First I would like to apologize for forgetting to post our Release 29 instructions here last month. It was a complete oversight on our part and we hope to not repeat it in the future.
Thank you for being a loyal backer and follower of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 30 access for all backers at First Responder level and above begins this Thursday, May 26, at 10:30 AM US Central Daylight Time (15:30 UTC).
The pace of change as we approach Final Wipe and Lot Selection continues to accelerate as we make our final few, but quite impactful, changes and additions to Shroud of the Avatar. Release 30 is full of these impactful changes that include large additions to the story, reworkings of the crafting system, and refinement of the new targeting mechanics we introduced in R29.
The biggest change of course is the change to maximum durability which can no longer be repaired at crafting stations unless you use a Crown of the Obsidian (see below for details). I understand that this change to durability so that items eventually break permanently feels challenging to process right now. On top of that the amount of time to gather materials and the sheer amount of materials it takes to make items seems daunting to say the least. Our goal has always been that it takes specialization and time to become a crafter and the goods you sell should have real value. If we tune gathering to be fast and items to use only a few materials then everyone could make their own goods and there would be no economy and no demand for crafters. If we left items permanent then crafters would have no demand to fill once players got a favorite set of gear.
We believe that all of these designs are necessary to have a truly player driven economy where effort is rewarded and the amount of time to make items is relatively commensurate to the time it takes to fight and advance through enemies. With all of that said the entire experience needs to balance entertainment with effort and we will be carefully tuning the experience over the next few releases (and forever for that matter).
Crafting is also finally expanding with new skills including Masterworks which allow Smiths, Carpenters, and Tailors to add new abilities to items they create. This works exactly like the Enchanting we introduced for Alchemists in R29 although both of these systems now balance the power of the abilities added with reductions in durability. Our goal for the system is to create interesting choices between power and convenience. We also envision scenarios where Avatars might have specialized sets of powerful gear that they use for boss fights and PVP tournaments versus their everyday adventuring gear.
The story also greatly expands with the Courage storyline now playable. To support that Valhold can be visited for the first time and various other scenes have been filled out with supporting story including Skrekk, Demig’s Battlecamp, Ferig’s Battlecamp, and Estgard. We also have added the first of our three Companions who will adventure with you in Offline Mode.
Finally we spent time iterating and polishing the new targeting system we introduced in Release 29. Our goal was to provide the same level of functionality we had before we added the new system while still enjoying the advantages of the new system. To that end we have added back in target selection and target cycling amongst a host of other changes (see below for details).
Yet again, I want to express a huge amount of gratitude to our Dev+ backers who tested all of the items below on the QA server and uncovered lots of bugs. They also provided editorial feedback on this post. So, they are a big reason that this post actually matches what is in the game, and that it is easy to read.
While we are getting closer to launch, we are still in a constant state of change, and we do not yet have in-game systems to inform players of these changes, or to share ways to help them to explore new content and systems. This means we rely entirely on this message, and the linked instructions and known issues to convey the current game state. We regularly have to answer questions or filter bug reports because some players elect not to read this valuable information.
By taking a few moments to read through this information, a great deal of our time and efforts can be redirected to focus on new “unanswered” questions, and addressing critical issues impacting each release. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to review this post, and for all the truly valuable feedback you continue to provide.
Also, remember that while we are providing new content with each release, our community is working overtime to make new events for you to enjoy. So, be sure to check out a couple of the Community Events Calendars run by our community members (via in-game book or the player run websites Avatars Circle Community Events and Events of the Avatars calendar).
Without further ado, here is a list of what you can expect to see in Release 30.
Novia Overworld Rework: When we first built the overworld map for Novia we strayed a bit too far from the original design as laid out in the cloth map. This resulted in a lot of discrepancies including some major geographical mismatches, rivers that looked like oceans (or which were missing entirely), roadways that were as wide as mountains, misplaced points of interest, and other such oddities. In Release 30, we begin the effort to correct all of these errors and have brought Novia back into alignment with the contours and geographic features of the cloth map. During this process, all coastlines and areas throughout the entire, expansive interior of Novia were honed. Consequently, we were required to temporarily remove a lot of the props and decorations from the scene, but we will be putting those back in steadily over the next two releases. This work also required us to re-position some of the towns and other points of interest. Additional changes include the addition of boat teleporters for every Player-Owned Town island, as the proper method for travel to them. Please note that the locations of a few POTs have changed during this work. If your town location changed during this process and you are unsatisfied with the new location please post as a bug in the bug forums with a requested new location and we will do our very best to accommodate your request at no charge.
Path of Courage: The Path of Courage is now blocked-in from start to finish for the first time. However, there are many moving parts to the story and some are only in as placeholders, while others are not yet working properly. We will need all of your help playing and testing so we can begin getting it to a more finished state.
Valhold: The ruined capital of the isle of Norgard was once a place of greatness but banners of yellow hang from crumbling stone pillars. Explore this key area in the Courage storyline and learn more about the war with the Kobolds, the titan Grannus, and the power of yellow. Valhold once stood as a beacon of hope and power, the home of the Knights of Norgard and the protector of those who were under threat. Yet who will protect the protectors when they themselves face their greatest peril? Now stricken with despair, its defenders wounded in both body and spirit, Valhold still stands, stricken, yet shield aloft, waiting for the final blow. Much of the fate of King Grannus and his family is revealed here, and players will find the Path of Courage reach its climax. Note that while the city of Valhold is available in multiplayer, the Throne Room of Grannus is a solo player instance.
Brittany Fields: This primarily agrarian neighborhood to the southwest of Brittany supplies most of the food to the greater Brittany area. It is also home to a huge population of outlanders—primarily holders of village-sized deeds—but there are a variety of other lot sizes here as well.
Companions: Companions are a hallmark of Lord British games and will appear for the first time in Release 30 in Offline Mode. They will travel with the player and assist whenever possible in your adventures. They will also engage in conversations with you about the world you find yourself in. The first companion to appear in the game is Fiona Fitzowen, the travelling bard and companion to the Avatar on their path of Love. Fiona is a bard in every sense of the word - a master of the lute, someone who will usually sing a song when prompted (and often when not) and without fail, will have something to say about the situation she finds herself in (and she seems to find herself in many) which will infuriate some and entertain more. Fiona is not one for fighting, but does keep a small crossbow ready when necessary (or when on the road and hunger beckons). She knows a smattering of magical arts, but like most travelling bards, just enough to be amusing. Many claim to have stolen Fiona's heart; it is an illusion she is happy to perpetuate. In fact, if you ask who her current love is, she will quickly change the subject. For someone who makes a living at telling stories, that is a tale she is not yet willing to tell. She is drawn to the avatar, but not in the romantic way everyone assumes. But...that is a tale she is better off spinning. Fiona can usually be found in Peladjar's Tavern in Ardoris, singing for her lodging and her amusement. Please note that Fiona is a work in progress—for R30, she will accompany you on your adventures and speak to you, but her dialogue is by no means complete and for now her comments on your travels are limited to Ardoris.
Save Games: In Offline Mode, players can now create and load save games. Game files can be transferred between computers as long as each computer is on the same version of SotA. Please note that save game data is currently tied to version, so when we publish new versions, we may overwrite the save game data. This will be solved when we update Offline mode to work properly with patching and deliver offline rewards.
And Much More! Click here for the complete R30 Instructions