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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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I'm skeptical of the game's chances of success as well as my chances of buying and playing it. However, I also never would have guessed that the Pathfinder RPG could have reached the level of success it's at, so I'm willing to bet that the folks behind this know their business better than I do.

I'd personally prefer a Baldur's Gate-style of single player game, maybe even based on one of the existing adventure paths, but it seems that such games aren't as popular or profitable as they used to be.

I hope the game is successful, as it would mean a lot of new recognition of the Pathfinder brand and setting. If it keeps to the level of quality that Paizo has become known for, then I'm sure it will be a lot of fun. I'm also thankful that you guys started another company for this endeavor, so if it does fall apart it won't have as much of a direct effect on the well-being of the RPG line.


I just hope it's a well fleshed out subscription based mmo and not some cash grab free-to-play micro-transaction game.

Andoran

You had me at "Pathfinder." So far your name alone will get me to at least try it, and most likely enjoy it.

:)


Interesting...I've never been much for MMO's, but free to play means I'll at least check it out...unless I have to spend a few hundred to upgrade my computer in order to do so!

I'd much rather have seen a stand alone video game with multi-player options. Oh well, maybe in the future if the MMO is successful!

Goblin Squad Member

LazarX wrote:
B0sh1 wrote:

Well I would of preferred seeing a single player game as a MMO is a beast to undertake and an online game is many more times complex to develop, balance and sustain. However, if D and D online can work,

I'm not sure that you can say that it worked, given that it's already made the transition from subscription to free to play. Overall it looks like more on it's way out.

From what I understand, DDO and LOTRO (which also went to f2p) are as profitable if not more so with the F2P model and microtransactions. F2P can and does work with microtransactions.I wouldn't necessarily rule moving from subscription to f2p as a failure.

Andoran Goblin Squad Member

Sighs...Waves a fond farewell to Azeroth. Grab my backpack, two handed sword and start down the road towards Golarion...


I despise MMOs with a passion, so I'm definitely not the target audience, but I really love the increasing popularity of Pathfinder!

Goblin Squad Member

All I have to say about this, do it right and we will play. But in all seriousness, as long as the game stays away from the f2p model, it has a honest chance at success if game play, story, and immersion are there.

Goblin Squad Member

Dragonpriest wrote:
All I have to say about this, do it right and we will play. But in all seriousness, as long as the game stays away from the f2p model, it has a honest chance at success if game play, story, and immersion are there.

Refer to the FAQ

GoblinWorks FAQ wrote:

Will there be a cost to play Pathfinder Online?

We are planning a hybrid subscription/free-to-play model.
Players will have the option to pay a flat monthly fee
for complete access to all standard game features, or
to play for free with certain restrictions, using
microtransactions to access desired features and
content on an a la carte basis. Pricing details
have not yet been finalized.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This announcement is certainly interesting. However, I am not a fan of MMOs. I find them very... irritating. But, I am a huge fan of story-based RPGs like the ones Bioware makes (Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Jade Empire, etc.).

That said, Bioware has tempted me with their new Star Wars MMO, but only because I am already a fan of their works and they say their Star Wars MMO will be a story-based RPG. From what I am seeing an hearing right now, that appears to be true. IF I get get it, it will have to come after I get a new PC, though. In the interest of full disclosure I have to admit that I have already preordered "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning" despite the fact that they still plan to make it into an MMO sometime after it releases. However, the fact remains that it is still a single-player RPG that can be played through without being a part of the MMO - the MMO part seems to just be a bonus for those who want to keep playing.

Anyway, the news of a Pathfinder MMO makes me very sad that it isn't going to be something a little more similar to Dragon Age, Neverwinter Nights, or Baldur's Gate. I enjoy cooperative story telling RPGs (like tabletop), but the idea of an MMO where I have to play with strangers who can impact my play experience is really unappealing to me. Because of that, knowing that the Pathfinder MMO will be more sandboxy just makes sound more unappealing to me. If it were going to be more story-based I might be tempted.

As a PFS member, I really hope that PFS and the tabletop game really won't be affected at all by the MMO as we are being reassured by the staff (at least regarding the tabletop, if the jury is still out on PFS). I doubt I would leave PFS over it, but it would not make me happy.

Despite all of my concerns (or perhaps because of them), I will sign up for the Goblinworks email updates to keep an eye out for anything that might sway my opinion and hope for the best while wishing Paizo and Goblinworks success in this new endeavor.


I got into gaming from video games too. My mom brought home "Computer Gaming World" from the office when I was in high school and it rated "Baldur's Gate 2" really highly. So I asked for it for Christmas. I *loved* it. It's still my favorite game of all time. And that's what brought me to D&D.

I played this game on the school computers when I was in grade 2. It was all text and you were exploring a haunted house. I loved it. I think it was one of the very first computer games. Does anyone else remember playing this?


Doggan wrote:
And what happened to Warhammer? It flopped. And it flopped hard. So please, look to the past for mistakes that other companies made and don't repeat those mistakes. Stick to your guns and don't promise your players things that you cannot actually produce. Listen to the people you invite to eventually test your game....

Regarding Warhammer Online. After the first 2 weeks of gliches, it was actually fun leveling. Then it had no end game at all, which killed it.

