Shroud Of The Avatar’s Raised Over $3 Million

By John Walker on January 20th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

There’s an awful lot of money floating around out there. Richard Garriott’s determined return to the world of RPGs with Shroud Of The Avatar: Forsaken Virtues has now raised over $3m, with an epic $1.1m having been tacked on after the successful Kickstartering of $1.9m. (Spotted by Massively.) Would anyone like to crowdfund a holiday for me?

Garriott’s cheekily named project is due as soon as March, which seems astonishingly soon – last April’s Kickstarter pitched it for October 2014. While they insist it’s not an MMO, it is online, a “shared world RPG” they call it. Which might be just for me, since that’s my ideal sweet spot for games – I’m happy to have other humans improve the AI of the NPCs trundling about inside my game, but they can bloody well not get involved in my fun.

The game already had a playable couple of days for backers of the $45 level, and is due another – Release 2 – this week, likely the 24th to the 26th. Release 3 is due Feb 20-22nd, and then an on-going early access type thing happens around March 20th. You can still get on board with these by buying the game at the $45 tier, which is likely the reason such huge funding has poured in post Kickstarter. You need to create an account, then you can buy it here.

You can see 25 minutes of the game running here, to get an idea of what it’s all about.

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33 Comments »

  1. rustybroomhandle says:

    John: “Would anyone like to crowdfund a holiday for me?”

    We successfully crowdfunded our cat’s eye operation (by making a stupid game as backer reward), so I’m sure you can figure out a way to exploit the cat in order to fund your holiday.

  2. Taidan says:

    Your line about having “other humans improve the AI of the NPCs”: That is the exact opposite of the experience I’ve been many with many online RPGs recently, which basically feel like single-player games with faceless, barely interactive characters moving around erratically and annoyingly in amongst the locals who are living their daily lives.

  3. duncanthrax says:

    Something tells me that this will be the biggest Kickstarter flop for the next decade or two.

    • tumbleworld says:

      Worse than GODUS?

      Yeah. Probably.

      • Thurgret says:

        Garriott isn’t quite asking people to shell out vast sums of money for a shonky mobile app, is he? There at least appears to be some sort of good intention behind this.

        • tumbleworld says:

          Molyneux didn’t exactly sell GODUS as a mobile app. Given that the housing & contents of SHROOTA are going to be pay-to-win though, I don’t see a whole world of difference.

          • AVawter says:

            I don’t really see the housing or items as pay to win. It’ll depend on how hard it is to acquire similar in game items that determines if it’s pay to win. Also, I’m not convinced that housing is going to be as important as some people are making it out to be. Currently it sounds like housing is more of a “look at my stuff” as opposed to a “you must have this to advanced in the game” feeling. I could be wrong but its way too early to tell. In Ultima Online housing was fun to have and a major feature but I went 6 years without a house and it never harmed my play-style.

            Also, a lot of people use pay to win just to express anger that the game offers paid items with abilities that can be acquired in the game. Real pay to win is different. It’s the stuff that’s either way overpowered or nearly impossible to obtain in game. APB Reloaded is a great example of a free to play game with actual pay to win.

          • Taidan says:

            Yeah, I was a day-one backer of Shroud of the Avatar, but later withdrew my pledge after mulling over the various pledge tiers.

            I play videogames for escapism, and I’m certainly not going to invest time into a virtual world wherein those with much vaster amounts of disposable income in the Real World get to literally lord it over everybody else (as-in start the game as a Lord, with a big castle and lots of resources behind them, as well as multitudes of other benefits.) from the start.

            Sure, it may not necessarily be fundamentally gameplay-breaking, but from the point of view of somebody who just wants to be immersed for a bit in something different, it’s a whole barrel of lame.

      • LordDamien says:

        Well I have to say that at least you can consolate your self with Reus, which surpasses big time Godus and If you hurry you can get few games more with the humble bundle.

    • Werthead says:

      Isn’t ‘Kickstarter flop’ an oxymoron? The worst a successful Kickstarter-funded game can do is fail to sell very much beyond the people who backed it in the first place (who de facto preordered the game anyway). As long as the game is made within the original Kickstarter budget, it can’t be a financial failure.

      I agree it might get slated in reviews (it certainly doesn’t interest me at all), but it’s effectively been pre-funded so on that level can’t fail.

    • Maxheadroom says:

      Yeah I backed ‘a lot’ last year (Wasteland, Elite, Mandate, Whatever of Eternity, even that not-Road Rash remake) but this is the only one giving me pangs of regret.

      Something about it just seems a bit off and dated. cant quite put my finger on it

    • Arglebargle says:

      I think Star Citizen has that reservation booked far in advance. It’s been nothing but feature creep from the get go.

  4. BarneyL says:

    Kickstart John’s holiday now:
    For £10 John will send you a personalised postcard.
    For £500 John will travel anywhere in the UK and present an hour long slide show of his holiday.
    For £1,000 You can cat sit for John at his Bath home.
    For £5,000 You are invited to come on holiday with the Walkers.

