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Default Shroud of the Avatar - Update #10, Selective Multi-player

March 18th, 2013, 07:33
Why not list all the things that are speaking in favour of SotA as a game (= single player game, contrary to MMO grinding/ crafting simulator):

- there's a classless system

- there are bad guys

- the bad guys have an agenda and you have to find out what it is


plz feel free to contribute

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March 18th, 2013, 09:07
The difference between the likes of InXile and Obsidian and the likes of Portalarium in a nutshell (And the main reason why Portalarium will never see a penny of my money):

InXile: 24 projects backed
Obsidian: 36 projects backed
Portalarium: 0 projects backed

That and Facebook games. Okay, as far as simplistic cashgrabs go, InXile has Choplifter, but unlike Ultimate Collector it's still an actual game, not a carrot before a mindless Facebook mule.
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March 18th, 2013, 10:38
The essential problem, as I see it, that is confusing people is that the game is trying to be two things that are incompatible:

1) It is an MMO with a persistent single instance world, where any changes or progression in the world are visible to everyone in the game. This follows, for instance, from their description of player housing. i.e. only one person in the entire game will own a particular house on a particular site - everyone will be able to see that house.

2) They want to make a more personal game where individual players make decisions that have world changing effects. And that is clearly not possible in 1).

Up to this latest update there has been little information on how these two approaches are going to be reconciled. And in fact the only way possible appears to be to have two essentially separate games - so that you play out your own story in a separate personal story instance. i.e. "Some parts of the main storyline quests may temporarily force the player into SPO mode for some parts of the quest."

This distinction isn't new - it was exactly what both SWTOR and Guild Wars 2 did with personal story elements. Both in somewhat different ways, but with essentially the same result.

All Sota had to do was to say that this was what they were doing and explain how they intended to do it. As of now things are still substantially unclear: What happens, for instance, if you are playing with friends and you reach a story branch point where your decision matters? Can you play the full story together with friends (how many?) and stay synched so that you all participate in the decisions? etc.

In my opinion, which may be wrong, they hadn't at the start of the campaign considered these fundamental issues in any depth and I'm not sure they are really addressing them now. Or it may be that they don't want to publish any detailed explanations that may change during development, since even minor iterations can cause huge negative reactions from fans. I can certainly sympathise with that.

IMOP if they are really trying to make a more personal (solo/friends) game than other full scale MMOs (a good idea I think) they should scrap things like player housing (or at least instance them and rent???), since this is surely one of the things that is contorting this (early) design.
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March 18th, 2013, 15:20
Originally Posted by tolknaz View Post
The difference between the likes of InXile and Obsidian and the likes of Portalarium in a nutshell (And the main reason why Portalarium will never see a penny of my money):

InXile: 24 projects backed
Obsidian: 36 projects backed
Portalarium: 0 projects backed

That and Facebook games. Okay, as far as simplistic cashgrabs go, InXile has Choplifter, but unlike Ultimate Collector it's still an actual game, not a carrot before a mindless Facebook mule.
Well you are wrong to be honest. They have already stated they created the Portalarium account to run this kickstarter, it doesn't mean they haven't supported other kickstarters. As matter of fact he has supported 12.

http://www.kickstarter.com/profile/788463773

I guess because they created a new account they will never see any of your money, interested to see what the next reason is.

As for the other simplified response as to what is a single player rpg and what this game has that makes it interesting.

-Tracey Hickman (for some reason many of you here don't know who this is) writing
-A karma system.
-An interesting new combat system
- while we don't know a lot about the story, and honestly at this point we shouldn't, there has been a tidbit put out there that did look interesting.

