Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

Play Release 30 Now!

Release 30 Postmortem Invite

Brittany Alleys

Name Reservation

New Cloth Tunic, Polished Cloth Doublet, & Viking Helm

MMORPG Previews: Release 30’s Big Changes

Gold Crowns of the Obsidians

Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Deeds (Bundles Only)

Viking Row House Tax Free Player Owned Lot Bundles

Play Release 30 Now!

Release 30 successfully launched yesterday, May 26, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, logging in, and checking out the new changes! Lots of new content to explore, including:

New scenes including Valhold and Brittany Fields

Courage Storyline First Playable

Targeting Interface Polish

Masterworks for Smithing, Carpentry, and Tailoring

Companions & Save Games for Offline Mode

New Female Avatar

Spring Telethon Rewards

Performance Optimizations

…and much more

Check out the Release 30 Instructions update for detailed information about all the new content.

Release 30 Player Instructions

Release 30 Known Issues

Release 30 Postmortem Invite

Join the dev team Wednesday, June 1st at 3:00 PM Central (20:00 GMT) for our monthly Hangout of the Avatar! Richard, Starr, and Chris will be chatting about Release 30 and looking ahead to Release 31, as well as starting to talk about the impeding R32!

In an exciting twist to the normal flow of the livestream, the new community manager, Mathew “Berek” Anderson, is set to spice things up by not only taking your questions and feedback live in the chat-room and also in advance in the OP comments section, but will be on the livestream in the office with Starr and Chris!*

Watch here at 3pm CST on Wednesday, June 1st:

*Please keep in mind that questions and feedback related to this release’s specific topics will be given priority and really verbose questions may be skipped, as they can be a challenge to shorten and summarize live on the air. In brief… please keep your questions… brief.

Brittany Alleys

NOTE: Brittany Alleys is scheduled to go live in Release 31.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Richard “RrMatey” Matey]

Hey there! Back again for another scene update. I was tasked with Brittany Alleys, which is another neighborhood of the Brittany kingdom. This section of land is dedicated to having an urban environment that has a bunch of player houses / plots, so we have more chances to increase our Brittany Citizen population. This is a place for immigrants to live and work. Factories are here to provide jobs and a harbor for exporting goods. I was inspired by New York City and London.

Have a gander at the progress so far.

Inspiration Board

Rough Concept Map

Name Reservation

Starting with Release 29, the dev team began maintaining a record of character names for all pledge levels of Immortal Adventurers and above. When you log into the game for Release 32 after the Final Wipe, you will have the option to use the last saved name you used during Releases 29 – 31 or choose a new name. Please note that they only record the most recent name. If you have any issues with this process during Release 32, please submit a support ticket to support@portalarium.com.

Please note that this replaces the previous Pledge Reward of “Last Name” in the Immortal Adventurer Pledge.

Get your last name early! Experience in battle leads to Notoriety, but unlike ordinary adventurers, Immortal Adventurers will have the right to select and display both a first and last name right from the get-go!

New Cloth Tunic, Polished Cloth Doublet & Viking Helm

As part of our rework of the Avatars, we are steadily progressing through many of the clothing and armor items to improve their visual quality. We periodically update the progress of this effort. NOTE: The Cloth Tunic will go live in Release 31.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “Skullmuncher34” Kinnear]

Hey all!

Here’s an update on some of the clothes for the next release: Updated Cloth Doublet, a new dye-able tunic, and a Viking Helm


by fletcherkinnear

on Sketchfab

Cloth Doublet

by fletcherkinnear

on Sketchfab

Viking Helm

by fletcherkinnear

on Sketchfab

MMORPG Previews: Release 30’s Big Changes

Red Thomas over at MMORPG.com wrote another Release preview article:

We’re only a couple releases away from the final wipe for Shroud of the Avatar, and that means the team is now working with a hard-stop time constraint. In actuality, the Agile development philosophy that they’d adopted at the beginning of their development and monthly release schedules are probably the best possible preparation for the run-up to final wipe they could have asked for. That said, throwing in last-minute major changes to major systems like targeting tend to toss the scariness factor off the scale.

Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the fallout around the decision to make that dramatic design shift and how it impacted some of the changes we’ll see in Release 30. We’ll then get into what I’m most excited about, which is some potentially controversial updates to the crafting system, and we’ll also talk a bit about what their choices suggest about the health of the game.

Targeting Elephants

There is no doubt that the move to modal targeting was a critical design decision, and I’ve made no secret of my doubts about the timing. Do I think the idea behind the new system is superior? Absolutely and without question. My concerns are strictly related to the timing of such a massive change, and those questions are not without merit. This last month has gone a long way towards demonstrating the validity of my concerns, but the next release looks to provide comfort in equal measure.

Looking in the SotA forums, there was a significant level of consternation in the first couple weeks of the new targeting system going live. You could probably debate whether the negativity was the result of actual problems, or just general irritation at having to learn a new system. The fact that the complaints started to fall off rather quickly might suggest the latter, but I don’t think that’s the case.

Gold Crowns of the Obsidians

Much like the Gems of Guild Wars 2, Shroud of the Avatar will have Crowns of the Obsidians.  You will not only be able to get these as a raw drop in game, but also via real life currency.  This was something many of of us have expected since the Kickstarter days as a way to help continue to fund Portalarium’s staff and ongoing SotA development.

