I saw a lot of people complaining about PvP and not wanting that, and while I realize that it was a major turn-off for many Pathfinder TT players when they learned about a Pathfinder video game, it was Ryan's vision of a well-regulated, world-building, settlement-focused PvP sandbox that drew myself and all of my online friends to Pathfinder.
We saw this game as doing sandbox like nothing before it, with players able to join a settlement and not just be lone wolves out in the wilderness. In most existing PvP sandboxes players either belonging to a massive PvP guild (or "clan" as they are called in most existing PvP sandboxes) or they are just bait and quickly quit and leave. This results in a "clan-box" (sandbox variant) inhabited only by ruthless clans as the rest of the player-base quits before they can organize and defend each other. Ryan's vision of join-able communities meant that the average player (individual, small group, or even large group) could find a home and join a community right from the start, without having to join a massive guild just to survive. This was the unique and brilliant design idea in Ryan's vision. It is still unique and brilliant today.
Based on Ryan's unique and brilliant idea, we followed this game heavily and many of us backed it. I was in the alpha test and, at one point, had 10 guild members all in and helping to test.
While Ryan's idea may not have been the right thing to build an MMORPG with the Pathfinder name around, it was a brilliant idea for a settlement-based, regional conflict sandbox.
THE FAILING, in my humble opinion, was the absolutely horrible implementation of a brilliant idea... There was just NOTHING done right in programming this game. After reading the development reports of progress, I was absolutely shocked when I first entered the world to see the extreme lack of development in game. It looked and played like a proof of concept - sparsely populated with objects, most systems not implemented, a barely functional bare-bones combat system, etc. At the time that the game was launched for Early Enrollment, it was obviously woefully incomplete and no where near ready for subscription play. The game was doomed for failure when it was obvious that a game not ready for subscriptions didn't have any money to continue development. I think most of the people watching the game wrote it off then and no news coming out afterwards ever gave people a reason to give it another look. This is my first visit to these forums since posting heavily in the summer of 2014.
Yes, many of the people still lurking in a Pathfinder forum will say that the game failed in concept as Ryan's concept wasn't what a Pathfinder-based video game should have focused on. However, I think it was a brilliant idea for a unique sandbox that wouldn't devolve into a "clan-box" or murder-fest. The problem for me, and for many others who will never return to these forums to voice an opinion was that this game just wasn't developed in a competent fashion. The content was as sparse and poorly implemented as it looked; which is why people so often commented on the decade-old-looking graphics - it was an indication of the poor coding and implementation. It reminded me of beta-testing Horizons, which was another game with an incredible idea that the developers swore was almost done when it was clearly just not going to make it.
Pathfinder Online just wasn't a fun player experience when Early Enrollment started, and that's the time when much of what would have been a potentially viable player-base turned away. There were warnings about the drastic re-defining of "MVP" and releasing in such a pre-mature state. Warnings that this didn't look good and that the wider MMORPG community would write the title off because of it. I think that largely happened. There were further warnings that having paid subscriptions would pull badly needed development resources away from development as they were forced to handle support issues for paying customers before the game was ready, which is something that I've seen posted about in this thread.
In the end, I'm not sure what went wrong. Things like this happen, and often, even to games with good ideas. Even well funded development teams sometimes make poor development decisions and games end up under-performing substantially. In smaller budget projects this happens all the more often. Mortal Online released as a buggy mess and didn't reach it's design goal feature-set until about a year ago - 5 years after release. By then, the player-base was all but non-existent and, even still, the game still suffers from a first-person interface that so clunky that it's a chore to even move around in the world. Other games like LiF have created beautiful proof-of-concept games (similar engine I think and it looks and works like a player would expect), but struggle with scaling the engine up to a MMO-level of concurrent players.
I've been a part of another alpha for an MMORPG with a FAR smaller, less-funded development team that (at a much slower pace) has created a beautiful alpha with functioning content that's a pleasure to navigate and they are using the same engine as Pathfinder, so it can be done - I just don't think Goblinworks had the right people to get them there.
Despite Ryan's caveats that things might be rocky, that was the pitch given to everyone about EE - that it would be feature-incomplete, but the core systems would work and be fully playable.
