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Lord British returns to his fantasy RPG roots with Shroud of the Avatar, hearkening back to his innovative early work.
Lord British returns to his fantasy RPG roots with Shroud of the Avatar, hearkening back to his innovative early work.
22,322 backers pledged $1,919,275 to help bring this project to life.

Shroud of the Avatar - Selective-Multi-Player Means Multiple Ways to Play!

Posted by Portalarium, Inc. (Creator)

Today's update is brought to you by Chris Spears, Tech Director for Shroud of the Avatar.

Shroud of the Avatar has an innovative Selective-Multi-player system, which allows players to select the play experience they want; from a completely offline solo player mode, through a solo player online mode where you can view and contribute to the persistent world, multi-player online modes where you can select whom you explore the game with. We think this lets people play the game in a way that can feel very much like a traditional MMO, or solo player as they desire.

Here are the ways we anticipate the game can be played:

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.


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    1. Craig Scofield on

      @benjamin sweetnam I hope so, for I am also from Australia

    2. Missing avatar

      William on

      So if a character is evil and loves to pk everyone, will the computer only hook that toon up with other pkers, or will it set it up so that anyone and everyone in the area is available to try to pk?

    3. Martin Nicolas on

      I wonder if the rent free Houses received by Kickstarter pledges will be tradeable/transferable to another player/account and/or will preserve the rent free status? Haven't seen that question asked nor answered yet.
      @joseph thomas moore, I share your doubts.

    4. Missing avatar

      Matthew Pinkston on

      How do you intend to combat cheating, such as simple memory hacks or even packet spoofing, if much of the code is pushed off to the clients? If you're doing any checks and balances on the server it seems like you would need the same amount of bandwidth and processing as if you just processed it on the server to begin with. FYI, I fully intend to stress test this aspect during alpha and beta :).

      I don't think you understand the model. As presented, I'm convinced it will foster a large online community...Hell, they're even shooting for the stars with an attempt at a single world. I'm not holding my breath on that, but I suppose there are ways they could split the load--it's just never successfully been done to my knowledge. Having an offline mode fosters more business for them they may have otherwise not seen; some of those players may even be drug into the online realm after they get a taste.

    5. Adam Chaney on

      Very Very cool indeed. This really needs to be the model for all games. Here's looking at your EA/maxis!
      Note to maxis, it's never a good idea to bold face lie to your customers. Richard, never, ever do this.

    6. Missing avatar

      MBybee on

      Totally jazzed! This seems like the perfect balance for people like me - I hate the crowds of the classic theme park MMO, and playing completely offline is so boring.

      Awesome news!

    7. Missing avatar

      joseph thomas moore on

      This update is such a let down. Honestly the reason most have pledged towards this project. Is simply because for all these years they have been chasing the next UO. Seems like to invest time and money into this is a total waste. As it just takes away from the game itself. You need a active online member base to make any true multiplayer game work. Why spend money to develop your own down fall.

    8. Missing avatar

      Rayne on

      Great update, but this brings up plenty of questions.

      What if you're in friends mode, but a friend is in open play? Will you see him talking to invisible friends, or will he not be available to you?

      Since this is peer to peer based with some validation, what happens if you are in battle with another player and he shuts down the computer? I assume this could be exploited.

    9. Missing avatar

      Commander Regel on

      Like some of the other comments below, I'd be very interested in knowing if each hex is a self contained space, or if the player will be able to wander from across tiles without needing to zoom out the the large map.

      Because if that's possible, it would satisfy all the players who want to play with a single map (even if it means spending a lot of time in "uninteresting" areas.

    10. Himpo on

      This makes me happy, I can explore the world all alone and don't have to see other ppls stupid houses or faces! ;)

    11. Missing avatar

      Godewijn on

      LOVE to hear that we can enter any tile on the world map, makes a huge difference to me. I am the biggest fan of Ultima V and while I loved that game to death (Also played IV, VI, VII both parts, VIII, UO and Underworld) I kindly liked Ultima VI and higher 1-map-1-size style as well. This game has so much potential with this system... I hope it will be possible to cross tiles while on the 'entered' tiles, that way world map travel could be optional used as fast travel, that would be sweet! I don't mind loading screens but maybe you could rig it so that the game exits to overland, moves a tile to the direction we're exiting the current tile, and enter that tile. If that can be hidden behind a loading screen I will be REALLY happy (no loading screen would be fine as well, honestly it would be slightly cooler even).

    12. Grayhawk on

      To stay around somewhere and meet people by chance, making some jokes and then starting a conversation, often has been the beginning of a friendship for me in UO and other games. I'm afraid the chance to experience something of the kind will be serverly reduced in OPO because of meeting only people the server is thinking I should meet.

