October 1 2016

Is the Oracle in Shroud of The Avatar a Spy, or is Richard Garriott Having Us Face Our Personal Bia’s Against AI?

While Portlarium, Richard Garriott, and its developers have kept a policy of transparency in as many areas as they can, one thing that has been kept under deep wraps is aspects of the story.

One aspect we do not know a lot about is the Oracle. We may think we do that is, but do we? It is not uncommon for Lord British to have multiple layers to a story line. He is also known for wanting to explore not only the world but his personal conceptions and perceptions. This is something we have seen in his past games as he tries to pass that onto the player by putting them into situations to face their bias.


The most well-known examples of this may be the introduction of the race of Gargoyles in the Ultima series. The Gargoyles were often perceived by the player initially as being an evil race. Their wings and flaming horns a bias we face as a species from religion or in tales of evil. Another example of this being used before would be “Childhood’s End” by Arthur C. Clarke.

As the game progressed a typical play through would have you realizing that this race was perhaps rightfully in its viewpoints, things are not black and white, and you may be the villain doing grave wrongs and injustices. Because of these biases, you held in real life.

Thus Richard began teaching us in some of his earliest video games that we must look upon ourselves before looking upon others, to ensure we are doing so fairly. We must also keep an open mind so as to continually watch ourselves for any hint that a decision may be made with bias and thus leaving the potential for wrong.


Shroud of the Avatar is undoubtedly, what I hope will be the greatest game Lord British has ever created, with his fantastic team and partners. He has indicated that this game will provide as many of these life lessons as we have seen in the past, and we have in fact already seen a lot of this.

When I contemplate the Oracle, though, I also consider some of the many passions Richard has regarding Science & Technology. It occurs to me the Oracle is very much an artificial intelligence, with its watchers out in the world, sticking its nose into everyone’s business and breaking the Prime Directive. I am ok with Kirk doing that on occasion, not sure about others!


If you peruse the internet, both rabid mumblings and official articles by reputable sources and scientific, there is, in my opinion, a lot of growing speculation that we are growing closer to at least some form of creating an artificial intelligence. Perhaps nothing like Hollywood portrays, maybe not self-aware, but something that is leaps and bounds beyond what we have done thus far. There is the controversy of how likely would such AI be to want to influence our race and culture without consent, and to what extent.

So knowing Richard Garriott’s history, I can’t but help wonder how deep the plots with the Oracle will run, in a way to make us face our bias against technology taking an active role in the caretaking or jobs in our daily lives, in a way we have not experienced before.

Disclaimer: I do not follow the story aspects of the game much at this time. I am waiting for the main story to be completed for the most part.
As such it is possible this has been discussed somewhere already, or revealed, etc.. and is a moot point. In short, forgive me if I’m out of the loop on something!

September 14 2016

Staying Caught Up With Shoud of the Avatar

Hopefully, it will not be much longer until I am caught up with everything I do in my life, once again. So that you know, Shroud of the Avatar is partly to blame for that, and I love every minute of my game time! Just wish I could take more!

If you missed the Postmortem, pull up a chair and take a peek!

Published on Sep 9, 2016
Watch as the team chats about Release 33 and looks ahead to Release 34. We also answered many player questions, and gave out awesome prizes during the livestream.

Gamezone published an interview with Richard Garriott that you will not want to miss! Titled “An interview with Richard Garriott: How Shroud of the Avatar is looking to change RPGs” by Tom Caswell it is a great interview but be warned, it is also long!

This guy coined the term MMORPG, so it was a delight to sit down with him and pick his brain on his past and future, both of which proved to be equally fascinating.

Go check it out here http://www.gamezone.com/originals/an-interview-with-richard-garriott-how-shroud-of-the-avatar-is-looking-to-change-rpgs-k1yk

Markee Dragon continues to roll out great videos that will help you out with your gaming needs!


If Discord is your thing then this may interest you.

SoTA Speak is a Discord Server set up to provide players with a centralized, interactive, non-private, region-specific voice chatting system to promote community interaction.

