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[SOTA Official News] Update of the Avatar #208 – 2016.12.23: Q1-17 Schedule, Brookside, Perennial Polish, Blood Bay, Water Homes, Shogun Items, New Em

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Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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


[From a forum post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Q1 2017 Schedule Update

Greetings Avatars,

As we have stated previously, we intend to publish quarterly schedule updates for our monthly releases. Even though the goals outlined in these schedules are likely to change somewhat as we react to feedback, we feel it is important to periodically provide you with an updated roadmap.

Our priority continues to be to deliver new content to our backers each and every month so that you can give us feedback that will help us iteratively improve Shroud of the Avatar. This collaborative process continues to benefit the game, and often results in sweeping changes such as the switch over to use-based advancement. As you have seen in previous releases, the flexibility inherent to this process means that we sometimes push things out, but we also often pull new things in.

For the first quarter of 2017 we will be putting the finishing touches on the Path of Love while moving on to the Paths of Courage and Truth. We will continue to expand Crafting with the additions of molds for visual variations as well as polishing Agriculture and Fishing. Combat will continue to be balanced and will be expanded to include cover as well as a refactor of ammunition. The user interface will get several polish passes including refactoring of the conversation system and tutorial as well as an overall improvement to visuals and usability. We will also continue to give each region a visually distinct appearance, from the Shogunate beauty of the Perennial Coast to the Viking starkness of Norgard and Verdantis.estgard6

We believe that we have reached the final 20% of development before Commercial Release, at which point we will transition out of Early Access. The next two quarters will be the most exciting and challenging times for the project so far. This will be when we get the final features and content in the game and make the last important balance changes. The changes will be fast and furious, and they may occasionally be hard to understand when you become accustomed to the way things were before. Please trust that we firmly believe that every change we make is best for the long term health of the project.

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

RELEASE 38, January 26, 2017

  • Story: The Path of Love will get some final polish passes including the propagation of the Asian influenced assets we created for Ardoris across all of the Perennial Coast, as well as adding Brookside and Graff Island to the plot. Brookside will be getting uncloned during this process. We will be polishing the other starting scenes for the other two paths: Blood River and Highvale. We will begin polish on the entire Path of Courage. Vauban Pass will be uncloned, thereby making all the Control Points unique scenes. Finally, the all-new polished version of Xenos will be going live, in all its Greco-Roman influenced splendor, and the volcanic PVP violence of Blood Bay will debut.xenos-subpost-iii_09
  • Traps and Locks: We are going to greatly enhance the interactivity of our dungeons and other play spaces with more traps including flame jets, pressure plates, and arrow shooters. We are also refactoring our key, lock, and door system to make it easier for our developers to add locked doors and keys to their maps.
  • New NPC Conversation Interface: We will be doing a polish and refactor pass of the NPC Conversation System to make it both more immersive and easier to use.
  • Chat Windows: Chat tabs will be able to be pulled off and placed within the game window as separate chat windows.
  • Crafting: Enchanting and Masterworking level will now have much greater influence on the outcomes of item creation. The higher your skill level, the greater the power of the effect added to the item and the greater number of choices you will have. At Grandmaster level, you will even have the chance to sometimes add maximum durability back to the item. Additionally, the power of the effect is directly proportional to how many levels of masterworking/enchanting have been applied, to better balance risk versus reward. We also hope to greatly increase the number of possible Enchantment and Masterwork effects.
  • Character: Clockwork Dragons will make their appearance in the game in several versions, including the Summer Telethon pet as well as a full-size behemoth! Citizens of Ardoris and the Perennial Coast will now be adorned in Asian-influenced clothing and we will also be updating the Guards in all Perennial Coast scenes with the Ardoris City Guard outfits. Work on other Telethon reward items will also continue including Clockwork Armor, Ice Wings, and Ice Bagpipes. Finally, rumors of a yet-unnamed and unseen stealthy clockwork beast loose in the Kobold areas have been shocking to hear.
  • Player Towns & Player Housing: We will continue to expand our housing with a focus on water based housing and houses in our Shogun line. We will also be adding a water decoration surface layer, so players will be able to add decorations to the water around their water homes. Additionally, we will be doing some expansions to the Player-Owned Town toolset including the ability to clear foliage and view lot boundaries at all times. Finally, updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
  • Combat: We will expand the number of decks players can build and save. We will also be adding more combos, more skills, and more spells. Additionally we will begin a major polish pass on all the visual effects related to combat.

