Month: January 2015

Breaking News – Joviex Permaban

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fl-hammerThe Ban Hammer of FireLotus: Molenix
It is a sad day for the Shroud of the Avatar community. Joviex, whom is a code contributor to Shroud of the Avatar’s Crowdfunding endeavour is now rumoured to have a permaban attached to his account. FireLotus swung hard Molenix onto the man who made Avatar’s Radio, radio, and has now been removed from the community.
The “reasons” for this were broken down in a few of my previous works which you can review for yourself.
Starr Long Climbs Bullshit Mountain – Bans User For Fact Checking
Joviex, Amberraine, Others Banned After Starr Long Article Fallout
A good number of you have been reading this site, and site traffic has been consistently higher recently. So I ask you, not should Joviex be permabanned, but should Joviex have been permabanned for the “reasons” he was permabanned for? You can see the screen shots at the bottom of the Bullshit Mountain post which the comments which brought this about.
Vote here:
Poll is open for one week, vote is locked by browser cookie and IP address. One vote.



Portalarium Continues Depreciating Player Owned Towns & Housing

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Abandoned_House_Stock_7_by_ekoh_stockthe future of housing in Shroud of the Avatar
Here we fucking go again kids. I swear the management of the community and communication between us and the Devs is enough to cause me PTSD. Things are suppose to be getting better, instead, Portalarium appears to have decided to not honour their dedications on Player Owned Towns and outsource their work to an Ultima Online relic, Winfield. Somehow, Winfield has managed to really put cock to ass when it comes to the Portalarium team. I bet if we look under that rock, we’ll find a Lord of the Manner pledge or something equally as predictable.
Just take a look at all of their propaganda on the Player Owned Towns taken directly from their website today. Took a screen in case they decide to try to change the text again.
housing-contactclick to enlarge
This image is that of a Player Owned Holdfast, the lowest level entry into the Player Owned Town market and will set you back just a cool $750. What you get for that, is a design session with the “Dev Team” in order to iron certain things out, like the layout of your housing, NPC buildings and locations, the story of the town and so on. A note in the fine print at the bottom, basically, don’t call us we will call you!
Well they didn’t call us, and they have wrongfully decided to start this communication off by having their unqualified high pledge favourite Winfield post this in the SotA forum:
Some of what is in there:

“I (Winfield) talked with @RichardGarriott and Starr Long ( @Darkstarr ) at PAX SOUTH in San Antonio about some ideas—I own a metropolis to be used for the PaxLair—The design team will need to make scene templates to make the process efficient for them and for us. We can help now to prepare for that design process.


“This thread is NOT a complete discussion about everything to do with Player Owned Town designs and desires. There are other threads for other parts of that discussion. This thread should be a pretty objective look at what is already designed.”

– Winfield

winfield is not qualified to do anything for sota it is fucking clear
So Winfield unzips his royal super pants and flops his big wang out there about himself and manages to stop spinning it about long enough to get out the fact that he is now taking requests to help the Devs build the Templates? If I understand? He also frames future discussions which is the scary part of this thread, “There are other threads” – that is just awesome. Keep it as confusing as you can guys, multiple threads in a sea of Shroud of the Avatar forum bullshit where nobody can ever find it.
It appears that the ground work is being laid indeed in a few other threads I wasn’t even aware of until just now when he linked them into this piece of shit. Seems like Winfield, of course who else, is running something called “all player towns gathering” – no doubt something which has gone unnoticed to many, and I’ll bet later on I’m going to see the line from some twat out there “oh you missed the random news in the random post by the random Dev? well Douchefield has been running the player town gathering which you should already know of, you must go to that.” Fuck you I do, where is my mother fucking promised “design session” with the Devs?
Also I just checked the time of the last all player towns gathering meet up… Bloody fucking Friday afternoon at 3pm. Really? Does nobody else have a job, how is that for planning! One might thing that you would just check to see, plan a head a bit, coordinate with the actual POT owners. Naw, its Winfield, OBEY. Several people do miss these events due to the inadequate planning, bad time, and lack of notification. How does Winfield make up for this? With a recorded Podcast or Google Hangout? Naw wtf man, you think Winfield needs to worry about that shit? He is so high up the food chain he no have to do shiiiiit. Just pop out a lazy screen shot is all he did. Fucking hard at work this bloke! No wonder the Scholars of Novia had such a false start the first time.
This is what happens when you hand responsibility out to beggars and bullshitters. You all out there with Player Owned Towns had better start E-Mailing Portalarium now before it is too late, they will do to you what they have already done in so many other instances before. Go get your lube and something to bite down on. As for me, all I can do is keep calling this insane lack of dedication and commitment on Portalarium’s part to the entire Shroud of the Avatar community. That is right Ports, not letting this go.
Love ya.