Go read the whole article over here!

September 2 2016

Ultima& Shroud of the Avatar Auction Spotlight

This first one quickly lost my interest but only because with shipping from Australia I wouldn’t be able to get in on it. If your over that way though this may be a good find for you.

C64 Disk Games: Cave of the Word Wizard, Ultima III & Blade of Blackpoole by Sir

Vintage Origin Lord British Ultima 4 Quest of the Avatar Apple 2 64K Game

If you are looking for an Ultima IV then this is your lucky day! Has a lot of bids so it may go high or low but currently is at $15.00 with reasonable shipping. Keep an eye on this one folks!

Vintage Origin Lord British Ultima 4 Quest of the Avatar Apple 2 64K Game

Vintage Origin Lord British Ultima 5 Warriors of Destiny Apple 2 64K Game

Partner that IV up with an Ultima V currently at $10.50.

Vintage Origin Lord British Ultima 5 Warriors of Destiny Apple 2 64K Game

1999 ULTIMA IX Ascension PC Game - 2 Discs, COMPLETE In Original Box WINDOWS

Grab a side order of Ultima IX starting bid with no current bids of $10.50.

1999 ULTIMA IX Ascension PC Game – 2 Discs, COMPLETE In Original Box WINDOWS

Ultima II Revenge of the Enchantress Big Box 1982 Apple game COMPLETE cloth map

*Just Drools*

Ultima II Revenge of the Enchantress Big Box 1982 Apple game COMPLETE cloth map

C64 Ultima I


C64 Ultima I

Ultima III Exodus Origin Systems Inc Big Box 1983 Apple game COMPLETE cloth map

*coughs* Right, then you sprinkle on a little Ultima III, listed at $41.99 with free shiping to get things going.

Ultima III Exodus Origin Systems Inc Big Box 1983 Apple game COMPLETE cloth map

The Sword of Midras  A Shroud of the Avatar Novel 1 by Hickman and Garriott

Then serve the whole thing up on some Sword of Midras for $10.00 each, free shipping, with 100% of the proceeds going to charity!

The Sword of Midras A Shroud of the Avatar Novel 1 by Hickman and Garriott

Ultima Online 10th Anniversay Mouse Pad

WAIT! You can’t have a dinner like that and not include a little bit of desert! Keep it on the light side for $25 and get yourself a new mouse pad.

Ultima Online 10th Anniversary Mouse Pad

August 27 2016

Tools for Shroud of the Avatar Players – Part Six

One of my favorite websites, SotA housing, added another tool a few months back. It is called “House Lot Fence Calculator.” Directly on the internet site, you can determine how much fencing you need, what quantity, what it’s going to cost, and more.

I have not had a need to use this one yet, but much like their Player Owned Town Housing calculator, I am sure when the time comes I will be very appreciative!


Markee Dragon is still putting out videos that will be of help to many, continually. So grab yourself a bucket of fried frog legs and enjoy!


Hey, if you find these articles of use, show a little love back and toss me a $1.00 or two via donation or subscribing to my Patreon. The cost of living is not going down, and the costs to keep everything running, go up every year.

If that doesn’t sway you, consider this. I am losing game time when I do these!

That is it for now, but yes there is a part Seven, which shall be the last in this “catch-up” series. I still have enough notes to do another piece. So watch for that to come soon!

August 21 2016

More Tools for Shroud of The Avatar Players – Part Five

Yep, that’s right. Part five. What can I say, the community creates?!

Green Star

Astronomy is going to be important in Shroud of the Avatar. I have heard Richard indicate in the past that there are plans for cosmic events. The moon has been shattered in the world, and that plays an important role. We have Star Dials in the game and more. While we do not know yet what all forms of interest it will take in this game, we are aware it’s important to keep an eye in the sky.

This web page over here may help with that!


That adventuring experience pool is taking some hits, and you need to put something into the pool? Having trouble with your quests maybe?

WALKTHROUGHS! While you may not want to spoil the gameplay, it can also be just as bad to be so stuck you just cannot progress. That is when I will turn to a walkthrough.

