The Ultima Codex The Ultima Fan Network Thu, 25 Aug 2016 18:58:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Ultima Codex 32 32 33386326 Dungeons of Chaos: Version 1.4.50 Released Thu, 25 Aug 2016 18:58:31 +0000

Volker Elzner has released another update for Dungeons of Chaos, his old-school, tile-based RPG for iOS and Android devices:

v1.4.50 is now submitted, live for Android in ~20min, for iOS in 24 hours.
– grey view on known blocked map tiles now works in daylight OFF mode
– auto heal now properly triggers spell advancement
– fixed graphical glitch in beholder abyss
Let me know if any issues remain on the greyed out view.

Happily — at least in the sense that the game is getting good feedback from its playerbase — there have been a handful of bug reports submitted since this update for the game went live. You can, of course (and should, moreover!), follow the Dungeons of Chaos Facebook page for all of its development updates.

And, if you haven’t yet, do consider backing the game’s next expansion on Kickstarter:

Kickstarter campaign is 63% funded with about the same amount of time passed, a good result so far, very happy how fans want to get involved. If you haven’t yet, check it out…

You could get to design an NPC in the game. Or an area for other players to explore. Volker is offering some very involving rewards to his backers.

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Shroud of the Avatar Release 33 Begins Today Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:13:10 +0000

Shroud of the Avatar’s thirty-third consecutive monthly content release — Release 33, as it is known — begins today. And, as you have hopefully come to expect by now, Starr Long posted a new set of change notes and instructions to the game’s website last night:

Thank you for being a loyal backer and follower of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 33 access for all backers at First Responder level and above begins this Thursday, August 25, at 10:30 AM US Central Daylight Time (15:30 UTC).

Impact of Persistence:
Release 33 is our first Release since we went Persistent with Release 32. Being persistent of course has had an impact on the project and how we move forward. We made the tactical decision that the immediate needs of R32 would take precedence over any R33 work. Quality of life, balance issues, exploits, stability, performance, etc. in R32 would be patched regularly, daily if needed, even if it cost us some R33 deliverables. The result of this decision has been incredibly positive. Overall player mood remains high as does our funding, which reached an astounding $10 Million during our Summer Telethon of the Avatar Part 2 (which by itself raised $200K!) This funding will allow us to finish the Roadmap we outlined earlier this year that both finishes our Kickstarter promises, while at the same time polishes the game to a very high standard. Thank you community for your incredibly humbling generosity.

Lot Selection has wrapped up and in Release 33 we will be starting the Lot Deed Raffle for Taxable Lot Deeds in the game. This will be our method to distribute the remaining available land in the game in all locations (NPC towns, Player Run Towns, and Player Owned Towns). Additionally, Release 33 will be the first appearance of uncloned scenes that include player lots after persistence. These will give players a chance to see how we will be improving and individualizing each scene while preserving the game mechanics.

We have always said that all PVP in Shroud of the Avatar will be consensual and players will choose to engage, or not to engage. With that said, we also want to make sure PVP is an integral part of the experience and is a balance of risk vs. reward. For those reasons, players will now encounter other players in zones flagged for PvP regardless of their match-making mode. You will no longer be able to enter these areas in Single-Player or Friends modes to circumvent PvP risk. There are a few areas, like the Obsidian Ruins, where story elements require venturing inside. However, we are going to work on alternate ways for players to navigate those areas like we have experimented with in some of the Control Points (i.e. the teleporting Wizard). We know this change will be controversial, but we believe it is the best decision for the long-term health of the game.

Yet again, I want to express a huge amount of gratitude to our Dev+ backers who tested all of the items below on the QA server and uncovered lots of bugs. They also provided editorial feedback on this post. So, they are a big reason that this post actually matches what is in the game, and that it is easy to read.

While we are getting closer to launch, we are still in a constant state of change, and we do not yet have all the in-game systems to inform players of these changes, or to share ways to help them to explore new content and systems. This means we rely mostly on this message, and the linked instructions and known issues to convey the current game state. We regularly have to answer questions or filter bug reports because some players elect not to read this valuable information.

By taking a few moments to read through this information, a great deal of our time and efforts can be redirected to focus on new “unanswered” questions, and addressing critical issues impacting each release. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to review this post, and for all the truly valuable feedback you continue to provide.

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

Without further ado, here is a list of what you can expect to see in Release 33.

I want to just further draw out one thing, in particular, that Starr talks about above; it’s reflected in the change notes attached to his post as well:

PvP Zones Are Open Multiplayer Only: Players will now encounter other players in zones flagged for PvP regardless of their match-making mode. You will no longer be able to enter these areas in Single-Player nor Friends modes to circumvent PvP risk. There are a few areas like the Obsidian Ruins where story elements require venturing into those areas and we are going to work on alternate ways for players to navigate those areas like we have experimented with in some of the Control Points (i.e. the teleporting Wizard). We know this change will be controversial, but we believe it is the best decision for the long-term health of the game.

Certain areas of Novia, you see, are considered PvP Zones; these include the three Shardfall areas, in which all manner of dangerous creatures and exotic resources can be found. Previously, if one was playing the game in either Single-Player Online or Friends Online modes, one wouldn’t be at risk of encountering PvP-minded players as one explored these areas. However, with Release 33, this will change; any player playing any online mode of Shroud of the Avatar will be forced into Multiplayer Online mode, with their PvP flag enabled.

