There’s a few things you should know about Kickstarted RPG Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues before checking it out on Steam Early Access.
1. Three fantasy veterans are behind it
Richard Garriott, Starr Long, and Tracy Hickman are involved with Shroud of the Avatar. Garriott created the popular fantasy RPG Ultima series, Long directed the MMO entry, Ultima Online, which is still being played today, and Hickman wrote several books in the unrelated-but-still-fantasy Dragonlance series.
Garriott and Long are both working on the game, and Hickman wrote Blade of the Avatar, a book that introduces the story-line of the game.
2. It’s still really early
When developer Portalarium says the game is in pre-alpha, it means it. Much of the game’s final features aren’t implemented yet, and the ones that are, aren’t fully functional.
The game supports single-player online mode and online multiplayer, where you can trade, battle, talk, and form guilds with other players. There’s a ton of spells and abilities in the game, character customization options, and stuff to interact with in its open world.
That said, the game has a long way to go. In the future, the developer plans to add a single-player offline mode, banks, locations, magic abilities, support for player vendors, player-made books, dye-able clothes, localization, creatures, and most importantly, the story.
The developer said it expects to hit beta sometime in the middle of 2015.
Right now, the PC, Mac, and Linux game is $38 on sale until Dec. 1 when it returns to $45. The developer said it will be updated every month, but you should be ready for full data wipes throughout its development. It also said that the price may increase after Early Access.
3. You’re only buying episode 1
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is going to be episodic, which means the game you buy right now will only be the first of five episodes to be released annually.
The $1.9 million Kickstarter campaign last year was only for the first episode. The following episodes will likely depend on the success of the first.