The Ultima Codex http://ultimacodex.com The Ultima Fan Network Sun, 29 May 2016 17:11:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.2 http://ultimacodex.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-ultima-codex-favicon-150x150.png The Ultima Codex http://ultimacodex.com 32 32 Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #178 http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-178/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-178/#respond Sun, 29 May 2016 17:11:42 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59568 Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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


Play Release 30 Now!

brittanyfields4

Release 30 successfully launched yesterday, May 26, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, logging in, and checking out the new changes! Lots of new content to explore, including:

  • New scenes including Valhold and Brittany Fields
  • Courage Storyline First Playable
  • Targeting Interface Polish
  • Masterworks for Smithing, Carpentry, and Tailoring
  • Companions & Save Games for Offline Mode
  • New Female Avatar
  • Spring Telethon Rewards
  • Performance Optimizations
  • …and much more

Check out the Release 30 Instructions update for detailed information about all the new content.

Release 30 Player Instructions

Release 30 Known Issues


 

Release 30 Postmortem Invite

Screenshot by SabeSr

Join the dev team Wednesday, June 1st at 3:00 PM Central (20:00 GMT) for our monthly Hangout of the Avatar! Richard, Starr, and Chris will be chatting about Release 30 and looking ahead to Release 31, as well as starting to talk about the impeding R32!

In an exciting twist to the normal flow of the livestream, the new community manager, Mathew “Berek” Anderson, is set to spice things up by not only taking your questions and feedback live in the chat-room and also in advance in the OP comments section, but will be on the livestream in the office with Starr and Chris!*

Watch here at 3pm CST on Wednesday, June 1st:

*Please keep in mind that questions and feedback related to this release’s specific topics will be given priority and really verbose questions may be skipped, as they can be a challenge to shorten and summarize live on the air. In brief… please keep your questions… brief. ;)


Brittany Alleys

NOTE: Brittany Alleys is scheduled to go live in Release 31.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Richard “RrMatey” Matey]

Hey there! Back again for another scene update. I was tasked with Brittany Alleys, which is another neighborhood of the Brittany kingdom. This section of land is dedicated to having an urban environment that has a bunch of player houses / plots, so we have more chances to increase our Brittany Citizen population. This is a place for immigrants to live and work. Factories are here to provide jobs and a harbor for exporting goods. I was inspired by New York City and London.

Have a gander at the progress so far.

Inspiration Boardbrittanyalleysinspiration

Rough Concept Map

brittanyalleysroughbrittanyalleys1brittanyalleys2brittanyalleys3brittanyalleys4brittanyalleys5brittanyalleys6brittanyalleys7brittanyalleys8brittanyalleys9brittanyalleys10brittanyalleys11


Name Reservation

Starting with Release 29, the dev team began maintaining a record of character names for all pledge levels of Immortal Adventurers and above. When you log into the game for Release 32 after the Final Wipe, you will have the option to use the last saved name you used during Releases 29 – 31 or choose a new name. Please note that they only record the most recent name. If you have any issues with this process during Release 32, please submit a featuredImageSmallLastNamesupport ticket to support@portalarium.com.

Please note that this replaces the previous Pledge Reward of “Last Name” in the Immortal Adventurer Pledge.

Get your last name early! Experience in battle leads to Notoriety, but unlike ordinary adventurers, Immortal Adventurers will have the right to select and display both a first and last name right from the get-go!


New Cloth Tunic, Polished Cloth Doublet & Viking Helm

As part of our rework of the Avatars, we are steadily progressing through many of the clothing and armor items to improve their visual quality. We periodically update the progress of this effort. NOTE: The Cloth Tunic will go live in Release 31.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “Skullmuncher34” Kinnear]

Hey all!
Here’s an update on some of the clothes for the next release: Updated Cloth Doublet, a new dye-able tunic, and a Viking Helm

clothdoublet

Tunic
by fletcherkinnear
on Sketchfab

upload (1)

Cloth Doublet
by fletcherkinnear
on Sketchfab

vikinghelm

Viking Helm
by fletcherkinnear
on Sketchfab


 

MMORPG Previews: Release 30’s Big Changes

Red Thomas over at MMORPG.com wrote another Release preview article: mmorpg_logo

We’re only a couple releases away from the final wipe for Shroud of the Avatar, and that means the team is now working with a hard-stop time constraint. In actuality, the Agile development philosophy that they’d adopted at the beginning of their development and monthly release schedules are probably the best possible preparation for the run-up to final wipe they could have asked for. That said, throwing in last-minute major changes to major systems like targeting tend to toss the scariness factor off the scale.

Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the fallout around the decision to make that dramatic design shift and how it impacted some of the changes we’ll see in Release 30. We’ll then get into what I’m most excited about, which is some potentially controversial updates to the crafting system, and we’ll also talk a bit about what their choices suggest about the health of the game.

Targeting Elephants

There is no doubt that the move to modal targeting was a critical design decision, and I’ve made no secret of my doubts about the timing. Do I think the idea behind the new system is superior? Absolutely and without question. My concerns are strictly related to the timing of such a massive change, and those questions are not without merit. This last month has gone a long way towards demonstrating the validity of my concerns, but the next release looks to provide comfort in equal measure.

Looking in the SotA forums, there was a significant level of consternation in the first couple weeks of the new targeting system going live. You could probably debate whether the negativity was the result of actual problems, or just general irritation at having to learn a new system. The fact that the complaints started to fall off rather quickly might suggest the latter, but I don’t think that’s the case.


Gold Crowns of the Obsidians

Much like the Gems of Guild Wars 2, Shroud of the Avatar will have Crowns of the Obsidians.  You will not only be able to get these as a raw drop in game, but also via real life currency.  This was something many of of us have expected since the Kickstarter days as a way to help continue to fund Portalarium’s staff and ongoing SotA development.

[From a Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

SotA_GoldCOTO_origWe introduced Crowns of the Obsidians (COTOs) as rare items back in Release 28.  COTOs drop from almost any activity, with higher occurrences on higher level creatures and resource nodes. They come in several different metal types, and each type can be exchanged for specific types of items. In Release 29, we introduced Potions of the Obsidians that could be purchased with COTOs, and these grant various temporary boosts to things like carry capacity or gathering speed. In Release 30, we added the ability for COTOs to restore Maximum Durability to items and also added Crown Merchants to the game, which allow you to exchange the various COTO types for Obisidian Potions or Gold COTOs. Gold Crowns of the Obsidians are unique in that they can be sold to any merchant in game for gold and now, starting today, they can also be purchased directly from our website or through Add On Store Bundles like the new Viking 2-Story Row Home Bundle (see below).

