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Goblinworks Blog: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step


Pathfinder Online

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The biggest issue with this idea is you're trying to control your customer base and that's just not very effective. Your customers control you and you react in an agile manner to that.

A good example of this is Google Plus. The exclusivity of it killed it, same with Google Wave. Rather than allow the customers decide the flow of approach to the product they attempted to control it and really killed what should've been a natural growth cycle.

You cannot control your customer uptake. To try to design around the idea that "We'll have a growth of X per month" is a business plan that completely eliminates many potentials in how your customers may want to interact with you.

Do you really want to limit how your customers can interact with you?

There are many ways to handle sudden growth. I projected out a replacement for Google Pageranks and our server infrastructure(that could scale up to 200k database writes per second in a few hours if needed) only cost us $1k a month.

There are business solutions out there that'll let you scale up or down on demand for server capacity, call center capacity, and so on pretty easily. You can even create your system to self support itself if you're inventive enough in the design process and are willing to compromise on your vision of "What I want to create" a little here and there.

Concerned that you want to make a sandbox but won't be able to create enough theme park elements if your playerbase grows too fast? Then create the sandbox and give your players the ability to make sand castles. Then the growth will feed itself.


I'm rather excited for this initiave for several reasons. First, and foremost, I love the idea of a Pathfinder MMO. I love the world, the stories, and the system. I'm hopeful that PFO will not follow in STO and DDO footsteps of lots of combat. It'd be nice to see more options than "I stab him with my sword".

I am quite hesitant to call this project a "pay-to-play beta". I will admit that under the covers it looks just like that model. This appears more like Agile Development, where an initial product (albiet, a percentage of the final product) is shown to the customers to allow customer feedback to control the growth of the project.

Also, it seems to be a great marketing plow. Only allowing 4500 people a month into the game creates an elitist feel to the game.

Overall, I would like to see this model adopted for more MMOs as this opens up a lot of design flexibility. With this type of development plan, it wouldn't be beyond the games design to have single, permanent events that will change the shape of the world and bosses that will only spawn once. Instead of spending millions creating a static world players will beast through in a few months, PFO will be spending a magnitude less over the course of years developing new content for players to consume. And with middleware reducing dev costs, that's even more money that will be spent on content, game design and growth.


Ryan Dancey wrote:


I'll take that bet.

Star Trek Online is instanced. So I think you've already lost it if that's the example you're using now.

You stated you want:

1. A non-instanced fantasyworld.
2. Entire playerbase on that world.

I stated:

You can't do that with current tech without getting massive lag and making an unplayable game (and/or imposing some ungodly queue).

You stated:

But EVE and STO can do it.

I am stating:

Nothing you've said as changed my mind. Particularly now that you're using instanced games like STO to justify statement #2. It is clear from your statement and EVE comments that you are not planning on a seemless world - but planning for an EQ-like Zone system to seperate playable areas.

I actually don't have a problem with this (indead on fohguild you can find a post from me 6 months or so ago, where I argue for exactly that based on development cost). But even with a zoned game you will still have severe lag with the system you are proposing if you put everybody on one 'server'.

Fantasy games are _not_ space sims. Some zones will be better than others and players will go to those zones. What works with 4,500 to start won't work with 120k players.

To be blunt:

I've got a lot more MMO history on my side of this dogfight than you do. Exactly how many failed MMOs litter the gaming landscape? And exactly why should anyone believe that you can succeed where other much better funded companies have not?

P.S. Darkfall is a terrible example, and I'm not even talking about the terrible lag when it released. It's the posterchild for what's wrong with time-based skills in a fantasy game. Players will setup macros and AFK.


tad10 wrote:


...

I stated:

You can't do that with current tech without getting massive lag and making an unplayable game (and/or imposing some ungodly queue).

You stated:

But EVE and STO can do it.

I am stating:

Nothing you've said as changed my mind. Particularly now that you're using instanced games like STO to justify statement #2. It is clear from your statement and EVE comments that you are not planning on a seemless world - but planning for an EQ-like Zone system to seperate playable areas.

...

To be blunt:

I've got a lot more MMO history on my side of this dogfight than you do. Exactly how many failed MMOs litter the gaming landscape? And exactly why should anyone believe that you can succeed where other much better funded companies have not?
...

Did you actually read and understand what he said?

So EVE does it with 8(+) year old architecture. Extrapolating from that example it should be possible to simply run grids for each player distributed amongst servers, when players grids overlap the grids would merge (and please make sure this happens I don't want to see anymore grid-fu), and if needed be moved to the same server. One would assume that server transfers would be handled on a more regional scale so such things would rarely happen. By doing this they can actually create the impression of a seamless world despite the reality being more along the lines of each player or group of players having their own "zone".

Now technically you could argue that this would mean each grid is an instance, as the rest of the game world wouldn't really be active unless there is a player (or player-like object) in the vicinity.

EVE currently has an upper limit to the number of players that can be active on a grid due to the limitations of the programing language they used while making the game, however Ryan is implying that modern programming can avoid this allowing a server to not only run several grids, but heavily populated grids to "multi-thread" across multiple servers.

As for MMO history, almost every MMO in history has tried to follow the EQ/WOW model, which this isn't. This means that while it may fail horribly it's probably less likely to then if it tried to mimic what everyone else always has done.

Goblin Squad Member

Wirth wrote:

I personally do not think this will work for all reasons pointed out before, but who knows, maybe there is enough fools out there.

If I may, what, exactly, is foolish about supporting a game that you enjoy and want to see improved?

Shadow Lodge Goblin Squad Member , Star Voter 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.
tad10 wrote:


To be blunt:

I've got a lot more MMO history on my side of this dogfight than you do. Exactly how many failed MMOs litter the gaming landscape? And exactly why should anyone believe that you can succeed where other much better funded companies have not?

So which of those failed MMOs have you helped develop tad10? I assume this criticism is coming from a place of "I want this game to succeed", but the combative way you're going about it isn't going to help your cause. I have concerns about this game as well (because I also want to see it succeed), but the argument that you've played a lot of MMOs doesn't really qualify you to speak on how to develop them, or design their architecture.

Goblin Squad Member

Balodek wrote:
tad10 wrote:


To be blunt:

I've got a lot more MMO history on my side of this dogfight than you do. Exactly how many failed MMOs litter the gaming landscape? And exactly why should anyone believe that you can succeed where other much better funded companies have not?

So which of those failed MMOs have you helped develop tad10? I assume this criticism is coming from a place of "I want this game to succeed", but the combative way you're going about it isn't going to help your cause. I have concerns about this game as well (because I also want to see it succeed), but the argument that you've played a lot of MMOs doesn't really qualify you to speak on how to develop them, or design their architecture.

I'm pretty sure he's pointing out that the history of MMOs is strewn with ambitious, but ultimately failed projects, many of which were supported by companies with stronger development backgrounds and better funding. It's a valid concern to have. There are far more examples of failures than there are of successes.

Shadow Lodge Goblin Squad Member , Star Voter 2013

Scott Betts wrote:


I'm pretty sure he's pointing out that the history of MMOs is strewn with ambitious, but ultimately failed projects, many of which were supported by companies with stronger development backgrounds and better funding. It's a valid concern to have. There are far more examples of failures than there are of successes.