I agree with what you say about player / tester feedback. But I also work in software so I know all about the pressures of releasing, whether everything is working 100% or not. I'd personally rather have quality than a shoddy (but on time) release.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

Awesome news! I just spread it around my friends ;)

By the way, did I mention, aside from publising Pathfinder compatible ebooks I am also a professional game designer with 2 published MMOs and a couple of published social network games? ;)

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Thanks for all the great comments in this thread! I'm reading each and every one and a lot of other threads as well.

Good luck!

OT: Also, it's kinda sad you got 'CEO, Goblinworks' tag but lost 'The Most Dangerous Man in Gaming' tag. ;) Maybe Vic can fix that for ya.

Goblin Squad Member

this is the best thing I've heard since "is it alright if I stay over?"

Golarion sandbox ...with crafting and kingmaker influences? Yes! And River Kingdoms is perfect! I'm so excited, its like a Katrina and the Waves video down in here.


Scott Betts wrote:

This is an MMO project.

There will be thousands of players inhabiting the same virtual world.

As a developer, how is it possible to deliver unique, appreciably deep opportunities for players to have a "real impact" on the world (whatever that means) when you have that many players, all of whom want to "impact" the world just as much as you?

I'm asking seriously. How is it possible?

Changes shouldn't occur on a player-by-player basis, but I think changes should occur on a more macro level.

World of Warcraft was successful with this in events like gathering resources to open the gates of AQ. I thought that was fairly epic. Having temporary win/loss buffs for losing control of an area.

Maybe the best event of all was at the end of Beta, where demons ran through the capital cities basically killing everyone. That was epic! This is what I want in games.

The problem with WoW these days is that it's just too safe. There's never an NPC challenge (like the giant robots in Burning Crusade) that surprises you. Rarely is there any reason to have organized world PVP either. So basically, unless a new expansion is released, the world is very safe and predictable, and not really "alive".

In Warhammer Online, (among the various problems) the maps were just too big for a world PVP game, it was hard to find opponents (although keeps did focus players). OK, now I'm rambling. :)

Differences in storyline (between servers) would be amazing, but that means coding for "what if" scenarios, which isn't viable. So what we're left with is event X will occur after Y amount of time.

I think it's also OK if there are fluff differences on servers. Say if server X doesn't do Y in time, an NPC says something different, or there's a building/statue that is or isn't there under certain conditions.

Whenever fun or unexpected events occur, I personally find it interesting. Just logging in everyday and the world is always the same, doesn't make it feel like you're making a difference.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'd like to add my two cents, for what they're worth.

I've been playing WoW since 2005, dabbled in many other games, and have been playing Rift since early beta. I'm also a Star Wars beta tester. IMO, for a Pathfinder MMO to be successful, it can't just be a WoW clone with a couple neat innovations. There's plenty of those out there already. The Pathfinder IP is just too obscure in the computer gaming world. It's not going to draw a lot of people just on the Pathfinder Logo. The last year or so, I've watched my friends all migrate away from WoW to other mmos or just stop playing them entirely due to Blizzard's homogenization and dumbing down of the game. So, I'd like to list a few things I'd like to see in a Pathfinder mmo.

Ditch the holy trinity of tank, dps, healer. In a Pathfinder or D&D p&p rpg, there's no reason a group of 4 mages can't play through a dungeon or module, or 4 clerics, or 4 fighters, etc. I don't see why this can't be done in an mmo.

No dungeon queue, please. WoW has become World of Queucraft. After max level, people just stand around in capital cities and queue for dungeons. Hell, after level 10, you never have to leave Orgrimmar unless you're farming for professions or reputation.

Ditto with flying mounts. It kills the multiplayer aspect, and world pvp. You almost never see another player in the world in WoW anymore.

Let's have some distinction between the classes, please. WoW has homogenized the classes so much that it's hard to distinguish between a paladin and a rogue. The spells may have different names and a different graphical effect, but mechanically they have the same effect. It makes it easier on the programmers - just get one class balanced the way you want it, then reskin the others - but it's boring and makes the class system useless.

It's a multiplayer game. I shouldn't be able to finish every quest solo. Questing should be challenging.

Daily quests and justice/conquest/valor/etc points are just another grind meant to keep players in the Skinner box as long as possible. It makes the game more like a job and less like a game. Lose them. GEar should be attained by adventuring, not by grinding the same quest over and over and over for 7200 justice points just to buy a pair of isotoner gloves.

More stuff from p&p rpgs should exist. Traps, pits, puzzles, riddles.

Something more exciting from a boss mechanic than "don't stand in fire." Watching cooldowns and procs, monitoring other player's health, making sure I hit the right keys, etc is pretty hectic in itself, getting one shotted because I was in the wrong place for a millisecond is no fun. Hell, even picking the boss's fire effect out of a warlock's hellfire spell, a shaman's healing rain, a paladin's consecrate, while 3 warriors are spinning like tops using whirlwind attack is not easy.

Let's have a world. There should be more than one path from one zone to the next. Some mmos railroad you by blocking every path other than the road with immpassable mountains, you stay on the path, or you go nowhere.

I'm sure there are a ton of other things, but that's all I have for now.

If it sounds like I'm picking on WoW, it's because I am. I just don't want to see Pathfinder repeat Blizzard's mistakes. I want a living, breathing world, not a queuefest where it's rush to max level and queue for dungeons.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm honestly completely shocked that Paizo would attempt this.
Why? I'll keep it short and sweet.