As you have probably surmised, Gold Crowns function as a premium currency for Shroud of the Avatar. As we expire all our pledges and move towards a commercial launch, hopefully near the end of this year, we must also move to a commercial model of monetization. As promised, we are not going to be adding a subscription nor are we planning to make the game free to play. However, as an online game, we must have a steady stream of income (in addition to base game sales) in order to pay for support of the game including monthly updates, bandwidth, servers, community support, etc. Our analysis shows us that Add On Store item sales will not be sufficient. When we have been asked for examples in the past of models we wish to emulate or that we admire, we always point to Guild Wars as an example of a Pay to Play with an Add On Store as the closest archetype to what we hope to achieve. Selling Gold Crowns and allowing those Crowns to be exchangeable in game for Gold currency and potions with game benefits (like repairing of maximum durability) is something we believe is a good and fair balance of revenue while still maintaining play-ability and player economy. We are working hard to ensure that the purchased items from Crowns are all matters of convenience, not power. For example, the Obsidian Potions do things like small increases to carry weight, slightly longer sprint times, or slightly reduced gear wear. It is of course worth remembering that since Crowns can be earned in game, no player will ever be required to purchase them, making them purely a time saver and convenience.

As part of this introduction, we have added Gold Crowns to all Pledges. The amount of Crowns added to each pledge is based on the size of the pledge and is as follows:

  • First Responder, Second Responder, Pioneer, Adventurer: 2

  • Immortal Adventurer: 3

  • Founder: 4

  • Royal Artisan: 5

  • Virtual Collector: 6

  • Explorer, Explorer – All Digital: 7

  • Collector: 8

  • Patron: 12

  • Ancestor: 15

  • Navigator: 20

  • Developer: 25

  • Citizen: 30

  • Edelmann, Edelmann – All Digital: 31

  • Knight: 35

  • Knight Marshal: 40

  • Lord: 45

  • Lord Marshal: 50

  • Baron, Baron 2, Baron 3: 65

  • Duke: 90

  • Lord of the Manor, Lord of the Manor 2: 200


Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Deeds (Bundles Only)SotA_PoT_City

With the launch of the new Add On Store Bundles, the dev team chose to include Tax Free versions of the Player Owned Town Lot Deeds that were introduced in Update #172. These deeds can only be used inside Player Owned Towns and they can only be purchased through bundles, not individually. This is to mirror what we did with regular Tax Free Lot Deeds (which could only be purchased through pledges). We will carefully monitor sales of these as compared to placed lot markers in Player Owned Towns to make sure we do not oversell them. This week, we are introducing Row Lots but we plan to sell bundles with Village, Town, and City Lots soon.


Viking Row House Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Bundles

viking2storyrow

The first bundles to include both the new Tax Free Player Player Owned Town Lot Deeds and Gold Crowns of the Obsidians are the Viking Row House Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Bundles that includes a variety of Viking themed items.

Viking 2-Story Row House Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Bundlevikingchest

  • Digital Download of SotA: Episode 1 (includes Early Access)
  • Tax Free Player Owned Town Row Lot Deed
  • 2-Story Viking Row House
  • Viking Helm
  • Viking Fur Cloak
  • Viking Chest
  • Pet Bloodraven (a blackish red variant of the raven)
  • 4 Gold Crowns of the Obsidians
  • Pick 2 Prosperity Tools
  • Pick 2 Obsidian Potions
  • Aether Vibration Amplifier Console
  • 100 Bank Slots

Viking 3-Story Row House Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot BundleSotA_Viking_Helm_Cloak_composite

  • Digital Download of SotA: Episode 1 (includes Early Access)
  • Tax Free Player Owned Town Row Lot Deed
  • 3-Story Viking Row House
  • 1-Story Row Basement
  • Viking Helm
  • Viking Fur Cloak
  • Viking Chest
  • Pet Bloodraven (a blackish red variant of the raven)
  • 6 Gold Crowns of the Obsidians
  • Pick 4 Prosperity Tools
  • Pick 4 Obsidian Potions
  • Aether Vibration Amplifier Console
  • 110 Bank Slots
  • 3 Pack Potted Blue Spruce Trees
  • Ornate Skull Candle

Viking 4-Story Row House Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Bundlebloodraven

  • Digital Download of SotA: Episode 1 (includes Early Access)
  • Tax Free Player Owned Town Row Lot Deed
  • 4-Story Viking Row House
  • 2-Story Row Basement
  • Viking Helm
  • Viking Fur Cloak
  • Viking Chest
  • Pet Bloodraven (a blackish red variant of the raven)
  • 8 Gold Crowns of the Obsidians
  • Pick 6 Prosperity Tools
  • Pick 6 Obsidian Potions
  • Aether Vibration Amplifier Console
  • 120 Bank Slots
  • 3 Pack Potted Blue Spruce Trees
  • Ornate Skull Candle
  • Ornate Metal Phonograph
  • Dev+ Access

Look for more Bundles in the Viking line soon, including a Village Home, a Village Keep, a Town Keep, and a City Great Hall.

vikingrowall3

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Ultima Forever: A Hitherto Unseen Piece of Art http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ultima-forever-a-hitherto-unseen-piece-of-art/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ultima-forever-a-hitherto-unseen-piece-of-art/#respond Fri, 27 May 2016 15:19:17 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59553
u4e-rose-and-virtues

Purely by chance — I was doing a Google Images search for some Ultima-related artwork, but not specifically Ultima Forever-related — I happened across the above image at the portfolio website of digital artist John Cipriani, who at least for a time was in the employ of Mythic. (His site suggests that he worked on both Ultima Forever and Dungeon Keeper.)

Much of the art in his U4E portfolio is stuff we had already seen — portraits and areas that had been featured in other screenshots. However, this one image stood out; it’s not something that I can recall seeing elsewhere.

I suspect that this was meant to be the topmost room of Blackthorn’s Castle, which can be seen in this screenshot from the Ultima Forever alpha test:

 
U4E_Alpha_2012-07-10_22_15_55
 

It’s the polygonal rose that gives it away; the same rose can be seen in the artwork for the castle’s foyer.

One wonders what arcane experiments Blackthorn — or one of his subordinates — might have been performing in this dark and mysterious chamber. Would that we had been given the chance to find out!

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Ultima Online: Promotional Warehouse Offline Until May 31st http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ultima-online-promotional-warehouse-offline-until-may-31st/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ultima-online-promotional-warehouse-offline-until-may-31st/#respond Fri, 27 May 2016 14:48:26 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59550
ultima-online-dragon

Broadsowrd Online Games have announced that Ultima Online promotional code redemption will be disabled for the rest of the month:

Today (5/26/2016) at approximately 5 pm EDT we will taking down the Promotional Code Redemption Warehouse in preparation of setting up the Ultima Online In-Game store. The warehouse will be down until May 31st when we publish Pub 93 to all shards.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

The in-game store (not endgame store!) is a fairly significant addition to Ultima Online, so it’s understandable why Broadsword might need to disable other marketplace systems associated with the game ahead of it going live. Presumably, promotional codes not yet redeemed will still be valid after May 31st; certainly, there has been no word to the contrary.