RELEASE 39, February 23, 2017

  • Story: We will continue polishing the Path of Courage with emphasis on moving the player smoothly through this part of the story. We will also be adding another Siege Encounter map and un-cloning the Rhun Ruins.SotA_Dysborg_Ruins_1
  • Player Housing: The ability to rent rooms in a player home will start to become available to homeowners. Additionally, the Shogun bundles will come online as we continue to expand our water place-able houses and our Shogun line of houses. We will also begin the work necessary to make player equipment place-able as decorations. Also containers will begin to have limits on how many items can be placed inside them. Finally, updates to Dynamic Player-Owned Towns that have locked submission forms will appear in the game.
  • Combat: The cover system will be introduced and will modify attack and defense values when you (or your target) are behind cover. We will also be refactoring how ammunition works for ranged weapons so that we can have a greater variety of ranged weapons and introduce different types of ammunition, including the ability to craft those ammunition types.
  • Character: We will begin work polishing the Kobolds and updating them to better reflect their lore which attributes much of the technology in Novia to them. We will also begin introducing the first of the Obsidian Cabalists. Lastly, ducks will be winging their way into the hearts, minds, and yes, bellies of Novians.
  • Crafting: We will be expanding the crafting system to include molds that can be used to create visual variants for weapons and armor (Elven, Norgard, Obsidian, Kobold). We will also be refactoring the Agriculture interface and expanding functionality to include new skills like batch planting.

RELEASE 40, March 30, 2017

  • Story: We will be doing some final polish passes on the Path of Courage and beginning to polish the Path of Truth. Additionally, a vast dungeon will be opening underneath Blood Bay. We will also be un-cloning the Kas Ruins, Elysium Mines, and a few adventure scenes. We will also be refactoring the tutorial system to improve the new user experience.sota_bloodbay_5
  • Character: We will begin creating Viking-inspired clothing for the NPCs in the Norgard and Verdantis areas of Novia to better define that region, including outfits for Royalty, Guards, Citizens, and Merchants. We will also be polishing the Troll visuals and creating more visual variations for our children NPCs.
  • Crafting: Fishing will be polished and expanded and Alcohol recipes will be added to the game.
  • Guild Alliances: Guilds will now be able to form alliances with each other.
  • Offline Combat Balance and Economy: A pass will be made through the game to adjust combat balance for play in offline mode with companions. Additionally, the economy in offline mode will be tuned to be better balanced for single-player. For instance, NPC merchants will buy player-crafted items at a profit to the player. Also, pledge and Add-On Store items will be available from NPC merchants for purchase with in-game gold.
  • User Interface: A polish pass will be made to the user interface to improve general usability and visuals.

We continue to be incredibly thankful for the support we receive from this amazing community. While the funding you provide makes all of this possible, it pales in comparison with the faith you have in us, the feedback you provide us, and the content you are making for everyone to enjoy. We are humbly grateful, and we cannot wait to see you again in New Britannia!

Before I go, I wanted to include an excerpt from my original post about our Early Release Schedule that is important to set the framework for our ongoing schedule:

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 at times, even after it has already been implemented. By the time the public normally 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. After each release we will review the results and reevaluate the plan including the duration of availability of each release.

It is important to note that all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change.

Starr Long
Executive Producer
Shroud of the Avatar

The Making of Brookside

Brookside is located in the Drachvald region in the northwest of Novia directly south of Spite. It is the hometown of Samael and was overrun by the Undead armies of Anapa not long ago. Players will encounter this town when following their quests along the Path of Love. Brookside started as a cloned scene using one of our PRT / POT templates based off of the Forest 02 POT template (a forested variation of the Grasslands POT template). In Release 38 it is being rebuilt with new flora, new atmospheric settings like permanent fog, a graveyard, and other unique features. Note that when we un-clone these scenes, we do NOT change lot placements. We only make cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar]

Hey guys SorcerousSteve here once again to give you the latest scoop on my most recent map!

The town of Brookside is a village located in Drachvald between Spite and Rhun. It is the site where Samael lost his family. The village has a history of being overrun by the undead, it is a dark foggy town nestled in pine forest filled with wary town folks and decrepit buildings.