Audoucet makes a great point as well that while EE is being sold as "hey, it's NOT done, but you can see us make progress" - the price-point and fact that it's charging a subscription are going to look like a "head-start" to MANY people who will buy it, be shocked at the incomplete and buggy state, and word of mouth will bury any interest in PFO such that it will need to be renamed before a successful OE launch would be possible.
Also, when I spoke of people showing people the game and getting disinterest as a response, I am talking about people who are VERY involved in PFO who are planning on playing at launch, and still have trouble getting new players interested. I'm also speaking of my own experience wherein I sold the hell out of PFO for 3-4 months and no one that I showed it to was at all interested. Many of them were turned off entirely, not believing that what they saw now could EVER become something special. Part of that is that PFO is SO much earlier in development than almost any other game that's been seen by the public (and now I understand why most developers refuse to let players see their games so early in development).
We can stand around and point out how the EE isn't for everyone and it's been said since the start and stand on principles, etc, etc, but reality is that there are a lot of non-active (don't read the forums) purchasers who are going to enter with vastly different expectations of the game and their reviews are not going to be positive, and could do enough damage to the reputation of PFO that it has trouble ever attracting a decent population of players.
I think Xeen was completely clear in what he was asking for:
"... Lets think about not deploying any new features till EE. Just focus in on what you have now and get it all working correctly. Maybe just stick to graphics updates and bug fixes."
Pretty clear to me. He's asking for the development to focus on getting everything that's in the game already working and to focus on that to the exclusion of everything else.
"Once you are relatively bug free. Launch it, and then just add bits here and there. Test the living **** out of it before adding another bit."
Here he's less clear, but I think he's referring to 2 things:
1) Test the daylights out of the existing content before adding anything else.
He's not asking for content to be added bug-free. He's asking for development to focus on fixing issues with existing content before adding new content so that the game develops more-smoothly (but slower) rather than being full of partially working features.
T7V Jazzlvraz wrote:
How about this: since it seems that the majority of players that are introduced to the game and try it find it "not fun", as many frequent posters have mentioned the responses of the many people they've introduced the game to, I'll amend it to: "not fun to most people, even if it's fun for a few die-hards". That's simply not a successful formula for long-term viability. There aren't 10,000 die-hard fans in this community (or even 1,000) that will carry this game through EE if the game isn't fun for a player who is interested, but not a die-hard fan.
Goblinworks has said they will make a game that is fairly fun and playable at first and grow it...
See, that's where the problem comes from. The game is barely playable, and isn't really fun. Most of the people that want to start now just want to be able to have persistence (i.e. start grinding), while assuming that the game will be playable and fun once the "carrot" of grinding no longer entertains them (or their 3 pre-paid months are up). That's a pretty damned big gamble to make, and I feel it's a foolish one.
As Andius has said multiple times, EE was meant to be feature incomplete, but WORKING. If everything in the current build functioned well, the lack of additional content wouldn't be an issue and people would be singing its praises. The issue is that the large majority of the current systems don't work well, and some of them barely work at all.
There is a market for players who want to exploit the advantages of an environment that is both persistent and radically changing.
There's also a very large portion of gamers who will want nothing to do with a gaming world that's had incomplete, unbalanced, and/or changing systems "exploited" for months.
Is mob auto-look at PLANNED feature?!?!? I had assumed it was just because looting wasn't implemented yet. I'm really hoping that the mob auto-looting is just an incomplete system and not a designed feature. GW has made very good (and mostly immersive) design decisions so far, even if most of that design is not yet coded into he game, so this would be a blow to that standard.
Cheatle and Saiph, I completely agree with both of you. These are the things that I've been asking for and are the features that would cause a lot of MMORPG players to become very interested in PFO.
Having the features that Cheatle mentions at the start of EE would do more than I think most of the rest of the posters here realize. They would mean GOOD PUBLICITYinstead ofBAD for PFO and GW. GW can say all they want that "this isn't release", but the game reviewers and non-forum-community members WILL BE reviewing PFO at launch, and those reviews will impact how many people view PFO and how many people buy PFO or consider buying it later. If it launches with an impressive, but incomplete game (like LiF did with LiF:YO), people will take notice and either join in or put a note to check back later. If it launches with something "only a mother could love" and a community that says "enough for me, too bad the rest of you don't see what I see", then it will be largely discounted and have trouble ever getting players.
