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[Interview] Shroud of the Avatar: Starr Long Goes Back to His Roots

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,595MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Last week, Richard Garriott announced that Starr Long, also known for his work on Ultima Online, would be joining The Shroud of the Avatar team as executive producer. We caught up with Starr to talk more about the appointment and more. Read on and then leave your thoughts in the comments.

MMORPG: Congratulations on rejoining Richard Garriott on Shroud. Can you tell us what it’s like to work with your old teammates?

Starr Long: Fun with a capital F! I have really missed working with Richard and my other old teammates. Making games with them is such a challenging and fun experience. I love that we always push each other to do something “different.” 

Read more of Garrett Fuller's Shroud of the Avatar: Starr Long Goes Back to His Roots.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • mcrippinsmcrippins Dallas, TXPosts: 1,069Member Uncommon
    Great addition to the team. This game can't come out soon enough!
  • Dreamo84Dreamo84 Niagara Falls, NYPosts: 3,437Member Uncommon
    Games like Shroud and Destiny are great examples of taking MMOs in new directions where you can have a “massive” experience while still having the opportunity to enjoy a more intimate gameplay experience. 

    I have to agree 100%! Though I feel like a lot of the die hard sandbox and "everything group content" players are going to be pissed if they read this.

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  • ArskaaaArskaaa KauhajokiPosts: 842Member Uncommon
    is tis SP game or mmo? still looks very interesting:)
  • madazzmadazz A town, ONPosts: 1,564Member Uncommon
    I wish this was going to be an MMO! Too bad its kind of like Ultima Forever (one map for walking, then the instance you travel into).
  • MaricMaric Roseville, CAPosts: 71Member Uncommon
    You can play SotA either way. The online element is rather revolutionary. You can play with only your friends. Play solo or play with a whole server.
  • BamboozledBamboozled Minneapolis, MNPosts: 29Member

    The one question I have is, "Why make yet another sword and sorcery Ultima spinoff?".

     

    The market is flooded with MMOs that place themselves in this setting. Why not be a true pioneer and go about creating a child born of what was learned from Tabula Rasa?

     

    With the stellar team that is assembled for this product, I feel they are staying where it feels familiar. Instead of pushing themselves to create a futuristic setting for the next generation of MMOs. Tabula Rasa pushed the boundaries of the MMOs of that time period, and the story and stage we played upon were amazing.

     

    Do we really need yet another medieval MMO?

     

    “He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.”

    - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  • MondoA2JMondoA2J Henderson, NVPosts: 258Member

    Quick question.

    They are using words like economy but I keep hearing this isn't an MMO?

    Confusing?

    If you can just hop in and out of single player to MMO. Doesn't this make an economy impossible?

    MMORPG Gamers/Developers need a reality check!

  • ElRenmazuoElRenmazuo Alexandria, VAPosts: 4,546Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Bamboozled

    The one question I have is, "Why make yet another sword and sorcery Ultima spinoff?".

     

    The market is flooded with MMOs that place themselves in this setting. Why not be a true pioneer and go about creating a child born of what was learned from Tabula Rasa?

     

    With the stellar team that is assembled for this product, I feel they are staying where it feels familiar. Instead of pushing themselves to create a futuristic setting for the next generation of MMOs. Tabula Rasa pushed the boundaries of the MMOs of that time period, and the story and stage we played upon were amazing.

     

    Do we really need yet another medieval MMO?

     

    mmo developers and their writers are too dumb and closed minded to make a world full of pseudo science.  And even if they did try to they would still end up making gameplay exactly like a fantasy mmo game filled with melee weapons and ranged weapons that you cant aim your self.  Magic and Elves are simpler.  But I know how you feel cuz i always dreamed of an mmo in the Mass Effect universe with more emphasis on ranged combat with a cover system.  But I am very much looking forward to The Division which is the closest thing to what I want and I love post apocalyptic theme.

  • BamboozledBamboozled Minneapolis, MNPosts: 29Member
    Originally posted by tkreep
    Originally posted by Bamboozled

    The one question I have is, "Why make yet another sword and sorcery Ultima spinoff?".

     

    The market is flooded with MMOs that place themselves in this setting. Why not be a true pioneer and go about creating a child born of what was learned from Tabula Rasa?

     

    With the stellar team that is assembled for this product, I feel they are staying where it feels familiar. Instead of pushing themselves to create a futuristic setting for the next generation of MMOs. Tabula Rasa pushed the boundaries of the MMOs of that time period, and the story and stage we played upon were amazing.

     

    Do we really need yet another medieval MMO?

     

    mmo developers and their writers are too dumb and closed minded to make a world full of pseudo science.  And even if they did try to they would still end up making gameplay exactly like a fantasy mmo game filled with melee weapons and ranged weapons that you cant aim your self.  Magic and Elves are simpler.  But I know how you feel cuz i always dreamed of an mmo in the Mass Effect universe with more emphasis on ranged combat with a cover system.  But I am very much looking forward to The Division which is the closest thing to what I want and I love post apocalyptic theme.

    Not to hijack this thread too much. I'm glad to hear there are others out there like me. I'm also super excited about The Division and can't wait to play it. See you there.

