Backers of Richard Garriott's and Portalarium's online-focused RPG Shroud of the Avatar, will get a taste of the game beginning today with the launch of Shroud of the Avatar Release 1. The early version of the game's client will allow players to log in to their accounts, download the client, create a character and begin to explore the streets of Owl's Head, the game's first town open for business. The release comes nine months after the project was announced by Portalarium in early March.
"We are pleased with our progress," said Garriott, "and we are excited to show our fans what we've created in the short amount of time we've been working on the game. It's still very early in development, and this is not your traditional development model. Since the game is crowd funded and crowd sourced, we feel it's important to give our community an early glimpse of the game's progress…earlier than what you'd normally see in traditional game development. But this is important because player feedback at this stage will be utilized in helping us understand any changes we need to make and to possibly reaffirm that we are on the right track."
Release 1 also allows players to interact with non-player characters (NPCs) and try out the game's dialog system. Players will also be able to equip their avatars with different clothing, armor and weapons and they'll be able to select a house from the entire list of player houses, even the largest one in the game – Lord of the Manor estate. There will also be chests of furniture and decorations all over Owl's Head for players to pick up and outfit their newly established homes. This early release is single player online only. In later releases, the Shroud of the Avatar team will roll out multiplayer online modes.
"These early systems are ready for players to try out and test for us," said Executive Producer Starr Long. "We hope the community understands how critical they are to helping us make Shroud of the Avatar the game that we all want it to be. Throughout 2014, we'll be rolling out even more features and systems on a monthly basis for players to try out including crafting, combat, questing, multiplayer and of course many other towns, dungeons and lands to explore."
Instructions to backers for downloading the Release 1 client, installing and then playing and interacting in Owls Head are located here for those who have backed the game on Kickstarter or on the game's official site…
Shroud of the Avatar has raised more than $2.8 million from backers to date.