Now, practically speaking, I’m not sure how much of an issue this will actually present. Instances in Shroud of the Avatar have fairly limited populations — 16 or so players at the most, typically — and many of the PVP Zones are not exactly safe places for would-be PKs to camp, awaiting their prey. So in practical terms, the potential for griefing is probably somewhat smaller than one might first think. That said, this change will probably have some chilling effect on resource-gatherers, which will in turn impact other areas of the crafting and pet taming economies in the game.

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Ultima 2 Was Released 34 Years Ago Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:08:21 +0000

Those of you who were paying attention to Soryu Dragon’s tweet from yesterday may have noticed that, in addition to Ultima 3, he included the release date of a second game:


That’s right…Ultima 2 was released 34 years ago, as of today. And as was the case yesterday, I don’t have any specific new content lined up for posting, but there is a bit of Ultima 2-related content on The Origin Gallery.

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Ultima 3 Was Released 33 Years Ago Tue, 23 Aug 2016 21:10:55 +0000

Soryu Dragon reminds us all that today is Ultima 3’s birthday:


I don’t have any specific content lined up to celebrate the day, but there’s some interesting Ultima 3-related content on The Origin Gallery that is well worth taking a look at.

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Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 52 – Shroud of the Avatar: Persistence and the Land Rush (Starr Long Interview) Tue, 23 Aug 2016 17:10:52 +0000

Part A: Spam Spam Spam Humbug chats with Starr Long, the Executive Producer of Shroud of the Avatar, about Release 32, the now-persistent game world, and the ongoing land rush as players race to claim lots and place their homes throughout Novia. Other topics come up as well: we discuss the combat system in the game, the difference between crafting features and interactivity features, and more!

Part B: The Spam Spam Spam Humbug community sit down to discuss Shroud of the Avatar in the wake of Release 32, the persistent world, and the land rush.

This, by the way, is the animated GIF of Novia, the setting of Shroud of the Avatar, that gets referenced toward the end of the discussion.

Listen to the Episode

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Shroud of the Avatar: $10 Million Raised Tue, 23 Aug 2016 15:19:33 +0000

During yesterday’s Summer Telethon of the Avatar (Part 2), Portalarium were able to raise over $200,000 in pledge and add-on purchases, which actually carried the game’s crowdfunding total over the $10 million mark. Funding statistics, as of this writing, are as follows:


Of course, in the wake of the Telethon, all pledges have been expired (joining the Player-Owned Towns, which were expired at the end of July). It is no longer possible, in other words, to obtain a tax-free lot and home in an NPC town or city in Shroud of the Avatar; other bonuses (such as boxed copies of the game) are similarly off the table.

This doesn’t, however, mean that all crowdfunding for Shroud of the Avatar has come to a halt; Game Services vouchers are still available, and the Make a Difference store is still open. Game Add-Ons can also still be purchased, and a number of Bundles are also still available.

And, notably, it is still possible to purchase lot deeds and homes — tax free, even! — through the Bundle Store. The catch to these is that they are exclusive to Player-Owned Towns; the deeds cannot be used elsewhere in Novia.

At any rate, many congratulations to Portalarium on reaching this milestone…for two reasons. The first, obviously, is that it’s always good to see more development money flow into Shroud of the Avatar, and the second is that I (for one) take this as indicative that the game is finally getting into the end stages of its development. Or, at least, of development on its first episode.

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For The King: Closed Beta Update Mon, 22 Aug 2016 20:42:46 +0000

IronOak Games have published another short update on the For The King Kickstarter page, giving us an update on the production status of the game:

Good news is we’ve made excellent progress towards our closed beta in the last few weeks. The game received a ton of polish and is relatively bug free as far as betas go. It’s ready to be pushed out once we get it up on Steam…

However, they have also encountered something of a slowdown, with Steam being the bottleneck:

Which brings us to the bad news. We’re currently awaiting the onboarding process for Steam which involves Valve obtaining and confirming info about IronOak Games from the IRS. Apparently this can take up to 30 days. This kind of took us by surprise as we figured we wouldn’t need this kind of info until we begin selling, but alas, we do.

So where does that leave us? Well, we’re not quite sure to be honest. Hopefully it doesn’t take the full 30 days and we can deliver the beta sooner than later. Once we get the go ahead from Steam, it might take a day or two to figure out the process of actually getting the build up and running, and another day or so to send the keys out.

In the meantime, you’ll be able to check out For The King at PAX West, at the Indie MEGABOOTH…if, you know, you happen to be attending said conference.

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Underworld Ascendant: Ultima Underworld Influences Mon, 22 Aug 2016 18:44:56 +0000

The latest Stygian Sentinel update from OtherSide Entertainment goes into a bit of detail about some of the ways that the design of Underworld Ascendant is being influenced by the Ultima Underworld games:

In our last update, we mentioned that the Green Lizard Men will be found in the neutral zone of Marcaul, an area featured in our Vertical Slice. That’s a direct connection to one of our favorite moments in Ultima Underworld — a game that, a year and a half before Edge Magazine famously said, “lf only you could talk to these creatures…” about Doom, let you decipher the language of a race of creatures, talk to them, and make alliances with them.

As you can imagine, we find this sequence pretty inspiring and intend to feature the Lizard Men prominently in the Vertical Slice. (We’ll even drop the name “Ishtass” as a hint…)

Another one of our favorite moments in the series? In Ultima Underworld 2’s Prison Tower of Tarna level, the player could: 1) fight your way through several levels full of goblins or 2) talk your way through past all the guards, access the jail on the top floor, and release a captured troll, who would then proceed to wipe out every single goblin in the place. Both were fun ways of solving the same challenge and allowed a large gameplay choice on a quest level.

