Sunday, 10 March 2013

Kickstarter Spotlight: Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

If you know a thing or two about the history of RPG video games then the name Richard Garriott or Lord British might mean something to you. An experienced head developer of a multitude of games, with the habit of getting screwed over by his publishers in the worst possible way, Garriott has now returned to the RPG genre with this Kickstarter.

And already I know those of you who played the UItima games or watch The Spoony Experiment took interest in the project's title. Unfortunately while the game does seem to have a heavy basis upon what made that series great with the use of virtues and emphasis upon exploration and discovery, there's no direct link with the Ultima games themselves. That being said this looks like a very promising concept.

Shroud of the Avatar is placing emphasis upon correcting what Garriott believes to have been a problem in recent online multiplayer RPGs: The emphasis upon level grinding and boosting skills over actual roleplaying. Rather than dungeon crawling the kickstarter advertises how the player will interact with the world, taking over estates and housing for control, using psychological profiling and your actions to have NPCs respond to you in different ways, and for the game to be a fully interactive world. Namely that if it looks like you can use something, you can pick it up and use it.

While this might sound improbable or somewhat generic, we've seen this done successfully before in Ultima Online. A game which is probably the single longest running MMO still to have a devoted fanbase. That's one potential reason to also have some faith in this going well, considering all the problems that title suffered with griefers upon release and how quickly they were successfully dealt with by the programmers.

The fact Garriott is behind this and the fact that the dev team behind this title worked on everything from System Shock to Guild Wars 2 is another reason why this many aspects might work where while they didn't in others. Most notably the claim that the game will feature a classless system and that PVP is intended to minimise griefing via the system it has in place.

And finally while the kickstarter page places heavy emphasis upon its online aspects and size of world, Shroud of the Avatar will feature a solo/offline mode.

More information can be found on the kickstarter page here but it does look like a very promising title from what little information we've been given thus far. The project is already halfway to completion with $600,000 having been put towards its $1,000,000 goal. If you're a fan at all of classic RPGs it would definitely be worth looking at what they're pitching.

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