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[SOTA Official News] Update of the Avatar #210 – 2017.01.13: IronMaiden’s Chemo Relief Fund, New NPC Conversation Mode, Keys & Locks Update, Sprin

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Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update 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.

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.


This week instead of screenshots Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar created a short video that shows a little bit of what it takes to build a map like Brookside. In the video, SorcerousSteve is working on Brookside Manor. He writes:

“The town of Brookside has a history of being overrun by the undead, it is a dark foggy town nested in pine forest filled with wary town folks and decrepit buildings. This abandoned manor, once a luxurious estate, now lies in ruins just north of Brookside, a remnant of the undead overrun. The locals are careful not to get too close…”

Important Update to Keys and Locks in Release 38

[A Dev+ Forum Posts 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 (<name of 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.”)

Richard Garriott Explore Create book signing at Austin Book People


Richard Garriott’s new book Explore Create is out now and it has been garnering a lot of press attention with everyone from Rolling Stone to The Austin American Statesman providing coverage. The Austin American Statesman had this to say:

Richard Garriott, who for many years has loomed large in the Austin video-game design scene, has had an incredible amount of adventure in his life and success in digital entertainment. He was a teen indie game designer before co-founding Origin Systems, one of Austin’s most successful video-game companies.

Origin Systems, which was eventually bought by Electronic Arts, ushered in a golden age of computer gaming with franchises such as “Ultima” and “Wing Commander,” games still fondly remembered, played and highly ranked in lists of the top digital games of all time.

But perhaps less known to gamers and casual observers of Garriott is that he’s never stopped exploring the world and what’s outside of it. The son of astronaut Owen Garriott, Richard has visited the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, been outside Earth’s atmosphere as a guest to the International Space Station and hunted for meteorites in Antarctica.

Rolling Stone had this to say:

Richard Garriott is kind of a big deal in the world of games. Back in 1981 he created Ultima, a role-playing game that spawned a series that is still considered a touchstone for developers and players. Right now he’s at work on a spiritual successor to the Ultima games, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, but in his spare time he’s also visited the International Space Station, performed the first zero-G wedding and turned his home Britannia Manor into a haunted house and museum.
Garriott’s memoir, titled Explore/Create: My Life in Pursuit of New Frontiers, Hidden Worlds, and the Creative Spark, covers his career creating games, his interest in space travel, visits to the Titanic and Antarctica as well as offering readers insights that might apply to their more earthbound lives.

Richard will be at Book People here in Austin to sign his book and discuss it at 3:00 PM CST this Sunday January 15.

Spring Telethon of the Avatar 2017 (and Expirations)


Avatars! Join us on Twitch and get ready to shrug off the winter blues and welcome back fun in the sun. Today, we’re announcing the Spring Telethon of the Avatar 2017!

At Midnight CST, March 9, 2017 (6:00 UTC, March 10, 2017), we are expiring the following content:

  • Viking Village Home
  • Wizard Tower Village Home
  • Tower Village Home
  • Windmill Village Home
  • Druid Town Home
  • Tower Town Home
  • Brown Nomad Hat
  • Red Fez Hat
  • Brown Chaperon Hat
  • Brown Pilgrim Hat
  • Brown Pilgrim Bonnet
  • Sigil Cloaks 3 Pack
  • Lord British Cloak

Help us to achieve the following goals during this next event!

As a special bonus, we are offering Telethon Funding Stretch Goal Rewards to any backer that pledges a minimum of $5 from the start of the telethon, until Midnight (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply). The Spring Telethon of the Avatar 2017 Funding Stretch Goal Rewards are:

  • $10,000: /flowerleap emote (leap into the air and throw flowers)
  • $25,000: Butterfly Mask
  • $35,000: Stained Glass Hand Lantern
  • $50,000: Floral Pattern Stained Glass Oil Table Lamp (3 Pack)
  • $65,000: White Flowered Topiary Creature Statues (3 Pack)
  • and more to be revealed if we hit these goals…

Did you see what was unlocked in the last telethon? This one might be even bigger!

Cheer on the Devs!

StarrDancingFor every $2,500 donated, all developers on camera have to either dance, sing, or drink a shot of alcohol.

