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What happens if you don't get in on the first 4500? nor the next 4500? nor the next 4500??


Pathfinder Online

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Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

I wonder if the Kickstarter has GW and Paizo rethinking some of their math?

What about the customers you may lose if they don't get an invite in the first few months?

I can see a VERY real occurrence of say 25000-50000 potential customers at launch and I can see a VERY real occurrence of frustration if month after month after month after month (just do the math) they are still "locked out"

ESPECIALLY those that have contributed (I'm in for $200 on just the tech demo, no telling what I'll pledge for the real launch Kickstarter)

What about the guilds who are 50 member strong and they break apart before they can get started simply do to the staggering membership month they get in?

((("At launch, and for the first seven months following, we will cap new paying players at 4,500 per month. Four thousand five hundred new paying players monthly. We expect to keep only about 25% of those players on a long-term basis...")))

Goblin Squad Member

Does this subscription model have precedent from another MMO or is this an original thing?

Goblinworks Executive Founder

coach wrote:

I wonder if the Kickstarter has GW and Paizo rethinking some of their math?

What about the customers you may lose if they don't get an invite in the first few months?

I can see a VERY real occurrence of say 25000-50000 potential customers at launch and I can see a VERY real occurrence of frustration if month after month after month after month (just do the math) they are still "locked out"

ESPECIALLY those that have contributed (I'm in for $200 on just the tech demo, no telling what I'll pledge for the real launch Kickstarter)

((("At launch, and for the first seven months following, we will cap new paying players at 4,500 per month. Four thousand five hundred new paying players monthly. We expect to keep only about 25% of those players on a long-term basis...")))

Most of the stuff in their blog could easily change, they state this in every one. While i do agree the cap might increase a bit for the launch, I don't think they want everyone playing at once.

The point of starting lower let's them ease the world and let it fill. They will get sure to how servers will handle it and get more when needed. People will drop out and maybe allow those spots to be filled. But based on the kickstarter, the first group will easily be filled, assuming that a lot of people didn't pledge but still want into the game.

If you do the math for 4500 each month, and 25% of them drop out, then at the second month they will open up 4500 new spots PLUS fill in the 1125 (25% that dropped). So they will have a total of 10125 on the first month, and if the 25% keep dropping, they will easily fill up the 50,000 you think they will get in just 4 months.

Also, I don't see this game being THAT bit at launch. I see it as something that will go under the radar for most MMO fans, but the whole Pathfinder community will take interest, more than likely.

Just my thoughts.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Justin Tanner wrote:
Quote:

Just my thoughts.

But a solid one.

Goblin Squad Member

coach wrote:

I wonder if the Kickstarter has GW and Paizo rethinking some of their math?

What about the customers you may lose if they don't get an invite in the first few months?

I can see a VERY real occurrence of say 25000-50000 potential customers at launch and I can see a VERY real occurrence of frustration if month after month after month after month (just do the math) they are still "locked out"

ESPECIALLY those that have contributed (I'm in for $200 on just the tech demo, no telling what I'll pledge for the real launch Kickstarter)

((("At launch, and for the first seven months following, we will cap new paying players at 4,500 per month. Four thousand five hundred new paying players monthly. We expect to keep only about 25% of those players on a long-term basis...")))

Well I would say with limited time and budget their idea isn't bad, IE if they only have a certain amount of money, their servers just might not be able to handle the load for that to be an option.

Just look at the opening days of Diablo 3, server crashes galore, and that is a company with most likely the highest budget for MMO's humanly possible. While the kickstarter did likely give the dev's a huge bargaining chip when it comes to attracting investors, as well as a nice bonus early start for hiring staff. Goblinworks most likely won't have 5% of the resources blizzard has at their disposal to develop a super powerful backbone.

Now as far as yourself I would imagine you will most likely be safe.

blog wrote:


A question some of you are likely asking is "how do I get to be one of the first 4,500 people in at launch?" We're going to have several ways to get into the queue to play Pathfinder Online, and many of them will be based on being an active and contributing member of the global Pathfinder community. Over the next several months, we'll be telling you how you can help us make the game successful and earn yourself a place near the front of the line. (And if you haven't already done so, please sign up for our newsletter using the form on the front page!)
kickstarter wrote:


we’ll give special priority to Goblin Squad members throughout the development process. This is your chance to identify yourself to us and to the community as a key supporter of Pathfinder Online

There were 4,212 supporters in the kickstarter 3,125 of them were at the goblin squad or higher rank, from what you said, you are in the higher. Now they did also mention slots going to established guilds etc... but even then I would say it is a very high probability that most involved in the kickstart will very likely be in the game within the first few months. At the very least most of the ones at $30 or higher.

Disclaimer: No official announcement of the sort has been made.

Goblin Squad Member

Science Mile wrote:
Does this subscription model have precedent from another MMO or is this an original thing?

By subscription model are you meaning the f2p/pay to train (either in game, or via buying in currency). Not directly any that I can think of, the system is very similar to eve online's, but I believe in eve instead of not being able to train, you are unable to play.

If you are meaning the limited invites, I also haven't heard of an MMO doing that for the main game, with the exception of a brief closed beta phase that transitions into open beta, before open to public. Though 90% of the time there is a wipe between closed and open beta.