I feel his concern is completely valid, and I think I agree with him, but I don't think directly attacking the development team is the right way to express that concern. I'm hoping everybody can just take a step back and realize that ultimately we all want this to succeed and we all have opinions on how it can do so, but only through constructive criticism will concerns be addressed.


I'd like to see your response to this, Ryan.

I'm not accusing you of anything or agreeing or disagreeing with anything in that thread, but it's got me very highly worried about PFO.

Goblin Squad Member

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:

I'd like to see your response to this, Ryan.

I'm not accusing you of anything or agreeing or disagreeing with anything in that thread, but it's got me very highly worried about PFO.

There is little that needs addressing. The majority of people on those forums know little of the game, yet have a great deal of irrelevant things to say about Ryan. The agenda in that thread has already been set.

What specifically are you referring to of the 12 or so pages which worries you?

Goblin Squad Member

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:


I'm not accusing you of anything or agreeing or disagreeing with anything in that thread, but it's got me very highly worried about PFO.

Is there something in particular? That thread is all over the place.


Coldman wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:

I'd like to see your response to this, Ryan.

I'm not accusing you of anything or agreeing or disagreeing with anything in that thread, but it's got me very highly worried about PFO.

There is little that needs addressing. All I saw was irrelevance and rage? What specifically are you referring to of the 12 or so pages?

I don't want to throw out accusations or anything, but what was said there seemed to make sense to me. I don't know if it's correct, but it makes sense.

Goblin Squad Member

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
I don't want to throw out accusations or anything, but what was said there seemed to make sense to me. I don't know if it's correct, but it makes sense.

Well do me and Ryan a favour as I'm sure neither of us are going to go fishing through that.


Ryan Dancey wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:


I'm not accusing you of anything or agreeing or disagreeing with anything in that thread, but it's got me very highly worried about PFO.
Is there something in particular? That thread is all over the place.

Specifically, I refer to the comments about the 4500 player limit being a guaranteed game killer, about the game using poor software, about you getting booted from EVE for being incompetent, the one about a PVP MMO not being able to capture what Pathfinder is, and the part about the whole thing taking place in one specific area of Golarion.

Again, I'm not saying anything in that thread is correct, insulting you, or accusing you of anything, I'm asking you to respond to the claims because they have me worried about a game I want to see succeed.

Goblin Squad Member

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Specifically, I refer to the comments about the 4500 player limit being a guaranteed game killer, about the game using poor software, about you getting booted from EVE for being incompetent, the one about a PVP MMO not being able to capture what Pathfinder is, and the part about the whole thing taking place in one specific area of Golarion.

Sure, I can respond.

The idea of making a game that starts small and grows over time isn't unique to Pathfinder Online. Sometimes it happens on purpose and sometimes it happens on accident.

However, the MMO field is particularly challenging these days because there are about a million to two million "MMO Hobbyists", who aren't really vested in any one game, but are very vested in playing the latest new releases when they launch on the day they launch. These folks just crush a lot of games and the result is a huge spike in activity, followed by a sharp drop as they "finish" the game and exit.

Take a look at this graph for data that reflects this syndrome:

http://users.telenet.be/mmodata/Charts/Subs-2.png

You can see the standout, can't you? It's EVE Online. A whole different growth pattern than its peers (at launch, or contemporary). If you exclude Second Life, it's also the only sandbox MMO on that chart.

If we went along with our plan to design the game to start small and then grow, and suddenly sprung that on folks at the last minute, there would be pandemonium and lots of feelings of betrayal from those who might feel we'd abused their trust.

By being up front about these plans now, we eliminate that problem. Everyone knows exactly what we're planning - no surprises.

As to it being "guaranteed to kill the game", well, if I believed that was even remotely likely to be the outcome we wouldn't be trying it.

(In fact, I fear the opposite scenario much more where too many people go into the sandbox too fast, and because there's no time for the economic, territorial or political system to develop there's nothing "to do" but kill one another, resulting in a dead-on-arrival scenario. CCP actually observed this directly when it launched EVE in China. The Chinese EVE server in many ways has never recovered from the fact that it launched with a "big bang" and delivered a sour experience for its early adopters.)

Obviously, we won't use poor software. That's just a silly concern. There are plenty of good options available, and Mark, our CTO is a very experienced software engineer who knows good code from bad code. The quality of the middleware options available today are extremely high - in some cases better than the games they were originally designed to support. Rather than "rolling our own", which is vastly more risky, we'll be going to market with software that has already been proven to work in games larger than the 3-year time horizon of Pathfinder Online we've discussed (120,000 or so paying players). Instead of finding out the hard way that the software can't deliver as expected (see: Conan, Darkfall, etc.), we'll remove that risk entirely.

I was very successful at CCP. The marketing team I led increased the subscribers of EVE Online by 50% (unheard of growth for a 5+ year old MMO). (Take a look at that chart again. I started in November of 2007 and left in November of 2010.) I hired the key leadership team of the marketing department, who remain in place and have been carrying the ball since my departure. I ensured the company was ready to plan for and launch the World of Darkness MMO and the DUST 514 FPS. I was fired from CCP because the CEO and I fundamentally disagree on the strategic direction of the company and he did not wish to continue to work with a head of sales & marketing who did not share his vision. They have announced 3 "triple A" titles, and my opinion is that they have the manpower and the resources to do two of them. Their recent 20% downsizing would seem to indicate that my analysis of the situation is more accurate than his, unfortunately.

Pathfinder Online isn't trying to 'capture' what Pathfinder 'is'. The brand is too large to be contained within the game we're building - or I would argue any digital product that could be built given today's technology. Pathfinder is many things to many people. Golarion is many things to many people. We are going to be some things to some people. Each individual player will have to decide on the merits of what we deliver if we've given them the Pathfinder they expect or not.

My personal opinion is that I have a pretty good idea of what the core drivers of the Pathfinder brand are, and they're not to-hit mechanics or the classification of combat actions. Those mechanics predate Pathfinder anyway. Pathfinder to me is a certain way of looking at fantasy roleplaying, a way that is heir to a 30+ year tradition. We'll get that tradition into the game in ways that surprise and delight our players. But you'll also see all sorts of new kinds of ways to play "Pathfinder" that are very hard to do on the tabletop - merchants and crafters and diplomats and soldiers and other kinds of characters who aren't a good fit for the "tabletop adventure game".

We're going to talk a lot about the geographical focus of Pathfinder Online in an upcoming blog, and as I've said before we are going to apply the rule of "underpromising and overdelivering" but here's one thing I can say that's just obviously true:

In a world with teleportation magic, it is not unreasonable to imagine excursions from one area of the world to another, to experience content variable in scope from small to vast. Over the years to come, I'm sure we'll all be surprised with the many kinds of places that Pathfinder Online characters may venture into.

Shadow Lodge Goblin Squad Member , Star Voter 2013

Thank you for responding as you have. My concerns have certainly been laid to rest, and I am once again excited to see what PFO has in store.