Inspiration shot after chatting with Art Lead Michael Hutchison.brookside1

I took a lot of inspiration for this scene from New England towns, “Sleepy Hollow”.
A church tower and graveyard just south of Brookside. brookside2

A steeple can be seen amidst the fog as you approach the town NPC Center. brookside3

Ruined buildings on the outskirts of town are a reminder of the undead overrun. brookside4brookside5

Deadman’s Pondbrookside6

Samael’s Farm, the place where the graves of his wife Muriel and sons Michael and Tobin were laid to rest.brookside7

See you next time!
Happy Holidays!

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer

Perennial Coast Improvements (Solania Polish)

The small town of Solania is located in the Perennial Coast region in the southeast of Novia. It is the sole means for accessing the mysterious lake island town of Celestis. Solania is located on a high point in the Celestial Swamp that lines the southern shore of Celestial Lake, so getting there can be quite dangerous. In Release 38 we are going to be moving through the Perennial Coast and updating the flora and architecture to match the new Asian influence we first showed in Ardoris in Release 37. For Solania we are updating all of the NPC buildings with new rooflines (blue tiles) and wall textures, putting in a new perimeter wall, updating the foliage, and adding in various other details. As with all polish and un-clone passes we make on maps we do NOT change lot placements. We only make cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Chris “Sea Wolf” Wolf]

Hey folks, I have a few new screenshots to share today of updates for release 38 being made throughout the Perennial Coast. This is a follow up to Sorcerer Steve’s implementation of the new Asian themed assets in Ardoris. I am giving several scenes in that area the same treatment, including new architecture and vegetation. Below I have some previews of the changes being made to Solania. More updates will come as progress is made in new areas!

The Bamboo Tunnel at nightsolania1

The Entrancesolania2

The Statue of Sequannasolania3

The Garden Gatesolania4

The Garden Pagodasolania5

As always, feel free to leave feedback! If you live in this area, I would like to know what you think!

Chris Wolf
Level Designer

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]

AAAaand a few more shots as world building on Blood Bay gets wrapped up!

Southside fallsblood-bay-18

Exploring the falls (if you can make my character out)blood-bay-19

Virtuous side of townblood-bay-20

Scoundrel side of town, having a drink with the Pirate Kingblood-bay-21

Dragon Island


Thanks for following the thread and Happy Holidays!


Release 37.5: Water Houses, Shogun Houses, Shogun Wearables, New Emotes, etc.

Just in time for the holidays we released a major content patch yesterday that included new homes that can be placed on water lots, new wearables and houses from our upcoming Shogun Bundles, and new emotes players can learn in the  game.