I can think of a non-MMO that did a similar system. Most google projects. Gmail started out as invite only... then gradually branched out as they'd give users limited invites ad infinium. Admitted that was a designed exponential growth rather than a planned linear growth that GW is going for.

Goblin Squad Member

Yeah I was meaning the limited Invites.

Maybe they're trying to pull a Willy Wonka/Cartman Land with it, where the limited supply makes it all the more valuable.

I do think it could risk irritating people and stunting the growth of the game, but I have a little faith that they know what they're doing.

Goblin Squad Member

Keep in mind that at the start the game is likely to be *very* bare-bones. In this regard think of our first taste as an extended beta test. It sounds like GW and PF really want to make sure that what they have working works.

I almost see this a massive blurring of the lines between beta, early start and then open to the whole world a year or so later. A lot of games are starting to do this. The difference is that their "Accelerated head start" or "Early start" is usually a couple of days whereas for this MMO it's many months if not a year. A very long 'soft opening'.

What it does mean is that the people who signed up as a kicksarter this past month are very likely to be the people who will be the 'movers and shakers' in this game.

John

Goblin Squad Member

"WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T GET IN ON THE FIRST 4500? NOR THE NEXT4500? NOR THE NEXT 4500??"

/thinks it over

I would have to play this game...A LOT.

Goblin Squad Member

what would i do? wait patiently, ive heard its a virtue. i would indeed like to play at launch but i think the slow opening is a good way to go.

letting a trickle of players in to seed the world will be better than throwing wide the flood gates and getting a bunch of ill thought out settlements dotting the landscape.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

if I do not come in with the 4500 first, I guess I do not have to purchase a PC and can quietly wait for an OS X Edition : )

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Also remember that this isn't a themepark game. We (the players) are the content as much as we are the customer. With a low-ish amount of players starting out, there is more chance of the social structures needed for a game of this kind being formed, as well as having a period of ironing out any bugs or problems. This isn't a game of "world firsts", of grinding to the level cap as fast as possible (which is limited by the real-time component of skill training). I hope it will be a game of exploration and community building.

The only issue I have with the skill system (coupled with the slow trickle of new players) is the "first starter advantage": those people who started playing on Day 1 will actually be in the position to have the more skilled characters, the first shot at limited resources or limited spots for stronghold creation, etc. It's something I hope Goblinworks gives some thought to.

Goblin Squad Member

Being exclusive is a good marketing tool as long as the people playing are enjoying the game. Any threats to boycott will be mostly sour grapes and empty. It's a smart strategy considering the size of their company and the nature of their game.

What happens if I don't get in the first 4500? I'll be surprised considering I've been posting here since the beginning of the year and I made a donation to the demo on kickstarter, but if that happened -- I would boycott and quit and uhmmm... I guess wait until I got an invite. =)

Goblin Squad Member

~4,500 starter number fits with producing less initial pve content, therefore faster dev time to release. Namely the initial mmo will be designed for that starter number - not more; not for a full themepark server load.

Also reduces the negative experience of too many people experiencing not enough content,polish and deciding to move to the next mmmorpg in a hurry!
Which would be a disaster.

It also invites the people are really amped to play this, to be selected first as well as, to get player-run content up and going by the time new players arrive on the scene. Obviously some people will decide it's not for them and bugs/polish etc will be detracting for the initial players, but the smaller population should be very beneficial to the process of players establishing connections and contracts and communities of committed players.

Maybe there will be a case of 1st come, 1st served but that will require a lot of interaction to run managed kingdoms and the levelling is slow anyway. The purchase perception (whatever those economists call it) would be reinforced by the all the above too. Should add, one of the best things I've personally read on the blogs.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.

ok, i think some are misreading my OP, and it's my fault for the way it's worded

i don't mind the soft opening strategy, i'm asking if the Kickstarter has them re-thinking of increasing the 4500 to say 15000, 20000, 25000 ... still INCREDIBLY small initial start that would still be defined as soft.

I'm not talking about a "taking my ball and going home" quitting attitude of the customer base

I'm not talking about having an unlimited opening number

I'm talking about:

"we formed this 50-member guild and 11 got in month one, 6 got in month two, 4 got in month three, 10 got in month 4, 6 got in month five (including the leader who chartered the guild, bought the website where the guild hosts their meetings, and got everything organized), and after five months 13 members still are not invited."

That is the situation that will happen in my opinion. I think that the word will get out about the style of this MMO. Roleplayers are tired of the "hey let's log on and go on a raid". style of playing. The RP community wants their own style of MMO, and I just asked if GW/Paizo may rethink their math because they were overwhelmed by the kickstarter (I think the spokesmen used the word "humbled"). I think that the number of players (both initial and at the year and 3-year marks for this MMO could be 10X the number that GW/Paizo is throwing around in their head.

