Thank you to our loyal backers of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 17 access for all backers at First Responder level and above begins this Thursday, April 30 at 10:30 AM Central Time (16:30 UTC).
NOTE: The server will be going down at approximately 6 AM and will stay down until 10:30 AM in order to deploy this release.
As mentioned last release, we are still having to pay some debt incurred by our move to Unity 5. However, even with that factored in, we still managed to deliver quite a bit of new content, including our first Player Owned Town, Crafting Events, Player Titles, and Lot Access Permissions. Unfortunately, the amount of architectural changes in this release required us to do a full wipe of everything except Friends and Guilds. To slightly decrease the pain of this, we implemented an Experience Doubler that will temporarily speed up leveling (see details below).
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 are some the R17 deliverables:
RELEASE 17, April 30, 2015
Polish & Performance: We will continue the work we started with Release 16 to improve overall polish and performance in the game. We will focus not only on improving frame rate, but also lowering load times. We may also spend some time on usability issues.
- Load Times: Significant work was done on reducing load times. This is especially noticeable for large cities like Ardoris and Owl’s Head.
- Performance: Several background changes including things like threaded loading of AI data have improved performance, especially in larger scenes.
- 8 Improved Adventure Scenes: We circled back to new scenes we added in R16 to make them more visually distinct from each other. We also polished some other scenes to improve overall visuals. The modified scenes include: Southern Grunvald Barrens, Northern Grunvald Barrens, Savrenoc Timberland, Deep Savrenoc Timberland, Savrenoc Stronghold, Solace Bridge (visual polish), Necropolis (visuals and gameplay polish), and Vertas Pass (visual polish)
- Steam Achievements: Players can now earn Steam Achievements. Please note these are for Steam only, we do not plan for these to be visible inside the game for Episode 1 launch. For now there are at least 15 of them (and a few hidden ones as well).
First Player Owned Town Template Complete: We have completed the first phase of our prototyping the production process for Player Owned Towns, using PaxLair as the first template. Our goal is to create at least 12 different templates based on biome, location, and layout. When we begin accepting submissions in R18, we will use the submitted layouts to help us determine the mix of these templates. You can visit PaxLair in the northern Novia past the Grunvald desert.
- Access Permissions: The first round of basic functionality allows the owner to control lot ownership, and delegate some of that responsibility to others. Additional functionality like blessings will come online in future releases.
Crafting Events: We have the first iteration of the Crafting Events system working in the game. When crafting a finished good (i.e. not a component) there is a chance for an event to occur. For now, this only applies to armor and weapons. It also is not yet influenced by tool quality, item difficulty, nor crafting table quality (but all those will influence this in future releases).
- Success: Item is created. All ingredients consumed
- Critical Success: Player gets an option to add more fuel (ex. coal) in addition to the fuel in the recipe. If player adds more fuel they are rewarded with an extra modifier to the item and all ingredients (including the extra fuel) are consumed. If the player chooses to not add more fuel then the item is created (without the extra modifier) and the ingredients in the recipe are consumed. Long term, these modifiers will be unique to critical successes and may also be linked to locations, crafting table quality, time of day/month/year, etc.
- Recovery: Player gets an option to add more fuel (ex. coal) in addition to the fuel in the recipe. If player adds more fuel then the item is created and all ingredients (including the extra fuel) are consumed. If the player chooses to not add more fuel then the item is not created and only the fuel is consumed.
- Failure: Desired item is not created and only the fuel is consumed.
- Summon Phoenix: Players can now use the Summon Phoenix spell in the Sun Magic school to summon a Phoenix to fight for them. When killed, the Phoenix will explode in flames and resurrect at least once.
- Player Titles: Players now have a list of all the titles they own. They can choose which one of them they want to display at any given time. For now, these do not have any game effects but long term we hope to have some NPCs recognize and respond to the displayed title.
- Street Signs: Street signs can now be found in Owl’s Head, Kingsport, and Solania.
- Death Markers: Starting with this release, every time a player dies they will leave behind a ghostly skeleton at the location of their death. We expect to see big piles of these near Ghosts!
- Town Lot List: Town Criers now provide a list of all the lots in the town and who owns them. Players also can select one of those lots and they will be provided a navigation marker on their compass to help them find that lot.
- Lot Access Permissions: Players now have control over who has access to their lot. They can make the lot public or restricted, and they now have the ability to ban specific users (regardless of the public/restricted setting)
- 16 Fences & 8 Pavers: Customization options for player property have greatly expanded with the addition of modular fences and pavers. This was originally scheduled for R18 but we were able to pull it into this release. Some of these items can be found in game (and/or in pledges) while others are exclusive to the Add On Store. Each Fence comes as a set that is big enough to cover a Village sized lot and includes long sections, short sections, corner sections, and a gate (yes fences finally have gates).
- 75 Book Covers: We have created 75 different book covers. These will be used both for books placed in the world with stories in them as well as being available for player made books when those come online in a future release. For now we have made these into “Blank Book” decorations that can be placed in your home.
- Grand Tour 17: As with each release, we will have a grand tour that will take players through the new scenes and scenes that have changed the most. Completing this quest is the ONLY way to gain a rare reward. The hat for this release is a Fez that we hope you will all enjoy.