1.) Several other, more recognizable, established I.P.s, backed by very large video game developers, have failed miserably trying to release MMOs. (See Conan, Star Wars Galaxies, Warhammer Online, Etc) Though I feel Pathfinder to be an above average brand, I highly doubt it has the number of fans that Warhammer, Conan, or god forbid Star Wars brands have.

2.) The average video game budget is $23 Mil. That's the average. MMO budget's far exceed this. WOW had a budget of 40 Mil back in 2004. It is reported that Star Wars will have a budget of $100 Mil. when it releases. Maybe I'm way off here, but does a small pen and paper company like Piazo really have that kind of capital draw to engage even the low end of that spectrum?

3.) The rate of washout in the MMO market is astounding. Very few franchises manage to hold on to their subscribers for long enough to establish the longevity that one would want from such a large investment. What happens when, like has been mentioned above, the Next Big Thing comes out and everyone who is only casually interested in the I.P. bails out?

Better to invest in the development of a good Single Player, or even better, a great internet served Multiplayer (Like NWN for example). Better yet. Invest in a highly functional, and robust online game table where people can play the table top virtually with friends from around the world.

Andoran Goblin Squad Member

I'm both excited and hesitatent at the same time by this news. I love your products and the world of Golarion so much that I'd love to see your take on the video game/MMO genre. In the past though, I have been disappointed by MMOs that never delivered the final portrait that their early rough draft drawings hinted it would be. I'm looking at you, Star Wars Galaxies, Horizons, and even to a lesser extent, D&D Online.

While it will probably be a few years before any sort of release, some items I'd love to see covered in any Pathfinder RPG game:

1) A great story/lore. You guys tell wonderful stories in your products, filling them with oodles of lore and beloved/despised characters, and I'd hate to see that lost in the translation to online gameplay.

2) A good-sized area to explore. Please don't go with the city-hub model of so many MMOs. I've rediscovered a fondness for exploration with the release of Skyrim that is lacking in a number of games that rely on heavily instanced cities/adventure points.

3) An interesting combat/spell system. Combat would be alot more fun if its more involved than just memorizing a rotation of buttons to push but instead requires actual tactical thinking.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

How a story is told depends on the media you are working on. Thats why movies anre not the same as novels or games and, in a way. Something similar happens to game systems in different media (Pathfinder pen & paper mechanics to MMO, Dragon Age PC to Dragon Age pen & paper to Dragon Age social)

The thing is that, in MMOs you can't tell stories like you tell in single-player games. Themepark games, like WoW, offer the same a single-player experience regarding PvE, which makes it somewhat disconnected to the rest of the world (PvP or group PvE).

The 'right' way to tell a story in an MMO is to make an excellent backstory and focus on the PLAYERS story. As Kaplan (WoW's Lead Quest Designer) said in GDC 09 to MMO game writers "You are not writing a <f-wording> book". This not the developer telling a story where the player is the main character. Its the developer creating a world in which the player is a character with his own story.

So, yes, there are stories going on created by the developer (read about Guild War 2's dynamic events for an example), but the world is there to present the players with materials.

Shameless plug

Goblin Squad Member

I'm really looking forward to watching this unfold in the days ahead, Erik. I've played nearly every major MMORPG out there and being able to adventure in the Pathfinder Universe has me excited.

Good luck and godspeed.

Silver Crusade

I would love to see a MMO that actually cares about roleplayers. Honestly, please do not make the game full of instanced dungeons and a hub where people hang out like a D&D Online. Don't want that. Want a real game. Would love the best aspects of old school Neverwinter Nights Persistant worlds like ALFA mixed in with WoW/EQ/Star Wars Galaxies.

Any MMO your going to have players who ruin the immersion factor, but I hope somehow there will be things in place to help roleplayers enjoy the game without being hounded.

Just please don't make the game a cash shop game. SICK of those games. Make a game full of polish, rich story, and one that is fun solo and in groups.

Good luck and I will keep watching!

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Stickman wrote:

I'm honestly completely shocked that Paizo would attempt this.

Why? I'll keep it short and sweet.

1.) Several other, more recognizable, established I.P.s, backed by very large video game developers, have failed miserably trying to release MMOs. (See Conan, Star Wars Galaxies, Warhammer Online, Etc) Though I feel Pathfinder to be an above average brand, I highly doubt it has the number of fans that Warhammer, Conan, or god forbid Star Wars brands have.

2.) The average video game budget is $23 Mil. That's the average. MMO budget's far exceed this. WOW had a budget of 40 Mil back in 2004. It is reported that Star Wars will have a budget of $100 Mil. when it releases. Maybe I'm way off here, but does a small pen and paper company like Piazo really have that kind of capital draw to engage even the low end of that spectrum?

3.) The rate of washout in the MMO market is astounding. Very few franchises manage to hold on to their subscribers for long enough to establish the longevity that one would want from such a large investment. What happens when, like has been mentioned above, the Next Big Thing comes out and everyone who is only casually interested in the I.P. bails out?

Better to invest in the development of a good Single Player, or even better, a great internet served Multiplayer (Like NWN for example). Better yet. Invest in a highly functional, and robust online game table where people can play the table top virtually with friends from around the world.

+1 to Stickman for the above commentary.

I have been thinking how to respond to the PFO announcement since the site came back online yesterday, and I still have to go with my gut feeling. I don't see how this is anything but a bad move and a waste of resources for Paizo and Goblinworks.

