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I've Come Full Circle!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Not many people would guess this, but my love of roleplaying actually started because of a computer game. In 1980, I discovered one of the first computer roleplaying games, Akalabeth: World of Doom. It had very simple graphics, and gameplay amounted largely to wandering through computer-generated dungeons, killing things, and taking their loot. But I was hooked! I used to go down to my local computer store—Computer World, in Appleton, Wisconsin—and I'd play the game on their Apple II demo setup for hours. (The Computer World staff tolerated my incessant play because it attracted lots of attention to the computer!)

In 1981, I went off to St. Olaf College, leaving Computer World—and Akalabeth—behind. I soon needed to scratch my adventuring itch, so put I up a message on the bulletin boards asking if anybody at St. Olaf was playing Akalabeth. That didn't pan out, but it did lead someone to contact me about a game that was new to me: Dungeons & Dragons. Of course, I fell in love with D&D, eventually leading me to a career of more than 25 years in the gaming business, including working at Wizards of the Coast on the launch of D&D's third edition in 2000!

My boss on that 3E team was Ryan Dancey, and when I left Wizards, I told Ryan that I'd love to work with him again someday. But our lives diverged; I started Paizo, and Ryan went to CCP in Iceland to be the Chief Marketing Officer for the EVE Online MMO. We stayed in touch over the years, and after Ryan left CCP earlier this year, I asked him what he was going to do next. His answer: "How about a Pathfinder MMO?"


Visit goblinworks.com for more information about Pathfinder Online!

At first I was skeptical. I'd heard horror stories about hundreds of millions of dollars lost developing games that were never released. Or games that launched with a big splash only to become zombies within months, their subscriber base dwindled down to a barely sustainable number. But this was Ryan, and I really wanted to work with him again. So I challenged him to convince me—to make me a believer. Over the next few months, Ryan started developing a plan for this Pathfinder MMO, and I started to believe. The plan wasn't 100%, though, so I brought the resources of Paizo to bear on it. Erik Mona, Vic Wertz, James Jacobs, Jeff Alvarez, Gary Teter, Wes Schneider, Sarah Robinson, and more each contributed unique insight to help us come up with a plan for the game—now christened Pathfinder Online—that we could all believe in. What we are announcing today is the result of that work.

Pathfinder Online's journey is just beginning. We've started a brand-new company called Goblinworks to create the game. At the moment, it's owned by myself, Ryan, Paizo, and Mark Kalmes. Mark is one of the top tech guys in the MMO field, and he'll be Goblinworks' Chief Technical Officer. (And we're currently looking for additional investors to help us move forward with Pathfinder Online.)

Traditionally, projects like this are developed in secrecy, with information leaking out in whispers for months before a formal announcement. But we don't want our loyal customers to find out about Pathfinder Online through rumored half-truths; we want you in on the ground floor.

A lot of big picture work has already been done on Pathfinder Online, and it's going to be a bit different from your traditional fantasy MMO. It's going to focus around the characters you create, in a world that will grow out of your interactions, developing the way you choose to develop it. It takes place in the River Kingdoms of Golarion, with our own Kingmaker Adventure Path providing some of the inspiration. There will be an overarching storyline, and dungeons aplenty to explore, but where Pathfinder Online is going to thrive is in the ability of each of you to leave your mark on the world. Do you want to build a castle that you own and control? Go for it. Want to start a town and rally folks to your banner? Do that. Do you want to ally with the neighboring villages to form a new nation—or perhaps wage war on them instead? The choice is yours. Want to become the most feared bandit in the River Kingdoms? The path is available. Want to become the greatest armorer that Golarion has ever seen? All it takes is hard work. If you can imagine doing something in the world of Golarion, we want you to be able to do that in Pathfinder Online.

The fun is just starting! Please use the discussion thread here on paizo.com to interact with Ryan, Mark, myself, and the rest of the Goblinworks crew as we start this new adventure. We're going to be very interactive with you, the Pathfinder community, because we want this game to be YOURS. Stay tuned for blogs, trailers, and other teasers as we move forward. In true Paizo fashion, we will keep you guys in the loop, and listen to your feedback as we progress.

Things have come a long way since Akalabeth. Join me for the ride and help make Pathfinder Online the best MMORPG ever!

