About this project
You can still pledge your support, or manage an existing pledge, on the Shroud of the Avatar Website.
A Heartfelt Thanks from the entire SotA Team!
A sincere thank you goes out to all our backers for pledging your support to “Shroud of the Avatar” and helping us raise almost double our Kickstarter goal! This game would not be possible without your dedication and feedback – what a fantastic experience it’s been to interact with all of you, learning what is most important and desired in our new world.
And we very much look forward to continuing that interaction, so please follow us to our official site at ShroudOfTheAvatar.com and join us in our continuing discussions and efforts. We’ll have regular updates and information for friends old and new. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter, or tweet us with #LBSOTA to keep the conversation alive!
What IS Shroud of the Avatar?
Shroud of the Avatar is the “spiritual successor” to Richard’s previous work in the FRP genre. Our primary objectives are to tell a story even more compelling than Ultimas IV-VII, create a virtual world more interactive than Ultima VII, develop deep rich multi-player capabilities beyond combat akin to Ultima Online, and offer a bold new approach to integrate them with “Selective Multi-Player”.
- Shroud of the Avatar is infused with rich storylines, deeply integrated into game play, developed by Best Selling Author Tracy Hickman and RPG legend Richard Garriott.
- 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.
- Shroud of the Avatar is a Selective Multiplayer game, allowing players to choose how they want to play! Whether in Single-Player Offline mode or any of three online modes, the main quest line will provide greater than 40 hours of focused, story driven content.
- Shroud of the Avatar can be played as an offline DRM free solo experience or online, where our servers will enable player to player transactions, group finding, patching, streaming of dynamic content, and exploit prevention.
- Built using the Unity Game Engine, Shroud of the Avatar will support Win/Mac/Linux for official launch.
- 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. Play the way you want to play, molding your character into the hero, anti-hero, or artisan you want to be!
- Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtue is the first of a 5 game series of full-length, stand-alone games (each using the same game system), referred to as Episodes 1 through 5. Estimated availability of Episode 1, Forsaken Virtues, is October 2014, with Episodes 2 through 5 estimated for subsequent yearly releases.
- Shroud of the Avatar is a “buy-to-play” game that, once purchased, does not require a subscription to play!
- #24: The Final Countdown, a Chat with Chris Roberts, and Lord Blackthorn!
- #23: FINAL DAY BONUS REWARDS: Waterfront Property, Island Castles, Custom Avatars, Collector’s Edition Story of Mondain, & More!
- #22: BONUS REWARDS: New Knight Tier, Early Skill Access, Crystal Swords, Homeowner's Bounty, Unity Art Packs & More!
- #21: Art, Unity and Emotes!
- #20: An Interview with Warren Spector, a Quest and CRAFTING
- #19: $2.5M Final Week Stretch Goals, Tracy Hickman Novel, 5 Full Games, & More!
- #18: Tech Talk and Exciting Announcements!
- #17: Weekly Roundup and NEW Character Concept Art
- #16: BONUS REWARDS: Future Episodes, New Tiers, Immortality Fruit, Indestructible Artisan Tools, Unique Taming Ability & More!
- #15: Tuesday 3-for-1!
- #14: Paypal and a Question of Virtue
- #13: Housing Update!
- #12: New Concept Art and Developer Blog
- #11: Stretch Goals & More Bonus Rewards!
- #10: Shroud of the Avatar - Selective-Multi-Player Means Multiple Ways to Play!
- #9: Tracy Hickman, New York Times Best-selling author of Dragonlance and Deathgate series, joins the Shroud of the Avatar team as Lead Story Designer!
- #8: New Concept Art: The Fallen Keep
- #7: Shroud of the Avatar - Dual Scale vs Mono Scale Maps
- #6: BONUS REWARDS: Collectors Box, Recorded Media Game & Soundtrack, Mysterious Artifact, and more!
- #5: DRM, Offline/Online, and Microtransaction update + swag teaser!
- #4: Shroud of the Avatar Developer Video Broadcast
- #3: As Promised! Exclusive Video Interview with Iolo and Lord British!
- #2: Shroud of the Avatar Developer Video Broadcast
- #1: Live Developer Video Broadcast!
Tracy Hickman Joins Team as Lead Story Designer!
Tracy Hickman, New York Times Best-selling author of Dragonlance and Deathgate series, joins the Shroud of the Avatar team as Lead Story Designer!
Richard Garriott, the award winning designer and creator of the Ultima franchise, makes his triumphant return to the genre that earned him a place in the Hall of Fame and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Shroud of the Avatar is the first installment of Richard’s new vision and represents the reinvention of the classic, fantasy role-playing which he pioneered. A fantasy role-playing game that will focus more on player choices and discovery than on level grinding.Richard Garriott, the award winning designer and creator of the Ultima franchise, makes his triumphant return to the genre that earned him a place in the Hall of Fame and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Shroud of the Avatar is the first installment of Richard’s new vision and represents the reinvention of the classic, fantasy role-playing which he pioneered. A fantasy role-playing game that will focus more on player choices and discovery than on level grinding.
