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Shroud of the Avatar – Too Rich For My Blood

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LB Meme

 

Hello, I’m SotA-Shield-light-exsm2 AvatarAcid. SotA-Shield-light-exsm2   I’m the InsaneMembrane. The above image was created by myself and tweeted out on March 8th 2013. I had been following Richard Garriott’s UltimateRPG countdown and the information around it for some time with great anticipation. You see I am quite a large fan of the Ultima Series, and always will be, and all through my childhood I could rely on the Ultima Series to provide me with new challenges and adventures. Ultima provided a chance to bond with family and friends, enjoy a great story, and challenge my younger self to think about some of the moral issues the game presented me with through Richard’s wily ways. Then in March 2013 Ultima was coming back. One UltimateRPG to rule them all!

Back then the concept of Shroud of the Avatar was still pretty much a Single Player game with very limited Multi Player options and an allowance for dynamic content, like having the same housing and crafted items across all instances of the game. The game instances were also to be hosted on individual PCs spread across as many geographical locations as there were groups of 12-50 players, which would have greatly benefited me where I am living today due to infrastructure limitations on the internet. Having a unique and rare experience that I could enjoy myself and happily share with others also, a decent way to tackle lag due to living in the internet pits of the world, and it was a brand new Ultima successor – Couldn’t be happier! So happy that I jumped in with a Citizen pledge early on which was around ten times more than I had ever spent on any game in my life of buying games for myself. Later I upgraded to Knight and now fifteen times more than I’d ever paid, and while I know that is a big thing to me it is just a drop in the sea when compared to those of you who have spent tens of thousands.

It was good for a while, but I started to notice a few pretty boisterous personalities starting to push for things early on. Ultima Online things, MultiPlayer, and MMO things. On top of that, some of the users were putting forward further processes which outlined goals to segregate community so some could rise above others based on the price point in which they themselves elected to pay for the game. At the same time several really unsavoury personalities started to arise also both in IRC and on the Forum which carried with them more than a hint of racism as well as harassment. Some even openly so! At first these things were properly reported by myself and others. Yet nothing was done and in fact some of the people whom pushed back were on the opposite side from the SotA moderators, since yes, more than one of the Moderators were persons of interest when it came to some of the issues above like racism and harassment.

The big cratering came for me came in an incident where Owain had told moderator UltimaCodex(WtF Dragon) that he can’t have an opinion. I would bet good money nobody out there, not even some of the people involved in creating the Ultima Series, know as much about Ultima as WtF Dragon and the Ultima Codex site contributors do. I had always followed Ultima Aiera then the UC and appreciated all the work they put in to keep the Ultima Series legacy alive and well. WtF Dragon has the right to his opinion and it matters not what his status in the community is and that goes for everyone else in the community as well, yet that sentiment was not seemingly accepted or encouraged. I chimed in and told Owain he could “GTFO” if he didn’t like that someone else had an opinion.

jesus-noob-gtfo

WtF being a moderator correctly informed me that speaking like that is probably going a bit too far which told me all I needed to know, and that is that the most powerful and in your face voices had already gained a beachhead in the community. This problem wasn’t going to be solved without help, but what could I do about it? Should I speak out as AvatarAcid and have my ass handed to me with my account hanging over my head if they decided to ban me? Mind you nothing quite like that had just yet happened to my knowledge but I could still envision it taking place due to how everything was starting to shape up there, the writing was on the wall. Why should I risk my account which was now linked to a thousand dollar donation in order to deal with things that already shouldn’t have been allowed to establish prominence there?

oscar-wilde-quote

 

It soon became more. The game development was going astray, forum personalities including moderators were insulting and driving out the typically quiet and more non-aggressive people like me(usually!) to the point where even Developers fear posting, telling them they are useless and stupid, and then there is the question I still ask myself now; What is Shroud of the Avatar actually trying to be and how do I get my feedback out in an environment as confrontational and unguided as that which exists on the Shroud of the Avatar forum? Well I did exactly the same thing Richard Garriott did with the Avatar and created a schism in my personality, my own little personal Guardian!  Meet the InsaneMembrane.

im-ani

 

