Games of the Year

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

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About the GameWHAT IS SHROUD OF THE AVATAR?

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is a multiplayer fantasy RPG and the spiritual successor to Richard Garriott’s wildly successful Ultima and Ultima Online games.

Shroud of the Avatar is about testing one’s character on a path filled with peril and tough decisions. Player actions carry meaningful consequences within the deep and persistent world of New Britannia by either upholding or breaking the Principles of Truth, Love, and Courage.

Shroud of the Avatar is developed by the veteran Portalarium team that includes Richard "Lord British" Garriott, the creator of the Ultima series, Starr Long, the original Director of Ultima Online, and Tracy Hickman, the author of the beloved Dragonlance Novels and Dungeons & Dragons modules.
KEY FEATURES

As a revival of the classical in-depth RPG, Shroud of the Avatar binds together many of the key features that made the Ultima series so popular:

  • A far reaching story written in collaboration with celebrated fantasy author Tracy Hickman, where players are confronted with ethical choices based on Virtues and Principles.
  • Multiple MMO gameplay features combined to offer a unique, shared online experience set within a persistent sandbox world.
  • The ability to create a classless avatar allows for distinct play styles and uniquely specialized builds.
  • Wide-reaching freedom to explore a living, breathing fantasy world enriched by a player-driven crafting and economic system.
  • Players can opt to play solo or with friends, owning their own houses or even entire towns, and sign up and cooperate within various in-game guilds.
  • Pay Once to Play with no subscription fees.
AVAILABLE PLAY MODES

  • Single Player Offline: Enjoy the full game experience without the need for an internet connection. Recruit NPC companions to accompany you on your travels and aid you in times of need. Your online Avatar will not share the progress of your offline Avatar; you advance on different tracks through the story due to interacting differently with the world.
  • Single Player Online: Play the game at your own pace while still being able to interact with the persistent works of other players, such as vendors, houses and player-owned towns.
  • Party Mode Online: Explore New Britannia with your friends and tell new stories together. Interact with the persistent works of other players, such as vendors, houses, and player-owned towns.
  • Multiplayer Online: Experience the vibrant world of Shroud of the Avatar and trade, fight, and converse with thousands of other players, all playing on the same server.

THE FUTURE

Portalarium is committed to roll out regular monthly content releases post-launch and will continue to collaborate with the players to further improve gameplay.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

wildly, I'm going to say, recommended.
If you go in with your eyes open, and you're ready for the 100% guaranteed rubbish that is in the game, then, this is actually a hidden gem that will give you 100s of hours of fun, and it's free.
the bad:
- no waifu
- low population mmo
- combat animation was cutting edge in 2003
- bugs / memory leaks, especially in the cities
- hardly any in game guidance about how to play the game
- appalling in game music that a Dollar Store would be ashamed of
- controversial kickstarter / funding 10 years ago that's left a very bad taste
- hardly any / zero cut scenes or voice acting
the good:
- one of, if not the most, innovative and ambitious skill system in any mmo. You can combine spells and skills into something unique, even have an unlocked skill bar where the skills are all drawn from a deck. Way way ahead of its time.
- strong active community with great player-made guides
- game is still supported and devs are still slowly making content
- classless system, no need for alts. A mage in heavy armour with a shield, no problem.
- deep and rewarding crafting system. The best gear is made by the players,.
- well written quests with multiple possible outcomes and a really high degree of reactivity. You can be a paragon of virtue or a murder hobo.
- there are mounts, trainable combat pets, and fast travel (I'm looking at you, New World)
- more than four mob types...
- more than 3 skills...
- it's free. There is a store but you never feel pressured in game to buying anything. Game was originally buy to play.
- strong lore story to uncover
- very sandbox. Game is instanced but most story areas are very large with hidden quests that reward exploring and interaction
So there you have it. It's very niche, it's had a really bad press, mostly due to the funding controversy. But under the hood this game is actually ... fun?? Did I really say that??