In the situation above for the guild, the guild members and even guild leaders are getting invites off and on and trying to live vicariously perhaps on their guild forums through the ones actually getting in. Just can't be a good situation and the guild could break up before it ever starts. Griefing is one of the major reasons MMO's lose their customers, and it's own math has GW/Paizo sort of mini-griefing it's own membership unintentionally.

so i'm asking is their a larger number of invitees per month that can be handled, yet still keep their beta (yet-not-beta) "soft" style opening?

a guild that trickles in over a 7 month stretch and still not everyone in VS a guild that maybe EVERYBODY is in by month 3 ... has a MUCH greater chance of making the months (years?) of guild planning worth it and GW/Paizo has a much greater chance of keeping customers who are a part of player communities. IF you (I'm a teacher/coach IRL and have studied this extensively) do ANY kind of research on high-school dropouts, you'll find that the only reason (that is quantifiable and able to be correlated) kids stay in school is because of extra-curricular involvement. If GW/Paizo wants a strong playerbase that won't "drop out" ... strong player groups are the key ingredient.

The member who does get in has a OOC choice. Do I leave the guild that I have worked with for months (years?) and join this new guild formed by the merging of 3 other guilds that broke apart due to a substantial numbers of its members/leaders not getting invites? Or do I hold on and hope that the original guild still holds its structure even when more than half the guild isn't in game?

To make a long story short (too late!!!) I love what GW/Paizo is doing. I've read EVERY blog/website entry on their project. I want an MMORPG, not another MMO, which it seems like is their goal too and I cant wait. I've put my money where my mouth is. This is one of my main concerns.

Goblin Squad Member

^The number probably is modifiable to add/minus (depending on feedback/progress) to but likely it is a delicate balance between growing the game optimally and increasing subs which will turn out to be long-term/satisfied subscibers.

Thoughts on rate:
is probably a combination of:

1. Dev Time/Budget -> Content amount/player, initial rules of game ready to be fully tested by real (paying) players interacting.
2. Acceptable standard to initial players (who'll be 1st to start shaping things and finding exploits, bugs and patterns).
3. Size of playerbase that is conducive to ironing out the rules/bugs without impacting too many people, part of the drop rate I guess.
4. Social growth of the game.

I think 4. might be a bigger factor than can be estimated as a steady rate might be very conducive for players to fit into communities (demand/supply, friendliness, utility, networks vs lost in the crowd).

I'd guess 4,500 should allow a good number of guilds according to:

Quote:
We're going to design Pathfinder Online so that each level of social organization arises when the game is ready for it. Slowly adding these increasing levels of sophistication will allow the society of the game to ramp up gradually and with good cohesion. As new players join, they'll always have ways to become a part of that process. By the time the first kingdoms form, there will be a pyramid of smaller group structures for players to participate in, ensuring lots of content for everyone.

So seems social interaction is balance with sub growth to be sustainable retention while positively developing the game systems, map size. Too quick increase in subs or too slow both detremental.

Goblin Squad Member

The first few lots are going to be building the base so to speak, bootstrapping the whole process. Maybe a larger initial charge or vary the 2nd and 3rd ones based on loss rates and build milestones.
Basically I think they need to stay flexible. Letting too many in at the start would indeed be a problem, they'd have to deal with a lot of whining about there being nothing built, no gear, nothing to do (except gather and build).

Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Ryan said he wanted 4 to 4.5k in on the first run. That amount covers all backers nicely. I'd be amazed if the backers weren't the first group tapped to beta or play.

Goblin Squad Member

Kryzbyn wrote:
Ryan said he wanted 4 to 4.5k in on the first run. That amount covers all backers nicely. I'd be amazed if the backers weren't the first group tapped to beta or play.

Yea I can imagine the backers will get some sort of priority for beta or launch.

Goblin Squad Member

Nelar wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:
Ryan said he wanted 4 to 4.5k in on the first run. That amount covers all backers nicely. I'd be amazed if the backers weren't the first group tapped to beta or play.

Yea I can imagine the backers will get some sort of priority for beta or launch.

Probably safer to say it will be conducive amongst other things.

Goblin Squad Member

I would be very surprised if the backers got first draw. I know there are questions and answers asking this, and the answer was no. GW would be stupid to do something like that. The first round of players needs to we selected from guilds that will get the world turning, not random people. I wouldn't be surprised if the first round was 4000 guild application invites, and 500 solo application invites.

The first year of gameplay is going to be building the infrastructure of the world. the vast majority of players are not interested in laying down infrastructure. Someone who wants to 'play' will be better off joining a year after launch when the gears are turning and 'builders' have generated enough content to keep 'players' busy.

This game has a log of long-time requirement aspects, so the nature of the initial game needs to be very slow. IF they up the number to 25k, they will have 100k by the 4th month and nowhere for them to all go, instead of having 100k by the end of the first two years and a solid platform for everyone to play on.

What happens if you don't get in? nothing, you wait. The best frame of mind to have at launch is "i'm not going to play until after the second year, and if i get in earlier that would be great" The game won't put you at a disadvantage other than you have to walk a little further to found your community after you have been playing for a few months and have the required resources to do so.

One correction: Nowhere is it said that the people that leave will open up new slots.

Goblin Squad Member

Science Mile wrote:

Yeah I was meaning the limited Invites.

Maybe they're trying to pull a Willy Wonka/Cartman Land with it, where the limited supply makes it all the more valuable.

