As Release 5 and 6 have proven, Shroud of the Avatar is a big, complex and maybe even an overwhelming world. If you’re like me, an MMO is a completely new experience so you might need to get your bearings. Let me recap for a moment so you know where I’m coming from.
• My Ultima experience started with Ultima 3, all single player, all story driven
• I never played Ultima Online
• I’ve never played World of Warcraft or anything else that would be considered an MMO
• My online experience has been with Diablo and Diablo II and that’s because they were more like Gauntlet than anything else. It wasn’t an “open world” and you only had 8 people in a party and that’s all you saw.
So now we jump ahead to Shroud of the Avatar, a game that’s offering MMO features with complex single player story lines where you have the ability to face the hazards on your own or partner up and vanquish enemies as a group. Not only that, we have crafting, housing and Sim like characteristics. For someone like me, it makes me wonder how I’m going to survive in this world.
I’m still a single player kind of guy so seeing all these other players online is new to me, but I have found some resources and destinations that have helped ease me into this world of the MMO. And I want to say the verdict is still out on whether or not I’m totally onboard with crafting and houses. Yes, I do have a house. It’s a big one. I’ve placed it on a lot and walked around inside. Lot of room for just me. Not exactly sure what to do with it. I’m just not that good at crafting. I don’t have a keen eye for design like other people.
But anyway, over the past couple of releases I’ve managed to find some nice places to spend my time with some people that seem to have a slightly more relaxed approach to this game. I wanted to share a few of those sites as I think they could be quite beneficial as we move forward and deal with both the adventures and the living arrangements in this new world.
As a first stop, I would recommed SotaWiki.net. This is going to be a great resource as this game gets underway, not just for the crafting recipes, but for background information on characters and perhaps the occasional hint to point you in the right direction. I usually have this site open on another machine during the release. For Release 6 it helped to explain a few of the key characters in Kingsport. None of the articles gave away the story or helped me “cheat”, it was more of “if you don’t do anything else you might want to at least talk to these people”.
Next I would recommend AvatarsRadio.com. Not only does Amber Raine and her crew of DJs play some fine music and take requests, but there is the ability to chat with other listeners. Yes indeed, there is a chat on the main SotA site, but that can be a bit chatty and loud at times. Talking to a smaller, more relaxed group is easier. I tuned in during R5 and R6 and felt comfortable asking for help and guidance. It was usually a small group, but quite diverse. And they’re scattered all over the place. I had that site open in a tab next to SotaWiki during the Release. But even though the release is over, I’m still tuning in during the work day to have a chat and request some music.
Now that I have music and information it’s time to find a community to hang out with inside the game and for that I would suggest PaxLair. Interestingly enough, many of the people associated with Avatar’s Radio are looking to build homes and build a community in PaxLair. I may not have the details perfect, but the idea of PaxLair is to build up a community of home owners and non-home owners with the intent of working, living and playing together in the world of Forsaken Virtues. From what I’ve seen they plan to work together to craft goods, decorate homes, build a tavern (and thus brew beer) and hold events. When not out on quests and slaying creatures that go bump in the night, you would hang out with your neighbor for parties and to find players for your next great conquest. As I said, I’m not sure where I stand with housing and crafting, but after talking to a few people and seeing the work they’ve done, I might change my mind. You can see quite a few screenshots from my time in PaxLair for R6. I have no doubt they will be in full force for R7 in Valemark, I might try and make a land grab in their area just to see if I fit in. They have a full site over at www.paxlair.com/times
Finally, the Shroud of the Avatar forums can be a bit noisy and perhaps a little rough. There are strong opinions over there don’t ya know. While I like the Developer Forums and reading information about the game elements, some of the debates aren’t quite my cup of tea. Some of the topics seem to go on a bit long over matters that really aren’t game changers. But I digress.
I think the discussion forums over at AvatarsCircle.com might be a little more my speed. In time, I think this will be a better way to learn about the game and ask question in a more player centric environment. What you’ll notice is there is a link between AvatarsRadio, SotaWiki, AvatarsCircle and PaxLair. Many of the same people are behind the scenes for each one. They have a want or they see a need and move to do what they can to fill it. I think that’s pretty damn impressive. You can also find them on the site AvatarsPortal.com which links many of the sites together.
Oh yeah, and let’s not forget Ultima Codex, perhaps the largest collection of Ultima related material out there. Want to know something about Ultima? Yeah, they have it.
I’m sure more sites and destinations will pop up as we move ever closer to the release date for Shroud of the Avatar (whenever that might be). If you’re like me and you’re not quite sure where you fit within the grand scheme of things, I would suggest at least stopping by the sites listed above and see what you think. I have found them to be filled with light-hearted and casual souls who are willing to accept all who stop on by.
What does the future hold for me in this new realm? Well, it’s a bit too early to tell, but I will say that Shroud of the Avatar has an amazing community full of incredibly talented people who are passionate about this game. I say game, but that may not be the right word. They are passionate about this world and they’re looking to do more than just blast through a couple of quests and call it done. It’s been a pleasure to hang out, talk and play and I can only hope that continues to happen with each release.
Got any other sites to help orient those of us tryiing to blend into this new style of game?
More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia
- Welcome to the SotA Travel Guide
- Shroud of the Avatar – Release 1
- Shroud of the Avatar gets the Green Light
- Richard Garriott is back with Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues
- Some parting shots for Release 6
- Cyber Monday Telethon for Shroud of the Avatar
- Wondering about the SotA story? Progress has been made! Dev Hangout for 4/30 will feature Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott talking about the story
- Two schools of player, Ultima versus Ultima Online
- Looking for news of Shroud of the Avatar from E3?
- Shroud of the Avatar – Top 10 Priorities for Launch