WARNING: THIS GAME IS EARLY ACCESS PRE-ALPHA. PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE IT UNLESS YOU WANT TO ACTIVELY SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT OF THE GAME AND ARE PREPARED TO HANDLE PERIODIC WIPES, SERIOUS ISSUES AND INCOMPLETE CONTENT. PLEASE READ THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS PRIOR TO PURCHASE.
User reviews:
Recent:
Mixed (31 reviews) - 54% of the 31 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Mixed (796 reviews) - 64% of the 796 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 24, 2014

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“As a crowd funded and crowd sourced game we have felt that an open form of development is critical to making this game the best it can be. Early Access on Steam will greatly increase our access to community members who can help make the game better and is a natural iteration of the early access we have been providing our backers for the last year.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We hope to reach Beta by mid 2016 and launch shortly after that but we will not be launching until the product is ready.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The Early Access version is a monthly updated snapshot of the game in active development. That means there will be periodic data wipes and large balance changes. Single Player offline mode will only be available in the full version.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Shroud of the Avatar is currently in pre-Alpha. This game still needs a LOT of work, and will be under construction for some time. This means it won't feel like a finished game to you because some of the features are half-finished or missing entirely, the design hasn't been balanced, performance hasn't been optimized, lots of bugs to fix, etc. Joining now means participating in the development, not just playing the game”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Prices may increase after Early Access.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We are in a constant dialog with our community and we allocate 30% of each monthly release to player requested changes. We also crowd source content including art, music, sound effects, code, etc. Contributors have a choice to be paid in real dollars or double the amount in add on store credit. Additionally as a sandbox the players have many opportunities to create in game events. To date players have created plays, sermons, quests, mazes, PVP tournaments, birthday parties, dance parties, hot tub parties, murder trials, town hall meetings, etc. with the in game tools.”
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Recent updates View all (188)

July 26

Release 32 Instructions



WARNING: THIS GAME IS EARLY ACCESS PRE-ALPHA. PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE IT UNLESS YOU WANT TO ACTIVELY SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT OF THE GAME VIA CROWD FUNDING, BUG TESTING, AND FEEDBACK. PLEASE ONLY PURCHASE IF YOU ARE ALSO PREPARED TO HANDLE PERIODIC WIPES, SERIOUS ISSUES AND INCOMPLETE CONTENT. PLEASE READ THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS PRIOR TO PURCHASE, MANY OF WHICH WARN YOU OF THE CURRENT UNFINISHED STATE OF THE GAME.

Please read this entire message, as well as the linked instructions and known issues.

Thank you for being a loyal backer and follower of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 32 access for all backers at First Responder level and above begins this Thursday, July 28, at 9:30 AM US Central Daylight Time (14:30 UTC).

One Hour Early: Please note that we are opening the servers one hour early this time to give Group 1 more time to prepare for Lot Selection.

Patch at Midnight: Please also note that we hope to have the first build for R32 available for download to players as early as Midnight, right after wipe so that everyone can be fully patched up in the morning. Also please note that some of the below deliverables did not make the first patch.

History: On Thursday December 12, 2013 Release 1 allowed our backers to play Shroud of the Avatar for the very first time. Since that very first release, we have provided you a monthly release on the last Thursday of every month for the last 31 months. Thanks to our amazing backers, our game and community have both grown each release to the point that we are now the second largest crowd-funded video game ever. Help us celebrate this historic moment as we move into our next phase with our 12-hour Summer Telethon of the Avatar!

Persistence: This Release will be different from all of those other releases because we are finally going Persistent. This means that the progress a player makes will no longer be reset every three months. Just because we are persistent, however, does not mean we are going to slow down! We will continue our Monthly Releases just like we always have. We still have features to implement, content to complete (see our Roadmap), and lots (and lots) of balancing to do. Even though this is the “Final Wipe” we are still in Early Access and, if needed, we will do small Rollbacks and/or Partial Wipes if we absolutely need to in order to maintain the health of the product.

New User Experience: We continued the work we started in Release 31 and polished more of the new user experience in the Isle of Storms, Solace Bridge, Soltown, and even as far as Ardoris. This included a new Oracle in the Isle of Storms, more NPC behaviors, and further transitions of the hints to the new on-screen system.

Balance: We began what will be multiple releases of balance adjustments to combat and economy starting with major overhauls to Merchant inventories. We have also adjusted starting recipes, starting skills, and starting gear for better balance and better advancement curves.