I do think it could risk irritating people and stunting the growth of the game, but I have a little faith that they know what they're doing.

Actually, doing the limited launch thing is kind of already a precedent. Preorders for SWTOR got in ahead of time and could actually play. This would be that kind of thing, but on a much broader scale.

They could also bring in the batches spread out across weeks instead of months. That would be 1125 per week instead of the 4500 per month. Speeding up access for people down the line by being able to watch use and up the invites as needed.

What they do will really depend on what demand appears to be prelaunch. Right now, we're just guesstimating based on the kickstarter. Once we have game footage and actual examples of gameplay things may be different (either for bigger or smaller) and they'll need to scale their plans appropriately.

Goblin Squad Member

Science Mile wrote:

Yeah I was meaning the limited Invites.

Maybe they're trying to pull a Willy Wonka/Cartman Land with it, where the limited supply makes it all the more valuable.

I do think it could risk irritating people and stunting the growth of the game, but I have a little faith that they know what they're doing.

Actually, doing the limited launch thing is kind of already a precedent. Preorders for SWTOR got in ahead of time and could actually play. This would be that kind of thing, but on a much broader scale.

They could also bring in the batches spread out across weeks instead of months. That would be 1125 per week instead of the 4500 per month. Speeding up access for people down the line by being able to watch use and up the invites as needed.

What they do will really depend on what demand appears to be prelaunch. Right now, we're just guesstimating based on the kickstarter. Once we have game footage and actual examples of gameplay things may be different (either for bigger or smaller) and they'll need to scale their plans appropriately.

Taldor Goblinworks Founder

I would wait but i hope i don't have to.

Goblin Squad Member

Kryzbyn wrote:
Ryan said he wanted 4 to 4.5k in on the first run. That amount covers all backers nicely. I'd be amazed if the backers weren't the first group tapped to beta or play.

This, and...

I have pretty much been impressed across the board with the quality of the Pathfinder game. Paizo has done a really good job growing the game in a variety of ways and I have a lot of confidence in the brand. My guess is that the game will expand to accommodate the new players, without leaving them in the dust relative to the players who started in the first batch. How they will do this, I really can't say, but they will. It may be that as new players begin, new lands will open up, or the old players will create opportunities that didn't exist when the population was smaller.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Hopefully those opportunities will not be as... untrust worth as EVEs player business models (hauling contracts were such scams). Ideally those low level 'fetch' quests could be set by player kingdoms as a more user friendly item exchange system. "Get me 20 rat tails" and I as the poster get a discount for setting it at or slightly above NPC fetch quest rates, while the newb gets to work with an actual player in some form.

Keep in mind that part of being in the Goblin Squad was to be kept informed of specials and updates prior to them going live. A good example would be when those "Slots" go open. Goblin Squad members would most likely get first notice and thus "crack" at them. It would not surprise me if the first open set is take by mostly Goblin Squad Kickstarters. This gives an already proven interested group a chance to lay the ground work and get those player social structures up and running, if we don't get them running even prior to launch.

Goblin Squad Member

coach wrote:

I wonder if the Kickstarter has GW and Paizo rethinking some of their math? ... still "locked out" ... ESPECIALLY those that have contributed (I'm in for $200 on just the tech demo, no telling what I'll pledge for the real launch Kickstarter)

I definitely understand your concerns. I, too, would be disappointed not to make it in in the first or second wave. I, too, feel that my contribution to the Kickstarter entitles me to preferential access.

Gilthy wrote:

Also remember that this isn't a themepark game. We (the players) are the content as much as we are the customer. With a low-ish amount of players starting out, there is more chance of the social structures needed for a game of this kind being formed ... I hope it will be a game of exploration and community building.

This is exactly the stuff I want to get in early for. I want to be part of this emerging world in its infancy, and I'm looking forward to finding a guild that suits my RP style, which I believe will help to hedge my bets.

I do not disagree with GW's limited enrollment policy. Many good points have already been made in its defense, above this post, so I need not restate them.

The consensus among the posters here seems to be that Goblin Squad members should have nothing to worry about. I long to believe this, but I'd like to hear something more concrete from a developer.

Valkenr wrote:

I would be very surprised if the backers got first draw. I know there are questions and answers asking this, and the answer was no. GW would be stupid to do something like that. The first round of players needs to we selected from guilds that will get the world turning, not random people. I wouldn't be surprised if the first round was 4000 guild application invites, and 500 solo application invites.

The first year of gameplay is going to be building the infrastructure of the world. the vast majority of players are not interested in laying down infrastructure. Someone who wants to 'play' will be better off joining a year after launch when the gears are turning and 'builders' have generated enough content to keep 'players' busy.

@Valkenr: I think your argument makes sense to some extent, but high-level backers are almost certainly people who are excited by the very systems you describe as boring-to-typical-players, hence their contributions. At least, I know I would be thrilled to participate in the processes of settling our new world.

Valkenr wrote:
What happens if you don't get in? nothing, you wait. The best frame of mind to have at launch is "i'm not going to play until after the second year, and if i get in earlier that would be great."

