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I could tell back when this was pre-kickstarter that is was not working to work out. I backed the demo video to give Ryan the benefit of the doubt, but I was afraid it was going to be basically this: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2nzuy?Game-Expectations#1

eg, Wow Combat, Eve progression, etc.

The demo video confirmed they were going in the WoW gameplay direction and I *apparently correctly* assumed that would be a massive failure and stopped paying attention for several years.

My recommendation to Paizo would be to cut losses and shutter the studio. Then license your IP out to some decent developers to make single player/co-operative Pathfinder CRPG games. I'd love to play a Pillars of Eternity/Balder's Gate type of game using pathfinder rule-sets and lore.

An MMO based on Pathfinder would have to step way out of the box to work. Implement turn based combat, tons of MUSH/social type functionality, it would have to be *not* copying existing MMO's in any significant respect. That could be done on the cheap, but I don't see how the abomination that exists right now has any value at all.

Why would anyone want to buy it?

Cloud Imperium (Star Citizen devs) dumped those guys (Illfonic) out of developing first person content for them and stuck their own guys on it. It was way behind schedule when they were dumped. I wouldn't get my hopes up.

Their talk seems to outclass their ability to deliver.

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Marou_ wrote:
A crafting based economy means the exploits filters through the whole system very differently.

This is absolutely true.

However, it's also true that while the game has a small player population it's easier to see when a character or a group of characters is getting a higher than expected extraction rate from a faucet, and it's easier to see when money starts to flow excessively towards one kind of action.

When you have a million people in a game you have to rely on statistical analysis to try and spot a tiny variation (that is in absolute terms huge) against a lot of background noise.

When you have 50,000 people in a game you can look at a list of active faucets and a list of the movement of wealth and pick out a lot of deviation from the expected trend by eye.

This is one of those areas where 15 years of MMO history benefits us because a lot of the ways exploits work are well understood now and we know how to watch for them. That's not saying that something might slip by but it's less likely that something will slip by long enough to require a significant intercession in the game economy affecting a lot of otherwise innocent players.

Good luck. I design data warehouses and audit/risk analysis software for financial and medical firms. Fraud and money laundering techniques get pretty exotic, and just because the environment is virtual doesn't mean it will be any easier.

Some guilds horde exploits like rare treasure and work hard not to cause much noise, just like the best white collar crooks make all of their thefts small and obscure. I have no illusion that the services I provide make my clients fraud-proof. I'm just there to help identify and clean up the mess before it gets too out of hand. Often physicians or financial advisers have been crooked for years before they cause a blip or audit alert.

JDNYC wrote:
Marou_ wrote:
The pay for beta thing rubs me the wrong way. Put some extra nomenclature around it, like "If issues prevent you from playing that time will be refunded to you." Don't fool yourselves, you're a small shop. Your beta won't be Gmail, it will be Darkfall. There is nothing wrong with that if you set that expectation. Otherwise there will be lots of tears here. Some game-breaking bugs that force wipes such as duplication errors, and resource exploits will not come to light until late open beta. Those things will require a wipe. If you are committed to not wiping, you will have shot yourself and the game in the head. Who pays to play something that could be wiped?
There won't be a wipe. There might be rollbacks though. That's different. Sandbox games are a lot more lenient on the issues you addressed btw. Themeparks tend to have bigger issues on this front.

I don't know where you get that impression. A crafting based economy means the exploits filters through the whole system very differently. Since ExploiterZ guild is now funneling 25% more silver ingots into the market, ExpliterX is doing the same with wheat, etc. Eventually 3-4 week down the line ExpoiterQ gets carried away, the exploit is discovered, removed, and rolled back until prior to ExploiterQ's actions. Even if there are financial system levels of audit trails in the system to allow GW to see Z, and X were shady (doubtful); wiping out all of the derivative goods of the innocent players is an unpopular action. Now you have inflation caused by exploitation, and X and Z are two of the more powerful player groups in the game.

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The pay for beta thing rubs me the wrong way. Put some extra nomenclature around it, like "If issues prevent you from playing that time will be refunded to you." Don't fool yourselves, you're a small shop. Your beta won't be Gmail, it will be Darkfall. There is nothing wrong with that if you set that expectation. Otherwise there will be lots of tears here. Some game-breaking bugs that force wipes such as duplication errors, and resource exploits will not come to light until late open beta. Those things will require a wipe. If you are committed to not wiping, you will have shot yourself and the game in the head. Who pays to play something that could be wiped (beta) or a released game with a horribly broken economy due to all the exploits uncovered in beta?...

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AvenaOats wrote:
Andius wrote:
I might be more open if someone could site a game with combat paced slower than WoW, but not turn based, that is fun.

Have to agree with this. Maybe slowing the combat down takes too much pace out of the game as a whole is a real danger in that case? That is worth thinking about.