I would rather see this time, money, and effort put into expanding the Pathfinder RPG. For example, it could go to hiring more staff so that release schedules could go from "will be released sometime in December" to "will be released on December 18." Specific, reliable release schedules would go far towards making Paizo a bigger success. Or it could go towards the development of more Flip-Mats and Map Packs. These resources could also go towards developing mapping tools, or supporting Hero Lab so that they finally get the Mac version out. Some of these resources could possibly go to WizKids to finally get the Pathfinder Battles minis out the door. They have been delayed too many times.

The MMO market has a very small number of success stories (WoW, EVE, EQ perhaps, Second Life) and a huge amount of failures and also-rans (RIFT, DDO, Aion, Final Fantasy 14, LotRO, Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, and Hellgate to name a few). The MMO field is overcrowded. I don't see how PFO can be anything more than just another fantasy MMO. I hope that I will be proven wrong, but until then I will remain skeptical.

The bottom line for me is that Paizo is a small company that has been successful in a niche market. I work in the computer industry. I have seen what happens when a small company in a niche market tries to make the jump to a new, much larger market. So far I haven't seen it be successful.

Even though Goblinworks is a separate company, when the s*** hits the fan there is going to be a temptation to "borrow" resources from Paizo to prop up Goblinworks whether that be money, computers, or staff. If this happens it will damage and possibly deep-six both companies. Again I hope that this doesn't happen, and that I am proven wrong.

So please, for the love of Abadar, stick to your core competency. Stick to paper and dice RPGs. You still have room to grow in that market.

Finally, I have a question. Why did you guys take the whole Paizo.Com site offline yesterday to make this announcement? I realize it was a PR stunt, but in my opinion it was a amateurish one. As far as I am concerned this announcement didn't warrant taking the entire site offline. Also, I was trying to access the forums while the site was offline, which did nothing but frustrate me. Something else to consider, since you run an online store from your website taking the entire site offline perhaps cost you several sales. Further, Paizo.Com is your main point of presence to the rest of the world. In the Internet age if your website is offline (and it should never be offline), as far as your customers and users are concerned your entire company is offline. For example, during that site outage I had no way to contact customer support if I had needed to do so since I don't have the support email address or phone number memorized.


Sigh...

When World of Warcraft came out it decimated my 3.5 campaign, I don't want to see a repeat. Fact is many pathfinder players still play pathfinder because they dodged the WoW bullet as it were.

To be blunt MMO are a dangerous, addictive, life disrupting pastime which steal and detract from the art form of pen and paper RPGs.

Why get together in the basement around Mountian Dew and Cheetoes when you can play at home in your underwear.

I do not support this move, I think it's doomed to failure, I think even if it works it will detract from the base of support for the pen and paper rpgs and pathfinder in particular.

I very much hope Paizo isn't tying up any of their own capital in this endeavor.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is great news! I'm a relatively new gamer having started playing D&D a little over 10 years ago, but not doing much until the last 5 years or so. I loved v3.5 and was one of the ones who got very angry about v4.0 - mostly because of WotC's deceit about the whole thing, but mainly because they destroyed the world of Faerun. However, Paizo was the saving grace because the Pathfinder RPG made it possible for us to continue playing the way we wanted. I think that's why we lovingly refer to it as v3.75.

I've been playing with some new friends in the Kingmaker and Serpent's Skull AP's and find that I enjoy it very much. The "rumors" lead to some pretty fun quests that D&D lacked. I really like the variety with Pathfinder.

I think the idea of an online game is great! I've been playing WoW for about 1 1/2 years and find that I've become bored with it. I feel uncomfortable with other players because I like to quest on my own. I'm one of those that doesn't like to do dungeons, because I have slow reflexes. I feel that I'm not really an asset to the party and I'm also really bad at PVP for the same reason. So I enjoy questing the story lines the most; however, lately it seems that there is no real variety to the game. Sure, I get a quest and go kill stuff, but I've gotten bored so I don't play much anymore.

If Paizo can create an online game that has more to it than just "go kill 20 of these things", I'll be very interested and happy to move to that game. I'm not sure how the game can mold to my desires without taking away from other players, but I'm open to trying it out.

Thanks for the news - I think it will be great!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Danubus wrote:
I would love to see a MMO that actually cares about roleplayers.

You can have the most roleplaying MMO ever created, with loads of RP goodies.

But the sad fact of life is that no matter what the setting the vast majority of PLAYERS who flock to these games don't give a fig about roleplaying. And that's the rock that all such ships founder on.

Cheliax

Maugan22 wrote:

Sigh...

When World of Warcraft came out it decimated my 3.5 campaign, I don't want to see a repeat. Fact is many pathfinder players still play pathfinder because they dodged the WoW bullet as it were.

To be blunt MMO are a dangerous, addictive, life disrupting pastime which steal and detract from the art form of pen and paper RPGs.

Why get together in the basement around Mountian Dew and Cheetoes when you can play at home in your underwear.

I do not support this move, I think it's doomed to failure, I think even if it works it will detract from the base of support for the pen and paper rpgs and pathfinder in particular.

I very much hope Paizo isn't tying up any of their own capital in this endeavor.

Pzizo representatives have said several times that they won't turn the Beginner Box into a separate product line because Paizo doesn't want to split their player base. Yet, this MMO move will by design split their player base.