I would find it absolutely intolerable to wait one year, much less your suggested two. I want to see the history of the land unfold before my eyes and beneath my feet; I *don't* want to have to peruse a ponderous wiki, months or years after launch, to catch up on what others did with the opportunities I coveted.

I'm not asking for the admission of Goblin Squad members en masse. I seek rather the preferential opportunity for us to demonstrate why we're good candidates for early invitation. We proved our loyalty and interest once already, with money; however, I'll be the first to admit that amount of disposable income doesn't necessarily reflect level of interest in PFO. My interest, for instance, far exceeds the contribution I could afford. But I was lucky to be able to spare enough to make a statement of support. Now, I want the opportunity to make an even clearer statement, in writing.

So, I entreat GW thus: Give us Goblin Squad members the first chance to demonstrate, unequivocally and fairly, that we will bring, not merely money, but also passion and industry to your brave new world! To our brave new world.

(Perhaps an essay contest or the like?)

Goblinworks Founder

Honestly, money speaks, end of story. I shouldn't have to jump through any other hoops to be able to get in, and I know I will certainly be more than a little pissed off if I'm not given the opportunity to join this from the starter. It would not have happened at all without the Kickstarter, and EVERYONE who pledged(regardless of how small of a pledge they made)should be getting preferential treatment for getting in.

Goblin Squad Member

MaverickWolf, that would be lovely. But in the event that they aren't willing to guarantee us 1st or 2nd wave access, wouldn't you like the opportunity to improve your chances?

Goblin Squad Member

They gave out a few hints somewhere about what helps eg

1. Goblin Squad get early dibs on dev news -> esp. forum badges goin'.
2. Active in feedback/forums
3. Helping foster community interaction/spirit etc

...

In other mmorpgs "EARLY" often means -> helping testing also = work and is less fun but for the greater good of the end product. Worth comparing the difference in intial experience with developed game experience. :)

Goblin Squad Member

I think this is possiby the most legitimate concern about the entire business model of PFO.

I have friends that are unwilling to get excited about it because they don't want to even "want" to play a game that they may not be able to get into right away.

That's a legitimate position to take.

However,

I think there's a key point that needs to be remembered. This is NOT the AAA MMO business model at work. IMHO what Ryan Dancey et al are trying to do is BREAK that mold and forge through to a new model of less expensive/faster design and development potentially opening the world to MANY games like this rather than 1 MMO trying to rule them all.

Stop thinking SWTOR and think big Pathfinder (or D&D or Legacy of Heroes...whichever you prefer) Home game.

Obviously PFO will be in the middle somewhere, far far greater than 8 people around a table in my basement, but far far smaller than the millions of subscriptions SWTOR got on their opening day.

Now, one COULD say my tabletop game is so exclusive that no one who wants to play can...sure...but not a lot of people are insisting to play MY game, because they can start their own easily enough.

Again, I think we'll find a middle ground here...PFO may be the first of MANY PFOs. And other mMOs that adopt this new business model.

I can imagine a second PFO server would be an ENTIRELY different gaming experience after a year or so of player involvement.

The potential is huge. IF they can solve for the "initial landrush", the "initial surge in players wanting to play" and the "wanting to play with people we know".

If they can get over that hurdle...this could change the way online games are made and played.

mMORPG not MMORPG.

I for one can't wait. But if I have to...then so be it.

Goblin Squad Member

Off topic sorry:

Half the cost, half the time- Most indie sandbox mmo's take 4 to 6 years and 10-40 million.
Pathfinder will take two years and 5 million to make alpha.

First 2yrs developing the alpha client with cost of 2.5 mill a year.

Third year beta with payed testers, 4.5k every month for 6 months, open free to play12k players every month for 6 months.

Total players is 100k first year.

6 months x 4.5k subs = 27,000
6 months x 12k F2P = 72,000

27,000 subs at $15 month = 3.797 million
72,000 F2P at $5 month = 1.260 million

Total revenue third year beta = 5.057 million

So it cost 5 mill to make the game in two years, slow release the third year that generates 5 mill revenue. The third year beta cost 2.5m in development leaving 2.5m in revenue payed back to investors, buy the forth year all 5m is payed back to investors with a 2.5m profit.

In three years 50% investment money payed back and a profit of 2.5m!

Not bad for an indie sandbox game!!

Goblin Squad Member

I will rage to the 10th degree lol.

But, since I pledged to the Kickstarter being part of the goblin squad should help.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.
coach wrote:


What about the customers you may lose if they don't get an invite in the first few months?

While this is a risk, I think the risk is minimal.

On the other hand, I know what happens when you allow unrestricted access to a sandbox MMO. It happened with EVE Online for China. China does not allow online services to be connected to global servers so EVE had to make a second server for the Chinese market.

Unlike the main EVE Online server which had developed slowly due to the pace of acquisitions in the west, in China there are millions of people ready to jump into any new MMO and give it a test. On the day when the EVE Online China server was opened to the public, it was a disaster.

What happened was that without time for characters to develop abilities, spread out into the sandbox, form social networks, and basically learn how to use the very complex systems of the EVE game, instead everyone just shot at each other with newbie ships.

