Another game has completed the long and treacherous journey from an industry elder having a nostalgic idea, fighting through the dark forest of crowdfunding, then brawling in the tavern of early access, to finally reach the glimmering Palace of Being Properly Out Now. The elder is Richard "Lord British" Garriott, the nostalgic idea is a return to his player-driven MMO days of Ultima Online, and the game is Shroud Of The Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. Five years after a Kickstarter campaign, the fantasy RPG has left early access and is now officially released.
"It's exciting to have reached this major milestone," Garriott said in today's launch announcement. "Our fans and backers have been extremely patient and incredibly helpful with us every step of the way of our journey. With Shroud, I wanted to go back to my roots of game design. We wanted to create a rich story and also bring back a sandbox style of play... a style that's immersive and interactive."
This has resulted in a fantasy RPG that's made for multiplayer free-form adventuring in a persistent world with player-run shops and player-built houses and towns. Y'know, kinda like Ultima Online. It does support singleplayer but really is made for multiplayer.
While some players do seem to be reliving Ultima fantasies, I have seen a lot of people complaining about issues including the game's combat, its questing, poor performance, grinding, and microtransactions. It all looks a bit bum to me but I don't have that nostalgia in my guts. The game does have a free trial if you want to see for yourself, or I suppose Steam refunds are an option too.
The launch update patch notes detail everything that makes the game now graduate to full release. New quests, new areas, more performance improvements and plugs for memory leaks, more companion NPCs, fixes... stuff, lots of stuff. The developers plan to release new content updates monthly too.
Shroud Of The Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is out now for Windows, Mac, and Linux. A 15% launch discount on Steam brings it to £26.34/€31.44/$33.99 for the next week. Portalarium also sell it through their own store, with bundles starting at $39.