The Pathfinder property is unknown in the video game world, so the only people who are going to be excited by this are existing Pathfinder RPG players, since they know how cool Golarion is. The problem then is that most of those players have very little free time to play. So, this will force a choice on the player base to stick with the tabletop Pathfinder RPG, or to play Pathfinder Online.

As someone else I was talking with has already said (thanks, Jeff) this is a total fan-boy maneuver.

Grand Lodge

I'll be painfully blunt.

1.) Too many gamers are overweight. This will not help matters. Paizo has shown itself time and again to truly listen to and care for their customers. It's time to think about your customers and their health. After all, it's what's keeping people buying Paizo products.

2.) MMORPGs had their 15 minutes, and it's just about up. Let's innovate, not copy. That's what started Paizo - innovation. Who is going to be playing on a computer in 20 years? Besides people in nursing homes, that is. But people will still be paper and pencil and dice role-playing.

3.) It WILL divide your house. You WILL have people who are Goblinworks-friendly, and Goblinworks-angry. You WILL have customers who are Goblinworks-friendly and Goblinworks-angry. House divided dot dot dot...

I'm sorry; I'm disappointed with this news. Not that I wanted a 24-7 PFS TV network or a goblin-based football league. It's just not the move I was hoping for. It's a move I'd expect from OTHER companies.

I slept on this post before sending it, but I feel as strongly about it now as I did last night.


I did play Lotro for three long years. I enjoyed the story, the world and the respectful player base. I made good friends back there. Nowadays tho, I am still fully fed up of the end game stillness. I have not tried EVE, but I believe ye got a man who can make game different than typical MMORPG.

If Pathfinder manages truly to make a gameworld, where there is something else than grind in the end, I am happy to give it a go.

Shame, that I just bought an apartment. I could have became investor instead;)

Good luck, it is a bold move yer making!

Goblin Squad Member

dinketry wrote:

I'll be painfully blunt.

1.) Too many gamers are overweight. This will not help matters. Paizo has shown itself time and again to truly listen to and care for their customers. It's time to think about your customers and their health. After all, it's what's keeping people buying Paizo products.

2.) MMORPGs had their 15 minutes, and it's just about up. Let's innovate, not copy. That's what started Paizo - innovation. Who is going to be playing on a computer in 20 years? Besides people in nursing homes, that is. But people will still be paper and pencil and dice role-playing.

3.) It WILL divide your house. You WILL have people who are Goblinworks-friendly, and Goblinworks-angry. You WILL have customers who are Goblinworks-friendly and Goblinworks-angry. House divided dot dot dot...

...

I have to agree with the above.


JRR wrote:
WoW has homogenized the classes so much that it's hard to distinguish between a paladin and a rogue. The spells may have different names and a different graphical effect, but mechanically they have the same effect.

I realize this is off-topic sort of, but you said a lot of things that make NO sense... To keep it simple and not to stray horribly off topic, I'll just ask one question out of the many I have about your extremely long post on the "homogenization" of WOW...

Please tell me how to HEAL with a rogue in World of Warcraft? Paladins are able to do this, and by what you say above that means rogues can too. So, how is it done?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The simple fact of the matter is that the tabletop RPG market is shrinking. More people leave every day than pick up the hobby. Sure, I hope that the Beginner Box turns that around, but it's foolish to bet the company on it. To survive, you have to look to the future. Evolve or die.

Back in the 1980s, D&D was the biggest it had ever been. It was a household name and had a cartoon series. The industry people I've cornered at cons seem to share the same opinion: "I wish we could get back to the 1980s numbers, but it's just not going to happen." Today, you have World of Warcraft. It's the huge property that D&D once was, with EVE Online and an immense host of "also ran" MMOs picking at the bones of anything left over. It only makes sense to diversify and follow along with the audience.

Paizo is an amazing success in a small market. Lisa and crew turned a magazine spinoff (which was likely viewed as a throw-away loss-cutting measure) into a publishing powerhouse. The MMO landscape is filled with the same percentage of rotting corpses as the magazine industry and it's clear how easy good properties can be squandered on those games.

I have to believe that Lisa, Ryan, and the team they are assembling have taken a good hard look at the financial realities of creating, publishing, and supporting an MMO. The fact that they've decided to go forward indicates to me that they have a strategy they believe will result in victory, profit, and a seriously awesome game. Do I think the announcement was a bit premature? Yes. But I look forward to seeing their vision in the coming years.

Qadira Goblin Squad Member

Azure_Zero wrote:
dinketry wrote:

I'll be painfully blunt.

1.) Too many gamers are overweight. This will not help matters. Paizo has shown itself time and again to truly listen to and care for their customers. It's time to think about your customers and their health. After all, it's what's keeping people buying Paizo products.

2.) MMORPGs had their 15 minutes, and it's just about up. Let's innovate, not copy. That's what started Paizo - innovation. Who is going to be playing on a computer in 20 years? Besides people in nursing homes, that is. But people will still be paper and pencil and dice role-playing.

3.) It WILL divide your house. You WILL have people who are Goblinworks-friendly, and Goblinworks-angry. You WILL have customers who are Goblinworks-friendly and Goblinworks-angry. House divided dot dot dot...

...

I have to agree with the above.

I just have to chime in and vehemently disagree with all the points above.