  • Shogun Wearables: These outfits were originally developed for the city of Ardoris and will be featured in the upcoming Shogun bundles. You can purchase these in the Add On Store and when molds launch in Q1 you will even be able to craft limited numbers after purchase.
    • Ardoris Guard Armor: This samurai inspired armor consists of 5 pieces including chest, helmet, gauntlets, boots, and legs.sota_ardoris_guard_armor_front
    • Ardoris Shogun Armor: Shogun Siranto who co-rules Ardoris from the Palace of the Mountain wears a version of this armor that players can now also wear. It comes in 4 pieces including chest, helmet, gloves, boots and legs.SotA_Ardoris_Shogun_Armor_front__revised.jpg
    • Ardoris Priestess RobesPriestess Khasi who co-rules Ardoris from the Palace of Winds wears these elegant robes and elaborate headpiece that players can also now wear. It consists of two pieces including robes and a headpiece.sota_ardoris_priestess_outfit_front
  • Housing: In Release 37 we added POT Water Lot Deeds and we are now starting to add water versions of some of our existing homes. Over time we will continue to add more water versions of existing homes as well as create entirely original water based homes like Pirate Galleons, Water Mills, etc. The first few water homes went live this week and several more will go live in Release 38. We are also going to be introducing a new line of homes inspired by our work on Ardoris and the Perennial Coast. These will be part of the new Shogun Bundles that will go live in Q1. The first two homes and a new decoration went live this week and more will follow in Release 38. All of the following homes and decorations are available in the Add On Store except the Elven Globe home which is on the Elven Crown Merchant only.
    • Elven 3-Story with Dual Cabanas Town Water HomeThis water based variation of the Elven Town home is a series of wooden platforms over the water that consists of 3-stories, and 8-rooms. This unique design includes 2 stand-alone, 1-room cabana’s on the rear, and an open air raised platform comprising the whole first floor.sota_elven_town_3story_cabanas_front
    • Rustic 3-Story Village Water Home: This water based variation of the Rustic 3-Story Village home, is a spacious, 4-room home, including a side deck just perfect for fishing! sota_rustic_3story_village_water_home_front
    • Obsidian Tower Village Water Home: This water based variation of the Obsidian Tower Village home is four stories tall with ample living space, including rooms on the first three floors, a roof-top deck, and wrap around balcony on the upper floor! sota_obsidian_tower_village_water_home_front
    • Obsidian Tower Town Water Home: This water based variation of the Obsidian Tower Town home is five stories tall with ample living space, including rooms on the first four floors, a roof-top deck, and wrap around balcony on the upper floor! sota_obsidian_tower_town_water_home_front
    • Viking Village Water HomeThis water based variation of our very first Viking Village home is a two-story dwelling, with a single large room downstairs and a wrap-around loft on the second floor.sota_viking_village_water_home
    • Shogun Lighthouse Village Water HomeThe lighthouse that guides ships into the harbor of Ardoris has been converted into a village sized player home for water lots. This 3-story water home provides single rooms on the first two floors and a roof-top balcony encircling the beacon.
    • Shogun 1-Room Village HomeCarved wooden window frames, paper walls, blue-tiled roof are all the hallmarks of our Shogun line of homes. This cozy one room Village home is the first in the Shogun line.sota_shogun_1story_village_home
    • Shogun 3-Story KeepThis towering 3-story home features an open plan with wrap around balconies on the second and third floors. It features the signature features of the Shogun line of homes including carved wooden window frames, paper walls, and blue-tiled roof.sota_shogun_3story_keep_village_home_front
    • Shogun Street LampsThese lamps were originally built to light pathways in Ardoris but can now be used by players to light their homes and towns.sota_shogun_streetlamp2
    • Obsidian Floor LampFor the Obsidian bundles we took the Obsidian lamp used in the Obsidian dungeon kit and made a streetlamp scaled size version of it. This is a smaller version that can be used in homes as a floor lamp.sota_obsidian_floor_lamp
    • Elven 2-Story Globe Home (COTO Exclusive): This Gold Crown exclusive is a 2-Story variation of the Elven Globe Home. With the addition of the second floor you have almost double the amount of square footage that has the greenhouse growth bonus. You can purchase this home from the Elven Crown merchant in Vertas.sota_elven_globe_2story_1
  • Emotes: All of these emotes can be learned in the game from NPCs.
    • /shiver and /warmhands: To celebrate the coldness of the winter months we created these two emotes. You can learn them from Drog in Brightbone Pass.
    • /burp: For those who wish for a more reserved release of gas than /belch you can learn how to relieve yourself in a more refined way from Karl Rognoff in Braemar when you ask him about beer.
    • /golfclap: When your appreciation needs to be more circumspect than a hearty clapping of hands then you need /golfclap. Aaron Denbo in Etceter teaches this when you ask him about Artifice.
    • /batontwirl, /batonthrow and recipe for baton: Darcy of Paxlair in Ardoris will teach you how to throw and twirl a baton if you ask her about troubador. In order to use these emotes you will need a baton which can be crafted.
  • Replenishing 250-Piece Mystery Fireworks BoxCelebrate the the holidays with a bang with this Add On Store 250-piece Replenishing Mystery Fireworks box that regenerates periodically. Includes a random assortment of white, red, green, blue, and yellow rockets as well as red, yellow, white, blue, and red/white/blue ground missile packs.

MMORPG Column: A New Hope (Q4 Review, Q1 Preview)mmorpg_logo

Red Thomas returned to our offices after a long hiatus and wrote a Q4 review and Q1 preview entitled “A New Home” for MMORPG.com.

Shroud of the Avatar has been in development for just over three years with a team only slightly smaller than their comparative budget, and they’ve been incredibly successful thanks to a solid leadership team, a small team of fantastic developers, and one of the best communities I’ve ever seen.  Shroud has been an exercise in complete contradiction of the established industry norms from their start.


