It’s a Shroud of the Avatar Weekend – or rather a Shroud of the Avatar Week if you have the Dev+ Access. I jumped in early to stake my claim to a house, in Port Mirren again and checked out some of the new features of the game. The first thing I noticed are the crazy Horned Devil’s lurking around the place to announce where a new PvP area has been set up. This completely threw me off when I walked into the armor shop and saw what looked to be Satan standing in the corner. There was another down by  the docks in Kingsport. That is one creepy looking tour guide! And what’s the deal with all the cats wandering around? Familiars?

I jumped in and got some quests done so I could build up some cash and get some decent armor. The last time around I spent all my time in rags and got beat up far too often. This time I plan to do a little better.

I haven’t played nearly enough, but I’m going to say that I HATE the new combat system. It absolutely sucks! This random card deck nonsense has to go. The way it worked in Release 7 was so much better. First, it’s utterly confusing and second, I don’t want to wait for random spell to come up in the little tile deck. That’s so damn annoying. I suppose you can make it work the previous way using the “lock” function and the Focus attribute, but damn. They took something that was coming together quite nicely and, at least to me, worked quite effectively and just butchered the hell out of it. Maybe I need to work with it some more to get used to it, but damn, it shouldn’t be this hard or involved. The combat system feels more broken than ever!

I won’t have much time to play this weekend, it’s a work weekend for me, but I would like to try and get more quests completed or at least discovered and spend more time talking to the different NPCs in the game. I want to dig deeper into Braemar and visit several of the towns I’ve skipped over so far. I’m not a big fan of PvP, but curiosity will get the better of me and once I get some decent armor and weapons I want to see what’s going on in this new areas. I have no doubt I will be face down in the dirt in mere seconds, but what else could possibly go wrong?

Here are some screenshots of the houses in Port Mirren and Satan himself standing around on the docks. If you notice in one of them I asked a couple of goofy questions to Lord Enmar just to see what the answer would be. Seems he’s a fan of bacon, has played Ultima once or twice and has heard of Lord British, but says he hasn’t been around in awhile. Of course this make me wonder what other questions I can ask?

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

I didn’t have much time to play last night, but I did manage to make it over to the player island off the coast of Kingsport. I believe it’s called Port Mifflin and it was pretty spectacular. It’s very tropical with lots of sandy coastline, palm trees, hills and cliffs, and plenty of lush looking shrubs and bushes. I liked it so much I found myself a lofty hilltop and placed my house. I walked along the beach and place the lighthouse, but as I kept exploring and climbing I found a clearing that looks out over the sea. That is where I wish to call home. If you get a chance, head down to Kingsport and jump into one of the boats labeled “ferry” and you’ll be whisked over there. I have some screenshots below of what it looks like.

I’ve been debating where to live when the game is finally live. Owl’s Head is out because everyone is going to scramble there. Kingsport is my next choice, but those lots go pretty quick as I have come to see. However, after seeing this new player island I’m pretty sure that’s where I want to go. Going to have to see if this will be in the final game and what size lots are offered. I’ve been debating buying a Village so I wonder if I could this place as my player town. That would be awesome and it would assure a spectacular view.

Hopefully I’ll have a chance to try and explore some more tonight, but time is short this weekend. I still want to check out Ravensmoor and see the new graphics.SotA_06-27-14_20-42_1SotA_06-27-14_20-43_1SotA_06-27-14_20-44_1SotA_06-27-14_20-59_1

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Here we are for Release 7 of Shroud of the Avatar. The game is open from 6/26-6/29 and there are quite a few new features to check out. First thing I noticed is the new overland map. It does indeed have a 3D look to it with more textured terrain, trees and water effects. Is it me or does movement seem a little slower these days? Perhaps that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Travelling to Kingsport took a little longer than normal, but it’s not bad. Nor is it completed. Before anyone gets all bent out of shape, this isn’t the final product and more work needs to be done. Hey, it’s a start.

I’ve had some problems with getting the updates installed. It worked fine in the morning, but when the next update came out I had real problems. It kept saying the disk was full even though I had over 670GB free. I was able to manually extract the files and copy them into the root SotA folder and kick start the update. It’s worked fine from there. Sort of.