I decided to fight fire with fire and parody myself in the situation with positions which would otherwise be mutually exclusive with AvatarAcid’s. People wanted to argue from a point of privilege? PKs want to turn SotA away from an epic single player tale and into a giant MMO UO2 where they camp gathering sites? Moderators not calling nor taking care of obvious rotten apples? That is a job for the InsaneMembrane! Carving up pledges into Founder and Royal Founders, water lot restrictions, Player Owned Towns, unlimited instanced POTs, death of the Dev+ forum and all promises that come with, failing at combat and dumping it, Devs lowering themselves to InsaneMembrane’s level and abusing people on steam…after they ask for positive reviews to be instituted. Madness! There is much more, the one that hit home the most for me was ending the croudsource efforts before I could even get into it. I wanted to do more than just pay for this game, I wanted to HELP it succeed. I was told I could, so what happened to that sentiment and why could I now not? Well InsaneMembrane jumped in and tried to tackle these hard issues and I would like to think he, or I, or we did so not just with the self in mind, but with the rest of the community in mind also. Only InsaneMembrane could do this because InsaneMembrane was unknown and had no leg in the game, nothing to lose to try and get to the source of all these problems and perhaps get some answers. What I didn’t ever expect to happen though was that as time went on and more and more things came out of the woodwork, something else came into the spotlight… Portalarium itself.

I learned through Richard Garriott and Ultima both, you need to challenge yourself, challenge others, to push the envelope! And so I did. That said, I always try to keep to comments related to stuff taking place on the forum and other social media sites directly linked to SotA. I haven’t ever gone after anyone’s personal life or sought out information other than that unless was related to Ultima/SotA community in some way.

At first the warnings and bans to the InsaneMembrane account were cute. But it became clear at some point, probably right around the InsaneMembrane account getting perma-banned for the second time(lul) for pointing out leaks in the Dev+ forum, that I could no longer just blame the community personalities and moderators themselves. Why weren’t the mods moderating the forum properly? Who is looking after the moderators themselves? What policy does that person have and where did they even get it from? My comedy and opinion then turned towards Portalarium and the Devs. Most of whom on a personal level I think are great by the way so I was conflicted about even having to go down this path! But a spade is a spade and business is business, if InsaneMembrane was going to continue on the logical path of finding all Insanity and calling it out, he would need to address the core of these issues. If you aren’t upsetting some people, you aren’t really being brave. If everyone likes you, then you have never said anything true, anytime you speak the truth someone’s going to hate you.

This continued for some time and for the longest time I felt pretty alone in doing this. Statistics sure told me that people were reading here, but I didn’t know who they were a lot of the time or what they thought. Eventually comments started to come in though and I was certainly not alone. The Shroud Unlimited Forum was created by suggestion of a commenter to facilitate even more conversation with the Orphans of Shroud. More and more information was then exchanged and noticed by the many more eyes that were now on the SotA forum personalities and Developer team. Some of them, really, really, didn’t like it this.

Some of them really didn’t like it to the point of committing serious crimes to get at me, going above and beyond the call of duty. To the best of my knowledge on or around August 22nd 2015 someone paid to gather information about me and my family and began sending it to people that InsaneMembrane has “insulted.” I know of at least three people who have seen this information now and one of them indicated it was being “put out there to certain folks” and with the amount of people InsaneMembrane has parodied, you can bet there is more! This included everything from my name, my spouse’s name, our kids names, addresses, work places, phone numbers, passport numbers. I was away for the weekend and at first I pulled back to think, then after about a month of reflection I came to the conclusion that I would sell my Shroud of the Avatar account for whatever I could get for it.

Just to point one very simple thing out here now; some people say that I have been the most toxic asshole to have ever graced SotA’s sphere of influence, yet I have never and would never do anything like that to someone. But one of you in the Shroud of the Avatar community would and did, so ponder that one for a moment everyone and be warned when dealing with what is left of the Shroud of the Avatar “community” under Portalarium’s “guidance,” especially if you are posting on social media with your personal accounts. They came for me, they will come for you too.

Why did I wait until someone started to conduct personal harassment against my family to sell? Why did I put as much money in to community related projects by community members as I did into SotA itself? My love for Ultima and for those who love Ultima, and what Shroud of the Avatar could have become got the best of me. So much so that I felt the need to create the InsaneMembrane to defend the Honour of Ultima in only a way that InsaneMembrane could. But it had become very costly and too costly for many reasons; Too costly personally, through threats to my family. Too costly to play, everything you can think of is being added to the add-on store and I think a grand should have been enough to buy me some nice frigging clothes right? Too costly not to play, the game has been two years+ now and still being derailed by projects never intended to be included in the MMO it has now become, there really is no game(not that I know what kind of game it is or will be any more anyway). This… Is not the UltimateRPG that I dreamt of and it is too rich for my blood on every front. I could have spent thousands on this game also, but apparently I spotted things that others didn’t early on and it saved me a lot of money. I fold.