The next few months should be the beginning of a very fast-paced year for Shroud of the Avatar, though I don’t doubt there’ll be a few growing pains yet left. I suspect the hardest part will be players used to systems that haven’t changed much since they were implemented who must now adapt to new balance updates. Damage types and resistances completely change the way magic is used in combat, for instance.

There are a host of reasons for why the project might not have gotten this far, and the team really stepped out to define a new paradigm for development. Very few projects have subjected themselves to working in a glass room the way these folks have, and certainly no MMOs of this size.

There are a few detractors, and certainly not all unjustified. There’s no such thing as being right for everyone unless you make the product so generic as to be meaningless. One thing the team has done undeniably well, and that’s their policy of keeping their blinds open to their backers and developing in the open. The amount of control you give to feedback is up to the individual company, but I’d submit that the open development method is critical to a successful crowdfunded project of this level.

Transparency is how backers know their money is being used responsibly, and Portalarium has done a good job of keeping their community aware of what precisely they’ve been working on every step of the way.  Even for those of us who tend to have better access to these projects, it’s been far more open than most, and I’ve certainly learned a lot from covering them.  Hopefully you have too, and are as excited to see what they do next as I am.

You can read the entire article here.

MMOGames: Shroud Nominated for Best Crowdfunded Online Game of 2016best_crowdfunded_game_2016logo

MMOGames has nominated us in their poll as one of the Best Crowfunded Online Games of 2016! Voting is open for another week.

Many online games these days go down the crowdfunding route with the likes of Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. While we do sometimes hear horror stories of how the devs took the money and ran, thankfully, these instances are rare and we have plenty of games from the crowdfunded sector to look forward to! But which is the best crowdfunded online game of 2016?

These are the games that show continuous progress towards being a complete game, that we see enter into public testing phases and moving forward, and maintain communities of passionate fans. Their crowdfunding campaigns don’t necessarily have to have occurred this year, so long as they have been crowdfunded.

So which title deserves to win Best Crowdfunded Online Game 2016? Vote now, and don’t forget to vote on our other Top MMO polls too, listed below.

Floral Meadow POT Template (aka Grasslands 01a)

Earlier this week we updated the Player Owned Town Templates page and the POT Submission form with images and information about the newest POT Template: Grasslands 01a aka the Floral Meadow. POT owners can now select this template from the submission form (viewable from thier account page) and we will start switching them over as soon as Release 38.

As a reminder you can view the new template in the game right now by visiting Hometown and taking one of the teleporters to the linked templates. We also updated the overlay image for the original Grasslands POT template since in R37 we increased the amount of flat space for home placement along the river near the center of the map.


Testing Incentives Program Update

Last Friday we updated the Testing Incentives Program Forum post and Web Post with more detailed information about the Ranks and requirements for the rewards.

The Testing Incentives Program includes exclusives that can only be earned on the QA Server,  but there are lots of awards that can be earned on the live servers as well. Each Release, exceptional contributors selected through quality bug reports, document edits, etc. will be eligible for rewards.

Players will rank up through these after demonstrating a solid record of reproducible bugs with detailed information (ex. coordinates and screenshots) as a minimum. In addition to total number of bugs player rank is also determined through other items like working on the Bug Brigade, providing editing feedback on release documents, etc. (these additional subjective measurements are noted as the * below)