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UO LandFall: Version 2.8 Trailers & Q&A http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/uo-landfall-version-2-8-trailers-qa/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/uo-landfall-version-2-8-trailers-qa/#respond Fri, 27 May 2016 13:05:06 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59558
uo-landfall

CakeForge has released two new videos about Ultima Online LandFall, the custom improved artwork he has been creating based on Ultima Online. The first features him answering a number of questions that have been submitted regarding LandFall:

And the second features glimpses of the actual artwork, and a sample of CakeForge’s working process. Oh, and a bit more Q&A as well:

If you want to follow CakeForge’s work, you can check out his blog: Nice Goodies.

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Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 43 – It’s Time for EA to Make a New Ultima http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/spam-spam-spam-humbug-episode-43-its-time-for-ea-to-make-a-new-ultima/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/spam-spam-spam-humbug-episode-43-its-time-for-ea-to-make-a-new-ultima/#comments Thu, 26 May 2016 18:30:13 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59525
sssh-43-u43-gypsy



Electronic Arts Teases “a Couple of Mystery Titles” For Fiscal Year 2018; Plans to Reinvent Old IPs – “[EA Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen declined] to announce what the company has in store for fiscal year 2018 (from April 1st, 2017 to March 31st, 2018), but he teased that there are ‘a couple mystery titles’ that haven’t been yet announced coming, concluding with ‘excitment!’

On top of that, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wilson mentioned earlier in the day that the film and TV industries have reaped benefits from ‘going back into the closet and taking IPs from many many years ago and reinventing them for the future world,’ and he believes that Electronic Arts is going to do the same thing as well.”

It’s fun to hope for a new Ultima, especially if it could he handled by a designer as demonstrably talented (and Ultima-crazy) as Ian “Tiberius” Frazier. Like as not, EA has dozens of old franchises and IPs to choose from if it wants to go and resurrect a title or two from last century. But…you know what? It’s high time that EA did something with the Ultima namesake, beyond continuing to prop up a single MMORPG.

Listen to the Episode

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Shroud of the Avatar: Release 30 Begins Today (Instructions Posted) http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/shroud-of-the-avatar-release-30-begins-today-instructions-posted/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/shroud-of-the-avatar-release-30-begins-today-instructions-posted/#respond Thu, 26 May 2016 14:46:13 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59547
valhold12

Shroud of the Avatar’s thirtieth monthly release — Release 30, as it is known — begins today. As such, Starr Long posted instructions and change notes for the release on the Shroud of the Avatar website last night:

Thank you for being a loyal backer and follower of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 30 access for all backers at First Responder level and above begins this Thursday, May 26, at 10:30 AM US Central Daylight Time (15:30 UTC).

The pace of change as we approach Final Wipe and Lot Selectioncontinues to accelerate as we make our final few, but quite impactful changes and additions to Shroud of the Avatar. Release 30 is full of these important changes, and includes large additions to the story, reworkings of the crafting system, and refinements of the new targeting mechanics we introduced in R29.

Maximum Durability:

The biggest change of course is the change to maximum durability, which can no longer be repaired at crafting stations unless you use a Crown of the Obsidian (see below for details). I understand that this change to durability so that items eventually break permanently feels challenging to process right now. On top of that, the amount of time to gather materials and the sheer amount of materials it takes to make items seems daunting to say the least.  Our goal has always been that it takes specialization and time to become a crafter and the goods you sell should have real value. If we tune gathering to be fast and items to use only a few materials, then everyone could make their own goods and there would be no economy and no demand for crafters. If items continued to be in good repair indefinitely, then crafters would have no demand to fill once players got a favorite set of gear.

We believe that all of these designs are necessary to have a truly player-driven economy where effort is rewarded and the amount of time to make items is relatively commensurate to the time it takes to fight and advance through enemies. With all of that said, the entire experience needs to balance entertainment with effort and we will be carefully tuning the experience over the next few releases (and forever for that matter).

Masterworks:

Crafting is finally also expanding with new skills including Masterworks;  which allow Smiths, Carpenters, and Tailors to add new abilities to items they create. This works exactly like the Enchanting we introduced for Alchemists in R29, although both of these systems now balance the power of the abilities added with reductions in durability. Our goal for the system is to create interesting choices between power and convenience. We also envision scenarios where Avatars might have specialized sets of powerful gear that they use for boss fights and PVP tournaments versus their everyday adventuring gear.

The Path of Courage:

In Release 29 Avatars were able to follow the Path of Love from beginning to end for the first time. In Release 30 the story again greatly expands with the Path of Courage now being playable. To support that, Valhold can be visited for the first time and various other scenes have been filled out with supporting story including Skrekk, Demig’s Battlecamp, Ferig’s Battlecamp, and Estgard. This makes two of the three Paths of Virtue playable, with only the Path of Truth left to implement in the game (which we will start in Release 31). We also have added the first of our three Companions who will adventure with you in Offline Mode.

Targeting System:

Finally we spent time iterating and polishing the new targeting system we introduced in Release 29. Our goal was to provide the same level of functionality we had before we added the new system while still enjoying the advantages of the new system. To that end, we have added back in target selection and target cycling amongst a host of other changes (see below for details).

You can read complete change notes for Release 30 in Starr’s lengthy post, or you can find condensed notes at the event entry here.

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Ultima Return: Camera Angle Test http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ultima-return-camera-angle-test/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ultima-return-camera-angle-test/#respond Wed, 25 May 2016 16:54:42 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59533
ultima-return-camera-angle

Although it has been over a year since we saw any news posted to the Ultima Return website, Sergorn Dragon did post the above picture in the Ultima Dragons Facebook group, with the following explanation:

So… that’s the camera angle we’re going with for Ultima: Return.

The basic inspiration behind the choice of camera angle — which is fixed, although the camera will probably be able to be rotated and zoomed — was Divinity: Original Sin, although there’s a bit of an Ultima 8 vibe to it as well. Note, too, that this image reflects a mockup scene put together with basic assets; the intended final look of Ultima Return will be rather different.

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Das Tal: July Alpha Contest; New EU Server; Interesting Choices http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/das-tal-july-alpha-contest-new-eu-server-interesting-choices/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/das-tal-july-alpha-contest-new-eu-server-interesting-choices/#respond Wed, 25 May 2016 13:54:23 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59530
das-tal-nomad-pack-july

No sooner did I line up a news post about Das Tal’s now-penultimate patch than the Fairytale Distillery team pushed another patch out for the game. This update, among other things, added twenty-nine new combat abilities to Das Tal.

