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[SOTA Official News] Update of the Avatar #205 – 2016.12.02: Xenos Polish, Blood Bay, Telethon Success, Tips of the Avatar, Player Town of Bladewyke,

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Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

Xenos Polish

Right before we went persistent, we uncloned Xenos and made some modifications to it for specific plot points. However, we were not satisfied with the level of polish so we are revisiting this scene and doing a polish pass this release. We hope to have this pass complete by Release 38. Xenos is on the island of Elysium, southwest of Novia, and is a critical juncture on the Path of Truth. This is the third update we have posted so far on this map.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Scott “Scottie” Jones]

Hello again!

As we continue our Xenos work-in-progress tour, allow me to introduce you to the Lagoon of Pleasures by taking a bit of a stroll around its perimeter! Blocked off from the rest of the bay and the docks for larger ships, the Lagoon of Pleasures has as its “gates”; two large arched stone bridges that allow only smaller rowed craft through, such as gondolas or punts. As a result, the placid waters of the lagoon are perfect for lovers, poets, and merry-makers as they engage in idle pursuits. I imagined scenic shores lined with weathered marble terraces and colonnades, stone benches, and steps leading down into the crystalline lapping waters. So my goal was to draw inspiration from some of the works of Alma Tadema.pleasure-lagoon-01

To begin our tour, we cross over one of those stone bridges, which hosts the road leading in from the south, and enjoy the “Island of Noble Heroes” of Xenos’ ancient past… Gathered around a large fountain surmounted by a statue of Boreas, multiple columns rise to frame a variety of statues made from numerous materials from different ages, each depicting a philosopher, scholar, warrior, or noble from Xenos’ illustrious ancient history. Flowering plants and tall sculpted junipers accent the rotunda, lit from above by the mighty braziers that are the signature lights of the city.pleasure-lagoon-02apleasure-lagoon-03

Strolling to the other side of the island we now begin passing a few of the houses of nearby lucky residents, who from the tallest of their windows might hope to see a grand view of the sweeping colonnades leading southward toward the Equestrian Shrine jutting out from the water’s edge. Even from within the houses, peering through a window’s thick glass, the view may be seen to have improved a tad bit since the last time the owners took a passing glance. Xenos is known for its extravagant public works!pleasure-lagoon-04pleasure-lagoon-05pleasure-lagoon-06

Before we lose the light of day, it’s time to wander toward the Equestrian Shrine, raised long ago in honor of the first horses brought to Xenos from far away shores. It is said that all of Xenos’ wonders rest squarely on the strong backs of the horses of ancient times, whose tireless labors brought the many stones that were later carved and stacked to create the city’s intricate majesty. Even today, the tamed horses of cart and carriage, and the wild horses that wander the Elysian Plains all trace their heritage to those ancient ancestors that crossed the seas so long ago on the ships of forgotten voyagers and traders from distant lands. Statues of gladiators stand tall on either side to guard the honor of these noble beasts.pleasure-lagoon-07pleasure-lagoon-08apleasure-lagoon-09

As the sun sets we now make our way to the eastern edge of the lagoon, which has now begun to be lit by the warm glow of various lights here and there along its shore, signaling the preparations of partygoers as they lay out feasts in the tents of visitors hoping for a chance at winning the lottery for entrance into fabled Artifice. Here, as dusk consumes the marble-lined shores, and the waters of the lagoon grow dark, only the idle rich can afford tents filled with extravagant dishes and fine wines,…and of course fine wooden furnishings fit for a prince! But further away, beyond the battered stone caravanserai, the murmur and laughter of the poorer visitors to the city float from the veritable town of tents that has sprung up between here and the southern exit…pleasure-lagoon-10pleasure-lagoon-11

Perhaps one day, after they are lucky enough to find their fortunes in Artifice, they too might revel with the rich foreign visitors in tents made of fine silk and spun silver. Perhaps, as the new sun rises, Boreas will smile upon them all!pleasure-lagoon-12

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into the continuing work of Xenos!

Scottie ^_^

The Making of Blood Bay (cont.)

Blood Bay is going to be an Open PVP area with two NPC towns, player housing, adventuring areas, and entrances to underground adventure areas. It is going to be a testing ground for several systems that will, in turn, propagate to other parts of the game if successful. We hope to have a first iteration of this map live in Release 38. We showed the scene during the Telethon and talked more about how we hope to have certain systems working. This is the third update we have posted so far on this map.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski]

A few more shots of Blood Bay progress:blood-bay-5




Fall into Winter Telethon Results

Our Fall into Winter Telethon was a huge success and we achieved lots of our Stretch Goal Rewards! A heartfelt thank you from the entire Dev Team to all of you, our backers, that have contributed to the development funding of Shroud of the Avatar. Monday’s Telethon was yet another example of your amazing support and contributions! The total as of Midnight, November 28th, was an amazing:

** $112,500 **


As promised, Telethon Funding Stretch Goal Rewards will be rewarded to any backers that pledged a minimum of $5 from the start of the telethon, until Midnight November 28 (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply). These rewards should show up on your account page within the next couple of weeks and will begin showing up in the game over the next few releases starting as soon as Release 37.