  • Testing Incentive Rewards: These rewards can be earned through playing and reporting on both the Live and QA Servers.
    • Rank 1: 25 Bugs Reported*
      • Title: Pest Controller
      • Wearable: Antennae that is worn in the head slot
      • Totals (as of R36): 32
        • Alley Oop
        • Balec Fares deCani
        • Barugon
        • CatherineRose
        • Celthon
        • Crowquills
        • Daxxe Diggler
        • Dirk Hammerstrike
        • discipleofweb
        • Gamician
        • Gatsu.
        • Govenor Ruin
        • Kara Brae
        • liz_the_wiz
        • Lord Andernut
        • margaritte
        • Mischievous Dragon
        • Mishikal
        • Mobidoy Querrent
        • moko
        • Net
        • NRaas
        • Raven Swiftbow
        • Rinaldi
        • Sir Leonard
        • Spoon
        • Themo Lock
        • Vladamir Begemot
        • Weins201
        • Widsith [MGT]
        • Wintermute of CoF
        • x_Selene_x
    • Rank 2: 40 Bugs Reported*
      • Title: Expert Pest Controller
      • Wearable: Bug Cloak that features one giant ant.
      • Totals (as of R36): 6
        • Alley Oop
        • Mischievous Dragon
        • Mishikal
        • Net
        • Sir Leonard
        • Themo Lockant-cloak
    • Rank 3: 75 Bugs Reported*
      • Title: Master Pest Controller
      • Wearable: Bugs Cloak that features lots of ants
      • Totals (as of R36): 1
        • Alley Oopants-cloak
    • Rank 4: 125 Bugs Reported*
      • Title: Royal Pest Controller
      • Wearable: Bug Sprayer equippable with /bugspray emote that makes a green cloud
      • Totals (as of R36): 1
        • Alley Oop
  • QA Server Exclusive Rewards: These rewards can only be earned through play time and bug reporting on the QA Server (but of course they will be delivered to you on the Live Server).
    • COTOs for Time: Players who spend at least 4 hours of play time per Release on the QA Server will receive 5 Gold COTOs. Please note this is active play that we will verify via logging. You cannot simply login and stand still.
    • Rank 1: 25 Bugs Reported*
      • Ant Farm: Decoration you can place in your house with ants crawling around in it. Don’t break it!SotA_Ant-Farm-1024x576.jpg
      • Totals (as of R36): 21
        • Alley Oop
        • Balec Fares deCani
        • Barugon
        • Celthon
        • Daxxe Diggler
        • Gamician
        • Govenor Ruin
        • Kara Brae
        • liz_the_wiz
        • Lord Andernut
        • margaritte
        • Mischievous Dragon
        • Mobidoy Querrent
        • Net
        • NRaas
        • Raven Swiftbow
        • Rinaldi
        • Spoon
        • Themo Lock
        • Widsith [MGT]
        • x_Selene_xsota_ant-farm
    • Rank 2: 40 Bugs Reported*
      • Set of Bug Paintings: An assortment of Classical still life paintings featuring insectsSotA_Insect-Painting-A-1024x543.jpgSotA_Insect-Painting-B-1024x543.jpgSotA_Insect-Painting-C-1024x543.jpg
      • Totals (as of R36): 2
        • Alley Oop
        • Themo Locksota_insect-painting-bsota_insect-painting-asota_insect-painting-c
    • Rank 3: 75 Bugs Reported*
      • Insect Leg Tableinsect-table-1024x852.jpg
      • Totals (as of R36): 1
        • Alley Oopinsect-table
    • Rank 4: 125 Bugs Reported*
      • Butterfly Chairbutterfly-chair.jpg
      • Totals (as of R36): 1
        • Alley Oopbutterfly-chair
  • Rank 5: 175 Bugs Reported*
    • Corpion Chair: Don’t fear the cushion of its deadly comfort!SotA_Corpion-Chair_empty-1024x576.jpg
    • Totals (as of R36): 0sota_corpion-chair_empty


Starr Long: History & Methods Lecture

Earlier this year Starr Long gave a lecture at the University of Texas to the AET 304 Foundations of Arts and Entertainment Technologies class in the the CAET Program. The lecture was about his life and his history in the video game business with a focus on his work on Shroud of the Avatar. This particular class is a multi-discipline foundation class for students pursuing a wide range of degrees ranging from computer programming to theatre.

You can follow along with the lecture using the slides for the presentation from Starr Long’s slideshare account here.

Community of the Avatar Livestream – Heat Maps and Vyrin & Womby’s Bookstore tour

In last week’s Community of the Avatar Live stream we were joined by the team’s newest programmer, Bobby “Undone” Thompson, to talk about how he designs ‘Heat Maps’, which are critical analytical maps of events occurring in the game. We then jumped in the game to tour Vyrin & Womby’s Bookstore.

If you missed the stream, you can see it below or on the Shroud of the Avatar YouTube channel.

Hangout of the Avatar ~ Release 37 Postmortem Results

Our R37 Postmortem this past Tuesday, December 20th on Twitch was a great success. The team chatted about how Release 37 went, the recent holiday events, and what everyone could look forward to in the next year. We also gave out tons of prizes including a Darkstarr Shield, a Lord British Shield, a Silver Clockwork Monkey, a 2016 Winter Holiday Pack, and a host of other goodies!

If you missed the hangout, you can see it on Twitch or on our YouTube channel. After the hangout Starr “Darkstarr” Long answered any questions that we did not have time to answer during the hangout and posted those answers in the forums here.