    “He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.”

    - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  • CavemanBECavemanBE GeelPosts: 37Member
    Ya  The Division and Destiny gonne love those :)
  • Greymantle4Greymantle4 Posts: 802Member Uncommon
    What would excite me is if I saw Raph Koster added to the team. :)
  • aspekxaspekx Brandon, FLPosts: 2,167Member
    im way more excited about The Division. if i had the cash flow i would honestly buy a PS4 just for that game.

    "There are at least two kinds of games.
    One could be called finite, the other infinite.
    A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
    an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
    Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

  • AsboAsbo ManchesterPosts: 796Member Uncommon

    This game is not my cup of tea and I feel this is more about ego than a game, however that said I hope it's a success as it can only be good for the industry. We need good game designs and if they can pull it off then it will be good for gamers and developers alike.

    Bandit.

    Asbo

  • PyukPyuk Eugene, ORPosts: 690Member Uncommon
    Seriously? After the fiasco that was Tabula Rasa, Garriott calling every other designer in the world besides himself worthless, and his endless attempts at lubing up and stroking his own ego to the press until he's raw, people still think he'll develop some uber-fantastic-MMO? Starr will not change what will be a disaster of a game. In fact, I'll assume he'll work the same "magic" that helped TR be a giant flaming fail. Really people, hasn't history taught you anything?

    I make spreadsheets at work - I don't want to make them for the games I play.

  • TalemireTalemire Clearwater, FLPosts: 756Member
    Make the combat twitch-based where you have to attack with LMB and defend with RMB while implementing class-specific abilities. It definitely does not look like a tab-target kind of game. Other than that, looks really solid. Great concept.

    ------------------------------
    MMORPGs are great to look forward to after a hard day of work, but heaven is the ultimate reward for those who live Christ-like.

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  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,414Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Bamboozled

    The one question I have is, "Why make yet another sword and sorcery Ultima spinoff?".

     

    The market is flooded with MMOs that place themselves in this setting. Why not be a true pioneer and go about creating a child born of what was learned from Tabula Rasa?

     

    With the stellar team that is assembled for this product, I feel they are staying where it feels familiar. Instead of pushing themselves to create a futuristic setting for the next generation of MMOs. Tabula Rasa pushed the boundaries of the MMOs of that time period, and the story and stage we played upon were amazing.

     

    Do we really need yet another medieval MMO?

     

    It's because the people fronting the money (investors and fans), want the same old same-old.   I'd lay good odds that Garriott would actually love to do something different.  

    If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,414Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Pyuk
    Seriously? After the fiasco that was Tabula Rasa, Garriott calling every other designer in the world besides himself worthless, and his endless attempts at lubing up and stroking his own ego to the press until he's raw, people still think he'll develop some uber-fantastic-MMO? Starr will not change what will be a disaster of a game. In fact, I'll assume he'll work the same "magic" that helped TR be a giant flaming fail. Really people, hasn't history taught you anything?
     

    Except that Tabula Rasa was only partly based on the foundation of Garriott's ideas.  Garriott was booted from the development (for bad project management, no surprise there), and it was reworked a couple of times after that.  He was just a PR figurehead for it, at the end.   That lead to the eventual shenanigans with NCSoft trying to cheat him in the  well known firing incident.

     

    Actually, the fact that someone else is doing the project management is a real good thing.  That he's an old crony of Garriott's might not be so hot.  Don't know.

     

    And Garriott doesn't say all other developers are bad.... According to him Chris Roberts is a genius!

     

    If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  • YaevinduskYaevindusk Ul''dah, CAPosts: 1,537Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Pyuk
    Seriously? After the fiasco that was Tabula Rasa, Garriott calling every other designer in the world besides himself worthless, and his endless attempts at lubing up and stroking his own ego to the press until he's raw, people still think he'll develop some uber-fantastic-MMO? Starr will not change what will be a disaster of a game. In fact, I'll assume he'll work the same "magic" that helped TR be a giant flaming fail. Really people, hasn't history taught you anything?

     

    Though you're falling into the same trap that you imply others are into.  It doesn't matter if you're on the opposite end of the pole, you're still basing your own feelings on the team making the game and citing their history as a means not to put much stock into a game (whereas others may put too much).  It's the game we need to play and figure out if we enjoy or not, the the genre or the developer that's attached to it.

     

    What was shown in their last video has a lot of promise if we don't let the past get in the away of our judgment.  The phrase "History repeats itself when you're ignorant to it" is not an all encompassing message.  For what future will there be if we confine ourselves to the restrictions set forth by our predecessors and the knowledge history has given us?  People make mistakes, but people themselves are not mistakes.  When talking about a group of people coming together to make something, the only thing we need to evaluate as the third party is the final product.  To give it an honest chance (and not just a few hours) to see if we personally enjoy it as individuals.

    When faced with strife or discontent, the true nature of a man is brought forth. It is then when we see the character of the individual. It is then we are able to tell if he is mature enough to grin and bare it, or subject his fellow man to his complaints and woes.