    • Thurgret says:

      I feel that there should be an intermediate tier, there, for a public event wherein John presents an hour long slide show of pictures of his cat in and around the baths at Bath.

      And Horace plushies.

      Otherwise, well, I suppose I could tolerate a postcard sent from Cornwall in the middle of winter.

    • slerbal says:

      Count me in! :)

  5. Temple says:

    There is no nostalgia involved for John’s Holiday, I don’t look back with fondness on any of his previous holidays and am not willing to throw money at the screen in an attempt to grasp the fading joys of yourth.

    There are no other holiday snaps, slides or talks for me to judge his work by, and I have not cat sat even once for him. In fact there are going-on-holiday whispers that the Bognor Regis holiday, where it was outsourced to Alec, was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish with Boots destroying the negatives for the public good.

  6. DrMcCoy says:

    So, you have real people enhance the intelligence of the NPCs. On the downside, everyone is a dickbag now.

  7. araczynski says:

    after the POS U9, i wish nothing but eternal gargoyle rapings for lord british.

    • AVawter says:

      Shroud of the Avatar either redeems Garriott or it’s the nail in the coffin. I’m not sure who to blame about U9 I’ve always been split on if EA was at fault or not. To me, either Shroud is the best “Ultima” game released in over a decade and the sequelI want to UO or I’ll just accept that the best RPG series I played as a kid is dead forever.

  8. Ergates_Antius says:

    Would anyone like to crowdfund a holiday for me?
    There is only one way to find out if this would work….

  9. Tychoxi says:

    I think this is the third “big” RPG I didn’t back. Shadowrun was one (a good decision apparently), I didn’t back Divinity (bad decision apparently) and I didn’t back this one. I’m still not sure if it was a good decision or not but they do seem to be doing things right for the backers.

  10. Yargh says:

    ‘Play soon, My Lord’: made me chuckle

  11. oyog says:

    Every time I look at it I read the game’s title as: Shroud of the Avatar: Foreskin Virtues. I’m not going to think too hard about what that says about me.

  12. Shuck says:

    Realistically, $3 million is not a lot of game development money. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with for that much (plus whatever they spent before the Kickstarter), but I hope no one is expecting Skyrim. I hope no one is expecting a tenth of Skyrim.

  13. melnificent says:

    Richard Garriot does an online RPG. You mean like Richard Garriot: Tabula Rasa? That game lasted 15 months before the servers shut down.

    Also why is this being kickstarted when he has/had $28 million in the bank due to Tabula Rasa.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Garriott spent a sizeable chunk of his fortune going up into space. Tabula Rasa was yanked from him and finished by other developers, so it ended up being something of a mishmash. NCSoft probably closed it down as part of a pissing match with Garriott, and they then tried to cheat him in their ‘faux firing’ incident. I suspect that Garriott hasn’t seen much money from NCSoft, as despite winning the following court case, that doesn’t mean they actually have to pay up. Clever lawyers and accounting can delay those things for years.

      On the other hand, he’s a terrible project manager, and is surrounded by sychophants and fellow travellors. I’d never trust him to helm a project. He’s an idea guy, and he’s not even in the top drawer for that anymore.

      Sadly, his ‘fans’ and the money men probably forced him back into Ultima Redone Redone ad infinitum, rather than going off on something more interesting, like a steampunk direction.

  14. Noviere says:

    I initially backed it in the hopes that it would be some sort of Ultima 7 successor. When it seemed that wasn’t the case, I pulled my pledge. The focus seems to be on buying and decorating a house using real money, with optional multiplayer, and really generic RPG stuff.

    • LordDamien says:

      I completely agree. It sounds like ultima Online which was about house building with monetization ala Farmville.
      Please! Somebody make Lord British play Ultima 7 and Ultima Underworld until he understands why people are still backing up his projects.

  15. Wonderboy2402 says:

    It is a bit early to be calling this a flop. I played the alpha and found it fun, though still obviously limited. People are right in calling it a house decorating simulator. That part is thus far done pretty well and very nostaligic of ultima online.

    Now hands on with combat, crafting, and exploring… That remains. I would agree that three million is not a whole lot.

  16. tomimt says:

    I almost backed this, but I never really found a satisfactory answer on the question about the MMO/single player stuff, so I just decided to wait for it to be finsihed and see then for real what’s the deal.

  17. whale says:

    On the other hand, he’s a terrible project manager, and is surrounded by sychophants and fellow travellors. I’d never trust him to helm a project. He’s an idea guy, and he’s not even in the top drawer for that anymore. -ArgleBargle

    This. One thousand times this. This game, if it ever exists, and if you can call it a game, is going to be terrible. The title of this article should have been, Who the fuck keeps giving Lord Rattail money?

  18. Josh W says:

    Only if you can already afford it yourself.

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