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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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Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

9 people marked this as a favorite.

This is very exciting news, and we're thrilled to finally get to share it with you! We plan to monitor this thread throughout the day and the coming weeks, so let us know what you think!

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Whoa. Akalabeth. That's bringing me back to some of my earliest gaming.

So glad we can finally share with y'all! :D

Goblin Squad Member

17 people marked this as a favorite.

Well I'll be damned.

It's a funny feeling watching all your free time and money fly out the window at the same time, due to one announcement.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Interesting, hope it works out well.


I was just having a conversation about WoW and the new Star Wars MMO and how I was done with them.

Guess I was a liar


Wow, awesome news. Now I just hope I can find time to play an online game :)

Osirion

Unexpected, but could be very, very cool.

Andoran Goblin Squad Member

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Consider me extremely interested, in both a personal and professional capacity. I would love to lend my cartography skills to the endeavor if needed. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I tried WoW once and didn't like it at all.

I dabbled in Lord of the Rings Online for a while and stopped when I realized it was the same thing with hairy feet.

I will soon join the betatesters of Star Wars The Old Republic and already am disappointed in Bioware for (so I heard at least) creating just another MMO that talks.

Please, oh most favorite gaming company of all, don't fall into the same trapholes that so many before you alreday have fallen, please be courageous enough to do something uniquely new and above all, please be true to the PFRPG ruleset!

Goblin Squad Member

Ouyeah! This is awesome. ^^ Never been great fan of MMO's but Pathfinder MMO that takes place in River Kingdoms? Sold.

Andoran Goblin Squad Member

3 people marked this as a favorite.

You mean after all the subscriptions I've signed up for that you expect me to ok.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Wow. Can't wait!

Paizo Employee Customer Service Dire Care Bear Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm so relieved I don't have to keep this a secret anymore!

Qadira Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wholly Flurking Snit!

Former Editorial Intern

This is the sort of thing that will finally motivate me to upgrade from my 2003 Compaq laptop computer.

Good work Paizo, you win.

Andoran Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Ok... I did not expect this..I am not even sure how to react...

Qadira Goblin Squad Member

T-r-y-i-n-g t-o P-o-s-t.......


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can hear the cloister bell ringing for a lot of PbPs. They took enough of a collective hit when Skyrim came out. :(


8 people marked this as a favorite.

i hope the bulk of gameplay won't be 'kill x of this or that' or 'rescue x hostages' etc.

Shadow Lodge

I'm in. When can we play?

Osirion Goblin Squad Member

Iiiiintereeeeestingggg...


Woohoo...... Lots of pressure! but you guys make the best quality RPG stuff in the world so I can see that translating into the MMO world.

Lisa Steven wrote:
Traditionally, projects like this are developed in secrecy, with information leaking out in whispers for months before a formal announcement..

Aug 25, 2011, 09:59 AM

Who is not going to listen to an Interview with Mr Fancy Dancey Pants the most Dangerous man in the Roleplaying industry.

Fear The Boot interview 17: Ryan Dancey is working on a fantasy MMO based on a successful hobby game property .

I will shut up and save money now so I can buy the game.

Andoran

Very exciting news! Pathfinder seems like it would translate over to online format very well, especially if you adapt some elements from PFS into it.

A couple of questions for those who may feel like answering.

1) You mentioned that you wanted to keep Pathfinder players "in the loop" regarding the production process. Does this mean you will be keeping a production blog featuring regular game updates (screenshots, etc...) and information?

2) I know you're probably looking at the game on a very high level right now, but can you reveal any broad details? Will this be similar to a WoW or Everquest experience, or are you looking at a new paradigm?

I eagerly await whatever tidbits of information that may filter down!


The first thing I thought of when I read your description was Ultima Online. You have the chance to create a game so similar to what Ultima used to be... and I hope SO MUCH that you do. It was awesome, and if this game is anything like that, I will play it in an instant.

Qadira Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Didn't see that coming.

I love CCP and everything they did with EVE Online, I realize Ryan probably had little to do wit development, but he's got a great background even outside that so...

*crosses fingers*

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragnmoon wrote:
Ok... I did not expect this..I am not even sure how to react...

Seconded. This could be really good or really bad.

-Skeld

Goblin Squad Member

Honestly, I'm excited to hear about this! I think that the quality of Paizo products has shown that anything you lot put your mind do, it will always be of highest quality.

