Thursday, July 14, 2016

Shroud of the Avatar One Step Closer to Leaving Early Access

Where's the Dragonborn when you need him?

Portalarium have notified the backers of Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues (Richard "Lord British" Garriott's MMORPG that has been under development for the past 3 years) to ensure they've linked their Kickstarter Account to the official webpage so that backers can receive their rewards. This is because for Release 32 which is coming out on 28 July 2016, there's going to be a "final wipe of persistent player data" but "not social data such as friends and guilds". Portalarium says they'll "no longer be wiping the game state" from Release 32 onwards so character and properties should be persistent from the 28 July onwards. To me, this suggests the game is reaching a critical milestone in terms of development since they feel the game is stable enough for players to keep their progress from now on.

I don't usually like playing Early Access/Beta/Alpha games since unpolished, buggy games tend to annoy me, but I've been known to make the odd exception. While the game has gradually been receiving worse reviews as time passes on (currently rated as "Mostly Negative" on Steam with 37% of the recent 29 reviews rating the game positively and a "Mixed" rating overall with 64% of the 781 user reviews rating the game positively) I haven't given the game a proper go yet and I am a fan of Richard Garriott's previous works. I'm also a fan of the writer Tracy Hickman; back when I was much younger, I dabbled a bit with an online collaborative fiction project of his called Starshield (which sounded like a really good idea at the time) but alas, it never really amounted to anything substantial.

Also in response to the poor reviews currently on Steam, a couple of users on the Whirlpool forums provided a more balanced outlook on the game.

One user commented that the game might be a bit overwhelming for new players but conceded this was also the case with Ultima Online. He also found the game, in its current state, to have a steep difficulty curve but ultimately found the game to be "fun and engaging".

"I would recommend giving this a go, especially if you're a backer, and also if you're a fan of Richard Garriott's previous games ... namely Ultima Online." – Inferno89

Another user was impressed by how much detail went into the housing and how professions related to crafting items for houses (e.g. furniture) could potentially earn quite a bit of money. He also found the quality of the quests rather good. He does believe most of the bugs the development team are encountering stem from their use of the Unity engine and its limitations but ultimately thinks that

"Overall, it does get a bad wrap but I personally believe the game will be a neat little gem" – HK-47

Anyway, seems like it might be time for me to actually give the game a shot and see what all the fuss is about :).

LINK:
[ Kickstarter: Shroud of the Avatar Update #75 ]

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