Ryan Dancey wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Specifically, I refer to the comments about the 4500 player limit being a guaranteed game killer, about the game using poor software, about you getting booted from EVE for being incompetent, the one about a PVP MMO not being able to capture what Pathfinder is, and the part about the whole thing taking place in one specific area of Golarion.

Sure, I can respond.

The idea of making a game that starts small and grows over time isn't unique to Pathfinder Online. Sometimes it happens on purpose and sometimes it happens on accident.

However, the MMO field is particularly challenging these days because there are about a million to two million "MMO Hobbyists", who aren't really vested in any one game, but are very vested in playing the latest new releases when they launch on the day they launch. These folks just crush a lot of games and the result is a huge spike in activity, followed by a sharp drop as they "finish" the game and exit.

Take a look at this graph for data that reflects this syndrome:

http://users.telenet.be/mmodata/Charts/Subs-2.png

You can see the standout, can't you? It's EVE Online. A whole different growth pattern than its peers (at launch, or contemporary). If you exclude Second Life, it's also the only sandbox MMO on that chart.

If we went along with our plan to design the game to start small and then grow, and suddenly sprung that on folks at the last minute, there would be pandemonium and lots of feelings of betrayal from those who might feel we'd abused their trust.

By being up front about these plans now, we eliminate that problem. Everyone knows exactly what we're planning - no surprises.

As to it being "guaranteed to kill the game", well, if I believed that was even remotely likely to be the outcome we wouldn't be trying it.

(In fact, I fear the opposite scenario much more where too many people go into the sandbox too fast, and because there's no time for the economic, territorial or political system to develop...

My specific question for you on the topic of starting small and growing slowly, now that you have touched on that...

In a game without levels and based on player interactions, where powerbases are established over time, will the game have a built-in system to even things out for the newer players vs. the players that have been around since launch, unlike EVE.

The biggest gripe that I hear from people trying out EVE is that (up until CCP began to adopt a more adversarial approach to their customers by trying to force features on them, wanted or not) the game seemed built completely around a core group of players that had been in the game for what seemed like forever, and all of the less tenured players really had no option other than becoming slaves to them.


Moro wrote:

In a game without levels and based on player interactions, where powerbases are established over time, will the game have a built-in system to even things out for the newer players vs. the players that have been around since launch, unlike EVE.

The biggest gripe that I hear from people trying out EVE is that (up until CCP began to adopt a more adversarial approach to their customers by trying to force features on them, wanted or not) the game seemed built completely around a core group of players that had been in the game for what seemed like forever, and all of the less tenured players really had no option other than becoming slaves to them.

This is actually a more a misconception that new players get, due to EVE's steep learning curve. Some Examples:

EVEWiki wrote:
GoonSwarm was (in)famous for utilizing "zerg-like" tactics against their enemies with smaller ships such as T1 cruisers and frigates, willingly sacrificing a dozen or more small cheap ships to destroy a single Heavy Assault Cruiser or T2 fitted Battleship. This is partially due to the fact that they have a constant influx of new, inexperienced players without the skills or resources to buy and fit Tech 2 ship or modules, but also due to their rejection of 'kill:death ratio' statistics as a worthwhile marker of alliance strength.

and

EVEWiki wrote:

GoonSwarm then shifted tactics, creating an entire fleet of characters with the moniker "VCBee XXX" with XXX being a random number. Using these throwaway VCBee characters that cost next to nothing when killed, GoonSwarm engaged in guerrilla warfare against Band of Brothers, both in 0.0 and empire.

...
After Band of Brothers moved out of the region, after realizing that continued warfare against freshly created characters was pointless . . .

More recently TEST has used similar tactics against Goons themselves.

Now it is true that given a stand-up fight between similarly armed ships a more skilled pilot will win. However that isn't how you should go about combat in EVE. One must instead find a weakness in their opponent to exploit. So if you get can flipped by a Amarr ship, and know that they are very capacitor dependent you can fit a Energy Nuet to exploit that weakness, if you know they deal only EM/Thermal damage you can fit a EM/thermal tank to drastically reduce their damage output, and if you really know your ship resists you can exploit their most likely resistance hole in your own ammo selection. In doing these things you can very quickly overcome the inherent skill point disadvantages.

On the other hand, yes they can come back with a bigger, badder ship, but if you know this as well you can get out of the system and leave them gnashing their teeth in frustration. But you need to keep local open to make sure they don't follow you.

The problem is one of knowledge more then character skills, and this example isn't even touching on the more arcane concepts like aggression countdowns, that I don't really understand all that well even after playing EVE for years.

I suppose I should point out that I'm here because I've been on the mailing list for Paizo from when some friends and I play-tested Pathfinder back in the day. Unfortunately, I moved shortly after it's release and the player base in my new area generally prefers 4e, so I mostly content myself with playing Shadowrun and L5R instead. This also means I'm not really up to date on Pathfinder lore. What has me excited about this project is that I'm an MMOer that goes back to EVE rather then WoW after every Shiny New Thing (TM), and I would dearly love to see a fantasy based game built on a similar model.

Goblin Squad Member

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Moro wrote:
The biggest gripe that I hear from people trying out EVE is that (up until CCP began to adopt a more adversarial approach to their customers by trying to force features on them, wanted or not) the game seemed built completely around a core group of players that had been in the game for what seemed like forever, and all of the less tenured players really had no option other than becoming slaves to them.

Prior to the release of the Apocrypha expansion in 2009, EVE had 3 distinct areas of play:

Hi-sec: where random aggression against other players resulted in the automatic death of the attacker (after a variable length of time measured in seconds, depending on various factors)

Lo-sec: where aggression against other players was not an automatic death sentence (although you could be killed by NPC enforcers if you weren't fast/careful enough) but territorial control remained within the hands of the NPCs

0.0 (sometimes called "Null-sec"): no enforced rules of behavior other than the rules enforced by the players themselves, where territory was controlled by players

Hi-sec was the most populated area. Most characters in Hi-sec were engaged in commerce - resource extraction, crafting, logistics and arbitrage. Many characters in Hi-sec also were "mission runners", flying ships optimized to earn the most in-game currency possible per second by engaging in PvE.

Lo-sec was the least populated area. Pirates operate freely there and are always watching for opportunities to ambush and either destroy or ransom ships. There are some valuable resources in lo-sec and the highest value missions are often found in lo-sec, so non-pirate characters have some incentive to traverse it. The pirates complain endlessly to CCP that lo-sec is "broken" because there aren't enough viable targets for their piracy.

0.0 is the second most populated area. EVE is designed around a series of "jump gates" which limit travel between systems (you can't just fly off into space and eventually reach a new system). As a result, there are places where guarding one or two chokepoint systems can create a border dividing 0.0 into isolated kingdoms. Even so, these kingdoms are not truly static. You can watch a time-lapse animation of the ebb & flow of 0.0 Alliance territorial control here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m4q2-gbBUE&feature=related

At the start of the animation in 2007 all the 0.0 systems are held by Alliances. Each Alliance has its own color. As the animation progresses, you can see slight changes at the edges of some of the Alliance territory. It doesn't look like much at this scale, but taking a single system from an entrenched Alliance is a work of thousands of people over days and often weeks of time.