@roq I don't think they are going for that kind of MMO idea, like starwars. I think they are going for the ability to have the map change with things going on where the player can see changes in the overall map. I'm also quite sure they didn't just whip this up and decide to throw it on kickstarter since they have had more actual game visuals (albeit not finished ones) then most kickstarters. I think they have had a hard time explaining what they want to do exactly.
-

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March 18th, 2013, 15:40
So last night they added more of some of the limited pledges they had run out of… but only the $3500 and $10,000 levels. Oh well.
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March 18th, 2013, 15:48
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
-Tracey Hickman (for some reason many of you here don't know who this is) writing
While I LOVE Death Gate, I can't follow the "ZOMG ITZ TEH HICKMAN" hype. Show me something that resembles a story first.

-A karma system.
Has been hinted at, but has never been explained in detail, and that's important because there are so many ways it could be sucky; like, steal from peasants but have it bite you in the ass 20 hours later on the other side of the world.

Slightly related to this, did any of the Garriott offline Ultima's even have factions? I don't think so (Underworld sort of had them IIRC).

-An interesting new combat system
Ultima 7 had a shit combat system, but it was a very enjoyable game. I'd definitely say this is more important to the MMO crowd.

- while we don't know a lot about the story, and honestly at this point we shouldn't
Uh, I think some pointers on who you are and why you're there and what's going on is definitely high up on the list of things I want to know when I'm backing an RPG.

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March 18th, 2013, 16:03
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
While I LOVE Death Gate, I can't follow the "ZOMG ITZ TEH HICKMAN" hype. Show me something that resembles a story first.



Has been hinted at, but has never been explained in detail, and that's important because there are so many ways it could be sucky; like, steal from peasants but have it bite you in the ass 20 hours later on the other side of the world.

Slightly related to this, did any of the Garriott offline Ultima's even have factions? I don't think so (Underworld sort of had them IIRC).


Ultima 7 had a shit combat system, but it was a very enjoyable game. I'd definitely say this is more important to the MMO crowd.



Uh, I think some pointers on who you are and why you're there and what's going on is definitely high up on the list of things I want to know when I'm backing an RPG.
See I knew before even said anything this sarcastic tone would be the result. We don't know a lot about the story, which is not unusual for Garriott. Then again we didn't know a lot about the story for many other kickstarters too. Shadowrun just kept referring back to the table top game, wastelands 2 referred to the first game.

So because ultima 7 had crap combat, a new combat system is more for the mmo crowd? Seriously? Um, no.

We do know there have been pictures of shrines and moongates in their info so far, there has also been talks of a meteorite storm hitting the land.

We also know that Richard has been pretty minimalist when it comes to stats. So it would be cool to get an update on that.

Regardless, I think they need more info into the lore a bit more, I am interested in learning more myself.

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March 18th, 2013, 16:58
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
We don't know a lot about the story, which is not unusual for Garriott. Then again we didn't know a lot about the story for many other kickstarters too.
All 3 RPGs I've backed (Project: Eternity, Tides of Numenera and Grimoire) gave you a short synopsis of the story. It's really key in a story-driven game, am i rite?

So because ultima 7 had crap combat, a new combat system is more for the mmo crowd? Seriously? Um, no.
nice,
what I meant was that combat is the meat of MMO's, and despite the fact that RG also emphasizes the crafting aspect of gameplay, I think a lot of people in the more heavily multiplayer modes will spend their time fighting. It's just not as important in a single player game, if there are other things to do (which is another pertinent question - puzzles? Interactive environment?).

Regardless, I think they need more info into the lore a bit more, I am interested in learning more myself.
I'm especially looking forward to an explanation of how the technology ties into the story, or if it's just there for shits and giggles.

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March 18th, 2013, 17:10
Well we know for fact that their will be an interactive environment since they have talked from the start that if you see something they want you to be able to use it. And if his past games are taken into consideration then it is a safe bet to say there will be quite a bit.

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March 18th, 2013, 17:14
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
Well we know for fact that their will be an interactive environment since they have talked from the start that if you see something they want you to be able to use it. And if his past games are taken into consideration then it is a safe bet to say there will be quite a bit.
It wouldn't hurt to elaborate on that a bit either, though.
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March 18th, 2013, 17:17
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
It wouldn't hurt to elaborate on that a bit either, though.
Oh I agree…but I think they were trying to get the heavy questioned things out of the way first.