Yet again, I want to express a huge amount of gratitude to our Dev+ backers who tested all of the items below on the QA server and uncovered lots of bugs. They also provided editorial feedback on this post. So, they are a big reason that this post actually matches what is in the game, and that it is easy to read.

While we are getting closer to launch, we are still in a constant state of change, and we do not yet have all the in-game systems to inform players of these changes, or to share ways to help them to explore new content and systems. This means we rely mostly on this message, and the linked instructions and known issues to convey the current game state. We regularly have to answer questions or filter bug reports because some players elect not to read this valuable information.

By taking a few moments to read through this information, a great deal of our time and efforts can be redirected to focus on new “unanswered” questions, and addressing critical issues impacting each release. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to review this post, and for all the truly valuable feedback you continue to provide.

Also, remember that while we are providing new content with each release, our community is working overtime to make new events for you to enjoy. Be sure to check out a couple of the event calendars run by our community members (via in-game book or the player run websites: Avatars Circle and Events of the Avatars). You can also get the latest official events on the Main Website.

Without further ado, here is a list of what you can expect to see in Release 32.

Full Wipe (except Social): We wiped all player data including inventory and housing. Social information (friends and guilds) will remain intact. If you have Add-On Store items you wish to convert to credit, then you can do so on the Shroud of the Avatar website multiple times this week. Remember to do it before you claim your rewards in the bank (Live or QA) since that will make all add on store items “claimed in game.” Also please note that if you upgraded a property owning pledge since the last wipe, you ended up with extra lot deeds which will have now been wiped (lot deeds do not stack). Your current deed amount will match your purchases when R32 goes live. Please note that because we are wiping offers multiple times this week you will end up with multiple sets of rewards.

Lot Selection: Starting at 11:00 AM CDT, players can begin selecting lots in the game in order of their lot selection group. You can view your lot selection group on your account page. Lot Selection Rules are:
- You may use any ONE deed you own to claim any one unclaimed lot you wish.
- The type of deed, the location of the lot does not matter, all are covered under the same rule. (except Water Lots, see below)
- Any deed may be used to claim a lot of the listed size or smaller.
- The beginning time of the group after yours does NOT affect your ability to claim a lot; if the next group after you has begun their claim window prior to you being able to claim a lot, you CAN still claim a lot. The times listed are Beginning times. Once begun, your ability to claim your one lot does not expire.
- Any remaining deeds in your inventory may be used to claim lots after the beginning of Group 91 at 03:00 CDT on the 24th of August.
- Water Lots can only be claimed using Founder Deeds
- There are no restrictions on location changes. If you change your mind and want to claim a different lot you have that ability.
To claim a lot you must move your Avatar to the location of the lot in the town in the game. There is no lot claiming outside the game.
- As a reminder Lot Deeds are flagged “No Trade” during Release 32.

Brittany Estates: This final neighborhood completes Greater Brittany. It is northwest of Central Brittany on the shores of Lake Equitas in the North Paladis region of Novia. It is filled with manicured gardens, water features, and high end shops surrounded by mostly City-sized lots.


Spite (Unclone): Spite is located on the shores of Stormwater Lake in the Drachvald Region and is a pivotal location in the Path of Love. Spite started as a cloned scene (based on the Forest 01 PRT/POT template, aka the PaxLair template). We completely rebuilt it from scratch in Release 32. The city is now built into terraced cliffs with a beautiful waterfall and has some key landmarks like the Mortuarium. Note that scenes that we unclone after the Final Wipe will NOT get this level of rework, and the placement of NPC buildings and player housing lots in those towns will remain unchanged; only cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage will be made.


Xenos (Unclone): Located on the Isle of Elysium, Xenos is where pilgrims stop on their way to Artifice on the Path of Truth. Like Spite, Xenos started as a cloned scene (using our Forest 01 PRT/POT template, aka PaxLair). We used the same base template but modified it heavily to build the new scene.


NPC Behaviors: We greatly expanded NPC behaviors to include Theft Detection, Virtue Reactions, sleep schedule interruptions and other activities.

44 New Crafting Recipes: New decorations, wearables, and armor.

And Much More! Click here for the complete R32 Instructions

[And did we mention that you should read the negative reviews that warn you about the unfinished state of this game before you purchase? Don't buy this game until you read them!]

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July 22

Update of the Avatar #186: Xenos Reborn, Brittany Housing, Spite Renovation, and more!