So if you find you need a little help with your quests, you may want to try Quests of the Avatar.


You have that new book you wrote ready to be published, you want 500 copies, and you walk over to either your Magical Printing Press or your Soujerner’s Tales Magical Printing Press, and… your clueless!

Don’t Panic! Grab a Towel and head over to the forums to check out this handy guide on what to do from Themo Lock.


Markee is still putting out video that will guide you through your adventures.

Not really a tool or resource (at least yet!), but Ember Isolte just put up her contest entry video for Shroud of the Avatar’s new trailer!


When one is going deep under the earth with your fellow travellers, don’t get lost during your spelunking adventures. Take a map!

[pullquote]Sewer, Catacomb, Mine and Dungeon Maps[/pullquote]

So I finally cleaned off the muck, grime and ectoplasmic residue from visiting some old spots in Novia and the Hidden Vale. Let me tell you what, funky things are living below us and most of them aren’t too friendly. Good thing I have a trusty sword I “borrowed” from a burned out village, and hat that glows in the dark!

There are many cartographers in this community of ours. Each offer something special. These are done by Spero Gottskraft and you can find them here on the forums. https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/sewer-catacomb-mine-and-dungeon-maps-updated.56554/


Looking for all the emotes you can pick up from NPC’s in game? Spoon is helping the community keep a list and where to get them over here.

So there are lots of sign language one can learn from the locals here in New Brittania. Here is a list of some of them.

Can you find any more? (Not listed the ones from pledge, recruit, purchase etc – ie only ones one can earn in game).


August 19 2016

More Tools for Shroud of The Avatar Players – Part Four

Let’s see if I can wrap this series up this time, eh?

First, grab a bag of popcorn and catch another show from Markee!


Not a tool, but also not a piece I wanted to do its own article on. What would have happened if Shroud of the Avatar had not been crowd-funded? Now that it has, is it possible in the future it may be part of a larger company, other then Portalarium?

Richard Garriott talks a little bit about this with “MC Computer and video Games” . Here’s the link.


Umuri has put out a HUD!

Umuri's SOTA HUD

I am EXTREMELY excited about this. Not this particular utility in particular as at this time, I do not have an interest in the things it is doing. That is just because right now (and could change later), I am not too worried about the things it offers. Regardless it is going to appeal to a lot in a major way!! My personal excitement is that where there is one, more will follow.

I look forward to seeing what additional utilities similar to this, but offering different things and features, the Shroud of the Community will be creating!

Here is a snippet from the post on the forums:

Hello and welcome to the first public release of Umuri’s SOTA HUD.

A clean viewable interface for the /stats command, no more looking at a wall of text that’s hard to read!
Combat statistics, see how much you hurt something for, what the average damage is, and how high your crits are!
Crafting statistics, see your salvage rates!
Skillgains and logon/logoff timestamps. Did that person really log off an hour ago or was it just 10 minutes ago when you weren’t looking?
Chat tab that lasts more than 5 minutes of history!
Ability to view previous days logs, to pull historical stats
Opacity and on-top mode! Now you can have that second chat window you always dreamed about
Exporting of parsed stats/chatlogs to CSV format
Much much more!

There is a lot more information on this, though, so get over and check it out! Tell em I sent you!


Need help getting started in Shroud of the Avatar? If you do and if you are a video person, then Lace’s Tutorial Video’s are the answer for you!

This link will take you to a Youtube playlist of (currently) 33 videos! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw_HS_MivFItXCQ5hYwpDjpyYNlvmBhWf

Here is a link to the thread in the Shroud of the Avatar forums if you want to stay up to date and discuss things.

Color-coded overview of Land Selection order and info

Balec’s description on what this is, is so much better then any comments then I could make that I am just going to quote it.

A one page color-coded overview of the staggered land rush schedule for your browsing and convenience. In spreadsheet form.

Here’s the forum thread!


August 18 2016

Lots of Newer Tools for Shroud of the Avatar Players – Part 3

Ok, let’s keep this moving and hopefully I can get the rest of these out to you so as to avoid a part 4!

