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Kicking Off Pathfinder Online

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

You've probably heard that Paizo is working with Goblinworks to produce Pathfinder Online, a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game. Goblinworks has been giving you snippets of our plans in the biweekly blog posts on goblinworks.com, and we've been getting your feedback on the Pathfinder Online messageboards here on paizo.com. Well, we're now ready to kick off the next phase of Pathfinder Online.

Today we announced a Kickstarter project to help us build the Pathfinder Online Technology Demo. Go take a look at the press release or visit the Kickstarter project page to find out what this Kickstarter is all about, and then come back here so I can share some details you'll want to know. Don’t worry, I’ll wait right here...

...Did you read it? Pretty darn cool, huh?

Goblinworks.com has its own blog today talking about the Kickstarter, so head over there when you're done here for more details on that. What I want to talk about here is the Thornkeep book!

Since the Pathfinder Online Technology Demo itself isn’t something that we can offer to Kickstarter patrons, we had to go outside the box for our Kickstarter rewards, and the Thornkeep book seemed like the perfect answer.

Thornkeep has a Pathfinder Online logo on the cover, but make no mistake—Paizo is handling this book just like any of our other Pathfinder products. It's set in the very same world of Golarion as our other roleplaying products, and contains 100% official Pathfinder campaign setting material for use with the Pathfinder RPG.

The first half of the 64-page Thornkeep book is a Pathfinder RPG sourcebook covering the town of Thornkeep and its surrounding area. Thornkeep is part of the River Kingdoms area, which is the setting for Pathfinder Online. (You could also drop Thornkeep into almost any wooded area in your own campaign setting.) As we mentioned in one of our earliest Pathfinder Online blog posts, Thornkeep is one of three starting locations for PCs in the MMO—it's the chaotic frontier town that Ryan dubbed our "hive of scum and villainy" (think a fantasy version of Deadwood). (You even helped us name Thornkeep in our first online poll!)

We thought it would be cool to allow folks to explore Thornkeep's various dark corners in their Pathfinder RPG sessions before Pathfinder Online is released. We will be using this book as our guide when we're building its digital equivalent. We're even going to have a small dungeon in this book that will map directly to the one featured in the Technology Demo. So not only will you be getting a guide to one of the towns in Pathfinder Online, but you'll also be getting the first look at how content from the RPG transitions to Pathfinder Online, as well as how content from the MMO might find its way to your gaming table!


Rich Baker, author of Thornkeep!

When we were looking for somebody to write the sourcebook material for us, we went to our good friend Rich Baker. This is Rich's first time working on Pathfinder, but he has been involved with classic D&D campaign settings from the Forgotten Realms to Birthright, and we figured it would be fun to see how he would approach Thornkeep! I've seen his partial turnovers already, and they're awesome!

So what about the second half of the book? That's going to be a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Pathfinder Online, including excerpts from our internal design document, plus design sketches and early artwork for the MMO, as well as essays from Goblinworks and Paizo team members designed to give you insight into the making of the MMO. Consider this a backstage pass to all of the goings-on at Goblinworks!

Of course, we couldn’t have a cool product like this without a Wayne Reynolds cover. The cover image you see here is a mock-up—Wayne should have the real Thornkeep cover done by PaizoCon, and we plan to unveil it at our banquet!

Thornkeep isn't the only Kickstarter reward, though. There are lots of fun rewards for folks at all levels of pledge support! You could even come to Paizo for a day, play a Pathfinder game with your dream Paizo GM, and have a four-hour dinner with your GM, Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey, and myself. Check out all of the Kickstarter rewards and help us get to the next step in the development of Pathfinder Online. We wouldn’t be here without you!

Lisa Stevens
Paizo CEO
Goblinworks COO

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Goblinworks Paizo Pathfinder Online Rich Baker
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Goblin Squad Member

So is the Kickstarter going to be the only way to get the Thornkeep book?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Brian E. Harris wrote:
So is the Kickstarter going to be the only way to get the Thornkeep book?

There will eventually be other ways, but that's the only way right now.

Goblin Squad Member

The Kickstarter looks good.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Right now it looks like the reward tiers on the Kickstarter are in line with retail prices for the book. Those are pretty good value-for-money.

