I understand the appeal of online RPGs. I bought one a long time ago, and I instantly understood every positive and negative moment I could find in an hour or two. Then, I put it away, never wanting an online RPG again. The reason is because picking any online RPG is a commitment. You don’t play these games. You live them. I just don’t have that kind of commitment to any one game.
In effect, I tend to ignore much of the news about this genre. When I found out about Richard Garriott attending and presenting his new RPG to the RTX crowd, I was conflicted. The aura of Lord British’s legacy in gaming makes him a sort of rock star. He actually went into space. It’s exciting to watch a man unveil his product for the first time to an audience of people walking around with boxes of Ultima under their arms. However, he is talking about an RPG focused on online.
So I sat in front of a crowd of people genuinely excited about a product that I could care less about, just to see what Richard Garriott can do as a creator. I left that conference genuinely interested in Shroud of the Avatar. I was shocked, to say the least. He shocked me by showing me his concept of an RPG that exists in an online world. Its not an MMORPG (or at least not what I think of one).
Shroud of the Avatar, for those who don’t know, is a Kickstarter success story. Richard showed up with a build composed in 3 months, and the above video is what I saw. The unique ways he is attempting to distance himself from the default MMORPG model set by World of Warcraft really is interesting to see, and with 10 years of planned content, Lord British might have another successful title notched in to his belt. See below for links to parts 2 and 3 where we can see the game world played out.