Update of the Avatar #186 has arrived! In-game areas are expanding out in Brittany and Spite in this week's Update of the Avatar! Get details on Xenos Reborn, More Brittany Housing, Renovating Spite, SotA Makes 2016 RPG List, New Bundle Store, and more!

Here’s the lineup:

  • Xenos Reborn
  • Brittany Central Housing Expansion
  • Renovating Spite
  • Rock Paper Shotgun’s 2016 RPG List
  • Next Dev Heading to SotA Con – Berek!
  • New Bundle Store
  • 15% Bonus and 12 Day Countdown to Summer 2016 Expiration Event, Part 1
  • The Sword of Midras SotA Novel for Hardcover, Kindle, Nook and Audiobook
  • Upcoming Events
  • Community Resources – Players Helping Players
Check out the complete update at the Shroud of the Avatar website, and then join us in the game to check out Release 31 and prepare for the big Summer Telethon event on July 27th!

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About This Game

WARNING: THIS GAME IS EARLY ACCESS PRE-ALPHA. PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE IT UNLESS YOU WANT TO ACTIVELY SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT OF THE GAME VIA CROWD FUNDING, BUG TESTING, AND FEEDBACK. PLEASE ONLY PURCHASE IF YOU ARE ALSO PREPARED TO HANDLE PERIODIC WIPES, SERIOUS ISSUES AND INCOMPLETE CONTENT. PLEASE READ THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS PRIOR TO PURCHASE, MANY OF WHICH WARN YOU OF THE CURRENT UNFINISHED STATE OF THE GAME.

SUMMARY:


Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is a new type of third person fantasy RPG that combines a single player narrative with a sandbox MMO. It is being created by a team that includes: Richard "Lord British" Garriott the creator of the Ultima series, Starr Long the original Director of Ultima Online, and Tracy Hickman the author of the beloved Dragonlance Novels and Dungeons & Dragons modules.

  • Episodic Content: Shroud of the Avatar will consist of five episodes that will tell a series of virtue based stories created by Richard Garriott and Tracy Hickman. All supported by a series of prequel novels starting with Blade of the Avatar. Forsaken Virtues is the first episode (this is what you are purchasing access to).
  • Single Player Offline Mode: Players will adventure through over 40 hours of story in an interactive world where their choices have consequences, ethical paradoxes give them pause, and they play a vital part in weaving their own story into the immersive world and lore surrounding them.
  • Selective Multiplayer Modes: If you want to go through the story online you can play with everyone in a single world with three different online modes (Single Player, Friends, and Open).
  • Classless Character System: Vast customization options with hundreds of skills and spells in over 20 different skill trees.
  • Skillful Combat: A new way to prepare and fight in an RPG by building custom decks of skills and dynamically activating them in combat.
  • PVP: Consensual with Open PVP flags, zones, and Guild Warfare.
  • Player Housing: Non instanced, finite, and embedded in the world with multiple group living options.
  • Player Driven Economy: Deep crafting system where the best items are made by players and player items are the main source of loot found in the game.
  • Pay Once to Play: No subscription fees. Each episode (released approximately annually) is a one time fee and everything in the game can be purchased with in game gold that can be earned (except for some exclusive backer rewards).
  • Social: Full Guild System, Highly Active Community and Player Owned Towns.
  • Crowd Sourced & Funded: Support the project by contributing content (and receive compensation) or by pledging (and receive exclusive rewards).
  • Open Development: Players help shape the game by giving feedback on monthly early access releases, videos, weekly updates, blog postings, forums, chat, etc.

DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP


Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is currently in pre-alpha so there are a lot of features and content still to be built. Even the current content needs polish and balance. On the third week of every month we release a major update to the game that includes new features, new content, and bug fixes. We update the schedule for these on a quarterly basis with a final update for each release the day before it goes live.