Not all the way out though, for like many, many, others I was silly enough to try and connect Steam to SotA and now I’m stuck with the $45 Adventurer Pledge. So it looks like I will still be able to jump in and test things out from time to time if I ever break a leg and get holed up for a month or something. Dumping the RF account is a big load off and I thank the community member who purchased it for almost what I paid for it. I still do hope Shroud of the Avatar will succeed but I really can’t understand or see how it possibly could live up to the UltimateRPG I dreamed Richard Garriott was going to produce. At this point I am not even sure if Richard Garriott is even going to like the end product, it is so far from what he described initially!

InsaneMembrane isn’t going anywhere for the moment. My blog will still be up, I will keep posting updates. Shroud Unlimited Forum will still be up and I will be there to provide a place for EVERYONE to come and talk candidly about Shroud of the Avatar and anything else on your mind while you’re there.

 

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Follow Up 2: Portalarium Charging Community For Access To Forums

Posted on Updated on

paywall

 

Just a short time after an event where Envy trolled the BMC guild on the Shroud of the Avatar forum, possibly with a fleet of forum alternate accounts, Portalarium return the paywall to access the Shroud of the Avatar Forum. You have to wonder about that coincidence don’t you?

  1. June 24, 2015 – Portalarium raise a paywall to post on their forum, claims it is required due to inability to protect users from spam.
  2. October 14, 2015 – It was noticed that the paywall was down.
  3. December 23rd, 2015 – paywall returns to SotA forum, 24hrs after Envy trolls BMC.

5dollafoo

 

What’s a lich gotta do to get some truth up in here?

 

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Follow Up: Portalarium Charging Community For Access To Forums

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trollbomb

Just a quick update. I am not sure when this happened, but at some point in the past it appears that Portalarium had the time to update their Forum and protect against the exploits responsible for the SPAM issues they had. I say this because it appears that the one hit PvP wonders have returned to the forum:

https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/full-pvp-full-loot-like-uo.38815/

 

hi pvp pls k thx bai

 

 

Starr Goes Beserk? – Shroud of the Avatar Dev Alt Accounts

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real_fake

I’ve long suspected a few accounts out there to be fake Dev shells. But never one I’ve written about, until now. Katrina Bekers(Beserk). Funny too, as Katrina the symbol of all things Humility was selected for the name of this fake account. A few things over the past few days and a few key words have really flared up and made this a little too obvious.

Star-Katrina-ShellGame

Shit, I’m not even surprised! Only in the fact that it was a bit easy to uncover this due to some pretty silly shit. Everyone has forum Alt accounts. Moderators aren’t allowed to post as their mod accounts, they have Alts. Carebears who wish to strengthen their agreement with how things are going have Alts. Those of us who have been banned for speaking the truth have Alts. Those who don’t see eye to eye and are afraid of being banned have Alts. I am myself an Alt, and I have Alts of Alts ffs. Alts are a thing.

Well, they were a thing. They are about to be severely cut back due to Starr’s policy of locking everyone out of the forum until they pay $5 to gain access. The people who run the show however like Startrina there, will still be free to speak as one of us, a wolf amongst the sheep, until the end. However it comes. And, we all fucking deserve it too. Who has stood up for everyone who hasn’t already backed the game? Not many.

Back to the good old Portalarium mission statement.

“Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

Portalarium Fail To Prevent Spammers – Start Charging Community For Access To Forums

Posted on

money-money-demotivational-poster-1217277207Portalarium First Aid Instructional

 

Portalarium has failed to surprise us after all. After a quick patch to their forum software they have, I think, declared defeat and will start charging the community access to the forums on June 29th 2015. Of course, it appears they have their signals crossed internally as usual and they have indicated different reasons for this.

starr-bs-pledgeforum2

Starr long has gleefully indicated that this was a community decision! Of course, because that looks like Starr’s very own ecosystem at work, and I’m sure he’ll use that in the future because of course we asked for it right? They are only giving us all what we want, the ability to pay for something now which was fucking free before! LULZ, Starrfail:

“At the request of some community members we have created a new forum that is limited to Game Owners only.

– Starr Long

starr-bs-pledgeforum

 

Meanwhile over on the .COM(link at bottom of article) Dallas shows us the true reason behind charging access to the forums:

“…recent abuse of our public forums by spammers is forcing us to remove free posting privileges.”