All of them were designed to give more “interesting choices” to players. Some require you to really think about who to cast them on (Banish), some will allow you to set up crazy combos (Delayed Teleport), some will allow you to interrupt the enmy and protect your squishies better (Dampening Field) and others are just plain cool (Smoke Screen and Sneak Attack).

We’ve also made a couple seemingly small changes to existing abilities that will drastically change the current meta game. With the introduction of a cooldown on spammable abilities and an increase in base health fights will now take a good bit longer and spiking tactics will be harder to pull off (but not impossible for good players and teams). We’ve also fixed a couple of easily exploitable abilities that were just a bit too OP (I’m looking at you, Freedom and Stasis!).

Fairytale Distillery have also spun up a new European server:

Fertility is back! Today at 10 PM CEST we will turn off Harvest (our US server) and turn on the switch for Fertility which is based in Europe. It’ll come with the new patch applied and should give us a lot more of that Khans-versus-the-World fun that we had last week. See you on the battlefield!

As per usual, click on through to read the complete set of patch notes.

Additionally, the team have announced a new contest that will be held in the July alpha test of Das Tal:

Members of the clans that finish with the highest ‘Respect’ scores will be selected at random to receive Nomad level developer support packs. These packs include full access to Das Tal post-launch, so start recruiting your clan members now!

This will be open to any in-game clan. To make sure that everyone has a fair shot, anyone registering (at www.das-tal-game.com) for the Alpha prior to June 15 will be guaranteed a spot in the Alpha test. We will likely also include people who sign up between June 15 and the start of the Alpha test period, but can’t guarantee it.

Each clan will only be awarded the prize that includes the greatest number of Nomad packs. For example, if a clan has the 2nd highest Respect score and the 3rd highest Elegance score, they will receive 3 Nomad packs (given to randomly selected members of the clan) and the Nomad pack for the 3rd place Elegance score will instead be given to whichever clan finished with the 4th highest Elegance score.

More contest details can be found here.

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #177 http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-177/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-177/#respond Mon, 23 May 2016 13:56:21 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59517 Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Discord Server
  • New Female Avatar
  • Kiln Cistern (a work in progress)
  • New Community Manager: Berek
  • Spring Telethon Rewards

Shroud of the Avatar Discord Server

Discord is a platform that has been designed with gamers and gaming in general in mind. It provides both Text and VoIP chat and runs on Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Android, iOS, or in a browser.  At only 1 year old, it is a growing platform  that has been embraced by many and I foresee will continue to grow and in some ways overtake such platforms as TeamSpeak, Mumble, IRC, and maybe even Skype.  Best of all, it is free and does not require you to host a server on your own like Teamspeak or Mumble.  While SotA currently has IRC chat thanks to Ultima Codex.  The gracious owner of Ultima Codex, WTF Dragon, has setup a Discord Server as well, specifically for those of us in the Shroud of the Avatar community.  Lord Viator has also integrated a bot into Discord so that the IRC chat and Discord text chat are linked so we can interact between the two using whichever platform you prefer.  Give those two men some love and thanks for their continued hard work.  Feel free to join in today – https://discord.gg/010CjUU74ncJukwgl.

Click to Join!


New Female Avatar

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Kevin “Uglyfist” Wells]

Hello again everyone. First, I want to give many thanks to the community for the flattering and constructive feedback from my last post about the male avatar update. It was a great experience and totally made the work feel worth it with all the positive feedback.

It’s player character polish debut time again, and I’m very excited to say that the female avatar has been updated. Much like the male avatar update, I started from scratch and built and integrated the character over a two-release period.

With this update, the idea was to take what we had, and without completely changing the aesthetic, remake the art in a way that improves the quality but doesn’t completely change the look and feel with which players are already so familiar. Basically, the goal was to keep the female avatar looking as she was before, but with more polish and bit of a push toward an athletic look.

Also, as with the male avatar update, I have to give thanks to Matt Schmitz and Fletcher Kinnear for helping me get this new character working well with animations and all the many equippables.

I hope you guys love it and I can’t wait to hear back from everybody.

2

3 4


Kiln Cistern (a work in progress)

NOTE: Kiln Cistern is scheduled to go live in R31

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Dan “PlagueofLocust” Brennan] 

Kiln’s water supply is in jeopardy! Something foul is going on within the Kiln Cistern. It falls to you to navigate its system of locked doors and flooded hallways to reach its deepest chamber. Rise to the challenge and solve the problem before the good citizens of Kiln run out of precious water.

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New Community Manager: Berek

Another exciting bit of news is the welcoming of a new community manager Mathew “Berek” Anderson to the SotA devteam! He’s an old school Ultima Online player, an ice cream lover, and an original Shroud backer. He also shares my love of Settlers of Catan. The SotA community has been in need of a dedicated community manager as Firelotus spends much of her time on story and game related stuff, and thus doesn’t have the time to always be able to handle issues.  A dedicated manager would be able to handle that much needed attention to the community that it has been in need of for quite a while.

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Firelotus introduced him to the community this Monday with this forum post, with Berek then following up by introducing himself:

Thanks Gina! Greetings and salutations community!

I’m excited and proud to be the new community manager for Shroud of the Avatar. When I had the opportunity join Portalarium and work with such an amazing community, I had to make the move. I believe that a great game is made most successful by what I call the Community Glue. The amazing Portalarium team combined with a positive, friendly, and respectful community are the ingredients for that glue.

When it comes to Shroud of the Avatar, I’m all in – watching every Hangout of the Avatar, NBNN update, participating here in the forums, and of course checking out all of the community activities in the game itself. There’s always something to look forward to and amazing to look back on every day in this community. I wish I previously had more time to play and get to know all of you, but that’s ok, because now we have that chance :).

Hopefully this is all great to hear, but you probably still want to know who the heck I am…

The story begins in a highly contested land called Felucca, where the rule of law is in the hands of the individual. This was the first time I explored an MMORPG world, and was nearly my last. I was minding my own business, simply fishing alongside a creek, when a thief came up to attack me. Little did he know that I was once lord of a nearby kingdom and quite able to handle a petty thief.

As the thief struggled with my hand bag, I managed to grab my short sword, hitting him on the head with the blunt edge. Stunned, but not deterred, the thief pulled a large dagger out from his back scabbard, taking a jab at my torso. This was no thief, but an assassin! As the assassin attempted to recover from a poor strike, I swung quickly upward, slicing through his outstretched wrist and severing his hand.

While the assassin screamed in rage, an old man on horseback came up along the nearby trail. He quickly stunned my would-be assassin with a lightning strike spell, allowing me to secure the assassin. The old man and I then headed to the nearby town of Minoc to turn the assassin into jail, and post a town hall notice that the local roads were to be watched carefully over the next few days.