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,437Member Uncommon

    I see some good ideas but the game will have extreme limitations.The outer world is more or less just a solo instance,you click on zones to enter them,very old school,nostalgic yes but not so sure it flies now a days.

    Instead of just sitting on that Bone of throne,you should make it a reward item players can put in their home.If there are homes?

    I like the clarity although it had to be zoomed in,i suspect the draw distance will be extremely limited?

    A little more effort is needed in the crafting.I like you want depth but at least make the saw blade move,that takes  very little effort and add some animation to the other crafting tables as well.

    Richard as a narrator was sort of lol  haha.I thought i was listening to a remake of The Friendly Giant,a lil rocking chair over here for you,i thought Jerome the Giraffe was going to pop out lol.

    It basically looks like a browser game trying to bring back some old Ultima and Baldur's gate type feel.

    I think for what it is trying to do and on the limited budget it looks pretty good.

    A few other things caught my eye but i forget already :( ya i got me some Ben n Jerry's so i can be excused for not totally focusing on the task at hand :P

    BTW the actual Q/A was terrible, the questions asked were so meaningless and vague they left nothing to discuss,that is why i discussed the actual video posted on their website.The questions were actually really bad,like the worst i have seen in awhile,basically just saying hi how are you,oh i am great thanks.


    Samoan Diamond

  • superconductingsuperconducting Rochester, NYPosts: 843Member Uncommon

    Although I have no doubts in Richard Garriott's vision for the game, Starr Long is the perfect person to call him out on things that could be done better. This can only mean good things!

    Think about it: These 2 guys are the creators of the longest-running popular sandbox MMO in history-- Ultima Online.

    So they know what works and what doesn't. They know to involve the public early in the decision-making process. And they know that sandbox is the way to go.

    image
  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 530Member Uncommon

    "Ultima Online still remains relevant in the MMO space, especially with the move back to sandbox style games."

     

    When was the move back?  I can't recall any recent sandbox games that were successful.  I mean if anybody can do it these guys can, but I just haven't seen any recent sandbox success stories.

     

    Either way should be interesting to see what these guys can pull off.  The early Ultimas were pretty much my introduction to fantasy RPGs so lots of fond memories there.

  • EhliyaEhliya Washington, DCPosts: 199Member

    He probably means EQ Next.  That is the coming match-up of massive egos.

    Smedley versus Garriott - who will deliver?

  • redcappredcapp brook, NYPosts: 722Member
     

    MMORPG.com: Where do you see the MMO genre going over the next few years? How does Shroud fit into this future?

    Starr Long: I feel like we are seeing the MMO genre diversify and disperse itself amongst what were more traditionally multiplayer games.

     

    ...Perhaps that's because every multiplayer game that comes out these day gets dubbed an MMO regardless of how 'massively multiplayer' it is :p

  • GrixxittGrixxitt New Orleans, LAPosts: 543Member

    I just can't get over the fact that everything is going to be instanced to hell.

    Whatever happened to the "completely open seamless world" that made UO stand out?

    The above is my personal opinion. Anyone displaying a view contrary to my opinion is obviously WRONG and should STHU. (neener neener)

    -The MMO Forum Community

  • SanctifierSanctifier EspooPosts: 2Member
    Originally posted by Wizardry

    I see some good ideas but the game will have extreme limitations.The outer world is more or less just a solo instance,you click on zones to enter them,very old school,nostalgic yes but not so sure it flies now a days.

     

    Instead of just sitting on that Bone of throne,you should make it a reward item players can put in their home.If there are homes?

     

    I like the clarity although it had to be zoomed in,i suspect the draw distance will be extremely limited?

     

    A little more effort is needed in the crafting.I like you want depth but at least make the saw blade move,that takes  very little effort and add some animation to the other crafting tables as well.

     

    Richard as a narrator was sort of lol  haha.I thought i was listening to a remake of The Friendly Giant,a lil rocking chair over here for you,i thought Jerome the Giraffe was going to pop out lol.

     

    It basically looks like a browser game trying to bring back some old Ultima and Baldur's gate type feel.

     

    I think for what it is trying to do and on the limited budget it looks pretty good.

     

    A few other things caught my eye but i forget already :( ya i got me some Ben n Jerry's so i can be excused for not totally focusing on the task at hand :P

     

    BTW the actual Q/A was terrible, the questions asked were so meaningless and vague they left nothing to discuss,that is why i discussed the actual video posted on their website.The questions were actually really bad,like the worst i have seen in awhile,basically just saying hi how are you,oh i am great thanks.

    There are several limitations compared to the traditional MMOs but also alot of potential become something different in a good way. The dual map system was chosen for the devs to implement new content to the world on the fly (this would be nearly impossible with a seamless world). Of course it takes much less time and manpower to craft the world this way too.

     

    In the video RG says you will be able to take the throne of bone and place it in your home (yes, the game will include housing).

     

    The crafting at it's current state is just to illustrate the early concept. Animations and sounds will be added later on as propably the UI will be different too. The demo was put to together only after 3 months development.

     

    I'm excited to see what comes out of this and i do think there is room for medieval MMO's out there. Even tho there are plenty (shitty ones) this game has potential to stand out.

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