Oh, and of course there’s this reminder:

As far as other direct connections go, you’ve heard the game will feature Ultima Underworld characters Cabirus, who attempted to found a utopia in The Stygian Abyss, and Tyball, the “big bad” wizard… who is returning as a lich. One of the two? Has a very major role to play in Underworld Ascendant.

It would also appear that the internal codename for the game’s narrative system is — get this — Looking Glass 2.0. We should be getting more details about that in the future.

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Shroud of the Avatar -Update of the Avatar #190 Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:00:00 +0000 Greetings Fellow Avatars!  I appreciate some of the recent well wishes from some ppl during my recent health problems.  I am doing better, and am happy to bring a quick little update today on Shroud of the Avatar as I promised I would do so long ago, as often as I could.

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

Summer Telethon of the Avatar Part 2

Summer Telethon Part 2Portalarium is continuing their telethon celebration of resistance as well as push for more money and vanity items.  However in more important news at Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC) on August 22 (TODAY!), 2016, they are expiring ALL remaining pledges, including: Adventurer, Founder, Royal Artisan, Explorer, Ancestor, Edelmann, Knight Marshal, Lord Marshal, Duke, and Lord of the Manor 2.

Schedule (All times and content subject to change)

  • Noon: Welcome to the Summer Telethon!
  • 12:30 PM: Community Trailer Contest winners announced!
  • 1:00 PM: R32 Postmortem Q&A continues
  • 2:00 PM: Studio Tour – Dev Rampage!
  • 3:00 PM: Community Hour 1 – Getting Involved
  • 4:00 PM: Story & NPCs Deep Dive
  • 5:00 PM: Spite and Port Graff: Uncloning Process
  • 6:00 PM: Player Housing Deep Dive
  • 7:00 PM: Community Hour 2 – Contributors
  • 8:00 PM: Crafting Deep Dive
  • 9:00 PM: Combat Deep Dive
  • 10:00 PM: Adventure Tour and AMA

Watch The Telethon on YouTube!


NPC Submissions Requested for Spite!

If you have a high enough pledge level for the NPC submission, you have an opportunity. I am waiting for for NPC requests for a specific city so I am still waiting just so I can at least claim that pledge reward.  See Lum’s post here:

Humility[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Scott “Lum” Jennings]

This month, we’re seeking entries for inhabitants of the village of Spite!

Spite is a village full of forboding, across Stormwater Lake from the dungeon of Malice. Yet despite that, many good folk still do carve out a living among the cliffs of the Sirens. More info on Spite has been posted by SorcerousSteve who led up the reworking of Spite here.

First, some brief notes:spite17

  • Spite is the first of our “uncloning” scenes, where we go back post-final wipe and fill out unique content for each village and city. Thus, the NPCs are already in the game, but we can change appearance (to a degree, as seen below), gender, etc. to suit your request. If you want to pick a specific NPC (for example, one near your own house) we will do our best to accomodate you but may not be able to.
  • NPC visual customization, as you may have noticed, is still at a very early stage in development. Right now for the backers who want to be added to Spite, we cannot offer any visual customization options beyond our standard gallery of NPC models. If you would like to have input over the visual customization of your NPC, you can wait for further releases when we can offer this. We will also allow a one-time visual re-customization once customization has been added if you would like to add your NPC now.
  • Response to this will be on a first-come first-served basis for each call for responses. If your NPC doesn’t appear in Spite, feel free to respond again in future posts. We have quite a few towns and cities to populate!
  • We are allowing people who have already submitted NPCs to submit their ideas for Spite as well if they like, but people who have not yet submitted an NPC will take priority over those who have.
  • When responding, please list a first and second choice for profession.
  • NPCs for Spite must be human. No undead, please.

Still with us? Great! Here’s what we need this month:

  • 9 guardsSpite8
  • 1 innkeeper
  • 1 waiter/waitress
  • 2 fish merchants
  • 2 farming supplies merchant
  • 3 food/cooking supplies merchants
  • 1 crafting merchant
  • 1 housing decorations merchant
  • 1 housing deeds merchant
  • 3 blacksmiths
  • 1 mage supplies merchant
  • 1 alchemy supplies merchant
  • 8 citizens (currently called “travellers” but can be residents that are not merchants)
  • 1 combat trainer
  • 1 crafting trainer
  • 1 banker
  • 1 town crier
  • 1 public vendor
  • 4 children

If you’d like to have your namesake be a resident or visitor of Spite, please respond via private message on this forum to me (Lum) using the following format:

  • NPC name:
  • NPC gender:
  • NPC profession (first choice):
  • NPC profession (second choice):
  • NPC background (optional): A paragraph on whom your NPC is, how they would respond to nosy outlanders poking about their business, what brings them to Spite (or keeps them there), or anything else you’d like to add. We reserve the right to edit and/or reject any background that does not fit the lore and setting of the game.

Please specify in your submission that this NPC is for Spite.

We will respond if: your NPC is used; if it is rejected for whatever reason (such as an inappropriate name); if a supplied background is inappropriate, or if your NPC missed the cutoff for this release.

Thanks for your support, and see you in Spite!

