Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

I recently unsubscribed to their newsletter because it was too many and too frequently. Who has time to write all these updates if the company is down to a handful of staff and has no time at all. Or, are these outsourced contractors meant to squeeze (read: scam) a few more gamers? It’s sad how this has turned out.

The email updates are “written” by the executive producer of the game. But if you look closely at those frequent updates, it is almost entirely cut and paste from week to week. So it is not taking a lot of work to make those and spam them out via email.

The company used to do “stand up notes” on its forum that showed the team and what they were working on, but those have stopped, so it is hard to know exactly how many people are left working on the game. But it is thought that the executive producer, much like Richard Garriott, is largely gone and now just cranks out a few email updates, does a twitch stream once a month, and provides updates on the cash shop. He and Richard are key to the nostalgia factor, so they probably cannot ever officially leave or the remaining funds coming in would crater. But it is pretty obvious they have stopped doing material work for the game.

Latest update is that apparently the remaining team had a “shipping party” today to pull together all remaining physical packages in order to finally get them all out (including mine, according to a message I just got from support).

Hope it arrives, as I’d at least like the physical goods for old time’s sake, as the continent on the cloth map is similar to Sosaria in Ultima 1 and 3. I’ll probably at least try the game a little if I get the package.

Glad to hear that you’re finally getting your stuff. If you do try playing it, please let us know if it’s worth going back to.

Narrator says…

Yeah, yeah. I just want a new Desslock game review.

That’s awesome! So glad you are getting the physical package, it really is nice. Darn shame the game in it didn’t live up to the package, but ehhhh…

Very cool to hear you are likely to get your items now.

If you ever get in game and have any questions, give me a shout and I could probably still log on and give you some feedback. I also could make some fairly decent starter weapons and armor, if you go for metal weapons/armor, and could either make a few or hand down my backups to you if you could use an upgrade to get off your feet and see enough that you like that you want to fight stuff for a while.

To close the loop: Got’em.

Actually got 2 copies of the cloth map, for some reason. One signed by LB, and the other in the box. I also got an extra copy of the book “our epic origin”, which has a bunch of notes and maps, etc. from Garriott’s scrapbook from when he was in high school and working on Akallabeth.

I’ll probably give the game a shot on the weekend, and least to check it out. Probably offline at least initially, to play it like an old Ultima game.

That’s good news! I’m glad you eventually got what you paid for. Even though the state of the game is pretty clear, I will still be interested in hearing your impressions.

Woohoo, Congrats! I’m glad they finally made good on their agreements with you and everyone else who still had physical goods coming to them. I expect the announcement any minute now that the servers will go dark this coming weekend. “We spent the last of our operating capital on shipping collector’s boxes.”

Looking forward to reading your impressions of the game.

Unclear what this means, exactly. I suspect it’s Portalarium trying to evade some of their creditors.

Interesting. As the article points out, Chris Spears was the face of development for a while and seemed to me like the most competent of the bunch.

Calling Shroud of the Avatar flawed is being a bit generous, but there genuinely are things I like about the game. You gotta work your way through a lot of clunk and terrible performance to get to it but it’s been the only MMO that gave me a hint of what I liked about Ultima Online.

It’s Ultima Codex, them calling it flawed is a massive insult.

Oh, sorry, I actually wasn’t referring to any commentary made in the article, just expressing my own opinion on the game. The word I want to use it is “flawed” but that kinda undersells how clunky and crappy a lot of it is. I liked it despite all that, though.

I think it’s more like making sure the game survives when the company gets liquidated. Portalarium sounds like it’s done.

That wouldn’t work - it would be a Fraudulent Conveyance (transferring assets when insolvent, which is broadly defined) that would be reversed.

They never struck me as all that bright, on the business side. Anyway the story will come out sooner or later.

My guess would be that Portalarium is kaput but Spears still wanted to continue working on the game, so they sold it to him for pennies (that’s about all it’s worth, I’d imagine).

They have a core population purchasing houses and other cosmetics, so it must be worth something, but clearly not a whole heck of a lot.