    • Achieved!  $10,000:  Rain Autumn Leaves Emote (/rainautumnleaves)

    • Achieved!  $25,000: Autumn Leaf Crown (increases length of /rainautumnleaves emote)

    • Achieved!  $35,000: Autumn Fairy Leaf Dress + Autumn Leaf Wings

  • Achieved!  $50,000: Red Tufted Squirrel Petsota_redtufted_squirrel_pet
  • Achieved!  $65,000: 2016 Snowball Box (100 Snowballs!) + Ice Wings
  • Achieved!  $80,000: Ice & Snow Shooting Bagpipes
  • Achieved!  $100,000: Frozen Fountain
  • $130,000: 3 Pack Ice Titan Statues (make snow when used)

We had deep dives, answered questions, danced, sang, did shots, spun the Wheel of Fortune & Doom, had flash sales, and handed out tons of prizes including:

  • StarrDancing2016 Spooky Wearables
  • 2016 Spooky Decorations
  • 2016 Winter Holiday Decorations
  • Adobe Homes
  • Kobold Mask 4-Pack
  • Elven Village Tax Free Bundle
  • Pristine Gothic Mansion
  • Store Credits
  • Ornate Umbrella
  • Ornate Scarecrow
  • Speckled Turkey
  • Breathe Emote 6-Pack (includes Breathe Snow Emote)
  • And several items courtesy of RelicsbyRild.com

The next day Starr “Darkstarr” Long answered all the questions that we did not have time to answer during the telethon and posted them in the forums.

Missed participating in the telethon event? Watch the entire stream on YouTube:

Tips of the Avatar – Submit Yours!

For Release 37, we are working on a cleaner and faster scene loading experience. Additionally, we will have tips and informative messages during these load times. While we will be coming up with our own tips, we feel this is a perfect opportunity to also involve the community!


Submitting Tips

For those that want to take part, please use THIS FORM to enter in tips. Fill out the form separately for each tip you submit. Deadline for entries is the end of December 8th at Midnight! You can submit more than one tip, but note that we will be heavily scrutinizing quality of tips over pure quantity.

For the map name form field, please use either the official name or name shown at the top of the screen. Only enter scene names for tips that deal with specific scenes. If the tip can be used in any loading screen, do not enter in anything in this field.

Participate and Win!

In addition to ensuring your entry in the form linked above, those who tweet @ShroudofAvatar either the complete TIP quote, or a link to a reply in the forum announcement for this initiative, will be entered into a daily drawing for a chance to win $20 in store credit! Starting tomorrow around 2-5pm CT, we will announce winners daily on Twitter using @ShroudofAvatar and #LBSotA.

We will be asking some community members to help us keep the list clean and sorted. Those helping manage the list and selecting top tips will not be eligible to win in the daily drawing, though they are still of course free to submit tips anyway! Also, while you can submit player owned town tips, these will be heavily scrutinized and will not count towards the daily drawing either.

Players can continue to add tips and informative messages indefinitely, but the cut off line for the contest will be end of December 8th with winners being awarded sometime after this date.

Tips on Writing Tips

Tips are limited to 180 characters (including spaces) and can be about game systems, skills, scenes, etc. Shorter the better! Don’t include story or scene spoilers, only general information is allowed.

For example, it is fine to have a tip like:

“The Owl’s Head bank and several other shops are located near the large fountain in the northern, walled section of the city.”

However, something like this is NOT OK:

“The elf camp in the NE corner of the woods contains a chest with reagents.”

For this example, make the tip more generic, like the following:

“Crag Woods is home to a myriad of denizens, such as spiders, bears, and even mysterious roaming elves!”

We will have a few community members help us to cleanup the tips, and when finalized, the tips should start showing up in game as soon as R37.

Join in on the forum discussion for Tips of the Avatar!


Moustache of the Avatarmoustache-of-the-avatar-final-day

Our Movember team, Moustache of the Avatar, raised $310! Thank you everyone who donated! The Movember Foundation’s mission: “The state of men’s health is in crisis. Men experience worse longer-term health than women and die on average six years earlier. Prostate cancer rates will double in the next 15 years. Testicular cancer rates have already doubled in the last 50. Three quarters of suicides are men. Poor mental health leads to half a million men taking their own life every year. That’s one every minute. Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends are facing this health crisis and it’s not being talked about. We can’t afford to stay silent.”