Lisa Stevens
CEO, Paizo Publishing
COO, Goblinworks

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Goblinworks Pathfinder Adventure Path Pathfinder Online
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Quandary wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
We intend to keep the number of shareholders fairly limited, as that makes a lot of things much easier.
Understood, but I was suggesting they start an investment company which would be a singular entity with one representative you deal with, not much different than other venture capital companies which have multiple investors they eventually cut checks to from their profits. I can see even that may not be what you want, given the skewing of interest being owned by 'fans' and just meeting your minimum 100k level may not be that enticing in itself.

I actually started a thread about this very thing... I'm thinking some kind of mutual fund.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I wish it was a non MMO even if it was something as simple as Baldur's Gate. Not sure if an MMO is a good idea because player's will abandon the tabletop game for this endless MMO. Not a very good way to promote tabletop RPG games.

Taldor

Lisa Stevens wrote:
Oguleth wrote:

Oh, I don't know why I didn't ask in my last post...

Any particular reason you wanted to do an MMO and not a single player game?

As I have said numerous times in the past, when it comes to the video and computer game markets, it all comes down to who comes to us with an idea. Ryan came asking about doing an MMO. If he would have came asking about a single player game, we probably would be announcing that instead today. Doing an MMO doesn't rule out doing a single player game also. It is just that nobody has come knocking on our door asking to do one.

-Lisa

I'm knocking!

Sorry to rain on your parade, but MMOs don't cut it for me. I would have by far prefered a great single player game instead of a game that will, inevitably, be compared to WoW.

Every MMO I've played since Wow are either a pale copy or unplayable, since the company issuing them wanted so much to be different from it.

Sorry, but I'll pass on this one.

Fred Daigle


Well, this might make me want to play an MMO. Huh.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This is in my opinion very sad news. Can't we have one rpg that doesn't turn in to an mmo?! If you are going to do a game, make it like Baldurs gate 1 or 2 for Pc (but rather than that, make no computer game at all!)

I love computergames but this mmorpg crap is making me sick.
I wrote a long rant and deleted it, because in the long run it all comes down to this: It ruins the illusion. That is the most important thing of rpgs. Wizards did it and you'll do it. Damn it!

Andoran

This is big news indeed, and it seems that there is a good time involved in this effort. My hope is that the game will not only be a success but will lead people to role playing games just as Akalabeth: World of Doom did for Lisa Stevens.

While Goblinworks will be a separate company, are there any plans to have some cross promotion to inform MMO players about the tabletop game or to promote the MMO to Pathfinder players?

Grand Lodge Goblin Squad Member

Really surprising news.

Interesting idea. Please keep it true to the Pathfinder System. I think a turn based 'party' style game like the old TSR gold box games would be fun to play.

Whatever comes out of this experiment, I will try out.

Good luck friends.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Good luck Paizo. I hope it turns out well, but prior experiance with MMO's leave me wishing I had used the time to play a table top RPG instead. I'll likely check it out, see what's driving it, but I'm unlikely to find much there for me. However, a single player "direct adaptation" syle game in the vein of Atari's "Temple of Elemental Evil" or the old Interplay "Baldur's Gate" and "Icewindale" games? I'd be pre-ordering now. To each their own.

Mmmm.... Planescape: Torment....

/gigz

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Berselius wrote:
Wait, your asking US to invest in this IDEA of yours? Isn't that a bit pretentious? I mean, asking the consumer to invest in an idea that they'll ultimately have to purchase anyways in order to play? It's like saying we want you to fund the production of OUR PRODUCT so that you can eventually spend even MORE MONEY to BUY the product we're having you FUND. Am I wrong on this? I sure as hell hope I am.

I think you misunderstood the post. The call for investors isn't a "hey, give us money so we can build this," or even a Kickstarter-style "donate and when it's done we'll give you something neat." This is a straight-up investment, like buying stock in any company. No altruism required.

Cheliax Goblin Squad Member

First, I want to say this sounds like an exciting venture. I've become more and more disillusioned with MMORPGS, especially with the move by many to be almost entirely FTP/Microtransaction based. Seeing one that offers what sounds like a truly either/or option that allows for preference is exciting. Even more exciting is the hybridization of sandbox/theme park models and what sounds like a great deal of character customization through archetypes.

