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The RPG Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues has gone free to play

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After a successful Kickstarter gathering nearly two million dollars and gathering millions more afterwards they've now gone free to play.

Note: I personally purchased a copy during Early Access.

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Since release, they've added in quite a lot of features to the game including: brewing, player made dungeons, expansions to the fishing system, seasonal enemies, global chat, automatic open multiplayer in towns and cities and lots of additional content. Recently, they also entirely revamped the tutorial section to ease you into it.

On Steam, the game has struggled to find an audience, with it rarely breaking 300 players online. When speaking to Eurogamer earlier this year, Richard Garriott claimed the majority of players don't use the Steam version. They also claimed they had many thousands, which I will be honest is a little hard to see considering they've now gone free to play which usually happens to save dying games.

From the press release:

“We are thrilled to open up Shroud to a larger audience of gamers,” said Creative Director Garriott. “We have removed almost all gameplay restrictions from our free players. Now those players can trade freely with other players, own land and play through the entire story! This means that you no longer need to make a purchase to have the Shroud of the Avatar experience!”

I have to be honest about it though, I'm very unimpressed with it. The in-game map system only started working on Linux in September, even though it's been in the game for a long time. In addition, the performance is complete garbage in many places. It takes a lot for me to say something like that, since I can put up with quite a lot. When certain areas drops performance to unacceptable levels of 20FPS and below, I just can't put up with it. Large stutters, massive drops and it becomes unresponsive.

I'm not overstating the performance issues, I wish I was. Their own communities are filled full of people from all platforms talking about how poor it is. To be clear, not all of it is like that, some areas do give a somewhat acceptable performance but even they still stutter when you're walking around.

It also completely froze my PC, twice, when changing graphical settings. It was so bad that both times I had to force a reboot, as it locked up everything. Loading time is pretty poor too, there's quite a bit of waiting around especially when switching areas as the game needs to load the world map again it breaks any kind of immersion you had.

Until they put some real effort into the Linux version, it's a hard no from me.

Find it on Steam or download it from the official site.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: MMO, RPG, Steam
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Tchey 31 Oct, 2018
I've been following this game since a long time, from afar, playing some Trial version from time to time and... it's a total waste of talents and resources. Now F2P i may go and have another look at it, out of curiosity, but i don't have any hope to actually enjoy my experience.
Xpander 31 Oct, 2018
This game is really terrible performance wise at least and it doesnt look visually good either.
I get huge stutters everywhere and 28-70 fps, pretty much no matter the settings, maxed or lowest. resolution 2560x1440.
AMD Ryzen 1700X @3.9ghz, GTX 1080Ti.

Havent seen so bad performing unity game in a while tbh.
STiAT 31 Oct, 2018
Terrible performance, features missing in Linux, and lots and lots of bugs made the game unplayable for me.
Kimyrielle 31 Oct, 2018
How ANY game think they can get away with subscriptions in 2018 is beyond me. That business model has consistently failed for any game in the past decade, even for much bigger names than this one. Them stubbornly clinging to it has probably cost more than one MMO its long-term life, for if a game cannot build a sizable audience at start, it usually never will. I get that Garriot basically invented P2P, but this horse is dead, and it won't be back. People want flexibility these days, not getting chained to a game by monthly fixed payments.
Liam Dawe 31 Oct, 2018
Quoting: KimyrielleHow ANY game think they can get away with subscriptions in 2018 is beyond me. That business model has consistently failed for any game in the past decade, even for much bigger names than this one. Them stubbornly clinging to it has probably cost more than one MMO its long-term life, for if a game cannot build a sizable audience at start, it usually never will. I get that Garriot basically invented P2P, but this horse is dead, and it won't be back. People want flexibility these days, not getting chained to a game by monthly fixed payments.
It wasn't a subscription, it was a single payment.
wintermute 31 Oct, 2018
Quoting: KimyrielleHow ANY game think they can get away with subscriptions in 2018 is beyond me.

Basically the subscription option exists because the player base demanded it, however it is optional. It grew out of the telethons where you got special rewards for spending at least $5. People complained about missing out on the rewards because they bought too late or early so the time range for a purchase to count gradually got wider (even as the telethons themselves got shorter) until eventually you can just pre-pay for the telethon using this subscription.

Quoting: liamdaweIt wasn't a subscription, it was a single payment.

But there is also now a subscription.
kaiman 31 Oct, 2018
I've been tempted twice to buy this. The first time when it was on Kickstarter and the second time a few weeks ago when they sold off excess physical copies at a "discount". They still were like $115 (with shipping across the pond included), but given the digital version was $40 at that time and did neither contain access to episode 2 (whatever that entails), nor -- more importantly -- a highly collectible cloth map, it sounded like an okay deal. A quick visit to their forum, however, convinced me otherwise: offline single player, the only mode I would have any interest of playing, still looked more like an afterthought and didn't seem overly compelling. And the writing was already on the wall, with rumours of Richard Garriott jumping ship, low player numbers of the online game, etc. . My gut feeling then and now is that SotA doesn't have a future.

Which is sort of sad. I have the highest respect for Richard Garriott, not in the least because Ultima 7 is still my most favourite computer game of all time (which in turn makes Exult my most favourite open source project of all time). But what he and his team proposed for SotA from the beginning simply seemed too good to be true. I've backed a few Kickstarters against better judgement, and got bitten, but this trap I managed to avoid.


Last edited by kaiman on 31 October 2018 at 6:21 pm UTC
Liam Dawe 31 Oct, 2018
Quoting: wintermute
Quoting: KimyrielleHow ANY game think they can get away with subscriptions in 2018 is beyond me.

Basically the subscription option exists because the player base demanded it, however it is optional. It grew out of the telethons where you got special rewards for spending at least $5. People complained about missing out on the rewards because they bought too late or early so the time range for a purchase to count gradually got wider (even as the telethons themselves got shorter) until eventually you can just pre-pay for the telethon using this subscription.

Quoting: liamdaweIt wasn't a subscription, it was a single payment.

But there is also now a subscription.
Fair point, wasn't made aware of that. Nothing in the sub looks interesting either, even if I liked the game that's not good value.

I had high hopes for it. Sad to see it's still so poor.
Thormack 31 Oct, 2018
Is/was it a scam?

I think the screen shots looked so poor since the beginning.
Add the poor performance and bugs, seems like it was not somewhat of a serious game anyway.
kaiman 31 Oct, 2018
Quoting: ThormackIs/was it a scam?
I wouldn't call it a scam. But definitely overambitious and underfunded.

That said, their selling of virtual trinkets for lots of real money did put me off, but is not exactly uncommon practice in today's gaming industry.
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