000 Tier (LORD OF THE MANOR) - Lord of the Manor level now contains:

  • NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Lord of the Manor" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).

$10,000 Tier (LORDS OF THE MANOR) - Lords of the Manor level now contains:

  • NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Lord of the Manor" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).

Saturday - March 16, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #10, Selective Multi-player

by Woges, 20:53

Update on the modes of play for SotA.

Single player offline:
This is the DRM free, completely off-line version of the game.  Your character is stored on your computer and can not be used in any of the online modes.  

Single Player Online (SPO)
In the SPO mode you connect to the server, receive content updates, and can see the long term changes others are having on the world.  However, you are not visible on anyone else’s screen, nor for grouping, and you don’t see anyone else in the world.  You can switch from SPO to FPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or overland map.  Some parts of the main storyline quests may temporarily force the player into SPO mode for some parts of the quest.

Friends Play Online (FPO)
In friends play online, you only see people you have flagged as friends in the game and only they can see you.  Like single player, this is just a server side filter.  For those who prefer the quieter game with friends or maybe for those who prefer a more focused role playing experience, this lets you enjoy a more limited online experience. You can switch to SPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or in the overland map.

Open Play Online (OPO)
In OPO players will see everyone that the server thinks they should see.  This will not necessarily be all people in the area but should be people you care the most about based on what we believe is their relevance to you.

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #9, Tracy Hickman

by Woges, 02:15

Tracy Hickman joins the team as Lead Story Designer.

“There is a tremendous opportunity to create something meaningful, challenging and wondrous in Shroud of the Avatar,” Tracy said. “I’m thrilled to play a part in it.”

"Tracy is not only a good friend, but also a master storycrafter whose writing I've greatly admired for over twenty years," says Richard Garriott. "Tracy’s talent will add a unique richness and depth to Shroud of the Avatar."

Friday - March 15, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update #8, The Fallen Keep

by Myrthos, 12:28

In the eighth update for the Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Kickstarter some concept art for The Fallen Keep is shown.

One of the scenarios we are building starts with the player outside of a former keep. The dark forces that lay siege to this keep, eventually overtaking it, now defend their spoils against your attempts to retake it.

Below is the latest concept art from Stephen Daniele depicting the Fallen Keep. If you look closely, you will see that while it was under siege, one of the towers was badly damaged. This will allow the clever player (with ranged attacks) to attempt to drop the drawbridge by destroying the crank seen through the gap at some angles. There are other, less obvious ways, into this keep, to be discovered by the more exploratory player. Those other ways may leave the keep more defensible when the tides are turned yet again!


Thursday - March 14, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update 7

by Woges, 01:07

Dual Scale vs Mono Scale Maps in this update by Chris Spears.


Wednesday - March 13, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar From Vision to Virtual Worlds

by Myrthos, 12:55

In a developer blog, Shroud of the Avatar developer Rick Holtrop shares with us on how an idea is transformed into a virtual world.

This scene started from conversations with Richard about the gypsies who will live in this world. A very early first pass resulted in a large camp where many gypsies lived and sold their wares.  Richard felt that this didn’t quite match what he had in mind for this. Instead he had envisioned a much smaller, temporary encampment, possibly even a single gypsy family.

Once I started to visualize the scene in that way, ideas came to mind much quicker and more easily. This is a family that would almost certainly come under siege by a small group of monsters, they probably don’t have much in the way of money, and they probably had their own family issues to worry about.

We settled on two stories to represent here, one “local” and one “global.” Locally, the family comes under ambush from a pack of skeletons just as the hero arrives. This is a nice, quick little piece of gameplay that leaves the player feeling a sense of reward and accomplishment.

On the “global” scale, one of these gypsies has a wedding ring and offers it to the player as a reward for helping.  On the surface, this appears to be an easy, extra reward for the player, but there is actually a great deal more happening here.  The player has found himself or herself  in an ethical dilemma, and that’s only apparent once the player has explored more of the world and uncovered more of the ongoing story. In this very organic way, quests can have both a long term and immediate consequence for players, and represents much of what questing means in a “Richard Garriott RPG”.

Shroud of the Avatar: Gypsy Camp

Shroud of the Avatar - Update 6

by Woges, 09:15

Collector's box and new tiers.

You asked for a box, so you're getting a box! A Collector's Box is one of the most frequently requested reward items, so we're creating a special box to hold your physical goods! We'll update you with more information about the special cover art for the box in a future update!

We're also adding several new bonus rewards to the following pledge tiers:

Tuesday - March 12, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar - Update 5

by Woges, 01:08

Some DRM, offline/online and microtransaction questions answered in the latest update for SotA.

First, the game can be played offline, no connection required. The character used for the offline version of the game will not be useable in the online version of the game for obvious exploit/hacking reasons. We are going to investigate ways to export your online character to the single player version of the game but the offline character will not be importable into the online version.

Second, the offline single player version of the game for those who purchase it through KickStarter will not use any form of DRM. We had been holding off on committing to that because we don’t know what our final distribution system (Steam, GOG, etc) is going to be and some of them use DRM. We may have DRM of some sort on post-KS sales but we’ll commit to keeping KS versions DRM and “phone home” free for the single player version once launched.

Third, the offline single player of the game will not have any microtransactions. We know this is kind of a no-brainer since it is offline but we wanted to be perfectly clear on that since there was some vagueness in a few statements in one of our video chats.

Saturday - March 09, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues - Kickstarter Updates

by Woges, 22:06

1hr 28mins of developer broadcast. Shrine of killing children, client servers, social as you want to be and sometimes the video works (sound seems fine though). Update: they are stream live atm.

We are hosting a LIVE Developer broadcast today at 3pm CST at our Portalarium Studio. You can steam it on our Ustream channel ( and will be able to post questions directly to Richard and his team. Hope to "see" you there!

Update: Update 4.

We promised that when we hit the halfway point of our Kickstarter goal, we would post an exclusive Video Interview with Iolo, the beloved Bard, and Companion of the Avatar from the Ultima Series. Here it is!

Source: GameBanshee

Friday - March 08, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues - On Kickstarter

by Woges, 20:14

Richard Garriott's new Ultima'ish game is up on Kickstarter.

Richard Garriott, the award winning designer and creator of the Ultima franchise, makes his triumphant return to the genre that earned him a place in the Hall of Fame and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Shroud of the Avatar is the first installment of Richard’s new vision and represents the reinvention of the classic, fantasy role-playing which he pioneered. A fantasy role-playing game that will focus more on player choices and discovery than on level grinding.

Shroud of the Avatar general features:

From Lord British's Treatise on "What is an Ultimate RPG?":

  • Fully interactive virtual world - If it looks usable, it should do something
  • Deep original fiction - Ethical parables, cultural histories, fully developed alternate language text
  • Physical game components will be available: Cloth map, fictional manuals, trinkets
  • Multiplayer Online Game - which can also be played solo player / offline

Information about

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

Developer: Unknown

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: 40-60 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced

Regions & platforms
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released: 2018-03-27
· Publisher: Unknown