If you wanted to play in 0.0 space, you needed to either join one of these Alliances, or play in the area controlled by the Alliance known as CVA. CVA was unique in that it allowed players to exist within its 0.0 space without requiring them to join CVA (this was called "Not Red Don't Shoot", or NRDS. "Red" referred to the color of a ship's icon in the game's HUD indicating a pirate or a character engaged in hostile acts. As long as you behaved yourself CVA would tolerate your presence within their territory.) Everyone else in 0.0 space had a policy of "Not Blue, Shoot It" or NBSI. "Blue" is the color of a like-aligned ship on the HUD. If you weren't in the Alliance, you were a target.

There are a couple of differences between 0.0 space and Hi-sec. First, there are ships and structures that can only exist in 0.0 space. If you want to build and fly the biggest, most powerful ships, you have to do it in 0.0. Second, there are some resources in 0.0 which are used to make the highest-end crafted objects in the game. If you don't want to buy those resources at the market price, you have to be in 0.0 to extract them. Those resources are the start of a logistics chain that produce the best ships and best ship "modules" (stuff you equip your ship with), so there's a feedback loop where 0.0 Alliances controlled the means of supply for the stuff needed to fight 0.0 Alliances.

Even in this seemingly static world came change. An organized group of players from the Something Awful community came to EVE, determined to break it (as they had other MMOs). The "Goons" created their own Alliance, Goonfleet, and started attacking other pre-existing Alliances. Their strategy was to win by zerging their better equipped, more talented, more experienced opponents - wearing them down through sheer weight of numbers.

This tactic worked, and Goonfleet was able to muscle its way into 0.0 space and become a major power. Their arrival forced many other Alliances into a series of power blocs, and a Great War ensued between the largest blocs.

In March of 2009, the Apocrypha expansion was added to the game. This added a new kind of territory - Wormhole space. Wormholes existed throughout the original map of EVE and spawned randomly each day. Finding a Wormhole allowed a pilot to go through the hole and into a system on the other side which might (or might not) have other wormholes leading to other systems. This topology was constantly changing and random. Living in Wormhole space was a kind of intermediate step between secure space and 0.0. You didn't get the high end ships or resources but you did get a sense of running a pocket kingdom and you could engage in a whole new logistics chain to produce the best "mid-range" ships.

Also in 2009, a series of decisions by the players of one of the largest Alliances broke the stalemate in the Great War, and the Goons were able to knock the long-time "best" Alliance in the game out of their territory. Things might have settled into a new stalemate, but the Goons themselves fell victim to their own internal problems, and they in turn lost control of that space as well.

Each time one of these tectonic changes happened, it had repercussions across 0.0. Agreements between Alliances are constantly shifting and these large-scale events affect them. In fact, CVA itself eventually felt the force of these changes as it was beaten and destroyed, removing the NRDS territory from 0.0

It is true that if you are a solo player or a small corporation in EVE you cannot access 0.0 space without making an agreement with one of the powers that controls that space. However, it is possible to develop into a sizable and strong Alliance (essentially a corporation of corporations, a guild-of-guilds) in Hi-sec and Lo-sec, and try to take 0.0 space by force. This is the goal of many people in EVE.

EVE is a game that rewards teamwork, long-range planning, strong communities, and trust.

Its is also a game that constantly dangles the lure of solo rewards, instant gratification, community drama and treason in front of people.

RyanD

Goblin Squad Member

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Offer us a fantasy replication of the political PvP geography of Eve and you have succeeded Mr Dancey. In my eyes atleast.

Space is rubbish.


So what will be worth fighting for in Pathfinder Online?

Goblin Squad Member

Forgive me if the following is Simply, Stupidly Obvious (TM):

Since the horrifying botch that was Neverwinter Nights 2, there is a vast number of people out in the ether who are searching for a place to come together in community fashion, and create content as well as role play, story, and lore. Is there a chance that Pathfinder Online will be that?

The thing that made NWN1 what it was, was community. Sure, those communities couldn't exist without the toolset to create the persistent worlds that they inhabited, but the core was the ability to customize, to tweak things to appeal to a like-minded group of players. I am strongly of the opinion that the reason the NWN franchise died hard was because, while the developers built a system that allowed unprecedented customization and user content creation, they failed in two very important areas.

First, they failed to make the process of content creation EASY. We saw some very interesting persistent world concepts die because the scripting was not easy, or the toolset had a steep learning curve. The key to getting great player-created content is to make the process of creating it simple.

Second, in building a wonderful way for creative game masters to create content, they forgot one niggling detail: How to make money at it. The community input was staggering in volume, but didn't capture a nickle for the developer, the license holder, or anyone else. There were companies that made some money, but they were the hosting companies that had server farms that could run someone's persistent world for them, allowing the bandwidth needed for groups to play. Unfortunately, their margins were razor-thin, and as the number of persistent worlds declined as the game aged and players went in search of fresher graphics and content, they began dropping the NWN support until, I think, only one or two were left. But the main point to this is that the developer soon found itself supporting a game that wasn't generating a lot of income.

I know that the MMO model is not one that can be used to replicate the totality of the user content creation modes of NWN... and, frankly, I don't think that level of small-group customization is economically realistic anymore. But Pathfinder Online has the potential to really wildly succeed at a few things we've been craving for a long time. The point in all this blather is really to voice my optimism for this project, and the excitement that is brewing among the people who used to game together on a NWN persistent world that shut down over five years ago. (Yes, most of us stay in contact still.... it was that sort of socially bonding situation.)

First, many (most) of us (based on completely unscientific observation) feel that a system like Pathfinder is so much better than the abomination that is D&D 4e... If I want to play a console video game, my pen-and-paper campaign isn't the place for it, nor is it the rich role-play environment I love. For that reason alone, we are watching this developing story closely.

Second, we have tried a lot of things, and nothing seems to be able to capture the immersion that was possible with NWN1 persistent worlds. I am unsure about the level of content creation/customization that Pathfinder Online will ultimately offer, but I fervently hope that a content creator (or a semi-organized group of them) could really customize areas, be given some sort of control of the things within a "geographic zone", subject (of course) to the ultimate editorial control of Goblin/Paizo. Not that gravity should work differently from one area to another... but governments, perhaps custom magic effects/spells, and creatures should all be on the list of customizable parts. I think it would be perfectly fine for, say, a magic spell to be "discovered" in one area, and (over time) if the development team sees it as popular and fitting, that spell slowly spreads across the game world.

I am realizing that this is becoming far too long a post; I'll leave it here, and take it up later, or simply shut up if that's the feedback. ;-)

Let me simply conclude by saying, a-la Princess Leia's holorecorded image: "Help us, Goblin/Paizo; You're our only hope!"


Ryan Dancey wrote:
Moro wrote:
The biggest gripe that I hear from people trying out EVE is that (up until CCP began to adopt a more adversarial approach to their customers by trying to force features on them, wanted or not) the game seemed built completely around a core group of players that had been in the game for what seemed like forever, and all of the less tenured players really had no option other than becoming slaves to them.