Current Version

  • Housing: Purchase property and a wide variety of buildings to place there. These can be customized with hundreds of items (paintings, crafting stations, chairs, tables, food, plants, fountains, statues, lights, etc.). Players can also set permissions that allow them to share this property with other players. Higher level pledges begin the game with property and house deeds. (Find out more at www.shroudoftheavatar.com)
  • Crafting: Gather and refine resources to craft a wide variety of objects including weapons, armor, potions, food, and furniture.
  • Player Trading: Trade with each other for items or gold.
  • PVP (Duels and Zones): Fight other players in Open PVP zones of the map or 1 on 1 duels in any location.
  • Dual Scale Map: Explore the world by walking across a map (aka The Overworld) like old school RPGs with random and roving encounters mixed among named points of interest.
  • Combat and Magic Skills: We have over 100 skills in a wide variety of combat and magic schools including Blades, Fire, Water, Life, Polearms, Shields, etc.
  • Multiple Online Modes: Play how you want in one of two modes: Single Player Online or Open Multiplayer Online.
  • Character Customization: Customize your character's facial features, hair style, hair color, facial hair, skin tone, and gender. Also express yourself with a vast array of different gear that when equipped shows on your character. (cloaks, armor, weapons, hats, tools, torches, etc.)
  • AI Behaviors: Archers will try to maintain distance, warriors will try to surround you, Liches will summon skeletal allies, and villagers will turn on lights when night falls.
  • Advancement: As you gain experience fighting and questing you gain levels which give you skill points that you can use with a trainer to purchase new skills or to raise your attributes.
  • Hint System: Each time you attempt something for the first time a hint will appear with basic instructions (this can be disabled in options)
  • Fully Interactive World: Every attempt is made to make the world respond to you. All the lights you see can be turned on and off, doors can be opened/closed/locked/unlocked, objects can be taken from shelves/tables/etc.
  • Dynamic Lighting: Time of day changes as you play along with all light sources casting light in a realistic fashion.
  • Summoned Allies: Certain schools of magic can summon allies including Ice Elementals, Fire Elementals, Liches, and Skeletons.
  • Control Points: Grab control of Vertas Pass and see how long you can hold it against ever increasing waves of Dark Elves.
  • Emotes: Express yourself with a wide variety of emotes including dances, bows, laughs, bows, yawns, etc.
  • Guilds: You can form or join a guild
  • Banks: Store all your gear and loot when it gets too heavy to carry around.
  • Character tied to Pledge: All versions of the game (aka pledges) come with special rewards (gear, houses, titles, emotes, etc.).
  • Player Owned Towns: Players can purchase and customize from templates their very own town.
  • Player Vendors: You will be able to set up NPC vendors to sell the goods you have crafted or found adventuring.
  • Player Made Books: Write your own book in the game and pay in game gold to have it published widely.
  • Dye-able Gear: Customize your gear by changing the colors.
  • Crowd Sourcing Create content for the game (music, sound effects, and art) and be paid for it.

Future Updates

  • Story: A rich narrative that presents you with complex moral choices will come online closer to launch.
  • More Scenes: Many additional scenes will come online including cities, dungeons, deserts, arctic areas, swamps, fortifications, battlegrounds, etc.
  • Performance: Continued optimizations as well as sophisticated fallback routines will greatly improve performance.
  • More Magic & Combat Skills: More skills will be coming including the Chaos Magic School.
  • Localization: Support for multiple languages.
  • More Creatures: More creatures along with multiple variations and new behaviors.

We estimate reaching a Beta version with all features and content sometime in the first half of 2016. All features and plans listed here are subject to change. We may modify, add or remove features as we see fit during the development process.

Website for more information: www.shroudoftheavatar.com

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7 64 bit or newer
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 DUO 2.4 GHz / AMD Athlon X2 2.7 GHz
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX10 Compatible ATI Radeon HD 3870 / NVIDIA 8800 GT / Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 64 bit or newer
    • Processor: Quad Core Processor 2.4GHz or faster
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX10 Compatible AMD Radeon HD 6850 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks)
    • Processor: 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Dual-Core)
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 3870 / NVidia Geforce 640M
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks)
    • Processor: 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Dual-Core)
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5870 / NVidia Geforce GTX 775M
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 or newer officially but most linux flavors supported
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 DUO 2.4 GHz / AMD Athlon X2 2.7 GHz
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 3870 / NVIDIA 8800 GT / Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 or newer officially but most linux flavors supported
    • Processor: Quad Core Processor 2.4GHz or faster
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6850 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 7 GB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Mixed (31 reviews)
Overall:
Mixed (796 reviews)
Recently Posted
BelazorkE 26
( 0.7 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 27
LoL!!They got my money and I still constantly get emails to spend more money and buy Hats, smoking pipes, chairs, pledge more money, silly outfits, paintings, coal, candy, houses, donate money, emotes, fans, clocks, silly helmets, pledge more money, pets, pet names, Telethon Funding, Pay to see Starr long dance, pay to see lord british fly to space, just pay, pay, pay, pay,pay to breath air, pay for every time your heart beats, pay to go to the bathroom, pay to eat, pay to goto sleep, Donate huge amount if you want to wake up, need more funding please pay for the sh_tty graphics, pay so you can stand around with everyone else in the game and pretend to have a party, pay so that the game can be finished in the year 2299. Just pay because at this point the game has cost more money than games like Pillars of Eternity, The Witcher 3, Skyrim! Don't be fooled by my hours logged here on steam because I have played this heap of sh_t longer than I should of and I should have those guys pay me for my wasted time on this cash cow! Even if it does get finished be ready to spend money just to open doors or access areas or dance around in game with Lord British! I played Ultima online back in the day and that is what drew me to this money pit, sadly if you have played the old ultima online don't expect that from this game but do expect them to drain your bank and right now if you act quickly you can buy a lot for a deed to a house for only $5,000 and Lord british will escort you in for a extra $1,200, and
if you donate $750 Starr Long will drink a shot of Tabasco and for a mere $500 get a piece of toilet paper used my his majesty Lord British!