After that incident, I was forever known by my new friend and the town’s people as Berek, Illustrious Lord and Skilled Fisherman!

On the less dangerous but no less adventurous side of my career, my community management experience started at various MMORPG networks like Stratics.com. I was also a guide in the EverQuest guide program, as well as getting my house decorating priorities in order in Ultima Online. A few years ago, I swam across the ocean to China to teach English for a year, before returning and continuing my work at studios like Portalarium.

Most importantly for you, I am not so much a ‘manager’, but your guide and supporter, a supporter for your shared quest to build a great community for Shroud of the Avatar. I’ve seen many faces interested in the game since the Kickstarter, so I’m keen in working with all of you to make this community a success. There’s a lot of exciting game content coming up, so let’s work together to make it a fun experience for all avatars!

For now, some fun facts about myself:

  • Favorite all-time board game is Settlers of Catan (Explorers & Pirates specifically)
  • Shamefully lost every competitive LARP event I’ve been a part of
  • Favorite films include Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate, 2001, Goonies, Labyrinth, Neverending Story
  • I’m a techy, so I love randomly rearranging and upgrading parts in my computers
  • First person to guess my favorite dessert gets a SotA t-shirt :).

For all other mischievous shenanigans, you can visit my website at: http://www.mathewanderson.com, or just ask me here.

See you in New Britannia!

Mathew “Berek” Anderson
Senior Community Manager
Shroud of the Avatar

The thread took many fun twists and turns from there but by far our favorite was when community member, enderandrew, described what he imagined the interview process must have been like (and got it fairly accurate):

  • Starr: I see you worked with Stratics and your resume looks good.
  • Joseph: Hey, I’m back in the office. Do you like fart jokes and whiskey?
  • Berek: What?
  • Lum: You may also be required to sing and dance to David Bowie.
  • Berek: What kind of community are you running here?
  • Richard: What is your stance on cannibalism and killing kids in games?
  • Berek: Did you just say what I think you said?
  • Chris: Where are we going to put him? The Dippy Bird is using our last desk.
  • Everyone: We just got another $2,500 in pledges. Everyone do a shot!
  • Berek: I thought you only did that during telethons.
  • Starr: The secret to cramming in tons of content and features with a small team and never missing a release is to maintain the Ballmer Peak. Now, do you know how to correctly pronounce Corpions?
  • Berek: Are you talking about scorpions?
  • Chris: He’ll have to work on that.
  • Lum: You’re forgetting the important questions. Does he own birds?
  • Berek: You lost me at Ballmer Peak.

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Image Courtesy of xkcd

And in case you are worried that he won’t be able to keep up with our shenanigans here’s a pic of Berek as Deadpool wearing a Pikachu beating a Pikachu with a sword:

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Spring Telethon Rewards

The Spring Festival of the Avatar Telethon was a success as they achieved all the Stretch Goal Rewards and even had to create new ones! They even accelerated development of the rewards and they will be available in Release 30!

Starting with Release 30, Spring Telethon Funding Stretch Goal Rewards will be rewarded to any backers that pledged a minimum of $5 from the start of the Spring telethon, until Midnight May 2 (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply). Here’s a sneak peek at the Flower Crown, Butterfly pet, and Dragonfly pet:

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Das Tal: Warning Signs; Attack Notices; Changes to Mobs http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/das-tal-warning-signs-attack-notices-changes-to-mobs/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/das-tal-warning-signs-attack-notices-changes-to-mobs/#respond Fri, 20 May 2016 14:58:37 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59510
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It would seem that a major patch for Das Tal was rolled out back at the beginning of May:

Das Tal. The newbie experience for sandbox games, especially open PvP ones, will always be a very hard thing to get right. There is so much to learn for newbies and so little hand-holding that your first minutes can feel very overwhelming. Additionally you face the problem that in an open PvP world you can get attacked by other players at any time. And that is totally fine for us, that is after all exactly why we play and design those kind of games. But if you’re in the first couple minutes of playing a new game then any fight will feel very unfair to you and many a new player has rage-quit before being able to get their bearings and find enough “proper fights” to stick around. So in this patch, we’ve addressed a couple issues:

  1. You can now see warning signs larger groups of players (who are not invisible) from a certain range. This makes it easier for new players to dodge larger roaming groups. And it adds an incentive for larger clans to split up into smaller roaming bands instead of one big stack. I’ve seen this mechanic in Albion Online and enjoyed that it adds more interesting decisions to the game of roaming PvP. Do you keep all your players close together while being clearly visible from afar? Do you split up into smaller groups instead to be more sneaky and get better engagements but with lower numbers? Do you keep everybody out in the open while being mobile or do you hide a larger part of your army in a brush to lay an ambush?
  2. Since new players and semi-veterans currently share a lot of common buildings for crafting and leveling up (that will change soon), it was quite common for fights to start where one players was just using a building where UI obstructed their view. And before knowing what happened they would have lost half their health to an attacker. Now you both get a flashing notice that someone is attacking you and a 30 second grace period in which you can get your bearing and then star the fight on more even terms. I love this mechanic since it doesn’t prevent people from fighting each other (which would happen if we’d just made players invulnerable while using any building) but instead offers a small power equalizer to make for more interesting fights.
  3. Mobs have also been a critical point of the newbie experience for a while. Up until now mobs were very hard to defeat for newbies, especially melees while veterans breezed through them relatively easily. And so “ganking” farming newbies was not super challenging. To turn this experience around – without simply preventing it from happening – we’ve made sure that mobs now take a higher HP toll on veterans than on newbies. And they also now prefer more experienced players as targets which means it’s now a lot more challening to fight around mobs for veterans since they not only compete with the other player but also with the mobs. Which again ties into my philosophy of “do not just prevent actions, instead make them more challenging and interesting to all kinds of players”.

As Das Tal is, first and foremost, a PvP-focued game, it’s not surprising to see that the experience of new players was…somewhat on the dismal side; it’s something every PvP-heavy MMORPG from Ultima Online onward has had to find ways to address. As such, it’s good that Fairytale Distillery are addressing it now, while the game is still very much in testing.

Click on through to read the complete change notes. And expect to see another patch for Das Tal drop relatively soon; the development team have been aiming for two week iteration cycles.

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Ultima Online: Publish 93 Comes to Origin, Izumo, and Baha Shards http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ultima-online-publish-93-comes-to-origin-izumo-and-baha-shards/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ultima-online-publish-93-comes-to-origin-izumo-and-baha-shards/#respond Fri, 20 May 2016 13:36:00 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59513
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Broadsword Online Games have released Publish 93 for Ultima Online on the Origin, Izumo, and Baha shards. Origin and Izumo, as you may recall, are always the first production shards to receive new content; the addition of Baha to the release cycle is a bit unusual, so it will be interesting to see if it becomes a regular occurrence for future Publishes.

