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[Interview] Shroud of the Avatar: Pulling Back the Curtain with Garriott

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,619MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar has been successfully crowd-funded and the team has been busy keeping backers up to date on what's in the works. We managed to catch up with Richard during GDC and have a great first-hand report about what's going on with Shroud of the Avatar. Read on and then leave your thoughts in the comments.

He started out by saying that Shroud is not just an MMO and not just a solo game; it falls somewhere in the middle. That is a trend we are seeing with a lot of games coming out over the next few years. Richard explained that Shroud leverages your friends list and the power of social media so that you can connect in with your friends as well as their friends to build on a large group of people. This allows for groups to form up in both PVE and PvP scenarios without complete strangers getting involved in your game. The only thing this system does not support too well is large scale raids. However, we talked a lot about Ultima Online and the sandbox effect it had, which is something many MMOs are returning to.

Read more of Garrett Fuller's Shroud of the Avatar: Pulling Back the Curtain with Garriott.

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

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Comments

  • IncomparableIncomparable KuwaitPosts: 872Member

    The graphics would mean they could do a lot with pvp.

    Maybe its still too ambitious to hope for our heros to be builders in an MMO that controls resources, builds fortifications and conquers other nearby targets. Similar to a strategy game meets an MMO. So basically our heros would be way more powerful against armies raised by other players so it would still be an MMO against NPCs or PVE.

    “Write bad things that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble”

  • SoldarithSoldarith West Chester, PAPosts: 184Member

    Not to try to sound like too much of a negative nanny here but: Why is he still leading development teams on games? Why should the public put any level of trust back into a man who has failed them in titles, huge budgets, large development teams, and big name backers? Sure he had early successes, but everything he has touched in the last ten years has been not just a failure but an absolute money pit.

    The fallout from the totally failed concept of Tabula Rasa and how his unique flying unicorns and rainbows version spent millions before being completely re-written, would make even the most stout financial backer wince before reaching into their pockets. Yet, here he is again.

    Why did he decide 'now would be a great time to mouth off to the industry again' (my words not his but paraphrased the essence), on how the industry cannot develop anymore, cannot invent anymore. However, here we have a title that he is leading that does not break a single piece of new ground. In fact, the title does exactly what every popular online title is doing to some extent: Creating a compelling single-player story arc that spans the multiplayer world. Period. Regular DLC? That is not innovative, its required for business these days. The days of WOW's 8-10 month expansion model are over. And I am sure he learned his lesson of monthly subscription fees being over, so I expect a "revelation" soon from him on in-game micro-transactions.

    All-in-all, this guy is outdated material; not the gaming industry. He needs to drop the ego, eat a piece of humble pie, and help the industry push forward in innovation, technology, and creation. You CAN fail in this industry; he most of all should know that by now.

  • ZekiahZekiah Aurora, COPosts: 2,499Member

    It's not even in Alpha and already it's become PAY TO WIN.

    NEW: Available only to backers, you will receive one Immortality Fruit seed. With the Farming Craft you can plant the Immortality Fruit seed, which will bear a single fruit. When eaten, this fruit will fully heal you, and leave you with a single seed which can be planted and harvested, over and over, for all eternity. The Immortality Fruit seed can be transferred between players.

    That is just plain sad, I'll pass.

    "Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever." - Noam Chomsky

  • UhwopUhwop Wilm, DEPosts: 1,663Member Uncommon

    The social networking stuff is nice, but it seems like Garriott has this fantastical idea of what social networking is like. 

    I would be lucky if one or two of all the people on my facebook list actually played a game I play, or one like this. 

    Zynga made a lot of money because they made games my mother would play, she discovered them through social networking sites. 

    As a 30+ year gamer, the constant pushing of the social networking connection doesn't actually make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, quite the opposite actually, and I do use social networking sites. 

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,718Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Uhwop

    As a 30+ year gamer, the constant pushing of the social networking connection doesn't actually make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, quite the opposite actually, and I do use social networking sites. 

    I have the same feelings about social crapwork, but I don't even use them :)

    Besides that, Shroud sounds pretty good. I loved the series (except UO and maybe Ascension) so I definitely will play the heck out of it offline, and will dig into the crafting online. Too bad it's almost 2 years until the launch...

  • ReklawReklaw Am.Posts: 6,478Member Uncommon

    To be honost with a name like RG I would actually try and show the world what a seamless openworld sandbox game should be. Instead he's going to follow the trend instead of creating a new one. The few hints/rumors we have gotten from Blizzards Titan suggest they "might" be big on social media connection through out their new game. Seem RG is riding their boath.

    I will keep an eye on the game but I aint really excited yet from what I know.