Games have historically been reviewed the moment they become 'available' to the public. While game development has changed, the review process hasn't. PFO will give people a "first impression" when EE launches, and the game needs to feel good enough for people to either like it, or believe they WILL like it when a more features are added.
I've been very critical of trying to launch with a shell that doesn't even resemble the design features, but with the changes listed here (if they can be polished up in the next few weeks), the game suddenly starts to LOOK like PFO. I honestly didn't expect a lot of this to get into game before the start of EE, and not for a few months after as starting EE will likely shift a lot of resources to bug fixes once customers are paying and having issues.
If encumbrance, player looting (including item deletion and threading), stamina drain, and all of the core "player interface with world" systems can be added into the world and the combat can be cleaned up so that it's responsive and thus fun instead of a chore, the game might actually be ready for players a lot sooner than I'd have ever guessed.
If getting that stuff done would mean another month delay, DO IT. Get this right. The difference between being launching EE with an impressive though incomplete product and launching EE with something bland is the difference between the reception that LiF has gotten from player reviews vs. the response that so many MMORPGs that failed to ever "make it" have gotten.
TEO Cheatle wrote:
Agree with you Cheatle, and if they make that decision, I might have some confidence in GW again. If they'd made that decision in August, I'd be singing their praises.
T7V Avari wrote:
It's more than just bland and unresponsive combat (although that of course is probably enough of a problem on its own). As of 2 weeks ago PFO felt like a bland game with dated graphics and no content. I don't consider gathering, crafting, and unresponsive combat to be a "minimum viable sandbox", nor even a platform upon which you can build a functional sandbox with a framework for civilization-building. Yes, the AH has been added, but the reputation system, encumbrance, fatigue when sprinting, legal framework, settlement management, and heck, even company creation and management are ALL MISSING and/or not implemented.
As of right now, about 10%-20% of the game is present and most of that barely works. I don't feel this is "minimum viable". In order to believe that this game was on a path to success it needed to have the following by launch to show potential players what the game would be capable of:
That would have been about "minimum". GV has a substantially smaller team with a lesser budget and they have all but the settlement part (they're full loot with no threading or inventory loss) of that above list while still in "pre-Alpha". PFO still has the best concepts I've seen for a game design, but what's currently in the game reminds me of a lot of other games that I've followed closely that promised the moon and failed to ever leave the ground.
The Unity engine is quite powerful and it's POSSIBLE for Goblin Works to end up doing a lot with it if PFO can manage to pull of a small EE launch and keep going with development.
This is an MMORPG game that's been in development by a small group that I think are doing this in their "off-time" while working other jobs. They're using the Unity Engine and while the game hasn't yet implemented its conquest system and community mechanics, it does have a very simplistic manual-aimed combat system, working crafting system, detailed terrain and lighting, and even guild and group mechanics (that are still a bit buggy at the moment). The game is still in pre-Alpha, so it has a long way to go, but it's a great example to see what's with the Unity Engine and where PFO could get to one day.
<Kabal> Daeglin wrote:
I tried PFO for about 2 weeks solid. My whole guild tried it for a week. It's a half-baked game with simplistic targeting and crafting. The chasm between that and a game about civilization building is so wide that the other side isn't even visible. I plan to try it again a week before EE starts (while I can still do so for free), but at this state, I feel that it's no where near providing the systems that will create a "draw". I think that any further expectations are wishful thinking. At the current rate of development and current state of incomplete-ness, I don't expect working settlements until next spring. I hope I'm wrong, but right now it's an incomplete game where the content that's implemented is only half-working.
So, I agree with Andius on his LiF standpoint. They released something that works smoothly and well, but doesn't have all of it's features yet, which is what I was expecting from PFO. That's not what I feel we have here.
I played in the AoL days and much later in the internet days. There were a few murderous bandits, but they were just a few, and the rest of the player-base generaly responded VERY strongly in retaliation.
Darkfall and Mortal both had consequences in terms of loss of gear, and, more importantly, loss of territory. Most of the PvP was meaningless murder, because there were no negative consequences to initiating and winning any PvP fight you could find, but there were plenty of negative consequences to losing one.