We are pleased to announce that Publish 93 will be available on Origin, Izumo & Baja after 4pm ET May 19, 2016.  You can check out all the changes between our first Test Center release and now here!

We had originally stated the in-game store would be available during our Origin, Izumo, and Baja release, however this feature will not be available until Publish 93 is released World Wide.  As we approach the World Wide release date of Publish 93 more information will be available about this exciting new feature!

You can check out the full Publish 93 Origin, Izumo, and Baja release notes here, and be sure to send us feedback here.  Remember to patch your client before testing anything on TC 1, Origin, Izumo, or Baja.

The promotional code system will be unavailable on Origin, Izumo, and Baja until Publish 93 goes World Wide on May 31st, 2016.

And in case you’re wondering just exactly what Publish 93 adds to Ultima Online, here’s some cursory details about it from the change notes (linked above):

  • In the wake of the Myrmidex Invasion that has besieged the Valley of Eodon the time has come to take a stand!
  • Visit the “Allegiance Idols” located in Sir Geoffrey’s Camp or The Barrab Village to declare allegiance to the Eodonians or the Myrmidex.
  • Allegiance can by changed once every two hours.
  • Enter the Myrmidex Pits via the excavation site West of Sir Geoffrey’s camp or the lift platform in the Southern portion of the Barrab Village.
  • The Myrmidex Pits are a competitive spawner, defeat your enemies to push the opposing team’s front line back!
  • Once your team has been victorious inside the Myrmidex Pits visit Professor Ellie Rafkin in Sir Goeffrey’s Camp or the Barrab Tinker in the Barrab Village to embark on two new quest lines.

Much of the Publish is, I gather, concerned with general fixes and enhancements. But, as you can see, it also expands the Time of Legends storyline and content.

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For The King: The Balance of Life, Death, and the Undead http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/for-the-king-the-balance-of-life-death-and-the-undead/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/for-the-king-the-balance-of-life-death-and-the-undead/#respond Thu, 19 May 2016 19:25:37 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59504
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IronOak Games have been spending a lot of time testing For The King, according to their latest update on the game’s development progress:

With a few possible conventions (E3, PAX, etc.) on the horizon and various other parties interested in seeing builds (think consoles hint hint), we’ve been putting a lot of effort into overall balancing while continuing to improve the user experience. We’re now all playing the game daily, and yes, sometimes during development you can go weeks without actually “playing” the game! Needless to say, the magic and sense of adventure is there and most games have a unique story which they weave. The adventure always feels different. New challenges, new adventures, and new quests.

Speaking of quests, we’ve spent some time tuning the side-quest system (or jobs as we call them). Jobs now account for a lot of a party’s motivation in the early game as they serve as an invaluable source of money and XP. And sure, if you split your party up you can complete 3 times as many jobs but it can be ill advised to travel through the wilderness on one’s own…

The character selection screen has also seen some work:

…even through the options are somewhat limited, we all spend far more time creating our party than we’d like to admit. Part of the reason is the new character special abilities that were recently added. Each character now has a special ability they can perform.

Additional audio work has been done, and it sounds overall like For The King is in a really good state. Click on through to read the complete update.

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Elderlands: Timbervale Updates http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/elderlands-timbervale-updates/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/elderlands-timbervale-updates/#respond Thu, 19 May 2016 18:17:44 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59498

The Elderlands team have made some updatesreversions might be the better term — to one of the towns in the game:

We have redesigned the quests around Timbervale. We have also restored Timbervale to its original state. We believe these changes will make the leveling process through that part of the game more enjoyable. Endgame content for this area is in the process of being redesigned.

Note that the last news posted to the game’s official website concerned its authentication server being offline due to an infrastructure change, so it may not be possible (at present) to log in and see these changes for yourself.

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Ananias: Version 1.74 Released http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ananias-version-1-74-released/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ananias-version-1-74-released/#respond Thu, 19 May 2016 17:43:25 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59494
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Slashing Dragon has released — and then a while ago; I’m late in posting this news — version 1.74 of Ananias. As usual, you can get it at the following digital storefronts:

 

Standard Edition

Fellowship Edition

 

 
 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

There are a number of new features in this version of the game, including shields (among many other new items), armour slots for feet/arms/legs, and a new encumbrance penalty. Paladins have been nerfed, and new spells have also been added. Level generation has been improved with the addition of Graveyard and Forge rooms, each of which have some unique things that only show up in them. Irregularly-shaped rooms are also supported in the Temple areas now, and regularly-shaped rooms are supported in the Cave, Library, Graveyard, and Forge areas.

To see the complete list of changes, click on through to read the rest of Slash’s update.

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Britannia Online: FM Towns Support http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/britannia-online-fm-towns-support/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/britannia-online-fm-towns-support/#respond Thu, 19 May 2016 16:01:07 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59490 For those of you who either don’t remember it or were unaware of it, Britannia Online is another multiplayer/online remake of Ultima 6, being developed by a game designer at Ubisoft (he also worked at BioWare, some years ago). Britannia Online features a full implementation of the game’s day/night cycles, keyword-sensitive dialogue, and limited interactivity with containers and other objects.

Although gulbsoft has no plans to release Britannia Online publicly at this time, he did post a video recently which showcases the remake’s support for the FM Towns audio for Ultima 6:

If the .sam files are present on the client, it will now play voice over from the Towns FM version of Ultima VI.

It isn’t perfect yet as the dialog in the Towns FM version has some line changes (such as removal of the copy protection questions from Lord British), causing NPCs to utter wrong lines from time to time.

And yes, the source sound files (16 khz mono) are pretty hideous, I’m looking into preprocessing the sounds to filter out the noise / reduce the clipping.

The sound in the video is, admittedly, really rough; hopefully it can be cleaned up some.

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Ultima Online: Publish 93 on Test Center; Enhanced Client Bugfixes; Possible High Seas Update http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ultima-online-publish-93-on-test-center-enhanced-client-bugfixes-possible-high-seas-update/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/ultima-online-publish-93-on-test-center-enhanced-client-bugfixes-possible-high-seas-update/#respond Thu, 19 May 2016 13:56:42 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59484
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So there’s been a bit of Ultima Online news over the last couple of weeks. The latest Ultima Online newsletter (sign up at UO.com if you want to receive that), for example, contained some news about Publish 93:

We are getting to the middle of May and looking forward to getting Publish 93 out the door.  We are deploying Publish 93 to TC1 later today and hope by the end of the month to have it on all production shards.  We will be doing something a little different this publish, we will be deploying to 3 production shards in hope to get more feedback. The shards we are publishing are Origin, Izumo, and Baja.  Make sure you check out all the latest content in Publish 93, including the epic “Myrmidex Threat” quest that brings back popular features like the “Ophidian/Bane” war mechanic, as well as two quest lines that conclude with some great boss encounters against some of the Valley of Eodon’s most formidable opponents!

