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Xeen wrote:

It is completely reasonable. The game is supposed to be light on content and bug free. That is what was sold. It is not supposed to be incomplete and buggy. Incomplete yes, buggy no.

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.


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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.
2) When you add more stuff in the future, test and fix is completely 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.


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Jakaal wrote:
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.


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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.


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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.


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T7V Avari wrote:

But if you are saying that EE was supposed to be SIMPLE but FUNCTIONAL and you do not think it is functioning in a manner that warrants Minimum Viable Product, that is a valid argument. You are probably pointing directly at the combat and I can understand someone saying they will be back in a few months but are disappointed.

Yes, I do believe this needs to be better before EE starts.

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:
A pre-built settlement that had limited-feature management systems (to show players what they're getting into)
working companies (what game launches without the ability to create a guild???)
crafting
gathering
bland but functional combat
a working, but plain-Jane basic interface including grouping and trade
encumbrance
stamina drain
threading
inventory loss when dying
player looting
ability for "bandits" to exist to create some semblance of threat

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.


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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.

http://gloriavictisgame.com/

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.

screenshots


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<Kabal> Daeglin wrote:
Bluddwolf wrote:
<Kabal> Daeglin wrote:
No. It is their loss though I know you don't understand that. Considering you don't know me from a brick in the wall, calling me a fanboi cause I don't share your opinion kinda says more about you then me ;)

"Shrug" your loss. You see how that works, or doesn't work?

Shrugging off legitimate concerns is arrogance. It is GW loss because PFO is not giving a potential consumer of their product anything that the consumer can not get elsewhere.

Arrogance is assuming your opinion is superior to others. My comment had nothing to do with the legitimate concerns voiced in this thread. You just assumed that. I actually find some merit in a lot of Andius's points, if not how he is expressing them. Overly restricted PvP is a particular concern of mine, but really isn't the issue. I simply believe that people who don't try PFO are ultimately missing out. So yeah, *shrug*. But I won't threadjack anymore.

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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Bluddwolf wrote:

As I said in one of my posts, the problem is not with having mobility while using ranged combat, it is with the mobs having really stupid AI.

You don't have the same issue with PvP, or at least I hope not.

Kiting, is countered by closing the gap abilities or with ranged attacks. The mobs being on a leash, and then returning once you get out of their starting aggro range is the issue.

The mob's aggro range should move with him, and the only way you break the aggro is by:

1. Killing it
2. Stop attacking and exceeding its aggro range

The mobs should not come to the end of their chain, turn around and try to return to their start location, while at the same time you continue to shoot them in the back. That is "stupid AI".

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.


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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.


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Elorebaen wrote:
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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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If the announcement and the delay in releasing Alpha 8 involve giving PFO more time to be "readier" for EE, then I'll be very happy. As many others stated in the last blog thread, most of the readers here are happy to see things come a little later if the launch can be more complete and ready and not hopping from one stop-gap to another.


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So, I had some stuff to post, but it's all already been said so many times and in so many ways, that I'm just going to say:
I agree with those quoted below, who are the majority of this thread. Please release with a truly VIABLE product. I'm happy to see a week delay, and I'd be more happy to see that week stretched into a month. Please don't launch with half of the MVP features missing with plans to add them in during the next 3 weeks. Don't waste time with stop-gaps. Just get it done and we'll be here waiting patiently (some less patient) when it's done to what we know you're capable of!

TEO Alexander Damocles wrote:
I'd really rather a solid launch on the 29th, with companies etc. Minimum Viable Product doesn't mean Minimum Functioning Product. There are a few crucial features that really need to be in the game for it to hit the Viable threshold.
Kurok wrote:
I would also much rather see them hold off until companies can be included. To me that is necessary for it to be viable...
T7V Avari wrote:

I kinda hope they delay a month. I mean really, why not? Open the game with the full map, companies, UI fixes, proto settlements, basic animations for most actions, full tool tip, stand in icons, etc...

Start off on the right foot with something the hard core fanbase can be proud of.

