Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Reddit AmA Q&A

As we were told in the latest Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Kickstarter update, Richard Garriott hosted an Ask Me Anything Q&A on Reddit, and it's only fair that we try to round up at least a few of the most interest questions & answers for you to read at your leisure.
Excited for your responses and loved your Matt Chat interview My question: Played UO when it first released and use to get murdered by PK's all the time and hated it. Turns out I now miss that in games. I miss the literal fear I would have for my things and the loss that would happen if I died. Why are games so easy now and will Shroud of Avatar have PK's running around murdering me?

We fully understand the potential horror as well as exhilaration that comes from being in full PVP. We are working hard to properly thread the needle, such that newbies don't get ganked, and yet mature players are encouraged to become exposed to PVP risk, such that the feeling is returned. We know this is a hot button issue, and we are working hard aon what we hope is an elegant answer!


First off, thank you a million times for your contributions to fantasy role playing games. Ultima 7: The Black Gate still stands as one of my all time favorite computer gaming experiences. Like many, Ultima Online was my first experience with a MMO (not that there was a lot of competition back then, except for EverQuest and NeverWinter Nights). You were directly responsible for hundreds of hours of entertainment, and deserve a huge amount of credit for the state of modern multiplayer gaming.
So, a question: What is next for fantasy games? How do you formulate something new and engaging in a mature market that has been saturated with too many "Me Too!" products?

First, thanks! Lots! While there has been some great work like Skyrim & Fallout 3, etc. mostly in solo player. Most MMO's have fallen into the Wow / EQ copy game. Thus I think there is an opportunity open for us to sneak back in. At least I sure hope so! :)


Do you regard the early days of UO with large amount of PVP/Griefing via Tinkering, Thievery, etc to be a mistake or would you say it was the kind of emergent game play you were going for?

"emergent game play you were going for" - HA!!!! We had no F'n Clue! We were both amazed and shocked, thrilled and horrified all at the same time! We are trying hard to get back most of that feeling, with some safety nets to keep it from driving away customers, as it really did do in UO.


Will there be storyline heavy NPC characters that will be able to join your party (similar to shamino and the others from previous ultimas)?

Yes, SotA is very heavy on story. It is a defining feature. And we have pets / hirelings so this should work well. Tracy Hickman and I are on the people / places and things pass right now! More info soon.


If somehow the servers will be taken down. Will there be an option to run our own private servers? i.e. will there be private server software available if the official servers are taken down?

Since the whole game runs ON your machine, it should be relatively easy to pass support to the community after 100 years or so of glory! :)


Given the recent upheavals in the industry, with many independent minded developers seeking crowd funding and private investment to circumvent publishers, what are your thoughts on contemporary publishing and its place in the market? Is it exclusively the land of giants seeking to launch billion dollar games or is there still a place for smaller publishers? How can smaller developers protect themselves if they decide to find a publisher? Or are they better off going it alone?

Tricky question... as any chanel matures, it will become dominated by the strongest participants. When MMO's were invented, brifly, new companies like Blizzard and NCsoft could rise to fill the new gap. Social / mobile games saw the rise of Zynga and Rovio. Crowd funding can help fund an indie project, but then reaching a broader audience you still must compete with others. Even digital distro channels get filled, such that "marketing" again matters lots. so there is no easy long term cure. But for today, crowd funding works, and digital distro backs it up.


Will there be the possibility for npc party members like in Ultima I-VII ? and how will the party system work in scenarios? is there one avatar and his companions or are all players equal? And lastly, will it be possible for players, to rent a deed, build a house and decorate it together?

Great questions: 1) Yes, you will be able to take a "hireling" 2) You are all individuals. YOU individually are "The Hero" and the "avatar" of the earth you. Your companions are your "Companions". 3) We would like for a group to buy a building, but that may need to be a stretch goal or game 2.