Review from Steam

This is a game for people who, like me, are tired of modern MMORPGs that focus on repetitive/boring endgame and ignore the journey.
I'm a very casual player, not really part of the community, and I don't really care about the drama people talk about.
This is a slow game with interesting and quite unique features that we don't see around these days. You can enjoy the content at your own pace without FOMO, and I find it very refreshing.
That said, it doesn't really hold your hand, which is something peculiar from older games. You have to be whiling to take your time and try to understand how things work but, when you do, it becomes really satisfying, specially combat.
Fighting can be as easy and rewarding as you want, as the game points out the difficulty of each area, and it feels nice when you manage to beat stronger enemies by making good use of your skills.
I really like the idea to be able to type to interact with the NPCs, making up for possible "hidden" options of dialog, like finding out an NPC can teach you skills or have a shop even if it doesn't explicitly tells you.
I remember some time ago it had performance issues and it was really bad but, since I started playing again, it's been really fine. There are some frame drops here and there but nothing that really gets on the way. Messing with graphics options could also improve it, but I'm too lazy to try.
There are still flaws and things that should be improved, specially in regards to the new player experience. But I think this will affect more younger audience. There are other things like NPCs sounding stupid but I find it funny like in ESO/Skyrim lol. Actually, now that I think about it, it does feel a lot like Elder Scroll games sometimes.
My only gripe with this game is the lack of population. Sometimes I see a couple other adventurers but not many, which is kinda sad, I feel like it'd would be fun to explore the world with more friends.
If you're interested in the game, I suggest you ignore the reviews drama and give it a try, it's free anyway. But at least try to understand things, it's not your everyday MMORPG and it's not supposed to be. Go into it without hurry and whiling to explore and savor your experience, don't just go through it. Be part of the world, interact with objects, with NPCs, watch their reaction, help them, or just go wherever you want and have your own adventure without anyone holding you up.
Remember, games are about having fun. [:
Oh, by the way, I think the bard system in this game is better than FFXIV. Yep, I said it... xD
Edit: I forgot to say two important things:
1 - You can build your character however you want by freely choosing your skills.
2 - The soundtrack is great :D

Review from Steam

For all the hate it gets, I expected SOTA to be absolutely dreadful, but what I found was a decent little indie RPG. Sure, it is cheap looking and has some wonk, but many of the RPG mechanics and quests are surprisingly deep and well done for what is ostensibly an MMORPG. Highlights for me are the morality system, and quests that have multiple ways to solve. These things are par for the course in single player RPGs, but in MMOs they are pretty rare and they surprised and charmed me here. It's a shame that the game economy, where pretty much everything of value seems to be meant to have been crafted by the players, is clearly built to be run by a robust player base that simply isn't there, and possibly never even was. The game isn't AMAZING or anything, but there are worse ways to spend an afternoon or two, and I never felt pressured to buy anything.
Thumbs up for me.

Review from Steam

This is a far, and I mean far better game than its being credited for; specially for experienced or older gamers who enjoy the traditional, single player, computer RPGs. This is much more of a classic MMO experience, or even a sandbox game where openness and immersion are priority, and the pace is never frantic but rather soothing in a good way. If you want a typical theme park MMO that holds your hand all the time, there are lots of casual alternatives already in the market. Here, players are willing to spend a bit of their time... they get involved in how towns look... they role play an alter ego in a fantasy world, and make him/her grow through their actions. And the focus of the game is on free exploring, discovering interesting possibilities, and meeting your own personal goals.
There are performance problems, and a couple of rough edges in terms of mechanics and design, but the game seems to be improving with time: first time I played it, long ago, I honestly hated it. Now I find that is closer to the original vision and I'm loving it. I don't care that much for a big player count in this particular game, since I find that it adds to the atmosphere. Something which is sacrificed in MMOs with lots of casual players roaming around.
The game is not for everyone. But highly recommended if this is your sauce.

Review from Steam

steam needs to fix the maybe later button,game is fine

Review from Steam

Shroud of the Avatar has alot to offer a gamer from the Pve world to the Housing and Decorations. That Crafting system is very in depth and alot of fun to master. I have never found myself without something to do and really enjoy the game.

Review from Steam

it's a graphically better version of Ultima Online, UO 2D/3D in 2022 is just trash. SOTA is better and FREE.

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