Act now or you may miss out on the chance to be part of one of the most expensive games ever created with the same Graphic Engine, Tool Set and Editor used to create Ultima Online from 1997!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Voidwalker
( 34.7 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 27
Still in the early stages, but this is a slow grow game, with responsive devs.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Nkrumah
( 276.5 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 26
This game is going to flop at an astronomical level, total money grabber. Final wipe is coming to game in a few short days and most of the main systems in game arent anywhere near where they need to be. Usually as games progress in alpha they get polished and become better and better, SOTA is the exact opposite. From targeting changes that make no sense, to useless PvP, to lack of content. Not worth the money in my opinion.

If anyone is honestly providing positive feedack for this game its prob because they pledged large amounts and dont want to admit it wasnt worth it. I had high hopes for this game, RIP UO this game is far from a spiritual successor.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
GrumpyOldGamer.net
( 98.2 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 25
It is still in Early Access but it has gotten much more in-depth and more things added all the time! Final Wipe of the servers is at Midnight July 27, 2016 and the persistant universe will start where you keep all skills and land etc...
This game has an amazing and dedicated comunity and there are always player run events almost dailey.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HHrEEhfsY0
I think this game has a bright future and look forward to playing it for a long time!

It comes in 2nd behind WOW's new expansion in this Game review!
http://massivelyop.com/2016/07/14/perfect-ten-the-most-exciting-mmo-developments-yet-to-come-in-2016/
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Elay
( 59.0 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 25
I've followed this game from the very start and although it has taken some time to get to where it is, the wait has been worth it, even now, still in early access, the game is shaping up incredibly well. Endless options for character development and the ability to play the game as you want, to suit your own style of play. It's still relatively early days but the game is getting better month by month, it's already one of the most enjoyable open play RPGs out there and i cant wait to see how this develops further.

Well worth the money and well worth the investment of time to get to know and understand the game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
averageinvisible
( 19.7 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 23
Looking forward to this getting out of Alpha/Beta and launching... Played early on, and it was as rough as could be expected for a pre-Alpha. Didn't play for a long time, just logged in recently getting ready for final wipe/house placement, and am actually having a lot of fun. I think crafting is going to be pretty engaging. Combat is different, and I was not used to it at first but once I spent the time to skill up and build a good combat bar, I was rocking within a day. Now I love the combat system. Royal Founder Knight looking forward to spending time in multiplayer.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
von Crandall
( 13.9 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 22
Zones are small, boring and lack anything resembeling immersion. Everything is instanced because each zone lacks any real depth so that if there are more than 2 people in it, there's nothing to do.

PVP is forced and forgetable.

PVE is a complete afterthought.

This game had a bit of steam to get going and has since run out of it. It's not going anywhere anymore.

I would absolutely LOVE a refund.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
devourerofmemes
( 400.0 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 19
Pros
Classless use based skill system: Skills level as you use them, you can mix and match armor, weapons and skills however you want.

Deck system: You can lock skills in a hotbar like traditional rpgs with cooldowns or you can use the deck system which will randomly deal you glyphs (skills). If you use the unlocked system you gain perks like no cooldowns and the ability to stack multiple glyphs to make the skill more powerful and cost less focus (mana/energy) to use. You can also combine two glyphs to make a new skill. For example Fire Arrow + Death Ray = Fiery Decay. This is a very unique system, that has a lot of room to grow in future updates.

Pet Taming: You can tame most animals in the game like spiders, wolves, bears, etc. There is an entire skill tree that will allow you to increase your pet’s base stats as well as learning pet based skills like healing your pet.