(I knew I'd like you Avari. ;-) )

albadeon wrote:
I'm absolutely in favor of waiting longer to get a more finished product. Imho, companies, a full map and (proto-)settlements are a necessity for mvp. If they need more time to get it done, I'd like them to take that time much rather than throwing a less-than-viable-product on the market...
TEO Cheatle wrote:
Actually, I think the best bet for them, is to wait until the 29th, roll out Encumbrance, Full Map, and Companies all together.
Tyncale wrote:
I agree, I would like to skip the whole "4 settlements, only 1/3rd of the map" phase, and wait a little longer...
Xeen wrote:

I think everyone can agree. There is more that is needed for MVP then what is planned for the 22nd. I do not want my paid time burnt up on what is planned so far.

GW take as long as needed to have certain promised minimums in game.

Companies
Player Loot Drops
EE map

There is plenty more that should be in place for the start of EE.

Another important one is, we were supposed to have one alpha week with the EE build that everyone was invited to. Lets not forget that one.

This one is probably the most important one posted of all (emphasis mine):

Ikeren wrote:
I'm also glad to see them holding off a bit on full release, and am generally a fan of later releases over all. The game I played thus far has a lot of places where I'd reasonably expect any but particularly dedicated fans to walk away.


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KarlBob wrote:
Being wrote:
They were thinking it might, but there were problems cropping up Labor Day weekend that may argue for a delay and further testing.

I would totally support a delay, if it meant that people coming into EE would be able to play without frequent crashes to the desktop, and without needing a copy of the developer spreadsheets open to know what their feat choices mean.

Those of us in Alpha (whether we paid for it or were invited in) know that we can expect a buggy experience. That's what Alpha is for. Anyone who hasn't been following this board, and just receives an email saying their EE credits are available to spend, should have a reasonably well-running game to play. They won't know where to go for dev spreadsheets or leveling instructions.

This is pretty much exactly what I was saying after logging in for the first time into Alpha 6. I was unable to get into Alpha 7 due to being out of town all weekend, and I'm hoping that Alpha 7 & 8 really get this closer to 'ready' for an audience of committed, but still casual player (not reading the forums daily and willing to go hunting down information just to start a character in their first few hours in game). However, what I saw in Alpha 6 was still quite a ways from being ready for that state. If they have to delay it a month or so, I think that's a good decision right now.


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I just bought a new computer as my current one is 5-6 years old now. I ended up going with an AMD FX-6300, which should be plenty, but an i5 is also fine. The i7 adds extra number crunching power, which is good if you're compiling code or rendering, but not needed for gaming. 8 GB of RAM should be PLENTY for gaming. If you're doing intensive graphics work and need to hold a crap-ton in memory, then more might be usable, but otherwise, save the money and buy better quality RAM (lower latency). The 750 will probably be fine. That's what I bought for mine. You don't need PCI 3.0. From what I read, this makes one channel 32x, but current cards only need 16x, and won't use the extra bandwidth. The advantage comes in that an SLI configuration can be 2x 16x, instead of 2x 8x. If you're not doing SLI, then you don't need PCI 3.0, and you're usually better getting a better card (like a 760, rather than 2x 750 in SLI). SLI is really only a worthwhile thing if you're going to buy 2 of the fastest cards out there.

As for power, I went with a 500 W power supply. Try a site called pcpartpicker.com. I found it great for sorting through parts from a multitude of sites, plus it reviews your choices for comparability, and it estimates power usage. Mine came out to 240W, which I doubled for adequate headroom to ensure the PSU runs at about 50%, where they are most efficient (and to leave room for start-up current, which tends to be higher than normal run current, even at full-load).


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As a newly invited participant myself, I was only given 1 invite, so here I am with 1 invite to give out.

In the interest of getting a greater number of community members involved in the development I would like to give the invite to a member of a Company/Settlement/organization-of-some-sort that does not currently have any members in the Alpha at this point. Please post your interest here and the name of your organization. Obviously I don't really have a way to check to ensure that a poster doesn't belong to an organization with members already in Alpha, but I'm hoping that the community understands the desire to increase the breadth of the participant-pool.


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KarlBob wrote:
Edit: I really hope that guarding a caravan will be as exciting as you described in Mortal Online, at least part of the time. Most of the time it will probably be a boring, but necessary, job.
Nihimon wrote:

As someone who's very excited about the prospect of escorting Caravans, I can relate; that sounds like a lot of fun.