Goblin Squad Member

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Seems to me one of the first things I have seen from Paizo that feels very contrived to part me from my money. Not loving this idea.

Liberty's Edge

Azure_Zero wrote:
The Kickstarter looks good.

And has gained around $900 in the last 16 minutes. I think odds of succss are looking pretty good, too. :)

Goblinworks Executive Founder

5 people marked this as a favorite.

They're trying to raise $50k to create a demo so that they can get hundreds of thousands to a couple million to make the full game. This is america, you have to spend money to make money.

The kickstarter will do more than just fund the demo project though. It proves to the investors and talent that Paizo, Goblinworks and the community are prepared to pour their resources into ensuring this endeavor is successful and lucrative.

Dark Archive Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Fully intend to back this project once I discuss it with the wife...

Because I have not yet backed this project I cannot comment at kickstarter but will instead do it here. It would be nice to see some of the rewards directed more toward the game. If say an individual were to donate 250-500 bucks they would have a lifetime subscription. Or at the very least a free copy of the game when released or 1-2 years as a subscriber.

Just food for thought...

Goblinworks Founder

Awesome!

You can get a game GM'd by one of the Paizo gang - humms whilst budgeting and counting fingers til next pay day.....

at the current rate though I think they will hit the amount before it comes around.

I will keep an eye out for how international subscribers (like me) can show our support.

Goblin Squad Member

11k.... after a few hours... nice.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
Right now it looks like the reward tiers on the Kickstarter are in line with retail prices for the book. Those are pretty good value-for-money.

Retail prices for what book? The 64-page Thornkeep book?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Wyldwabyt wrote:

Fully intend to back this project once I discuss it with the wife...

Because I have not yet backed this project I cannot comment at kickstarter but will instead do it here. It would be nice to see some of the rewards directed more toward the game. If say an individual were to donate 250-500 bucks they would have a lifetime subscription. Or at the very least a free copy of the game when released or 1-2 years as a subscriber.

Just food for thought...

We don't want to promise in-game rewards for the Technology Demo kickstarter, but we will certainly consider those sorts of things if we come back to the community for the full game!

Goblin Squad Member

I plan on putting my money where my mouth is and donating on kickstarter. I've also passed this along on my guild web site to try to drum up some more support.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

...aaaaand we're 25% funded, in just under 3 hours.

Goblin Squad Member

Nice to see someone stepped up at the $5,000 level.

Goblin Squad Member

HELL YEA. I made the video :)

And yea, this baby is cookin' already.

Paizo Employee CEO

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Nihimon wrote:
Nice to see someone stepped up at the $5,000 level.

Yep! Looking forward to some gaming and a nice long dinner! Only two more left!

-Lisa

Dark Archive Goblin Squad Member

If I had 5k I would have considered dropping it as it is I hope there is still space when I get paid Friday. Really want to be able to contribute enough for the book minimum.


I hope this serves as a wakeup call to the industry and allows PFO to be the first to get it's foothold established.

The most depressing gaming moment I've had in the last several years was the Elder Scrolls Online being revealed (and subsequently reviled) as yet another theme park.

Goblin Squad Member

My GF is just cackling away at the video, while simultaneously irate that she in her lingerie didn't make it in.

Very humorous :)

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Mdando - maybe someday we'll have a "deleted scenes" release. :)

Tell her everyone enjoyed watching. It was a real fun video!


I'd love to see the documentary style thing that was too dry for the Kickstarter vid. All us forum folk dig that sort of long winded stuff I think.

/edit: Read more closely. Looking forward to the future posts.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'll be honest. This is a bit of a let down. I was hoping for a single player game (like NWN) but instead we get a game like D&D: Online.

Goblin Squad Member

Living in an all Mac household I'm not as enthused about Pathfinder Online as others; after some thought I decided an early copy of Thornkeep was worth a contribution.


Berselius wrote:
I'll be honest. This is a bit of a let down. I was hoping for a single player game (like NWN) but instead we get a game like D&D: Online.

Actually, this is sort of as far as you can get from DDO while still being an MMO. DDO is a lobby based theme park, and this is a huge open world sandbox.