  • dimasokdimasok toronto, ONPosts: 189Member

    I was a basic backer until I saw the videos. Doesn't look too promising and the premium stuff (not to mention the pay-to-win stuff) makes me sad.

  • HrothaHrotha -Posts: 821Member
    Okay, definitelly not interested. Thanks.

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  • JeroKaneJeroKane OsloPosts: 5,353Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Soldarith

    Not to try to sound like too much of a negative nanny here but: Why is he still leading development teams on games? Why should the public put any level of trust back into a man who has failed them in titles, huge budgets, large development teams, and big name backers? Sure he had early successes, but everything he has touched in the last ten years has been not just a failure but an absolute money pit.

    The fallout from the totally failed concept of Tabula Rasa and how his unique flying unicorns and rainbows version spent millions before being completely re-written, would make even the most stout financial backer wince before reaching into their pockets. Yet, here he is again.

    Why did he decide 'now would be a great time to mouth off to the industry again' (my words not his but paraphrased the essence), on how the industry cannot develop anymore, cannot invent anymore. However, here we have a title that he is leading that does not break a single piece of new ground. In fact, the title does exactly what every popular online title is doing to some extent: Creating a compelling single-player story arc that spans the multiplayer world. Period. Regular DLC? That is not innovative, its required for business these days. The days of WOW's 8-10 month expansion model are over. And I am sure he learned his lesson of monthly subscription fees being over, so I expect a "revelation" soon from him on in-game micro-transactions.

    All-in-all, this guy is outdated material; not the gaming industry. He needs to drop the ego, eat a piece of humble pie, and help the industry push forward in innovation, technology, and creation. You CAN fail in this industry; he most of all should know that by now.

    QFT!

    Why you think all these Ego trippers who call themselves heroes of the game industry can't find a single sane money investor anymore and are resorting to Kickstarter?

    I rest my case.

    I am not bad mouthing Kickstarter... as a lot of great stuff has come out of it.

    But lately it has become the new hideout of "Failed" Game Designers/directors! /shrug

  • flizzerflizzer Manchester, NHPosts: 1,550Member Uncommon

    I never played any of the Ultima games, but reading about Shroud of the Avatar has got me interested. I looked at Ultimat 7, which many consider the best one ,but the graphics look so dated at this point.  Is it worth picking up Ultimata 9, which graphic-wise I can probalby handle?  I read some bad reviews but most of the talked about how lore breaking the story was and since I dont really know the entire story, not sure that matters to me at all.  Any thoughts?

     

  • NanfoodleNanfoodle Posts: 5,455Member Uncommon

    Reminds me of the old school 8 bit RPGs, where you would wander around a map and between running to dungeons and towns random mob encounters would happen. 

     

    For someone who said game design has not improved this seems a step back from many improvments we see in MMOs, like a persistant world. This is just a map you walk around on and warp into a zones.

     


    =-D Only on a forum can optimism be called bad and pessimism the good thing =-D Welcome to the internet and forums. 


  • NobleNerdNobleNerd Wolcott, NYPosts: 671Member Uncommon

      RG reminds of an old saying "A fool has no trouble telling you how foolish he is". It seems to me the more RG talks the more foolish it makes him. I do not see this title going too far,  the facebook gaming generation may eat it up. 

      As far as innovation I do not believe you will see the "oldtimers" of the gaming world create it. I say enough of living the olde days of rpg-mmo-gaming and lets back some new dreamers with piss and vinager in their bones !

    image

  • patlefortpatlefort Midgard, CTPosts: 71Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by flizzer

    I never played any of the Ultima games, but reading about Shroud of the Avatar has got me interested. I looked at Ultimat 7, which many consider the best one ,but the graphics look so dated at this point.  Is it worth picking up Ultimata 9, which graphic-wise I can probalby handle?  I read some bad reviews but most of the talked about how lore breaking the story was and since I dont really know the entire story, not sure that matters to me at all.  Any thoughts?

     

    Ultima 9 is one of the worst game in existence.

  • DaezAsterDaezAster new york, NYPosts: 803Member

    Looks pretty bad imo, like civs meets crappy rpg. 

  • spankybusspankybus Orlando, FLPosts: 1,154Member Uncommon

    To be honest...I am sick of innovation.

     

    Innovation has brought us some very shallow gameplay with really pretty graphics. Sometimes its fun, but more often then not, we all play a game for less and less time after we buy it...but it still costs the same amount of money.

     

    I backed him. Not much, but enough to get me a copy of whatever this will become. I am taking a chance.

