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Phase III of PFO Development


Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

Another interesting tidbit from the Thornkeep book:

Thornkeep Sourcebook wrote:

Phase III: Full Production

This phase will begin after the technology demo is complete, and after we have secured the additional funding necessary to begin work. During the time between the end of Phase II and the start of Phase III, the team we assembled in Phase II will continue to work on the game, but the scope of that work will be constrained by the size of the staff.
Full production will involve expanding the staff. We’ll expand to about 18 people as soon as we can, and grow throughout the next year to about 22 full-time employees. The goal of this period of work is to get to a stage where we can open the game to paying players. A big part of our strategy is to begin collecting revenue from players as early as possible to have the players participate in the funding of ongoing development. All MMOs do this; we’re just going to do it much sooner than most.

The output of this period will be fleshing out the Crusader Road and basic game systems: harvesting, processing, crafting, player-versus-environment combat (PvE), player-versus-player combat (PvP), social organizations (parties and chartered companies), and some structures. The game will begin with a limited selection of races, classes, skills, merit badges, and abilities. It will have a small number of PvE challenges— monsters, environmental effects, traps, and so on. Character customization will be limited, but there will be enough options to ensure that everyone doesn’t look the same. The territory of
the Crusader Road will be developed in general, but not every hex will necessarily be fully detailed. This phase will take approximately 12 months. Of course, it may take longer as we encounter and solve problems we did not expect to encounter. We’ve made commitments to each other to hold fast to that 12-month schedule, and it’s the plan we intend to follow.

Ryan, would you please clarify something? I was interested in this comment: "The goal of this period of work is to get to a stage where we can open the game to paying players. A big part of our strategy is to begin collecting revenue from players as early as possible to have the players participate in the funding of ongoing development." I take this to mean that during Phase III (not between II and III), when the first wave of iterative players/testers come in, they will pay a fee. And that this is in contrast to the idea of a "beta test" where testers do not pay a fee.

Is that correct?

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Paid beta testing is creeping its way into the market, most new smaller studio games offer a pre-purchase after alpha testing, and that pre-purchase involves guaranteed beta.

The trick is going to be getting the game to a point where there will be no major changes that throw off peoples builds, or changes that reduce the effort required to do something. And if there are, I hope there are ways to compensate the effected players.

At least we have a winter 2013 launch window now.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

One thing I've talked about earlier that I really think would be a good idea for them is identifying some of the things they are going to offer in the microtransaction system and offer the ability to buy them ahead of time. Or maybe just the ability to buy currency for their microtransaction system. This would allow people to give them additional funding now, and give those supporters something that they can use when PFO is released later.

I know personally, if PFO released something like that I would start paying 15$ a month into it as if the game were already released purely to support the project.

Goblin Squad Member

One thing that The Repopulation is doing, is rewarding early donators with alternative currency, that will be used to purchace things that won't be part of their cash shop.

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:

One thing I've talked about earlier that I really think would be a good idea for them is identifying some of the things they are going to offer in the microtransaction system and offer the ability to buy them ahead of time. Or maybe just the ability to buy currency for their microtransaction system. This would allow people to give them additional funding now, and give those supporters something that they can use when PFO is released later.

I know personally, if PFO released something like that I would start paying 15$ a month into it as if the game were already released purely to support the project.

This isn't a bad idea... Let people start stockpiling Goblinbucks now to get some more investment into the game earlier, up to an including just opening GoblinMart early...

Valkenr wrote:
One thing that The Repopulation is doing, is rewarding early donators with alternative currency, that will be used to purchace things that won't be part of their cash shop.

... And offering some exclusive early-bird fluff doesn't sound like it would hurt, either.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Many have expressed interest in donating for the now-complete kickstarter. I don't see why you can't just reopen it or start a new one.

I for one missed out because I had no idea that PFO existed until I one day thought "It would be great if there were a Pathfinder MMO. Lets google that and see what I find."

CEO, Goblinworks

We've been wrestling over what to call the point where the first paying players enter the game. After a lot of back and forth, I think we're going to call it the "Beta". As has been remarked elsewhere in this thread, it's becoming somewhat common to see people pay to play in a beta. And there are services like Google Mail that launched with the "beta" tag on them and were certainly considered to be "real" products not products in test.

RyanD

Goblin Squad Member

Thanks for responding Ryan.

