107 people found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 75.5 hrs on record
Posted: Jul 3, 2015 @ 9:56am
Updated: Jul 19, 2016 @ 9:36pm

Early Access Review
~~~ REVIEW UPDATED based on release #24:

It still sucks.


Preface: I have 3.7 hours on the Steam version of this game, but have played the standalone more. It likely doesn't amount to more than 8 hours total.

Bait and switch.

That about sums up how a lot of us who bought into this game feel. There was a healthy discussion about this on the Steam forums until they were closed because of all the negativity. When will devs learn that censorship just makes things worse for you? Edit: https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/steam-review-request.21397/ - this is exactly what I'm talking about. The developers are begging their "loyal backers" to go out and keep conning people into buying this game and shutting down avenues of unmoderated communication (closing the forums).

This game was marketed to the Ultima Online crowd from day one. With quotes like, "From the team who brought you Ultima Online," to all of the UO discussions, the in game property ownership, the font of the title, the crafting etc. Slowly but surely, it fell further and further away from UO with the defense being, "no one ever said this game would be UO." Sure, maybe no one ever said it in those words exactly, but the expectations were laid from the get go, and people heavily led to believe otherwise.

The reason this game is and will be nothing like UO is largely due to the world map feature and instancing. Owning property in UO served as more than just a place to decorate, and location made a huge difference. You could be out adventuring in the woods and come across someone's cabin, or heading out of Britain and come across a player made town with player owned vendors, etc. All of this, right there in the world as you explore it. This will not happen with Shroud of the Avatar.

Every location in Shroud is instanced. Gone are the days of exploring around and happening across any of the things mentioned above. Now, if you want to come across player towns, you have to zone into the areas set aside for player made towns. The location of your property makes no difference, because you have to go to the specific instance it's in, then the location within that instanced zone. No longer will travelers happen by your house and engage with your vendor on the fly. This will only happen if players transition out to the world map, walk over to the player made town, enter, and look around. As of now, the player towns serve only as a place for people to decorate and play dress up.

Speaking of playing dress up, that's the vast majority of what this game has been up to this point. It's full grown adults playing house and dress up in game and standing around "singing" and playing pretend. The game is a LARPers dream right now, since that's all folks seem to be doing. Decorating houses, dressing up their characters, then standing around imagining what they're going to be doing when the game is finished, and giving tours of the player made towns (that have nothing to do other than look at people's houses). I'm going to guess the reason this is happening is because even after 18 updates, the combat is still awful.

That's right, 18 updates, and still complete garbage combat. The deck system is just plain bad, the combat is dull and there seems to be no reason to get into it, the story is still miles from done, and the gameplay is just not engaging whatsoever. Granted, the devs say they are aware of this and are working to fix it, but take that for what it's worth: not much considering the game has seen so many updates and is still not fun to play. Add to these facts that the animations are also bad, it just makes for a very bad time. For many builds now, male characters appear to be running like an obese guy out for the first jog of his life (his arms hanging and flapping from his shoulders, looking like it's all he can do to keep from falling apart). I would think a great adventurer, or Avatar, would be in better shape than that.

Overall, this game feels like a bait and switch. Talk about UO, lead people to believe the next UO is coming, then push out ... whatever this is. Shutting down the Steam forums because of negativity won't change that fact, either. That kind of move just provokes people like me to write a review so people are aware of what's really going on here, when I likely wouldn't have otherwise.

Fool me once Richard Garriot (Tabula Rasa) shame on me, fool me twice... well, at least it won't be a third time.
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l'Original Aug 15, 2016 @ 4:41pm 
The empty ban reason, permaban, post purge, and refusal to reverse when this was brought to Portalarium's attention speaks of a spite ban and a mentality that they must stick to their lies no matter how much contrary evidence is brought to light. This behaviour is heavily reinforced by the evidence InsaneMembrane collated over the years until he was doxxed like a SLAPP suit.

Chris "Dippy Dragon" Spears is clearly caught at a lie, because on every one of your posts was a feature added to Steam at least a couple of years old - an ownership icon. * So his excuse makes him not just a liar, but it makes him look like a technical director barely able to understand basic features even when they are right in front of him.

* - Easy evidence for that in a quick search, http://steamcommunity.com/discussions/forum/7/666827315365269230/
Strykerx88 Aug 15, 2016 @ 10:30am 
All sounds about right. My favorite thing about the whole banning is that the reason they used was because I didn't even own the game and was just on the forums to talk shit, when anyone can clearly look at my Steam account and see that I both own and have played the game (and I use the term game loosely).
l'Original Aug 15, 2016 @ 8:51am 
Speaking of the Developer who banned you, guess what I recently found from the official account?


They really did say that after all of their forum censorship that, unlike Tabula Rasa, cannot be blamed upon just the moderators or the publisher. In my research, I not only found that they had banned you but had purged all of your posts from the Steam forum as well.

If this was your ban, there is absolutely nothing wrong about it according to the real Steam Rules: http://i.imgur.com/FHVIsKH.png
Portalarium certainly went out of their way to prove that post right.

As part of an Early Access consumer advocacy group, I think I have covered this well, though there is probably a lot I've missed.

Strykerx88 Aug 2, 2015 @ 9:22pm 
Thanks for the support guys.
argyle Jul 31, 2015 @ 10:45pm 
Just a note Stryker, that mod that banned you isn't just a mod. He's actually the lead on the project. I think that unfortunately says a lot about the character of some of the individuals creating this game. He was flat out lied about the circumstances of a completely egregious ban on a paying customer who did nothing more than post a negative review and quite fairly criticized the game in their forums. Its sad but a great example of why people should really think critically about who they are supporting.
MiM Jul 7, 2015 @ 2:42pm 
Yes, you are legend now. You can play games you don't own. Super powers. Just make sure Gabe doesn't find out you are playing for free! @_@

P.S. I made a post about what happened on a forum where many of us who were ill-treated by SotA devs congregate. There aren't tons of us, but the number keeps growing, and ofc you're always welcome to stop in and post (or just browse around):


And this is the blog of the individual who started that forum (just fyi):

Strykerx88 Jul 7, 2015 @ 2:32pm 
I was banned, but I don't know if it's because that guy is an idiot. I was telling people not to buy the game in its current state and to wait unless they like virtual LARPing since that's all that's going on in game lately.

I also see that the mod who banned me said I don't own the game. So kudos to me for having time registered in game on Steam and playing a game that I apparently don't own. I'm more skilled than I thought.
MiM Jul 7, 2015 @ 2:26pm 
I saw you were just likely banned from the Steam SotA forums because Chris Spears is an idiot. Sorry to see it, but can't say I'm surprised.

This game is a flaming pile of excrement and its devs are the shadiest, most thin-skinned dunces I've ever encountered in my 25+ years of gaming.

To all with even the slightest degree of interest in SotA: CAVEAT EMPTOR
Asguard Jul 4, 2015 @ 4:37pm 
Its not just the UO fans who feel betrayed, I backed it during kickstarter because we were told an open world like U4 and as deep as U7 and then kickstarter ends and what do we get?

No companions, just hirelings maybe which will be part of the pet system, no ritural and non combat magic (in spite of the fact we were told this was supposed to be a REAL RPG where you could do anything, apparently "anything" is combat, crafting or decorating a house if you have one) and whats it replaced with? Microtransactions in spite of RG SPECIFICALLY saying "This game is buy to own, we wont be nickle and diming you"