Why We're Looking Forward to Shroud of the Avatar

By Jeff Francis
Looking forward to Shroud of the Avatar

Anticipation has been building for Shroud of the Avatar since it was first announced as a Kickstarter project. Game funding for the mmorpg was extremely successful, raising almost $2 million from just over 22,000 backers and having a pledge goal of only $1 million. Since then, support has continued to pour in, and the game's website proclaims that a total of over 96,000 gamers have pledge over $4 million to the game's development. With the game just having their Release 5 alpha test, the game continues to grow and add new features. Let us examine a number of reasons why we're looking forward to Shroud of the Avatar.

Multiple Game Modes
One of the key Shroud of the Avatar features is the number of different game modes. In most mmorpg games, your only option is to play online. That's not the case with this game. You can play the game as a solo player offline or online. Two other online options is to play only with friends or in open multiplayer online. If you choose to play only with friends, you'll exist in a world of your own, unfettered by the actions of other players. If you prefer to play in the normal mmo mode, then you'll choose the open multiplayer mode to play with hordes of other people. Offline and online characters remain separate and cannot move to the other setting. Another key feature is there's no subscription. Once you buy the game, you can play forever.

Shroud of the Avatar fight

Player Housing
I've always been a huge proponent of player housing in mmo games, and Shroud of the Avatar has it in spades. The game world will have lots for sale in three different sizes: village, town, and city. Once a player buys a lot deed, they can put a house on it. The houses vary from small cottages to wizard's towers to castles. You can even purchase a basement as well. Player homes can be decorated as the player sees fit and you can invite friends to come hang out. Crafting stations can be put into homes and used by players as well. Players can sell their land deeds to other players, and they can also sell their houses independently of the land as well. Gamers have been waiting for a housing system similar to that which was originally built back in Ultima Online. Offline characters will be able to build wherever as that every lot is open to them. Online land space is limited, and player houses are not instanced, but exist in the persistent online world.

The Story
The Ultima series that was created by Richard Garriott was known for its challenging questions of ethics and morals. Some times there was no perfect yes or no decision, and the player had to live with the consequences. The same is true in Shroud of the Avatar, and it'll be interesting to see what repercussions will be felt by players as they progress through the game's story. Interacting with npcs won't just be clicking on a canned response. Instead, players will actually type responses to the npcs and have them respond. Actual conversations? Madness! The story is developed both by Lord British himself, Richard Garriott, and Tracy Hickman, renowned author and gamer who helped create Dragonlance. With this kind of talent, you know that the story will be top-notch.

Shroud of the Avatar building interior

No Classes
There are no classes in this mmo game, which is a decision that many gamers will cheer. You're free to create the type of character you truly wish in Shroud of the Avatar, whether it be noble hero, dark mercenary, or craftsman. Players will be able to craft almost anything within the game, such as consumables, equipment, and furniture. The economy will be player driven. Players will be able to choose the skills that they want and not be forced into a rigid mold. Combat is interesting in that it revolves around using decks that contain spells, combat moves, and consumables. Players can assemble multiple decks to reflect different situations and choose a particular one before combat. If you need to change decks during a fight, you'll be able to do so. Decks can reflect different roles that you want your character to fulfill, such as tanking or healing. The main point is that you're not limited to a single playing style.

As you can see, there are a number of Shroud of the Avatar features that are getting players looking forward to playing the game. The lack of a subscription, coupled with multiple modes of playing, is something that will appeal to a broad swathe of gamers. The storyline will be rich, but you can also venture through the sandbox world of the mmo if you wish. Player housing and crafting is incredibly robust, and being able to play the character you wish to play, and not one that the game wants you to play, is something that I find incredibly appealing. Shroud of the Avatar has been extremely successful with their crowdfunding for the game, and it shows that players are looking for a mix of the new and the classic. Rue New Britannia!

Apr272014

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