That said, because it is in the FAQ and has been asked here already...

Goblinworks FAQ wrote:


How will this interact with Pathfinder Society Organized Play?

Initially, at least, interaction with PFS will be minimal.

I would really prefer to see this simply become "Interaction with PFS will be minimal". While I'm certainly alright with boons and other minor benefits akin to those that have been given out for product promotion (such as the novel boon chronicles), I really do not want to see serious in-game benefits (non-core races, Chronicles with XP/Gold) become tied to PFMMO play for several reasons.

1) There have already been some concerns about seeing a drop off in players at actual tabletop games as a result of this; I know WoW & other major MMOs have had a similar effect. I love PFS and would prefer not to see playing with people at game days/conventions truly be in competition with playing the MMO.

2) They are not going to be the same game system, by virtue of different formats. Serious gains in one through the other could lead to balancing issues.

3) Given that FTP/A La Carte micro-transactions is an option, I have concerns that (indirectly) this could essentially turn into being able to 'buy' your way to a higher level, well geared character in PFS. While one could argue that this can already happen by being able to pay to attend major conventions, said conventions' adventures also carry with them the real threat of PC death/loss. An MMO most likely will not carry that risk.

Goblin Squad Member

Wow! I am completely blown away by this announcement!!

I'm unsure how to welcome this news. I love Pathfinder and MMOs, and toyed with the idea of how would a PF MMO turn out. But after playing numerous MMOs, and working in the video game industry myself, I know how risky and difficult such an endeavour can be.

That said, I wish nothing but good luck and well wishes to Paizo and Goblinworks on this *massive* project. I'm sure you'll be accepting nothing but the most competent of personnel to work on something so precious. Translating the d20 tabletop to the computer is not easy feat, but I hope that the Pathfinder options and feel that we enjoy today remain strong in the online media.

I do hope Goblinworks manages to bring something fresh to the MMO landscape. The short description of how Kingmaker (which I totally love!) will be an influence on the gameplay style for the MMO makes me hopeful. Having players leave their *own* mark in the game world is something I love. EVE-Online does this, as did Shadowbane (albeit not so successfully for various reasons).

Even if the PF MMO doesn't succeed to bringing the game system to online, as long as it is fun, well-made, and brings something unique to the table, in other words *be an awesome game*, I believe it has a chance for a good success.

It'll be a long wait, but I'll be sure to follow the progress on the latest project from one of my favorite companies!

Goblin Squad Member

Thanks Paizo, it's my birthday (here in Germany, over there on the westcoast I'm still a year younger for some hours..) and that's one of the best gifts ever. Really good timing :)

Cheliax Goblin Squad Member

Will it be for MAC? Or PC only. Cause if it is PC only I will have to go and buy a PC!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well, I like Paizo, and I like Pathfinder, and I like the River Kingdoms, so even though I'm not an MMO fan at all, I'd happily give this a try. Hell, I got a few months out of DDO just because I enjoy Eberron.

I look forward to seeing where you go with this. User created content sounds like a pretty nifty goal. :)

Goblin Squad Member

My two issue so far are choice of a hybrid subscription plan and micro-transactions. The first from past uses of such a scheme, introduces more people to a game but it usually just cheapens the experience along the way as opposed to a full payment model. Micro-transactions are fine up to a point (the WoW model for sparse vanity items/charity causes) but if it is similar to most games that provide them (an in game store) it is once again a cheapening of the game to me.

Beyond that, borrow ideas from meaningful games of the past and current generations. For instance, beat Bethesda to the punch with sandbox mmo options. Character/Item systems from games such as The Witcher. PvP concepts from worthy games such as Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Shadowbane, and Warhammer Online. DO NOT forget the roleplaying aspect! The last game to really support roleplaying was Ultima Online. Almost every game since has only given lip service to the rpg portion of mmorpg for the most part.

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion

brad2411 wrote:
Will it be for MAC? Or PC only. Cause if it is PC only I will have to go and buy a PC!

The Goblinworks FAQ says:

Goblinworks FAQ wrote:

What platforms are the game being developed for?

The game engine we intend to use is currently PC only. A Mac OS X version of the engine is in development, but we can't guarantee that it will be ready for the launch of Pathfinder Online.

