The MMO developed by Portalarium, Shroud of the Avatar, has gone completely free-to-play. The fantasy styled game was fully released this past March after its extended time in early access on the Steam Store. Creator Richard Garriott stated that the developers “are thrilled to open up Shroud to a larger audience of gamers.”
Shroud of the Avatar is a mythical MMO that is the spiritual successor to the Ultima series and sends each Avatar on a personal quest to fulfill the path of Truth, Love, or Courage. This takes place is a single player storyline, but players reap the most rewards in the land of New Britannia by playing with others. It’s a world where advanced technology and magic coexist under the watchful eye of the mysterious Oracle.
Previously, free players had certain restrictions on them that would not allow for the complete game experience. Restrictions such as not being able to own land, trade with other players, and playing through the complete story have now been lifted. In anticipation of an influx of players, Portalarium has also implemented a more detailed tutorial section.
Reviews on Steam have been mixed for the most part and a lack of new paying players is likely the drive behind the update. This major change to the MMO will mean that revenue will be solely reliant upon microtransactions and pledges. Shroud of the Avatar’s microtransactions primary consist of costumes, tools, potions, homes, in game currency, bank slots, and pets. There are also merchandise listings and the pledges in the form of crowdfunding. Players can even own entire villages and towns for a price.
It’s unclear if this free-to-play move will turn the tide for Shroud of the Avatar and bring in new players. With regular updates, streams on Twitch, and consistent community interaction, the developers will have to wait and see if this decision succeeds in an industry full of many MMOs. Check out our previous discussion on Shroud of the Avatar‘s release here.
Shroud of the Avatar is available for download on the game’s website and the Steam Store.