Release 51 Instructions
Thank you for being a loyal backer and follower of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 51 access for all Early Access backers begins this Thursday, February 22, at 10:30 AM US Central Standard Time (15:30 UTC).
Release 51 is the second release in which we focused on the current iteration of our Top 10 Priorities for Launch (from Q1 2018 post). Once again we were able to address almost every single item on that list in some fashion. We made incredibly strong progress on performance, clarity of direction, new user experience polish, story polish, and UI polish. We also finished more physical goods, including the D&D notes. Meanwhile, we continued to make steady background progress on launch readiness (example: EU data compliance & server monitoring upgrades) and localization. We did all of this while also planning our launch activities around SXSW.
All of this was accomplished despite February being a shorter month and therefore Release 51 being a shorter release cycle with one less week of development!
Performance: Changes to code and assets continued our steady forward progress on performance improvements. The biggest change of course was upgrading to the latest version of Unity: 2017.3. These changes should show an increase of at least several frames per second in every scene. We also specifically focused on the Brittany scenes to get them behaving better.
New Scenes: We continue to make steady progress on rebuilding scenes previously cloned from other scenes. In Release 51, we uncloned two more adventure scenes: South Midmaer Way and South Fetid Swamp. We also are introducing Lost Vale, a completely new scene that is only available during certain celestial alignments.
Story Polish and Side Quests: We continue to polish the story with additional side quests, balance, conversation additions, and unique NPC art. One of the bigger changes in Release 51 is the addition of a single player version of Hilt, which allows players to access the Obsidian Forge more easily. We also added several new side quests, including quests for the final pieces of virtue armor.
Player Vendor Polish: In Release 51, vendor owners can now customize the visual appearance of their vendors with the pattern system. Patterns for vendors include variations of the existing outfit, a cash register, and a new shopkeeper outfit. Player vendors also now animate, even while the owner is not present. Finally, the vendor interface now has a date column so that you can easily find newly stocked items.
Skill Specialization: Players can now specialize in a couple of schools of combat and/or magic to gain extra bonuses such as extra glyphs. This was a massive overhaul that gives over 125 new updates to spells and skills in the game to players who choose to specialize rather than generalize.
Combat Polish and Balance: In addition to the massive addition of Skill Specialization, we also spent a huge amount of time on combat balance and polish with over 25 individual changes and additions in Release 51 alone. Updates included making Wild Boars tameable, rage effects for boss level creatures, the Obsidian Potion of Guidance, Armor Set Bonus refactor, and lots of bug fixes.
Character Polish: The character team continues to polish the visuals of the characters of Novia. In Release 51 they completely replaced all of our previously purchased bears with new custom-built bears. They also created custom faces for the NPCs Demig and Athard in Demig’s Battle Camp along the Path of Courage.
As Lord British often says: “80% of the quality of a game goes in during the last 20% of the development.” We are in that final 20% right now. Be warned that this is a time of great change, but also a time of great improvement! In addition to completing the last few deliverables, the important work ahead of us is refining and tuning the feel of the game. If you are not yet “feeling it,” don’t be alarmed! It is perfectly normal that during this phase of development we are just now getting to the point that we can start delivering that feeling—so stay tuned!
For all the details, please read the entire Instructions and Updates Notes post, as well as the linked Instructions and Known Issues within the post to ensure a smooth update to your game client.
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. Be sure to check out a couple of the event calendars run by our community members.
Thank you again for your continued support. This is truly the most amazing community we have ever worked with, and we are proud to be on this journey with you!