The Pledge Reward information in the right sidebar is already out of date! We are constantly adding new bonus rewards to our existing pledges, so please review this section regularly for any changes!
Special thanks to Vamp at http://forsakenvirtues.com/ for putting this awesome chart together for us!
PLEASE NOTE: Pledge rewards contain ALL of the rewards of lower level pledges (with the exception of houses, which are 1 per pledge)!
Richard Garriott guided the Ultima Series from its inception in 1980, through the "trilogy-of-trilogies" of solo player games and later, the highly successful Ultima Online. Under his leadership, RPG's evolved from simple dungeon crawls to immersive worlds where you could easily suspend your disbelief. You cared about the world and its people, and you cared about the actions and deeds you accomplished within that world.
Since then, most every other RPG has focused more on level grinding than on “role playing”, which has been reduced to a few initial character choices. While advancements in graphics and sound have been phenomenal, in many ways the virtual worlds we play in have become less real. Less open. Less immersive.
With Shroud of the Avatar, Richard and his team will again reinvent the classic fantasy role-playing experience. Using state-of-the-art tools and technology, the game will focus on what made his seminal Ultima Series great. Once players are introduced to the game, they will discover their own story woven into the immersive world and lore surrounding them. Players may choose to follow the life of the adventurer or, if they prefer, focus on exploration and discovery. Players may even choose the life of a homesteader; either nestled within the safety of the settled lands, or on the dangerous but potentially lucrative frontier. The world is full of opportunities and challenges!
The familiar psychological profiling used to create your character, organically derived game-play responses to player behavior and fundamental virtues and consequence of actions will all play a huge role in Shroud of the Avatar. Players will be free to choose their path, but must then live with the consequences of their actions.
Shroud of the Avatar general features:
From Lord British's Treatise on "What is an Ultimate RPG?":
- Fully interactive virtual world - If it looks usable, it should do something
- Deep original fiction - Ethical parables, cultural histories, fully developed alternate language text
- Physical game components will be available: Cloth map, fictional manuals, trinkets
- Multiplayer Online Game - which can also be played solo player / offline
Unlike most RPGs, players will not be limited to the class they select at the beginning of the game. We will be discussing this feature in more detail during an upcoming Developer Blog.
Player housing will live in the persistent shared world, so real estate will have location value.
The least expensive housing can be found in Villages, which offer the highest density of low-cost housing. The core of a village will include basic services that will encourage players to both visit and settle in the area. Villages are a great place for an ambitious adventurer to hang their hat. (Only a few thousand Village homes will be available to players in-game.)
Towns on the other hand, offer more protection and amenities than Villages. The larger amount of available services will further increase traffic flow to your home or business. Plots of land will be larger as well, allowing players to build bigger houses. Towns are an excellent place to start a business while affording moderate levels of safety. (Only a few hundred Town homes will be available to players in-game.)
A City provides substantial protection for players, with large, vital services to draw players to visit and spend their coin. Cities can be protected by large defensive structures like Tesla towers, and offer luxuries not found in Towns or Villages. Cities also have the largest and most valuable homesteads. Be aware though, that the most valuable properties are available to very limited number of players and will likely be in high demand! (Only a few dozen City homes will be available to players in-game.)
Once a house is purchased, players will need to pay regular taxes on it of course. But as a special thank you to select Kickstarter supporters, all housing obtained by making a Kickstarter pledge of Citizen, Lord, Baron, Duke or Lord of the Manor will be tax free for life!
Crafting system that avoids busy work:
Craft as a hobby or as a career! The results of all crafting elements have value as consumables and components in the combat system, as well as maintenance and upgrade elements for housing and cities. The crafting system will be a topic of discussion in one of our upcoming Developer Blogs.
Meaningful PVP that also minimizes griefing:
An incentive-driven system will draw players into the challenge and intrigue of the PVP experience, whether they become the hunter or the hunted!
Scene based encounters:
In a nod to Garriott's early RPG works, Shroud of the Avatar is split up into a high-level overland map and adventure scenes. Scenes are generally re-playable and can be experienced solo or with others.
Shroud of the Avatar is currently planned for downloadable PC, Mac, and Linux.
To help Richard build his new masterpiece, a team of proven industry veterans has been assembled. The average team member has more than 10 years experience and a half-dozen shipped games to their credit. More than 50 titles have been shipped between the team, including almost a dozen games that reached number one on the sales charts.
We're not the only ones who are excited about Shroud of the Avatar!
"As an Ultima fanatic, I'm kind of jittery excited about what's happening here." ~ Felicia Day, actress, writer, and producer of the web series The Guild
"Richard was an inspiration for our guild and has been a friend and supporter of ours for years, and us of him. We will definitely have a SotA presence." ~ Sean, aka Dragon, Guild Leader for The Syndicate
"So I'm hoping you will join with me in taking Richard up on this offer. That we should back him in SotA in creating and pioneering a new way of experiencing story in game. Because after all, Richard knows adventure." ~ Tracy Hickman, best-selling novelist and co-creator of the Dragonlance Novels and Adventure Modules.