Additionally, we will be spinning the Wheel of Fortune! The wheel will have 14 items at any given time, but dozens of sales ultimately will happen! 

As the wheel is spun, what is selected will be replaced by something else. A detailed list of wheel items will be coming soon. Items already selected will be removed for a time (some may not come back onto the wheel for the rest of the telethon). Keep in mind that some of these may never come up, so cross your fingers for your preferred item!

Telethon Schedule**

  • 12:00 PM: Welcome to the Spring Telethon of the Avatar 2017!
  • 12:30 PM: R39 Postmortem Q&A and review

** Return here for the detailed schedule that will run until midnight and will include Deep Dives into various parts of the game, Community Spotlights, and more!

Win These Great Prizes!

  • Viking Village Home
  • Wizard Tower Village Home
  • Tower Village Home
  • Windmill Village Home
  • Druid Town Home
  • Tower Town Home
  • Brown Nomad Hat
  • Red Fez Hat
  • Brown Chaperon Hat
  • Brown Pilgrim Hat
  • Brown Pilgrim Bonnet
  • Sigil Cloaks 3 Pack
  • Lord British Cloak
  • Store Credit ($10)
  • Plus more prizes from the Add On Store
  • And several items courtesy of RelicsbyRild.com

Keep an eye on @ShroudofAvatar for updates before, during, and after the telethon. See you on the livestream chat at Noon this coming March 9th!

Origin PC Steam Key Promotionorigin_giveaway_ourheader_v2

We are excited to announce our new partnership with Origin PC and are kicking it off with a giveaway of 20 Steam Keys! We, of course, love the name of their company. We also found out that their community manager and one of their founders are huge Ultima Online fans! Our very own Richard Garriott uses Origin PCs for his desktop and laptop computers, so this partnership is a mutual admiration party.

ORIGIN PC delivers the best gaming experience period, but what does that mean? It means the best parts and technology the computer gaming industry has to offer. It means world class support from day one and ORIGIN PC’s support never ends. It means having a team of people who understand the art of elite system building and maintenance, standing by to assist you when you need it. It means never having to feel you made the wrong choice.

To enter the contest, you can follow Origin’s or Shroud’s social accounts (Twitter, Twitch) or visit one of our sites (Facebook or Website). You can find more detail on the contest page.

More Shogun Bundles and Expiring Item Sales 

We’ve added two more Shogun Bundles to the Bundle Store this week, the Shogun Village and Shogun Village Keep Bundles:


Last Chance Exclusives

As announced in the Spring Telethon of the Avatar 2017 post, we are expiring several homes and hats from the Add-On Store! For those of you that would like to acquire those items before they disappear, we’ve put several of them on sale, and also created these Value Packs to reduce the price even more!

Last Chance Village Home 4-Pack

This pack includes the Viking Village Home, Wizard Tower Village Home, Tower Village Home, and Windmill Village Home:


Last Chance Town Home 2-Pack

This pack includes the Druid Town Home and Tower Town Home:


Last Chance Hat 5-Pack

This pack includes the following dyeable hats: Brown Nomad Hat, Red Fez Hat, Brown Chaperon Hat, Brown Pilgrim Hat, and Brown Pilgrim Bonnet.


Doug’s (IronMaiden) Chemo Relief Fund


Announcement from community member Thexedor Markhamm:

Hail Avatars,

As many of you may be aware, one of our community members is in need of our help. Doug (IronMaiden) recently discovered he has stage 4 colon cancer. He has been a long-time backer and supporter of Shroud of the Avatar. He has 7 accounts (ranging from LOTM to Edelmann), multiple add-on store purchases, and several player bought items and lot deeds.

He is heavily invested (as you can imagine), but now needs to cash out to relieve the overwhelming medical bills required to continue his chemo treatments. Doug originally sought a single investor to buy all accounts, but due to the size and value of Doug’s investment, it has proven difficult.

After we have helped Doug (first priority), we will be hosting a private, commission-free auction for people who contribute $100 dollars or more to make available Doug’s highly valuable and rare holdings. This auction will be held on Shroud Marketplace (a third-party SoTA auction site).

