Starr Long Confirms Player Owned Town Delays Shroud of the Avatar

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delaySimple illustration on effects of delays to a project.

Let me just say one thing, because I don’t think enough people know this. I want Shroud of the Avatar to succeed.  You read that correctly, I do. What I really wanted from Shroud of the Avatar was an awesome single player game from the days of old. That ship has sailed however and we will not get that. The MMO driver was too great, too attractive for Portalarium to ignore as a business. Do I still want something good to play from them? Yes.

More delays though. This release has included a new batch of 133 Player Owned Towns. That is correct, one hundred and thirty-three. 100+33. That is a large number of Player Towns, and certainly a lot of work went into them, right? According to a lot of the people on the Shroud of the Avatar forums, no!

“Again, it’s complete speculation on your part that PoT design and development has been at the expense of the majority of players.”

duchess pls giv me ur drugs gurl

“My point remains – PoT implementation is NOT the*main* *single* or *major* culprit when it comes to a delay of game release. End. Of. Story.”

duchess pls giv me ur drugs gurl

Duchess Wyldemane, Multiple Player Town Owner.

duchess pls giv me ur drugs gurl

Duchess there seems pretty certain about all this, I wonder if she is defending Player Towns because she owns a couple of them? Her first quotable was a bit different, where she said that PoT implementation is not the culprit at all when it comes to game release. “End. Of. Story.” Clearly she saw the error of her ways and edited the post..

Forget about the community members defending their investments, what do the actual Developers and Project Managers of Shroud of the Avatar have to say about the matter though? We have a pretty good indication now thanks to this recent write up byRed Thomas, CEO of Texas company RedKnight marketing. Red here is no stranger to Shroud of the Avatar:

“During my recent trip to Austin, Starr Long and I had a chance to have one of those bigger picture conversations about the state of Shroud of the Avatar.”

lulz pots are fucked – end of story duchess wyldfart!

“Up to this point, developers have been working with town owners to customize each instance, and that’s taking up a lot more time than anyone really expected or desired.”

lulz pots are fucked – end of story duchess wyldfart!

– Red Thomas, CEO RedKnight marketing

lulz pots are fucked – end of story duchess wyldfart!

Right, Starr has disclosed what most of the critical thinking minds already knew and wished everyone would just accept and understand: Player Towns are sucking down Development resources. Not only have they been working with the owners to customize their instances, we have to assume around 100 of them now, in conjunction with that they created and deployed the Player Town tools on top of that work. This came out of Starr’s mouth, in person no misunderstanding to an interviewer(maybe?) who visited him on premise.  The SotA Forum-norm may now accept it, acknowledge it, and live it.

One final thought here, and I’m not sure this ever clicked with me before I suppose because I could give a flying frack about housing. It appears that the reason we have this small and ill-conceived dual scale map system with the Overland map was simply to cater for house lot investment by high level backers.

“Probably the biggest lesson learned from Ultima Online was that people want to have their own housing. The second biggest lesson was that players would rapidly turn intended wilderness into trans-Britannia suburbia in rapid order…”

lulz pots are fucked – end of story duchess wyldfart!

“They solved the issue by creating instanced communities, with some of them being NPC controlled and central to game plots.”

lulz pots are fucked – end of story duchess wyldfart!

– Red Thomas, CEO RedKnight marketing

lulz pots are fucked – end of story duchess wyldfart!

Damn. Our gorgeous monoscale map was killed by housing. /sadface



Portalarium Devs Considering Severe Housing Restrictions

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Greetings travellers. In a move that surprises nobody, ever, Baron Drocis Fondlehimself posted again yet another selfish thread on the Shroud of the Avatar forum where he can read his own font and agree with himself. In the thread he claims that other people’s house designs aren’t as “immersive” and devalue his own prestigious awesome shizzle.

Though which sort of does come with a surprise is the fact that the Portalarium SotA Dev team, already seems to agree and is ready to put a system into effect which might not only allow people to not see stuff they don’t want to. Wait for it. But your house will be pooled into a ranking system which if your house ends up too low on, won’t fucking show up for anyone!

shove your raknking systems up yer arse

We did talk about degradation of placed objects to help the crafting economy but we were worried it would result in every house going undecorated. I think think there is a better solution though. In R19 we’re likely going to add a rating system for lots so we can use that on a leader board. We’re obviously going to have PVE, PVP, and crafting leader boards and adding a rating system for lot decoration would give them a leader board. You would vote by using the sign or stone in front of someone’s house.

shove your raknking systems up yer arse

Once we have some form of rating, then we could add an option for what house decorations you see, all, positively rated, or none. This wouldn’t completely hide them, it would just not show them until you got onto their lot.

shove your raknking systems up yer arse

The tiered hiding option isn’t on a schedule yet but the leader boards are. What do people think? Too harsh?

shove your raknking systems up yer arse

Also, as others have said, that is part of the advantage of a POT. If they are wanting to keep things pretty, they can always evict the guys putting pink flamingos in their front yard.

shove your raknking systems up yer arse

I’m not sure harsh is the word for it? Maybe, fucking ridiculous is the right word? This is a game system that is pretty simple, Ultima Online conquered this shit a fucking decade ago so I’m not quite sure what the hell is going through their minds? Christ, 5 seconds after this system goes live the first house is going to be griefed right out of existence, lulz!