I would add that there's a good chance it actually will be a two-way affair if the devs implement one of the ideas they've spitballed before, which is that you might have to get your Coin back to your Settlement before it converts from lootable, encumbering in-game inventory to the unlootable, weightless abstraction. I personally think this is a great idea, and would make escorting Caravans even more fulfilling :)

@ Nihimon, I like your idea about coin only becoming a global abstract when reaching your home settlement.

@ Karlbob & Nihimon
I'd like to give you guys a more complete idea of the excitement of those purchasing runs in Mortal Online. First, running into enemies wasn't likely. About 80-90% of the time you could run between towns without running into someone who wanted to attack you. However, doing this with the monetary equivalent of days or weeks of work set the stakes much higher.

Sometimes we'd just be taking a decent amount of coin to other towns where the NPCs sold different recipes than the ones in our town. We had to make a few of these runs to various areas, and each time we'd be carrying the monetary equivalent of a few days to a week's worth of work by 5-10 people. I imagine that this will be the relative value of an average caravan in PFO.

However, when we made the REALLY big-purchase runs for house deeds, we'd be carrying not a week's worth of effort, but the monetary equivalent of 2-3 week's worth of work by 10-15 people. We were carrying a huge time investment in an easily loot-able format. Yes, we could have broken up the trip into multiple smaller-value runs, but we'd still have to carry the deed back as a single item, on a single person, in a single run. So, we'd get everyone with adequate riding skill to keep up, form up, split up the money among a couple of carriers, and head out. (On the way back, we'd have only 1 carrier and the other carriers would switch to being extra guards or scouts.) We had a basic plan that accounted for a few various types of potential enemy encounters. Our riding formation had multiple levels to it and we maintained that formation throughout the ride, adjusting it slightly based on terrain.

There were a few times, when carrying very high-value items, that our scouts did encounter enemies. We were spread out so it was unlikely that an enemy or group of enemies who spotted one of us would spot all of us, and this strategy worked here. One or 2 scouts would peel off and lead them on a chase away from our group, either making it to safety elsewhere, or fighting them, win or lose, in order to distract them long enough that the rest of the group would be far gone by the time the fight was over.

(We were doing this in the first few months of playing the game and most of us were far below the fighting strength of the enemies that we were likely to run into, so our strategies had to reflect the fact that it was unlikely that we would win a full-on fight against an equally sized group, especially since most of us hadn't trained mounted combat skills yet.)

While most of the runs were "uneventful" in that the odds of running into enemies/hostile players when going from town to town was only about a 10-20% chance, the very real threat that we might get attacked and the few times that our guarding paid off were all that was necessary to keep each trip exciting and meaningful.

It's adventures like those that are why I lobby to ensure that we still have a decent population of low-reputation players and appreciate local banking systems (for items at a minimum, and somewhat for coin).


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to Being: I understand what you're saying, but, as someone else said on the forums, while GW can define "MVP" to be whatever they want, it's really the players that determine what minimum viability is. As of right now, I don't think there's enough content to cause even those who've already bought in to EE at the $100 or $50 level to subscribe and stay subscribed. That opinion may not be shared by all, but that's my feeling at this point. Also, I don't think that GW has hit their sales target for EE subscriptions or they wouldn't be moving up the access dates and providing the $50 level. As we expand the audience, expectations will be different for those coming into the community now as opposed to those who've been watching development for a year.

As far as Early Enrollment vs. Open Enrollment, it's irrelevant what GW or this community calls it. By month 2, the game is open for anyone who buys in at the $50 level, which is a standard MMORPG price. Monthly subscription fees are being charged and progress will be preserved baring a major disaster (and if they do have to wipe due to a major disaster it will also be problematic to players who've been paying a subscription). At the point that EE opens up, it doesn't matter how many warnings are attached, the game will be judged on that content, and, as of right now, I don't feel that it's a working game with a minimal level of content to be interesting, but still needing completion. It feels like an incomplete work-in-progress.