Starr Long’s Crowdfunding Ecosystem Fails High SotA Pledge Backers

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starr-ecosystemArtist’s rendition of SotA Crowdfunded Ecosystem
We are all familiar what has happened to NPC Companions from previous articles here, or if you follow SotA on the forum closely enough then you already know yourself. If you are new, in a nutshell Portalarium have taken this essential part of their Single Player game and have delayed work on it for the release of Episode 1.
To compound the issue the communication between the Devs and the Community is so bloody poor, I wager close to 95% of the Community has no idea how to respond back to the Devs at times. On the subject of Companions for example we already know that the Devs have tried to limit expectations so badly when it comes to fulfilling their Kickstarter Pledge promises,  all that we can hope for is to E-Mail the Devs a name for a NPC and on a first come first serve basis they will randomly allocate those names to an NPC in a random area. This is documented in another previous article HERE.
I’m not just bringing up history to make a point. The reason I talk about this gain now is the following topic on the Shroud of the Avatar Forum:
The high pledge level poster had this to ask:

“I submitted an NPC for the role of alchemist in Ardoris, and received a confirmation e-mail that said NPC had been accepted. But the only alchemist I can find in Ardoris is NOT the character I submitted. Am I missing something? Is there another alchemist?”

– Artair Geal

My question is since I have not recieved the PDF promised by Portalarium in the Kickstarter pledge tier which corresponds to the severly cut down “Name your NPC Only” reward, how can he name an Alchemist? Did he just hope there would be an Alchemist in the city of Ardoris? Did I miss an E-Mail or forum post with the PDF, an E-Mail with information detailing how many NPCs of which type were up for naming? No. I don’t think I did.
I believe the standing order is to just E-Mail names to them directly and that is that. Though, that isn’t what bugs me. Check out the following comment in the same thread.

“I didn’t even know they were taking in NPC’s yet…”

– rune_74

Rune’s ass is all over the forums, and he didn’t see it either let alone even knew about the standing order to randomly E-Mail Portalarium names. Excellent. There are many more comments in the Dev+ area in a thread a few months back about NPC naming also. Rune isn’t alone, most of Dev+ have no idea what is happening either.
So how about it Shroudies, did you know that you can send in your name choice to the Devs already? Are you happy they cut down the stretch goal to create an NPC to just naming the NPC only? Well, apparently Lum is taking forum conversations about this topic. Start one with him today about it.


Joviex, Amberraine, Others Banned After Starr Long Article Fallout

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fl-hammerThe Ban Hammer of FireLotus: Molenix
A few days ago now Gamasutra posted a video of which Starr Long explains how to take advantage of, er I mean, create an equally beneficial ecology between Developers and Community members in the new Crowdfunding world of gaming. Shortly after this Vault video was restructured, a post appeared on Shroud of the Avatar’s forum exposing a link to it and starting some discussion. Portalarium shut down that thread pretty quickly and with some extreme prejudice.
The topic was locked, and it may appear as if everyone who commented or replied with Joviex’s text in their reply as a quote may have been banned. That actually included Amberraine. Lawlz. You know there is a huge lack of brain function taking place when you start banning people like Amberraine from the forum. I’ve had my issues with Amberraine in the past due to her closeness and favouritism with the SotA Devs and community management, but seriously, how could anyone in their right mind fucking ban her from that forum! Pure comedy gold SotA, pure.
So I guess that would mean the reason it is so quiet out on the form is that Baron Drocis Fondorlatos was banned as well. That I don’t mind so much lul.
You can refer to my previous article on this for more information, but once again here is the text in which they were banned for. The reason? Telling the truth.