Port Graff Revisited (Part 2)

Port Graff is a cloned scene based on Kingsport. It is getting rebuilt this release and will go live with Release 33. In the case of Port Graff, it is getting a plot specific additions related to the gem trade between the Graff Gem Mines and Graff Island along with a host of other visual changes. This is continued from last week’s post.

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


Hey guys, SorcerousSteve here to give you the latest on Port Graff coming to you this R33!

Port Graff is located on the western coast of Drachvald and is a crucial link in the gem trade from the Graff Gem Mines to Graff Island.

Gems ready to be loaded and shipped to Graff Island.

Port Graff 8

Blue Gem Creek, this fast flowing creek located in north Port Graff gushes down the rocky hillside and gets its name from the blue gems found along its rocky banks.

Port Graff 9

Graff Island can be spotted offshore from Port Graff.

Port Graff 10Port Graff 11

Southern Entrance to Port Graff

Port Graff 12

Port Graff 13

Port Graff 14

See you next time!

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer

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Richard Garriott on Shroud of the Avatar: “If this didn’t work, I actually thought this literally could be the end of my career.” Fri, 19 Aug 2016 20:16:01 +0000

MCV — a UK publication about the Market for Computer & Video Gamesspoke with Richard Garriott at Gamescom. The Ultima and Shroud of the Avatar creator was remarkably frank with them about the degree to which Portalarium’s future — and his own future as a game designer — depended upon the success of the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter campaign:

Ultima creator Richard Garriott has said that his four-plus decades of working in the games industry would have come to an end had the crowdfunding campaign for Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues failed to hit its target.

“When we started down the crowdfunding path, I looked at it with great trepidation,” Garriott told us. “If crowdfunding didn’t work, my ability to go back to a big publisher and say: ‘help, back me building the spiritual successor to Ultima’ when the community wouldn’t support it, when I was taking it directly to them, would go way down.

“If this didn’t work, I actually thought this literally could be the end of my career. At least for making the thing I really want to make.”

He also left open the possibility of working with a publisher in the future:

“Once we prove that this works, they might want to come in. We’ve talked to big publishers about doing this and they weren’t interested because it didn’t fit the formula. If this is successful, then they’ll want to talk to us.”

I think it was reported elsewhere — possibly also based on a quote from Garriott himself — that at the time the Kickstarter launched, Portalarium had only a few months of operating budget left in its coffers; the crowdfunding campaign really was a Hail Mary play to not only finance development of Shroud, but to keep the company as a whole alive and kicking.

Fortunately, that all worked out rather well; the game has since gone on to raise nearly $10 million from its backers. But at least for a while, Portalarium was on the knife’s edge, as it were.

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Dungeons of Chaos: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, and Kickstarter Campaign Thu, 18 Aug 2016 18:51:03 +0000

Volker Elzner has posted what could be called a postmortem — or perhaps retrospective — for Dungeons of Chaos on the game’s website. The Unity-based 2D RPG has been doing modestly well:

It has been almost 3 months since I launched the Unity edition of Dungeons of Chaos. About 10,000 sales, exactly 10,000 facebook likes on the page today, and about 400 ratings on Google and Apple store combined, average 4.8.

The entire article is well worth a read; Volker goes through several of the criteria that drove his creation of Dungeons of Chaos, and evaluates the level of success achieved (or not) for each of these.

He concludes thusly:

…I am very excited about what enjoyment people have gotten out of DoC so far. Was never thinking that someone would try and make a party of 6 druids and try to learn the unlock skill. Or farm elder dragons. Or reach the end of the chaos rift. Or reach a skill level of 130. People are enjoying it, and that makes me happy.

He has also launched a modest Kickstarter campaign — with a goal of $3,500 AUD — which “seeks to fund the expansion…from the basic ‘chapter 3’ storyline continuation, to many new features that are potentially developed.” Backer rewards include such things as the ability to vote on the order in which new features are added to the game ($5 AUD), access to map creation tools so as to submit an area map to an upcoming chapter of the game ($15 AUD), or even the opportunity to create your own shopkeeper NPC ($40 AUD).

At present, the campaign has raised $1,608 AUD toward its goal, and has 18 days left. Do consider supporting the game; it’s one of the best options out there at the moment for a good, old-school RPG experience on mobile.

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Name Change: Das Tal Is Now Called The Exiled Wed, 17 Aug 2016 18:08:53 +0000

Fairytale Distillery have formally announced the real name of the game that, until now, we have known as Das Tal (“The Valley”, for those of you who don’t speak German). Yes, apparently Das Tal was in fact just a working title, a project name if you will; the actual name of the game is The Exiled:

Today is a big day for us at Fairytale Distillery. After nearly four years of development on “Das Tal”, we finally found a fitting name for our game: The Exiled.

As to why they changed the name…

There are many reasons for why we prefer The Exiled over Das Tal. Here are the two main ones:

1.) The Exiled puts the focus of the name on what is really important: The people of the valley. When playing our game you are one of the exiled. We care about your experience while playing our “social sandbox”. The fact that you are in a valley (that is what “Das Tal” means in German) is secondary to that.

2.) It paints a picture in your head in a way that “Das Tal” never could. While having a German name was never a problem for us – many players actually found it pretty cool – for most people those two syllables were just a random jumble of letters. Hard to remember and hard to care about.