Prior to the release of the Apocrypha expansion in 2009, EVE had 3 distinct areas of play:

Hi-sec: where random aggression against other players resulted in the automatic death of the attacker (after a variable length of time measured in seconds, depending on various factors)

Lo-sec: where aggression against other players was not an automatic death sentence (although you could be killed by NPC enforcers if you weren't fast/careful enough) but territorial control remained within the hands of the NPCs

0.0 (sometimes called "Null-sec"): no enforced rules of behavior other than the rules enforced by the players themselves, where territory was controlled by players

Hi-sec was the most populated area. Most characters in Hi-sec were engaged in commerce - resource extraction, crafting, logistics and arbitrage. Many characters in Hi-sec also were "mission runners", flying ships optimized to earn the most in-game currency possible per second by engaging in PvE.

Lo-sec was the least populated area. Pirates operate freely there and are always watching for opportunities to ambush and either destroy or ransom ships. There are some valuable resources in lo-sec and the highest value missions are often found in lo-sec, so non-pirate characters have some incentive to traverse it. The pirates complain endlessly to CCP that lo-sec is "broken" because there aren't enough viable targets for their piracy.

0.0 is the second most populated area. EVE is designed around a series of "jump gates" which limit travel between systems (you can't just fly off into space and eventually reach a new...

Thank you very much for the reply.

Now after reading that, I am even more concerned about the gated population ramp up.

Those who get in first have a HUGE advantage in that they are basically able to form up and lay claim to what will basically be uncontested or minimally contested territory and resources, all just there for the taking. They also get a jump start on building up skills and diversification.

Every single player who comes into the game afterwards (and not by choice) will be at a disadvantage. You don't think that many potential players will be turned completely off at the idea of entering a game centered around non-consensual PvP at a severe disadvantage?

Not everyone will have the desire to form up and join the game in packs, nor will many people be thrilled at having to come in and choose between becoming a bootlicker or receiving a beatdown. Having to fight your way out of a deficit can be seen as playing a game on hard mode, and I do not doubt that it will attract a certain kind of player, but I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see your data (if you have any) on the number players who start an EVE account and then drop after the first month or so once they realize the position they are in.

Goblin Squad Member

Moro wrote:
Those who get in first have a HUGE advantage in that they are basically able to form up and lay claim to what will basically be uncontested or minimally contested territory and resources, all just there for the taking. They also get a jump start on building up skills and diversification.

It's not a race. Eve Online's greatest design floor was the months if not years required to catch up to established players. This was bad design which they are alleviating more and more and the game is now very accessible to new players.

Players will start at a disadvantage, this is the case in any sandbox MMORPG I have ever played. You join and people own houses, millions in gold, fully developed characters and own both power and prestige. The difference is that in a well designed sandbox game, you can compete with them for resources or territory in a relatively short period of time.

We're not talking about unfair advantages, we're talking about game design. If the game is poorly designed as to allow the immediate players a monopoly on resources and the skill based system has no ceiling, then yes this is serious indeed. But I for one am not assuming the game will be designed this poorly. Resources that everyone will need will be plentiful in secure areas of the game; a competitive level of character development should be available readily.

Your assuming the worst possible game design and entitlement to resources in presenting the worst possible outcome for a staggered launch. Classic Eve Online was terribly designed for a staggered launch, it was a skill and resource race. Darkfall Online was terribly designed for a staggered launch, it was never ending grind race.

Mortal Online, Ultima Online and to some degree, contemporary Eve Online are living examples of how through intelligent design, the game is not a race and can be launched in such a manner. Players can become PvE/PvP viable in a short period of time and can vie for supremacy.

If you want the head start or to be the defender; make sure you get in early. If the game is a success and well designed, don't expect to stay on your throne for very long after release.


Moro,

Not necessarily. What happens if the game is balanced in such a way that strength comes from numbers. Maybe an old player can easily kill a younger one but what if two or three young players can take on an older one?

What matters then is making friends which is good for a game which is supposed to be driven by player generated politics


Moro wrote:

Thank you very much for the reply.

Now after reading that, I am even more concerned about the gated population ramp up.

Those who get in first have a HUGE advantage in that they are basically able to form up and lay claim to what will basically be uncontested or minimally contested territory and resources, all just there for the taking. They also get a jump start on building up skills and diversification.

Every single player who comes into the game afterwards (and not by choice) will be at a disadvantage. You don't think that many potential players will be turned completely off at the idea of entering a game centered around non-consensual PvP at a severe disadvantage?

This is not exactly true. People who start early also have built in disadvantages in that a low population can lead to a depressed economy. How much economic activity can you have with a small population?

There's no reason why the game designers can't build a system where a more populated world provides its own advantages and opportunities to the newly minted player.

Furthermore, the release of the game is constrained to the River Kingdoms. At time progresses and the game world expands, there can be plenty of chances for new players to claim their own glory.


Can you say how important PVP will be? Will I be able to play through the game doing quests and exploring dungeons without ever engaging in PVP if I have no interest in joining a kingdom or faction or claiming territory or resources for myself?

Will non-core classes like alchemist, witch, magus, and gunslinger be playable? What about cavalier? Will there be mounted combat?

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Balodek wrote:
tad10 wrote:


To be blunt:

I've got a lot more MMO history on my side of this dogfight than you do. Exactly how many failed MMOs litter the gaming landscape? And exactly why should anyone believe that you can succeed where other much better funded companies have not?

So which of those failed MMOs have you helped develop tad10? I assume this criticism is coming from a place of "I want this game to succeed", but the combative way you're going about it isn't going to help your cause. I have concerns about this game as well (because I also want to see it succeed), but the argument that you've played a lot of MMOs doesn't really qualify you to speak on how to develop them, or design their architecture.

Not to mention arguing history as a forecast of technological advance is rather silly.

You might as well go back and explain to Leif Ericsson that since long boats have never previously made it to North America, clearly it is impossible.

In short, Tad10, you're out of your element. You have no frame of reference here, Tad10. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...etc...etc...


Coldman wrote:
Moro wrote:
Those who get in first have a HUGE advantage in that they are basically able to form up and lay claim to what will basically be uncontested or minimally contested territory and resources, all just there for the taking. They also get a jump start on building up skills and diversification.

It's not a race. Eve Online's greatest design floor was the months if not years required to catch up to established players. This was bad design which they are alleviating more and more and the game is now very accessible to new players.

Players will start at a disadvantage, this is the case in any sandbox MMORPG I have ever played. You join and people own houses, millions in gold, fully developed characters and own both power and prestige. The difference is that in a well designed sandbox game, you can compete with them for resources or territory in a relatively short period of time.

We're not talking about unfair advantages, we're talking about game design. If the game is poorly designed as to allow the immediate players a monopoly on resources and the skill based system has no ceiling, then yes this is serious indeed. But I for one am not assuming the game will be designed this poorly. Resources that everyone will need will be plentiful in secure areas of the game; a competitive level of character development should be available readily.

Your assuming the worst possible game design and entitlement to resources in presenting the worst possible outcome for a staggered launch. Classic Eve Online was terribly designed for a staggered launch, it was a skill and resource race. Darkfall Online was terribly designed for a staggered launch, it was never ending grind race.

Mortal Online, Ultima Online and to some degree, contemporary Eve Online are living examples of how through intelligent design, the game is not a race and can be launched in such a manner. Players can become PvE/PvP viable in a short period of time and can vie for supremacy.

