Shroud of the Avatar's tenth release was all about polishing graphics and systems. However some new things were presented to players that made game play a whole lot of fun! First, the "Grand Tour Quest" encouraged players to explore the realm and learn about different places. The reward was a really cool Cavalier's Hat which could only be gotten during this release! Woohoo! The first true "rare" for the game! It is credited to a player's upon completion when the Grand Tour Quest is finished. I got mine, did you get yours? Another new feature, which made several people (including myself) very frustrated is the Challenge Dungeon. Rather than bore you with words, here's a video clip of my third solo run. It doesn't end pretty. I ran through the Challenge Dungeon a couple more times, just for good measure. Needless to say, I couldn't get past that Liche. Being a straight fighter does have its pitfalls. I was told that a rather large group made the run all the way to the final area. The mobs there are horrendously challenging! So much so that a Developer participated in the fight. To give the party a chance, when everyone died, the Dev would go invincible. This way party members could return to the final area without having to run the entire gauntlet again. So yes, as long as a single party member is still alive in a level of the Challenge Dungeon, the rest of the party can join up again. Eventually the party did defeat the final area and received all sorts of loot included a few deeds. In the next release I have full intention of making that full run myself as a straight fighter! The developers also tested the property purchasing systems. This release, players had to earn the gold to buy the plot they wanted, then earn even more gold to purchase the house deed. This is how the housing systems are intended to work. Remember, you first need a plot, then you need the deed to the house (like architectural plans). Every player in R10 who got a home went though this process regardless of pledge level. Of course, this being all pre-alpha, this would not reflect on actual rewards. However, there are whispers that "full persistence" will start with R11. We will keep our fingers crossed for that! Running around the world and exploring the cities shows just how much polish Portalarium has put into the game. Water has greatly improved, animals are moving more naturally, NPCs react personally. I was even entertained while speaking to the Oracle, the Tour Guide made comments! Indeed, SotA is shaping up to be a game world worth being in. Release 11 is scheduled to run October 23 - 27. That is also the weekend for Extra Life AND Stratic's 17th Anniversary! WOW! Much happenings! Check out www.ShroudoftheAvatar.com for more about SotA, and to join us all with a pledge!