News Updates / BLOG
Another beautiful and sunny day. I look towards the east and see how the sun radiates off of Brittany Castle. I can feel the electricity in the air with busy streets and places for Novians And Outlanders to go to. Most of us Outlanders who have lived in Novia consider ourselves more Novian than where we came from.
I found a good price on taming collars and have decided to boost up my skills in my most favorite profession - Animal Taming. Back in Old Britannia, I have tamed quite a bit of different animals. Fire Steeds, Nightmares, War Horses, and my favorite - Dragons and Wyrms.
Seeing new places always excites me. This week I am focusing more away from Elysium and into the north woods past the mountain passes. These passes have a lot of bad news in them. I feel good that I am able to run through the passes now. I used to just die and my ghost would float to the other side. Transporting items is not an ideal way through the passes as the weight can definitely slow you down and make you a bigger target to the ruffians. Do that not even animals want you to pass through there. Been attacked many times. Now I can defend myself with my faithful companion.
I make my way through Longfall into South Paladis. My first stop is the towns of Jannaford and Bramble. These two towns are very nice. Jannaford seems more busy with property taken close to the entrance. Bramble has only two lots taken. Writing this down in my blank book I will need to tell the other citizens of Dara Brae. Maybe one will want to make that trip between here and Dara Brae. It seems like we have a taker. My friend and long time namesake, Dara Brae (the person), wants to take this head on and open a Dara Brae Supply up in Bramble. Dara Brae (the person) took his name to honor the Nature Spirit who overlooks and protects the island.
As I travel all over the north there are good towns all over. Right now I don't think we want to travel too far north as the journey right now takes a few hours.
The trip takes a detour once I hear about Spite. Another citizen of Dara Brae, Kaley Brae, likes the town of Spite. She has spite in her so this makes sense. I talk to her about the long trip making many hours and she is ready for the responsibility. She wants to make our gathered resources and goods available up there in her own Dara Brae Supply. She places a row house down by the docks where you can take the ferry to the dungeon Malice. Kaley took the last name of Brae to honor the Nature Spirit of Dara Bare who overlooks and protects the island.
Back to taming and training. One of my passions is taming and caring for animals. Making them feel safe and loved. I have one pet that I keep with my during my shorter travels. Malvina, my spotted bunny. She lives traveling so many times you will see me with her running through town. I started trying to tame a Large Polar Bear. Oops. These guys are just bad news and rips me a new one quickly. I could sense that my chances were very low. So off to the woods of Perennial Coast. After many, many hours I raise my abilities up. I use the tame and release method so the animals can still remain home.
4B has an taming event today so I travel to the Island of Wonders for the 4Beasts store opening event. Lots of great questions and answers, with many I did not know. Luckily for me I won third place for my taming knowledge. Not the most knowledgeable yet but I am learning with every tame attempt. Sindariya will even give me a lesson. This makes me smile.
Hearing the busy townsfolk on the streets in Brittany Central makes me know that this is the perfect spot to buy seeds. The cotton seed market seems to of doubled recently. This is putting pressure on cotton growers/resellers to raise prices. I don’t like to do this but it is what it is. I hope Dara Brae Supply customer's are ok with this. If not, Lord British will be notified at once!
I am spending most of my time lately in the southeast corner of Novia. There are a lot of Novians who need help in a camp set up in Soltown. Helping is something I like to do with both Outlander and Novian alike. At the "End of the World" party someone was lost getting to the final destination. Without delay I gave them a teleport scroll as a "just in case" we were separated and we travelled there together. I forget the lad's name, but he was very appreciative.
Animal Taming is something I always liked to do in the past in Old. So I went to Ardors and visited the merchant in the Sequanna Square and picked up a few recipes to make the taming collars and whistles. Lots of ingredients are needed while reading the recipes. Time to get gathering.
Silver will be the bane of my existence, I told myself after I died many times while in the Elysium Mines. A group is needed for sure. So right now I purchased a few collars and a whistle from the public vendor in Ardoris. This will help keep the economy going too. One of my goals is to create these once I obtain silver ore. Many of the prices for silver seem high, so I will wait.
Taming is not a task for someone who wants to take the easy route. You beat down the animal or insect, them attempt to tame them while they get free cheap shots in. Sometimes you live, sometimes you die. Once I am skilled enough I am able to now learn new skills that I heal and resurrect my Chest Mimic. For now, he will fit in. He used to be stronger but many did not like his strength so all Chest Mimic pets were weakened.
Another branch of the Dara Brae Supply is now opened in Solana. This is a short jog from Soltown and Ardoris. This area is visited by many delivering mail and is the fastest way to sell items and sell for those in the West Perennial Trail and beyond. Ardoris is very large and takes a lot of time to walk around. Solana is quick to get in, do your business, and get out. I was surprised not a lot more outlanders looking for a house spot placed here.
