Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #199

Greetings Fellow Avatars!  Portalarium hasn’t proven themselves to be the greatest at communication of any significant game mechanic changes.  Unfortunately many updates, policy changes, or explanations get buried in the forums where they are lost to the ether.  They simply don’t do any sort of public post about it to the main page of the website, or as some online mode games do, by highlighting it in the game or game launcher. In a rare case, we finally have some public updates that they have made to the main page of the website to inform the player base on changes and updates.  

Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

Roving Encounters

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Keith “Sannio” Quinn]

Shroud of the Avatar already has random encounters–you’ll be walking across the Novia or Hidden Vale overworld maps and, without warning, you’ll be teleported into a small encounter scene. We like the idea of running into unexpected threats on the overworld, but the “without warning” part is less than ideal… So, as of Release 35, we’re changing how random encounters are triggered.

You won’t be blindly caught by a Random Encounter anymore. We’re replacing that part of the encounter system with new overworld enemies who will trigger encounters when you get too close. These overworld enemies will be similar to the ones you’ve battled countless times in adventure scenes, except they can’t be engaged in combat. Instead, if you approach too close to the new overworld enemies and they see you, they’ll run at you. If they get next to you, you’ll be pulled into the encounter associated with them. For example, bandits will pull you into bandit encounters while wolves pull you into a scene full of wolves. Once you see the enemy, you can walk around it to avoid the encounter or run toward it to force the encounter. If the enemy has already spotted you and you’re quick, you can try to run away before the enemy catches up and keep the encounter from ever triggering.

Both overworld maps have encounters scattered about. They might be wandering in the woods, meandering along a shoreline, or patrolling along a road. Initially, we’ll be adding in common encounters like wolves, bandits, and undead. Over time, dragon encounters will return and we’ll include other rare situations like merchants.


Keith Quinn
Level Designer

Critical Hit Change (R34) and Upcoming Interrupt Change (R35)

In Release 34, they made some major changes to the ways they calculate Critical Hit Chances and they barely even provided any explanations. At the request of players, Chris finally provided a much more detailed explanation  and also gave a preview of an upcoming change on how Interrupts will work starting in Release 35.

[From a Forum Post by Chris Spears]

Greetings Avatars! Last release some fixes went in that frustrated a number of people. I clarified what changed in replies to a few angry threads, but never posted a full summary for the masses so I thought I should give a brain dump on what changed and why. In the future, I will try to be more open on these changes and explain the what as well as the why to prevent confusion.SotA_Combat_Sigil_Stone-1024x768

So the short version is that the math for critical hits was completely wrong and had to be fixed. It didn’t become clear until mid R33 what was up because players hadn’t crafted enough critical bonus gear to make the problem obvious. When I first got reports of players who got critical hits on every single attack, I dismissed it at first as people just exaggerating. Later in R33, a few people posted screenshots of them getting critical hits 10x in a row and I investigated.

So the problem became obvious once people starting getting tons of good gear. Instead of crit gear giving a bonus percentage of the crit chance, it was simply being added to the crit chance. So, if you had a 20 strength and crafted something with a +10% bonus to strength, you would immediately recognize that you would get an extra 2 strength. It becomes much less obvious when you have a 10% crit chance and get a +20% bonus. Is the outcome 12% or 30%?

Well, the way it was actually implemented was it was simply adding it — which was not intended. The result was you could pretty easily craft crit gear that would raise you over 100% crit chance. Yes, I knew people were going to be upset when I fixed, that but it never occurred to me that people would think that it was by design that players should be able to exceed 100% crit chance and not only hit every single attack but also get a critical hit. Not only did it make every hit a critical hit, but it also removed the target’s ability to parry, dodge, block, or get a glancing blow.