Andoran

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm so excited! Now, hopefully this will spawn all sorts of new costume ideas for me for future conventions! Woo! ;o)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Odd question. (TLDR version: does Paizo intend to retain control over this product, its design and development, it's operation, and its support?)

I've seen behind the curtain over years worth of MMO development. Is the role of Goblinworks that of a development house or that of a publisher, or both?

The context of this question is really about that "publisher" word. I get it that Paizo is a content-creator as well as a publisher with regards to written material. I'm very... concerned... regarding the role of a publisher in this particular title.

In my NDA-laden experience, publishers (of MMORPGs) are dangerous, dangerous organizations. Development houses can be 95% complete on a product and due to turnover in their publisher's staff, forced to redesign the goals, structure, code, assets, and features of the product. There is a reason why so many games end up years late. Hint: it's usually not the coders or the artists.

It's the suits that screw this stuff up.

So I'm asking. I'm begging. Please tell me this "click her to be an investor" thing stands absolutely no risk of this project falling under the control of an outside publisher party.

I also recognize you don't have the existing infrastructure to host and maintain the server architecture and handle the type of 7-by-24 support and events coordination that an MMORPG entails. This too is a danger in that there are firms you can farm out that sort of activity to.

The more you rely on staff you don't own, the more you're sticking your... goblin... in the fire. You don't want 3rd-degree burns on your goblin.

I can provide off-the-record explanations to any Paizo staffer who wants to hear about burnt goblin bits and how they have happened in the past.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Will 3rd party content, like Dreamscarred Press and their Psionics Unleahsed, become a part of the game eventually?

I, for one, certainly hope not.


Well this is big news indeed. Good luck competing with the MMO heavyweights out there and the planned heavyweights due to release in the next year or two. I certainly like the concept and will give it a look. Sign me up for beta testing now. :)


Ok guys, you got a "master hype" title with this NEW. Only one think for now: Sandbox. PLZ. No carebears themeparks. Give a look at Mortal Online et similia but not at the bugs.... And hope we can enjoy in some artworks soon that are needed to me to involve my guildmates. Now i can go to sleep with a new "hype monkey" on my shoulder.....


Great news .

I can already picture the birth of Kayman Klynman a human priest of Iomedae that will bring order to the River Kingdom.

Long live Kayman Klynman.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahah.

Goblin Squad Member

FALLS OUT OF CHAIR IN ABSOLUTE ASTONISHMENT!

Seriously!


I hope the RPG does not end up suffering from diminished resources (time, money, resources, creativity,etc.) because of the online project. A drop in quality for the RPG will be crippling for the game and Paizo. I think it will be a fine line,even though you have formed a new company.

Good luck!


I second this post and in fact would state it more strongly. I think there should be no connection between the Pathfinder Society Organized Play and Pathfinder Online whatsoever. They are completely different animals, with only partially overlapping consumer bases. Benefits of one should not transfer to the other.

bdk86 wrote:

First, I want to say this sounds like an exciting venture. I've become more and more disillusioned with MMORPGS, especially with the move by many to be almost entirely FTP/Microtransaction based. Seeing one that offers what sounds like a truly either/or option that allows for preference is exciting. Even more exciting is the hybridization of sandbox/theme park models and what sounds like a great deal of character customization through archetypes.

That said, because it is in the FAQ and has been asked here already...

Goblinworks FAQ wrote:


How will this interact with Pathfinder Society Organized Play?

Initially, at least, interaction with PFS will be minimal.

I would really prefer to see this simply become "Interaction with PFS will be minimal". While I'm certainly alright with boons and other minor benefits akin to those that have been given out for product promotion (such as the novel boon chronicles), I really do not want to see serious in-game benefits (non-core races, Chronicles with XP/Gold) become tied to PFMMO play for several reasons.

1) There have already been some concerns about seeing a drop off in players at actual tabletop games as a result of this; I know WoW & other major MMOs have had a similar effect. I love PFS and would prefer not to see playing with people at game days/conventions truly be in competition with playing the MMO.

2) They are not going to be the same game system, by virtue of different formats. Serious gains in one through the other could lead to balancing issues.