I know these views may very-likely make me very unpopular on these forums, and I'm sorry if that happens. I'm not looking to upset the community, be a persistent pessimist, or desire the failure of PFO. I'm saying these things despite the very real possibility of being disliked for them because I so badly want this game to succeed and I think that saying these things is in the best interest of the success of this game. I really think that giving PFO an extra 3-6 months, with additional input from increasing the number of testers, will really help this game be ready for a strong launch and on a path to being a great game. I'd just rather it didn't "leave the oven" just a bit too early.


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Saiph the Fallen wrote:
OVERALL I honestly did not enjoy my experience and in my opinion September for EE (unless these next 2 Alphas are God incarnate) seems very premature. I just don't see the current features providing an interesting gaming experience. I'm a tough critic, sorry.

Honestly, this was my impression as well. I don't want to be a complete downer, but I also don't think it's helpful to rate the readiness (and viability) of the game based on the promise of future content. When the game launches, the state of the product at that point will be what determines gameplay and how well the game gets and retains subscribers.

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In order to hopefully prevent prejudicial judgement of my analysis I'm going to preface my statements by saying that I believe that the concept of Pathfinder Online is an extremely insightful and novel idea to finally make a community-based sandbox instead of the standard tribal "clanbox" that most attempts at MMORPG sandboxes have so far devolved into. It's very similar to an idea that I had (and even spent many hours documenting) in order to address the lack of "community" beyond individual guilds that plagues most open-world territory-control sandbox MMORPGs and creates an entirely "tribal" environment. As such, I have extremely high hopes for PFO, not in terms of delivering a perfect experience, but just in terms of having a working game in which this settlement idea can first be tested to in a live game. I'm not expecting, or even hoping for the game to blow anyone away in terms of features or appearance, but, hopefully just to work well enough to see if this settlement system can create a community-based sandbox experience.

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Now, on to my experience in this weekend's Alpha... I know there's a lot coming in the next 2 patches, but here's my review of what's there now.

Note: Due to time spent broken and diagnosing a broken SSD, and then many more hours finalizing and buying components for 2 new computers that jumped in priority from "I should do this soon" to "I need to go ahead and get this done" when I lost the SSD, I only had about 3 hours of total time in game this weekend, so I understand that my comments are not fully qualified with as many hours of time in game as I'd have liked. However, I really did not find much to excite me about the game.

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* COMBAT GENERAL: The combat is very clunky. Animations don't line up to actions, so it's hard to know what's going on. If I was running while shooting (which seems odd for most of those long-timer ranged attacks) the animation usually wouldn't happen at all, even though the ability did actually fire. Clicking on the mobs doesn't work at a distance and doesn't always work up close, but tabbing works fine without any noticeable glitches.

* COMBAT CONFUSION: There are no icons for buffs or debuffs, so whenever I had something applied to myself or an enemy, an icon with a "?" showed up attached to the end of a bar and I had no idea what it meant. Also, the color-scheme for the bars is not intuitive. Stamina is blue, which is normally the color for mana, and power is yellow, which is normally the color for stamina. This is something that is going to confuse and irritate a lot of players and I would think that a lot of confusion about status can be eliminated by switching those 2 colors.

* RANGED: Overpowered kiting abilities made PvE completely without challenge. With a fighter right out of the character creator, with no points spent and only the equipment I started with, I was able to clear whole groups of mobs without any difficulty. (And yes, I usually play ranged characters and probably will here and I'm still saying that kiting is currently so overpowered as to be boring.) The fighter, who's wearing heavy armor, can run backwards as fast as he can run forwards. Since all of the ranged abilities can be activated while moving, I was able to fire into a group of mobs, run backwards while killing one, tab to the next and continue until they started to leash back to their static camp, during which time I'd be chasing and killing a second mob. By repeating this method I was able to repeatedly clear camps of 6-10 mobs with complete ease as a solo warrior in my first 15 minutes of play. As long as I watched for ranged mobs and dealt with them appropriately, I didn't have any issues killing camps of goblins, skeletons, bandits, etc. I understand we're more powerful right now than we're meant to be and starting with higher level equipment, but I thought this was to allow us to test fights with higher-level enemies, so I assume these weren't low-level monsters. (when I did let them get to melee on me, 4 of them killed me in 2 hits each, and if I let an archer shoot me, he'd kill me in about 6 hits.) I was able to do all of this without spending any of my EXP on feats and, since I could remain untouched when doing this, I wouldn't need any armor, just a decent bow. Even if my character was weaker, a group of 2-3 players with ranged attacks could still wipe large groups of mobs without any challenge.