Targeting System Flexibility: You can choose to play using tab targeting with a mouse cursor like older rpgs or reticle targeting which is more common in recent rpgs like tera and black desert online.

Free Attack System: This is a charge and active click based weapon attack system. For example, if you have a bow you can charge for around 2 secs to fire a more damaging bow attack or you can rapid click LMB for quick low damaging attacks. If you rather not actively engage in weapon attacks you can enable auto attack at a slight dps loss and concentrate purely on casting skills.

No Mini Map: You have to actually look for gathering nodes in the game world, for me this is more immersive and I enjoy it more than staring at my mini map for node dots. For cities you need to take out a cloth map and look for landmarks, this could be positive or negative depending on your preferences.

PvP Looting: If you flag pvp you can fight others flagged pvp and loot their bodies. You gain items like "Bob's Skull" which you can display in your home or sell to other players. Concerning gear, the defeated player has the option to buy back their gear via a ransom system, so this is not entirely full loot, but it's much closer than most mmorpgs.

Crafting System: Pretty realistic and straightforward; you're not forced to craft 100 useless weapons before you can make one worth using, although as you raise your skills you will have access to better modifiers. Crafted armor is the best armor in the game, this helps promote a player driven economy and makes finding a committed crafter to make your armor and weapons relevant even for end game gear. There has been a lot of change to crafting leading up to r32, so I expect it to be a focal point of polish work well into the end of the year.

Dark Nights: The night is dark enough you need to use a skill or item to navigate it. I like dark nights and pulling out a torch to navigate adds immersion for me, I like environment mechanics that force game play choices.

Reagents: You need magic reagents and arrows, it's refreshing to run out and have a reason to go back to town. Again this could easily be a con for some players.

Fizzle System: The heavier your armor the higher your fizzle chance with be, as fizzle chance increases you're more likely to fail while trying to casting a skill, this makes balancing magic and armor interesting. If you're a min/maxer you'll probably enjoy this system.

Musical Instruments: These are playable freeform or using MML or ABC files similar to LOTRO.

Overworld Map: SotA is instance based much like GW1 & 2. To connect all the areas the game uses an 3d scaled map where you can walk across the world, since the game has limited fast travel options this map offers a nice balance between getting places quickly and still feeling like you're actually part of the act of traveling.

Buy to Play: This game has no monthly fee, so personally I think it's a good amount of content for the price.

Cons
Instanced Based: If you don't have a solid state drive, you can spend a bit of time watching loading screens.

Combat Balance: At this stage of development, combat still needs a lot of love. While it does offer a lot of flexibility in playstyles and targeting, that same flexibility can often make it feel like it lacks a solid direction. It has been getting better each release so I choose to remain positive that the direction will solidify as they shift from prototyping to polishing mechanics.

End Game Content: Currently there isn't a lot to do after you've Grand Mastered some skills and done beginning storyline. There are some high level areas to keep you grinding in a party, but it currently lacks complex boss fights. The dev team has been vocal that they'd like to push traps and puzzles in dungeons once they finish the main storyline.

Lot Deed Pricing: Although you can earn lots for housing with in game currency, the amounts atm are fairly high. If you aren't planning to spend money in the cash shop, expect earning your house and lots to be a long term goal and not something you are going to have instantly. However, much of the community has extra lots and houses and the people you meet or guilds you join may gift you one much earlier than you could earn it in game.

Graphics/Animations: This game is built in Unity, it's not the cry engine, but Unity 5 has had some very nice material and lighting upgrades recently. Currently the graphics and animations are passable, but it's no black desert online. Improvements are being made every release, but don't buy this expecting FFXIV level particle effects and animations. You may encounter NPC monster animations that make you cringe, but in all fairness these are areas you polish last in development and the recent custom models/animations have been much better.

Chat System: Atm the chat system feels very dated and clunky, there is no world chat channel, so if you like playing mmorpgs to start random conversations in general chat you will probably find this games current chat system lacking.

tl;dr
Despite it's current flaws and being in early access I would still recommend this game to fans of the genre. If you crave a sandbox rpg that brings back some of the immersion lost in recent rpgs, this turns away from quest markers and general hand holding. You'll find that SotA offers plenty for a buy to play game with no monthly fee.
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Cooper Claus
( 2,328.7 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 19
2300hrs in game, and its still in pre-alpha. I like it. Its a work in progress, but a lovely game and community.
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arcanumveritas
( 272.0 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 16
Its still early access and marked as such. The game is not yet finished. If you are expecting a finished game, you don't understand how early access works.