Some sort of reduction in the speed of time as an area of effect, universal "tool" in combat could then mix a bit of slower gameplay with mostly normal speed to allow players some form of strategy on top of combat? /best shot!

The combat system is really critical to me, to the extent of make or break.

I've been having a blast playing the persistent character zombie apocalypse mod Day-Z RPG for Arma 2. Arma 2 is a hyper-realistic military simulator (realistic physics fps, vehicles, etc) and the mod takes place over an area that's 225 sq KM in size. Those maps support maybe 50 people but I'd think it's even more demanding than your standard fps.

The learning curve is brutal, there is no character advancement outside of gear, there is free-loot and permadeath. Because of the realistic simulator it's sitting on top of most all of the buttons on the keyboard are used. It's the opposite of a "steamlined" game, and I love it.


What does this have to do with PFO? Basically that I'd like to see a much more *complex* combat system for PFO. Realistic military simulation complex? Nah, but way more complex than "hit 1-3-4-5-5-2 over and over for optimum dps".

Some stuff in there that I'd love to see make an appearance in an "empire simulator".

-Being knocked out
-Bleeding and blood loss, bandaging
-Pain overload affecting vision/perception.
-Broken bones
-Dragging/carrying incapacitated players
-No "ambient" light. Midnight is really midnight, you won't see crap without some light source.

You're thinking maybe something like this?


On the upside I've been playing around with the Hero Engine (SWTOR/TES:O, etc) in my spare time since a cloud dev license only cost $99, and even full fps combat with location damage is natively supported; complete with demo projects you can download to see how it works.

The problem with Hero Engine without source access is running a bunch of complex scripts is much slower and more demanding than running native C++ code, so you end up with weird input lag. It works fine, but the controls feel a little *off*. I think you'd need to implement your combat directly into the game code to get the type of tight experience needed. After playing with the engine, I'd blame the "input lag" in SWTOR on them implementing the combat through Heroscript instead of hacking it into the source, but that's pure speculation by me, I could be wrong.

As another programmer with 15 years of experience, I agree with Nihimon. At the end of the day if a player is to create the type of content you describe they have to be able to program themselves. If you let them program themselves, and put the code in your game, you are giving them the power to break your game, damage performance, or write unbalanced content.

The alternative to making someone program is GUI tools that write the code for you, but are so complex they are actually much more difficult to learn (and much more limited) than the type of scripting and 3d mapping you'd need to make a module in say, the single player NwN. Neverwinter Nights (1 and 2) is about as close as we've come to what you described, but creation there definitely had a technical component to it that limited the number of creators making "quality" content.

If Goblinworks was willing to dedicate some members of the staff to thoroughly reviewing content submissions and setting up a process for that, we might be able to see player created content.

eg. Content Creation Tool --> Test Server --> Peer Review Approval --> Employee Review --> Live

We need a wiki, maybe Goblinworks can set an official one up so there doesn't end up being 4-5 of them or a dodgy wikia?

Having fun core combat gameplay means tons. Yeah, a game can play well without it, but it's so much more with it. Some games have it *good core combat* but lack everything else.

WoW combat isn't the way to go. However, Darkfall style combat has many shortcomings as well. I'm interested to see what they cook up, and hope they keep in mind that most people are tired of the EQ/WoW standard.

The more *skillful* combat is, the less players are inclined to cry about insurmountable gear gaps/level gaps/etc.

Urlord the Wonderful wrote:
Nihimon wrote:
@Urlord, I believe they intend to address the problem by having each map hex run in its own process.

That would take advantage of multithreaded processing and clustering which is great. Thanks.

I have read the term "hex" in several blogs and posts. Would you happen to know how big a hex will be?

So, we all know "a server" is actually in modern games a bunch of servers. Some control areas, some chat channels, some AI, etc.

From my standpoint I imagine how many machines are covering an area would depend on how populous and active an area is. A prime city may be made up of many *servers* even though it doesn't cover much area. A barren wasteland with very low traffic may cover a huge area with one server from the cluster. I'm not sure the number of servers serving a hex has much implications to players, but technically in the background those may be subdivided many times due to the need to serve more players without a performance loss.

Eve seems to handle load balancing *super* well with a "single server" environment, and many of the guys in Goblinworks are from CCP.

For sense of wonder and lasting fun I'd have to give it to UO. The scope and anything being possible is something few games attempt at all.

For raw living in the moment fun I'd have to give it to D&D Online. The combat is realtime, it's D&D, and their scripted modules are top notch.

A game that combined both aspects would be my dream project. Hmmm, wonder why I'm here? Oh yeah, this game IS pretty much combining those two things

Although the combat may not be as fluid and visceral as DDO combat I'm convinced the developers are going for something much compelling than WoW combat, if just because of the technology lead's history.

Ryan/Goblinworks: You guys should add a dollar tier. Sure, I'll get my Goblin Squad stuff, but I'm more invested. Just about every gamer I know would kick a dollar in if just to prove they believed in the concept of a fantasy sandbox MMO, even if they weren't sold that you guys can make the best one.

