Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

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.

This is my take - Chris Spears wanted to keep going and probably gets enough income to keep working on it as a one man show plus some contractors, while Lord British and Starr Long were ready to get out. Whether they wasn’t enough likelihood of enough profit for those two, they were just tired of it, or want to move to a new entity to limit future legal issues (doubtful if any would happen, but who knows), only time will tell.

The announcement says Richard will still be involved, but Spears has contorted himself a bit in his forum posts and twitch streams to “not say anything that my attorneys haven’t cleared”, but has said Richard and Starr are not employees of the new company. So like, maybe they show up in game for events once in a while, but Richard seems to be officially out from an ownership and employment perspective.

Oh, and the day after this announcement, the company announced that a key missing kickstarter reward, a signed copy of a SotA book written by Tracy Hickman and Richard, will not be fulfilled. Backers will get a lame in game item instead. Portalarium had been dodging commenting on the status of the book for well over a year; awfully convenient to be able to come to a resolution only a day after SotA was sold; no legal CYA at all here folks, nope :)

That’s just wrong.

That’s just unfair! Maybe the book was so atrociously bad they did it as one last mercy to their fanbase? :)

In all honesty, I don’t recall any lore from Shroud of the Avatar. Humans hate elves or something, maybe? That’s about it. I have no idea how you’d make a book out of it.

Ha! The book was released by Tor as “The Sword of Midras”, so it actually exists. The culling of the KS reward announcement says Portalarium “couldn’t reach an agreement with the publisher”. In other words, Tor probably was going to make them pay full price for each copy of the book (around 4,000 people are owed them). Add that in to logistics to get them all signed by Tracy and Garriott, plus shipping (that mentioned up thread, Port is really bad at), and likely it is a case of “this will cost us $50,000-$100,000, so just back out of it. The people still playing won’t care if so long as they get an in game shiny, and really, who cares about keeping our word to all of the other backers who left us? Oh, and transfer the assets of the company to a new entity before disclosing this…”

This reward, you had to be above the $200 pledge level to get, btw.

File my experience on this one as “never dive into something coming from a childhood hero” - should have kept those fond Ultima memories pure, as Richard Garriott’s activity (or lack of it) in this one are pretty awful.

Hah, I didn’t realize the book existed. Jokes aside, that really is pretty shitty. Probably didn’t have a choice at this point, but still.