I’ve run into LOTS of hangs when switching between scenes. I get to 90-94%, but it won’t go any further. I see a couple notes in the forums so it’s not just me. Hopefully that will get sorted out pretty soon. Kind of disappointing since everything seemed to work so well during the week of E3. Oh well, not like this game is still under development or anything. 🙂

However, when the game has been running I’ve made a fair bit or progress. It should come as no surprise that both Owl’s Head and Kingsport were full with no house plots available. I went with the standby and made a home for myself in Owl’s Wash. Plenty of good lots out there. And what a selection of homes to look at too. There is the new Knight house as well as the Pavilion, Wizard’s, Edelmann, Viking and everything in between. I did stand in awe of the castle in Owl’s Head. It’s kinda big!

As far as the game goes, I did notice a few changes. The citizens are now listed as Villager, Dockworker, Merchant, Guard, etc. They don’t have names until you talk to them and ask their name. That’s an interesting change. For example, you won’t know which guy in the tavern is Morton until you ask a couple people and find him. Nice touch.

I found a couple new quests this time around. I found another buyer for the Cave Wrasse eggs, so there is a reason to grab more than one. Erin isn’t the only one looking to sell those off in Kingsport. I also went to a new area, the Graff Gem Mines. I haven’t seen this area before and it’s not where I was expecting the lunar rift to take me – Imagine my surprise when I didn’t end up in Kingsport. But, it was quite neat looking and not only did I get to try my resource gathering skills, I made off with some nice gems and bagged a fair bit of gold. From what I understand the gems will “grow” back so I’ll have to head back there and see if that’s true. I’m not really sure you can harvest money like that, but I’m willing to give it a try.

Another new aspect is the 64 bit version of the game. When in the launcher, click Options and select to use the 64 bit version of the game. It’s a manual process, the installer doesn’t detect which OS you’re working with or make changes. I’m not sure the 64 bit version if working any better, but I’m going to give it a go.

It’s been a bit of a rocky start, but that’s the way it goes. I’m sure it’ll get sorted out. I’m looking forward to finding new quests and talking with more citizens. I desperately need to find some armor. I was all suited up by the end of my last session. Hopefully, I will find the right chest on my next adventure. I’m feeling a bit underdressed.

I’m also anxious to see these new water lots although I’m not quite sure where they are. I also need to check out the new Ravensmoor Dungeon to see the rework graphics and new entrance.

So much to see and do. It’s going to be a fun weekend!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Oh my goodness, what a week it’s been. I don’t know about you, but I had one hell of a time playing Shroud of the Avatar all week. It was quite a thrill to jump into the world to search for quests and find new characters to talk to. And I made quite a bit of progress too – as you can tell by the whimsical little narrative of my adventures. I managed to get several quests and walked away with a ton of loot. Or at least a ton of loot for me. I have no idea what’s considered a lot of money in this game. But it was enough to put up my house and buy plenty of decorations. Rugs, fountains, chairs, stools, lanterns and paintings were all easy to find, but where the devil  are the tables? How can I create a table setting for 12 when I can’t find the bloody table? I can have a Lord Throne, but no table? Come on!

Anyway, the game ran damn near perfectly this past week. I barely had a crash or disconnect. I think I played for several hours in a row before shutting down the game myself to take care of chores and get ready for work the next day.

I did manage to find the sewers, explore several caves, loot plenty of gold and die plenty of times. Holy hell, that Lich is a bitch! Is it even possible to defeat that guy without being in a group? That guy is hard to target as well. I kept clicking the wrong area and losing my selection.

One thing I have seen written time and time again is how the graphics aren’t up to par. What are they talking about? Sure, there are a few glitches and perhaps a bit dark at times, but I’m quite pleased with how the game looks. It’s what I would expect an adventure game to look like. Did I not turn up the detail enough or are my standards just really low? I’d be perfectly happy to play the completed game if it looked like this.

I did find some glitches in the quests, but I guess that’s to be expected – I don’t think everything is hooked up yet. Even in it’s current state I found it all extremely enjoyable. The hours ticked by without me even noticing as I loaded up on ectoplasm or found healing herbs for Norman or talked with Kelly of the Red Sash Bandits. Is it wrong I took great pleasure in dispatching Nestor? And seriously, what kind of name is Nestor for a sinister character in your game?