* MELEE: Melee combat is a confusing exercise in futility. Most of my abilities fired many seconds after I clicked them and none of them seemed to have much effect. While I could kill these mobs in 3-4 hits with a bow, it seemed to take 10+ to kill them in melee. In the meantime, the skeletons would kill me in about 6-8 hits. I would often shoot the skeleton to start the combat, getting it to about 60% health, and then try to finish it in melee, finishing with about 10% of my health. I spent about 40k experience in mostly melee stats and a bunch of melee feats (couldn't find any new ranged ones) and melee got about 20% better. I went from 10+ hits to kill to only about 6-8, but still no where close to the damage I was doing with a bow.

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* LOOTING: I couldn't loot anything that I killed on any of the 3 days. I'm not sure if I was missing something, or if looting isn't currently enabled, but I couldn't click on any corpses. Did I need to wait until the enemies became graves? Or was my character auto-looting or something?

* DEATH: I did die a few times trying to fight in melee, or because I didn't realize I had a bleed on me when I finished combat. (I think it was a bleed because I kept losing HP even after everything was dead. I had some icon at the end of my health bar, but it was just a ? with no tool-tip.) I instantly re-spawned at a nearby shrine with no apparent penalty. I don't know if my gear was auto-threaded, but I didn't attempt to thread anything and dying never removed any of my gear. I didn't notice any durability damage, but I forgot to check closely. I didn't have any items though, so I don't know what is or isn't in game or working at this point in regards to this.

* PVE PURPOSE? If EXP is granted by time and not by killing monsters (which is a feature I really LIKE!) and the mobs don't have any loot and aren't a challenge, then what's the point of killing these things? Is it just to make sure they don't spread and take over the gathering areas? If the reasoning for clearing mobs is to make way for gathering and not for loot, that's fine, but I'd prefer if the combat was at least interesting and not so easily avoided with ranged kiting.

* GRAPHICAL SETTINGS & GLITCHES: The graphical settings appear to be in "groups" that have major changes between groups and only minor changes to shadows and such within a group. Between Fastest and Fantastic, the bottom 2 seem to make one group, the middle 3-4 the next, and the top 2 the third. Switching within a group was easy and fast, but switching between the groups took a few minutes (although I am on an older computer) and left all characters (player or NPC) either entirely dark gray (armor, face, etc), or textured all characters in a thin green & white vertical stripes. Logging out and back in didn't fix this, but quitting the game and reloading did. As it stands right now, it would be better if changing between major graphics groups didn't try to do anything and required quitting and reloading the game to take effect as attempting to switch in-game seems to take 3-4 minutes and require reloading anyway.

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* SUMMARY: I'm still very interested to see the major content being added in the next 2 patches, but as of right now, I don't see there being a minimum level of content to have a viable game. I'm very curious to know what others are doing with their time in Alpha as I see a lot of people saying that they're enjoying it, I would not view the current state of Alpha to be anywhere near a "Minimum Viable Product". As of right now I don't see there being enough content to keep players interested in maintaining a subscription. I haven't tried out gathering, but PvE lacked challenge and seemed to be materially pointless. I did not try gathering or crafting yet to see how that was, so maybe gathering and crafting are interesting, but there's not much of a market for goods when PvP isn't implemented and PvE seems pointless. Again, I'm interested to hear what others are doing for fun, but as Saiph the Fallen mentioned I think it would be a big mistake to launch EE at this current state and I don't think the next 2 patches are going to realistically correct this enough for the game to be ready. There are a lot of people who will have HUGE expectations for PFO since it carries the Pathfinder name. With the Pathfinder name, friends of mine from all walks of gaming are extremely interested in this game. For the last 6 months, just the mention of an MMO in the Pathfinder universe was enough to instantly excite them before I even discussed the planed features. While I understand that it's unreasonable for anyone to expect a newly-released MMORPG to provide a tabletop-like experience, I would not suggest they play it at this point though because I feel they would be hugely disappointed with the current state of the game. That disappointment could really tarnish PFOs name in the MMORPG market and hurt the game long-term. I'd rather see a beta accessible to everyone that bought into the EE and give the game another 3-6 months of development. The progress from Tech Demo to this in only a year is phenomenal and I'd hate to see that effort sullied by launching a few months before there's really enough content to sustain a large player-base in game.


