Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues was originally a Kickstarter that had a fairly lofty goal and managed to exceed it. Its $1,00,000 goal was met and far surpassed with nearly $2 million in pledges allowing it to get made. The game itself was created as a spiritual successor to Ultima, with Ultima Online being its chief inspiration. It is a selective multiplayer game and allows you to play the same core adventure either offline or online. Since its release in May, the game has seen a wide variety of upgrades. Player-crafted dungeons became a thing, as did seasonal enemies and a very user-friendly tutorial section. This is particularly important since it's a large-scale RPG and inspired by a completely different generation of game. As a result, many players may not be familiar with games like Ultima – so it's smart to have something like this to ease people into it.
The game uses an action-heavy interface and allows you to blast enemies with magic, zap them with lightning or use flames in a wide variety of ways. Giant rings of flame can shield you from harm, or you can just throw fireballs and damage enemies from afar. Those who seek a close-range affair can use things like swords and slash rivals up too. Having the ability to go with things like fire or flames ensures that there is plenty of variety in how you play the game. By the nature of having short and long-range attacks, each style allows people to play in different ways.
Despite offering up a lot of options for players, the game didn't quite get a huge audience. With it being an online-centric adventure, it struggled to get 300 or more users on Steam - despite that being the most heavily-exposed version on the market. The devs seem to be releasing it as a free to play game due to its commercial failure - and by making it free to play, it should keep it alive for a while. The removal of the paywall has changed the game a bit - but not a ton. Players can still trade freely with anyone, play through the whole story, and own in-game land.
Unfortunately, the game's lower player base does make this feel like it could be a last gasp to try and get some exposure for it and use microtransactions to hopefully bring in some revenue. If this doesn't work, then we could see the end of the game although it would probably be a ways off. Very few games just outright die out of nowhere, although things like Lawbreakers and Radical Heights do spring to mind as recent examples.
For those looking to enjoy a new kind of RPG experience, this game's classless customization system might just be for you. With it being free to play now, there's no risk to trying it out and seeing if you like what it has to offer. If you do, cool - keep playing it for as long as the game is supported. Shroud of the Avatar is playable on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows PCs. The game has definitely received mixed reviews since becoming free to play game, with some finding that it's somewhat broken, while others enjoy its quirks and its way of progressing your characters' skills in a more well-rounded way than most RPGs. You can find more info on Shroud of the Avatar on their official website or on their kickstarter page.