1) If 'health' is a concern, the somehow imagining TTRPGs 'healthier' options for free time than MMOs is laughable. Sitting around rolling dice and scarfing pizza and nachos is not a healthy pastime. It is people's own responsibility to maintain their own health standards, not Paizo's. Some people can game and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some can't.

2) Srsly? MMOs are just beginning my friend. Pen and paper is already niche, and likely to get nichier as time goes by. I still love me my TTRPGs, but srsly? MMO's obsolete? I doubt it highly. P&P will never die, but neither did horse riding. It's just not the main way we get around these days. As computer memory and graphics get more complex, so will MMOs. EQ and WoW will look like Zork soon. Perhaps MMOs will be more sandboxy than in the past. But they are here to stay.

3) Every new thing Paizo does 'divides the house' . We had folks crying that Paizo was going to divide RPGers by weaning off the WotC teat. Then it was the Beta. Then it was the APG. Then UM, UC, blah blah. Who cares if people agree or disagree. You don't like the MMO, don't play it. Lisa has said it is a separate entity, and Paizo =/= Goblinworks. Let them try, and maybe, just maybe, they score another home run.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A few musings.

TIME LINE

MMORPG development cycle lasts at least about two years. Larger companies, like Blizzard or ArenaNet (too many MMORPGs to list here) can afford 4-5 years. Smaller companies, like Runic Games (guys behind Torchlight) had to get financing (bought off by PerfectWorld owners), and yet they still have problems with completing the game, satisfying themselves with Torchlight 2.

So, assuming that Ryan is successful, and assuming that the development has been ongoing for at least a year, we are looking at beta release in 2013 (with beta meaning "a lot of bugs, but playable").

THE SYSTEM

D20 won't work for standard MMORPG formula - you accrue experience too fast. Then your character is in 20th level end-game with nothing left to do.
Alternative system (Ultima Online), lots of levels (Lineage, MU Online) or incredibly challenging PvP and PvE with prestige rewards (Guild Wars) could work, provided they are designed by professionals, and tested to death by beta-testers.
There are also issues with special abilities, like spells, which may be impossible translate into computer RPG.

So, anything but d20.

THE BALANCE

It's a simple problem with complex solution: how do you keep the world with hundreds of superheroes running around?
Use MMORPG equivalent of E6, i.e. there is a low power ceiling, beyond which your characters grow in power horizontally (Guild Wars and incredibly well thought out skill system) instead of vertically.

Not really supported by d20.

THE CONTENT

Probably the most resource consuming part of MMORPG design. You need those hills, the architecture, monsters, scripts, weather, sounds... you need a lot of it.
The only game offering such things freely at professional level is World of Ryzom (they went open source, IIRC) with their very well developed world.
Otherwise, there are Korean companies -- yes, I am entirely serious here -- which produce a lot of derivative, yet stunningly well-looking games (Requiem: Bloodymare being a prime example). These relatively low budget products seem to be based on somewhat reusable assets (or possibly they just look overwhelmingly similar to each other), so maybe, just maybe something like that can be used to stage a game.

SPARK OF HOPE

Ryan is a miracle maker. He brought us D20. He has experience in the field.
So, against all these misgivings, I'll be waiting [1].

See you in 2013.

Regards,
Ruemere

[1] Caveat: I already sold my soul to Guild Wars, so I will have to convince someone to pay in my stead :)


This is all about the Circle completing its-self:

Its about exposing more people to Pathfinder, if (I prefer when) this venture is successfully implemented, I am sure that at the PFS or even your home game tables you will find people that were introduced to the game via Pathfinder On-line even if 1% stick with the PnP game or both then that is a massive jump in new customers.

More customers = more money = more staff = more product.

On the other hand as you get older and have less time to play PnP you can still remain in touch with Pathfinder via the MMO. Paizo maintains you as a customer and it revenue loss for you not gaming any more is much less.

look at the way its positioned its self to support new gamers. I was asking myself how would the Starter Box support its self without the massive exposure of the big stores like Toys R Us and so on..... A MMO is a gateway and there is an introductory product for those online gamers want to try Pen and Paper.

Lisa, Vic and their team are 5 steps ahead of everybody else and they not only see the big picture they are dictating what it will look like.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Wow. I can't get my head around why everyone isn't excited for those who are involved in this. You don't have to be personally excited: I've never given a dime to an MMORPG and I haven't played them very much, but I know they are a big deal and could mean a lot for Lisa, Vic, Ryan, et al's success. It's a great idea and sounds more interesting to me than other MMORPG's based on my love of Golarion and their goal to make the game more about character development. I don't see why this needs to be a house-divider. Unless of course, you want it to be and are just looking for something to get worked up about.

Me, I'll go on throwing darts at Erik Mona for the name he gave a certain class. ;-P Oh wait, I can call it what I want at home. Fine, the darts are for fun: that Mona mask is just asking for it.

Paizo Employee CEO

16 people marked this as a favorite.
Karelzarath wrote:
I have to believe that Lisa, Ryan, and the team they are assembling have taken a good hard look at the financial realities of creating, publishing, and supporting an MMO. The fact that they've decided to go forward indicates to me that they have a strategy they believe will result in victory, profit, and a seriously awesome game. Do I think the announcement was a bit premature? Yes. But I look forward to seeing their vision in the coming years.

