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  • Gender: Male
  • Birthday:October 23,1987
  • Location: Argentina

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As promised, here's my conclusion to my last week's article about Shroud of the Avatar. If you read it, then you're already aware of the sandbox nature of the game, which only improves further. Let me explain…


LONG AGO RAN THE SUN

ON A FOLK WHO HAD A DREAM…


I wanted to make a quick comment about this in my last article but I kind of forgot. The music in the game is just beautiful, and it will bring you back memories long time forgotten. The sound effects are realistic and spot on, and you'll be trapped in your environment quite often.


Just listen to this song and tell me it isn't just as charming

as the legendary "Stones" from the Ultima Saga.


UNWEILDABLE HAMMER OF THE GODS OF DESTRUCTION +1000


Yeah, forget about enormous weapons that are impossible to handle, or shoulder pads bigger than your own body. In SotA the graphics are realistic, meaning that your equipment resembles that of the medieval times. This goes for both armor and weapons, and it also applies to everything you see around you. It also utilizes a steampunk style which I'm not very fond of it, yet it's well done and does fit with the surroundings. Even when crafting you'll notice that the forge is quite big, and not just an anvil sitting on the floor.

Speaking of crafting. Like I said in my previous article, you can play the game just by making stuff and selling it - basically, you can get to "endgame" just by crafting, without killing a single mob. The system is complex and it looks tedious, but trust me, I had more fun making a stupid dagger in a few minutes than in years of mindless and useless Blacksmithing from the rest of the MMORPGs.

Let's say you want to craft a sword. You can't just melt a few ores, click on the icon, and that's it. That would be too simple. First, you have to buy a mold for your ingots, some coal, and the proper tool for it. Once you have your ingots, you can then craft the handle of the sword, then the blade - have in mind, this process involves a different profession, therefore you'll need another mold and tool. This entire activity takes place in designated crafting spots located in various cities, and it's engaging and appealing to the eye.

Also, instead of training at your local master, you have to buy the recipes for each object or "experiment" with your ingredients to discover new ones, though a lot of them requires parts from other professions. For example, if you want to craft a Two Handed Hammer, you'll need a handle made by a carpenter.



The crafting system will blow your mind so much

that you'll end up learning it in real life.


HOME SWEET HOME


If you happen to enjoy the economic part of a game, then you're in luck. After earning enough money, you can buy your own house, just like in Ultima Online. If your wallet allows it, you can also buy keeps or bigger houses. And of course, you'll have the chance of putting a vendor in the door to offer your goodies to the rest of the world. There are also public vendors for those who don’t have the chance of owning a house just yet, basically working as an Auction House, and therefore taking its correspondent fee for each publication.



Nothing says more "sandbox" than

random silly jokes made by the players.


One thing I didn't like about this is that there are specific cities that work as player hubs, but you won't know this until you get there. I've wasted an hour running around like an idiot in a city populated only by players in search of an NPC, only to discover that it's meant to be there for more house slots.

Eventually, I found out a way to recognize these places, but first, let me explain how the travelling works: when you get out of a city, you enter in what it could be called the "world map", in which your character gets bigger (?) and walks around the land searching for a city or dungeon to visit. Every place you go is instanced, and this kind of pissed me off, because it's not quite an open world game, but a heavily instanced one. This translates into constant and extremely slow loading screens, which are beyond annoying.

So anyway, the real NPC cities are marked with big signs written in runic language, yet the player's hubs aren't. That way you can know when it's a place where you can find quests, resources, and monsters, or just a place to buy a new home.


GET TO THE POINT...


I'm going to wrap this thing up because it'll get way too long. I've talked about graphics, sounds, gameplay, style, crafting, questing… do I forget something? Probably, but the only way to know is to play it for yourself. The free trial won't be there for long, so I suggest you try it out, at least for a taste of something different.

You may be thinking that I'm being too generous with the game, but it's just because it deserves it. So far the only problems I've found are random and very sporadic glitches, like NPCs disappearing or stuff like that, the very tedious loading screens, and the awful map system that can only be explained as a little Google Maps located on your screen, which it's terrible and slow as hell.

The rest is just part of any game in beta state, or at least beta as we know it today, so it's only a matter of time before it gets polished enough.


I hope you enjoyed this humble review of Shroud of the Avatar. You're all welcome to leave your comments and experiences!

Tags:
Shroud of the Avatar   sandbox   free trial  

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