    13. Andrew on

      Nice shirt Chris

    14. William C Crawford on

      This sounds like a good start, but I hope you have other anti-griefing measures planned.

    15. Pete Kastner on

      If you are in fpo but one of your friends is in opo. Would it get weird like he is interacting with invisabe things.
      Can you move from tile to tile while zoomed?

    16. Missing avatar

      Josh Solomon on

      Awesome update!! I think that the 3 online modes are a great innovation on the idea of an MMO. The one thing I'm really interested in now is PvP in OPO. On one hand, you would think that you could do fairly open pvp, since players could always go to FPO to escape grieving. BUT I fear that this would turn OPO into a huge gankfest where people just go to fight.

      So I still think there should be some kind of PvP limiting, but it should be at least relatively open.

    17. Kristian Mattila on

      This campaign started out quite far from what it could have been, with not a whole lot going for it apart from RG's mug. The last couple updates, however, are clearly making the project much more appealing.

      I'm cautiously optimistic at this point.

    18. benjamin sweetnam on

      is there enough call for an australian hosted server ?

    19. Missing avatar

      Robert Silesius on

      FPO is the one for me, thank you!

    20. jorlinn on Linux on

      Please provide both a server and a client and enable Internet-less LAN play.

    21. Missing avatar

      Duncan Wallace on

      Griefers could be easily removed with an adaption of your 'friends multiplayer' mode. If you /ignore someone, you no longer see them in PVP even. Very soon griefers would have on-one to grief. Players would effectively ban them.

    22. light487 - Kickstarter Junkie on

      A different character for OPO to SPO/FPO..?? Pfft..

      No, no, no, no.. NO! :)

      You remember with other games and PvP.. you are kind of "flagged" as having engaged in PvP recently and so you are seen as a PvP'er by the game for a period of time.. let's just say, for example, 30 minutes. So for that 30 minutes of "online" time, you can not scaled DOWN to another online-mode.. so if you were in FPO, you could not scale down to SPO.. if you were in OPO, you could not scale down to FPO or SPO. For that full 30 minutes, you would be stuck in whatever the mode you were in. If you had been online for 5 minutes after initiating PvP and decide to logout of the game, the timer STOPS.. and then resumes when you login again and you still have another 25 minutes of "cooldown" to go.. this would prevent people ganking and then logging out to avoid the cooldown etc.

      I think this would be a much better way of handling that..

    23. Paul Carr on

      Fine... post my message without me pressing enter...

      Anyway, to finish the last post... But doesn't mean having a chat in the tavern with however is around between quests isn't a good thing.

    24. Paul Carr on

      Nice update. This will clear up a lot for people. I had only expected the Single Player Offline and OPO options. The other two should make people happy.

      I think I'll be playing the game single-player in OPO mode. I want to see a world full of life, but I'm mostly a solo gamer. I'll probably team up occasionally though. But doesn't

    25. Torben S. on

      +1 for offline LAN

    26. Missing avatar

      Brady Martin on

      A question on the on the two different map modes again. In the zoomed in mode will you be able to go from one hex to the next? Or will you always have to go back to the large scale map?

    27. Peter Jacob on

      Very nice. Now, if more MMOs had similar options, I might actually play the things.

    28. Missing avatar

      Martin Svensson on

      Please don't let a boar drop a sword or armor, and make the best weapons/armors craftable.

    29. Missing avatar

      Kayla on

      What might be interesting is if you use the questionnaire style of ultima IV's beginning in order to match the OPO players. Kind of a matchmaking list. You'd see friends, friends of friends, and whoever was "compatible" based on level and how you answered questions... Like wanting more group play, or role playing, or PK, or loners, etc

    30. Missing avatar

      KTown on

      I think it's important that reward/gear not be exclusive to type of play - i.e. i should be able achieve similar things regardless of style of play. you might brand that really sweet sword differently if it was achieved in a massive raid vs. an uber difficult SPO quest but one should be able to get equivalent stated gear regardless of play type.

    31. Missing avatar

      Derek Arsenault on

      Please elaborate note on the OBO type...out doesn't sound good to me...what do you mean "relevant players"? Also what exactly do you mean when you say that players will be connected to eachother Rather than over the server? I think most will want to play OBO mode but it's not clear on way and what you are doing in your writeup.

    32. rexbinary on

      That all sounds very confusing. Seems I'm going to have to invest time in just understanding which of four modes I should be playing. Surely there is a more elegant solution then this?

      Is this game trying to be UO, a numeral Ultima game as we were originally told, or all things to everyone? Sounds like the latter to me now.

    33. Oscar Carl Harry Taylor on

      Thank you for making it clear that we can go down into any tile and not just specific towns or events.

