Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is going in to closed Alpha this week so I thought I would see if any other RPG fans are interested in what has been called the 'spiritual' successor to Ultima Online, it has a wealth of industry experts with Lord Birtish AKA Richard Garriot as lead developer and Tracey Hickman involved in developing the story.
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.
The 3 month video update
The latest video is a 6 month update
Here is the housing system
Its important to note this is absolutely not UO2, it is not an MMO by nature, here is a good description from the devs : -
Single player offline:
This is the DRM free, completely off-line version of the game. Your character is stored on your computer and can not be used in any of the online modes.
Single Player Online (SPO)
In the SPO mode you connect to the server, receive content updates, and can see the long term changes others are having on the world. However, you are not visible on anyone else’s screen, nor for grouping, and you don’t see anyone else in the world. You can switch from SPO to FPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or overland map. Some parts of the main storyline quests may temporarily force the player into SPO mode for some parts of the quest.
Friends Play Online (FPO)
In friends play online, you only see people you have flagged as friends in the game and only they can see you. Like single player, this is just a server side filter. For those who prefer the quieter game with friends or maybe for those who prefer a more focused role playing experience, this lets you enjoy a more limited online experience. You can switch to SPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or in the overland map.
Open Play Online (OPO)
In OPO players will see everyone that the server thinks they should see. This will not necessarily be all people in the area but should be people you care the most about based on what we believe is their relevance to you.
For the most part, OPO will feel like an MMO. Lots of social interaction options with friends and other players. We are trying to distinguish ourselves from traditional MMOs only in that, unlike a normal MMO players are frequently connected directly to each other instead of all data flowing through our servers. We believe this will provide numerous advantages to both players and our service, but does differ from a traditional MMO in that the upper limit of players simultaneously on one map may be restricted.
There is a massive bloated bit of information regarding combat here and I have to be honest I have read it and still don't really get it, the combat in videos has been rudimentary at best, there is a deck system in play which is best described here . Very briefly, it looks like a hot key MMO with some alternative mechanics which I will need to experience to understand better :S
Crafting was a massive part of UO and its going to be a massive part of SotA, it is by all accounts the usual crafting model of generic tree-like system with your typical resource components and gathering, here is a very good piece of information regarding crafting
Yup, again, like UO housing is here! I would say it seems even more restricted to the select few this time with a finite number of plots and it seems that the majority will go to backers for a whopping $500 and above, so that rules me out :P It is of course available in game for in game gold but I foresee the vast majority of people being homeless which is a shame as so much effort is being put in to the housing component. I personally have joined a community who have funded our own large house so it has had positive factors as well. Here is a very indepth preview of housing
Ultimately there is probably too much info for one post but I will try to update here whenever more relevant information comes in, I really hope people can get behind this game, if you are interested then there is a great reward system in place for backers and a fantastic community with so many ex ultima online players. I am also part of a community called the bear tavern which has plans to be a big part of the community with players from all over the world.
Having been a part of various awful Alphas and game release I'm hoping for the best but much like Matt Peckham "hoping that the game’s going to be more than the sum of its cliched bullet points, e.g. “fully interactive virtual world,” “classless character system,” “player housing,” “crafting system that avoids busy work,” “meaningful PvP that also minimizes griefing” and so forth" Please don't be all hype.
Thanks for reading