3) Given that FTP/A La Carte micro-transactions is an option, I have concerns that (indirectly) this could essentially turn into being able to 'buy' your way to a higher level, well geared character in PFS. While one could argue that this can already happen by being able to pay to attend major conventions, said conventions' adventures also carry with them the real threat of PC death/loss. An MMO most likely will not carry that risk.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Maybe the underlying game engine will lead to the Pathfinder RPG 2e in a few years.


Grummik wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Will 3rd party content, like Dreamscarred Press and their Psionics Unleahsed, become a part of the game eventually?
I, for one, certainly hope not.

I, for one, certainly hope so. What makes Pathfinder special, to me, is all the awesome 3rd party support for the game that opens up so many more options and provides so much more opportunity for character diversity and customization.

Qadira Goblin Squad Member

Ogremoch wrote:
Ok guys, you got a "master hype" title with this NEW. Only one think for now: Sandbox. PLZ. No carebears themeparks. Give a look at Mortal Online et similia but not at the bugs.... And hope we can enjoy in some artworks soon that are needed to me to involve my guildmates. Now i can go to sleep with a new "hype monkey" on my shoulder.....

Considering that there are two guys from CCP involved, and that there is no bigger sandbox than EVE, I think your good.

BUT, lets not be all derogatory towards those who have a somewhat different playstyle preference. From what I've read they will be looking for some balance, weighted a bit on the sandboxy side.

Silver Crusade

I'll be honest : I was way more expecting someday a Pathfinder Baldur's Gate-like RPG than a MMO, especially in such a bottled market.
There are a lot of MMO getting out and a lot more in development, but there isn't so much people who will stay on them and finally make them worth the investment, and the staggering majority end up dead after some months of agony. This includes games with a lot of cool ideas and concepts.

A solo game easily modable would probably ultimately cost less, and be more succesfull than a MMO - but yet again, I'm not one to decide here. It would hit the sensible cord of worldwide Baldur fans, and could even be done in a true isometrical 3D fashion, with the added value of HD graphics and years of game design as possible examples to help create a modern but awesome experience.

IMHO, today, the biggest share of the market is pretty much separated between short games with quick fun and/or impressive cinematography (Facebook-smartphone games/Minecraft/Call Of Duty/Battlefield) ; and longer games where complexity, ambiance and story is a must-have (Mass Effect/Dragon Age/Dead Space...).
Even if I wish all the success of the world to this project, I honestly don't count too much on it or I hope you'll be able to spend a lot on advertising to be noticed in the mass...

Paizo Employee Developer

bdk86 wrote:
Goblinworks FAQ wrote:


How will this interact with Pathfinder Society Organized Play?

Initially, at least, interaction with PFS will be minimal.

I would really prefer to see this simply become "Interaction with PFS will be minimal". While I'm certainly alright with boons and other minor benefits akin to those that have been given out for product promotion (such as the novel boon chronicles), I really do not want to see serious in-game benefits (non-core races, Chronicles with XP/Gold) become tied to PFMMO play for several reasons.

We can't really say yet how the two will interact, so we can't definitively say that it will always be minimal forever. Who knows, there could be an outpouring of thousands of fans wanting the two to cross over. We don't know yet. As it is, we know that Goblinworks is doing the MMO and we at Paizo will continue to do PFS in-house. And at this stage in the game, saying anything more than "initially" would be jumping the gun, as the project is still in the very, very early stages.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Grummik wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Will 3rd party content, like Dreamscarred Press and their Psionics Unleahsed, become a part of the game eventually?
I, for one, certainly hope not.
I, for one, certainly hope so. What makes Pathfinder special, to me, is all the awesome 3rd party support for the game that opens up so many more options and provides so much more opportunity for character diversity and customization.

Pathfinder Online is not OGL according to the FAQ so 3rd party involvement is unlikely.

Personally I can't stand the 3rd party stuff, it's just to much stuff for me to worry about, so I don't. The game is complicated enough without adding in 3 times the information already included in the core system. I realize other people like it and I'm cool with that, to each their own, it's not for me and my group.


Ghost In The Ruins wrote:
I think there should be no connection between the Pathfinder Society Organized Play and Pathfinder Online whatsoever. They are completely different animals, with only partially overlapping consumer bases. Benefits of one should not transfer to the other.

