Shroud of the Avatar - May 2017 Perspective
Not quite a year before this entry, Shroud had its "final wipe". Although the developers were very clear (to the whole community and to us on a number of occasions) that the final wipe did NOT mean the game was done, subconsciously I think we (and most players) equated the two. So the game did its final wipe and hundreds of players from The Syndicate jumped in. We had 6 cities going. We played the game REALLY hard and saw every piece of content there was to see in the first 2 months... and got really bored... and could not keep the team interested.
Now, to be clear, we were and still are big fans of Richard and Starr and SOTA/Portalarium. We continue to have high hopes for the game and remain supportive of it. But we bloodied our virtual nose by slamming into the content wall. There was not enough for us too do. We overgeared and overpowered everything in game. And, frankly, it was just downright boring to kill top end things with ease AND get almost no loot for it. In fact, for a long time, you could go 2/5ths of the way up the difficulty chain and get better loot than the very top end. And when you added in incomplete systems and massive changes (like making tamers virtually useless yet many people were stuck with lots of points in taming for a very long time) the desire to keep playing SOTA, while it was being developed, vanished. We went from hundreds of active players to just a couple dozen.
Now, none of those players left The Syndicate. They just stopped playing SOTA. Some sold off accounts. Some sold off towns. We moved from 6 cities to 3 cities. And we just kind of 'existed' in support of SOTA but not really playing too much. And that gets us to May of 2017. R42 is out. LOTS of very positive things have happened with the game since that 'last wipe'. There is more rare loot (but lots more if needed). There is more loot differentiation at the top tiers (more is needed). There are even more top tiers (like 6 and 7 skull monsters) and more boss fights. There is a much more robust crafting system, more quests, better newbie experience etc..
So while the bulk of this entry seems rather doom and gloom on SOTA, we are not down on the game at all. It is really coming along nicely. It is shaping up well. And with a bit more work, it is likely to be a game we keep a presence in for years to come. For some months we had faith but the hope was fading. That has really turned around and the flame of hope grows brighter with each major patch. Hopefully by this time next year (if not sooner) the game will be fleshed out to the point we are back to having hundreds in it all the time.