    34. Bruno Pedroza on

      Good question Ben. I have another one, people who are playing on SPO and FPO will be allowed to play in OPO with the same character? It seems like a YES for what I heard, but Im bringing it up just to think about how this will affect the PK and APK system again. So a player will go to OPO to gank but when he wants to gather and work he goes back to SPO or FPO, which leaves nothing for OPO. I think that a different character for OPO is the best way to go.

    35. Ben Taylor

      If every tile on the Dual Scale Map is a place you can enter, would it be possible to do enough exploring that you end up in different tiles when you come back out to the main map? Or will every tile have some sort of artificial border when you're exploring it?

    36. Missing avatar

      Chris Peacock on

      OPO I hope this doesn't mess up any open PvP.

    37. Lord Gugu on

      "In OPO players will see everyone that the server think they should see.. based on what we believe is their relevance to you"

      This could be interesting.. Would it eliminate random acts of PK-ing?

    38. Bruno Pedroza on

      Well, that sounds good so far, but leave me with a question that have been on our minds since the announcement of the game.
      I'm one of those who will be always on OPO, but as we all know most of people here have played UO and even this game being a different one, we expect some similar kind of Joy playing it! The question is, if the server are selecting people that its part of my friend list or related to my interests somehow, does that mean that it will never pick players that might be MEAN to me? So the PK vs APK thing, one of the most exciting systems ever created by L.B. wont exist in a open way?
      We watched the video chat between Lord British and MarkeeDragon and we could notice that even people who plays with workers enjoy the feeling of being in danger, and also enjoy thinking about ways to outsmart PKs to avoid encounters around the map, but the like feeling to know that they are around, that they must open their eyes.
      Well this is one example of the many ways that we can enjoy the PK vs APK system. So if the multiplayer means multiple ways to play and you will have everything setup already, any chances to have a OPO option where you dont go play only with people that are related to you? I also care about meeting new people online.

    39. Gordon Pytlik on

      'Offline' LAN play is something I would also be interested in. Company servers may work great now, but sooner or later they will have to be shut down. Sometimes I like being able to take out my old games even 5 or 10 years later to play. I even still have a sealed box of Ultima Online (they were on sale and I bought 3.) =) Also, not everyone has a high-speed internet connection but high-speed LAN capability is almost universal.

      @Connor: I would expect LAN play to have the same limitations as off-line play (ie: the characters couldn't be used in on-line play).

    40. Travis King on

      Where are my player enemies to fight?

    41. Federico on

      Even for people like me, who don't enjoy roleplaying online much, the SPO and maybe FPO are very interesting options, thanks!

    42. Eric on

      So this is roughly the same model that Elite: Dangerous will use? Or are there any differences?

    43. Connor "The Lazy Geek" on

      I have to wonder about LAN play, or using the terminology, Friends Play Offline. Would it be that big of a deal to work on or could it be done quickly and simply in tangent with SPO or FPO?

      Either way, this is still great news and a great update!

    44. ☆Mitch the Edelmann☆ ☥Virtuous MGT470☥ on

      @Joshua: I'm not sure what you mean...WoW has HUNDREDS of "unsigned" private servers completely separate from Blizzard, WoW will never die with those private servers emulating TLK or Cata or Pandacrapia.

      Other than technical server requirements there is nothing stopping someone from emulating a WoW server on their home computer and inviting their friends to play. If SotA ends up being as popular as I truly hope it does I'm sure you'll see that private functionality come alive before the game dies out (which is hopefully won't)

    45. Andrew Darovich on

      Sounds good to me. I only ever played UO with friends, or alone, anyway.


    46. Missing avatar

      Johnny5000 on

      Will there be Offline LAN-based Multiplayer?

    47. Missing avatar

      Coldman on

      Clarification of the map was a relief! Also love the direction of multiplayer. As a roleplayer myself, the ability to populate the world in OPO with roleplaying guilds and societies would really capture everything that was great about roleplaying in Ultima Online. Excited.

    48. Missing avatar


      Oh thanks Kirby for answer ! ;) I can't saw the video so that explain my interrogation.
      This is an interesting way to play !

    49. Zachary Carter on

      So OPO is going to be empty and everyone will be playing SPO or FPO.

    50. Joshua Dix on

      /Please/ support the creation of signed and unsigned private servers. The traditional model of "once our central server is shut down, you cannot play (with your friends)" is bankrupt. Games like Minecraft and (original) Neverwinter represent a future that games like WoW can never have -- a lesson I am absolutely certain was well-learned with Tabula Rasa.

      I believe a security solution exists for the challenges this will create. I am not myself an expert; I wish I were, as I would happily yield it. But I think that erring on the side of open, perpetuating worlds like Minecraft is greater than erring on the side of security and creating a closed and doomed world.