That being said, though... be careful how much "sandboxing" ability you give to players. Look deeply, deeply into games that have done this, and learn from their mistakes. For example, anyone who has ever played Star Wars Galaxies can tell you horror stories of abandoned ghost towns built completely out of player housing. If it can be used, abused, and discarded, the player base will find a way to do it.

I'd have done a series of single player or asynchronous-multiplayer games first, then grown into an MMO after establishing your computer presence, myself, but I think you can make this work.

My biggest request is this: Please, run this thing cross platform. Your code will be stronger for it, your user base will be broader, and you'll make more money. It's a triple-win.

Best of luck!

Goblin Squad Member

Hmmm...it all depends on the execution. Hopefully it will feel like 100% Pathfinder.

Osirion Goblin Squad Member

Will there be a subscription for this? 8^)

/runs away

Goblin Squad Member

But, but, I just returned back to paper and pencil RPGs after many years of MMO immersion! :-P I guess I will just have to enjoy Pathfinder the old-fashioned way until the MMO comes out. Good luck with the new company, I wish you the best and look forward to an awesome product!

Cheliax

Not for me but good luck.

I gave up on pc gaming a while back, if you can do an Xbox version I would be interested.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

The World Is Square wrote:

Very exciting news! Pathfinder seems like it would translate over to online format very well, especially if you adapt some elements from PFS into it.

A couple of questions for those who may feel like answering.

1) You mentioned that you wanted to keep Pathfinder players "in the loop" regarding the production process. Does this mean you will be keeping a production blog featuring regular game updates (screenshots, etc...) and information?

Check out Goblinworks.com to add your email address to the official update list. We're a long distance away from screenshots and the like, but the folks at Goblinworks plan to keep everyone updated all along the way. We'll of course post updates here on the Paizo Blog and on paizo.com, but if you want to be sure to get the latest up-to-date info, be sure to sign up for the Goblinworks update emails!

The World Is Square wrote:


2) I know you're probably looking at the game on a very high level right now, but can you reveal any broad details? Will this be similar to a WoW or Everquest experience, or are you looking at a new paradigm?

I eagerly await whatever tidbits of information that may filter down!

Again, we've revealed some info over on goblinworks.com. Be sure to check out the FAQ specifically.

Cheliax

I love this, its been ages since i've been on an MMO

I really hope you guys take the best things from other MMOs to heart, i'd really like to see a MMO that lets players be GMs some times (like making missions and potentially making NPCs) and i really hope you let us play with all the core and base classes and archetypes of the bat

Cheliax Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I guess I`m not so excited for this project. Mainly because for me personally I no longer have time in my life for videogaming. I do wish paizo well on this venture and I really hope they do well, but I haven`t touched a videogame in 3 years now, and I really don`t forsee that changing despite my favorite companies involvement.


This is terrific news! I can't wait to see what Paizo/Goblinworks does with this!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ok so I have to say this is awesome! And would suggest to get the word out to the gaming press.
But I have played some mmo's in the past and haven't been hooked by them, well except for UO for three years. So hopefully this will hook me.
One thing I want is this, I would love a mode or feature to Play Pathfinder RPG online as I would on the table top. So have a person running the game then have players running there characters. Have the capability to have characters, Npc's, armor and interactions with the world the GM has created ect. I know you can now do this with other software such as maptool but more easy and user friendly. Integrated more. I also Want it to be pretty customizable. Like have the Character Generator very robust and diverse instead of having set body and head types like the big mmos do. I am excited about this, and hope to be apart of it in some shape or form.

Shadow Lodge Goblin Squad Member

Well, part of me is really excited and part of me is...not.

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion

4 people marked this as a favorite.

We understand that MMOs (or even video games) aren't for everybody. Rest assured, we'll still be releasing Adventure Paths, hardcover rulebooks, and expanding the world of Golarion for tabletop roleplayers!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
greatamericanfolkhero wrote:

Meh. I wish you the best of luck, but MMOs have never been my thing.

Now, if there was a Mass Effect style video game, I might be interest.

[downer]

I'm interested in the actual details of the game-- what the graphics will look like. And the blog is really pumped up with hype, so I'm waiting for what the reality will be. But yeah-- I definitely agree I would be a lot more excited for a Pathfinder single-player game like Neverwinter Nights than this. I guess it doesn't help that the River Kingdoms are the most boring place on the entirety of Golarion, either.
[/downer]

Cheliax

This may just finally drag me away from the other MMO's that I play... :P

Can't wait to see how this goes!