To celebrate, Fairytale have released a new trailer for the game:

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Crowfall’s Founder Update on Strongholds Wed, 17 Aug 2016 14:05:07 +0000 The original plan during Crowfall’s kickstarter was to build strongholds directly into the land parcels. Players could craft a castle or a keep (or buy them, for Eternal Kingdoms) and it would come ‘pre-built’ on a parcel of land. The template was set, and players would use buildings to customize their parcel.

Those of you who played Shadowbane or Galaxies will remember that, when given the choice, they always try to make our city building designs as flexible as possible. In this case, the Crowfall team didn’t love the idea of strongholds based on templates, but it seemed to be a reasonable compromise given both technology and resource constraints.

As they started on this system,they were presented with new information. The team found a way to move back to a modular system – allowing both the designers AND the players to customize these strongholds from the ground up. Once they realized that the system was not as expensive or painful as we expected, they changed the plan and announced it to all of us backers and founders.

The design payoff for player-customized castles and keeps is HUGE, so they have fully embraced the modular approach to castle building.


You’ve seen a lot of this stuff in action: the modular pieces were created originally in Hunger Dome, then modified to allow for destruction in Siege Perilous. While neither of these is a perfect ‘reference stronghold’, they do provide a great sense of scale. These aren’t fortified houses; they are massive structures designed for guild and kingdom defense.

All strongholds will have a key central building surrounded by various defensive walls and elements, all of which are destructible. The current group of strongholds in order of size and scope are: fort, keep, castle, citadel and imperial palace.

Two major things are happening soon with Crowfall…

First, The dev team are reminding everyone they are retiring the Kickstarter and 2015 Strongholds as of the end of August. They will no longer be available for sale (or upgrade) on the website as of September 1st. These Kickstarter and 2015 stronghold variants are only available to people whose pledge package is either a Kickstarter or 2015 pledge package respectively. That means they will only be in the store until the end of August and during that time they will remain at current prices.

Secondly, they are announcing the price changes for the 2016 Strongholds which will also go into effect on September 1st, 2016. Prices for the strongholds are rising significantly to reflect their new functionality and gameplay, so now is the time to pledge for a 2016 stronghold (or upgrade one you already own) before the end of August.



Current strongholds will be converted into new stronghold bundles that include all of the new functionality. Therefore, if you bought (or buy) a stronghold prior to end of the month–for example a 2016 Large Fort–it will be converted into a bundle of items including the parcel of land, a central building (a lodge) and a collection of modular pieces (palisade walls, towers, etc.) that you can use to build the structure as originally shown or you can mix and match with other pieces to create something unique.

This same conversion will happen for ALL of our previous strongholds, as well.

Once the dev team start testing the crafting and placement system, anything that you purchased for your Eternal Kingdom will be available for your use in the playtests and will be restored to your account at the end of every test.

The upside to these changes is that this will make all previous Gold and above packages (for Kickstarter, 2015 and 2016) MUCH more valuable as the strongholds contained within them were underpriced – and with more flexibility, individual pieces can be used and reused (and reused…) to drastically extend their shelf life.


Current FAQ on this Topic as of 8/17/2016

Can strongholds be crafted?

Yes. Any building or piece of a stronghold that can be purchased or received as a pledge package reward can also be crafted using in-game resources. This includes the strongholds and all their elements.

What does the “Kickstarter/2015/2016” mean in front of the package name?

The designation of Kickstarter/2015/2016 on strongholds relates to when the bundle (or pledge reward) was originally purchased/pledged. These packages are functionally identical, but include a unique ‘skin’ (cosmetic look) applied to the central stronghold building. This is one of the benefits of pledging early, as early pledgers get access to these unique-looking stronghold buildings and can show them off as evidence of being an early backer, collect them or trade them with other players.

Are the buildings modular? 

The buildings (such as the lodge or a tavern) are not modular in the same manner as castle walls and towers. Defenses can be created out of ‘snappable’ parts (much like Legos), and players can move them around to create any combination of defensive structures. Buildings, however, will have a set footprint and while we hope to include a high degree of customization, it won’t be to the same degree as the castle walls, gates and towers. (In other words, the dev team aren’t providing floor and wall segments to allow players to build a house from the ground up.)

Crowfall Live! Encore: Creating Castle Modules

In this encore video from the Crowfall Live! event on July 19, Art Director Melissa Preston presents an overview of the modular pieces players can use to create unique strongholds.

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Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 51 – Game Development Challenges Tue, 16 Aug 2016 18:17:18 +0000

This episode began with the intention of capturing a number of thoughts on the perils and pitfalls of game development, as submitted by various members of the Ultima Dragons community. However, some initial discussion of the comments on this post at the Ultima Codex by Deathblade Dragon (a post made over six months ago, and which suddenly surged back to life) wound up derailing discussion for much of the rest of the episode. We still kept somewhat to the topic in general, but we ended up looking at it through the lenses of crowdfunding, managing fan expectations, and the progress that has been made on both Star Citizen and Shroud of the Avatar.

Listen to the Episode

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Denis Loubet Has Released a High-Resolution Version of His Alternate Ultima 7 Box Art Tue, 16 Aug 2016 17:26:52 +0000

Denis Loubet has released, to the general public, a high-resolution version of his alternate box art for Ultima 7: The Black Gate:

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a link to the high resolution version of the alternate cover to Ultima 7:The Black Gate that I did recently for my Patrons on patreon. This file is suitable for making your own personal poster or tee-shirt of The Cover That Might Have Been.