If you want the head start or to be the defender;...

You would be correct in that I am assuming the worst if it weren't for the fact that I am just asking questions based on the information I am given, and I understand where you are coming from; you make good points.

I am trying to not assume the worst, but I do have concerns due to the manner in which this game appears that it will parallel EVE to a great degree, which is why I am asking the questions.

All I am really hoping for is that any player, regardless of when they start the game, has an equal opportunity to achieve and be a factor at the highest echelons of the game, and I am wondering what changes will be made to support this possibility.


TabulaRasa wrote:

Moro,

Not necessarily. What happens if the game is balanced in such a way that strength comes from numbers. Maybe an old player can easily kill a younger one but what if two or three young players can take on an older one?

What matters then is making friends which is good for a game which is supposed to be driven by player generated politics

Yes, I agree, but to a very great degree in any online game, personal and individual character power matters, and an even playing field is necessary to promote the game to potential new players.

Yes, if 2 or 3 newer (not necessarily brand new) players can take out a more veteran player, given equal levels of skill, I will agree that this is a more than fair scenario.

My issue is that I am viewing the game as being presented to us as an endless race in which a select few are given a months long head start, and the only options I hear of for catching up are to bind together by the hundreds and assault, or assume the position of inferior to someone simply by virtue of their tenure. If there is a plateau that can be reached where the playing field becomes even, then that is excellent...if not (and this is what I have heard about EVE), then as someone else stated it is poorly designed.


Balsin wrote:
Moro wrote:

Thank you very much for the reply.

Now after reading that, I am even more concerned about the gated population ramp up.

Those who get in first have a HUGE advantage in that they are basically able to form up and lay claim to what will basically be uncontested or minimally contested territory and resources, all just there for the taking. They also get a jump start on building up skills and diversification.

Every single player who comes into the game afterwards (and not by choice) will be at a disadvantage. You don't think that many potential players will be turned completely off at the idea of entering a game centered around non-consensual PvP at a severe disadvantage?

This is not exactly true. People who start early also have built in disadvantages in that a low population can lead to a depressed economy. How much economic activity can you have with a small population?

There's no reason why the game designers can't build a system where a more populated world provides its own advantages and opportunities to the newly minted player.

Furthermore, the release of the game is constrained to the River Kingdoms. At time progresses and the game world expands, there can be plenty of chances for new players to claim their own glory.

Yes, and these sorts of solutions are what I am hoping to hear.


Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:

Can you say how important PVP will be? Will I be able to play through the game doing quests and exploring dungeons without ever engaging in PVP if I have no interest in joining a kingdom or faction or claiming territory or resources for myself?

Will non-core classes like alchemist, witch, magus, and gunslinger be playable? What about cavalier? Will there be mounted combat?

It's a skill based system, but I certainly hope that all of those (with the possible exception of gunslingers, but the River Kingdom is exactly the kind of lawless 'old west' environment I'd like to see Gunslingers in) will be capable of being somewhat emulated via skill development.

As far as PvP, I can't say for certain, but based on what I've seen there will always be a chance of getting caught in some PvP you don't want, but if you're cautious and not interested in resources it should be fairly rare, especially if you're not interested in the quests in the low security areas.

The Exchange

I posted the following in another thread, but most likely it won't get adressed there. Ryan, if you get time or inlincation, would you mind throwing your current thoughts on the questions I have below? I'm unsure if they've already been addressed or not, but there seems to be much argument already over a game whose mechanics we really know little about.

Quote from previous thread

"Blazej, you've touched on another issue with a PvP and RvR style games. Differing timezones. I'm in Australia, which means my playing times rarely gel with all you fine folk in America and Europe. This makes for difficulties in protecting areas, but more importantly in a single server society, means when I play, server population is generally low.

I suspect that kingdoms will develop with their own defenses which means that not being on doesnt mean not defended. I'm not sure how they'll deal with time zone differences and play style when the end game is meant to be PvP oriented. I'd be truly interested to hear some feedback on that one.

Also, have we heard anything about how the kingdoms will build. In kingmaker itself you are sent out to tame the land by an established kingdom. Will this be how the early game starts, running errands for established safe town until you can claim a piece of land.

Also, how viable will a kingdom be if only one person is building it? Will this be more an RTS game or more a traditional role play style game, or maybe a blend of both? Is running in a guild the only real way to gain success in kingdom building and managing?

If I'm a more casual gamer (which in my case the answer is yes) then will I be just a hireling to another players kingdoms (which could be great if they're able to generate quests etc).

Is there a plan to allow big enough kingdoms to generate their own content, as some mmo games have implemented.

Is ther a function planned to generate random dungeons in kingdoms for exploration?

Will PvP looting be in the form of take the dead players loot, or will it be like Rift where the loot is randomly generated gear of appropriate levels that doesn't actually take the players gear ( a much less grief worthy option in my opinion).

Maybe those questions need to be asked elsewhere, but I'd certainly like to hear from the guys planning this on many of those points."

- End of Quote.

Cheers

Goblinworks Founder

To be honest, as long as there is a thriving NRDS empire I will be quite happy with the game. I would hate to see all null sec frontiers in the River Kingdoms fall under NBDS. At least with NRDS the solo or small groups can experience null sec without being bullied by goons.

@Ryan

Thank you for posting the timelapse video from EvE. It was very interesting to see such large alliances rise and fall over the course of a few years. I am very interested to see how this can translate to the Pathfinder setting.

Goblin Squad Member

Elth wrote:
To be honest, as long as there is a thriving NRDS empire I will be quite happy with the game. I would hate to see all null sec frontiers in the River Kingdoms fall under NBDS. At least with NRDS the solo or small groups can experience null sec without being bullied by goons.

I would go even further to say that I believe that NBSI should be rare in the game. The River Kingdoms to me isn't a place where kingdoms can expect to perform a strategy of NBSI without suffering incredible losses. If I can't walk through a player controlled kingdom without suffering a death sentence for that offence, I would think less that I was playing in the River Kingdoms and more that I would playing in another world.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

If I'm understanding the hope, it is that the game will be the competition for resources among the various kingdoms, and while PvP will be possible, it will be next to impossible to succeed in the game if you are killing people indiscriminately, because you will be killed long before you become powerful.

There will be safe areas where you can't be killed PvP, there may be some areas with moderate security against PvP but the good stuff will require you to go into areas where other players can kill you.

That is the game.

The idea of starting small allows an economy and hierarchy to develop. There will be factions, you will likely need to join them in order to be able to keep yourself safe. If you decide to attack players in factions, you will likely find yourself hunted by factions, or at the very least wanted.

It will not be practical to anger factions by killing people indiscriminately. No one in the game will be powerful enough by themselves to avoid being rushed and killed themselves if they tick off enough people.

At the same time, faction wars will arise, territory will be claimed, and a large portion of the game will evolve from this.

This can't happen unless there is PvP. And this is the model for this particular game.

Personally, I am digging it. I love the idea of empires rising by recruiting noobs to mine resources and putting out bounties on anyone who messed with their noobs. People will be able to craft items that will have shelf lives and need to be replaced, or that will simply be obsolete.