All proceeds from the GoFundMe and the charity auction will go to IronMaiden up to $25K (per Doug’s request). Any additional funds will be put in a charity fund for other Avatars who are in critical need (also per Doug’s request). He would like to pay this effort forward.

Avatars who pledge $25 or more to the GoFundMe campaign will receive an exclusive, rare, cloak in-game. This cloak will be custom-colored (TBD), and carry the unique name: IronMaiden’s Chemo Relief Fund. The style will be based on the ever-popular community events cloak:


For more information or to make a donation, visit the GoFundMe campaign or the community forum conversation.

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: Care and Feeding of Wild Fansites
Mar 9, 2017 –  
Spring Telethon of the Avatar 2017
Mar 17, 2017 –
 SXSW Gaming: Is Video Game Early Access Too Early?
Mar 30, 2017 – Release 40
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: Astronomy Night! Sundays at 3:30pm CT

From community member Bowen Bloodgood:

Astronomy Night is back! For those who wish to know more about our night sky, related lore or just gazing at the stars. Astronomy Night is a one hour ‘class’ on New Britannia astronomy. The event will be at Caer Dracwych this Sunday, Jan 15th at 3:30 NBT (CST).

Those attending the first events will get a free astrolabe! (While supplies last) Special thanks go to @Mac2 for helping to make this possible. Also thanks to @Bow Vale who generously offered to help out. I might still take you up on that offer ;).

Community Spotlight: Chateau du Lys


map_chateau.jpgThis week’s Player Owned Town spotlight features Chateau du Lys, brought you by your wood elf druid, Berek! A magnificent and thriving metropolis led by Duke Dariuss, Chateau du Lys is located on a spacious island near Kingsport in the Hidden Vale.

Chateau du Lys is a safe haven for people who like to be next to important cities such as Kingsport or Owl’s Head, and at the same time, to live in a peaceful, natural, beautiful environment. The town is based mainly on French culture and that reflects into their merchant NPC names and also by the PoT name itself. Many of the members are bilingual and love to share and learn with people from different cultures. It’s an amazing experience to live.

The island is also the home and headquarters of the guild Gardiens du Lys. It is connected to BattleDale PoT, which is accessible by boat from the main port. Chateau du Lys is a unique place in the Hidden Vale for people who like a variety of activities and locations to meet their needs.

Right from the entrance of the island, you can notice the natural beauty that nature in New Britannia can offer you. From the main port, you can see the warmth and welcoming path ahead, waiting for you to explore its mysteries. This is where I came in and began to explore the town around me.


[Read More…]

Community Resources – Players Helping Players


The official SotA New Player Welcome Forum and the Player Created Resources Forum have the best player created resources for Shroud of the Avatar, whether it’s a Player Written Guide, a Video Walk-through, or a Wiki-type Website.

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

Recommended Projects to Back

Unknown Realm: The Siege Perilousurlogo

Unknown Realm: The Siege Perilous is a new 8-bit fantasy role-playing game for PC and C64 inspired by the classic RPGs of the 80’s.

Why is it that anytime you ask an RPG fan what their favorite game is, they will almost inevitably name a game that was made 30 years ago? You know the games we’re talking about, games like Ultima, Legacy of the Ancients, Wasteland, SSI “Gold Box” titles, or some other game from the “Golden Age” of RPGs. Despite the high-end graphics and advances of modern RPGs, they still somehow fail to live up to the enjoyment found in these fan favorites of the past.

Let’s face it: those low-fidelity RPGs had something special. They had the perfect mix of presentation and gameplay that allowed your imagination to run free. Sadly, for some reason, game companies decided to stop making single player RPGs like this and thus abandoned a generation of RPG fans…until now.

We here at Stirring Dragon Games think it’s a shame no one is willing to make classic RPGs like this any more, and we’re just crazy enough to do something about it!

Unknown Realm: The Siege Perilous is a new single player medieval fantasy role-playing game that will take you back to the glory days of 80’s gaming.

Together with your help, we can bring back a taste of the Golden Age! Not just for the fans who almost flunked out of high school playing these games long ago, but for new generations of gamers who never got the opportunity to experience what makes this genre of RPGs so special.

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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