– Dallas Snell

I didn’t actually think they would end up doing this. If I had to have placed money on it, I would have bet against them doing it. I guess the fact that they don’t have proper professional moderation staff or clearly someone who can manage a community(comes with the abilities and technologies that the community uses to communicate)  then that is a pretty serious drawback to clear and open communication between the community members. Who would have thought? Lawl.

This, is all wrong. But predictable. Portalarium have made zero effort in the past two years at fixing the community. It is on them. We are now off the cliff, as I indicated  in 2013 was the way it was headed.

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

My next question would be, where does this money go that they will be collecting for the registrations? Into tech time and software to fix the fucking problem they are charging their own community for? Into the game itself(how, where, what)? Into Portalarium chest for hookers and blow? Should the people paying for access now not have some say in how their money gets allocated to the game, especially if they are contributing to it with their ideas and cooperation?

I get a head of myself. They can’t even manage spam, why would we all assume they had a decent plan for this $$$$ they are stealing from us, silly me!

 

References:

1. Announcement by Dallas:

https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/?p=51431

2. Steam Post by Starr

http://steamcommunity.com/app/326160/discussions/0/598199244888806944/

3. SotA Forum Discussion

https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/public-forum-posting-privileges-5-nice.32695/

4. Shroud Unlimited Forum Discussion

http://shroudunlimited.boards.net/thread/155/port-charge-forum-access-thoughts

 

 

Follow Up – Poll Results For The Joviex Permaban

Posted on

fl-hammerThe Ban Hammer of FireLotus: Molenix
FUCK THIS SHIT BITCHES
No surprise here folks, Joviex’s permaban was ruled not Virtuous by the vote of 22 to 10. I can only assume that the 10 people who voted that he should have been banned for what he said, either didn’t understand the simple poll, were personally insulted by some of the things Joviex said in the past, or just slightly slow in general.
I would like to say that these events reflect a mistake and have been taken out of context, but I can’t, Portalarium continues down the path of silencing by any means necessary in order to subdue anything which doesn’t look favourably upon their Shroud of the Avatar brand. They will hide posts, lock threads, edit both comments and post titles, and flat out ban users they do not agree with. Another example of this will be coming up in the next short while.

 

Den Of Terror Community Spotlight: Violation The Exploiter

Posted on Updated on

violationcandid photo capturing Violation in natural habitat

There has been a few interesting things to write about recently so I haven’t gotten around to this post as of yet, but at the moment I’ve got nothing better to do than scratch ma bawlz so here we are with an insiders look to Violation. We had a small introduction to some information on Violation way back when R12 went live, he was briefly named on some shameful activities documented in there. So what kinda guy is Violation, does he follow Lord British’s Virtues and set an honourable example for all to follow? LAWL, naw. He’s a self centred little twat chasing gold and money while trying to jizz his name all over everything and every one.
Don’t believe me? Well, who creates a birthday party event..just for themselves?
Violation Does:

“What: Yes, that’s right, Violation’s turning 30 years old on REDACTED and wants to give YOU presents to celebrate with him Vengeance style.”

his-own-birthday2
birthdate has been redacted for privacy
Humility
Who complains when when an AFK macroer is better than him?
Violation Does:

“…if I take on two fighters I get interrupted too frequently to be effective and I have to kyte them around like a sissy (as in, don’t hit me at all or I’ll die… omg please don’t hit me NPC). This guy can sit afk for over 5 minutes and he has over 90% hp?”

gear
Valour
Who is always talking about money, money, money, and a fan of cutting everyone out of the Dev process if they haven’t been verified to have spent the money, claiming that they are just Forum alternate accounts?
Violation Does:

“I hope more games do this in the future for others to experience but I do expect them to cut down their access so only backers can get access to the forums. I think it’s sad how many people have created accounts and made hateful posts as their first posts… people I’ve never seen in the game. I’m 99% sure those are alt accounts…”

gearHonourHonestyCompassion
The above three examples are simply appetisers my Shroudie friends. Just a few quick examples I captured when I read over the first page of his posts at the time. The forum is full of this shit. The article I linked above SotA Executive Producer Authorises Gold To High Level Backers – Pleb Chaos Ensues details the comical set of events which took place after people started wildly exploiting the Player Start Gold, it created a pretty interesting thread in the Dev+ forum. Where, of course it was also discovered that Violation was one of the bigger Exploiters of the start gold system and involved in the widespread distribution of such knowledge, possibly causing the crash of the Dev+ test. To boot, Volation was then the reciepieant of $500,000 of in-game gold on top of all that!
Let us start with a screen cap of what Violation had to say, and then we’ll break some of those quotes down. You can click all these for a bigger image by the way.
violation-gold1

“I’m really happy to see this conversation!” – Violation

No, no you’re fucking not you cock holster. It is just clearly time for you to come in and for you to make an ass hat out of yourself by trying to defend an indefensible position.