Don’t thank me! Thank my awesome patrons who sacrificed their exclusivity and gave me permission to post this file for your personal enjoyment. They practically insisted on it!

This file is a large 5472 pixel x 7200 pixel CMYK jpeg. I have added 2 inches of black around the image to accommodate different poster sizes. There are many services that can print posters on demand, a Patron of mine has already used Vistaprint for that purpose with good results.

All I ask in return is that you retain the credit at the bottom of the picture and keep it visible.

As such, here’s a note of thanks to both Mr. Loubet and his many Patreon backers, for their generosity in allowing this image to be shared with the wider Ultima fan community.

Ultima 7: The Black Gate Alternate Cover

Denis Loubet’s alternate box art for Ultima 7: The Black Gate, created by request from one of his Patreon backers.

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JD Harding Released His Ultima 7 and Ultima Online Soundtrack Remixes Last Month Tue, 16 Aug 2016 15:50:10 +0000

I reported on JD Harding’s remixes of music from the Ultima 7 and Ultima Online soundtracks back in February of 2015; what I didn’t realize was that the good Mr. Harding had gone on to published the (apparently) finished versions of both collections on his Bandcamp profile in September of the same year.

The First Age of Update: As it turns out, the date listed on Bandcamp was in error; the good Mr. Harding only finished work on these collections in July of this year…the culmination of two years of effort.

The Ultima Online album thereat comprises six songs — Britain, Cove, Minoc, Moonglow, Trinsic, and Vesper — and is (interestingly) no longer a paid work, strictly speaking. Whereas before the Ultima Online tracks had a list price of $1.50 USD, they are now simply listed as Name Your Price. Or you can subscribe to Mr. Harding’s extensive Bandcamp profile for $5/month, and listen to all his music at your leisure.

And the same is true of the Ultima 7 album, which comprises a whopping seventy-two tracks (some of which are, admittedly, only a few seconds in length). These tracks can be used to replace the default sound files in Exult, which in turn will allow you to experience them as you play through Ultima 7, both The Black Gate and Serpent Isle. Instructions on how to set everything up can be found here, along with what appear to be downloads of all the tracks.

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You Can Now Download the Commodore 64 Port of Akalabeth Tue, 16 Aug 2016 13:51:33 +0000

You’ll recall that the initial release of this port was limited to fifty 5.25″ diskettes, which were snapped up by Ultima fans in a matter of hours (and then not all that many hours). I expressed my hope, at that time, that we’d see a digital release of the port at some point…and that point has now arrived.

Developer Andrea Schincaglia left a comment on the Akalabeth: World of Doom for Commodore 64 project entry to inform us that a download of the port has been made available through CSDB. I’ll also be sure to add a mirror of the download to the project entry proper, but that will have to wait; I’m not able to access CSDB from behind the office firewall.

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Ultima Online: Publish 94 Update; August Newsletter Mon, 15 Aug 2016 18:13:34 +0000

The August 2016 newsletter for Ultima Online has been published. As you might expect, much of the news therein concerns the recently-released Publish 94:

We are pleased to announce that Publish 94 is out the door and all of the in game systems including the Ultima Store, Character Transfers, and Promotional System have been turned back on as of this morning.

We are getting together a new schedule for the Dev Meet and Greets which will start back up in September. Stay tuned to and future newsletters for the updated schedule.

After an interesting meet and greet with Siege where the hot topic was VvV artifacts, we received a lot of feedback which we greatly appreciate. After reviewing the feedback, we have decided not to add VvV artifacts to Siege at this time. We will continue to gather information from the Siege players and review this decision at a later date.

We are working hard to get Publish 95 together. We hope to get it to you before Thanksgiving so that you can enjoy all the exciting new gifts and veteran rewards we are working on. I will give you a hint, one veteran reward is a creepy crawly mount! :smiley:

Kyronix and I have been invited to speak at SyndCon again this year and are are looking forward to speaking with all of the players from the oldest guild in online-gaming history. Congratulations to the Syndicate on maintaining this distinguished honor!

As well, we get a look ahead to some of the changes that are coming in Publish 95:

One of the more common points of feedback we receive is regarding the Bulk Order Deed system. We’ve focused primarily on combat as we’ve fleshed out the Valley of Eodon since the release of Time of Legends, with a few bits of crafting sprinkled in here and there. With Publish 95 we are currently in the planning stages of a Bulk Order Deed update. In planning this update we are remaining true to the original intent of the Bulk Order Deed system while taking some of the randomness out of the reward delivery. While you will not be able to bank low end Bulk Order Deed turn-ins for higher tier rewards, we do plan on removing the randomness from the reward delivery so crafters can target the rewards they want the most without having to rely on the RNG. We’re also looking at introducing new rewards and crafting systems to BODs. As we progress further with the update we look forward to your feedback on these new BOD changes.

To go along with the BOD update, we are also planning a community crafting event for the holiday season. We want to give crafters something to rally behind in order to fill some of those BODs that have been collecting dust, as well as earn some fun new rewards for getting in the holiday spirit!

There’s also a new piece of lore fiction, written (as always) by EM Malachi, as well as the usual Q&A segments.

More recently, an update for Publish 94 was also released:

The 15th Anniversary Robe was removed from the store due to a delivery error on our part. We will be making it available at a later date for purchasing once we have resolved the issue.

We are aware of the issue with the Koti incorrectly spawning on Great Lakes, and are working on correcting this today.