I agree that transferring benefits is probably not a feasible plan, but, certainly, it would make a certain amount of sense to offer initial closed beta-testing to PFS members, with open beta testing going out to non-PFS members later down the road.

Personally, I'd like to see Paizo take some of what they've learned and developed from handling the PFS and apply it to the MMO. When it comes to moderating social interaction, managing the in-game economy, and ensuring that all the players enjoy a similar experience, there's a fair amount of crossover between MMOs and OP.

Goblin Squad Member

Anguish wrote:

Odd question. (TLDR version: does Paizo intend to retain control over this product, its design and development, it's operation, and its support?)

I've seen behind the curtain over years worth of MMO development. Is the role of Goblinworks that of a development house or that of a publisher, or both?

The context of this question is really about that "publisher" word. I get it that Paizo is a content-creator as well as a publisher with regards to written material. I'm very... concerned... regarding the role of a publisher in this particular title.

In my NDA-laden experience, publishers (of MMORPGs) are dangerous, dangerous organizations. Development houses can be 95% complete on a product and due to turnover in their publisher's staff, forced to redesign the goals, structure, code, assets, and features of the product. There is a reason why so many games end up years late. Hint: it's usually not the coders or the artists.

It's the suits that screw this stuff up.

So I'm asking. I'm begging. Please tell me this "click her to be an investor" thing stands absolutely no risk of this project falling under the control of an outside publisher party.

I also recognize you don't have the existing infrastructure to host and maintain the server architecture and handle the type of 7-by-24 support and events coordination that an MMORPG entails. This too is a danger in that there are firms you can farm out that sort of activity to.

The more you rely on staff you don't own, the more you're sticking your... goblin... in the fire. You don't want 3rd-degree burns on your goblin.

I can provide off-the-record explanations to any Paizo staffer who wants to hear about burnt goblin bits and how they have happened in the past.

I agree with your concerns about this.

Goblin Squad Member

Wow. I'm really looking forward to what ya'll come up with!

I've beta tested about every MMO that's come out since WoW, with the exclusion of DC Online, and am currently in the SWTOR beta. If you all need a tester, let me know!


This is very interesting news.

I'll be watching the employment opportunities very closely. That is why I'm in school after all...

Goblin Squad Member

Here's some needed to ask questions for
Goblinworks and the MMO Game

1a) Are you going to build the game from scratch (engine and all) or license a game engine from a game company?

1b) If you do license one, which one and why?

1c) Will the character models all be static types or Mesh morph types?

1d) Will character clothing be part of the character meshes, or will they overlay the character meshes?

1e) If made from scratch what programming languages do you plan to program in?

2) While looking for investors, are you going to make sure they (investors or Publishers) can not grab the IP?

3) Do you have a Game Design Document (it's a living document that lists the basics of the game and what it contains, features and requires) to at least show investors that you can start on the game.

Cheliax

Should we form a Paizonian guild?

;)

Dibs on The Guild Cheliax!

Shadow Lodge

I have really mixed feelings about this. Having played role-playing games for years and MMO's off and on for the same amount of time, I'm really skeptical. Combine that with my job experience in the game industry, I would really hate to see you guys at Paizo venture down the path of Atari's DDO and the ill-fated Cryptic Studios.

I'll be watching the topics about this, but to be frank, this kind of announcement is out of the blue. I hope you're prepared for an eye-opener. Game development is expensive. Video game develop is more expensive. MMO development is a world of hurt. If it works out though, it usually only takes six months for a decent MMO to make back its production costs.

I'm probably rambling and worrying over nothing. I really hope this works out.

Oh and a footnote... Please don't try to make a game and have it cater to everyone. That's what destroyed WoW.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

First reaction: Sweet!

Second reaction: Oh dear God I'm not going to have a life once this launches, but it could drag my girlfriend off of DDO to play this with me. So yay!

Third reaction: Please don't make any of the same mistakes some other company made with their own online ventures like dropping 41 odd million on outsourced programming and then having to restart almost from scratch six months before launch. But you guys have talented folks with experience on these things, so hopefully you won't fall to the same issues that others have tripped over. :D

Goblin Squad Member

Kaelas Rilyntlar wrote:

... I would really hate to see you guys at Paizo venture down the path of Atari's DDO and the ill-fated Cryptic Studios.