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I hope they keep the same leveling/ XP system as the tabletop game. DnD online totally changed the leveling system. IMO it was a good game. But if you change something that is such a core part of the system, it can't be called DnD.

Same with this Pathfinder MMO. If you change the system too much, its no longer Pathfinder.

Also please keep the monthly fee and don't go free to play with micro transactions.


Sweet mother of ...!!

Andoran

Erik Mona wrote:
The World Is Square wrote:

Very exciting news! Pathfinder seems like it would translate over to online format very well, especially if you adapt some elements from PFS into it.

A couple of questions for those who may feel like answering.

1) You mentioned that you wanted to keep Pathfinder players "in the loop" regarding the production process. Does this mean you will be keeping a production blog featuring regular game updates (screenshots, etc...) and information?

Check out Goblinworks.com to add your email address to the official update list. We're a long distance away from screenshots and the like, but the folks at Goblinworks plan to keep everyone updated all along the way. We'll of course post updates here on the Paizo Blog and on paizo.com, but if you want to be sure to get the latest up-to-date info, be sure to sign up for the Goblinworks update emails!

The World Is Square wrote:


2) I know you're probably looking at the game on a very high level right now, but can you reveal any broad details? Will this be similar to a WoW or Everquest experience, or are you looking at a new paradigm?

I eagerly await whatever tidbits of information that may filter down!

Again, we've revealed some info over on goblinworks.com. Be sure to check out the FAQ specifically.

Hah, you added a frequently asked questions section on the website before the questions have even been asked. You are on top of things!


Wow. Wow. :-)

Hmm... From the stated info, I think the best setting for this would be if the 1st World spills over and creates a bubble in the River Kingdoms, which is otherwise mostly cut off from the rest of Golarion. For one, that would allow for easier explanation of easy in-game resurrections, which seem a staple for computer games where real character death is seen as too harsh. (I think that's a stupid perspective, and would prefer hard death that motivates you to play defensively, but it seems the standard one for computer games)

Anyway, good luck in this, I just hope it doesn't impact on resources for the real game...
(serious Errata in a new printing of the Core Rules would be very nice)
But I guess long term, if Paizo makes money off this, that could go to supporting an updated version with very very rigourous editing, based on the already much larger than expected PRPG fan base + new people drawn in from the video game.

Quote:
For example, anyone who has ever played Star Wars Galaxies can tell you horror stories of abandoned ghost towns built completely out of player housing.

I'm not familiar with that game, but what's wrong with ghost towns? It seems ever cooler to me if they were the result of past players, having a boom town and moving onto other things... Of course, even better if real ghosts or nasties come to inhabit the town, or you can find remnants of the inhabitants to learn their identities, and possibly run into those same people in-game.

Grand Lodge

Totally blindsided about this announcement. Had to let it sink in for a few minutes. I give it a resounding 'Meh'. Love the RPG and they're just launching the Minatures line; they may be jumping the shark with this project. But what do I know. Good luck with that, I'm not interested at all.


MRblahface wrote:


One thing I want is this, I would love a mode or feature to Play Pathfinder RPG online as I would on the table top. So have a person running the game then have players running there characters. Have the capability to have characters, Npc's, armor and interactions with the world the GM has created ect.

Neverwinter Nights had this and it was amazing when I was thirteen years old. Don't know how it holds up now, but it was a lot of fun then. (Didn't help that I did not know that there even was a GM the first time I played in a server with one, so I thought that the module that someone made was the greatest module of all time...)

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:
We understand that MMOs (or even video games) aren't for everybody. Rest assured, we'll still be releasing Adventure Paths, hardcover rulebooks, and expanding the world of Golarion for tabletop roleplayers!

Just +1-ing what Liz said. This venture does not mean any sort of slowing to our current publishing operation. In fact, with the successes we've been having, expect plenty more exciting news in 2012.

Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Excellent news!!! I have enjoyed a few fantasy MMO's, but always stop playing after the grind gets old. If you take the open EVE Online approach it sounds like you are advocating this could really be something special.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Well I'm psyched!

I'm going to make an early request. Player generated dungeons and adventures, it's what makes PF great.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If it has the storytelling richness that Paizo is known for in its tabletop modules and APs, I will take a look at this.

I for one am very interested in knowing what the character and play design will be like. Will there be daily spells? Feats? Or will characters be streamlined? If so, by how much? Will it resemble Neverwinter Nights in gameplay?

After all, one complaint about 4e vs. Pathfinder was that 4e was "like an MMO on paper" lol. Still, this is very exciting news!!

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