Community Spotlight: Bladewyke – Player Owned Town


We are touring towns and talking with guilds and other groups throughout this spotlight series, brought to you by Berek, your community wood elf druid. This latest Player Owned Town spotlight explores the underground metropolis of Bladewyke!

image05.jpgClose to Etceter and several other player owned towns along the northern shore of the Quel peninsula, I saw a great many in that cavern of wonders that drove me to write this spotlight. Here is what I witnessed:

Bladewyke is very easy to find with many distractions to appease your adventurous spirit along the way. As I neared the cavern entrance along the coast by Tanby Landing, the howl of the wind from the deepwater sound to the north threatened to rip my very body from my boots!

Fortunately, as I approached the town, I was able to take shelter in the mighty stones that formed the entrance. With each step I became more intrigued about what lie beyond.

[Read More…]

Upcoming Events

Dec 9, 2016 – Community of the Avatar livestream
Dec 15, 2016 – Release 37
Dec 16, 2016 – Community of the Avatar livestream
Dec 20, 2016 – R37 Postmortem
Jan 26, 2017 – Release 38
Feb 23, 2017 – Release 39
Feb 25, 2017 –
 Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary Event
Feb 28, 2017 – GDC
Mar 17, 2017 –
 SXSW Gaming
Mar 30, 2017 – Release 40

Visit the official Community Calendar to see the great lineup of activities our amazing community has planned for this weekend! And be sure to check out this month’s Release Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events.

Event of the Week – 4Brain 1v1 Single Elimination Tournament by Net

j2MpeZ6.pngThe first event will be 1v1 duel tournament style competition, where competitors will have to solve the same problem. If the event is successful, there might be special tournaments that will be free-for-all or available only for the best of the best.

This event is free to enter! Intended for up to 8 players, the first 5 to register in the forum thread will be entered in the tournament. The rest will be selected during the event from those who will be the first to correctly answer the riddles.

Sign up for the tournament in the forums!

Community Resources – Players Helping Players


Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing of all things community.

Recommended Projects to Back



Here’s the latest from BrightLocker, the first crowd publishing platform for games. BrightLocker was launched by fellow ex-Originites Mark Rizzo and Ruben Cortez, members of the original Ultima Online Network Ops team from back in the day.

After 4 Semi Final Rounds with more than 200 game ideas created, BrightLocker fans have voted for their favorite 28 game ideas, now heading into the Season 2 Finals. From Angry Pumpkins to Darknet Demons, to Forensic Drones, to YouTubers vs The World, the Finalists show an amazing range of creativity and talent.

BRIGHTLOCKER GRAND FINALS run from December 1st to December 13th.

These 28 game ideas are competing for votes to get into the FINAL GreenZone.  The BrightLocker community will help decide which game idea, created by and voted up by the public, will go into production.brightlockerfinals

Don’t Just Back Crowfall… Invest!

Citadel_Final_11-300x160.jpgWhy just back Crowfall for rewards, when you can invest in the company — and potentially see a financial return!

ArtCraft Entertainment (creators of Crowfall) and Indiegogo.com are partnering to offer this unique crowdfunding investment opportunity. Check out the offering at: https://equity.indiegogo.com/offerings/artcraft-entertainment/

Crowfall is ArtCraft’s flagship title. It is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), a persistent virtual world that can be shared by hundreds of thousands (or millions) of online players. It is unique in that it has been designed as a “Throne War Simulator,” offering gamers a very different in-game experience compared to traditional MMO titles. Crowfall combines the persistence of an MMO with the ability for players to change the virtual world, allowing teams to win (or lose), as in a strategy game. Thousands of players are vying for control of a virtual throne, where the only options are to win or to die.

Job Opening: VFX Artist

VFX ArtistSotA_Emote_Breathe_Fire

We currently have an opening for a junior-level to senior-level VFX Artist for Shroud of the Avatar to build Visual Effects for spells, creatures, avatars, weapons, environments (ex. water), and interactive objects (ex. lamps that turn on and off). Qualifications for “ideal candidates” are:

  • Minimum 2 years industry experience for junior-level (preferably on a shipped game)
  • Minimum 5 years industry experience for senior-level (minimum of at least 1 shipped game)
  • Unity3D proficiency
  • Ability to build craft compelling visual effects from scratch
  • Ability to modify and optimize existing visual effects
  • Experience in developing a VFX  “visual vocabulary” that effectively communicates a variety of spell types and ability types to players
  • BONUS: Scripting ability
  • BONUS: Ability to model and texture in 3D art tools

If you’d like to join the Portalarium Tribe working on the ground-breaking Shroud of the Avatar, please submit your resume to jobs@portalarium.com. Provide links to your work (if possible), including actual game play, videos footage, and document form (images, maps, and event descriptions).

Backer Shipping Addresses

SotA_ShippingAddressIn preparation for shipping backers’ physical pledge rewards later this year, we have added Shipping Address fields to your Account Profile page. To enter your shipping address, log in to the SotA website, select “Account” in top right corner, then select “Edit Profile” located in top left corner, beneath your Avatar image.

A reminder to be sure that support@portalarium.com is unblocked from your e-mail account!


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