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[SOTA Official News] Update of the Avatar #211 – 2017.01.20: R38 Character Work, North Drachvald Spur, Xenos Polish, K’rul, Offline Character Preserva

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Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

Release 38 Character Work

Release 38 character work has been split between Perennial Coast outfits for the citizenry, telethon rewards, and Shogun Bundle items. Fletcher “SkullMuncher34” Kinnear posted some of his work to Sketchfab and the Silver variant of the Clockwork Armor was recognized as a Staff Pick!

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “SkullMuncher34” Kinnear]

Hello and greetings all! Fletcher here, aka Skullmuncher34

I’ve been working on a TON of new content for R38 and I wanted to give you guys a preview.

I’ve spent some time catching up on Telethon content with Ice Bagpipes, Ice Wings, and Clockwork Armor.

[A really cool feature of the Clockwork Armor is the helmet has a built-in Aether Vibration Device so you can tune into your favorite radio stations! The following Copper Clockwork Armor is a telethon reward for the Summer Telethon Part 2 – Editor]


[The following Steel, Silver, and Black variants of the Clockwork Armor will be available for R38 in the Add-On Store – Editor]





I’ve also been working on more Ardoris outfits including some stuff for the commoners, farmers, etc to wear:



There’s also now some kimonos for the elite of Ardoris:



I also created some new pets for the Shogun bundles including our first duck!


The Making of North Drachvald Spur

North Drachvald Spur is located in the Sirens mountains in the Drachvald region in the northeastern section of Novia. It started as a clone of the Whiteguard Foothills and is getting rebuilt to go live as a new scene in Release 39.

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

Hey folks, today I will be sharing some screenshots from the uncloning of North Drachvald Spur. The area is home to a group of bandits who have been ambushing supply convoys using rock slides. The area will also feature the remnants of an abandoned mine, and a mysterious watchtower.

The terrain has also been reshaped to feature a ridge line of mountains to the east, which are present in the overworld map. The biome has been swapped for one inspired by the mountains of the pacific northwest United States.

Inspiration (Mt Rainier Washington)n-drachvald-1.jpg

The New Roadn-drachvald-2-1024x560.jpg

The Old Roadn-drachvald-3-1024x560.jpg

The Waterfalln-drachvald-4-1024x560.jpg

Broken Ridge Passn-drachvald-5-1024x560.jpg

The (mostly) Abandoned Mining Settlementn-drachvald-6-1024x560.jpg

The Bandit’s Campn-drachvald-7-1024x560.jpg

The Watchtowern-drachvald-8-1024x560.jpg

Here is a short video of my work on the scene:

Let me know what you think!

~Chris Wolf
Level Designer

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]

And here we are folks,…the final post for Xenos before it goes live in the next build! We’re working feverishly on this (as you can tell by the hour of this post), and hope that you’ll enjoy what we have to offer…

Everything I had yearned to include in the scene has now been placed somewhere on the map, and at this point all that is left for me to do is proliferate them to all the various places they may go, and finish some final touch-up details on the landscape painting and foliage placement as decoration across the map… You’ll see examples of pretty much everything in the images of this last and largest post… We’ll begin and end near the city center, where you can see the festive area of the Forum. Beyond it you can catch a peek at the newest addition to replace a building that I had been struggling to figure out how to handle… Instead I used a suggestion from the Mad Hatter pertaining to a wonderful asset available on the Unity Store, which ended up perfectly fitting the theme of the scene, and tied in wonderfully to elements of the fiction pertaining to the mysterious Titan Boreus.Xenos-Subpost-V_01a-1024x548.jpgWe’ll see that building up close at the end of the post, but for now, let’s make use of the handy gondolas that I’ve placed at various locations throughout the scene… Initially, each will have two boats; one which will allow you to visit another gondola dock around the bay, and the second which will return to the one you just came from. Eventually, however, our plan is to have a single boat there which will take you to any of the locations on that scene map by merely choosing one from an entire list! Grand convenience!Xenos-Subpost-V_02-1024x551.jpgOn the way to catch the gondola, you’ll notice that merchants have finally arrived to set up their wares in market stalls that line the busy docks. Colorful awnings and goods of all kinds entice those who have newly arrived to the city from far, foreign shores! And speaking of merchants, the caravanserai has now been stocked with them as well, and offers a comfortable environment in which to sit and socialize while enjoying a sweet pastry or delicious fruit from the local orchards.Xenos-Subpost-V_03-1024x549.jpgXenos-Subpost-V_04-1024x551.jpgXenos-Subpost-V_05-1024x547.jpg

As far as orchards go, not far from the caravanserai and the tent city near the edge of Xenos can now be seen rich farmlands and tilled fields full of crops ready for harvest by the local plebeians. Nearby are fenced-in paddocks and grassy acres where cows and sheep wander placidly grazing. The great Elysian Plains stretch away toward the distant horizon. One can even find a shrine to a forgotten harvest goddess nestled in the middle of a wheat field on the way toward Hatter’s Hill, evidence of the pantheistic ancient days before the Fall, thousands of years before the path of Virtues was established.Xenos-Subpost-V_06-1024x548.jpgXenos-Subpost-V_07-1024x550.jpg