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I would fully support some sort of duel or arena system. I'm sorry that Ryan feels so put off by the idea, but I see it as an absolutely essential part of PvP training. It really is the best way to test builds and train soldiers in a controlled environment when you can observe their actions without being busy keeping yourself alive. Also, you can pause the combat when things go wrong and offer corrections.

As far as "immersion breaking", I find that to be a very misguided opinion. It was extremely common for warriors to practice in medieval times. No one just picked up a sword and went into combat. Training took years and whole societal programs and events revolved around it. In ANY war-stricken society, combat training is a HUGE aspect of that culture.

To leave out the ability to duel or have some sort of training is both detrimental to training new and/or weakers players, to testing out new combat techniques in a controlled environment, and to immersion itself!

Most games that have FFA PvP don't have penalties for killing a guild-member as that's considered to be an activity internal to the guild structure. So, most of the time we would train guild members in group battles without even needing a duel mechanic.


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Tyveil wrote:
Andius the Afflicted wrote:

I'd like to see death penalties beyond just gear loss. I remember in LotRO dying added "dread" to your character which I know lowered your maximum health and I believe also lowered damage and healing output.

Death is LOTRO was a joke like it is in most other MMORPG's out there. I'd like to see death be a real event. You die, you don't immediately leave your body. If you leave your body (depart) without any clerical intervention whatsoever, you permanently lose XP. With clerical intervention you could be raised (should take a lot of skill) or players can use other skills to reduce or remove your XP loss upon departing. Both of these options should take a significant amount of time, based on the skill of the player performing the clerical acts. This type of system would make dying a serious ordeal but not one you can't recover from, and it would pretty much remove the usage of "travel by suicide".

I'm also in favor of removing "bind points" unless it's accompanied by a skill that takes a significant amount of time to train.

This is pretty much EXACTLY how death was handled in an old text-based MUD called Dragon Realms in which I first started online RPGs. With the 25% item destruction in PFO, this may be a bit extreme, but I could see doing a temporary XP loss, although I think a 2 minute temporary stat reduction would be better. I do like the idea that any of this could be mitigated by a cleric, although I wouldn't make the item destruction cleric mitigate-able, as that would change the economy and the items are not your soul. ;-)


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@ Guurzak

You've played Darkfall, haven't you? ;-)

I'm really glad to see someone thinking about and posting about possible ways to exploit some of PFO's system. (Really! I'm not being sarcastic!) It WILL be thought about, and if it CAN be done, it WILL be done, so I'm offering a huge "Thank You" to Guurzak to being someone who's thinking about it that wants to stop it, not abuse it. There will be plenty of players who will think about it, post nothing, and exploit the mechanic as long as possible. I've played enough FFA PvP games now to have seen some crazy things done to exploit reasonable systems. It's gotten to the point that when I read about FFA PvP mechanics, it's generally the first thing I think about ("how can this be abused"...) when assessing a game's PvP systems. So, it's a huge plus to have guys like Guurzak pointing out potential exploits now, when they can still be thought about and addressed, rather than when they're being used to annoy the hell out of the game population. And, if anyone reading ever things "that's ridiculous, no one would ever do something so silly" about a potential system exploit, let me just go ahead and say from experience that people really will go to rather extreme lengths to exploit a system, sometimes just because they can, but usually because they've found some incredibly ridiculous way to make the game hell for some group of players.


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Saiph the Fallen wrote:
The one thing I saw whilst watching people's Twitch is how players seemed to be "sliding" around rather than walking, especially when strafing backwards. Not sure if this is an animation or latency issue. Obviously I know this is Alpha just pointing it out because it was very distracting.

I noticed that too. It seemed lightly armored people moved over the ground slightly faster than the animation showed, making them looking like they were skating, and heavily armored people moved over the ground slightly slower than the animation showed, making them look like the were "moonwalking".