So, my bad for not making a big post on this in a public space and I’ll try to do better in relaying major bug fixes and changes in the future. Also, so players better understand critical hits, here is the math for them:

(BaseWeaponCritChance + VitalPointsBonus+ArmorWeakPointsBonus+DexterityCritBonus) * (100%+EquipmentCriticalBonus) * FromBehindBonus

BaseWeaponCritChance = The natural crit percentage of the weapon which is listed on the weapon
VitalPoints and ArmorWeakPointsBonus = The two skills that currently increase crit chance
DexCritBonus = Dexterity/1000 for ranged weapons and Dexterity/2000 for melee weapons
EquipmentCriticalBonus = All the bonuses from gear added together
FromBehindBonus = 1 if in the front arc of a target and 2 if in the back arc

So for an example, I’m using a longsword with 13% base crit chance, have an 80 in vital points (5%) and armor weak spots(5%), a 60 dex(60/2000 = 3%), and a total of +44% crit chance from my gear, the math is:

(13+5+5+3)*(100%+44%) = 37.4% crit chance from the front and 74.8% from behind.

Due to the bad math of just adding and them all, this would have been over 70% crit chance from the front and 140% from behind.

This is a pretty extreme case as sword are heavily crit based and that is a pretty good crit bonus from gear. Most players will probably end up more in the 10-20% range under the new system.

So that was the big change from last release. There are a couple of big changes coming up this release but possibly the biggest is a change to how casting interruptions work. Here is the next thing players can start yelling at me about.

So at some point this release I was asked, “How do interruptions work?” and my response was… uh, I don’t know! So I immediately looked into it and to my horror discovered this code (modified to make it more clear to non-coders) that was unchanged for 2+ years:

//TODO: Placeholder chance
if ( Random(0 to 100) less than DamageTaken )

So basically, whenever a player was hit it picked a number from 0 to 100 and if the amount of damage was more than that number, your spell got interrupted.

While incredibly simple, this is fairly silly in a number of ways. The biggest issue is that it doesn’t scale in any way. So a level 10 caster with 60 hit points get hits for 50 points in one shot, a massive nearly death dealing blow, and he has a 50% chance to fizzle his spell. Meanwhile, a level 80 caster with 500 hit points gets a fairly average hit from a hardened skeleton that does 50 points and barely moves his health bar but still has a 50% chance of interrupting him. Also, there is nothing the player can do to influence this chance.

So, the new system isn’t super complicated but might change a bit over time. First thing, there is a new skill in the focus branch called “Concentration”. This grants the player additional protection to being interrupted. The new math is roughly as follows:

When damage is applied to a player, they completely ignore hits up to 1/100th of their max health PLUS 1/10th their concentration skill. So if you have 250 health and 65 concentration skill, any hit that does less than 250/100 + 65/10 = 9 points is completely ignored. This works by effectively subtracting that 9 points from the damage for the purpose of interrupting.

So in the above example, if you were hit from 7 points, 7-9 = -2 effective damage for interrupting and nothing happens. If you got hit for 34 points, then the effective damage would be 34-9 = 25 damage.

So if any damage gets by your base interruption protection, your chance of getting interrupted is:

MAX( MIN( ( ( EffectiveDamage/health)* 200% ), 5%), 80%)

So, your chance to get interrupted is 5% or twice the percentage of your health you took, whichever is greater but with a max chance of 80%.

So in in the above example with a 34 point hit on someone with 65 concentration and 250 hps, 25 got by the interruption defense. 25/250 *200% = 20% interruption chance

If the same target had been hit for 150, then the math would be 150-9 = 141 effective damage, 141/250 *200% =112.8%. In this case the 80% max chance would be used. While that sounds extreme, remember that until this release, that would have been a 141% chance to be interrupted no matter what your health or skills were.

The exact math for this might change slightly but that is the current implementation. I’ll try to let people know if it changes in the future!

Again, my apologies for not clarifying the critical hit fix sooner. I’ll do a better job of relating big changes before the release goes live in the future.

Encumbrance Changes (R35)

Encumbrance has now been made more realistic in its behavior. Previously, players could carry any amount and still move at a decent speed. Focus would slowly drain away at a constant rate, but running out of focus would not prevent movement. Obviously, this was something that should have been caught at the design stage because the failure to prevent movement by a certain level of encumbrance allowed ppl to take advantage of this in regards to gathering materials.