Much like the steep road leading up to the Elysian Heights neighborhood across the bay, the cobbled road to Hatter’s Hill district is adorned by pillars topped with burning braziers to light the way in the shadows of the steep cliffs. Statues of long-dead legionnaires known as the Tagma Guard, warriors in service to the ancient royalty of Elysium before the Fall, watch over travelers as they climb the hill to the top. A brief respite on the way may be in order near a fountain fed by the same artesian wells that supply the Eastern Aqueduct with fresh water that services the Elysian Meadows neighborhood below.Xenos-Subpost-V_08-1024x548.jpgXenos-Subpost-V_09-1024x550.jpgAtop the Hill itself are a variety of interest points, much like the distant Elysian Heights and the West Bay area. Water features such as the old fountain seen above, small bathing ponds, and public wading pools are fairly numerous, many of which are decorated with statuary from the old kingdom. And of course, a variety of ruins of ancient Xenos can be discovered throughout the area, especially at the city’s outskirts. The plateau of Hatter’s Hill itself was once the seat of power for Xenos, established long before the Fall by twin brothers according to legend (one of whom betrayed the other to assume the throne as sole monarch, it is said), and whose massive statues still stand on either side of the great Elysium Gulf, which leads to the Bay of Storms. When the moon was shattered and fell from the sky, though no shards struck Elysium, the shores of Xenos were battered by vast waves and shaken by terrible earthquakes. The palaces of Xenos’ ancient rulers were toppled in the cataclysm’s fury, and what is left of them can still be found on the Hill to this day, long since looted and choked with shrubs and overgrowth.Xenos-Subpost-V_10-1024x551.jpgXenos-Subpost-V_11-1024x548.jpgXenos-Subpost-V_12-1024x549.jpgLast but not least we return to the City Center district to see evidence of some of Xenos’ newest architecture, the gleaming Hall of Boreus, erected well over a century ago during his stay here after the end of the Obsidian Empire, and housing (now that he has apparently vanished) an enormous statue carved in his likeness. Trimmed in beaten sheets of gold, and carved by the same masons who erected the graceful arches and pillars of the Lagoon of Pleasure (as well as several other features found throughout the city), this splendid shrine to the Titan of Truth stands as the perfect centerpiece to this thriving city of luck and pleasure. Perhaps a visit to this shrine will enhance the luck of those seeking their fortunes at the fabled Lottery.Xenos-Subpost-V_13-1024x549.jpgXenos-Subpost-V_14-1024x549.jpg

Here is a short video of my work on the scene:

I truly hope you have enjoyed this final tour of my work on Xenos before it goes live! As always, it has been an absolute pleasure sharing my progress with you… Wish me luck as I perform the final polishing touches!

Yours truly…

Scottie ^_^

The Making of K’rul

Underneath Blood Bay, far from the prying eyes of the Oracle, top Kobold researchers work in the Kobold Research Underground Laboratories; aka K’rul. In this vast underground facility, Kobolds work to harness Obisidian shards, build ever larger and more dangerous automatons, and craft mysterious weapons. Like Blood Bay, K’rul is an Open PVP zone but it also has a lot of PVE oppportunities with top tier Kobolds and automatons to battle with, as well as dangerous technological traps and puzzles to contend with.

Our goal is to have a first iteration of this dungeon live in the game for Release 39.

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

(Kobold Research Underground Laboratory)

Here’s sneak peak shots of the Kobold dungeon located beneath the mountain in Blood Bay. W.I.P.Krul-1-1024x531.jpg

@Scottie made this nice Kobold kitchen/dining area and I incorporated it into KRUL. Krul-2-1024x531.jpgKrul-3-1024x531.jpg

Nothing bad at all happens when you step on these pressure plates.Krul-4-1024x531.jpgKrul-5-1024x531.jpg

Here is a short video of my work on the scene:

More to come soon, thanks for checking out the thread!

Moving Platforms – Blood Bay Air Patrol

As part of our work on traps in Release 38, we created the tech for moving platforms. This means we now have the ability to move players on platforms for things like elevators, mine carts, etc. Our first example is an airship patrol of Blood Bay. We will be adding many more examples in upcoming releases. Blood-Bay-30-1024x529.jpg

Richard Garriot Receives NY Game Critics Legend Award

This Thursday evening the The New York Videogame Critics Circle awarded Richard Garriott the Andrew Yoon Legend Award at the annual New York Game Awards. They had this to say in their announcement:NY-critics.png

Here’s one of the greatest reasons to attend the New York Game Awards on 1/19! The New York Videogame Critics Circle is proud to announce that the Andrew Yoon Legend Award will go to Ultima creator and astronaut Richard Garriott.

Richard Garriott will appear onstage at the New York Game Awards to receive his award from many of our nearly 40 writers. In addition, he’ll take time to speak to one of the teens we mentor from the Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School. The New York Videogame Critics Circle will also debut a short documentary about the winner’s historic accomplishments.