Keep an eye on the Ultima Online website for further news regarding this issue, I guess.

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #189 Sat, 13 Aug 2016 15:34:44 +0000 Greetings Fellow Avatars!  Not a huge amount of information this week so I figured I would surprise everyone with some articles and/or youtube videos from people from the past week or 2.  I am also pleased to say that one friend of mine has been making alot of use of my lot, so while I am not playing SotA, I am pleased my pledge items are getting use.

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

As one would expect, over the past 2 weeks, lots of articles and youtube videos have been making their way up onto the internet.  So to highlight some of these, I am providing you with some links and/or video embeds. Please enjoy!

MMORPG Shroud of the Avatar Review in Progress Part 1 – A solid review on the current state of the game which, as the reviewer reminds ppl, will change as the dev team polish and add more content.

Village Monk

Grumpy Old Gamer aka Duke Violation

Markee Dragon

Port Graff Revisited

Port Graff is a cloned scene based on Kingsport. It is getting rebuilt this release and will go live with Release 33. Note that when the dev team un-clone these scenes we do NOT change lot placements. We only make cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage. In the case of Port Graff, it is getting a plot specific additions related to the gem trade between the Graff Gem Mines and Graff Island along with a host of other visual changes.

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

Hey guys, Sorcerous Steve here to give you a sneak peak at the uncloning process for Port Graff!

Port Graff started out as a Kingsport Clone and has undergone major renovations for its R33 release.

Port Graff is located on the western coast of Drachvald and serves as a docking point for the valuable gems coming from the Graff Gem Mines. The gems make their way to Port Graff via cart and are placed on boats for their transport to Graff Island where they are sculpted and added to weaponry and jewelry.

Carts filled with gems enter the Port Graff checkpoint. Port Graff is a mining port town heavy on trade with an abundance of guards protecting valuable shipments of gems.Port Graff 1

Port Graff 2

Port Graff waterfront.Port Graff 3

Gems are loaded onto boats and shipped to Graff Island, which can be spotted off in the distance.

Port Graff 4

Player homes line the boarded mud streets

Port Graff 5

Dawn sets in on the mining port town of Port Graff.

Port Graff 6

Small streams flow through the town of Port Graff.

Port Graff 7

Stay tuned for the next update on Port Graff!

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer

Summer Telethon of the Avatar Part 2

Summer Telethon 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 the 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).

You can pre-post your questions in the article’s comments section, or post questions during the telethon in Discord chat.*


Help the team to achieve the following goals during the telethon!

As a special bonus, the dev team are offering Telethon Funding Stretch Goal Rewards to any backer that pledges a minimum of $5 from the start of the telethon, until Midnight (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply). The Summer Telethon of the Avatar Funding Stretch Goal Rewards are:

  • $10,000: /airplane emoteBrassMiniAutomaton
  • $25,000: ? and ! Hats
  • $35,000: Aeronaut Outfit
  • $50,000: Accordion musical instrument
  • $65,000: Mini Automaton Pet
  • $80,000: Baby Clockwork Dragon Pet
  • + More if we go beyond!

QuestionMark_Aeronaut Outfit
Cheer on the Devs!

StarrDancingFor every $2,500 donated, all developers on camera have to either dance, sing, or drink a shot of alcohol.

Additionally, they will yet again be spinning the Wheel of Fortune & Doom! (they borrowed this idea from our friends over at Crowfall). The wheel will have 14 items at any given time, but dozens of total prizes ultimately will be given away! This includes developers that, if selected, have to either dance, sing, or drink a shot of alcohol.

As the wheel is spun, what is selected will be replaced by something in the list below. Items already selected will be removed for a time (some may not come back onto the wheel for the rest of the telethon. Keep in mind that some of these may never come up, so cross your fingers for your preferred item!

Wheel of Doom Items: (NOTE: not a complete list and list subject to change)

  • Blood Reliquaries 10% off for 1 hour
  • All Lot Deeds 25% off for 30 min
  • Viking Houses 20% off for 1 hour
  • Juggles 20% for 1 hour
  • Elven Elder Armor 10% off for 1 hour
  • Pets 20% off for 1 hour
  • Hot Air Balloon & Airship 25% off for 1 hour
  • Stone Statues (incl Dragons!) 15% off for 30 min
  • Obsidian Homes 20% off for 30 min
  • Pipes 30% off for 1 hour
  • Wearable Bundles 20% off for 1 hour
  • Prosperity Tools 10% off for 1 hour
  • Wings 20% for 1 hour
  • /breathefires 20% for 1 hour
  • Kobold City 5% off for 30 min
  • Viking City 5% off for 30 min
  • Kobold Town 10% for 1 hour
  • Viking Town 10% for 1 hour
  • Viking Village Keep 10% for 1 hour
  • Kobold Village Keep 10% for 1 hour
  • Viking Village 10% for 1 hour
  • Kobold Village 10% for 1 hour
  • Kobold Row 10% for 1 hour
  • Viking Row 10% for 1 hour

We also have these exciting prizes to give away throughout the telethon!*

  • Store Credits
  • Town Lot Property Deeds
  • Obsidian Tower Village Home
  • Star Citizen Aeronaut Helmet Starter Bundle
  • Cloaks, Juggle, Musical Instruments, Pets, Prosperity Tool, Kobold, and other bundles
  • Rare Lord British relics
  • Special Challenge Coins
  • Shroud of the Avatar t-shirts
  • Sword of Midras audiobook AND hardcover copies!
  • More Razer Gear