We are excited to announce we have picked 10 winners for the Spring Contest.  We will be notifying the winners via email to find out what reward you would like. Everyone will be able to see the winning entries on UO.COM here.

We have already begun working on Halloween, Anniversary Gifts, Holiday Gifts, Vet Rewards and a few new items for Thanksgiving!  One of this year’s new Vet Rewards is a new mount…here is a hint:  It has more than 4 legs!  Can you guess what it is? *evil grin*

And, indeed, Publish 93 was released on the Test Center shard (TC1, as it is known) later that day. Full release notes for the Publish can be found here.

Content for Publish 94 — which will apparently be coming some time around October — was also briefly discussed in the newsletter:

With Publish 93 getting ready for deployment we look forward to Publish 94. Even though Summer is just around the corner we’re looking forward to Halloween! This year we are happy to announce that popular events such as Pumpkin Carving and Trick or Treating will be returning with some new additions. In addition, this Halloween we’ll be concluding explorations of Eodon and uncovering the truth behind its mysterious origins in the “Temple of Doom.” This “Treasures of Tokuno” style dungeon crawl is sure to provide fright and surprises around every corner with glorious treasures to be found by those brave enough to explore its depths!

Additionally, in the Q&A section of the newsletter, the possibility of an update for the High Seas expansion was (briefly) discussed:

A High Seas update has been on our wish list for a while. Our goals for this update would be to streamline the canon supply crafting and firing processes, as well as make a balance pass on the challenge vs. reward for some of the encounters. We hope to address this in a future publish.

Finally, yesterday, a bugfix for the Enhanced Client was released, resolving an issue with text display on some gumps.

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Underworld Overlord Announced, Coming Exclusively to Google Daydream http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/underworld-overlord-announced-coming-exclusively-to-google-daydream/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/underworld-overlord-announced-coming-exclusively-to-google-daydream/#respond Thu, 19 May 2016 13:30:08 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59486
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OtherSide Entertainment have announced a new game: Underworld Overlord:

Blending proven tower defense and “god game” simulation mechanics, Underworld Overlord immerses players in an incredible VR setting steeped in the fantastical Underworld mythos.

In Underworld Overlord, the player commands a dungeon full of monsters, traps and treasure, during an onslaught of so-called ‘heroic’ adventurers. Action takes place from a virtual ‘puppeteer’s’ perspective as the player pulls the strings, directing forces and building defenses in a dynamic VR environment.

There’s just one catch: the game is (at least at present) exclusive to Google’s just-announced Daydream VR platform:

“Underworld Overlord is specifically tailored to the capabilities of the Daydream platform, developed by a team of VR and Android experts in close collaboration with Google,” says OtherSide creative director Paul Neurath. “It’s a stand-alone game, but connects to the upcoming Underworld Ascendant, sharing creatures, characters, and rich lore. The Underworld franchise has a history of pioneering immersive video games, so bringing it to VR is a natural fit.”

Underworld Overlord, then, can be thought of as a kind of companion piece to Underworld Ascendant; it’s set in the Stygian Abyss, but players take on the role of an evil overlord, and must defend their realm against encroachers. It’s kind of like Dungeon Keeper, I suppose, albeit I don’t know how much dungeon building the game will allow.

One thought: It’s neat that OtherSide were able to announce this game on the eve of Google’s announcement of Daydream, but I can’t help but wonder if limiting Overlord to a single VR platform is the best choice. There aren’t that many VR-exclusive games out there yet, and this one could potentially be a strong contender on many of the available VR platforms. I can’t help but feel that OtherSide are limiting the impact and market of the game a bit too much by making Overlord a Daydream exclusive.

Still, it’s an interesting-looking project…and if it brings in more money for them to build Underworld Ascendant with, more’s the better.

Oh, and: OtherSide have also published some replies to feedback they’ve received about the current prototype of Underworld Ascendant.

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #176 http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-176/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/shroud-of-the-avatar-update-of-the-avatar-176/#respond Mon, 16 May 2016 12:59:53 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59479 Greetings Fellow Avatars! Golem Dragon here with another weekly update for you on Shroud of the Avatar!

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

  • **** UPDATE: Summer 2016 Expirations ****
  • The Halls of Artifice (A Work In Progress)
  • The Making of Brittany Fields
  • Elad’s Lighthouse
  • Revamped Headgear
  • Balloon PoT Connections – Something I have asked for since before Release 1 even!

**** UPDATE: Summer 2016 Expirations ****

In order to give backers the opportunity to upgrade their pledges once they’ve experienced the game post-wipe (see Final Wipe and Lot Selection milestone), the dev team have decided to split the Summer 2016 Expiration Event into Two Parts!

Summer 2016 Expiration Event, Part 1

  • At Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC) on July 27, 2016, the dev team are expiring the homes and basements from the Ancestor, Edelmann, Knight Marshal, Lord Marshal, Duke, and Lord of the Manor 2 pledges. They are also expiring new Player Owned Towns (upgrades of existing POTs will continue to be available). All other rewards (including tax free property deeds) that are currently available in the remaining pledges will continue to be available. The final wipe of all game data will also occur at Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC) on July 27th. To commemorate this momentous milestone, they are holding a 12-hour Summer Telethon Part 1, starting at 12:00 pm CDT (17:00 UTC) and running right up to the Final Wipe at Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC).

Summer 2016 Expiration Event, Part 2

  • At Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC) on August 22, 2016, the dev team are expiring ALL remaining pledges, including: Adventurer, Founder, Royal Artisan, Explorer, Ancestor, Edelmann, Knight Marshal, Lord Marshal, Duke, and Lord of the Manor 2. To commemorate the final expiration of all remaining pledges, they are holding a 12-hour Summer Telethon Part 2, starting at 12:00 pm CDT (17:00 UTC) and running right up to the Final Pledge Expirations at Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC).