As soon as you undocked from a station, you got blown up. Characters couldn't get out of the starting systems, and the experience most people had was 30 seconds of ship flight followed by being destroyed and put back into the station to start again.

The game never recovered from this launch. After a few weeks the game was vacant. It took years to get to 10K active accounts and still more years to get to 20K active accounts. The reputation the game got in those first days stays with it to the present. You only get one chance to make a first impression with an MMO.

Launching a sandbox MMO is almost as tricky as running it. Too few players and the game feels empty and boring - a recipe for an early flameout; people don't play empty MMOs. To many people and the only thing you can do is gank each other, and that degenerate gameplay drives away most of your target market.

This is one of the advantages we have going into Pathfinder Online. Because this is a known problem, we're paying attention to solving it up front.

Goblin Squad Member

good point ryan, i would never have considered that.
I was more thinking along the line of the more testers the better.

Since people build the content, you need a lot of people to test how that works out for them.

Seeing as there are some really dedicated people visiting these forums on daily basis, it would be rather weird not to make use of them, building the game and turn it into FUN.

Cause thats what it all boils down to in the end, if a game is not fun, i will not be playing it.


Justin Tanner wrote:
coach wrote:


If you do the math for 4500 each month, and 25% of them drop out, then at the second month they will open up 4500 new spots PLUS fill in the 1125 (25% that dropped).

They can't fill those spots that dropped. Kicking someone out of the game because they missed their subscription reup by a couple days won't go over well. There are any number of reasons why I might play July, but not August, play September and October, but not November. I might go on vacation, or get sick, or try another game, or have to decide between rent and Pathfinder, etc.

Goblin Squad Member

Personaly, I think it's a matter of degree and how it's handled. I may be a little disappointed but I definately won't be freaked out if I don't get in within the first few batches.

On the other hand, I would be rather annoyed if I had to wait a YEAR after the game first launched in order to get an invite. Especialy so if I had been consistantly supportive of the project before launch, such as by contributing to Kickstarters and being active on the boards.

The other large factor will be how they handle expansion of the game. If the territory has been claimed, all the dungeons explored, all the organizations established, story-arcs played out, etc. by the first couple months after launch, then it's going to royaly suck being a new player coming in afterwards.

With this sort of game, there tends to be a HUGE advantage in being first, early in terms of access. Goblinworks is going to have to be pretty carefull in balancing out the pace by which they expand the game (territory wise) and the opportunities they provide for new incoming players as the game grows (and the player base expands). If new incoming players end up feeling like 3rd class citizens or useless unnamed extras for any significant length of time after thier entry, then it's going to be a deathknell for this phased growth model.

From my experience as a player in some large, long running MUD's, I believe it IS possible to provide that sort of experience for new players. However, it takes a CONSCIOUS and consistant effort on behalf of both the DEV's and the Player Community to be OPEN, INCLUSIVE and WELCOMING to new players and allow them the ability to find thier place in the sun/spotlight. That means doing things like ACTIVELY involving them in Story Arcs, Plotlines, Events. Making sure that there are ways within thier abilities that they can positively contribute to organizations and events. Making sure that they can be somewhat competitive with established players at least in a very narrow/limited spectrum of activities. Making sure that they have room to establish themselves and thier own legacies.

There is a tendency for new incoming players in these sorts of games to get crushed or swept to the side as unimportant in these style games. That can't happen if you want an active, healthy and growing player base over the long term. New players can't be made to feel as they are consistantly relagated to playing un-named red-shirt #3478, You've got to at least occasionaly give them the opportunity to play a Sulu or Checkov or Harcourt F. Mudd for an episode here and there. I'm convinced that IS achievable but both GW and us, the community, have to make it an ACTIVE PRIORITY to do so. YMMV.


Ryan Dancey wrote:
coach wrote:


What about the customers you may lose if they don't get an invite in the first few months?

While this is a risk, I think the risk is minimal.

I think you're wrong. I'm anticipating Pathfinder more than any other MMO EVER. And I've played most of them. But if I don't get in the first month, maybe the second, I'll lose interest fast. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. I think you vastly underestimate the MILLIONS of people looking for something different than WoW. I anticipate a monsoon of customers just dying to get into PFO, and then moving on to whatever the newest game is, or continuing to play game x and forgetting about PFO. When given the choice to play one game, or waiting in line to play a better game, well, this is the age of instant gratification. You'll lose a ton of customers. if you turn them away, they'll become someone else's customer.

Goblin Squad Member

JRR wrote:
if you turn them away, they'll become someone else's customer.

If he lets them all in right away, then the entire game will bomb.

JRR wrote:
I think you vastly underestimate the MILLIONS of people looking for something different than WoW.

He's well aware of this group of people, and has talked about them a lot.

JRR wrote:
I anticipate a monsoon of customers just dying to get into PFO, and then moving on to whatever the newest game is, or continuing to play game x and forgetting about PFO.

Do you really think those players will hold a grudge, and ignore the invitation when it finally does come? I doubt it...


Nihimon wrote:
JRR wrote:
if you turn them away, they'll become someone else's customer.

If he lets them all in right away, then the entire game will bomb.

JRR wrote:
I think you vastly underestimate the MILLIONS of people looking for something different than WoW.