... I hope you're prepared for an eye-opener. Game development is expensive. Video game develop is more expensive. MMO development is a world of hurt. If it works out though, it usually only takes six months for a decent MMO to make back its production costs.
...
Oh and a footnote... Please don't try to make a game and have it cater to everyone. That's what destroyed WoW.

I 100% agree with the above


I could see a PFS tie in if it was really minimal...
Like having an in-game Guild that you need a valid PFS character for who is of that faction.
Of course, this isn't PFS, so not all PFS factions may even make sense in the game, but probably a few could...
That isn't really any mechanical game benefit as much as cosmetic and social - making PFS players able to play together easier, while expressing their aesthetic/morale preferences to boot. That also helps people with more Golarion experience find each other more easily, which can help people 'roleplay' within this game more.

Anything that goes much deeper probably isn't a good idea IMHO.
Since it's a separate company, I don't see why these outside investors would be so keen on tying signfigant game functions to a marketing vehicle of Paizo that they have no control over... Over on the flip side, that Paizo would feel obligated to develop PFS in a direction that is compatable with how this MMO game ties into it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Unexpected.

Somebody let Rock,Paper,Shotgun know about this ASAP.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wolfthulhu wrote:
BUT, lets not be all derogatory towards those who have a somewhat different playstyle preference. From what I've read they will be looking for some balance, weighted a bit on the sandboxy side.

Hear, hear. Since I'm pretty much the poster child, I suspect, for the "carebear" type of player in an MMO... that term tends to raise my hackles.

Personally, I'm hoping there'll be draws for BOTH types of MMO players in this game.

Cheliax

Wow. This is a big roll of the dice. I've never played an MMO before and I never really had the desire to play one. This announcement doesn't change that either, but I will keep an eye on how Paizo does of course. I'm always pulling for friends to do well.

Taldor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
James Sutter wrote:
Berselius wrote:
Wait, your asking US to invest in this IDEA of yours? Isn't that a bit pretentious? I mean, asking the consumer to invest in an idea that they'll ultimately have to purchase anyways in order to play? It's like saying we want you to fund the production of OUR PRODUCT so that you can eventually spend even MORE MONEY to BUY the product we're having you FUND. Am I wrong on this? I sure as hell hope I am.
I think you misunderstood the post. The call for investors isn't a "hey, give us money so we can build this," or even a Kickstarter-style "donate and when it's done we'll give you something neat." This is a straight-up investment, like buying stock in any company. No altruism required.

If it was a single player game, à la Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale, as others stated, I'd be pinching in right away.

For a MMO, no thank you.

Fred

Goblin Squad Member

There will be PvP of some kind.

Paizo employees will probably play this game.

LF14M Raid on Erik Mona's toon's castle!

Goblin Squad Member

Concordia wrote:

If it was a single player game, à la Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale, as others stated, I'd be pinching in right away.

For a MMO, no thank you.

Fred

Again, this is an investment opportunity. Like, for real investments. Meaning that you will work out a deal whereby you will make money off of your investment in the event that the company you invest in meets a certain level of success.

What makes you think that a single player RPG would see more financial success than an MMORPG?

Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I have mixed feelings on this announcement, but sadly I am mostly concerned.

Online gaming is indeed a dangerous place to go. Everyone is competing for the same market share, and all everyone does is further split up the market, thereby each gaining a smaller and smaller share.

MMO's all come down to the characters and how they advance in the world. In general, there are 2 different character advancement routes:

1. Level-based advancement. This is the most popular as it seems most players identify with gaining experience and leveling up to gain the next greatest power. I still feel that WoW has the largest hold on the market that likes level-based advancement games. Many have tried to compete with them, and some have done a good job, for a short time. Getting players to try out a new MMO is usually not too difficult -- getting them to stay is extremely difficult.

2. Skill-based advancement. This is less popular but easier to provide game balance for. As you play, your skills increase, which allow you to do better things and provide access to powers which have skill amount pre-requisites. Ultima Online was one of the most interesting skill-based advancement games I have ever played. (Too bad they completely over-looked questing until many years after).