Community Contest:  The New Britannia Carolers


Sing along with us! The contest is simple and fun – for the next two weeks, from December 20, 2016 to January 3, 2017, we want to see what songs, poems, and other holiday stories you can come up with that are related to Shroud of the Avatar. Can include videos too if you like!

When you have something you wish to submit to the contest, post it in This Thread! You are allowed to edit your submission up until the end of the contest on January 3, 2017.


Similar to the house decorating contest, we will be judging entries based on the following themes:

  • Most inventive…
  • Romantic theme
  • Holiday theme
  • Adventure theme
  • Character/NPC theme
  • PvP/Combat theme
  • Town/Scene theme
  • Funny TIP (see below for details)
  • A surprising theme! (please keep it clean and to the Community R&G)

Also like the house decorating contest, if a theme doesn’t get any entries, we will remove that theme and add a second winner to a theme that has multiple entries up for consideration.

Do not copy from existing copyrighted works! These must be original writings or video works. Please limit entries to no more than 800 words and 3 pages with up to 4 images (if you need imagery), or 3 minute videos or less. Shorter is usually better, so don’t feel you need to max out these limits!


Thank you community for submitting over 400 loading screen tips so far! We need more though! This time we want your funny and witty tips. They should still be useful, accurate, and factual, but with a funny or witty twist added to them.

Learn about the tips initiative and how to submit yours here.


Each theme winner will be awarded $20 worth of in-game credit, as well as the 2016 Winter Holiday Soundtrack – Wax Cylinders (digital) store reward! Perfect for replaying those holiday tunes well into the 2017 new year.

Have fun being a creative writer, Avatars!

Upcoming Events

Jan 26, 2017 – Release 38
Feb 23, 2017 – Release 39
Feb 25, 2017 –
 Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary Event
Feb 28, 2017 – GDC: Community Management Summit
Mar 17, 2017 –
 SXSW Gaming
Mar 30, 2017 – Release 40
April 2017 – Spring Telethon
Apr 27, 2017 – Release 41
May 25, 2017 – Release 42
June 29, 2017 – Release 43

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: Shadow’s Rest 2016 Secret Santa Event – Now-Dec. 24th in Shadow’s Rest


Shadow’s Rest would like to welcome all new and returning players to their 2016 Secret Santa event! Feel free to message Aidenolm Rosemourne and choose a gift box. On the 24th, those gifts will be filled by avatars all over Novia and, as rumour has it, even Santa himself!

So if you’re looking for some support this holiday, contact Rosemourne and choose a gift box! If you’re in the giving mood, find a named present and put your gift in! Contact Aidenolm Rosemourne for details.

Community Holiday Party at Portalarium!

Hear ye, hear ye! Let it be known far and wide that a Grand Holiday Party will be held at the Portalarium Studios and in Shroud of the Avatar on:

Wednesday, January 11, 2016
5:00 PM to 10:00 PM Central Standard Time (US)
(2300 UTC to 0400 UTC)
The Grand Holiday Party is completely planned, hosted, and paid for by the player community! The Portalarium team thanks you so much here – this means a GREAT deal to them, and they are very excited to be celebrating with you during this event!

To attend either on-site at Portalarium, or celebrate with us online, please RSVP!

Community Resources – Players Helping Players


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

Recommended Projects to BackCitadel_Final_11-300x160.jpg

Don’t Just Back Crowfall… Invest!

Why 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.


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.wanna-be-a-dj

On Dec. 13th it was an exciting day in history for the BrightLocker community, marking the end of the Season 2 Finals and a wrap to the second official season of voting. The batch of seven winning game ideas will go on to be evaluated by BrightLocker for one ultimate winner to be pushed into Funding and Development.

The qualifying winners include several RPGs, action games, a narrative, a simulation, and a strategy title. The ultimate winner that will go on to production is set to be announced on Jan. 23rd. Also, starting Dec. 17th through Jan. 2nd, BrightLocker will be hosting a winter-themed, game submission round where participants will be competing for cash prizes, BrightLocker votes, and more.

Our very own community member Amberraine, founder of Avatar’s Radio, is one of the Season 2 finalists with her game Wanna be a DJ?

You can check out all the BrightLocker finalists currently being evaluated here.

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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