This in a nutshell. Were we a bit premature? By other company's standards, sure. But if we held onto this news much longer, word would have seeped out. We would be talking to people about investing. We would be hiring folks. And word would have gotten out. Rumors and half-truths would have been given free reign. And that is just not how we want to run Paizo. We like to let our customers know what we are up to before the rest of the world does. So we let the cat out of the bag much earlier than other companies would have. We know that. There is a downside (ie. we don't have much to tell or show at this stage). But the alternative was worse in our opinion.

As for all the doomsayers, all I have to say is, "Give us a chance." Nothing is changing at Paizo. We will be making all the same cool products you have come to love. If MMOs aren't your thing, then that is great. Enjoy your regular Pathfinder game. We aren't and can't make an MMO that works for everyone. We know that. We are happy with that.

Also, we are aware of what has come before Goblinworks. We know what has worked and what hasn't. We aren't going to spend bajillions of dollars. We have a plan that is pretty savvy and innovative. As we get further along, we will share that plan. Until then, have some faith. I wouldn't do something stupid and wasteful. Many of the comments I've seen are similar to ones posted after we announced the Pathfinder RPG. That turned out pretty well considering all the doom and gloom.

Pathfinder Online is a baby. Heck, the baby isn't even born yet. It is in its early gestation period. There is a ton of work needed to get it to market. We want you along for the ride and we want to be upfront about it. So take a deep breath and sit back and relax. I think many of you will really like what we have planned. Some of you won't, and that is totally cool also. We can't be all things for all people. Just like the Reaper minis or WizKids minis or even PaizoCon aren't for everyone, so Pathfinder Online won't scratch everyone's itch. For us to be successful, it doesn't have to.

Trust. That is all I am asking for right now. :)

-Lisa


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Lisa, if you haven't earned the right to ask for trust, well, I don't know what to say. At least, in polite company on a public forum.

Qadira Goblin Squad Member

Yeah, and besides... all the negativity is really bringing me down on my Thanksgiving vacation!

Rock it Lisa. I hate that we are sooooo far out from this thing being a reality. You guys have rarely disappointed me, other than certain racial decisions made concerning Half-orcs, so It will be a long slow ride. But I can't wait to see what you come up with.


I for one am certainly cheering for Paizo and hope that this expansion in both their game and their business succeeds. Having said that, I for one will not be joining this MMO. Although I certainly have time for video games, I cannot (and I can't put too fine a point on this), I repeat, cannot stand MMOs. I have tried many of them from Ultima on-line right up to the D&D online game and everything in-between, and they all fall flat. There is no role playing whatsoever. It's quite jilting when someone named paladinpimp124 walks by and tries to engage you in yet another internet, nerd-rage based argument. I prefer the personal, up close experience of table-top RPing with friends.

Again, good luck Paizo. I hope it's a runaway success that earns you the growing admiration of your fans and beyond. You have always hit the bullseye and I'm sure for many, this will be a repeat performance.


ruemere wrote:
Smaller companies, like Runic Games (guys behind Torchlight) had to get financing (bought off by PerfectWorld owners), and yet they still have problems with completing the game, satisfying themselves with Torchlight 2.

As an employee of Runic Games, I feel a bit of clarification is called for here.

Runic Games had long been planning a two-fold approach to following up Torchlight: Torchlight II, and, eventually, a Torchlight MMO.

Torchlight II is still in development (but we're close). The Torchlight MMO is still only in the planning stages, because all of our resources are currently dedicated to Torchlight II. It's a bit of a stretch to call that "having problems with completing the game"; it's like saying Ubisoft is having problems completing Battlefield 4.

And Perfect World didn't "buy off" Runic Games. They provided financing so we could finish Torchlight II SOONER, rather than later.

I'm not saying your overall concern isn't valid--only that you're mistaken in your assertions about Runic.

JD Wiker
Lead Writer
Runic Games

Qadira Goblin Squad Member

Edgewood wrote:

I for one am certainly cheering for Paizo and hope that this expansion in both their game and their business succeeds. Having said that, I for one will not be joining this MMO. Although I certainly have time for video games, I cannot (and I can't put too fine a point on this), I repeat, cannot stand MMOs. I have tried many of them from Ultima on-line right up to the D&D online game and everything in-between, and they all fall flat. There is no role playing whatsoever. It's quite jilting when someone named paladinpimp124 walks by and tries to engage you in yet another internet, nerd-rage based argument. I prefer the personal, up close experience of table-top RPing with friends.

Again, good luck Paizo. I hope it's a runaway success that earns you the growing admiration of your fans and beyond. You have always hit the bullseye and I'm sure for many, this will be a repeat performance.

If that is your only beef with them, you might try to find out which servers are 'RP specific'. Some of them can have pretty strict naming restrictions.

Osirion Goblin Squad Member

ruemere wrote:

THE SYSTEM

D20 won't work for standard MMORPG formula - you accrue experience too fast. Then your character is in 20th level end-game with nothing left to do.
There are also issues with special abilities, like spells, which may be impossible to translate into computer RPG.

So, anything but d20.

Ummm... You might remember a little game called Dungeons and Dragons Online? It uses the d20 sytem and in my opinion it's one of (if not) the best MMO on the market at the moment.

I tried WoW and hated it, but I still play DDO when time permits (I no longer subscribe, but I still have my characters and have started a few new ones).

