Avatars,

Please read this entire message, as well as the linked instructions and known issues. 

Thank you for being a loyal backer and follower of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 49 access for all Early Access backers begins this Thursday, December 14, at 10:30 AM US Central Standard Time (15:30 UTC). 

NOTE: The last two releases of the year are much earlier in the months than normal due to the holidays (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, etc.). However, despite the brevity of this release, you will see that we still managed to get a huge amount of work done!

Release 49 is the fourth release in which we focused on our Top 10 Priorities for Launch. We continued to make strong progress on load time reductions, story polish, and creation of  new scenes. We also created more side quests and tons of other new content, including virtue armor and holiday content.

Framerate: This was the first release where we shifted most of our focus from load times to framerate improvements and we are already making great strides forward. Players on high end video cards will see the most improvements this release with 10–15 frames per second increases across the board and even double frame rate or more in some cases! We still have work to do on lower end cards, and we still have issues with the CPU, but this is a great first step!

User Interface Polish: We continued polishing the User Interface in various areas, including more information in the overworld tooltips, more in-game maps, better sorting for the compass, and much more.

Worldbuilding: Once again, a huge amount of work went into worldbuilding and scene polish this release. Two scenes were completely rebuilt (Elysium Mines and East Longfall Wetland) and over a dozen scenes got polish passes (including Blood River Outskirts, Highvale Outskirts, and Central Brittany).

Story Polish and Side Quests: We made various tweaks to the paths of Love and Courage, and improved NPCs’ “I don’t know” responses to better guide players back to the story. We continued adding more side quests across the game, including another set of quests that grant additional pieces of the new virtue armors.

NPC Behaviors: This release was the first release we were able to move from optimizing NPC behaviors to actually improving them! They range from the mundane (indoor lighting awareness) to the frustration relieving (lower heal rates and interruptibility on mage NPCs) all the way up to the spectacular (Dragons now attack more but hold their fire breath until the last half).

I want to express a huge amount of gratitude to the backers who tested the below listed items on the QA server. They found many bugs and provided editorial feedback on this post so that it is easy to read and actually matches what is in the game.

While we are getting closer to launch, we are still in a constant state of change. We do not yet have all of the in-game systems needed to inform players about these changes, and to help them to explore new content and systems. This means we rely mostly on this message, and the linked instructions and known issues to convey the current game state. We regularly have to answer questions or filter bug reports because some players elect not to read this valuable information. By taking a few moments to read through this information, a great deal of our time and efforts can be redirected to focus on new “unanswered” questions and addressing critical issues impacting each release. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to review this post and for all the truly valuable feedback you continue to provide.

Also, remember that while we are providing new content with each release, our community is also working overtime to make new events for you to enjoy. Be sure to check out the player-run events in one of the calendars (via in-game book or the player-run website: Avatars Circle). You can also get the latest official events on the Main Website.

Without further ado, here is a list of what you can expect to see in Release 49.

Key:

RELEASE 49, December 14, 2017 

So, now that it is clear what you can expect, we should also be as clear about what you should NOT expect:

As Lord British often says: “80% of the quality of a game goes in during the last 20% of the development.” We are in that final 20% right now. Be warned that this is a time of great change, but also a time of great improvement! In addition to completing the last few deliverables, the important work ahead of us is refining and tuning the feel of the game. If you are not yet “feeling it,” don’t be alarmed! It is perfectly normal that during this phase of development we are just now getting to the point that we can start delivering that feeling—so stay tuned!

Here are links to instructions and known issues. Thank you again for your continued support. This is truly the most amazing community we have ever worked with, and we are proud to be on this journey with you.

Sincerely,

Starr Long
aka Darkstarr
Executive Producer