My primary concern is making sure there is turnover in the economy, which is part of the plan for the slow build. If the economy is done right and the incentives are right, the random lone wolf "Kill everyone" guy isn't getting much past level one before he gets crushed by the factions.

And the uber factions will always be in flux and conflict with each other, leading to constant tension about who is allied with who and what areas are currently "safe" for which factions, etc...

Of course, in my job I deal with gang members, so this concept of ever changing alliances and risk reward makes perfect sense to me.

It's all about creating incentive to take the risk to get resources, and assuring there is going to be demand that leads to tension and conflict.

Who's corner belongs to who this week, as it were.

That, to me, sounds just like the River Kingdoms.

Goblin Squad Member

Visionseer wrote:


NWN stuff

If, and that's a big if, the potential arises to allow people to create content for Pathfinder Online, it would be something that we'd be able to talk about only once we were sure it could be done. For now, we're focusing on the content we have to build to launch & support the game exclusively, but I'll say that we've certainly had brainstorming sessions about 3rd party or player content creation and how cool it could be.

Goblin Squad Member

Moro wrote:


Those who get in first have a HUGE advantage in that they are basically able to form up and lay claim to what will basically be uncontested or minimally contested territory and resources, all just there for the taking.

In EVE, territorial control did not get added to the game until the Exodus expansion, about 18 months after the game was launched. I'm not about to suggest we'd wait 18 months for such an important game feature, but its not something that we're going to have in the game on the first day either. The social, political, economic & territorial development necessary for a healthy game has to be allowed to develop before player groups are able to start staking exclusive claims on land.

Also, due to the "choke point" issue I described, once an Alliance had control of a region of space it created a lot of "empty systems" - systems behind the controlled frontier where little or nothing ever happened. The Pathfinder Online design is going to minimize (or remove) that problem by avoiding (wherever possible) choke points that gate large areas of territory.

The territory claimed by many EVE Alliances is disproportionately large compared to the number of active characters in those Alliances, because of this "empty system" issue. In Pathfinder Online, my hope is that there will be few (if any) "empty systems", and that means the game can accommodate many more player communities than EVE does in its current state.

Quote:
They also get a jump start on building up skills and diversification.

Yes, that's true. I don't see it as problematic given the "wide but shallow" nature of the EVE skill system.

Quote:
Every single player who comes into the game afterwards (and not by choice) will be at a disadvantage.

They'll be less flexible. That's not the same (at all) as saying they're disadvantaged.

Quote:
You don't think that many potential players will be turned completely off at the idea of entering a game centered around non-consensual PvP at a severe disadvantage?

300,000 + NET new subscribers added since EVE's earliest days suggests the answer to your question is demonstrably "no".

Quote:
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see your data (if you have any) on the number players who start an EVE account and then drop after the first month or so once they realize the position they are in.

Not even CCP has that kind of data.

RyanD

Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Can you say how important PVP will be?

Extremely.

Quote:
Will I be able to play through the game doing quests and exploring dungeons without ever engaging in PVP if I have no interest in joining a kingdom or faction or claiming territory or resources for myself?

Your ability to do so will result in your character getting the lowest reward for the time spent - low (or no) risk means low reward.

Quote:
Will non-core classes like alchemist, witch, magus, and gunslinger be playable? What about cavalier? Will there be mounted combat?

Pathfinder Online will not have classes in the traditional sense. We'll be talking more about how we'll be enabling people to play characters that develop similar to the ways classed tabletop characters do in a future blog post.

Goblin Squad Member

Wrath wrote:
I'd be truly interested to hear some feedback on that one.

As long as the earth is round, and play is on a large single shared environment, there will be time zone problems for some folks.

Quote:
Also, have we heard anything about how the kingdoms will build.

No, and you won't until much later in the process. It's way too early to be talking about those game systems yet.

Quote:
Also, how viable will a kingdom be if only one person is building it?

It is unlikely that one person would build a kingdom. The time and effort required would be lengthy and extreme, and managing and defending it once created would be essentially impossible for one character. Kingdoms are things that will be created by groups of players, not individuals.

Quote:
Will this be more an RTS game or more a traditional role play style game

No RTS component is envisioned at this time at all.

Quote:
Is running in a guild the only real way to gain success in kingdom building and managing?

Yes, being a part of a large social community is the only real way to engage in the Kingdom part of the game.

Quote:
If I'm a more casual gamer (which in my case the answer is yes) then will I be just a hireling to another players kingdoms (which could be great if they're able to generate quests etc).

There will be many things for you to do, some of which may require you to have a relationship of some kind with a larger social structure than just yourself.

Quote:
Is there a plan to allow big enough kingdoms to generate their own content, as some mmo games have implemented.

Way too early to discuss even the potential for such things.

Quote:
Is there a function planned to generate random dungeons in kingdoms for exploration?

We have several ideas about how to generate theme park content for PvE. We'll be discussing it in much more detail in future blogs.

Quote:
Will PvP looting be in the form of take the dead players loot, or will it be like Rift where the loot is randomly generated gear of appropriate levels that doesn't actually take the players gear ( a much less grief worthy option in my opinion).

Much, much to early to answer this question. A lot of other ground has to be covered by our blog series before we get to questions about looting the dead.

Goblin Squad Member

ciretose wrote:
if I'm understanding the hope, it is that the game will be the competition for resources among the various kingdoms

This is true.

Quote:
and while PvP will be possible, it will be next to impossible to succeed in the game if you are killing people indiscriminately, because you will be killed long before you become powerful.

This is not. The ramifications of killing other players will vary on the basis of many factors. The most significant effect may be the emergent behavior of other players in the game, as opposed to a game mechanic.

I think it likely there will be horribly evil kingdoms run by rogues, assassins, spies and traitors. What the other players do about that will be up to them.

Quote:
There will be safe areas where you can't be killed PvP

This makes an assumption which we have not provided support for. The PvP system in fact may have many situations where you could be attacked and killed regardless of where your character is.

What we have said is that we want to minimize (or eliminate) griefing new players, and that the amount of reward a character can earn is related to the amount of risk that character will take.

It may be decided that having some areas of the game where it is impossible to randomly attack a random target "just for the lulz" may be the right choice, but that decision has not been made nor will it be made for quite some time to come. And even after it is made, we might reverse ourselves based on testing and actual play.

Quote:
there may be some areas with moderate security against PvP but the good stuff will require you to go into areas where other players can kill you.

This is true.

Quote:
It will not be practical to anger factions by killing people indiscriminately. No one in the game will be powerful enough by themselves to avoid being rushed and killed themselves if they tick off enough people.

This is true.

Quote:
At the same time, faction wars will arise, territory will be claimed, and a large portion of the game will evolve from this.

This is true.

RyanD


Ryan Dancey wrote:
I think it likely there will be horribly evil kingdoms run by rogues, assassins, spies and traitors.

Awesome. I'm really glad to see that the potential for being a double agent and switching sides at critical times is there, makes things all that much more interesting. An espionage aspect to a fantasy game, who'd have thought it =D


I have spent the last hour and a half reading most of these posts (eyes getting too blurry to read them all). I have to say that I am very excited about how this is developing. Ryan, I think you have a great opportunity here and I would definitely like to see it succeed. You have done a great job in answering most of the questions and concerns. I applaud you.

