Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues
This article needs to be updated.(January 2018)
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues (abbreviated SotA) is a fantasy role-playing video game. Described as being a spiritual successor to the Ultima series, Shroud of the Avatar is developed by Austin, Texas-based developer Portalarium, with a team led by Richard Garriott as creative director, Starr Long as executive producer, Chris Spears as lead technical designer, and Tracy Hickman as lead story designer.
|Shroud of the Avatar:
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Release||March 27, 2018|
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues will have a dual-scale overview world map, player housing, crafting, an active virtue system, and "selective multiplayer", which allows players to choose whether to play online or offline. The entire game can be played offline. Additional funding allowed for stretch goals to be met, such as pets, seasonal weather, interactive music instruments, new locations, and guild-based combat. As of December 2016[update], the game's features are still under development and may change.
Besides offline single player, Shroud of the Avatar is expected to have three network play styles: Single Player Online, Friend Party Online, and Open Play Online. This will allow players to choose their desired level of online interaction. Offline play will be DRM-free. Players may play from any computer if they elect an online mode of play. Offline single player modes will not have this feature, nor will offline characters be allowed to switch to online modes of play. Single Player Online will be playable offline for brief periods of time. Instance dungeons will be locally hosted on client PCs. Players will have the ability to purchase persistent housing, but availability will be extremely limited and diminish as the size of the settlement increases. Homes will also have upkeep costs, the specifics of which have not yet been publicly released. However, Kickstarter-purchased homes will not have a maintenance requirement of this type. Additionally, each house will have the potential to host vendors that can sell goods for players. In-game player titles based on achievements will be available, as well as special titles for high-level backers.
Characters within Shroud of the Avatar will not have specific classes; players will be able to try out various skills and decide which ones they wish to pursue. Characters will have a limited ability to change their skills. In combat, skills will be randomly presented, and the number of skills that a character learns will decrease the chance that a specific skill will be presented. Shroud of the Avatar is expected to have several crafting trades and be divided into two major components: recipes and processes. Crafting skills will be split between gathering and refining, and there will be five crafting categories: mining, hunting, foraging, woodsman, and fishing. Players will gather resources, which are then converted into items. Items will be usable, and characters will be able to fully interact with them, such as sitting in chairs that the character creates.
Communication with NPCs will be through typed responses interpreted by the game, and quests will be mentioned in conversations. There will be no quest log; instead, players will explore storylines that interest them. Players will have a journal that catalogues major events, but quest objectives will not be separately noted. Quests will encourage exploration, and the game will not guide players to quest locations. Puzzles will feature a fully interactive environment, such as hinges on a door that might need to be removed. Moral choices made in the game will affect how the character is perceived by others. While rejecting extremes in implementation, Garriott identified story-based opportunities opening up Player versus player (PvP) combat; for example, characters would become a free-for-all target once a specific quest is accepted.
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues was publicly announced on March 8, 2013, by Austin, Texas-based developer Portalarium. It is the first of five anticipated episodes, each of which will expand on the story and introduce new content. Developmental commentary has centered on player choice and discovery as major aspects of game-play and have been presented as alternatives to expected level grinding and item acquisition in existing RPGs. The world is inspired by the Ultima series, J. R. R. Tolkien, and elements of steampunk; Tracy Hickman will write the story. Following fundraising on Kickstarter, US$1.9 million was raised. As of January 20, 2014, an additional US$1.1 million has been raised.
Art assets will be partially crowdsourced, and used assets will result in payment to the artist. In addition, the Dungeon Kit is available to developers who pledged US$400 or more; this allows royalty-free reuse of the game's assets. On November 24, 2014, an early access version of the game was released on Steam, the game was fully released in March 2018.
Gareth Harmer of MMORPG.com gave it a rating of 6.5/10, stating that the "clunky character animations, dated visuals and a primitive user interface all combine to make the novel or retro seem tedious and tired." Rissa Trent of MMO Games felt the same way and added the game's steep learning curve might be difficult to those who are not familiar with classic MMORPG. She gave it a 6/10 score.
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