However, I don't believe that a desire to remove the "grindy-ness" from an achievement gate to necessarily be a wish to remove the gate entirely. A few posters have suggested this, but most are just asking to remove the grind feeling rather than the gate itself. We already have a time-based gate, which I agree with. If GW also desires a play-based gate, then we should have a discussion as a community of what that gate will look like. I absolutely agree that it's too limiting right now (and the killing blow requirement is unacceptable). I do think that killing a player should count the same as killing a mob for a party to gain achievement-credit. However, I don't foresee enough PvP for that to be a viable leveling method right now.
Dragonrealms had extremely little PvP in the decade that I played it and it was generally meaningful when it happened (or at least the retaliation was).
You might be referring to Shadowbane, which was an early attempt at an open-world PvP MMORPG that had major technical issues that crippled the game and caused it to fail shortly after release. (Which is one of my major concerns with PFO.)
However, none of the games you've listed are modern open-world PvP sandboxes games like Darkfall or Mortal Online. Most of MMORPG development were themeparks. Some, like DAoC, AoC, and Warhammer had PvP focus, but these games often lacked any real consequences or reasons for PvP, and were usually realm(faction)-based. AoC (which I did not play) had was FFA PvP, but none of the others did, unless you played on the 1 FFA PvP server in DAoC.
However, this is (was) an excellent thread that Xeen started to talk about serious issues. Could we please continue to talk about the issues Xeen has brought up instead of devolving this into a contest of who's played what and therefor has more valid input?
Ding ding ding! We have a winner! You hit exactly what I have been trying to warn about. I've seen many games (often with terrific design ideas) launch in terrible state. Most of them can't maintain a sufficient player-base to keep things running (and the active population of forum is probably less than 1/100th the player-base needed for an MMORPG). In others, especially ones in which the players have a major impact on the world, the economy and territorial conquest are sufficiently skewed by play under unfinished and unbalanced systems as to alter the game experience in an undesirable fashion, lessening the experience for early adopters and creating a situation that late-comers aren't willing to participate in.
The tolerance level would be much higher if the development team wasn't "threatening" to open the game to paying customers in a week (now delayed to a probably still-too-soon month). I've been in lots of Alphas and have been very much "cool new feature, and I'm sure the bugs will get worked out by Beta" about them, but those were games that were months from Beta, which was yet another test phase, and not the start of a paid persistent product.
I think that players asking for AAA graphics is a mis-representation of the nature of the issue. I've been involved in a lot of small-development "indie" games, and the bare, unfinished nature of PFO's graphics were still a shock to me. I'm not going to harp on graphics as much as getting system load down, but to say that PFO just fails to live up to AAA standards is mis-representing the issue. PFO falls short of the visual quality of most indie games today. Whether that's an issue or not is up to each player, but lets at least be honest about the state of things.
My biggest issue with Achievements is that you have to get the killing blow. Depending on how a group plays, someone will end up with the majority of killing blows depending on your role within the group and damage-output details. I'd much rather see each kill be divided by the number of players in a group and doled out as a fraction. Right now you either have to solo a lot or "round robin" kills to ensure that everyone can level up - and that's when partying with friends.
As for graphics, I've stated this multiple times. You're going to have a hard time getting people to play a game that looks like DAoC, but will require a computer upgrade for many people. It's just not going to fly to have a game take 3 GB of RAM and max out the processor and graphics card of a modern system to have it look as unfinished as it does. I understand that the REASON it takes so many resources is because it's unfinished, but for someone that has to upgrade to play a game that looks like it's from the mid-2000s, that expense isn't going to fly and it's going to be a barrier to entry for some, and a huge source of complaints for those who spend the money.
I definitely hear you on this Bluddwolf. PFO is going to have severe trouble retaining any decent number of subscribers in a "harvesting and crafting sim" in which the PvE is preliminary and wasn't a focal point.
Andius the Afflicted wrote:
This kind of thing is why I've been warning about starting EE without completed systems. You get imbalances in the player-content systems that can only be rectified with a wipe later, which any developer is very reluctant to do with paying customers. So, it either ends up completely imbalanced and a wipe is necessary, or it ends up only partially imbalanced certain aspects of the game are heavily biased towards whoever was able to take advantage of inadequacies in incomplete systems.
If that's how that's working, a "cast timer" should be included so that it's apparent that's what happening. Right now it just looks like the system is unresponsive. Also, if that's how the system is set up, than I'd suggest that any ability with an "attack time" of greater than 0.75 or 1.0 seconds should require you to stand still during that time. Any ability with less than 0.75 or 1.0 seconds could be cast while moving.