Goblin Squad Member

I'd too would be happy to start stock piling some sky metal bits. The way it stands I'll only be able to afford one ongoing subscription, which will mean I can only have main character. The idea of being able to build up some sky metal bits so I can train more than one character would be awesome. That way I can test out a few options before being locked into a main character. It would also be neat if the cost for skill training packages after the first receives a discount.

Goblin Squad Member

Xein wrote:

Many have expressed interest in donating for the now-complete kickstarter. I don't see why you can't just reopen it or start a new one.

I for one missed out because I had no idea that PFO existed until I one day thought "It would be great if there were a Pathfinder MMO. Lets google that and see what I find."

I would love to see a new fund raising activity. Paid "Beta" would be fine with me. Early Goblin Market would be great also. I missed getting into the kickstart program due to my finances. But now I am able to help fund whats looking like to be an awesome game

Goblin Squad Member

A "beta" where there's no wipe, but rather a playing development, would be worth my money.

CEO, Goblinworks

@Mbando - that would be the commitment. Once we go to Beta there's no more server resets (barring some catastrophic degeneration in the game that we can't fix any other way).

Goblin Squad Member

In my mind, I would be getting added value for something like that: the enjoyment of playing and exploring, but also the chance to have input and help shape the game.

I'd be in.

Goblin Squad Member

I've always thought it would be kind of cool to have a Beta that slowly introduces the player Races, in the same order the Lore says they came into being.

Goblin Squad Member

@Nihimon

I can see major problems with doing that here, I would expect every race the game would ever have to be available at launch. With the long term character development I don't think it is fair to release races later in the game. If races are added I would want to see a system where players can change their race after creation.

Since all the races in PF are known, I don't want to see a situation where someone sees the race they really wanted after putting considerable time and money into a character they had to settle on.


Nihimon wrote:
I've always thought it would be kind of cool to have a Beta that slowly introduces the player Races, in the same order the Lore says they came into being.

Same here, but it was part of a larger desire to see glimpses of past lore leading up to the present "launch" timeframe phased in with each beta wipe.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

I would think that there should be a phase between "open to testing to selected people" and "we intend to have zero additional server resets."

I think that line is a good place to expect revenue to start.

Goblin Squad Member

As seems to be the stated intention, character retention is really the obvious point. People know they are playing a 'beta' product and are assisting the game development as much as they are playing. The payoff for both sides is pretty evident and would work well as far as I am concerned.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
I've always thought it would be kind of cool to have a Beta that slowly introduces the player Races, in the same order the Lore says they came into being.

Cool idea! Or perhaps just introducing ideas in relation to the history of the area.

Goblin Squad Member

Much like Izzlyn said, I had always seen it as a way to gradually release new lands and new races and classes to the beta testers.

While I totally understand Valkenr's position that no one wants to be forced to play an Elf until Dwarves are released, I still think it would be very, very cool if the actual game had actual players who could tell stories about their lives back in ancient history. But that's probably because I'd play an Elf anyway :)

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

At what stage of release would it be feasible for those of us who want to "Give this world-PvP thing a go despite our misgivings because we really like Pathfinder and want to test the waters and hope that our cynicism isn't true" to jump in for a bit?

Goblin Squad Member

@Chuck

Earlier would be better. That way people are busy trying to accomplish other things and get organized. Every one is totally equal and the learning curve isn't there yet. It gives you a chance to learn how to avoid those situations or deal with them at the same others are learning to use them.

Goblin Squad Member

Chuck Wright wrote:
At what stage of release would it be feasible for those of us who want to "Give this world-PvP thing a go despite our misgivings because we really like Pathfinder and want to test the waters and hope that our cynicism isn't true" to jump in for a bit?

100%, I'd say as early as possible:

- smaller community is better for starting imo.
- The limited release suggests early adopters will be especially interested in PfO so again another positive (atmosphere/friendliness etc).
- Devs will be interested in feedback on what players would like prioritised/developed further.
- Also because of the aforementioned, you'd expect less problems with the playerbase that afflict a lot of mmorpgs.
- But most of all, being a part of shaping some hexes/kingdoms/settlements etc and treaties, so that substantial parts of the world map reflect the sort of game you'd like it to be. !

Goblin Squad Member

AvenaOats wrote:
Chuck Wright wrote:
At what stage of release would it be feasible for those of us who want to "Give this world-PvP thing a go despite our misgivings because we really like Pathfinder and want to test the waters and hope that our cynicism isn't true" to jump in for a bit?