“so, none of my team went to his session last year, i am sure they would have asked me about his content, since they know I back it.

but from 7.00 onwards there is a level of complete bs going on.

sota forum mods are all fucking nubs

They don’t do daily standup notes, at least externally.

The q&a died a long time ago, and was community made, not by Portalarium. and died because of the wait for answers period.

The asset pack deliveries are, and have been, a self admitted failure for quite sometime, esp. before gdc next last year. 30 to 60? Try more like 260.

sota forum mods are all fucking nubs

and the actual source and bounty stuff has sat, for almost a year, with zero progress. and they have a full fledged submission system, with converter, and review setup, that has been done for nine months, written by community members.

sota forum mods are all fucking nubs

blah blah blah. …

sota forum mods are all fucking nubs

its one thing to tell some customer some salesman bs, it’s another to attempt to tell developers that same bs.

sota forum mods are all fucking nubs

sorry I just can’t stand this anymore with the crowd source aspect. they are not the first, they are not original with it, and yet keep telling everyone they are, and let the ball drop and sink into the fetid earth,”

– Joviex

sota forum mods are all fucking nubs

sota forum mods are all fucking nubs

sota forum mods are all fucking nubs

“I wasn’t going to bring that stuff up. But yeah, there’s a disconnect between what was said about some of the crowd source areas and what happens day to day. It’s worth noting that the presentation was given months ago, and I think most of what was said has been performed, it’s just the frequency that is in question.

sota forum mods are all fucking nubs

There’s a lot of “good” that is part of the SOTA development story that could’ve been more a focus of the narrative. I agree that there wasn’t a need to stretch the actual “reality” beyond what seems tasteful.”

– Baron Drocis Fondorlatos

sota forum mods are all fucking nubs
I have no fracking idea what Amber may have said in order to get her banned, still cant stop laughing about it though, maybe you can comment here Amber and let us know what god awful dev hating toxic material you spewed out which got you banned 😛

Has Portalarium Blackmailed A High Level Backer?

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So there is this post in the Shroud of the Avatar forum:
A pretty high pledge community member is attempting to sell his account. But there is a catch, due to an agreement of some kind he cannot disclose why.

“Do to reasons that I promised Starr I would not speak of here, I must back away from this amazing game.”

– Derium

I don’t fully understand the process in which an account can be moved between users, but I am pretty sure it requires direct action by Portalarium. There is a community member who has been the main point of assistance between users wishing to cash in, trim down, or otherwise upgrade their accounts but it is just an easier more “trusted” avenue as Portalarium are still required to complete it. I do know once upon a time, these requests were months behind schedule or not being carried out at all so perhaps that community member has improved that area of the transaction now.
In any case, it just feels kinda wrong. Why can’t the user say anything? Because they wouldn’t process the sale/transfer of the account if he did? Or was the blackmailed to actually leave. Might be jumping to a massive conclusion, but given past dealings and shady occurrences they are the first conclusions that comes to mind. That is bad, any way you look at it.

New Shroud of the Avatar Unlimited Forum/Community – By InsaneMembrane

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EDIT: I let the trial run its course, didn’t want to pay, didn’t like the flow of things. 


I am doing a trial of Muut at the suggestion of a poster here, go swear at me or some shit.

