Wednesday night I went on a walkabout of New Britannia with Richard Garriott and Starr Long from the Portalarium team. During that time Richard and Starr showed off what was new in update 14; crafting recipes to include enchanting, a contested point, and two new areas. We also learned what Gordon Lightfoot and Jim Morrison have in common and what the SotA community had to do with that.
If you have seen any of the previous videos I’ve done with Richard and Starr it’s no secret to you that they are very focused on their community and in turn it is very supportive of. Systems in other games that can often be viewed as secondary take center stage in Shroud of the Avatar. No where is that as prevalent as it is with their housing and crafting systems. The tour started with an update from Starr about the new enhancements to crafting with this build. Now players can experiment with the materials they use to craft an item in order to come up with different finished goods. You can build two maces with the same amount of metal, but if you use different metals you will end up with a different finished product. Richard also added in that not only can you use different base materials to make the items you can use different components as well. The example he used was a sword. You can use a wooden hilt, a wire wrapped hilt, etc. Players as of this build can also enchant their weapons with fire or electrical properties. A final note on crafting is that all crafted items now display their maker’s mark, this is the crafters name in yellow under the name of the item in the stat block. If you created it now your fellow New Britannians will now know about it when they see it.
During the last two streams Richard and Starr have attempted to show off their contested zones. Unfortunately we were never able to see how the mechanic worked because the community was so excited to take part in the stream that they would always dominate the area before we arrived. Not so this time. The previous contested point involved a story of conflict with the elves. This time the conflict point involves the undead and we were the first on the scene. We were able to capture and hold the point from wave after wave of ever increasingly powerful undead. Holding this point in the adventure zone allows for players to travel past it on the overworld map. If we did not control this conflict point players would have to make their way through the zone on foot, and that may not always be possible.
Earlier I mentioned that Gordon Lightfoot and Jim Morrison had something in common. If you guessed it was that they both appeared on Avatar’s Radio and could be heard during the stream you are correct. I’ve mentioned the radio item in previous articles but what we learned last night about them was truly inspiring. The community actually came up with the idea for the radio and created the code for it and the Portalarium team worked on building it into the game. Over this radio members of the Shroud of the Avatar community will cast PvP matches and community member Amber Rain hosts Church of the Darkstarr services on Saturdays at 11am.
We also showed off two of the new zones in the game. One is a desert area that appears to be a dragon graveyard. The other is a full PvP zone that has a large chunk of moon rock that has players competing for its twisted resources. You can watch Richard one shot me while trying to invite me to his party in the video posted above along with all the rest of the walkabout. You can also hear about Richard’s collaboration with Tracy Hickman working on the prequel book for SotA which has now turned into a trilogy. The books will also be physically published now in addition to digital distribution.
Next month for episode 15 we will take another look at some of the crafting when Starr teaches me how to mount a deer head I harvested while hunting during the stream. We will also get a chance to see what SotA looks like in the new Unity release. On a related note to Tracy Hickman and the Ultima team, the original developers behind Ultima Underworld are back at it again with a Kickstarter to create Underworld Ascendant. It looks like they are going to hit their goal and you can check out their fundraiser here. Tracy will also be writing a book to correspond with the new game. That’s it for this week. Let me know what questions you have for the Portalarium team and I’ll make sure to ask them next month when we get together.