[From a Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

We introduced Crowns of the Obsidians (COTOs) as rare items back in Release 28.  COTOs drop from almost any activity, with higher occurrences on higher level creatures and resource nodes. They come in several different metal types, and each type can be exchanged for specific types of items. In Release 29, we introduced Potions of the Obsidians that could be purchased with COTOs, and these grant various temporary boosts to things like carry capacity or gathering speed. In Release 30, we added the ability for COTOs to restore Maximum Durability to items and also added Crown Merchants to the game, which allow you to exchange the various COTO types for Obisidian Potions or Gold COTOs. Gold Crowns of the Obsidians are unique in that they can be sold to any merchant in game for gold and now, starting today, they can also be purchased directly from our website or through Add On Store Bundles like the new Viking 2-Story Row Home Bundle (see below).

As you have probably surmised, Gold Crowns function as a premium currency for Shroud of the Avatar. As we expire all our pledges and move towards a commercial launch, hopefully near the end of this year, we must also move to a commercial model of monetization. As promised, we are not going to be adding a subscription nor are we planning to make the game free to play. However, as an online game, we must have a steady stream of income (in addition to base game sales) in order to pay for support of the game including monthly updates, bandwidth, servers, community support, etc. Our analysis shows us that Add On Store item sales will not be sufficient. When we have been asked for examples in the past of models we wish to emulate or that we admire, we always point to Guild Wars as an example of a Pay to Play with an Add On Store as the closest archetype to what we hope to achieve. Selling Gold Crowns and allowing those Crowns to be exchangeable in game for Gold currency and potions with game benefits (like repairing of maximum durability) is something we believe is a good and fair balance of revenue while still maintaining play-ability and player economy. We are working hard to ensure that the purchased items from Crowns are all matters of convenience, not power. For example, the Obsidian Potions do things like small increases to carry weight, slightly longer sprint times, or slightly reduced gear wear. It is of course worth remembering that since Crowns can be earned in game, no player will ever be required to purchase them, making them purely a time saver and convenience.

As part of this introduction, we have added Gold Crowns to all Pledges. The amount of Crowns added to each pledge is based on the size of the pledge and is as follows:

First Responder, Second Responder, Pioneer, Adventurer: 2

Immortal Adventurer: 3

Founder: 4

Royal Artisan: 5

Virtual Collector: 6

Explorer, Explorer – All Digital: 7

Collector: 8

Patron: 12

Ancestor: 15

Navigator: 20

Developer: 25

Citizen: 30

Edelmann, Edelmann – All Digital: 31

Knight: 35

Knight Marshal: 40

Lord: 45

Lord Marshal: 50

Baron, Baron 2, Baron 3: 65

Duke: 90

Lord of the Manor, Lord of the Manor 2: 200

Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Deeds (Bundles Only)

With the launch of the new Add On Store Bundles, the dev team chose to include Tax Free versions of the Player Owned Town Lot Deeds that were introduced in Update #172. These deeds can only be used inside Player Owned Towns and they can only be purchased through bundles, not individually. This is to mirror what we did with regular Tax Free Lot Deeds (which could only be purchased through pledges). We will carefully monitor sales of these as compared to placed lot markers in Player Owned Towns to make sure we do not oversell them. This week, we are introducing Row Lots but we plan to sell bundles with Village, Town, and City Lots soon.

Viking Row House Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Bundles

The first bundles to include both the new Tax Free Player Player Owned Town Lot Deeds and Gold Crowns of the Obsidians are the Viking Row House Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Bundles that includes a variety of Viking themed items.

Viking 2-Story Row House Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Bundle

Digital Download of SotA: Episode 1 (includes Early Access)

Tax Free Player Owned Town Row Lot Deed

2-Story Viking Row House

Viking Helm

Viking Fur Cloak

Viking Chest

Pet Bloodraven (a blackish red variant of the raven)

4 Gold Crowns of the Obsidians

Pick 2 Prosperity Tools

Pick 2 Obsidian Potions

Aether Vibration Amplifier Console

100 Bank Slots

Viking 3-Story Row House Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Bundle

Digital Download of SotA: Episode 1 (includes Early Access)

Tax Free Player Owned Town Row Lot Deed

3-Story Viking Row House

1-Story Row Basement

Viking Helm

Viking Fur Cloak

Viking Chest

Pet Bloodraven (a blackish red variant of the raven)

6 Gold Crowns of the Obsidians

Pick 4 Prosperity Tools

Pick 4 Obsidian Potions

Aether Vibration Amplifier Console

110 Bank Slots

3 Pack Potted Blue Spruce Trees

Ornate Skull Candle

Viking 4-Story Row House Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Bundle

Digital Download of SotA: Episode 1 (includes Early Access)

Tax Free Player Owned Town Row Lot Deed

4-Story Viking Row House

2-Story Row Basement

Viking Helm

Viking Fur Cloak

Viking Chest

Pet Bloodraven (a blackish red variant of the raven)

8 Gold Crowns of the Obsidians

Pick 6 Prosperity Tools

Pick 6 Obsidian Potions

Aether Vibration Amplifier Console

120 Bank Slots

3 Pack Potted Blue Spruce Trees

Ornate Skull Candle

Ornate Metal Phonograph

Dev+ Access

Look for more Bundles in the Viking line soon, including a Village Home, a Village Keep, a Town Keep, and a City Great Hall.

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