The greenhouse is up and fully functioning. I cannot place a house currently as the large rusted greenhouse I made takes up too much space. Laid down the measurements of a row house, nope. Measurements of a village house, nope. The guy who is doing the vending for me is not happy he has to sleep in the greenhouse with the plants. What to do?
The first yield is picked and not much was grown. More water! More water next time. Pricing will not be cheap as it is taking 22gp just to grow a good supply of raw cotton. I will have to price these at 25gp per just to make a very little profit.
The breeze was cool and crisp blowing at me. It felt good, real good. I kept thinking of the new day that was upon us. Clear skies invited myself to adventure forward my goals for today. But I am a ghost with Arabella standing in front of me. This happens every once in a while where any progress I have made within Novia has been reset. Only Outlanders know that this exists.
Outlanders are the citizens are were not born in New Britannia. We came from another place called "Earth". All Outlanders are from "Earth". I first came when I was much younger and completed the journey with my father. We shared the journey together yet were separated until we reached Novia.
Something this time is different, a different chill in the air, a different start.
I talk to Arabella and heed all of her knowledge to visit the Oracle to make my choices and journey onward. I cannot continue until my form is changed from a ghost to, well, me. I travel down the path and gaze into the mirror. This mirror is not a normal mirror. This is not a mirror that talks back to me, I already have one of those in storage waiting for the day I bring it out. This mirror is where I think of how I want to be presented to the citizens of Novia. In a few short moments I am transformed from a ghost to something I am more inclined to be. A form that make me feel more human.
I talk to the Oracle and make my choices. I am feeling like a Ranger today so I select the Path of Love.Good choices must be made because today is the day there is no starting over. No redos. I can finally be myself. This makes me feel happy. In an instant I am teleported to Novia through a Stone Circle. Stone Circles are a quick travel option yet only a few remain. Back where I am from Stone Circles don't work for travel anymore. I have touched a few in my time on "Earth" and felt their powerful connection.
Once I am transported I find myself in a battle. A battle on a bridge. I speak with the only living creature left, she is scared and I vow to help her under my Celtic Knight code. We meet up with a Bard and he helps us combat the undead who rose against the living here. After a few short battles we made it across the bridge where the Bard secures us passage out of here by boat while I scout ahead and talk with a nice eleven creature. Eleven creatures on "Earth" are magic and rarely seen. Eleven culture shares the same symbology of my Celtic origins.
After a short boat ride we find ourselves in the safety of Soltown. Here I part ways and start my own adventures. A kiss from the little girl is payment enough for helping her. Her mum is by a tent and they are happy again.
During many years I have been active in the local government, saving an island from pirates and bandits to help preserve the only remaining bit of Celtic culture in Novia, made good friends, and helping other citizens and outlanders alike. We are a big family who are making our ways through the world to create a larger community. Yes, community who will help each other.
Knowing that I have better armor and weapons to protect myself from the evil that lingers across the land I head to the local bank where I placed them from my last trip to Novia and gather my belongings. I take what I need and will return to gather the rest after I have secured a place to lay down my hear on a real bed. Sleeping outdoors in the elements can be a challenge.
Traveling from Soltown to Solania and northward requires I need some gold to spend on food and drink. You can have so much wild game and swamp water until you need a good home cooked meal at a local tavern. I grab some mail that needs to get delivered and head on my way. This pays pretty good but it is a slow trek through swamps. The constant battling crocodiles and caimans make it a real challenge. Thankfully there are a few bandits who have decided to test their steel with mine. This breaks up the monotony of the trip.
Once northward I travel to Brittany to re-establish my royal linage within Novia. They accept my request and grant me my Duchy once again. Good thing this is the last time I will have to go through this process. They need to verify my identity and that takes a few moments. My past deeds speak for themselves and I am handed over my "right to place" paperwork and my Royal Warrant plague to hold certain services for the crown. During my travels to Central Brittany I eye up a few locations that may work for the housing needs.
My travels now lead me southward to the end of the Novian world, Elysium Island. This is where the final resting place of the Isle of Dara Brae is. After a quest that was taken by myself to prove to the Nature Spirit that I am holy and just to protect this sacred Celtic place, I call this island my home first most. It is here where I feel the most like myself. This is the place where I commune with nature and feel their thoughts in the stream, the trees, and ancient standing stones, and through the largest Yew Tree in Novia. Meditation here is like a dream where everything is clear and clicks into place.