What is with all this voting shit anyway, are we in a reality TV show or are we suppose to be playing a god damn RPG? Leader boards for housing? What’s next? Leader boards for best dressed pet? Points for most douche bags in hats in hot tubs? Awards for the person who emotes most?

Seriously guys, just fix the broken Skill & Combat systems, expand PvP, and watch players flock to you.

Bisous moi, mothabitches!


Lot Selection Process – On Your Mark, Get Set, FAIL!

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You are a Royal Founder Kickstart backer of Shroud of the Avatar. You are fucking proud, you are elite, you’re an Avatar, you helped bring Richard Garriott’s name back into… well at least the fringe of the RPG world. You love Ultima, you breathe it, eat it, bloody shit out little Ankhs, and you can’t wait to get into SotA Day 1. One of your biggest buying points into the game was a very limited number of houses being offered, you’ll have your own unique home to show off, it will be one of a kind, it will be grand it will be as special as you are for helping make this game possible by allowing the Kickstart goal to be met. To you, Portalarium has a message for you: Thanks for the cash suckers, now why don’t you go outside and play hide and go fuck yourselves!
I’m not really even kidding. We have to take a little trip up Bullshit Mountain again boys and girls, hope you’ve got your high heals ready. I’m going to keep this simple though and intentionally not going into the middle of this pile to die all at once. That being the case, we’re going to leave the Royal Founder Parting of the Account Sea miracle out of the picture. We will only talk about the process itself and taking a look at the inner money tiers, we’ll call them “Backer sub-worth” slots.
Click HERE(or image for full size) to get a simple idea of how this is all going to play out in terms of power structure:
The above graphic simply lays out what we know so far, and really, it ain’t much! We need to discuss the “Backer sub-worth” values though. Portalarium firstly classifies you in the main Backer Tier which was from the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstart. This is what you would expect and how you should really be assigned a value to SotA, from your direct contribution before the Kickstart was completed. But that isn’t all.
Next up comes the beautiful mess of what they call “Eras” – I suppose the term is technically accurate as they have tried to classify people into Kickstarts(Royal Founders) and then the fucking mess of the “Founder” and “Benefactor” Era classifications. Best left for another post.
Lastly we then have the formula applied to each and every one of our accounts, the “Backer sub-worth” formula. Lets take a closer look at this in my Citizen pledge:
I am a Citizen Royal Founder backer, that means I pledged $500 before the Kickstart ended, at least. You can see that attached to the Citizen Royal Founder tree are three further tiers, the “Backer sub-worth”, somewhere in there is where I would be. But we don’t really know where, according to Starr long those further sub-worth tiers they label us with are To Be Determined.

“There will be 3 groups, exact dollar amount will be determined closer to launch.”

– DarkStarr


Well that is just fucking great, and seems like it is very well planned out. Just to show you how well it is planned out, someone asked Starr if after the Backer sub-worth tiers are specified, could we then still put money against our accounts to jump up the tiers to jump in front of people. His response:



This is not new information my peoples. The reason we are covering this today is that we are very near to the 1 year anniversary of this information, and what more do we know? Fuck all. I’m really digging this Crowd-funding Ecosystem they’ve got here, how about you all?
In any case, not only are they assigning a value tag to your account on top of your KS Tier and their Era tier, they are going to create a mad bloody rush of donations as soon as they announce these further Backer sub-worth tiers. I can just see it now, 1 week or 2 prior to release date:

“We’ve announced Lot Process! Here it is! Hurry and donate now to make sure you get the best spot!”



For fucks sake, it has taken some time for anyone to come to the table on this stuff at all. Prince Guni has at least got the ball moving on some of this and had it raised for discussion. Naturally that discussion was locked up and we again were pretty much told, don’t call us we’ll call you.
It really burns my balls that someone can go into the add-on store right now, buy a useless fucking pet, and then get priority over me for their lot selection. They are making this as convoluted as they possibly can, and we’ve barely just scratched the surface on lot selections. All I have left to say on the matter is that this does not surprise me one bit, though frequently I ask myself a question. Do Portalarium feel shame?
Again, if you bought a house, I am sorry, feel free to cry.

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.