Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Live Forum Q&A Richard Garriott – Shroud of the Avatar

rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26

Greetings! This is Richard "Lord British" Garriott, creator of the Ultima Series, and now hoping to resurrect the Ultima "design philosophy" with Shroud of the Avatar!

Me and or our team are also credited with things like first use of the term "Avatar" and "MMORPG", which of course is very relevant to this community!

We are a crowd funded, community created (in many ways) product and team.

As we approach the 1 year anniversary of the Kickstarter that got this whole thing going, we are thrilled to be continuing our VERY open development process, where EACH month backers get to play along with us, in the current build. This has many challenges, such as publishing EVERY month, and communicating what people should expect, as most players don't see games in this "raw" state, so many wonder why its so incomplete and full of bugs! But it also means we waste FAR less time running down paths the community does not support, and we quickly get back on track with less distance down the blind alley.

MMORPG players represent the CORE of the audience we hope to reconnect with!

We truly hope you will take a look at what we are doing, how we are doing it, and consider participating along with us!

I look forward to your questions in about 30 minutes!

Richard Garriott


Lord British





  • RusticDragonRusticDragon Member Posts: 4
    Hail and well met! I am Rustic Dragon, Web Developer and Community Relations person at Portalarium, the studio developing Shroud of the Avatar. I will be helping Richard field questions today. Ask away!
  • Ambrose99Ambrose99 Member Posts: 72
    I keep seeing articles about SotA on Massively and now an AMA on here. Exactly how "MMO-like" is SotA going to be? A game that you can play completely offline and single player, is it going to be more on the single player side or on the MMO side?
  • FalstaffFalstaff Member UncommonPosts: 78
    Hello. any info on stealing. some of my fondest memories of uo were stealing bandaids from reds and trying to get away.. usually un-sucessful :)
  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26
    Allow me to open discussion with a few  possible areas of discussion: I will drop in comments on things like, combat, housing, in game economy, crafting and the like!
  • Ambrose99Ambrose99 Member Posts: 72
    Also, thanks for answering questions. :)
  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26


    While Shroud of the Avatar CAN be played fully offline and Solo...

    The main game is MEANT to be played full online and similar to an MMO style. But an MMO with only ONE main "Shard", but breaking into mini shards in a local map area as needed, trying to keep friends all in the same temporary instance.


    So while not traditionally MMO structured, I still believe it is an MMO!



  • Ambrose99Ambrose99 Member Posts: 72
    Okay. Combat. From watching videos and reading a few posts, combat appears to be almost like a card-game, if you will. Where a group of abilities flash on the screen and you pick which abilities to perform. I'm guessing that, say, if you specialize in more of a healing capacity, more heals are going to come up. Is this about right?
  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26

    Story vs Open World: Both… now before you say, can’t be done… obviously we did open world! In solo player Ultima's we did a pretty good job at linear story telling I would argue. Not only is Shroud of the Avatar playable both solo player and open multiplayer, but a number of modes “in between”. The plot will work in All modes, and most modes allow individual through guild factional activities.

  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26

    Ambrose99: Great question!

    The "deck" style combat is one of the most "experimental" aspects of combat we are working on. We hope to have a fist pass testable in Release 5. The goal is to make you choose a skill load out that makes YOU unique and each battle unique as well, as a short deck can bring up options reliably, but a deep deck may offer some additional options when needed.

  • Ambrose99Ambrose99 Member Posts: 72
    Excellent. Then a follow up: SotA is going to be releasing different "episodes". Are these episodes, then, going to be structured akin to Guild Wars 1 style? Where each "episode" can be played independently of each other, but having multiple episodes increases the size of the world? Or do you need Episode 1 in order to play 2, 3, etc.?
  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26
    Falstaff: Yes, we do plan to support, "rogue" skills, many of which are already outlined publicly. We will FEEL our way into proper balance as to give rogues the maximum opportunities while creating areas of safety for those who insist upon it. These rules will likely change as we get into it, to find the optimal balance of rogues similar to the encouraged PvP openness and staunch PvE player safety.
  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26

    Ambrose99: You got it exactly!

    Episodes: Shroud of the Avatar will be broken up into 5 expanding stories and geographic areas. Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is Episode 1, and the play area known as Novia, is the central island of New Britannia. If Novia is the central tile of a tic-tac-toe board the rest of New Britannia is around it. The world and story gets ever bigger, and new stories will take you back into old territory. New Britannia is NOT level gated like WoW was. You can explore the whole world from the start.

  • AstrobiaAstrobia Member Posts: 23
    Richard in early hangouts you described crafting as having an interactive "doing" step. The last few releases appear to just be a recipe based, load the bench and hit craft setup... Which is dull after you've figured the recipe. Is the interactive processing step still planned?
  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26

    Astrobia: Your correct on both fronts!

    Crafting WILL, but does not YET have steps. Recipes will be learned, shared or experimentally discovered. Once YOU have succeeded in a recipe it is accessible in your recipe book for quick repeat. BUT all attempts may fail based on skills and tools used. if a recipe starts to go awry, you may be offered a chance to try and spend ingredients to FIX it. That may help or make it worse. So active participation is desired, to get the BEST item out the back end. Repair and improvements will work similarly!

