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The good, the bad and the inevitable.

What is the state of Shroud of the Avatar?

The Good.

1. Most improvements have been made in the field of graphics, animation and VFX. Even though they are not perfect, I think they are no longer in a state that stops people from trying the game by just looking at it anymore.

2. Their Combat has improved a lot. The deck system is unique enough to give the game its own feel, and with the Heat system more in line of what people are used to in terms of MMOs.

3. Balance will probably always be an issue, also the skill leveling system and decay need some tweaking here and there, but overall one has to acknowledge they went into the right direction with the changes they made.

4. SotA's housing is simply one of the best I encountered in any MMO today. It is probably the closest feature to Ultima Online in the whole game.

5. Personal Investment

The game has lots of potential... and that is what the game is currently driving on. The believe it is going to be good and can give us back the nostalgic feel we had when playing UO or any of the old Ultimas...and frankly the money people spent on it creates commitment...

Which leads us to....

The Bad.

1. Personal Investment

Nearly all people I play with admit they wouldn't be playing the game if they hadn't invested so much in it. Biggest vocal supporters of the game left after they cashed out. I took my break from the game after I made all my money back by selling in-game Gold via the marketplace...

This is probably the number one issue Portalarium underestimated. Crowdfunding in that form had hardly been done before, and letting people spend more money than they probably should out of nostalgia of a video game they played, can always lead to frustration if expectations aren't met.

They did the worst job ever on communicating with the part of the community that was not happy with what they were doing and instead alienated a huge part of the community from their own communication channels.

The issue still persist, and this wound has festered so much that it will always leave a scar on anything Portalarium does.

2. Lack of Design

Over the years it has become clear that the game wasn't designed when the Kickstarter was made. It is not clear up to this day how the features that are mentioned in their 2 year plan, will look like.

If you take a look at Stealing, Guild Wars or any other feature they implemented you see that it is technically there, but there is zero depth behind it. Of course almost all features get fleshed out over time, however in a sandbox they need to intertwine, and this needs proper design and pre-planning.

So far they strung together some mini game like features, which are quite the opposite of sandbox gameplay that their backers expected. If people would know what they get long term, they are willing to wait for it, and frankly they could take part in discussing the feature beforehand. In SotA they implemented features like Artifacts out of nowhere, without anyone having a chance to give their input on the feature.

3. Playerbase

Shroud has a very small but committed player-base. While their passion for the game is great, most of them fail to realize that they are not marketable and no longer relevant anymore to the success of the neither by the way... I am probably playing after all ;)
Shroud needs constantly fresh blood and an increasing number of players overall. And I am sure they are not coming for the dance parties :P

4. Teleshopping

I have to cut Berek some slack. I talked to him and we had a very good discussion. But while I understand the need for him to advertise the cash shop, it certainly wouldn't hurt to have more events that promote gameplay mechanics or ingame story. Let Lord British give us a tour in Castle Brittania or rally us to fight a huge dragon... Do a Bloodbay event again. Doesn't matter, but not teleshopping every friday, ok?

The Inevitable.

Release. Yep it will come. And it will be a D-Day for Shroud...


  1. I love your criticism of the game. It's well thought out. It gets me to think. Not like a lot of other people on the SotA forums that sort of keep kicking a dead horse. We get it. We know who they are. If I were to say one bad thing about you, something negative, but take it as constructive, is that you kind of are in their camp. So it's like you lend credence to their griping. What I complain about is the griping, not about the grievance. You sir (or madam) spell out the grievance really well.

  2. Ok, I jumped the gun. I was so giddy about how you seemed reasonable (you still do) before finishing reading #3 and #4 on your list of "Cons".

    On #3: I agree with you somewhat. Any game has a percentage of churning playerbase. This is the playerbase that is transient. They rarely if ever settle. They are passing through. All games need this. I guess Shroud's is higher than most.

    But...the existing playerbase is important to. You, me, others more hardcore than me. The game needs that. Yes, the game needs to sustain that. I won't play forever if the game isn't fitting my needs. This is the part of the playerbase that has to, and can be, grown. It needs to be added to. And a lot of the points you make hit the mark on the changes needed (I speak of a lot of the forum stuff you post, not just here).

    On #4: Again, I agree somewhat. Berek, Darkstarr, Chris and even LB himself are just FOUR PEOPLE. I know for a fact if we got a huge amount of the playerbase getting events out there that any combination of the four would join in and participate to help promote (I suspect out of the four, Darkstarr is the least likely to appear - this is just anecdotal as he is the only one I have NEVER seen in-game).

    What this requires is the existing population getting things together to help promote the game. It's not a sandbox if the developers keep giving us content. That's a themepark. :)

    1. Yes very much so :) I think enabling the players do make the content is always the best.

      I talked a lot with Chris lately and when he found time to respond, he said that we will see more UOish stuff after they have finished the work on the single player part of the game.

      My Point 3 wasn't meant to shut anyone out. As you said we need to bring more people together. People are not grouping if there is no incentive to it in PVE or PVP.

      I have a thread in the official forums to make PVE/PVP more "meaningful" in terms of purpose to do things in game.

      Check it out! Thanks for your feedback.


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