I am a Kickstarter backer, who had never played Ultima. As a dev+ level backer, I joined early level building activities and the like, stopping due to RL. I played through the many hat releases, the improvement has at times been slow, but having been away for a while and come back, the improvements are very visible.

I don't doubt the game will be great, and if you want to wait until buying it, and remove your risk, that is your call. If you want to back the development, buy it now. Play for a bit, read the forums, let them know the issues you have, then take a break and repeat. The lack of wipes in the near future will improve my personal engagement, having felt defeated by that aspect more than any other factor. I still think its a project worth backing.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
80 of 127 people (63%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 29
I made a mistake.

Man, I love playing online video games, where I can escape into a fantasy virtual world where my wealth and status aren't dictated by my real-life wallet.

Pay no attention to my time played on steam, I've spent entirely too much time on it off steam already.

The game is barely in beta, yet reeks of pay to win on astronomical Star Citizen levels.
Hey kid wanna own a virtual castle assembled from unity store assets? Just 12k a pop my boy.

I'm also a kickstarter backer, and as usual you have false promises, half developed features, etc, etc, no point in getting into that.

I suppose it's also partially my fault too. Hey remember Tabula Rasa, that really promising first person MMO by Richard that, instead of fixing and improving the game, he instead used that money to fund a trip to space, and the game got cancelled shortly after?

Yeah.

I made a mistake.
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27 of 37 people (73%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
13.9 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 22
Zones are small, boring and lack anything resembeling immersion. Everything is instanced because each zone lacks any real depth so that if there are more than 2 people in it, there's nothing to do.

PVP is forced and forgetable.

PVE is a complete afterthought.

This game had a bit of steam to get going and has since run out of it. It's not going anywhere anymore.

I would absolutely LOVE a refund.
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51 of 81 people (63%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 1
I bought this when it was a kickstarter game and have regretted it ever since. stay as far away from this game as you can possibly get.

The devs are more interested in selling in game realistate for thousands of real life dollars (I kid you not one castle/tier is $5300 and another higher tier is #12,000 these people are seriously messed in the head) then they are in actually coding the game. There is so many ingame purchases in the game that they have made zynga jealous. $20 for an ingame robe, $34-$150 to add basements to your home. $85-$1050 to buy the lot to put your house on, and it goes on and on. I really suggest you do not buy this game it is nothing more then a money grab. I tried to get my money back early on (I donated on the $150 tier) and I was basically told 'to bad so sad' When I logged into the forums today I noticed they now allow you to sell you steam key for $45. this was not an option given to me when I got the key because if it was I sure as hell would have take it to recoup some of the money this guy stole from me.

I had hoped after a few years (this all started in 2013) of coding the game may actually playable on the single player mode so that I could get something of my money back out
of it but that has not happened. the game looks very much the same as it did back then

Lord British or what ever his name is a slimey and money hungery not caring about his users.

I have a pretty high powered computer, I have not found a game I can not play and this game crashes constantly on me.

There is no actual voice actors so you have to read all the dialog and for me at least that is hard to do because they do not have something as simple as font size settings in the chat boxs.
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37 of 60 people (62%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
6.3 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 2
Despite the number of hours recorded in Steam, I have played Shroud alot and from as early as it was available to play.

I jumped on board the train a while ago, exciting at the prospect of reliving the days of Ulitma from my youth. It looked great on paper and promised soo much.

My biggest problem with the game, as it stands, would have to be the out dated controls. The animations and locomotion for the character seems very clunky and the models are just terrible. I'm sure I read somewhere on the forums that they were meant to be place holders, but that was at least a year ago.

The buildings are terrible and the towns feel lifeless.

This game belongs in the 90s.

I do hold out hope that they will sprinkle some magic dust over the game, swap out alot of code and all of the 3D models and that the game will be more entertaining. But alas I just can't see it happening.

I'll update my review after I've had more time with release 31, but at this stage it just a fanboys hope.
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31 of 50 people (62%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
65.0 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 1
Product received for free
Shroud looked like it was going somewhere 2 years ago it is still basically that same pre alpha game with the addition of this that and the other thing and a little bit of polish. But alas you can't polish a turd and thats what this turned into.

Cons:
1. Game play is still floaty and disjointed feels like it has no weight.
2. Game models i thought were just place holder filler models are still in the game.
3. The quest system is terrible and the tutorial zone is just bleh so poorly done better too just not have it at all tbh.
4. Poorly done spell and attack animations uniteresting and bland zones.
5. Could go on but its like beating a dead horse with a bigger deader horse.

