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Not-Ultima Online 2: Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter is Live

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Not-Ultima Online 2: Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter is Live

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 8 March 2013, 18:49:40

Tags: Portalarium; Richard Garriott; Shrouds of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

As promised, Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Kickstarter launched today. It's...well, it's Ultima Online 2, basically. The funding goal is $1,000,000 and the delivery date is October 2014. The cheapest tier that will get you the game is an early bird tier priced at $25, followed by an unlimited $40 tier, which I would say is a tad on the expensive side. Here's the summary of the game's goals and features:

Richard Garriott guided the Ultima Series from its inception in 1980, through the "trilogy-of-trilogies" of solo player games and later, the highly successful Ultima Online. Under his leadership, RPG's evolved from simple dungeon crawls to immersive worlds where you could easily suspend your disbelief. You cared about the world and its people, and you cared about the actions and deeds you accomplished within that world.

Since then, most every other RPG has focused more on level grinding then “role playing”, which has been reduced to a few initial character choices. While advancements in graphics and sound have been phenomenal, in many ways the virtual worlds we play in have become less real. Less open. Less immersive.

With Shroud of the Avatar, Richard and his team will again reinvent the classic fantasy role-playing experience. Using state-of-the-art tools and technology, the game will focus on what made his seminal Ultima Series great. Once players are introduced to the game, they will discover their own story woven into the immersive world and lore surrounding them. Players may choose to follow the life of the adventurer or, if they prefer, focus on exploration and discovery. Players may even choose the life of a homesteader; either nestled within the safety of the settled lands, or on the dangerous but potentially lucrative frontier. The world is full of opportunities and challenges!

The familiar psychological profiling used to create your character, organically derived game-play responses to player behavior and fundamental virtues and consequence of actions will all play a huge role in Shroud of the Avatar. Players will be free to choose their path, but must then live with the consequences of their actions.

Shroud of the Avatar general features:

From Lord British's Treatise on "What is an Ultimate RPG?":
  • Fully interactive virtual world - If it looks usable, it should do something
  • Deep original fiction - Ethical parables, cultural histories, fully developed alternate language text
  • Physical game components will be available: Cloth map, fictional manuals, trinkets
  • Multiplayer Online Game - which can also be played solo player / offline
The pitch subsequently describes the game's various features - a classless character system (like UO), extensive player housing arrangements (like UO), a complex crafting system (like UO), and "meaningful PVP that also minimizes griefing" (well, almost like UO). The game's most interesting (and non UO-like) feature is its use of a dual-scaled world, with a high-level overland map and low-level "adventure scene" instances. The look reminds me a lot of Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir.

If you'd like more information, I recommend you check out Kenneth Kully's coverage of the game's launch over at the Ultima Codex. I've received word that he will be posting various gameplay videos and other content that was supplied to him by Portalarium, Richard Garriot's company. The game also has its own dedicated website.

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