Every MMO promises to bring in new things that others haven't and Pathfinder Online also proposses this (although everything they say they are planning to do, has already been done in 1 or more MMO's).

It is my professional opinion that you need to go after niche markets to be successul in an MMO today, however the amount of production costs hardly warrant pursuing a niche market.

My suggestion to Paizo, is that you have built a story-rich world and have crafted many great adventures. Stick with what you do best. Forget about PVP, there's many other games out there that cater to those players (and some even do a very good job of this). Spending time trying to cater to all players, takes time away from focusing on your primary player base. (A major problem with PVP games, or empire/conquest type games, is that the people who play 8 hours a day, and create guilds with similar players, quickly dominate the scene.)

I suggest, focus on questing, and limit the timespawn of quests. Always keep them changing up. (Make most quests only available for a few months). This would drive people to keep checking around for what the next latest and greatest quest is.

Thanks to Diablo, the RPG scene has changed forever, and treasure seekers looking for the next best magic loot will be with us for a long time. This shouldn't be the focus for questing, but it has been successful, especially in Everquest and WoW. Consideration of how to balance item rewards will really shape how much people are enjoying the game through time.

I have the highest respect for Paizo and the brands they have taken on. I wish them a vast and successful career with their brands, but taking on an MMO I fear could lead to a lot of money lost. I don't think there is room for a fantasy RPG MMO. Many have come and gone, bringing in the things that Pathfinder Online proposes. I wish them success, but have concerns about Paizo in general in taking on such a project.

What would I like to see? I would love to a see an isometric-based RPG (like Diablo or Ultima Online) as opposed to first-person perspectives like everyone else is doing. I would like to see a skill-based advancement game instead of a level-based advancement game. I want to see many new and refreshing quests. I want to see a resource-based crafting system. (I liked how Ultima Online did this as you literally had to spend hours to days going out to harvest lumber, or ore, or skins -- most people would not find this fun or interesting, so rather than do this, they would just buy my finely crafted stuff from me).

Anyways, this is becoming a novel. I wish Paizo all the best in this endeavor, but unlike any other Paizo project I greatly have my doubts.


I would rather see this money spent on more pre-painted minatures, or a Paizo made Character Creator (don't get me started on Hero Labs), or a graphic combat manager (something like maptools) which could be displayed on a TV or projected on a wall.

Silver Crusade

Lisa Stevens wrote:

Hey y'all:

Remember, we are REALLY EARLY in the process. We don't have many answers to your questions. Normally, we wouldn't even announce something like this as early as we have, except we knew that word would leak out. And we are always up front and straight with everybody about what we are doing. Give us a few months to get our funding, hire some folks and have some brainstorms. Then we can perhaps answer a few of your questions.

One thing I do want to make clear. Goblinworks won't have any negative impact on Paizo. Separate company. Separate staffs. Paizo is going to stay focused on what we do best which is making awesome pen and paper RPG products. Goblinworks will focus on the MMO. This is just like our relationship with Reaper or WizKids or any other licensor.

Now if this is successful, it will impact Paizo is a positive way, which is good. But we won't have a lot of skin in the game. Our money is going back into making awesome products for you guys.

I think you guys will be excited about Pathfinder Online. We have some really innovative things in mind. It will feel like Pathfinder.

But we aren't turning away from what got us here. Far from it!

-Lisa

All of the above has just made me extremely happy! I am MMORPG'd out, but occasionally play Baldur's gate or NWN1 or 2. I have gone back to my roots of PnP Tabletop, and Pathfinder has been a Godsend for me personally.

But, I will be following this, and who knows, will check it out and see. The River Kingdoms is a great locale!

I agree that if this takes off, the effect on Paizo will be very good, and might bring even more players to our beloved tabletop.

Back to modeling terrain and painting my Reaper minis!

Thank you Lisa. :)

Bel. ^^

Taldor Goblin Squad Member

Cool. This is not what I expected and certainly a big leap. Looking forward to it.

Interesting investor model you're taking. 100K seems like a safe entry point. Assume higher is ok too but does ownership stake involve input or not on the operation of the company and game design?

I don't see any mention in the FAQ of being associated with any of the major houses (SOE, etc.) Are you doing your own infrastructure?

Will development be based locally? Which side of the lake?

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