"I am really excited to see what new innovations are in Shroud of the Avatar. I can not WAIT to play it!" ~ Ernest Cline, author of New York Times Bestseller, Ready Player One
“Richard and I have known each other 26 years when I first joined up with a small little company called Origin Systems. We had a lot fun being the small rebel upstart company and made some games that are still remembered for defining or creating genres even today. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Richard this energized about the world and game he is creating. Shroud of The Avatar, feels like the kind of game we would have made in the old days of Origin when we didn’t answer to anyone and just made the best game we could with no interference. That’s what’s great about Crowd funding. I’m backing and looking forward to being part of Lord British’s next great adventure” ~ Chris Roberts, creator of the best-selling Wing Commander game series
"When I read that Lord British was going back to his roots to make "The Shroud of the Avatar" and kickstart it with the community, I was really excited and you should be too! SotA looks like it's going to be an incredible game! ~ Min-Liang Tan, Chief Gamer and CEO of Razer/Edge
"I know how much Richard Garriott respects story, and that will set this game apart from the others. I know Shroud of the Avatar is going to tell a great story! "I guarantee I will play. Try and stop me!" ~ Warren Spector, renowned game developer and force behind the critically acclaimed and award winning games Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Thief, and Deus Ex.
And from our Friends at Ultima Codex!
Be sure to pledge your support today and join our Champions in making Shroud of the Avatar a success!
Risks and challenges
Entertainment software development is always difficult. A successful game must work well feature-by-feature and be compelling and fun at all times to sustain player interest. "Fun" is very hard to define on paper, and is further complicated when tasked with integrating complex features that the players will find fulfilling. This iterative experimental process creates inherent risks in game development.
We are managing this risk with a number of careful processes. First our team is built around a core of industry experts, who individually have up to 30 years of game development experience. Additionally, we are using powerful, proven tools to mitigate development risks. Finally, we are staging development so that the most important and most risky features are developed first, while carefully containing the scope of the initial release so that feature bloat does not bury the project.
While game development remains inherently risky, this team is qualified and dedicated to drive this project to successful conclusion with skill and passion. We hope to work closely with you, the player, as our partner in completing this challenge.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Some people think that PC is an outdated platform, but to that I say not true! I have always been a PC developer, and there is something magical about sitting close to a large screen, seeing your world come to life. And the flexibility of using a keyboard and mouse is unmatched; though if you prefer to play with a gamepad on a PC, you can do that too!
For game development, the PC allows developers tremendous innovation and gives players the most choices as far as how they play. Although a great RPG can exist in many forms (even paper tape!), I firmly believe that the PC is the best platform for Shroud of the Avatar.
Richard has already invested several million dollars in the game and will almost certainly invest more before we ship. We would have to have a record setting campaign to match what Richard already invested in the company. But there is no reason to suggest that we can't also raise money from the community we are making the game for to get them involved too. 100% of the money raised in the Kickstarter will go to make a better game and the community involvement is a huge bonus for US.
By supporting this project, you will be also be able to collaborate with the developers, lending your voice to what features you would like to see added. You can be a part of the creation of the classic fantasy role playing experience you have been waiting for!
Kickstarter has really changed the landscape for game developers. It allows us to connect directly with you, the players, and it keeps us from being so dependent on the traditional publishing model. It gives us a direct feedback loop with people who like our game and have decided to back it. We can hear what you like and don’t like and can make additions and changes based on that feedback, before the game is launched. Kickstarter has opened up a new era of game development that really benefits gamers.
Yes, you will be able to play with your friends! Multiplayer games encourage social bonds that go far beyond what can be accomplished in a solo player game. I remember the depth of these bonds in players who met in-game only to get married in real life, how people who died in the real world were deeply mourned and celebrated by their online friends whom they may never have met face to face. Though Shroud of the Avatar won’t be a massively multiplayer online role playing game, it will be a multiplayer game. We will be describing this in more detail in our upcoming community blogs.
You can become a registered user on our https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/…, where you will have a chance to add your voice to one of the many Community led discussions about Shroud of the Avatar. LORD BRITISH wants to hear your ideas and suggestions, so be sure to sign up and start posting!
And if you contribute to our Kickstarter at the Developer level or above, we will bring you into the inner design circle. In addition to getting general design ideas from you, you will have the chance to lend a voice on even the more contentious issues involved in game design. Some examples would be: PVP – Where, when and under what conditions? Persistent Housing – How can we make a housing market that creates opportunity and engaging gameplay? These are just a few of the design ideas we will be discussing in our Developer Roundtable discussions.
The offline single player version of the game for those who purchase it through KickStarter will not use any form of DRM. We had been holding off on committing to that because we don’t know what our final distribution system (Steam, GOG, etc) is going to be and some of them use DRM. We may have DRM of some sort on post-KS sales but we’ll commit to keeping KS versions DRM and “phone home” free for the single player version once launched.
The game can be played offline, no connection required. The character used for the offline version of the game will not be useable in the online version of the game for obvious exploit/hacking reasons. We are going to investigate ways to export your online character to the single player version of the game but the offline character will not be importable into the online version.
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