“Few know the tales of the dark times, much less what happened before them. Since the great Cataclysm 400 years ago the world has slowly recovered but much was lost. Now the Dire Prophecies are beginning to come true as the world is flooded with Otherworlders.” – Arabella
Journey to the world of Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, a computer role playing game created by Lord British (aka Richard Garriott), creator of the genre defining Ultima series of computer games, Starr Long, director of Ultima Online, and Tracy Hickman, author of the Dragonlance series. It combines rich story, like those of the single player Ultimas, with deep and varied multiplayer experiences, like Ultima Online.
Players will adventure in an interactive world where their choices have consequences, ethical paradoxes give them pause, and they play a vital part in weaving their own story into the immersive world and lore surrounding them. Play options will include solo, friends only, or open multiplayer via the Selective Multiplayer system. Players can specialize in a wide range of combat and non-combat skills, provided by a robust, classless skill system, and full-featured crafting and housing mechanics.
Shroud is crowd funded and that allows the developers to work directly for, and with, the player, versus working for a large publishing corporation. Shroud is also crowd sourced so players can submit Unity compatible content (art, sfx, music, world building, etc). Once submitted content is approved the submitter can choose to be compensated in real or virtual currency.
Built using the Unity Game Engine, Shroud of the Avatar will support Win/Mac/Linux for official launch at the end of 2014. Backers gain early access at the end of 2013.
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Steam Early Access: This will be Shroud of the Avatar's first update after launching on Steam Early Access on Dec 1st.
Maps: Portalarium will continue to expand the mainland with the addition of a Desert biome (and two Desert scenes), and the Graff Gem Mines Entrance.
Spells & Skills: Air and Earth Magic will expand to include more spells. The combat school of Ranged will also expand.
Housing: Decorations now align to a plot's orientation, new houses have been added to the game, hedge and stone mazes can now be constructed, house layouts have been made more flexible with the addition of room dividers, and a tavern counter can now be installed in a house.
Crafting: Alchemy expands with recipes for Smelling Salts, Explosive Potions, and Haste Potions. Smithing also expands with a recipe for Caltrops.
Creatures:Shroud of the Avatar's creature list will continue to expand with Air Elementals, Earth Elementals, Ghosts, Scorpions, Imps, and properly-attired Red Sash Bandits.
Combat: Auto-attacks and bludgeons have been nerfed.
Customization: Hair is now compatible with hats, and the ear sliders have been removed from the character customization screen.
Player Titles: Players will now be able to display their guild title in the game.
Steam Trading Cards: Portalarium have created 7 Shroud trading cards as well as the associated icons, badges, emoticons, and backgrounds. They actually were able to introduce them midway through R12.
Resurrection Ankhs: Players now have the option of finding a Resurrection Ankh when they die instead of waiting for the ghost timer to expire.
Guild Functionality: Guilds are now approaching a much higher level of functionality now that membership is by invite only and guilds can have officers.
Random Encounter Improvements: Portalarium's goal with Random Encounters is for players to look forward to them instead of just dreading them. With that in mind, they have started polishing that experience with the addition of Flavor Text that describes the encounter you are about to enter, different loading screen art from “regular” scenes, more structured encounters (fight your way out!), and finally the addition of resource nodes in these scenes so it isn’t just about combat.
Grim Anthology Books: Volume 1-5 of the Grim Contest Winners from the Scholars of Novia are now in the game.
Upgrades & Add-Ons Buttons: Portalarium now have a message and link to their pledge page directly from the launcher and login screens. This is to help some of the new players who might not know about the opportunity to upgrade their pledge or purchase add-on items (and therefore fund further development).
New In Game Maps: Portalarium have added many more in game maps including Deep Ravenswood, West Ravenswood, Kingsroad, North Valeway, South Valeway, Graff Gem Mines Entrance.
Player Position on In Game Maps: Northmarsh, Southmarsh, Veiled Swamp, North Ravenswood, South Ravenswood, and Mysterious Swamp now all properly track player position.
Visibility pass on Death Mode: While dead and a ghost, all players and creatures are supposed to appear as motes of light, but many creatures were still visible so Portalarium did a pass to fix all of these including spiders, slimes, etc.
Discard Items: Right clicking an item in your inventory gives you the option to discard it! This will become critically important when Portalarium introduce Encumbrance in a future release (hopefully R14).
Right Click on Names: Portalarium have expanded Right Click Menus to now work on player names wherever they appear in the game including the chat window, party list, health bar, friends list, etc.
Steam Public Test Server/Client: Now that Shroud of the Avatar is up almost continuously, Portalarium need a way to test releases prior to official release date. In past releases, they did this by letting backers at Developer level and above in a few days before the official release date, but that only worked because the servers were not open. So now they have a Public Test Server and Client that they can again use to pre-test each release with our Dev+ backers. For R13, they were only able to get it working through Steam, but starting with R14 it will work outside of Steam as well.
No Complete Wipe (this time): This will be Portalarium's first release without a complete wipe of all data. They are getting some very valuable data by letting things persist over time. Already, they have been able to fix some issues that they never saw when the game was only up for short periods and they were wiping data. For R13 Portalarium will only be wiping character skill data and guilds. However, when they add pledge reward functionality in R14, they will definitely have to wipe.
New Dialogue: Some minor characters in Owl’s Head have some new stories to tell. This dialogue is also the first crowd sourced dialogue in the game!
Bug Reporting Improved: Typing /bug in the chat window (or clicking on the letter icon in the upper right) while playing now adds the proper format for submitting bugs to your clipboard, and includes your computer’s information (memory, video card, etc) automatically.
NPC Chat Polish: Portalarium did a general pass on chat with NPCs to fix some of the most annoying issues.
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