Richard Garriott is one of the early pioneers of games, a creator who began during a more innocent time when games were distributed in plastic bags. (Actually, he was one of the first to use boxes for games.) Also known as Lord British, Garriott’s landmark Ultima series changed the videogame industry forever. It was he who created the word ‘avatar’ and he who originated the massively multiplayer online role playing game. Arguably, without Lord British, we’d never have seen the likes of EverQuest and World of Warcraft.ny-vidgame-awards.png

Later, inspired by his astronaut father, Garriott docked with the International Space Station in 2008 and spent over a week on this historic flight. “Explore/Create (My Life in Pursuit of New Frontiers, Hidden Worlds and the Creative Spark” is Richard Garriott’s new book. It will be released days before his New York Game Awards appearance.

The Andrew Yoon Legend Award is dedicated to the memory of Andrew Yoon, one of the co-founders of the New York Videogame Critics Circle. Andrew was a keen writer/journalist and later became an inspired game maker. He left us too soon.

The event was broadcast live on The New York Videogame Critics Circle Twitch channel where you can view the entire award show. You can view Richard’s segment here (or by clicking on his picture below).rgarriott_04-1024x640.jpg

R38 Offline Data Format Change – Character Preservation Notice

For Release 38, the Offline Mode save game format is changing to support new and upcoming gameplay features.

Here’s what you need to do in order to preserve your Offline Mode save games and characters:

  1. Patch your game client to Release 38.
  2. Load each saved game and then re-save. This will convert your save file into the latest format.

If you do not convert your saved games during Release 38, your saved games (from releases prior to R38) may not load in releases after Release 38. In other words, we cannot guarantee the ability to load pre-R38 saves after R38.

Our sincere apologies if this change causes any disruption in your gameplay. We always make every attempt to avoid having to make these kinds of requirements of our players when we make changes like this. After very careful consideration, we’ve deemed this change, and the accompanying requirement, as necessary. Please note that this change will not affect the online game or characters in any way.

As a reminder, Release 38 starts on January 26 and runs through February 22.

Please let us know if you have any questions on this update!

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: SotA Gustball Pre-Season Tournament – January 21, 4:30pm CT

SotA Gustball Pre-Season Tournament

Introducing SotAGustball.com! The purpose of SotAGustball.com is to have a centralized place where all the team and league info can be found, support player events, and further the great game of Gustball! We plan to host 3 month long Gustball Leagues where teams will compete twice a month for 3 months and the team with the best record will win fortune & glory (as well as Addon Store credit)! It’s Warm Up Time! Join us for a Pre-Season 3v3 Gustball Tournament where the best Team will walk away with Addon Store Credit & 30,000 gold! All levels & skill are encouraged to play.

Pre-Register your 3 person team to guarantee a spot at: www.SotAGustball.com/tournament. Location: Oasis Field in Virtue Oasis (SW Corner of Hidden Vale). Prize: Addon Store Credit & 30,000 gold for the Tournament winner.

You can teleport to: Sheamus McGuinness.

Community Spotlight: Fallin’ Green – Player Owned Town


map_fallingreen.jpgThis latest Player Owned Town spotlight has Berek exploring the crossroads village of Fallin’ Green. Being a neighbour of Ardoris, the city of Love in the South, it is easy to find and access. Just enter Ardoris proper and use the conveniently provided transport to Fallin’ Green!

When I stepped out of the wagon that brought me here, the first thing I noticed was the cool breeze of the sea. With the murmuring of the waves and the noise of the sea gulls in my ears, I walked towards what was prominently the town center. Here, I passed a cute holiday snowman family hiding under a tree.

As I approached, I was greeted by a village vendor. He presented me the Tale of Fallin’ Green, and a selection of wares from the local crafters; at a very exclusive special discount offer of course.


While browsing the store, Govenor Tarin Merrywhistle spotted me from across the room.

“Hello and welcome to Fallin’ Green, Master Berek! May I show you around after you are done shopping here?” Govenor Tarin said.

“Why yes, please! What can you tell me about this amazing town?”

“The ‘Green has always been connected with the sea. Originally inhabited by fishermen, it developed into a well-known shipyard. That was the growing period, when many a tall ship had been build here, and when all the homes for the workers coming for the docks had been built. So many trees were felled during that period, the “Fallin’ Green” became our name.

[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 Backargle-bargle-150x150.jpg

Argle Bargle

Argle Bargle /ärɡəl ˈbärɡəl/ noun – copious but meaningless talk or writing; nonsense.

Argle Bargle is a riotously funny, deceptively simple card game where players take turns building ridiculous insults out of words and phrases to humiliate and defeat their friends. The core game is appropriate for ages 14 and up. It is easy to learn and play, and appeals to the party gamer and the tactician alike. Games last 15 to 30 minutes each and can be played with up to 8 players.

“Lord British and our team of Portaloons love Argle Bargle. Furthermore, we would like to point out that “Your team couldn’t win a fight with a stinky clown!”
(“Six point insult, boom!”)”

Richard “Lord British” Garriott
Gamer, Adventurer, Pioneer


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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