Starr Long Climbs Bullshit Mountain – Bans User For Fact Checking

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 The Maze – Nobody Remembers The Maze…
I tell you folks. It’s harder than it looks. It’s a long way to the top, if you wanna be king of Bullshit Mountain. Gamasutra popped a video from the GDC Vault where Starr Long was speaking about crowdfunding. Yes, it is tricky business Starr and that is why I already gave you this:
darkstarr-cupYeah, put that right back on cos you goin for a ride on a broken road baby. I’m not going to get too personal and attack everything Starr has said, though it might be possible right at the start. Example, Ultima Online isn’t the first MMOG. Does anyone remember The Maze? Sure, maybe it was the first MMORPG because Lord British happened to create the term as UO was released, but yeah sure not the first MMOG. You need ARPANET for that bro and I can lawyer you on that.
Starr got to talking about an Ecosystem in which a self sustaining entity would rise from contributions between Developers and Contributes. That is important, this is one of the large reasons I put money on the Kickstarter for Shroud of the Avatar was this promise of a relationship where things would be exposed to and driven by the community. Nothing would have made me happier than to take place and be a large part in some way of building the next Ultima. It just isn’t happening and I’m not the only one who knows this not to mention not being alone in letting others know about it for a while now too.
05:55 in the video Starr begins to talk points about this Ecosystem in crowdfunding. Right off the start on this topic I can quote him directly as saying:

05:55 “So the first one that we believe pretty strongly that’s key to any of these kinds of projects and if your attempting to build a loop is transparency, and you know a lot of people are using the term now open development. That starts with some pretty simple things like having a public and private forum, having an IRC that people can talk about the game, but we also do things like on our project we post our daily stand-up notes to our forums.”

That is sounding great. Transparency, I love it. Getting access to what the Devs are doing on a daily basis and understanding the process is even better! As Starr says, those are some pretty simple things. But the only thing they have managed to actually accomplish, after months of waiting even at the beginning of the project, is simply to have a public and private forum. So if so simple, why then is Portalarium not meeting these items in their crowdfunding Ecosystem? When it comes to Portalarium four words can sum up their entire effort: Concept Good. Delivery Bad.
Starr then continues along those lines of the scrums with some even greater faux pas, and listen it isn’t like I can sit in his chair and do any better and I hate splitting hairs like this. I’m not saying I can or ever could, but what I can see with my own eyes and report from my own experience on this project is simply that what he is saying has not actually happened yet. Well they split hairs, so I think then I can do a little bit of that as well.

06:43 “…each person goes around the room, says what they are working on. What they worked on yesterday, what they are working on today, and if they’re blocked. We post those notes directly to our forums so each day the people who’re backing the project can look on the forums, they can see where every dollar is going, every person on the team, what they are working on.”

No. Just no. Not once have I or anyone else in the Dev+ private forum actually seen where a single dollar has been spent and or allocated to the game. In fact, there are many many questions we all have on how money is actually being spent in Shroud of the Avatar. We can’t get answers though because when we quietly ask them they are ignored. When we verbosely ask them, our posts are removed. When we yell for them, we are banned. Fuck the Transparency Starr mentions in his Ecosystem, it doesn’t exist and the community might as well be talking in a vacuum for all the information we get out of Portalarium. Hold on, we’re not done yet.

07:38 “We also have a weekly Q&A with our backers so they’re able to submit questions to the forums, they’re collated, we pick a Top 5, we answer those five questions, those get posted to the forums as well. Sometimes if that information impacts something we didn’t document before we’ll in turn update the FAQ to reflect the answering of some of those questions. “

I had to roll my eyes at this too, we’ve been here before time and time again. There is no longer any Q&A with the Shroud of the Avatar Developers, it was put on the back burner a while back. I believe the main reason that this was done, believe it or not, is because it came from the community and wasn’t something they really wanted to get behind. Every week questions were posted into the forum thread, for that week, which were then collated by Mitch and basically spoon fed to the Developers. Folks, they couldn’t even manage to address them! Then when a heated discussion about the Q&A/FAQ came up, they leapt at their chance to can the entire thing. That seemed perfect for Starr’s ecosystem, the community did a weeks worth of posting and discussion on the biggest questions we had and like I said the top questions were then spoon fed to the Devs. It didn’t work though, the writing was on the wall that it wasn’t going to, and as the link above shows they shut it down as ineloquently as everything else they have where the community is involved.
About that FAQ that Starr mentioned? Documentation he sad? Where’s that? Oh in the FAQ? You mean the one that enderandrew wrote for you(google Shroud of the Avatar FAQ and open the first two links kids, one in the same)? Yes, the FAQ has been produced by ‘the community’ too though a great deal of trials and tribulation with one member, enderandrew who like many others was run out of the forum by the unprofessional moderator staff on the Shroud of the Avatar forum.  Wow, there is a lot of back-history here where I have to link stuff huh? Check the post dates, as said, nothing new.