     

    Frankly, I could do will a little old school thinking. Maybe.  But imho UO was the best sandbox MMO to date...maybe graphics were a bit fugly, but so what. U4 was amazing and it had 16 colors on its best platform.

     

    Besides, it really isnt costing me a whole lot to find out. /shrug

     

    Here's hoping.

     

    Then again, he could just be secretly trying to finance another trip to the ISS....

     

    Frank 'Spankybus' Mignone
    www.spankybus.com
    -3d Artist & Compositor
    -Writer
    -Professional Amature

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,214Member Uncommon

    For a prototype it looks pretty good really.  At least he has a working prototype unlike some other game on this forum that is riding on concept hype alone.

    I like most of the Ultima games, at least the core offerings - not so much the weird spinoffs.

    This is something I will still be watching.  I'm curious how the entire crowdsourcing movement will evolve.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,718Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by patlefort
    Originally posted by flizzer

    I never played any of the Ultima games, but reading about Shroud of the Avatar has got me interested. I looked at Ultimat 7, which many consider the best one ,but the graphics look so dated at this point.  Is it worth picking up Ultimata 9, which graphic-wise I can probalby handle?  I read some bad reviews but most of the talked about how lore breaking the story was and since I dont really know the entire story, not sure that matters to me at all.  Any thoughts?

    Ultima 9 is one of the worst game in existence.

    Lol, nice exaggeration.

    Let's remain objective, Ascension was the worst one in the original series. :)

  • kerigarkerigar Ottawa, ONPosts: 73Member

    Garriot needs to stop beating around the damn bush and make an Ultima Online 2.... What the hell are people waiting for....

    Rediculous that the grandad of all mmo's cant get a proper sequel....I know he has no right to the ultima online name but the hell is stopping him from doing this under another banner.

    UO to this day is the only MMO that is worth playing longer than a few months :/

    This just looks weird...
  • SlyLoKSlyLoK Sugar Grove, VAPosts: 1,548Member Uncommon
    Looks interessting.. The only faults I see in this build are terrible animations , sound and music which all can be fixed.

    image

  • ReklawReklaw Am.Posts: 6,478Member Uncommon
    I got abit of a Mount&Blade fibe from the prototype video, but perhaps it's just me....
  • XarnthalXarnthal Landenberg, PAPosts: 130Member
    Originally posted by Po_gg
    Originally posted by patlefort
    Originally posted by flizzer

    I never played any of the Ultima games, but reading about Shroud of the Avatar has got me interested. I looked at Ultimat 7, which many consider the best one ,but the graphics look so dated at this point.  Is it worth picking up Ultimata 9, which graphic-wise I can probalby handle?  I read some bad reviews but most of the talked about how lore breaking the story was and since I dont really know the entire story, not sure that matters to me at all.  Any thoughts?

    Ultima 9 is one of the worst game in existence.

    Lol, nice exaggeration.

    Let's remain objective, Ascension was the worst one in the original series. :)

    but probably was the most innovative of the series. Don't knock my namesake!

     

     

    Sennheiser
    Assist
    Thage

  • mrcoldheartmrcoldheart Chester, PAPosts: 1Member

    You spent so much time trying to ligetimize your opinion with a dolled up soap box you ended up saying a lot of silly things. That crap about investers not trusting Richard was really not well thought out considering he does have a long history of success regardless of you bring up his failures.

    If you don't like the guy or his current project then fine but don't trip over yourself to the point you're spouting nonsense to give your opinion more weight. 

  • NazdarekNazdarek praha, FLPosts: 1Member
    anyone who is sick from inovation go to cave to rest of your life this game is step back why another game like ultima we have ultima :D and hundreds copies  this is waste of time and money for maybe 10 thousands old school players nothing more . sry for my english is not best :D PS : if we stop in inovation we ends in horible stereotype
     
  • LiieLiie Elmont, NYPosts: 7Member
    Sounds like the future of Mmorpg's to me, SOTA really is including a ton of features that I have been looking for in games that I play and I really look forward to the housing/vending system. I just really hope character design & race selection really gives you a chance to "Make it match your style" with a great variety of alterations to make your character as unique as possible. May no 2 avatar look the same again! I really like the choice you get between 2.5D quick exploration AND 3D exploration, that really appeals to me. Honestly great job here guys, lets hope you live up to what we all expect! Good Lucks~
  • DignaDigna City, CTPosts: 2,014Member Uncommon

    While it looks decent enough (time will tell) as soon as I read  'leverages your friends list and the power of social media' I lost interest. My guess is that it leverages while offering advertising opportunities to hordes as yet uninitiated to MMOs (everyone on your social lists who hasn't played).

     

    I'll keep an eye on this but already it has instilled a bad vibe (in me).

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