This is rather hot off the presses! If you do not understand the Deck System in Shroud of the Avatar, TheBalance has posted a guide in the Shroud of the Avatar forums.

The goal of this post is to leave you with a solid understanding of the mechanics behind the deck system. It is not to provide you with the best build, mandatory glyphs, etc. It’s an example. An example that is functional, powerful, and easily adapted to any role you can hope to fill in this game. You can modify any aspect of what I’m about to walk you through, and you should modify it.

The Balance - Screenshot  - Understanding SotA deck

Head over to the forums for the whole thing and if you find it of use, tell them Stile sent you!


I have a Dagger of +7 to Orc Slaying!!!!

Is that sort of thing you want to be able to say. Crafters make that happen by using different materials that can be found from the world, in their wares. So what types of materials will do what sort of thing? Weins201 has the answer to many of those type of questions for you done up in a nice chart form!

Crafting Material Properties (inc Obsidian) Updated as of R30 (release 416)

Armor Material Properties_zps1o9phlid


Part 4 to come everyone, out of time for today!

August 17 2016

Lot of Player Tools for Shroud of the Avatar – Part 2

So, that last large list I did, was not very large in my opinion. Unfortunately, I had run out of time and rather risk the post sitting as a draft for days, got out what I could.

Will there be a part three? I still have an extensive list to get out to you.. whether or not there will be a part three depends on how far I get this time, so let’s get on with it!


Own a player own town? Need a list of them? Trying to find a specific one maybe?

Berek is getting a new and updated list together on the forums that may fit your needs. If you are a town owner, please be sure to supply your city info!



Own a shop or looking for one to purchase from?

Womby and Vyrin of the Caverns Guild have you taken care of yet once again!!!

[pullquote]Announcing: The New Brittania Yellow Pages[/pullquote]

Womby and Vyrin are now accepting entries for the upcoming first issue of the Yellow Pages at their bookstores in Central Brittany and Aerie.

The Yellow Pages is a business directory aimed at helping people find your business.

There is no charge for including your business in the Yellow Pages, and copies of the Yellow Pages will be made available to everyone at the two bookstores for only 2g each.

Submissions should be placed in the appropriate container in either of the bookstores, and should include the following information:

Name: Name of establishment
Location: Name of City/Town/Village/POT, and location therein
Property Owner: This will enable people to set a compass bearing at the Town Crier
Sells: One line description of items sold


Name: Vyrin and Womby’s Bookstore.
Location: Aerie. Turn right when you reach the well. First building on your right.
Property Owner: Vyrin
Sells: Books (including rare limited editions); copies of the Yellow Pages.

Here’s the link to the post in the forums and be sure to tell them Stile sent you! You know… so they know I do something?


Here is a link to their post in the forums, be sure to tell them Stile sent you!

Markee Dragon continues to publish content as he plays and explores Shroud of the Avatar. Here are some additional videos he has put out I had not shown you yet!

Ok, thats all I have time for tonight if I want to grab an hour or two of game time myself! Yes, there will be a part 3, as I continue to chip away at all the goodies I saved to share with you!

August 7 2016

Markee Dragon Covering Shroud of the Avatar

While his cover before final wipe has always been questionable or lacking to some people, there can be no doubt now that last was taken place that he is getting serious about the game. More importantly, he is putting out material that the new players are going to find extremely useful! Well, for the most part that is.

Without further words from me, here he is!

July 26 2016

Shroud of the Avatar is Picking Up In the News – Even PC Gamer!

It’s good to see the gaming news that is popping up all over regarding the upcoming final wipe of Shroud of the Avatar. I have been seeing more and more articles popping up all over the net of late but given how rarely PC Gamer covers the game I took note when I saw they had done a new article.

It’s been awhile since we last talked about Shroud of the Avatar, the crowdfunded, Early-Accessed MMO that Richard “Lord British” Garriott unveiled to the world back in 2013.

You can read the full article here:

Gamasutra also just published a press release on this as well.