Dara Brae still has it's structure in place: the Druid Tree home is there, the newly discovered Dragon Bones are there (found a bone fragment my mistake when we were first settling), and the Yew Tree is still there. Our replica of a house style used in ancient Skara Brae on "Earth" has been blown over from ocean winds and rain. I quickly clear it and leave the rocks there. We will have to rebuild this part.
I sit there thinking of the wonders when I am interrupted by the Nature Spirit. She is pleased of my return and knows the other Druids are not far behind me. Through this I realize that the area that needs protection the most is the one we were trying to settle. We are protected from the Pirates of Spindrift Bay since the island moved by nature magic means. We need to protect this area of the island from, us. Not that we are destructive, but disputing the land in a hurry could erase some wonderous artifacts. Knowing what I have to do, I thank the Nature Sprit for her wisdom and go on my way. Back to Brittany to tell them of my plans and get the proper seal. When they have time to see me.
In the mean time I find myself collecting various resources; raw cotton, pine and maple wood, beetle carapaces, and lots of copper and iron ore. I know I won't start perfecting my crafting skills sooner than later, this is the start of my scouting mission to help the lives of Dara Brae and place a vendor up to sell some of this. I meet up with old Novian and outlander friends adventuring our way through Novia. After a search that spans many days with a fellow Druid's help, Sansa, her and I discover the perfect spot in Brittany Alleys.
Today is the day we have one more week to wait for the biggest event since Ultima Online's opening it's doors out of Beta - Shroud of the Avatar's beginning of persistence!
This not the final release many Ultima fan's have been waiting for - this is when everything you do in the game matters and means something. The game will still be completed within the next 6 months or so. I am excited as a clam on a sunny day at the beach.
Call me a fanboy if you want but I know software development does not go always as planned. I know that you have a concept that is shown to people, that concept can change. Sometimes due to scope creep (Player Owned Towns) and sometimes due to expanding an original concept (crafting went from a single piece to many parts to assemble). I am positive for the end gaming result as I have seen first hand from the chicken room where all you could see was a dungeon walled room with a chicken, a chair, and a light in it. I could sit in the chair, turn on/off the light, run around at the chicken who would run away from me. Cool, right? Yes, very!
I have been backing Shroud of the Avatar since the KickStarter beginnings. I remember watching all of the video casts they did and when they did it. The only thing I did differently was I pledged directly on the Shroud of the Avatar's page to save Portalarium the Kickstarter fee from my pledge. Money saved to a software developer company means more money to run the business and get qualified designers/programmers. So more money is good. Right now there is just over $9 million of dollars in funding from gamers who believe in this game.
From what was first shown to us:
The current state of the game is where the "Love" quest is finished. The other virtue quests are not. But this is progress because making a single story line is tough on it's own. In a few months all of the story lines will be completed and we will be testing those while everything we do is saved. Progress I say!
With this new playing while coding/testing paradigm many gamers will be confused with the changes and development placeholders. If you look at ARK: Survival Evolved, they are in a state like this too. Things are being built while players are playing the game. Portalarium is on the front lines of this style and not every backer will be pleased with the results. There have been times I have not been pleased, but I know the team is busy making changes and they have shown in the end, the dev team comes through.
Lots of players are offering suggestions and the good ones are being implemented into the game. I don't know of another game company that is doing that. But each time that is done things that were seen in the early videos or hangouts can get delayed or replaced. Some backers will be angry with that decision. In the whole of the game - I feel it is for the best. I think it is for the best. The best game we can get out that enriches our lives and imagination.
To many backers this game is personal, an extension of ourselves. An extension of our passion for creativity. I know for myself I can design my house lot to the way I want it. I can express my creativity. Seeing the pride on my face is something others in the game cannot see, but I know they can feel it when I show them. The only other game I have experienced that is Ultima Online. Shroud of the Avatar carries that torch forward.
By now you are probably thinking - this guy really drank all the Kool Aid! Maybe or maybe not. I like the concept and I like the vision. I like the story background (Sword of Midras) and the story in the game that I have experienced so far. Part of it for me is remembering the discovery in the single player Ultimas and what it felt like. Part of it for me is remembering the adventure in each Ultima Online expansion pack and what it felt like. Shroud does that for me - it makes me feel alive in the game. This is something only Lord British can do.
So in a week we can start to see how our decisions affect our avatar. Start to build things that will last a gaming lifetime. See how the world changes with new adventures. I am excited to say. "I have been part of all of this!"
All true Ultima fans have been waiting for this.
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We celebrate all of the amazing Shroud of the Avatar and Ultima game series created by Lord British (Richard Garriott). This site is a place to share my vast Ultima and Shroud of the Avatar collection for your enjoyment.
Member since "forever" in Ultima Dragons Internet Chapter as Lord G Dragon