Thank you Nihimon.
I've posted my thoughts on the content. I'm happy to hear that the graphics CAN be improved and am relieved to see what Pyronous posted showing the capabilities of the engine. I'm concerned not so much with the bare state of the graphics, but that graphics at such a bare state are so resource intensive. The graphic demands of this game are currently on par with a newly released AAA FPS, and yet look like a game that should run on a 5-year-old computer. I don't mind the look, but I'm very puzzled as to why these basic graphics are so resource intensive.
I think a lot of EE subscribers are going to be very puzzled as to why such simplistic graphics are running so poorly on their older systems, and when they are forced into upgrading their computers to run the game smoothly they're going to wonder why such simplistic graphics required them to spend money upgrading.
I agree Traianus Decius Aureus. Most games require you to stand still to get off anything more than a quick medium-damage shot. However, they have ability timers so you're not rooted AFTER, but have to stand still before. I would MUCH prefer that. The combat system seems to be lacking ability timers such that all abilities go off instantly. The cool-downs used in most games are covered by stamina cost, but the ability timers are still missing. I think that alone would solve this. A few shots could be instant (low power, low stamina abilities), a few could have 1 second timers (have to stand still for 1 second to get the shot off or the ability is interrupted), and things like Overdraw could have 2 second timers (have to stand still for 2 seconds to get the shot off or the ability is interrupted.
I understand that fully, but I don't believe that Pyronous has been rude in the 2 threads I've seen of his. His issues of interest may not be what the community thinks are currently high-priority, but I also don't see Pyronous as having pushed them as such. Most of his questions have been asking about eventual capabilities and such.
That's all stuff I agree with for now, but as the rest of the game isn't implemented, PFO is currently a very poor PvE game while we hope for PvP to become viable in 2 months, at which point half of the server has stated that they plan to use a NAP to avoid PvE then, so for MANY players, PFO = PvE for the foreseeable future of the next 3-5 months.
If the main content for the next 3+ months is something that had "as little as necessary" invested into it, that's not a good state for the game.
Pyronous, you've done nothing wrong here and gotten a small few quite hostile responses anyway. There are a lot of extreme hardcore fans that dominate this forum right now and while most of them are courteous, a few of them get very hostile towards anyone who points out flaws or even suggestions about how to improve PFO.
I completely agree Bluddwolf and I think you have this exactly right. The PVE AI is currently really poor and it is very much the reason that the PVE is extremely uninteresting. With 2 level 4 fighters with longbows and a level 3 mage (wizard, whatever the class is), we were able to clear a group of 4 ogres with ease. We didn't even leash them, just ran them around in circles.
The mob density is great, but with how easy the mobs are, it's more of a nuisance than a fear-inducing factor like it was in FFXI.
I think playable starts with banking, companies, the ability to physically loot. The current iteration is so far from the "core systems ready and we'll add the conquest system as EE progresses" that this game isn't Beta. It's still very much Alpha. I consider beta/EE to be core-systems in place, and I don't at all think that's what PFO has currently.
I get the sense that the recent round of Alphas forgot it was still an Alpha. I suppose that is understandable, but come on folks.
It's also now 1 week from the most-recent projected date to start EE, and, honestly, this game is no where ready to be played beyond occasional screwing around with testing. I think everyone but a few very-hardcore-fans of the game know that. I'm a HUGE fan of the design goals, but I don't see the game anywhere near a state where I or my friends would be interested in getting involved yet.
I've heard all that reasoning presented before. I still think it's more interesting to see dodges and parries with the occasional hit than just seeing who's HP bar runs out faster.
If you've ever watched epic sword-fighting in a movie, most of the swings are blocked, parried, or evaded. Otherwise it's a damned short sword fight. I'd rather see lower HP and more obvious defensive saves.
I understand the idea of removing misses at melee, although I think they should still be in at range.
However, I much prefer to see blocks and parries (which is what any roll above 10 that doesn't break a character's total AC represents), than just lower damage.
Blocks and parries are part of real combat. Damage with every swing is boring and overly simplistic. There's no reason to simplify combat when the calculations are being done by a computers. In fact, there's every reason now to make them as interesting as possible and complication of calculation be DAMNED. I think the computer can handle some table look-ups and simple arithmetic.