“I was just talking with them about the fear that the community wouldn’t accept the change of not getting hand outs soon…” – Violation

What? Who are you to speak for the entire community. I didn’t appoint your silly ass to talk for me, nor did anyone else for that matter. If you’ve got to come to the table and say shit like this, you had better provide names and examples, times and places. You don’t speak for the Shroud of the Avatar community. No idea how they let you talk to them like you do either, I certainly wouldn’t deal with your fanaticism if I were them.

“that said I happily asked for and recieved some gold to purchase my lot and I think it is absolutely NOT going to effect anyone in the community negatively.”

 – Violation

Bhahahahaha, mother of god you’re funny. I am sure you happily asked for a fucking handout because you are a lazy privileged dick, but just one question Violation. Would you have had to come in and post anything defending this matter at all if you weren’t called out, and it didn’t affect the community? Nope, so disproved straight away, if affected us and some people who have donated more money to the game than you were offended by it also. Yes, you don’t own that spot Violation, others contributed a lot more than you have.

“I also gave out gold to players who have earned 3x what I gave them over the last couple of months. Is this a kickstart? Yes. Would they have had it already if the pledge rewards were in? Yes. Do I feel at all like it was in poor taste? No.”

 – Violation

Well. Thanks for coming right out of the closet and showing us that you are a douche bag. Shit you said it for me with that line, I don’t really have to say much more do I. Well I will just tell you all, if he uses that flawed logic in order to blatantly and repeatedly exploit Shroud of the Avatar once, he is going to do it again. It isn’t even a question of if, only when, and I’d like to have thought at least with exploits the Devs wouldn’t have kept stroking the cocks of these mother fuckers like Violation through the structure of favouritism already established between higher pledge level players and themselves.. Wrong, they do.

“Without these lots and the ability to start decorating the sandbox/player side of the game would feel empty and undeveloped with the incoming steam players. They just increased the number of lots to help solve the overcrowding issues. Hopefully everyone realizes this is still a pre-alpha and this all will likely get wiped again fairly soon.”

 – Violation

Here we go again, speaking for the entire community without a basis on reality. Blah blah fucking blah, more excuses to keep exploiting.

“Please remember that we’re all here for the same thing: a great experience and to have fun.”

 – Violation

For that to happen, self righteous privileged dick munchers like you will need to quiet down a fair bit. Some new players, you know the ones you are sooo worried about might be a bit taken back when they log in the first time and see you handing out gold from exploitation of the game and/or from begging Devs for gold. Doesn’t send a great message.

“Cheers!”

 – Violation

Fuck you.
The fucking BALLS on this guy. There were a lot of good and decent and virtuous people posting in the same thread telling Violation he was not right on this point, since it was Dev+ I am not going to release a print of the entire thing, as the subject here is Violation the comments were kept strictly focused on that. But rest assured, I was very proud of a few members in our community for standing up to his clearly and very wrong stance on this.
I could go on for some time about this, but you know how I feel about it now so there isn’t much point. I will post the rest of his comments below and you can read for yourself. In the end, many people were upset at both what took place between Violation and the Devs, Violation’s exploitation, and Violation’s attempts at defending himself, the thread itself in Dev+ actually had to be locked. Job well done eh?
violation-gold2violation-gold3
Well, it is time for desert! I have something special for you all, gots a video of this also just to re-enforce what a tragic camel toe Violation is.
The example I have here is a raw and pure example of how privileged Violation thinks he actually is, the fucking hubris here is astounding. I have to thank Lord British for not just trying to smooth shit over by going along with it, and for continuing on as he had intended to do!
Video: Shroud of the Avatar Cyber Monday 12-Hour Telethon of the Avatar
Video Direct Link: 
Video Quote: “There are a couple of dukes, I’m assuming you are referring to me?” – Violation
Take a look really on any community hangout and you’ll find examples just like that. If not that, then you’ll always and I mean always find him moving around on his camera, laughing about, taking focus away from the Devs, LB himself, anyone who is talking. Have some respect for others Violation, they deserve it.
OUT.