Shroud of the Avatar – Dev Chats

Shroud of the Avatar R23 – Unlimited Player Owned Towns

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Shroud of the Avatar Devs, including Richard Garriott, on the R23 dev chat have confirmed a lot of player’s fears for quite some time: POTs are going to be unlimited.

Unlimited POTs = Unlimited Housing = Destruction of Early Backer Investment

Your housing values just tanked my friends, along with mine. Enjoy it.

FireLotus: Sara Dragyon would like to know how many more player towns are are planned to be sold?

Starr: Well, uh, as many of you know we, dre-, uh, drew a line and stopped selling Player Owned Towns that have direct access, uh, to the over-world. Uh, and, because of that decision we currently don’t, uh, see a particular need to limit sales of those because, uh, they won’t be cluttering(muffled) up the over-world. Uh, and speaking of which, uh, Novians are starting to notice that, uh, and, uh, they’re not too happy about it…–

Something tells me it isn’t just Novians that will be having an issue with this.



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 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!

SotA Executive Producer Authorises Gold To High Level Backers – Pleb Chaos Ensues

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19940qlkikiekjpgStarr Long’s (aka Darkstarr) Vault

R12 Dev+ testing opened earlier this week and it was having some issues. You would expect that serious bugs in gameplay took prevented players from playing properly right? No fuckwit, haven’t you been paying attention to what I say here? Could it have been greedy fucking asshole players like Duke Violation? Yes, of course so! It turns out that the Dev+ players got so upset about not having their pledge rewards, they figured out that if you log in, give cash to a friend, log out re-create a character and log back in, you have a fresh $500 gold pile to play with. This in turn created such an unexpected load on the Shroud of the Avatar login servers, it prompted the Devs to take the game offline.
This is kind of comical what follows next. To try and stem the influx of login attempts from players smashing the exploit new characters for gold, some of the Devs logged in and started handing out massive wads of cash, lawl! That too went down about as good as a balloon filled with shit as you can imagine. Oh Insane, you’re over reacting, you are being a spoilt little bitch because you didn’t get any money too! Well, no not really. Duke Volation received 500,000 in gold coins. Yes boys and girls, I got the number of zeros right on that figure. But it is ok! It is fair because it is pre-alpha according to Duke Violation, and since none of this is permanent it doesn’t even really matter.
That is wrong Violation, you handing out fucking cash like welfare was popular, you are pulling people into your guild with that cash. Winning friends and influencing nubs. Don’t be a pathetic little bitch Violation, you know what you are getting out of this. Again, Duke Violation’s main reason for requesting the money is simply that in this pre-alpha, he is warrioring for people who are fucking pissed off because in the pre-alpha they don’t have access to their pledge rewards, mainly lot deeds and shit. Seriously, we have some Lord Marshals hating on Lords of the Manners and everyone who didn’t get cash hating on Darkstarr right now!


You can all hate on me as much as you want due to how I go about some things, but you know what, I was on the bandwagon against this long before it ever came to this. I was riding shotgun up there trying different methods of exposing these types of attitudes and individuals in different ways, hoping that it would matter and things would get changed. Instead I got perma-banned, twice 😛
Let us go all the way back to May, 2013! Read this forum post on the SotA forum HERE:
Also I would like you all to know, that someone in the SotA staff keep a pretty close eye on this blog. There seems to be a trend of them locking threads I reference from here, LOLZ! They locked the above thread I think sometime after I posted around 28th of August 2014 😛  Glad to have influential readers!
In any case, here are some quotes from my thread!

“Personally I do think that the classification of any person or persons into any category at all for any reason is shameful. Let alone based on the contribution in which they could afford during a KS campaign, or whatever other idiotic thing is going to pop-up in the future.”

– InsaneMembrane – March, 2013

fuck you violation

“It sounds like we are going to have a bit of a segregation issue. Kickstarters, non-KS backers, and non-bakers it has started already to boil down into. This is quite a bit of a shame, and the reason is that just as I am being excited for the first time about a game like this, the community(people in this forum) are making the continued excitement difficult. I can imagine that if I feel this strife, others can also and that is only going to spread if not checked.”