One thing that I really liked in DDO over WoW was that it was very easy to play Solo (so for those of you that hate MMO's, this aspect will appeal to you from a single player perspective). I solo'd a lot due to my timezone and finding decent people to play with and I still managed to have a 16th level character and a bunch of 4th-8th level characters for minimal time investiture (5-10 hours a week). I could never have done that with WoW...
(Well of course there was also the fact that PvP was relegatd to having arena battles in Tavern Basements... I HATE PvP in an open format when you can be attacked for walking through the wrong place).

Goblin Squad Member

flash_cxxi wrote:
One thing that I really liked in DDO over WoW was that it was very easy to play Solo (so for those of you that hate MMO's, this aspect will appeal to you from a single player perspective). I solo'd a lot due to my timezone and finding decent people to play with and I still managed to have a 16th level character and a bunch of 4th-8th level characters for minimal time investiture (5-10 hours a week). I could never have done that with WoW...

Sure you could have. Soloing all the way to 85 in WoW is easy mode.


For me too, this announcement is certainly interesting. However, I am not a fan of MMOs. I prefer classic RPG games. But, I am a great fan of RPGs like Baldur's gates, Neverwinter nights and Icewind Dale. A classic RPG in Golarion, it would be awesome.
If you made a classic RPG video game, i would for sure like it. But a MMO ...

Qadira Goblin Squad Member

flash_cxxi wrote:
ruemere wrote:

THE SYSTEM

D20 won't work for standard MMORPG formula - you accrue experience too fast. Then your character is in 20th level end-game with nothing left to do.
There are also issues with special abilities, like spells, which may be impossible to translate into computer RPG.

So, anything but d20.

Ummm... You might remember a little game called Dungeons and Dragons Online? It uses the d20 sytem and in my opinion it's one of (if not) the best MMO on the market at the moment.

I tried WoW and hated it, but I still play DDO when time permits (I no longer subscribe, but I still have my characters and have started a few new ones).

One thing that I really liked in DDO over WoW was that it was very easy to play Solo (so for those of you that hate MMO's, this aspect will appeal to you from a single player perspective). I solo'd a lot due to my timezone and finding decent people to play with and I still managed to have a 16th level character and a bunch of 4th-8th level characters for minimal time investiture (5-10 hours a week). I could never have done that with WoW...
(Well of course there was also the fact that PvP was relegatd to having arena battles in Tavern Basements... I HATE PvP in an open format when you can be attacked for walking through the wrong place).

Actually, it uses 'an approximation of the d20 system'. I was very heavily involved with the DDO forums during development, testing and the first couple of years of the game. Turbine tried to be pretty upfront that d20 didn't translate all that well to an MMO and a lot of changes had to be made.

It IS a great game, though I haven't played it for a long time, but it is most certainly not faithful to the d20 rule system.

Osirion Goblin Squad Member

Wolfthulhu wrote:

Actually, it uses 'an approximation of the d20 system'. I was very heavily involved with the DDO forums during development, testing and the first couple of years of the game. Turbine tried to be pretty upfront that d20 didn't translate all that well to an MMO and a lot of changes had to be made.

It IS a great game, though I haven't played it for a long time, but it is most certainly not faithful to the d20 rule system.

Oh sure, I realize that it's not entirely faithful to the d20 system, but they used it as a base framework and changed what was needed for smooth running.

You could still see all of the main 3.5 D&D aspects in your gameplay was what I was trying to point out.

Qadira Goblin Squad Member

flash_cxxi wrote:
Wolfthulhu wrote:

Actually, it uses 'an approximation of the d20 system'. I was very heavily involved with the DDO forums during development, testing and the first couple of years of the game. Turbine tried to be pretty upfront that d20 didn't translate all that well to an MMO and a lot of changes had to be made.

It IS a great game, though I haven't played it for a long time, but it is most certainly not faithful to the d20 rule system.

Oh sure, I realize that it's not entirely faithful to the d20 system, but they used it as a base framework and changed what was needed for smooth running.

You could still see all of the main 3.5 D&D aspects in your gameplay was what I was trying to point out.

True enough.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

OK, reality check folks.

This isn't 1997, 2000 or even 2005. You no longer can produce an A-grade single-player RPG game that's PC exclusive. Not an option anymore. PC gaming market has shrunk, console market has exploded.

So, if Goblinworks was to make a "Baldur's Gate-like" RPG, they would have to make it on consoles. And that's a whole different ball game on oh so very many levels: technical, programming, marketing and legal. Console games that aren't "safe" (FPP shooters, driving games, GTA sandboxes and action games) need to be of AAAA quality and budget. Can we put Goblinworks next to EA, Actiblizzard and Ubisoft? No.

So what's left is PC-exclusive market, which is down to MMOs, strategy games (both RTS and turn-based), wargames, DOTAs, oddballs (flight/train simulators) and indies. Pick your choice. Maybe it could work as an indie 10 USD old school RPG, but that would never generate the impact and revenue that Paizo is after. So, we're left with MMO as the only valid option.

Goblin Squad Member

Gorbacz wrote:
This isn't 1997, 2000 or even 2005. You no longer can produce a single-player RPG game that's PC exclusive. Not an option anymore.

Sure you can. You just have to be content with producing the game on a small budget and with a small target audience. Spiderweb Software and other indie computer RPG devs are still marching on.

EDIT: Which, now that I read the rest of your post, I see you acknowledge. So yeah, you can do it, just be prepared for relative obscurity.

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