Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Lord British’s Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 8, 2013

Richard Garriott (de Cayeux) is back into Fantasy RPGing?

Single-player AND online multiplayer?

Deliberately reminiscent of the Ultima series (and Ultima Online)?

Okay, Kickstarter, you’ve won once more. Dangit.

Gotta admit – I’m a little skeptical here. As much as I loved the earlier Ultima games, things kinda fell apart in the end, and I never really warmed up Ultima Online or Tabula Rasa. 😛

It’s “not” an MMO, he claims.  It’s… well, it’s interesting enough for me to throw in again. *Sigh*.  I’m such a sucker. I really want to believe…


Filed Under: Game Announcements - Comments: 19 Comments to Read

  • Adamantyr said,

    You and me both, I just pledged $150, and saw the tentative release date is October 2014… *SIGH*

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    You pledged a lot more than me. I went the cheapskate limited-count route. Though not the guilt pledge, though I thought it was funny.

  • Adamantyr said,

    Well, I GOTTA have a cloth map… 🙂

  • Walter said,

    Is it legal for him to call it Shroud of the Avatar: The Forsaken Virtues? That seems kind of like calling your Westwood-RTS “Command and Destroy: The UN versus the Brotherhood.” Despite being pretty well-versed in Ultima, wasn’t sure if he was trying to play up the idea that you’re in the shadow of the Avatar, or if he didn’t get the Ultima license. On the one hand, it’s kind of understandable he’d do this, since he did create the Ultima series. On the other hand, EA did buy Origin and turn it into that thing I use to play my poorly-ported-to-Windows-7 Command and Conquer games. I don’t know. If this isn’t false advertising, it’s coming really uncomfortably close to it.

    @Adamantyr Remember when the map came with the game, and didn’t cost 100 extra dollars? I assume so, seeing as you spent an additional $50 to get the other 2 feelies. (I wasn’t born until ’94; are the runic translation kit and coin also things Origin would include, or was that an Infocom thing and Origin only included a map?)

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    He can’t use the “Ultima” name, but “Avatar” is a generic word all by itself. If he called it the “Quest of the Avatar” (the subtitle to U4), he’d get in trouble. But although I’m sure EA could take him to court if they wanted to, I suspect they’d have a weak case.

    It’s the same way “Torment: Tides of Numenera” can get away with their title, I think.

  • Anon said,

    > Well, I GOTTA have a cloth map…

    For $150 Garriott should potato print the damn maps himself!

    Instead it will probably be made in China like everything else…

  • OttoMoBiehl said,

    It’s nice to see some interesting games being backed by Kickstarter recently. This, the new Torment game, Wasteland 2 and more that I can’t think of off the top of my head. Whee!

  • BellosTheMighty said,

    I know what you mean; I kept reading and saying “Oh, I don’t know, I don’t know,” like Morgan Freeman looking at the package in Se7en. Garriot is one of the greats, but ever since turning to MMOs he’s been enamored with ideas that just don’t work. And the pitch is big on promises and short on specifics, always a red flag. And if he’s using “state-of-the-art technology”, it probably won’t work on my machine. (Granted, my machine can’t even play the first Mass Effect without lagging, but knowing that does squat for my problems.)

    I pledged $25 anyway, because I spend little enough on games these days that I can afford to take a flier on it. And besides… well, as CRPGAddict reminded me, Garriot has never stopped innovating, even when his experiments produced less-than-steller results. Since Kickstarter crowds worship the past and AAA developers are obsessed with cloning each other, we ought to give support to projects that we know will do something different.

  • Adamantyr said,

    I look at the $150 this way… it’s money I don’t have to spend buying the feelies on eBay years from now. Like I had to do with the other Ultima titles.

    Now looking at eBay, buying an original copy of Ultima II in box with the full size map for $180 is looking like a steal…

  • BellosTheMighty said,

    Okay, I gotta say this. I watched the map reveal video. About 20 seconds in, it zooms in to that lava flow thingy below the central castle, and I noticed… it’s a vagina. With the volcano as clitoris. I can’t unsee it now, so I figured you guys shouldn’t be able to either.

    Then again, there was a bay in UO around Trinsic that was blatantly shaped like a flaccid penis, so I guess it goes around and comes around. ^_^

  • GhanBuriGhan said,

    I’m still sceptical, waiting for more info. No info on the story arc (supposedly to go on over 5 installments!), or mood they are shooting for (video suggest a very lighthearted mood). Combat system with “skill decks” sounds like preparation could be tactical, but combat itself just left-clicking…
    Choices shown were very simple binary affairs, and very simple writing, though I like the talk about consequences.
    And MMO elements like persistent payable player housing PvP and microtransactions do nothing for me.
    If updates convince me the actual story / campaign / character design etc. is worthy of an Ultima(te) RPG, I’ll pledge.