To comment on some of the minimal population on release concerns. I happen to have been a beta tester for Eve online. I played for about 6 months and thought it was boring and quit. I just started playing again about 4 months ago. Yes, I have to say that I wish I hadn't quit. Who knows where I'd be by now. However, with that said, the game is still exciting to play and it is very possible to still become a large power in Eve. As with any game or even RL, if you start something or get to an area first, of course you're going to be better or have the better resources. But, as history has shown, keeping the advantage is a lot tougher than getting the advantage. So you're not one of the first people to get in. Does that mean that the first people are going to be smart enough to establish a foot hold off the bat? Maybe when you get in you develop ways or strategies that haven't been discovered yet. And you can form a kingdom with those strategies. Being first doesn't mean being better. If Ryan and his team develop the game the way he's saying, the advantages or disadvantages will be minimal. I'm not sure if this has been suggested yet Ryan, but one thing that might help is different starting locations. You have 4500 per month. Each group starts in a different location. Close enough where if they want to go to other kingdoms they can but far enough away where they won't get scooped up by already developed kingdoms. This way newer people in later months get the feel for a true sandbox experience. Obviously this couldn't work forever, but it could for a while and might keep more people from leaving.

This seemed to be the biggest concern from reading all of the posts and I just wanted to comment on it. Even if this turns out to be a Fantasy based Eve game it will still be a huge success. Eve has been running for years and is still getting new players all the time. And they've worked out most of the kinks. Makes your job a little easier. ;) I'm not saying it's going to be Fantasy Eve, but if it is I'm definitely playing no matter when I get in.


Exciting news. Looking forward to learning more about this game.

The Exchange

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions Ryan. While you didn't give me much of what I was after, I understand why.

I'll be following with interest to see how this develops, but so far looks beyond what I'd be into playing.

A great concept though, just outside my interest area and, more importantly, my playstyle I believe.

Cheers


Tigerwolf wrote:
I'm not saying it's going to be Fantasy Eve, but if it is I'm definitely playing no matter when I get in.

Only time will tell, but I guess at this point it, answers given make me think of a “Fantasy Eve.” Not all bad mind you. I have spent many years, and have had much fun in the Eve universe. The devil is in the details as they say. Until the details come out it would be foolish, and unfair, to draw any conclusions. For me however, my hopes have diminished given this statement:

Quote:
“and while PvP will be possible, it will be next to impossible to succeed in the game if you are killing people indiscriminately, because you will be killed long before you become powerful.”

Answer:
“This is not. (True) The ramifications of killing other players will vary on the basis of many factors. The most significant effect may be the emergent behavior of other players in the game, as opposed to a game mechanic.
I think it likely there will be horribly evil kingdoms run by rogues, assassins, spies and traitors. What the other players do about that will be up to them.”

Unless one does not have a life, or the organization is huge, the sandbox can easily become a “litter box” that you are left with to role around in. I left the game when something like 70% of the prime space was controlled by one entity. The only real opposing force you were left with, and must ally with, was a group previously mentioned in Ryan’s comments. Now if you are one that is comfortable with swastikas, porn links, gender based bigotry, and racial slurs being rampant in local chat as a regular part of the acceptable “social structure”, well then you would be a very happy person indeed. This group is very effective at what they do. If not, at that time anyway, you really had no other choice if you wanted to compete for resources. At least that was the situation we were faced with. But to be honest a majority of our members had no issue with this environment at all. At least in the name of “survival” some tolerated it, while others defended it. Since it was not my cup of tea I pulled out. With this experience, monocle gate, and as other things started to surface within CCP, I felt it was time to leave the game.

So what will this game allow? What will this community support as the societal norm? I guess the only fair answer would be to borrow a line from above. It is “Much, much to early to answer this question.” But for me anyway, I sure hope this game charts it’s own course. I hope it does not become a “Fantasy Eve.” Or at least not the one I know.

Goblin Squad Member

kyrt-ryder wrote:
Ryan Dancey wrote:
I think it likely there will be horribly evil kingdoms run by rogues, assassins, spies and traitors.
Awesome. I'm really glad to see that the potential for being a double agent and switching sides at critical times is there, makes things all that much more interesting. An espionage aspect to a fantasy game, who'd have thought it =D

So far though, I haven't seen a single story about a double agent in Eve that actually made me want to play the game. Rather, it made me feel more like my desire not to be a jerk within the game would mean that it isn't the kind of game that I would want to play in.

I like to be trusting, and given that the game itself can not tell you if the player is an alternate character of an enemy player, that level of paranoia isn't appealing to me.


Ryan Dancey wrote:
Moro wrote:


Those who get in first have a HUGE advantage in that they are basically able to form up and lay claim to what will basically be uncontested or minimally contested territory and resources, all just there for the taking.

In EVE, territorial control did not get added to the game until the Exodus expansion, about 18 months after the game was launched. I'm not about to suggest we'd wait 18 months for such an important game feature, but its not something that we're going to have in the game on the first day either. The social, political, economic & territorial development necessary for a healthy game has to be allowed to develop before player groups are able to start staking exclusive claims on land.

Also, due to the "choke point" issue I described, once an Alliance had control of a region of space it created a lot of "empty systems" - systems behind the controlled frontier where little or nothing ever happened. The Pathfinder Online design is going to minimize (or remove) that problem by avoiding (wherever possible) choke points that gate large areas of territory.

The territory claimed by many EVE Alliances is disproportionately large compared to the number of active characters in those Alliances, because of this "empty system" issue. In Pathfinder Online, my hope is that there will be few (if any) "empty systems", and that means the game can accommodate many more player communities than EVE does in its current state.

Quote:
They also get a jump start on building up skills and diversification.

Yes, that's true. I don't see it as problematic given the "wide but shallow" nature of the EVE skill system.

Quote:
Every single player who comes into the game afterwards (and not by choice) will be at a disadvantage.

They'll be less flexible. That's not the same (at all) as saying they're disadvantaged.

Quote:
You don't think that many potential players will be turned completely off at the idea of entering a game centered around non-consensual PvP at a
...

Excellent information, and thanks for taking the time to respond. I think I have a better picture now of the manner in which this will work, and am excited to see how it turns out.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Visionseer wrote:


NWN stuff
If, and that's a big if, the potential arises to allow people to create content for Pathfinder Online, it would be something that we'd be able to talk about only once we were sure it could be done. For now, we're focusing on the content we have to build to launch & support the game exclusively, but I'll say that we've certainly had brainstorming sessions about 3rd party or player content creation and how cool it could be.

Thanks for the reply, Ryan!

As you think about it, maybe I'd suggest that, while player/3rd party content would be great... in a common world, where the players en masse can't "vote" for quality by their patronage of that particular server, a solid vetting process would be essential. Take all content you can... but have a veto or even editorial power over it's inclusion. Keeps the quality up, while encouraging submissions to be well thought out and worked before sending in.

Just a thought while on my first cup of coffee this morning.

Goblin Squad Member

Thanks Ryan. Great information & thanks to you I am now playing bloody Eve Online, AGAIN. I'll never understand this stupid game.

Can't wait for PFO though :)

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