Hello, I’m AvatarAcid. 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.
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?
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.
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.
There is a thread. It is an interesting one…
Since I well expect this to be modified once I point it out, I have vaulted a copy of the thread here: VAULT
I would just like to point out what is surprisingly allowed on the SotA forums these days.
“We open the examples with none other than Small Cock Sillyvan himself to kick us off:
I will sell you my daughter for 3 cows and 10000 gold. “
High Baron O`Sullivan
Really hope you don’t have kids, big guy.
Followed by a less than creative example by this guy who just drops a zero, but adds a sick little quib:
“I will sell you @High Baron O`Sullivan’s daughter for 3 cows and 1000 gold.
slightly used. like new. upgraded skillset. been told, twice.”
Slightly used? Like new? Skillset? You’re a fucking pig.
Another jab at woman kind here by this winner:
“She’s got huuuuuuuuuge….. …. … tracts of land”
And finally, probably the worst one:
“I’ll see his offer, and ill trade you a @margaritte for just one extra cow… and possibly a bucket of fish. “
That is pretty disgusting…
That last one is interesting. Since a user by the name of wrathphoenix just joined the Shroud Unlimited community forums. Maybe you’ll care to come over and have a chat with us at some point?
So yeah, there was at least one voice of reason here so far:
“Stop trading OR joking about woman being traded as livestock and/or for livestock… “
I couldn’t agree more. This was also liked by Kara Brae at the time of the backup copy was taken.
People have literally been banned for far less than these comments. Posts and entire threads fucking wiped out, yet here you have this one with a bunch of dudes going on and on about women in this manner. A post about feminism was quickly wiped off the forum, but this stands.
I am not even going to try and guess what failings of Portalarium and unprofessional bias bullshit goes through moderators minds in an effort to explain how this shit gets left up so long. I don’t generally like to tell people to stay away from something and try to encourage people to get all the information around facts and decide for themselves… The constant influx in that SotA forum run by Portalarium of mindless prejudice really does make me think twice about that!
So think about the comments above when you engage that community, what kind of people they really are.
A hand tool with one side of its head forged and sharpened to a cutting edge, used for felling trees, splitting timber, etc See also hatchet.
We all know that an axe can cut deep because it is primarily a cutting and slicing tool. Well, if you are a new guy and you think you are entittled to an opinion over on the Shroud of the Avatar Forum… The sycophants there cut and slice deeper than any axe my friends.
We were all new once. We all made our first post on every single forum we started on, not one of us started with a reputation or history on any forum. However, that doesn’t matter to the fat fucks who already have axed out their place of infamy on the Shroud of the Avatar forum, apparently if you’re new, you’re just a maggot not worthy of their time.
Since he’s only got 9 posts I figured what the hell.. maybe there’s some clue as to what’s in his head..
– Bowen Bloodgood
Yup Blowen there makes a great point with his post. That point is that Blowen is a fucking idiot, good job. Then, is anyone totally and utterly over the entire form sikophant carebear army coming up with this as a reply to every single concern every person ever has?
“the criticism seems a little nonconstructive for a game in pre-alpha state. If you’re leaving, I urge you to check it out again during release and at least give it a shot in it’s polished state.”
Get a clue SotA forum. Learn how to make a point and not to pass the buck over onto the Devs for it being in Alpha. What are you going to do when it is in Beta and it still isn’t a game? When Episode 1 is released and it still doesn’t have all the nice features like Stealing & Poisoning? What are you going to do when the Devs tell you that they need more Kickstarter juice for Episodes 2, 3, 4, and 5 after some of you have already paid for them, and they undercut your rares and rewards from the first Kickstarter?
Are you all going to fucking wait until Episode 5 comes out, at this rate 2026, and then judge it as a whole? FFS you are ruining the game you nubs, you don’t just sit there and let a piece of shit smell on your carpet and think to yourself “oh its alright, it will decay in time, it is just pre-alpha shit?” No, you get a fucking towel and clean the shit up. So to everyone out there, when you see something wrong, FUCKING SAY IT. Don’t let the Den of Terror chase you away.
If I ask you what a forum is, you will probably come back and tell me that it is a place where you can go, create an account, and have a disucssion about the subject at hand. You would for the most part be correct for the most part:
Why and how then after all this time, numerous complaints and outcries from the community, do Portalarium still not understand this simple concept? It isn’t a new word added to the English language in the past five years or anything but that clearly doesn’t have much of an impact on the novice moderation staff over there on the Shroud of the Avatar
Forum Place of Positive Feedback.
Have a look at this here thread which was just locked by Koldar the Shitstorm:
This was another topic started about the overland map. It is to be expected players don’t exactly expect to see this, ahem feature, in games today. As one might expect, conversations usually branch out from the central topic. They have to, fucking context and background is everything. Unless you’re a fucking idiot moderator on the SotA “forum” because they see the branching of a topic and multiple discussion points as great opportunities to lock the thread down.
“Seeing as how there are many other threads that provide feedback on the overland map, I am closing this one. If you want to leave feedback on the current state of the overland map, I would recommend R17 Overland Map Feedback [Merged Thread].”
Of course they are untrained morons for it, and it is clear they have alternate reasons for locking this shit down. I could almost, ALMOST, understand it if they had either A) Sticky a main discussion post on the overland map so that users could easily see it or even B) have an overland map sub-forum – but no, what does he do instead? Link in ten, TEN, other mothafuckin threads about the overland map instead! Lulz, wtf!
You guys are so blooming unprofessional over there, it is really a bad thing to have the interface to your community so poorly and unprofessionally managed. What more can I say on the subject really? Go suck my John Thomas ye twats.
The title says it all. Thanks to a user on the Shround Unlimited forum for catching and pointing this out for me. I didn’t catch the topic before it was deleted from view, but here is some of the information and I think the basic outline is as follows:
1 Some fuckers held a pvp event in an open pvp zone.
2 A user wanted to take part in the event.
3 Some maze building cock holster said the user could not participate, in the event, in the open pvp zone.
4 The user, in an open pvp zone, started to pvp.
5 The user got banned.
Here is a supporting image from the user who was banned which shows the information from Portalarium, click for full size.
I don’t know what the actual fuck is happening here, it isn’t getting any better though is it. Richard Garriott’s brand new sandbox mmo looks more like a litter box that hasn’t been cleaned out for a year.
If you have more info then feel free to comment, otherwise go a head and vote on this because it is a mother fucking trash bag move any way you look at this.
“I’ve deleted some of the off-topic posts here without issuing warnings. Please remember to keep discussions on topic. Also, this is a VERY old thread and could include out of date information due to the dynamic nature of how we are actively developing SotA and incorporating community feedback. Please keep that in mind when quoting posts or conversations made several months ago.”
do yer fkn job yo!
“I’ve deleted some of your stupid posts, didn’t tell you, never really have before so why waste my time and start now. Its your own fucking fault for replying to this old thread. We’re clearly too Maverick to keep you updated on what we are doing, so you really shouldn’t post at all and don’t ask any questions because I’ll probably delete that shit too. Remember that, because I will do my job half-assed again.”