I sort of had my doubts as to whether or not this game would really be the type of thing I would sit down and play on a regular basis. Remember, MMOs ain’t my thing. But I’m totally hooked on SotA. I can’t wait to get deeper into the story and work on more quests. This is the Ultima I remember and it’s coming together nicely. I said housing isn’t my thing, but I admit to getting into the spirit of it. I won’t call myself a crafter like the fine folks of PaxLair, but hanging out at my house to place some decorations was pretty cool. I really think we’re heading in the right direction and can’t wait to see Release 7.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

I have no more want for battle, but I do have a want for ale. I took my respite at the Hearth of Britannia down in Kingsport, the beautiful city by the sea. I found great comfort in that small tavern talking to Abbott and listening to the Bard. Many complain of his less than musical ways, but I found it a worthwhile distraction. The hot meal and liberal supply of strong ale lifted my spirits immensely. I found myself enjoying the sea breeze and the warm glow of the lanterns as night fell over the town. I began to feel a peace that almost made me forget that the tunnels right below us are littered with the undead.

As my mind wandered, I overhead the conversation of Erin the Guildmaster who made comment about the Cave Wrasse and if the rumors were true. Yet again, curiosity got the better of me and I walked next door to inquire. We’d spoken before on one of my previous visits and she asked if I’d brought any of my crafting work for her to inspect. I explained I would soon make something quite grand, but pressed her for more details about the Cave Wrasse. Her eyes lit up and she quickly changed the subject. She explained that the egg from the Wrasse is quite valuable and if she was able to acquire one it would financially help support the guild. We talked a few more minutes and with the promise of a handsome reward I agreed to take up the quest. Erin pointed me in the general direction of the caves and wished me luck. I believe I’m getting a taste for money.

I spent the rest of the evening at the Hearth of Britannia listening to the waves crash against the rocky shoreline, the sound of the bard in the background and holding a mug of beer by my side. Perhaps it was the ale, but it all felt strangely comfortable for me. I enjoyed the company of these people and they seemed to accept me with relative ease – buying a couple of rounds for everyone seems to help. There would be the occasional slip of “outlander”, but it was easily forgotten. When I’d had my fill, I let a room from the innkeeper and felt a calm that let me sleep easily.

In the morning I set off for the caves. I took the provisions prepared by the innkeeper and headed southwest. My mood seemed lighter and memories of the past few days have begun to dull. I strode to the cave entrance with renewed purpose and found myself bathed in mysterious hues of purple and green. What manner of caves are these? Do precious gems line the walls? If they do, I cannot seem to locate them.

The tunnels opened into a large cavern and there before me a swarm of Cave Wrasse muddled around. They are ugly creatures to be sure. And smelly as they thrashed around in murky water. In the center of the cavern as though waiting to be taken was a cluster of their eggs. They seemed to emit a green glow and were surprisingly heavy. It was calm until I went for the first egg then the Wrasse became distressed at my actions. I quelled their anger with fire and steel. They don’t pose nearly the threat their looks would imply.

I gathered my bounty, but took more time to explore the cave. I’m not the only one out here gathering eggs. The kobolds have them boxed up as though prepared for shipment. Are they involved in some sort of trade? How valuable are these eggs? Does this have anything to do with the smugglers or bandits?

The kobolds didn’t like my poking around nor did they tolerate my attempts to take their bounty. They tend to attack in groups, but are slow and easily avoided. I caused great injury to several of them before taking my leave. There was no need to carry more eggs, I had more than Erin asked for as it was.

I easily wound my way back to the surface and returned to Kingsport in short order. Even though I had multiple eggs in my inventory, Erin only wanted one. But she did pay me handsomely for it. I collected several hundreds more coins of gold for the effort. My gold coffers are beginning to overflow. Being helpful in this town has certainly rewarded me.

I felt that was enough adventure for the time being. I’ve made a great deal of money and want to take some time to enjoy it. I will keep an ear out for another task where I can be useful, but for now, another mug of ale and another bowl of mutton.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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