The Halls of Artifice (A Work In Progress)

This is the continuing update on the progress on Artifice, scheduled to go live in Release 31.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Scottie Jones]

Imagine that we have gazed upon the dream-like Halls of Artifice as would a mystic peering at visions through an enchanted sphere of crystal. As is the nature of such magic, and the often magical places and events such sorcery reveals, the tableau is anything but clear and absolute. Events of the past, and those that have yet to transpire, are sometimes elusive and dim; obscured by the mists of time… Scenes of the present, while clear and full of vibrant life, are fleeting and frenetic; seldom arrayed in ways that give an absolute understanding, even to the most discerning soothsayer’s eye…

So it is with the secrets I may reveal concerning the terrible and wonderful inner workings of Artifice… Let us, therefore, look at the final (somewhat lascivious, and vaguely terrifying) chambers of Artifice;…the Halls of Sadistic Pleasure… I say final, not because of any particular order in which you might encounter them while delving there, but final because…at long last…my seer’s crystal grows dark for this place… The visuals have mostly all been revealed, but the nature and tasks that await you are stilled mired in the secrecy that will allow you to enjoy their discovery… And so, due to the dubious nature of this last set of chambers I’ll reveal,…we shall take a peep…through a shadowed peephole….. ^_^

Halls of Sadistic Pleasure 01

After sliding open the viewing panel upon these doors and sneaking a glimpse inside, the urge to enter will be overwhelming. In this chamber, the distant sighs and laughter of the Hall of Youth and Vigor have been replaced by similar but more sinister sounds. The smell and smoky haze of incense fills this chamber, as does the dim light that flows down from the round iron grating set into the ceiling above. Rich red veils of muslin cascade toward the floor from decorative stonework, lending a degree of privacy to upraised viewing areas adorned with overstuffed couches. But the eyes of any observers here will be rooted to the scene unfolding at the chamber’s center. Who is it that will lay stretched across the “breaking wheel”? And by who’s hand will they feel the delicious sting of the lash? All will eventually be revealed…

Halls of Sadistic Pleasure 02 Halls of Sadistic Pleasure 03 Halls of Sadistic Pleasure 04

Is that pain, or is it truly pleasure, you hear in the rasping cries coming from the recipient upon the wheel? Perhaps you will be invited to join them in their forbidden ecstasies… Will you engage yourself here as you have in the other “paradises” offered freely in Artifice? Whatever your mind may be concerning such delights,…a door bound in dark iron waits on the far end of the chamber. Open it, and you will descend further into this mire of conflicting sensations…

Halls of Sadistic Pleasure 05

Another chamber, and another delightful tableau… Chains now constrain the movement of cages, and enticing fires burn, crackle, and spark from braziers, containing tools and toys for the games ahead. Is it your imagination, or are the trappings of this place becoming more worn and threadbare? No matter…who cares for mere decoration, when such wickedly delicious sights as those seen here excite the imagination!

Halls of Sadistic Pleasure 06

But wait! Have we gone too far?!?! Who is meant to sit in that cage? Was that a ball and a tiny stool at its center? Hooks, chains, and spears offer only mute answers to your concern… Descending deeper still, a terrible chamber opens before you, and the remains of many “participants” can be seen all around you… To the left, a prison cage bars your way, its floor laced in clotted gore. And beyond it, yet another door that leads deeper still. Huddled within that prison, tear-filled eyes gaze out from terror-filled, desperate faces. At the chamber’s center; someone greets you with a lever to pull, and a choice…

Surely you’ll make the right one…

Halls of Sadistic Pleasure 07 Halls of Sadistic Pleasure 08

Ah well,…it is here that the crystal’s visions are obscured by mists and become truly dark…

Any remaining mysteries of Artifice are yours, and yours alone, to discover…

Farewell….

Scottie ^_^


The Making of Brittany Fields

This is the continuing update on progress on Brittany Fields, a neighborhood of Brittany. Brittany Fields is scheduled to go live in Release 30.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar]

BRITTANY FIELDS: HOUSING LAYOUT

A short walk away from Brittany Central, Brittany Fields offers the peace and tranquility you need to wind down after a long day, come, stay, buy a lot and come to understand Brittany’s hospitality. Here is an overview of the layout of all the lots.

brittanyfieldslayout

Brittany Fields is located to the Southwest of Brittany Central. Pastures and open fields give way to dense city streets as you approach the Brittany Central gates.

brittanyfields4

Brittany Fields centers its economy on agriculture and farming. Numerous streams and ponds dot the fertile landscape.

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Orchards line Brittany Fields to the Southwest, an area I like to call the Brittany Orchards.

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Old Man’s Oak , an iconic ancient tree pierces the landscape amidst player housing in the foreground.

brittanyfields7

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer


Elad’s Lighthouse

Elad is rumored to have worked for Lord British at one time as his shipwright and lighthouse builder but has since retired to live a life of semi-seclusion in the lighthouse in Spindrift Bay, which he built himself. His reclusive retirement was short-lived, however because what was once a sleepy little village around the massive lighthouse has since been grown into a rather large settlement of Outlanders. This town went live in Release 29, but was just using the standard lighthouse. In Release 30 you will be able to see the amazing custom model Bob Cooksey built and that Keith Quinn placed.

20160511-elads_lighthouse-day-close 20160511-elads_lighthouse-day-medium 20160511-elads_lighthouse-night-extreme 20160511-elads_lighthouse-dawn-far


Revamped Headgear

As part of our rework of the Avatars, we are steadily progressing through many of the clothing and armor items to improve their visual quality. We periodically update the progress of this effort.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “Skullmuncher34” Kinnear]

Some reworked pieces of headgear!shroudheadgear

 

Heads
by fletcherkinnear


Balloon PoT Connections

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

We are entering a new age of wonder, my friends! The days will soon be behind us that force anyone to switch conveyances when traveling between island Player-Owned Towns (POTs) and mountain or snowy mountain POTs. Instead, people will travel in style…by balloon!

With the next major update, new balloon teleporters will replace any wagons on mountain and snowy mountain POTs that send players to islands, and replace any boats on island POTs that send players to mountains or snow mountains.

(Please note that these balloons will *only* be used when interconnecting an island directly with a landlocked location, and will not replace any other wagon or boat.)

=========
Keith Quinn
Level Designer

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Byte-Sized Virtue: Season 2, Episode 10 – Origins and Ends http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/byte-sized-virtue-season-2-episode-10-origins-and-ends/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/byte-sized-virtue-season-2-episode-10-origins-and-ends/#respond Fri, 13 May 2016 18:21:01 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59471
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As this second season of Byte-Sized Virtue draws to a close ahead of Pentecost, we wrap up the discussion with Chlorthos Dragon. Primarily, the discussion has been about the topics of Love and Compassion, respectively one of the Three Principles and the Eight Virtues of Ultima lore, and about real-world concepts of same.

Listen to the Episode

In this episode, however, the discussion gets rather more personal. We take the opportunity to share some stories and struggles, and try and find deeper meaning in all of it.

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Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 42 – Towels Optional http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/spam-spam-spam-humbug-episode-42-towels-optional/ http://ultimacodex.com/2016/05/spam-spam-spam-humbug-episode-42-towels-optional/#respond Thu, 12 May 2016 16:53:32 +0000 http://ultimacodex.com/?p=59461
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The Spam Spam Spam Humbug crew take on a surprisingly challenging question: If some company could make any game you could contrive, what would that game look like? Or, failing that, pick a favourite game and describe in some detail why you like it?

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