Silver Crusade

I'm surprised at the growth on this project - it goes to show that the community at large that makes up the base of Paizo's pathfinder franchise is more than willing to put its money where its collective mouth is. Not that spending money on books, accessories, and attending paizo con and the like isn't proof enough of that, but honestly - it's nice to see the community come together over something like this. As of this posting just about 16k in funding has been accrued.

Grand Lodge Goblin Squad Member

Like Shadowrun Returns, how about a commitment to do a Mac version at launch at a certain funding level?

Scarab Sages

I have a simple question. I live in Brazil, but I want to be part of the Goblin Squad and naturally play Pathfinder Online. My distance will be a problem?

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

Rhondalgun wrote:
I have a simple question. I live in Brazil, but I want to be part of the Goblin Squad and naturally play Pathfinder Online. My distance will be a problem?

I was worried about this too, but I asked in the Kickstarter page and they said it's not an issue for them. As for Kickstarter itself, I have backed projects before and they accept non-US credit cards.

And since Paizo ships my subscriptions every month, I know shipping isn't a problem either.

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I want to back at the $50 to get a printed copy of Thornkeep. Will I have to pay extra for S&H to Canada?

Goblin Squad Member

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I really want to do a Mac version. I'm all Mac, all the time at home. I'm a total Apple fanboi.

The critical path runs through the middleware. There are no good cross-platform options that do Mac well yet. The software we're planning to use does not yet have a Mac client.

On the other hand, it's more likely that one will be available by the time the game is ready to ship than it has been in the past. Apple's successes make it easier to justify spending money on Mac development.

There's also always the option of doing something like the EVE port using WINE, CIDER, and support from a company like Transgaming.

So it's not a question of will, or a question of interest. It's just a technical question of "if it's possible, we'll do it".

RyanD

Goblin Squad Member

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Shipping & Handling is included in the reward pricing, even for international supporters. One of the (many) benefits of working with a hugely successful direct-response company that ships gobs of stuff every day!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

You have to admire Paizo for their consistency and attention to detail. In keeping with the Pathfinder brand identity of re-publishing content that WotC had to pay for, the photo of Rich Baker on that Kickstarter page is hosted on images.wizards.com.

Goblin Squad Member

What happens if the, admittedly, unlikely situation arises and the project doesn't get funded?

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

GentleGiant wrote:
What happens if the, admittedly, unlikely situation arises and the project doesn't get funded?

1, if you made a pledge, your card is not debited. Kickstarter is all or nothing.

2, as for the project itself, from the Goblinworks blog entry:

Goblinworks blog wrote:
Alternately, we could simply hold the project in reserve and work the investor community longer, hoping to find someone interested in getting in on the very ground floor—but the longer we wait, the more likely someone else is to come in to the fantasy sandbox market and create a competitive game with first-mover advantage.

Goblin Squad Member

4 people marked this as a favorite.

@GentleGiant - then we go to plan B. And C, and D, and however many other plans it takes to get this thing across the finish line. Doing startups is never easy, often tortuous but all it takes is an irrational stubbornness and an ability to ignore the reasoned advice you get about why your idea can't work.

RyanD

Goblinworks Executive Founder

GentleGiant wrote:
What happens if the, admittedly, unlikely situation arises and the project doesn't get funded?

In that case, the holds are released, no money changes hands, and the Tech Demo project gets rethought and/or scrapped. The Pathfinder Online project (related but separate, as I understand it) would not be directly impacted- but the purpose of the Tech Demo was to positively impact the PFO project, and might have additional problems finding investors after what might be perceived as a failed attempt.

Scarab Sages

Sorry, you completely lost me with Rich Baker in the mix.

Goblin Squad Member

hmarcbower wrote:
Sorry, you completely lost me with Rich Baker in the mix.

Not sure if serious, or meta in-joke...

If it's a joke, I get it, and it's funny :)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

ProfessorCirno wrote:
You have to admire Paizo for their consistency and attention to detail. In keeping with the Pathfinder brand identity of re-publishing content that WotC had to pay for, the photo of Rich Baker on that Kickstarter page is hosted on images.wizards.com.