I'm going to be the butt here and say that, yes, PFO looks like a 10-year-old game, and yet it STRAINS new systems. Even high-end NEW gaming computers are getting 35-40 FPS in-town and mid-range new gaming computers are getting around 25-30 FPS in town.
The game should either look better for the resources it takes, or run better for how simplistic and unfinished it looks. Something's wrong here with the looks/performance ratio. A game that looks like a new version of DAoC shouldn't max out video cards or take up 3 GB of RAM. I'm hoping it's just a complete lack of optimization due to time constraints and not a sign of something really wrong with how the game core is written.
So, this "no miss" thing is something I've been wondering about... is that intentional? If so, it doesn't really follow the Pathfinder mechanics. Low-level characters miss shots, spells, and melee attacks ALL THE TIME. Others aren't "misses" but dodged, blocked, or parried. Even WoW had dodges, blocks, and parries. Is this game really going to be broken down to the simplest common denominator of just ability = damage with no miss chances or defensive saves? If so, I'm going to be SORELY disappointed.
As for moving while firing. It should ABSOLUTELY increase your miss chance. Then there's no reason to make you stationary. Just increase miss chances based on how fast you're moving, which is completely realistic.
As for the girl in the video (the same one I posted in another thread), her accuracy is actually pretty good if you watch later. She's putting an arrow into your chest every time, albeit at a short range, while moving and firing once ever 2 seconds (and faster). She's able to do that because she's fluid and consistent in her movements and is able to draw an arrow and knock it without taking her eye off of her target. So, she never looks down, knocks, and then has to re-aim when she looks up. As an archer myself, I can tell you that you can aim while drawing, so if you never 'de-aim' by looking down, you can draw and fire over and over with relative ease.
As for implementing this fix, if we're really thinking of implementing a game-changing fix in order to test very broken PvE combat, then I think that's a pretty good indication that this game is not anywhere near ready for EE launch yet. I don't agree with trying this as a "stop gap". Get the right fix, implement it, and launch when combat works REASONABLY well such that fixes require tweaking, not drastic measures or stop gaps. If systems are missing that would make archery work as intended, then maybe those systems should be considered part of the M to have a VP.
Saracin (which I'm sure I spelled wrong) archers fired medium bows capable of piercing chain mail at high rates of speed. I shot per 10 seconds is extremely slow. I have no idea where that number on Wikipedia came from. From my own experiences I can tell you that's extremely slow. I'm bored of arguing this at this point though. I've made my points to my satisfaction. If you really want to argue for the sake of arguing, knock yourself out.
I understand your concerns KarlBob. I do think guns should be slowish to be balanced. The playable reload time is probably between 7-15 seconds.
Audoucet, historical records show medieval archers firing at these speeds. The video I linked is just showing how it's done. Elves could conceivably do it faster.
@Audoucet: That video is an average person, not a super athlete, using a medieval technique. No special physical prowess is required; just a good level of coordination and practice. That's not the same thing as using an olympic athlete to talk about speeds.
@Audoucet & KarlBob: I was never actually advocating basing things on realistic firing speeds. I was simply pointing out that the archery firing rate isn't actually unrealistic right now. Gameplay will determine how each one is treated in game. My point was simply that the firing speed in game isn't actually unrealistic. I never intended it to be justification for any design decisions.
Then you missed my point Audoucet and the points many were making in this thread. People were suggesting slow muskets for game balance and realism. Someone said bows are unrealistically fast in this game. I showed that they aren't. I was simply rebutting that claim, not saying what should fire how fast for gameplay fun. That's obviously up to the goals of the developers.
I'm sorry you didn't like my evidence. I don't have video of medieval archers, but I do have video of modern archers copying medieval techniques, so, contrary to what you said, it is very relevant.
In the end, it's about what works for the gameplay. I was simply pointing out that trained archers can fire about once per 2 seconds.
I'm not sure where you're getting any of your information from, or if you're even trying to be serious, but I'm guessing you're not anymore. I've pointed out clear examples of the historically slow firing-rate of early muskets (which most of the posters here were mentioning) and that archers could, in fact, fire an arrow about once every 2 seconds, which KarlBob contended was fully unrealistic, which it actually isn't, although it's a common misconception.