Pros:
1. They had a semi interesting skill level / leveling / card system that was actually kinda of neat with icons that looked like they were made by a 3 year old and the ugliest gui i've ever seen. Not even sure if this is a pro ?

And last but not least a word about the developement. They make a stretch goal community gets what they want. So theres another stretch goal. Community wants a feature, sooo they have a strech goal for the community requested feature. So they do an utlimatum stretch goal that if we get to here we will have the community requested stretch goal.

The only thing i seen this game do was take money from its loyal fan base for in game ♥♥♥♥ that was just trashly implemented. I can't say enough bad things about Shroud. But in all honesty i hope the fan base shelling out for the game they want is actually getting it. It was def not ever nor has it become my cup of tea.

Regards, Captain
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8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.7 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 27
LoL!!They got my money and I still constantly get emails to spend more money and buy Hats, smoking pipes, chairs, pledge more money, silly outfits, paintings, coal, candy, houses, donate money, emotes, fans, clocks, silly helmets, pledge more money, pets, pet names, Telethon Funding, Pay to see Starr long dance, pay to see lord british fly to space, just pay, pay, pay, pay,pay to breath air, pay for every time your heart beats, pay to go to the bathroom, pay to eat, pay to goto sleep, Donate huge amount if you want to wake up, need more funding please pay for the sh_tty graphics, pay so you can stand around with everyone else in the game and pretend to have a party, pay so that the game can be finished in the year 2299. Just pay because at this point the game has cost more money than games like Pillars of Eternity, The Witcher 3, Skyrim! Don't be fooled by my hours logged here on steam because I have played this heap of sh_t longer than I should of and I should have those guys pay me for my wasted time on this cash cow! Even if it does get finished be ready to spend money just to open doors or access areas or dance around in game with Lord British! I played Ultima online back in the day and that is what drew me to this money pit, sadly if you have played the old ultima online don't expect that from this game but do expect them to drain your bank and right now if you act quickly you can buy a lot for a deed to a house for only $5,000 and Lord british will escort you in for a extra $1,200, and
if you donate $750 Starr Long will drink a shot of Tabasco and for a mere $500 get a piece of toilet paper used my his majesty Lord British!

Act now or you may miss out on the chance to be part of one of the most expensive games ever created with the same Graphic Engine, Tool Set and Editor used to create Ultima Online from 1997!
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35 of 60 people (58%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
212.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 15
When you wait patiently for years for some sign of hope... character progression, upgrade chases, kewl lootz, skill system, pvp ANYTHING - and all you get is customizable outfits and furniture you know a game is screwed and the devs cant hang. Until we meet again, UO. R.I.P.
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36 of 62 people (58%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1,168.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 7
I cannot honostly recomend this game to anyone. In the 3 yrs my hype has went from "I cant wait" to Dev/high backers and the confluence of high backers around the Austin area. They have the devs ear, and if you cannot coddle the devs or carry the water, your an outsider. Big thumbs down.
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8 of 11 people (73%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
276.5 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 26
This game is going to flop at an astronomical level, total money grabber. Final wipe is coming to game in a few short days and most of the main systems in game arent anywhere near where they need to be. Usually as games progress in alpha they get polished and become better and better, SOTA is the exact opposite. From targeting changes that make no sense, to useless PvP, to lack of content. Not worth the money in my opinion.

If anyone is honestly providing positive feedack for this game its prob because they pledged large amounts and dont want to admit it wasnt worth it. I had high hopes for this game, RIP UO this game is far from a spiritual successor.
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34 of 61 people (56%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
11.3 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: June 29
I have a policy with early access games to play them periodically every so often to feel out their progress before I put major effort into something that a developer would pull out from under me by quitting or taking short cuts etc. Thankfully I didn't pay the price they are asking now, though I did still pay for this. I'm so sorry I did. Here's why...

Unfortunately this is a game that i'm glad I did. I had high hopes for this game but it just keeps getting worse as time goes on and I want so badly for it to be awesome. The concept of the mechanics and depth is what drew me to this game but I don't know what it is they don't have their under the hood infrastructure there to make the game flow well ... every time I get in it just seems to get worse with mechanics, functionality, lack of intuitive things. Everything seems to be segments broken apart and slammed together again.

When I play this game I feel like i'm hopping between glacier ice and I can never look forward to enjoy where I am or where I'm going .
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