Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar was, as of this writing, painfully close to reaching its Kickstarter goal of $1 million, needing less than $8,000 to cross the finish line. It has since crossed that goal; I didn't even have time to
Not, mind you, that the campaign will end now that its goal is reached; there are still around nineteen days remaining in the campaign, plenty of time for the game to raise significantly more funds to support its accelerated development.
As you can imagine, stretch goals have been announced for the remaining not-quite-three-weeks of the Kickstarter campaign:
$1.1 M PET SYSTEM!
One word, “Pets!” We’re adding both social and combat pets which players can control using simple commands
$1.2 M SEASONAL WEATHER!
Grab your cloak, because we’re adding Weather to the game!
$1.3 M To Be Revealed!
It’s the "seasonal weather" feature that, I think, is the more interesting. Not that in-game pets aren’t -- the pets in Torchlight are actually quite useful -- but dynamic seasons in an RPG are…not something that has been tried that often, especially with a 3D engine. And such a feature would do wonders to add to the sense of world immersiveness.
If you're a Dragonlance fan, by the way, you should definitely consider supporting Shroud of the Avatar. Tracy Hickman, the author of the Dragonlance series, was just hired on by Portalarium as the Lead Story Designer for the Shroud of the Avatar games, the first of which will be called Forsaken Virtues.
The game will also feature a variety of single-player and multiplayer modes:
Single player offline:
This is the DRM free, completely off-line version of the game. Your character is stored on your computer and can not be used in any of the online modes.
Single Player Online (SPO)
In the SPO mode you connect to the server, receive content updates, and can see the long term changes others are having on the world. However, you are not visible on anyone else’s screen, nor for grouping, and you don’t see anyone else in the world. You can switch from SPO to FPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or overland map. Some parts of the main storyline quests may temporarily force the player into SPO mode for some parts of the quest.
Friends Play Online (FPO)
In friends play online, you only see people you have flagged as friends in the game and only they can see you. Like single player, this is just a server side filter. For those who prefer the quieter game with friends or maybe for those who prefer a more focused role playing experience, this lets you enjoy a more limited online experience. You can switch to SPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or in the overland map.
Open Play Online (OPO)
In OPO players will see everyone that the server thinks they should see. This will not necessarily be all people in the area but should be people you care the most about based on what we believe is their relevance to you.
For the most part, OPO will feel like an MMO. Lots of social interaction options with friends and other players. We are trying to distinguish ourselves from traditional MMOs only in that, unlike a normal MMO players are frequently connected directly to each other instead of all data flowing through our servers. We believe this will provide numerous advantages to both players and our service, but does differ from a traditional MMO in that the upper limit of players simultaneously on one map may be restricted.
Why not help Lord British out in his quest to return to -- and revolutionize once more -- the world of RPG gaming?