Starting in R35, encumbrance will slow the player and use focus fairly proportionally with the amount the are overloaded. Carrying twice the amount you’re supposed to will cut your movement speed in half and drain focus at a slow rate. Carrying ten times the amount you should will make you move around a tenth your usual speed and also use ten times as much focus. Running out of focus will now prevent movement until the player has a chance to rest and regain some focus. Obviously this math will continue to be tuned based on data and feedback.

NOTE: These encumbrance rules do not apply when you are in towns. (Good for Decorators)

Gold Crown Merchants Update

[From a Forum Post by Mathew “Berek” Anderson]SotA_GoldCOTO_thumb

For Release 35 we are expanding the number of Gold Crown merchants in the game and also increasing the goods they sell to include many more items from the Add-On Store. We are also going to add one or two items each release that can only be purchased in game with Crowns. For R35, the Elven Globe Home and Medium Elven Tent will be those items only purchasable for Gold Crown Exclusives that are being added. We are also creating a new web page that will list all the things that you can spend Gold Crowns on in the game.

  • Elven Crown Home Merchant: This merchant will be located in the town of Vertas and will sell all the Elven homes and all the Add-On Store items that appear in the Elven Bundles (except Bundle exclusives like the Elven Wardrobes and the pets)  as well as a few exclusive items including the Elven Globe Homeand the Medium Elven Tent.

  • Viking Crown Home Merchant: This merchant will be located in the town of Harvest and will sell all the Viking homes and all the Add-On Store items that appear in the Viking Bundles (except Bundle exclusives like the Viking Chests and the pets).

  • Obsidian Alchemists: We will also be adding Fireworks (4 different assortments) and various dyes (including all the new magical dyes) to the Obsidian Alchemists to increase their inventory beyond the Obsidian Potions.

Recent Bans for Botting and Exploiting

[From a Forum Post by Mathew “Berek” Anderson]

As some of you may have seen in our recent Standup notes, we have been busy working on tracking down a string of botting and exploiting activities. The activity pursued by these players accounted for almost 20% of the total wealth of the game and, if left unchecked, could have seriously damaged the economy. All activities were confirmed to be macros or bots using exploitable activity like mines where creatures were not respawning or nodes that instantly respawned.

Fortunately, we have been able to fix all of these exploitable areas and we have also put more tools in place to make it easier for us to detect these kinds of activities and deal with them much faster going forward.

We permanently banned over 30 accounts and gave 30 day suspensions to several others. Those who only received 30 day suspensions had their characters deleted (and all their goods except for items purchased with real dollars) to remove any gains they may have received from the exploits and/or botting.

Please note that any macroing or botting related to resource gathering can result in a suspension or permanent ban. We do not differentiate between “attended” and “unattended”. Additionally, you are responsible for your account and your machine. It is irrelevant if your relative, roommate, spouse, child, parent, etc. did the actual botting because we have no way to confirm that. If your machine / account is confirmed to be botting you will be suspended and/or banned, period.

If you witness or suspect someone botting / exploiting or if you are concerned that your own actions may be subject to a suspension or ban then please send an email to

12 Responses

  1. Mark Usher says:

    SotA is a flop on the loose, if Richard Garriott was happy on survive his Kickstarter campaign, the coming results of this mess of project, are going to nail him.

    I never saw 10 millions lost in such amateur result, Garriott is so conducted by his EGO, that he forgot to consider a little more cash, of him, to empower that museum of devs.

    No mercy for people bleeding money on this, they deserve whats coming.

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      No mercy?

      What, are we planning a mass slaughter or something?

    • Corv Corv says:

      Hm if you spent a lot of money over some time then you seem to be interested in the MMO part of the game. I did not test too much of that since I am almost only interested in the single player story (which isn’t really implemented yet). Am I correct with that assumption? If so, what is so catastrophically wrong with it? I always had the impression at least the MMO folks are somewhat happy (PVP aside).

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        One correction I can make: there’s a fair bit of the single-player story implemented (though, yes, it isn’t complete yet), and single-player mode has been available in the game for several Releases now.

      • Corv Corv says:

        Oh yes I know that there is the love questline, I just think it’s not really finished at all yet. Beside it actually not being done there is also a lot of what you guys were talking about in the conversation podcasts missing in terms of design (no flavor text….)

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        I don’t disagree.