He's well aware of this group of people, and has talked about them a lot.

JRR wrote:
I anticipate a monsoon of customers just dying to get into PFO, and then moving on to whatever the newest game is, or continuing to play game x and forgetting about PFO.
Do you really think those players will hold a grudge, and ignore the invitation when it finally does come? I doubt it...

I understand they need to stagger invites, but 4500 a month is tiny. Staggering by week makes much more sense. And it's not about holding a grudge. It's about losing interest. If I get an invite 3 months in I might accept it. Or I might not if something else has my attention. I'll certainly hold PFO no ill will, in either case, but when I'm hungry, I want to eat, so if I have to choose between Mcdonald's now or a fine steak restaurant tomorrow, I'll have a Big Mac, please.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.
JRR wrote:
I understand they need to stagger invites, but 4500 a month is tiny. Staggering by week makes much more sense. And it's not about holding a grudge. It's about losing interest. If I get an invite 3 months in I might accept it. Or I might not if something else has my attention. I'll certainly hold PFO no ill will, in either case, but when I'm hungry, I want to eat, so if I have to choose between Mcdonald's now or a fine steak restaurant tomorrow, I'll have a Big Mac, please.

So every week GW gets to:

1. Make sure the hardware can handle the stress
2. Make sure the software doesn't run into any volume of request issues
3. Make sure the economy is running smoothly
4. Upgrade the hardware
5. Upgrade the software
6. Make sure the upgraded software doesn't ruin anything
7. Make sure the upgraded hardware doesn't ruin anything
8. Fix bugs
9. Add a few hexes.

This is not a contrast to BioWare's staggered launch for SWTOR which was nothing more than early reservations for beta testers and pre-orders. PFO's stagger is to make sure the game can handle the load, and make sure that the population doesn't explode out of control, it is as much hardware as game growing.

The starting game is not going to be pretty, it is going to take players that can handle a very basic game and understand how it is going to change, and how they can make it grow. I would consider the game not 'launched' until there have been people playing in it for a year.

If someone is so fickle that they are not able to wait and threaten to leave, they are not the type of player that PFO needs in the first year of its life, and they should not get an invite until they let everyone else in.

Goblinworks Founder

JRR wrote:
I'll certainly hold PFO no ill will, in either case, but when I'm hungry, I want to eat, so if I have to choose between Mcdonald's now or a fine steak restaurant tomorrow, I'll have a Big Mac, please.

But You'll be hungry tomorrow too :) Those who really want to play will wait for the invite, as will I. Those who wont wait are more prone to have less interest altogether and stop playing sooner than those willing to wait for their turn.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I know many of you already understand why we're limiting the launch, but it might nevertheless be helpful to make the reason why a bit more visual. Check out this graph:

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

Note that for an high percentage of the games that launched in this century, you see a big spike that lasts just a few months, often followed by a pretty big plunge.

This is why traditional MMO development has been so time-consuming and expensive. Because they're preparing to launch for a huge audience, they have to invest a lot of time and money into content (to keep all those people entertained) and infrastructure (to keep the servers running under the load, and to deal with all the customer service issues). Basically, they have to build for the spike. Otherwise, as many of you know firsthand, if an MMO doesn't have enough content at launch, players flee, and if it doesn't have enough infrastructure, players flee. And after players have fled, the publishers learn that they've built for a larger player base than they actually have, and they start running into cost problems, and thus begins the decline.

Note that the handful of games that avoid the spike (mostly sandbox games, by the way) tend to actually have really decent long-term growth, and are likely to remain viable for many years.

By limiting the player base, we gain control of exactly how much content and infrastructure we need at launch—and that means we can spend less time and less money, because we don't need to support a short-term spike. We don't need to build a world for 100,000 players out of the gate, and we don't need the infrastructure to support 100,000 customers, so we can spend a lot less time, and a lot less money, to get to launch.

Goblin Squad Member

JRR wrote:
Ryan Dancey wrote:
coach wrote:


What about the customers you may lose if they don't get an invite in the first few months?

While this is a risk, I think the risk is minimal.

I think you're wrong. I'm anticipating Pathfinder more than any other MMO EVER. And I've played most of them. But if I don't get in the first month, maybe the second, I'll lose interest fast. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. I think you vastly underestimate the MILLIONS of people looking for something different than WoW. I anticipate a monsoon of customers just dying to get into PFO, and then moving on to whatever the newest game is, or continuing to play game x and forgetting about PFO. When given the choice to play one game, or waiting in line to play a better game, well, this is the age of instant gratification. You'll lose a ton of customers. if you turn them away, they'll become someone else's customer.

But you're not understanding the term "risk" as it's being applied here.

The risk you are thinking about is the risk that you'll not be their customer.

The risk he's talking about is that they won't have as many customers as they want/need.

Those two things are not equivalent.

In a model where they don't expect even a fraction of the AAA title's initial subscribers after a YEAR of being live the loss of interest by some people is not the risk it is when a million+ subscription model is at work.