  • Anon said,

    I’m not too hot for the game at the moment (could change if I know more) but what I do find interesting is the distribution of backers on the 17(!) different pledge categories.

    I know it’s early but apparently the backers don’t really fall into the categories they planned.
    The “Navigator” category for example has a very high limit of 4,000 pledges (which would result in a cool $1.4 million).
    Only 29 backers at the moment result in a 0.73% share, though, which is the lowest percentage of all limited pledges apart from the “Duke” category, which admittedly clocks in at $5,000…

    Apart from the cheap First Responder (100%) and Second Responder (40,02%) the $3,000-Baron (65%) and $10,000-Lord of the Manor (40%) are the most successful categories with limits at the moment.

    By the way, the maximum $-sum of all limited(!) pledges would be $3.51 million if I calculated it correctly.

    The Guilt pledge isn’t very successful, either, but I wonder if they really expected much.

    The Second Responder category will very likely be drained in the next three days – increasing the price for the game to $40 (Adventurer category, which isn’t limited). Not cheap but the “Lord British seal” will attract enough people to easily reach the $1.0 million.

    What do you think will they be able to take in?

  • BellosTheMighty said,

    “Apart from the cheap First Responder (100%) and Second Responder (40,02%) the $3,000-Baron (65%) and $10,000-Lord of the Manor (40%) are the most successful categories with limits at the moment.”

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics. ^_^ Limits, first of all, are meaningless. In addition to second responder, they added a second Baron category when Baron ran out. Most people are taking the cheap buy-ins, or pledging $60 for access to the Dev blog. The four-digit stuff is moving pretty slow, though a few fanboys are prepared to spend $10K to meet Lord British. Hope none of them turn out to be loonies.

    What’s interesting to me about this is how morons during MMO-related internet fights brag that they’ve played “since beta”, as if this gives them some sort of cache. Apparently this particular bit of e-peenery can now be monetized. Hey, it’s a living. ^_^

  • Anon said,

    You are right: Limits are meaningless as they are are set arbitrarily here.

    However, what I wanted to show is that these limits do have a meaning – they indicate to some extent what the person who set the limits thought.
    They clearly expected lots of people wanting a Lord British signature – but the reality is completely different: It’s the least appreciated category with a share of 0.78% at the moment.
    The backers either have no need for a Lord British signature (at $100 a truly expensive signature, I might add) or perhaps they don’t want the man suffer too much?

    As for the limits:
    They really have no other choice than introducing new categories with (slightly) increased prices. Simply because increasing the old limits will alienate previous customers who bought because of the former limit.
    And come on, what’s an additional measly $500 for a baron? 😉

    They also didn’t invent paid beta access and of course there are people that will jump on this wagon. It’s totally OK for me to exploit them – if you want capitalism then you should get the whole package…

    One other funny thing is that the $10K backers will get a copy of Akalabeth in the original packaging (I assume it’s the zip-loc’d one with the b&w screenshot art).
    They claim that Garriott sold only a dozen copies of it back in the day – but they now have 10 copies to give away now?
    The ass either sat on them for more than 30 years, assuming that they will finance his pension or he is a bigger horder than myself! 😉

  • Xenovore said,

    If I knew Raph Koster was on the team, then maybe. Otherwise, nah. I have a lot of good memories of playing Ultima games, but I’m pretty much done with that whole setting; it seems rather stale and cliche these days.
    And the game design itself doesn’t do anything for me. . .

    In a nod to Garriott’s early RPG works, Shroud of the Avatar is split up into a high-level overland map and adventure scenes. Scenes are generally re-playable and can be experienced solo or with others.

    That’s sounding really weak to me. I mean, to me “replayable scene” says “we couldn’t create more content, so play this again”, and/or “grind this over and over for XP or loot”. Otherwise, what would be the point if you’ve played it already?

  • BellosTheMighty said,

    Theoretically, it means “If you thought that was fun, you can play it again!” Because, y’know, fun. It’s not just an overrated band ripping off Queen…

    Alternatively, it means “If your friend’s having trouble with this stage, you can jump in and help him out!”

    Alternatively, it means “Don’t worry about fatal mistakes. If you don’t think you did this part right, go ahead and try again!”

  • Xenovore said,

    @Bellos: Hmm, ok, those seem valid. It still smells of weak design to me, though. =(

  • Adamantyr said,

    FYI to all, I just canceled my pledge. I have a family now and the thought of waiting OVER A YEAR before they deliver a damn thing is just not tolerable.

  • Anon said,

    Brain. A good thing to have!