– InsaneMembrane – March, 2013

fuck you violation

“It is a difficult subject, but I feel that everyone should feel like they should be included. Not only now but for the duration of SotA in the future. The direction we are currently headed however, looks like it is off the edge of a cliff!”

– InsaneMembrane – March, 2013

fuck you violation

“In conclusion to the above, sharing experiences with other players in a guild setting is perfectly fine. However, I think that every player should be treated as an equal individual in the game weather in a guild or not, or having donated via KS / donated at all.”

– InsaneMembrane – March, 2013

fuck you violation

“Basically I think what I am trying to say is this: I seem to now be willing to try and play a different play style with SotA. What have you done to me Richard Garriott!!! However, I wouldn?t go anywhere near SotA with THAT play style if it turns into a combination of an Oligarchical Lord of the Flies. Not at all. If it turns out that SotA is Lord of the Flies with Houses, then what needs to happen is the ability or me to PK everyone and create my own balance!”

– InsaneMembrane – March, 2013

fuck you violation

Guys, this was well over a year ago I posted these comments. Not only has the attitude continued unchecked by the people responsible for the community and development of the game, it has gotten way worse. In this case, I actually do feel a bit sorry for the Devs again. They should be trying to manage the game issues and project timelines, instead now they have to worry about all the raging greedy fat choads out there like Duke Violation who might just turn into large community areas of dissent if they don’t get what they feel they should be getting when they feel they should have it. What can they do when it has come so far down this road really?
That being said, I feel a bit worried and uneasy about how close some of these inbreed groups are to the Devs. Friendships are fine, but when friendships start turning into in-game advantage that is very not fine mofos. Taking and taking and taking at the same time you are benefiting from it, denying it has any effect at all, is just plain Privilege. Something you shouldn’t have ever had a taste of Violation, but something tells me that you are use to it.
The thread was locked up later on when some very high level backers started to voice their discomfort about what was going on. I respect them so much for this, and thank them for their voice. At this point that voice has not been deleted from the Dev+ forum and Dev+ members are still able to read it. But I will warn Portalarium, if you delete those posts, I’ll be their faithful proxy as always.
There is more to the story, especially since the discussion was picked up in non-dev forum by Bubonic. It too was locked up. Shame, seems as if Suppression of the Avatar continues at full pace.
Where is my fucking joint.



Splitting Hairs And Breaking Promises – Don’t Laywer Them Bro

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Well, I believe it is time for me to address an elephant in the room. Are you lubed up Starr? Don’t worry bro, I jest! Sort of.
In the past two months a startling number of revelations have slowly and quietly been released about Shroud of the Avatar. Kind of like a test fart, just let it out slowly, quietly, then take a big wiff and see if it will melt the paint off the walls and if anyone else smells it. Well, this smells like fucking shit guys. I’m talking to you Devs.
Up until this point, I’ve pretty much given them a pass on a lot of things and focused on the community members and dick moderators which really turn the community sour for a lot of people. I think the reason was that I believed that at least in the end they wanted to produce a decent product with the limited resources they have. When that is the case they can easily be forgiven for minor annoyances and complaints like graphics quality, keyboard commands, chat systems, overland map bullshit, you know the shit real fucking gamers don’t actually care about because they are too busy playing a decent game.
So, some of the more interesting things have recently been nerfed. Nerfed from original Kickstarter goals at that, and I’m unhappy with them for this. What things, you ask of Insane, and Membrane answers:
  • Unable to meet promise of Unity asset packs.
  • Redefined the Developer level KS goal of Creating an NPC, due to resourcing issues on the project.
  • Introduction of the Row Houses.
These significantly de-value the investment many have made into the game, and even if that wasn’t the case the removal of the Unity packs and customized NPC is a pretty obvious slap in the face on top of that for those of us who wished to contribute in the project in some way.
So basically, they have made a promise to you that if you give them money you can help build their game for them. Seems like a win-win, they get cash and you help with the tedious crowd shit right? I guess not, they can’t even seem to manage a simple thing like data collection and entry for the NPC stuff. Christ guys, give me a fucking notepad program, a web server and some JSON and I can solve that problem for you inside of 30 mins.
On top of this, the first time that they directly changed something from the Kickstarter campaign, they were caught changing the original text around the goal. That, was a fucking dick head move guys, all us out there and you think that would go unnoticed? Now, they are just splitting hairs and re-defining what is already there. I will give you an example.
The Developer Pledge description from Kickstarter:



Want to be a part of the Development process? This is the level for you! Gain access to the private Developer Chat/Forums and help participate in guiding the game (estimated Developer Chat/Forums access in April 2013). You also get to help create a character in the game as well as name them. When everything’s said and done, we’ll put together a PDF document of various concepts and design documents.



Notice, it was said we could help create AND name a character. Here is the definition of create:

To cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.

What has Portalarium said on the topic? We won’t get to create a NPC in Shroud of the Avatar, we will only get prompted when a new area becomes “available” and submit names for NPCs en masse AND first come first serve basis! LUL!! We might as well bend right over and let them go to town on us guys. Can’t design the look of the NPC, what it wears, what it says, how to interact with it. Nope, just mail them some names and hope you get lucky.
What did they have to say about all this? Sorry? Not a fucking chance you nub, lulz. They claimed that the text in the Developer description didn’t include “NPC dialogue” and that it isn’t “feasible” as a backer reward. Now, I can’t and locate where it expands on this NPC stuff, but I know for a fact they were going to send us forums to fill out and hand back to them, they did originally plan to do this for us. Just like they did plan on working on the Unity asset packs.
I wonder how many more hairs will be split in the Kickstarter pledge descriptions by the end of this project?


Shroud of the Avatar Devs Give Shoutout to Racist Member

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So, I was wondering about this… The_Hairy_Man has proven to be quite the little racist in the SotA chat channel. If you forget, you can review his racist remarks here:

I was pretty surprised when in this week’s Pen of the Avatar was presented by Stephen and FireLotus and they gave a shout out to The_Hairy_Man. Stephen is a very talented artist and we should all be so lucky to have his imprint on Shroud of the Avatar. From his personality I can tell that there doesn’t seem to be a mean bone in his body, I almost think him a buddhist monk!

I can assume Stephen has no idea about Hairy Man’s past transgressions, so all is forgiven… But FireLotus! Are you sleeping on the job? I know you’ve read Hairy Man’s racist remarks in chat, and I’m quite surprised because not only has he kept continuing his racist remarks seemingly without intervention, you guys then feature his work in a Dev chat…

A quick search in the SotA chat channel log over the past three days for his handle reveals that easily, and big fucking surprise darkblade has to shove his fist into it as well:

<+The_Hairy_Man> yeah like say there is a coder or something and some guy in china gets his english just as good  and can talk on skype and works for $40 a day

<+The_Hairy_Man> from what i understand right now alot of companys dont use them coz their lack of skill and comunication but that will get better ovre time

<+The_Hairy_Man> will be no IT work in developed countrys 

<+ipkeez> again we go with the internet assumptions….

<+ipkeez> what in the hells make this guy think that IT in developed countries will cease to exist?

<+The_Hairy_Man> coz how low people in china and india will work for

<%Darkblade> depends on the company really

<+ipkeez> nah

<%Darkblade> most of them are not doing themselves any favors

<+ipkeez> this is so not true, depends on the business and what is the level of work

Seems that Hairy man is just as racist as ever and obviously darkblade doesn’t know when to shut his bloody mouth. Not a great showing for SotA as a whole guys, very piss poor!

Oh and Hairy Man, you may wish to change some things up a bit rather than just use assets off



Dev Chat on Conversation System today

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14 June – @RichardGarriott will be leading chat at 1PM CDT, tune into the #sota channel on IRC( for more.