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March 18th, 2013, 21:35
This could actually turn out to be cool, it might be better than expected, after all.

But it'll be hard to make this the right way definetly. I am in single-player online mood… ooops where did that key go… LOL.
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March 18th, 2013, 22:13
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
This could actually turn out to be cool, it might be better than expected, after all.

But it'll be hard to make this the right way definetly. I am in single-player online mood… ooops where did that key go… LOL.
Hahah, it sounds like you are still in the days where you had to have your cd key handy…now you just contact the company on their website, I'm not sure it is even possible to lose keys anymore.

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March 18th, 2013, 23:28
Originally Posted by rune_74
As matter of fact he has supported 12.
Of which only four were videogames and perhaps more interestingly one of these four is Shroud of the Avatar. Wait, what? Is he trying to shill for his own game or something? If he simply wants to invest in it i'd imagine he can easily do so without kickstarter fees.

Originally Posted by rune_74
-Tracey Hickman (for some reason many of you here don't know who this is) writing
I was never into Dragonlance that much. Although these novels are much better, than the average TSR licensed high fantasy drivel, that's not saying much to be honest. They're nowhere near the quality of Zelazny, Martin, Erikson, Abercrombie, Hobb etc.

Originally Posted by rune_74
- while we don't know a lot about the story, and honestly at this point we shouldn't, there has been a tidbit put out there that did look interesting.
Why? Supposedly the game has been in production a much longer than Torment yet there's a LOT more info about Torment's story available.
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March 18th, 2013, 23:32
Originally Posted by tolknaz View Post
Of which only four were videogames and perhaps more interestingly one of these four is Shroud of the Avatar. Wait, what? Is he trying to shill for his own game or something? If he simply wants to invest in it i'd imagine he can easily do so without kickstarter fees.


I was never into Dragonlance that much. Although these novels are much better, than the average TSR licensed high fantasy drivel, that's not saying much to be honest. They're nowhere near the quality of Zelazny, Martin, Erikson, Abercrombie, Hobb etc.


Why? Supposedly the game has been in production a much longer than Torment yet there's a LOT more info about Torment's story available.

Goal posts moved. Doesn't matter what he backed, he did back things, as well as his own game, but who cares? I know you do

Why shouldn't we know more about the story? Because I don't want to? I prefer to have the game surprise me then have it handed out to me on a platter.

Having a good writer for a game is a bonus no matter how you try and spin it. Keep going though, I'm sure you will find something new.

BTW, they are 7 thousand away from making it, I'm ok with it…actually pretty damn happy about it.

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March 19th, 2013, 01:55
There's really less hostility to this than I expected. For several years some people have drawn a very solid line in the against anything multiplayer and so after reading the announcement I was expecting people to start cutting themselves with knives to Moloch over this.

Rune I think you are getting trolled. If they're against this so much why go on and on and on. Just move on.

I do find myself thinking it odd that people are justifying that Obsidian needs the dollars where Garriot doesn't. Neither of them need the money - they can both get backers elsewhere. You know who could use the money? Haiti. But Haiti doesn't make video games for us do they?

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March 19th, 2013, 03:20
Well, I'm happy it reached it's goal….

LB:

Greetings and Salutations from Lord British!

On behalf of my team, I want to sincerely thank all of you for pledging your support for Shroud of the Avatar and deciding to embark on this journey with me. We have been inspired by the passion this community has shown for this project, and are thrilled by the wealth of feedback and suggestions we have already received in such a short time. And we are only just beginning! I feel confident that, with all of you beside me on this journey, Shroud of the Avatar will pave the way for a whole new generation of great role-playing games!

Richard "Lord British" Garriott

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March 19th, 2013, 04:50
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
I do find myself thinking it odd that people are justifying that Obsidian needs the dollars where Garriot doesn't. Neither of them need the money - they can both get backers elsewhere. You know who could use the money? Haiti. But Haiti doesn't make video games for us do they?
I do find myself thinking it odd that people cast discussing this - the effects on planning/execution that might be seen with the primary need for the kickstarter being for generating visibility and excitement vs. raw money to fund a project -as justifying one project while labeling the other as undeserving.