Lisa grabbed the wrong URL from a google image search. We've fixed it!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

damnitall22 wrote:
If I had 5k I would have considered dropping it as it is I hope there is still space when I get paid Friday. Really want to be able to contribute enough for the book minimum.

Kickstarter—or, more accurately, Amazon Payments—doesn't actually charge anyone until the Kickstarter closes.

Scarab Sages

Nihimon wrote:
hmarcbower wrote:
Sorry, you completely lost me with Rich Baker in the mix.

Not sure if serious, or meta in-joke...

If it's a joke, I get it, and it's funny :)

Not a joke. I, personally, won't be interested if Baker is involved. I'm not speaking for anyone else, just me. :)

Great to see the amount continually rising, though!

Dark Archive Goblin Squad Member

GentleGiant wrote:
What happens if the, admittedly, unlikely situation arises and the project doesn't get funded?

Don't think we really have to worry about this being a factor. A better question is they have posted 50k as the amount needed to make a demo, what is the reason to go past that? 100% on board for polishing up a demo and seeing it done with all the bells and whistles. At the rate we are seeing this thing grow I think we will will blow even a polished demo out of the water. So what is the plan than, and I hope you guys have already considered stretch goals :)

Goblin Squad Member

Alan_Beven wrote:
Seems to me one of the first things I have seen from Paizo that feels very contrived to part me from my money. Not loving this idea.

This isn't some gimmick where they are trying to sell you something so they can cut a profit. This is about showing investors we believe in this project enough to put our money where our mouth is.

Either you believe enough in this project to give it monetary support or you don't. If you don't that is fine but don't pretend like they are running a fly by night scheme. This is an upfront fundraiser and a lot of us are really happy to be a part of it.

On a happier note... almost up to 20k and the first day isn't over yet. Already generating responses from my facebook post. :D

Well hit that 50k EASY.

Paizo Employee Developer

Just hit 20k a moment ago. I may not sleep tonight watching it go!

Dark Archive Goblin Squad Member

Alan_Beven wrote:
Seems to me one of the first things I have seen from Paizo that feels very contrived to part me from my money. Not loving this idea.

I think you are looking at this wrong. What I think they have said or at least how I have taken this reaching out to the fans as a way to prove to the investors that this is the type of game people want. We so to speak are putting our money where our mouth is.

Just to further this point look at Bioware, once this company was king of RPG's and most games they made were awesome to say the least. In comes EA how controls the cash flow and we see products decline. EA from my point of view has never understood what its gamers wanted outside Madden games...

Paizo has a solid concept and fan base behind it. I hope this effort shows it investors that they are in tune with their gamers and will let them develope the product we all want to see.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

I hope you've got stretch goals lined up and ready, because I'm preeetty sure we're going to blow the measly 50k goal right out of the water in three days, tops. ;)

Grand Lodge

Ryan Dancey wrote:

I really want to do a Mac version. I'm all Mac, all the time at home. I'm a total Apple fanboi.

The critical path runs through the middleware. There are no good cross-platform options that do Mac well yet. The software we're planning to use does not yet have a Mac client.

On the other hand, it's more likely that one will be available by the time the game is ready to ship than it has been in the past. Apple's successes make it easier to justify spending money on Mac development.

There's also always the option of doing something like the EVE port using WINE, CIDER, and support from a company like Transgaming.

So it's not a question of will, or a question of interest. It's just a technical question of "if it's possible, we'll do it".

RyanD

well i will stay tuned, but won't be interested in PFO until MAC is supported. until then i will be playing diablo or wow.

Goblin Squad Member

Berselius wrote:
I'll be honest. This is a bit of a let down. I was hoping for a single player game (like NWN) but instead we get a game like D&D: Online.

I'd suggest you check out the blods. Pathfinder online will have very little in common with DnD online, save being massively multiplayer

It is a closer relative to starwars gallaxies or Eve

Goblin Squad Member

Vic Wertz wrote:
Brian E. Harris wrote:
So is the Kickstarter going to be the only way to get the Thornkeep book?
There will eventually be other ways, but that's the only way right now.

Will those other ways include the possibility to get hard copies, or just PDFs?

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