Well, isn’t this a surprise. Despite only being available for a whopping seven months, Richard Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is now completely free.
Alright, maybe the news isn’t as surprising as I claimed. The game came out back in March this year, and reviewers and players were quick to call Garriott’s latest effort an exercise in mundanity, with boring combat and tedious repetition. Considering today’s hyper-competitive MMORPG market, Shroud of the Avatar needed something unique to draw a gaze from the blood-shot eyes of your typical raider.
It’s a shame, really. Garriott, also known as Lord British, is one of the granddaddies of the insanely popular MMORPG genre. In 1981, he created Ultima, the world’s first open-world RPG on PC. Sixteen years later saw the release of Ultima Online in 1997. It quickly became the most commercially successful MMORPG of its time. It was the efforts of Garriott and his team that created a foundation on which many of today’s popular MMOs are built.
Age Before Beauty
So, yes, it’s a shame. Shroud of the Avatar was Garriott’s return to the RPG scene. Many people were excited about the idea of one of the genre’s greats finally coming back. When the game landed on Kickstarter, it rocketed past its $1 million goal, earning nearly $2 million by the end of the campaign. But concerns arose as developer Portalarium began requesting more funding. There was even a probe involved.
Still, it managed to land on Steam early access, much to the relief of its backers. However, it didn’t take long for the word to come out that the game was…really not that good. Feeling aged and listless, Shroud of the Avatar was a game behind the times. The current Steam review stands as mixed. This is despite Portalarium’s efforts in the last months to improve many quality of life issues.
Regardless, the game is now free to play. The announcement comes with updates that remove the limitations that kept restricted-playing users from trading with others. No longer do you have to make any purchases in order to play through the game’s story. You can Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues on the Steam marketplace, along with all the happy customers.