There is a difference in the reason the two companies went on kickstarter. Yes there are some who conflate their different reasons for being on kickstarter with one deserving to be there and the other not. Disagreeing with the judgment of their motivations being different in terms of one being more or less justifiable does not require pretending they're exactly the same things. Lord British doesn't need your money to make the game, but I'm sure it helps. Obsidian doesn't really need the engaged and active community of people who've already given them their money, but I'm sure they don't mind having it. They just needed different things to achieve their goals.

Obsidian's goal is an infinity engine style RPG in an original setting free from publisher-friendly established IPs, metacritic-tied bonuses, and the reluctance of those other sorts of backers to put non-trivial kinds of money on something that doesn't sound like a AAA blockbuster or provide opportunities for monetization such as microtransactions. To happen that needs the money from a massive kickstarter first and foremost.

Lord British's goal - more of a longer term vision - is a thriving and engaged player base which grows out of a successor to the best of the classic Ultimas to provide opportunities for the kinds of online social RPG experiences that Richard Garriot has consistently described as being the thing that keeps him interested in making games. The game itself as a deliverable - he's got the money for that and he's been pretty up-front about funding not being a problem. But he also needs the kind of engaged, emotionally invested community that comes with a massively succesful kickstarter for that game - amazing or not - to the volume and staying power to create the social experience he's interested in. He also needs the excitement and publicity these kickstarters generate since even though I think he's absolutely serious about delivering a game that the most die hard ultima 7 fans will love, he also is going to need to attract a larger player base because I think too many of us might not be interested enough in the online parts to create a thriving and long-lived social RPG he'd like to see.

And why it matters? Well I think that because he was more interested in getting that kickstarter community and the visibility, they may have neglected how driving fast moving funding totals high and and doing so early plays into the visibility part. To that extent I think that because they weren't particularly worried that they wouldn't get enough money, they didn't spend enough time worrying about how to structure things like pledges to drive the headline-grabbing totals that help get the free publicity and they didn't offer low-enough priced unlimited tiers to drive the numbers of backers Garriot might end up wanting to ensure there's enough of us giving the social part he really wants to be loved a chance.

I lament the missed opportunity that represents. I really think that with maybe a little more planning in terms of competitive pledge tier structuring compared to projects with an overlapping audience, they could have at least come a lot closer to records. Even the way the helped make up some of the last 50k they had to their goal - by adding more 10k and new 3.5k slots instead of ones that would attract thousands more ordinary backers - seems like maybe there was a more effective strategy. I am confident he intends to put out a game that even those with no interest in the multiplayer will thoroughly enjoy. I also kind of think that if it doesn't get the headlines and publicity and large diverse backer community and post launch sales needed to keep a thriving online presence past 6 months after launch, it might crush him to if it looks like the thing he's really excited for and has been talking about in one way or another since ultima online is the part the fans weren't interested in.
Last edited by jhwisner; March 19th, 2013 at 05:08.
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March 19th, 2013, 13:08
Originally Posted by jhwisner View Post
The game itself as a deliverable - he's got the money for that and he's been pretty up-front about funding not being a problem.
'xcuse me? Just following the kickstarter and looking around on the official website, I didn't find a sign anywhere that said "we have all the money we need, thank you. Do donate if it makes you feel better". I only realized he already had the money when somebody pointed out a magazine article to me.

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March 19th, 2013, 13:46
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
'xcuse me? Just following the kickstarter and looking around on the official website, I didn't find a sign anywhere that said "we have all the money we need, thank you. Do donate if it makes you feel better". I only realized he already had the money when somebody pointed out a magazine article to me.
It says under the Q & A section that Garriott has already invested a substantial amount in the project and will likely invest a substantial amount more than is raised by the Kickstarter. It's definitely there.
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