  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26

    In Game Economy: We are working to make an in game economy that is almost WHOLLY player driven. For example ALL tools and equipment can and will be player made. Crafters will start with raw materials and make all tools and equipment other players use. The game will spawn only the desperately needed, basic resources, which players need. All weapons and armor will have known makers and known histories. The sword you find in a dungeon, won’t be game generated, it will be something created by a real player and sold or lost in a dungeon previously. In this way we hope to make a truly thriving player economy, and less crafting cheap stuff repeatedly as a leveling mechanic you then need to dump.

  • AstrobiaAstrobia Member Posts: 23

    Richard I love the return of the text parsar to allow conversing with the NPC's without putting words in my mouth. But I am concerned about the lack of a menu interface for selecting replies causing some problems, both for those turned off by the typing setup, and also for those with disabilities that limit their typing ability.

    Since the system already optionally highlights keywords, would it be possible to add an option to make those highlighted keywords function like hyperlinks/menu selections that allow the player to select those responses in place of typing them?

  • superconductingsuperconducting Member UncommonPosts: 871

    Hello Richard. I have 2 questions please (for now). Long day at work, just got back :)


    1. Combat.

    As you know, many have expressed mixed feelings towards the deck-based combat system that's proposed. In fact, many are actually expressing desire for a system more reminiscent of UO. What say you in regards to this?


    2. Skill system.

    As far as I understand, the skill system is such that the skills you are working on do not get directly leveled up. Instead, if I remember correctly, performing activities gives you points in broad categories which allows you to choose what to level up.

    Can you please clarify this? Would you consider a skill system that levels up what you are actually using?



  • AstrobiaAstrobia Member Posts: 23

    Richard the new cloth map look for the overworld layer looks great. There is of course some remorse about the absence of the more realistic looking explorable overworld map with you character running around being chased by other roaming encounters, making it feel much less "alive".

    I witnessed Starr long express those features were pushed back due to time constraints and probably would make in for Episodes one release. In light of that my question is are features like those that get pushed back beyond episodes ones launch pushed back to episode 2 and later, or can we expect some periodic updates (say monthly or so) of new features being rolled out into episode one along with bug fixes for some while after the game launches before the focus shifts to working on the next episode?

  • jtripperjtripper Member UncommonPosts: 115

    Hail Lord British!

    I have a comment and question regarding PvP and what it means in a "multiplayer story-based RPG".

    The PvP system as described seems like it came from a first-person shooter design, not an RPG.  Nearly entirely rewards driven, with potentially leaderboards and achievements.  It's bereft of story or emotional impact, neither upon the act of killing or dying.  Sure, it has this tie in to the Oracle with the "blessing", but that's all there is.

    Is anything being done to make player-to-player activities have impact and meaning in the world of Shroud of the Avatar?  Because if PvP is limited to the sandbox experience only, then that's just a missed opportunity to weave players and especially their interaction with each other,  into the fabric of the story.


  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26

    Superconductin: Great questions:

    These debates about combat style also go on INSIDE the team. Combat is SO ESSENTIAL to the fun of gameplay, we wont hesitate to revise & revamp plans till its great! We are trying the deck style as we think it may provide the active engagement vs. the stand a manage DOT that most MMOs suffer from. We will see.

    Skills right now, as you noted earn POINTS you can invest in any additional skills. It is NOT the UO "direct use based" system (at least at this time), we felt the direct method of UO forced people to do boring repeatitive activities they really didn;t want to do on the way to high skill. We are trying to 1) make no moment of skill use boring, and 2) allow you to grow without repeated behaviors.

  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26
    Astrobia, While I am VERY excited about the sophistication of the new conversation system, it clearly needs and will get a variety of improvements. Its too hard to knwo what to do when still as "calls to action" are not yet clear. and I also think a shortcut way of clicking on the highlighted key words would be a good addition!
  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26
    Astrobia, I too think I am liking this new "cloth map" version of the travel map! Right now you only see yourself, but fear not, you will soon see party members, guild mates, conflict zones and pop up battles as we get it better refined. Frankly we barely got this in for this update. This update has been harder than any so far! We hope that trend does not continue... but this is game development!
  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26

    Jtripper: the PvP is FULLY integrated into the MAIN story! it is NOT leader board or such driven.

    While I don't want to TIP the story, know that good and evil PvP both exist in game, and both are essential to the main story! Though hard core PvE'ers will neither be forced into PvP, NOR feel like they have missed without being PvP.

    Hard to believe I know... and we may striggle with it, but I think the core of the game / story makes it work... We will see!

  • rgarriottrgarriott Lord BritishMember UncommonPosts: 26

    It is both my HOPE and BELIEF that we can pull into a modern game, the best of UO and U1-9,

    UO (pre-Trammel-Felucca) remains a very unique style of open world. The pressure to split the world was because the anti-social aspects of some features drove off new players and PvE players. We think we can relieve those pressures without splitting up the audience to the greater happiness of both, Then throw in some real virtue quests and a deeply interactive world, and deeply interdependent skill areas... and Ta Da "Shroud of the Avatar!"



  • superconductingsuperconducting Member UncommonPosts: 871

    Ok, this is a simple one:

    More of a sandbox or themepark?


    Regarding housing,

    Will there be more land plots available after they eventually sell out?

    I guess what I'm trying to figure out is, will there always be a housing plot available if the time comes?

This discussion has been closed.