09:05 “There is a pledge tier called Developer, and that’s at the $450 pledge level. Anyone at that level or above, cos we have people who give us more money than that, I’m humbled always, but at that level we provide you assets. We try to provide a regular delivery of that somewhere in the 30 to 60 day range, you get game assets we’re using in the game, so that can be a dungeon set, that can be decorative items, that can be flora that can be fauna, it can be creatures it can be wear-ables, weapons, basically anything and everything that we’ve built for the game we provide to the people who backed us at that level.”

There it is. The flag has been firmly planted atop bullshit mountain! These assets are posted on Dev+ forum, that is what it means: Developer pledge level Plus higher pledge level forum. They are not posted every 30 days, not every 60 days. not even every 120 days, and I am not even going to waste another 30 mins of my time tracking down when the last fucking asset release was because it isn’t worth it. I’ve already spent hours on this post and I’m 9mins through an hour long fucking video!
Look. Watch the video. It is interesting all be it at the point it was recorded, before it was recorded, and to this date it is really bullshit so take every single word with a grain of salt. Their Ecosystem is broken, we might as well all be choking on carbon monoxide right now in a runaway greenhouse effect. I want to believe something like this can work, I want to believe that it will still work for Shroud of the Avatar and that this project just doesn’t turn into a hole in the ground with a bunch of RP house decorating guys pretending to be girls douche bags marrying each other.
One last quote from Starr which comes from the SotA forum this time. The post in question was created by Myrcello, and I have to hand it both to Myrcello and Smack for trolling all this news up from the internet, placing it in a burning paper bag and dropping it into the SotA forum. Thanks to a most virtuous Whistle Blower, I have some of the history in this thread to post because what is left over there now there certainly does not reflect how the community feels about the majority of the comments. When in doubt, lock the thread, clean it up, and post:

“I just want to let everyone know that we are fully aware that we can do better at this and we are trying to (even when it may look like we are not). Some things (like the weekly Q&A) have fallen by the wayside since I first gave this talk many months ago while others have lain fallow even longer than that. I understand also how the omission of that information can be frustrating to many of you who are passionate about crowd sourcing. It was never my intention in this talk to mislead anyone about our state but I did choose to focus on the positives of the experience versus the challenges.

With that said I think when I give this talk again I will give more time to places where we can do better and where it has not worked as we had hoped.”

– Starr Long

Starr, that seems and actually feels even to me like a legitimate statement. What sours that is when you suppress those frfrustratedoices, delete their posts, correct the attitude with your comments, and then finish by banning the user(s) who posted the concerns. Come on man. You are far from unreasonable, shit you let me back in the forum after a wrongful termination once even though it led to a second and equally wrongful termination, but what gives? Where is the bloody Transparency in this Ecosystem you have been speaking about? If you want to really improve things, simply stop trying to cover up and apologize for these laggy processes, stop banning users for asking questions and speaking the truth. Start telling us what steps you are taking to correct the process, show us results and I think you’ll find that real Transparency will actually be healthy to your Ecosystem.
Speaking of the Ban Hammer… It seems that the Shroud of the Avatar user Joviex, who has created code and cooperated with another member directly submitting those assets to Shroud of the Avatar has just been banned for speaking his mind on this matter in that post, read his words for yourself:
Make sure to keep your friends on this Blog updated as to your status Joviex! I think this is pretty unfair of course!