Here is a peek at what to watch out for as the telethon progress:

Schedule (All times and content subject to change)

  • Noon: Welcome to the Summer Telethon!
  • 12:30 PM: Community Trailer Contest winners announced!
  • 1:00 PM: R32 Postmortem Q&A continues
  • 2:00 PM: Studio Tour – Dev Rampage!
  • 3:00 PM: Community Hour 1 – Getting Involved
  • 4:00 PM: Story & NPCs Deep Dive
  • 5:00 PM: Spite and Port Graff: Uncloning Process
  • 6:00 PM: Player Housing Deep Dive
  • 7:00 PM: Community Hour 2 – Contributors
  • 8:00 PM: Crafting Deep Dive
  • 9:00 PM: Combat Deep Dive
  • 10:00 PM: Items & Scene Design
  • 11:00 PM: Adventure Tour and AMA

Watch The Telethon on YouTube!



Warning: Telethon is Rated PG-13 for Alcoholic Content
(might get upgraded to Rated-R depending on rate of pledges)

See you on the livestream chat at Noon this coming August 22nd!

* There will be some prizes awarded during the telethon, but you have to be present in the Discord chatroom to qualify for each drawing. Please keep in mind that questions and feedback related to each segment 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. Only 3 Questions per person!

Password Change Request

Earlier this year, a few well-known games and sites were compromised and lists of usernames and passwords became widely available. Yesterday, it was revealed that DOTA2 was the latest victim.

The SotA Dev team continue to be fortunate enough to not be one of the victims of these attacks. However, the dev team have experienced a hacking attack that attempted to use these leaked username/password combinations to try and login to Shroud and have succeeded several times thus far. As a precaution, they temporarily disabled login to the official website until 6:00 PM CDT (11:00 PM UTC) on August 11, 2016. However, if you have played one of the games that has been compromised, you may be one of the victims we identified.

You must make sure your username, or at least your password is unique on our site. I would personally insist that you change your password if you have any doubt. FYI, this is good security behavior in general.

If you wish to change your password, click on “Account” to go to your Account Page, click “Edit Profile” link beneath your profile image, and enter a new password on your Profile Settings page.

Static Player Owned Town Policy Statement

[From a forum post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Greetings Player-Owned Town Owners (and other interested parties),

We are still working on a few remaining Player-Owned Town (POT) Templates (like the Swamp Island), but as soon as we have what we consider adequate coverage across biomes, we can begin Static POT construction. We hope to start as soon as Q4. As part of this, we wanted to update everyone on our policies regarding Static POTs.

  1. Order: Construction order will be based on size and purchase date (i.e. the oldest and biggest will be built first).
  2. Contact: When we are ready to begin construction, we will contact the owner with any questions we have about customization requests.
  3. Templates: All construction will be done off of the base templates. Requests for other maps (ex. Kingsport) as base templates can be submitted, but it is very unlikely they are suitable for POT construction due to size and/or space limitations. This is because all POTs have to be built with the maximum size in mind of a Metropolis.
  4. Customization: We will make every attempt to get as close as we can to your customization requests as constrained by Item 3.
  5. Permanence: Once you choose Static and we begin construction of your POT, you can never convert that Custom Static town to Dynamic. It will be permanently Static. Lots work completely differently in static scenes versus Dynamic scenes and now that we are persistent we cannot change existing static lots into dynamic lots.
  6. Change Requests: If you want to make changes to your town after it is in the game, you will need to either upgrade to a larger town size or pay for those changes (charges will be determined based on scale of the change requests). Some requests cannot be made at all because of persistence (example: changing or deleting existing lots).
  7. Courtesy Unlock: If you wish to switch to Dynamic after reviewing these policies, we will provide you one courtesy unlock of your Player-Owned Towns Submission Form to convert to Dynamic.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to working with those of you who choose Static as your option.

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Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 50 – Hey, Look, a Milestone! Thu, 11 Aug 2016 19:30:14 +0000

To celebrate the fiftieth episode of Spam Spam Spam Humbug, we are giving away three copies of Hammerwatch (check it out on Steam). To be entered into the draw, you simply need to leave a review for Spam Spam Spam Humbug on iTunes or Stitcher (and then, preferably, reach out to us and let us know that you’ve done so). We’ll put everyone’s names in a hat and draw three out, and announce the winners during an upcoming episode.

In the first part of the episode, Withstand the Fury Dragon is joined by Violation (a well-known fixture of the Shroud of the Avatar community), Merrik Dragon, Golem Dragon, and Deathblade Dragon, to discuss the land rush that is presently underway in Richard Garriott’s upcoming game. Now that Shroud of the Avatar’s game world is fully persistent, backers whose pledges include an in-game house as a reward have been sorted into groups, and each group in succession is being turned loose into the world of Novia. That’s right: players are now in something of a race to stake their claims to the ideal — or, at least, an acceptable — place for their in-game Avatar to dwell.

In the second part, Gradilla Dragon, Boolean Dragon, and Helgraf Dragon join the discussion, and we continue talking about Shroud of the Avatar for the most part, along with some other things.

Listen to the Episode

Support Spam Spam Spam Humbug

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Join the Ultima Community | Ultima Dragons on Facebook | Ultima Dragons on Google+ | Follow the Ultima Dragons on Twitter | Ultima Dragons on Slack | The Weyrmount | Ultima Dragons on Discord

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