PFO is clearly not trying to beat WoW at their own game. They're trying to make a NEW mode of game that fills a gap in current gaming. If they're successful there will be a whole new world in which these kinds of games can and will be made and NOT have the expectations that have KILLED some really good games in the post WoW world. Because mMOs will be dominant over MMOs...

I may have it wrong but that's my take.

The best thing PFO can do (IMHO) is be an AMAZING game for a MUCH smaller player base than the current AAA MMO market. It will change the way game design happens from that point on. If the other people not in that smaller player base lose interest then so be it. The idea is to be successful financially and create a new form of gaming. If that happens then more and more of these mMOs will arise and people will have plenty of options.

I personally see PFO as more like a mMO model that makes them successful with 50,000 players instead of a MMO with 300,000 players that is financially sinking because they NEED 500,000.

Goblin Squad Member

As they already said, they will grow the world as needed to make place for new players.

One of the main aspects of kingdom building games is that once kingdoms have been build, established palyers are actually quite static.

You won't have them running in the new zones en masse overpowering everyone because these new zones are far away and distance matters in a sandbox (something that new school MMO players usually forget).

Goblin Squad Member

@Thane9, that's a very good point about proving out a new business model that allows smaller games to thrive. I'd also add that the decision to limit early growth might also create an incentive for the players who do get invited to have a stronger commitment to the game.

MicMan wrote:
As they already said, they will grow the world as needed to make place for new players.

Indeed. From LFG! (Looking for Group!):

Quote:
We also want to avoid some of the missteps that have happened in other games. We want to ensure that there's always enough space so that new settlements and kingdoms can form. We want to avoid the problem of choke points that restrict access to key resources, making whomever got to those points first the de facto "winners" in the economy. We also want to retain the sense that the land is wild and untamed. You'll be able to leave civilization behind and go out in the dark areas of the map where nothing rules except monsters, robbers, and cults.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:

I'd also add that the decision to limit early growth might also create an incentive for the players who do get invited to have a stronger commitment to the game.

I think the importance of this comment is huge, especially in a sandbox environment that focuses on player interaction.

Goblin Squad Member

In my opinion 4500 per month is legitimate.

This MMO has some significant differences than others. It would be better to expand slowly, and adjust the game as necessary, than to open the flood gates only to have the entire player base mad because no one can heal due to the lack of farming the important common ingredient. With only a few players suffering through until the crafting groups get going, and then healing potions are 10 for a gp. (or whatever the currency is.)

Don’t forget the currency. In the beginning, there isn’t any money in the players hands. No one has any. No one can offer any quest to another, because they don’t have the money to attract anyone to do the quest. There will be some time, when the players craft things just to sell them to the town merchant so they can get money into players hands.

The first three months will be very trying for the players. They have ‘Paid’ for the game, and will spend a lot of time working on the infrastructure. Building roads, the next town, ect. Not exactly the heart pounding thrill most are hoping for. Don’t forget the programming bugs, or balance issues. Everyone screams when their class gets nerfed because a particular skill makes their character over powered. Much better to have that happen with a small group, than the masses.

I also don’t think the initial group will be just the extensively experienced players either, or those on the message boards, or those which gave significant money. Obviously many players will come from this group, but GoblinWorks has stated several times they are serious about the casual gamer. The gamer who plays 10 to 12 hours a week, should be close in power to those who play 8 hours a day. They will need a significant number of these players from the start, to insure the character progression does not leave them behind. If I had a guess, I would say between 600 to 900 in the first month, and consistently higher percentages in the few months which follow.


Elorebaen wrote:
Nihimon wrote:

I'd also add that the decision to limit early growth might also create an incentive for the players who do get invited to have a stronger commitment to the game.

I think the importance of this comment is huge, especially in a sandbox environment that focuses on player interaction.

Both comments are worth repeating.

While I seriously hope I would be among the first after following the progress for so long. If by chance I am not, I would just as eagerly wait for my turn to see what those that did have made the world into.

Goblin Squad Member

JRR wrote:
Justin Tanner wrote:

If you do the math for 4500 each month, and 25% of them drop out, then at the second month they will open up 4500 new spots PLUS fill in the 1125 (25% that dropped).

They can't fill those spots that dropped. Kicking someone out of the game because they missed their subscription reup by a couple days won't go over well. There are any number of reasons why I might play July, but not August, play September and October, but not November. I might go on vacation, or get sick, or try another game, or have to decide between rent and Pathfinder, etc.

They could count you as gone, though, for purposes of letting more people in. "Ok, of our 4500 this month, 1500 seem to have stopped playing. That's a little high, so we'll open the doors to 6000 people for the next month." It doesn't mean you lose your account, or your spot, just that it would let them include someone else.

That being said, I'm not sure the "fill in" model would actually do what they want their system to do, so I suspect they're just going to be sticking to 4500. (Unless someone has said something otherwise, anyway.) Assuming the 25% dropout rate becomes more invites, they'll end up inviting 5999 people per month instead of 4500. (4500 + (25% * 5999) = 5999) The math works out so that repeatedly adding 25% of the prior number to the base number ends up being the same as adding a third to the base number (4500 + 4500*1/3 = 5999). With dropouts, that means that after a year they would have 52491 people instead of 40500. That's a bit over 2.5 extra months worth of people.

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