100%, I'd say as early as possible:

- smaller community is better for starting imo.
- The limited release suggests early adopters will be especially interested in PfO so again another positive (atmosphere/friendliness etc).
- Devs will be interested in feedback on what players would like prioritised/developed further.
- Also because of the aforementioned, you'd expect less problems with the playerbase that afflict a lot of mmorpgs.
- But most of all, being a part of shaping some hexes/kingdoms/settlements etc and treaties, so that substantial parts of the world map reflect the sort of game you'd like it to be. !

Seconded this, in general each wave of players adopts and lives by the code of conduct of the previous generation, in other words the sooner you get in, the more influence you will have, IE the more people like you there are in the begining, the more likely the more likely the future community will also be playing in a similar style to you.

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

Well here's to hoping that I won't have to wait too long with the limited release schedule.

Goblin Squad Member

Onishi wrote:


Seconded this, in general each wave of players adopts and lives by the code of conduct of the previous generation, in other words the sooner you get in, the more influence you will have, IE the more people like you there are in the begining, the more likely the more likely the future community will also be playing in a similar style to you.

Indeed. Why, we social scientists even have a name for this: culture.

;)

Goblin Squad Member , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

I thinkt hat a game like this will only work well if you limit the initial amount of players.

This way the most dedicated players will form the community that is so important to an MMO with real interaction.

As more and more people stream in there will be already a social structure that is able to perform the sort of neighborhood watch that is needed to make the game hard on griefers.

That said it is very well possible that not all the die-hard fans can come in at the very start and that waiting for just 30 to 90 days can feel endless.

Goblin Squad Member

MicMan wrote:

I thinkt hat a game like this will only work well if you limit the initial amount of players.

This way the most dedicated players will form the community that is so important to an MMO with real interaction.

As more and more people stream in there will be already a social structure that is able to perform the sort of neighborhood watch that is needed to make the game hard on griefers.

That said it is very well possible that not all the die-hard fans can come in at the very start and that waiting for just 30 to 90 days can feel endless.

Well, that's the plan, but how many people will be coming in at a time, and how frequently they will be adding people at the start, are unknown.

Ryan Dancey, from the Goblinworks blog wrote:
As we've said before, we're going to be opening the game to paying players in a nontraditional manner, gating the number of new players into the game at less than 5,000 a month for most of the first year.

This came from the "Time Keeps On Slipping, Slipping, Slipping into the Future!" blog entry on 9-26-2012.

The people that backed the Kickstarter project numbers 4,212.
The Goblin Squad, who are supposed to get priority access, numbers 3,125.

So it really depends upon how many less than 5K that they let in at a time.
Since the earliest days of the game are going to be a combination of live launch and beta, they will need some decent numbers to generate a critical mass for game systems to function.

If I had to bet, I would say that the Goblin Squad will be invited in by month two. Half in the first month (largest donors and most constructive/active on the boards) and then the rest in the second month.
Maybe everyone gets in at the start, but if I am betting, I am betting conservatively.

I am guessing that they will be seting up a registration when they get their site up and running, though, and everyone will still have to do that.
I doubt that someone that committed to the project on Kickstarter but doesn't actually follow through to register will be contacted.
registration on their site is probably going to be required to get consideration to get into the launch/beta.

Goblin Squad Member

So we are currently in Phase 3?

Goblin Squad Member

JakBlitz wrote:
So we are currently in Phase 3?

Not quite.

Quote:

Phase III: Full Production

This phase will begin after the technology demo is complete, and after we have secured the additional funding necessary to begin work. During the time between the end of Phase II and the start of Phase III, the team we assembled in Phase II will continue to work on the game, but the scope of that work will be constrained by the size of the staff.

We are currently "During the time between the end of Phase II and the start of Phase III".

Goblin Squad Member

There's been a couple of interesting mmorpgs announced that are in development (eg the repopulation, greed monger, citadel of sorcery etc and I'm sure there's a few others which propose some fascinating features) but none seem as structured in terms of their basic premises*% ie if I was presenting why I was making a mmorpg, how I was anticipating making it in light of previous mmorpgs, the sort of problems faced and where it was going to be different and so on, PfO ticks the boxes in a logical way. It actually sounds sane, which for mmorpg development is crazy!

The main question in my mind is regarding the middleware. A lot depends on this or at least on the developers use of it. So I am very interested to see the demo in context to proposed features (and of course for fun!).

*eg sandboxes vs themeparks vid
%I hope investors are savvy enough to be able to identify this.

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