Richard Garriott's MMO Shroud of the Avatar is about to be wiped for the final time

It's been awhile since we last talked about Shroud of the Avatar, the crowdfunded, Early-Accessed MMO that Richard “Lord British” Garriott unveiled to the world back in 2013. But work has continued, and it now stands on the cusp of a major milestone: At midnight CDT on July 27, the game servers will be taken offline for a final wipe, after which persistence—that is, the real game—will begin. 

The wipe will see the “expiring” of homes and basements from the Ancestor, Edelmann, Knight Marshal, Lord Marshal, Duke, and Lord of the Manor 2 pledges, as well as new Player Owned Towns. Upgrades to existing POTs will still be available, however, as will all other rewards that are currently available in the remaining pledges. The servers will go live again at 9:30 at CDT on July 28.

“When we turn the servers back on July 28, we expect there to be a major land rush. Similar to the Oklahoma land rush of the late 19th century, our players will be able to venture out, plop down their house deeds and claim their property in Shroud of the Avatar for good. This will be the beginning of true persistence in the world,” Garriott predicted. “Expect the best properties such as great vistas and overlooks, strategic locales and waterfront real estate to go first. And expect some maneuvering between now and the end of the data wipe as higher level backers will get the first choices.”   

Shroud of the Avatar has so far pulled in just over $9.2 million in backing, which Portalarium said makes it the second-most crowdfunded game of all time. (We all know who's got first place locked up.) The studio also noted that, over the past 32 months, it has managed to achieve its goal of zero unscheduled downtime, which is a pretty impressive accomplishment in itself. 

"While Final Player Data Wipe is NOT  'Launch' of our game, we are super happy to be at such an important milestone with our community of backers," Portalarium said. "We couldn’t have built the game nearly this far in its development without the support and feedback of everyone playing. There’s a lot more to go yet, but we’re about to cross a major hurdle this summer, and can’t wait to cross it with you!"

The 12 hours leading up to the final wipe will be broadcast on YouTube and Twitch, beginning at noon CDT on July 27. The Summer Telethon of the Avatar (and yes, that's what it's called) will feature Q&A, various sorts of activities and giveaways, and “Telethon Funding Stretch Goal Rewards” for anyone who pledges during the event. Shroudoftheavatar.com has the full details.