I think in this case it's much less about the money raised, although certainly it'll help, and much more about the impact this will have in investor perception. When thousands of people throw money at an idea it's proven to have a market. That's just my impression though, I could be wrong.

Berselius wrote:
I'll be honest. This is a bit of a let down. I was hoping for a single player game (like NWN) but instead we get a game like D&D: Online.

Actually, this is sort of as far as you can get from DDO while still being an MMO. DDO is a lobby based theme park, and this is a huge open world sandbox.

I'd love to see the documentary style thing that was too dry for the Kickstarter vid. All us forum folk dig that sort of long winded stuff I think.

/edit: Read more closely. Looking forward to the future posts.

I've kind of never seen a kickstarter move this fast. To say MMO gamers are exhausted by the endless stream of theme parks is a massive understatement. Maybe this will wake up the investors.

I hope this serves as a wakeup call to the industry and allows PFO to be the first to get it's foothold established.

The most depressing gaming moment I've had in the last several years was the Elder Scrolls Online being revealed (and subsequently reviled) as yet another theme park.

I crossposted this to my little place on the web. Where me and a few hundred jaded old ex-DAoC/UO players have been lingering for years.


Nihimon wrote:

LOTRO was handing out lifetime subscriptions for $400 (my dad got his for $200 during a special). I still wish I'd had the money to spare at the time.

I would gladly spend $1,000 in exchange for lifetime subs to PFO for my wife and me.

Yeah, but the thing you have to keep in mind is that just because something is funded on Kickstarter doesn't mean it won't run out of money, have-to do another Kickstarter, or never actually be completed.

Any such incentive you got out of the campaign would be a "maybe lifetime sub if the game actually gets made". If it gets made, but badly you're then looking at a lifetime sub of a game whose lifetime was a month or two.

In order for a Kickstarter MMO to get funded more than a very small amount there would haveto be some pretty hardcore pledges by the developers, and extremely proven developers (not marketing people) fronting the project. Stuff like, "if we fold we'll open source." Things that would probably hurt the chances of landing regular investor funding. I don't think anyone expects something like Kickstarter to raise the multi-millions needed to make an MMO.

Ryan Dancey wrote:
And frankly, from the perspective of an entrepreneur, I'd much rather do it the Kickstarter way, pay for performance, rather than pay for equity. With equity comes all sorts of headaches, from notification requirements to people who treat showing up at annual meetings and wasting everyone's time as a sport, to frivolous lawsuits, to the need to get lots of agreement when doing things like dilution, or issuing new classes of stock, etc.

Yeah, I totally get that. But as a gamer with disposable income I sink 30-60$ into kickstarter projects basically pre-ordering games I want that are unlikely to be funded by publishers. Shadowrun being a great example, I'm going to love a new classic RPG style Shadowrun. What I don't understand, maybe since I've never made more than 80k in any given year; is pumping $500 into a kickstarter campaign for a game. I don't want to play any game enough to *spend* $500 on it. However, I absolutely understand *investing* $500 in a project you have faith in.

I've done it with plenty of hobbyist software projects of my own (or colleagues) that later end up paying for themselves, usually in time savings. So, I'm very interested in seeing this "Kickstarter alternative" at e3, but unless it involves some ROI beyond playing a game I don't see dropping more than $100 on any game with only the game and useless fluff in exchange.

Nostrus wrote:
I suspect that the majority of the modules will be available through the sub or else it lessens the value of said subscription. What you'll get then is someone figuring out which modules offer the best bang for your buck and those will be the only ones that get bought, reducing overall revenue for Goblinworks/Paizo. Far better for the greater majority of modules to be available through the sub as that then increases the likelihood of a 'f2p' player buying more modules so they can play them with their subbed friends.

It seems unlikely anyone outside of a free training period would play "f2p" since they essentially can't earn any XP while being F2P. So, outside of modules designed for *level 1* who would the market be for buying modules, if not the people that already bought *training time* for the month?

Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Marou_ wrote:

If I'm to be paying $15/m for a "sub", I don't want to also buy modules that give me good gear for completion, and (training speed boost) items, and "healing potions", etc.

Marou, the subscription model pays for training time, according to the blog. If you decide to pay the monthly fee, you won't have to buy anything from the money store. Also you can buy these upgrade times from people who buy them from the store with game money, so even if you choose the free option, you won't *need* to spend real money in the store.

That may be the case, I wouldn't fund it anyways. While that sounds fine in theory I've played a jillion f2p games, that's not how it works out. A single $0.50 item from cash shop ends up costing a day+ worth of coin farming from an advanced character.

I've thought this for a few months now. There needs to be some alternative to Kickstarter where we aren't just pre-purchasing a game, but actually pooling a bunch of smaller investments ($100, $1000, $5000, etc) that will actually show a return on investment. Almost like selling "stock" in a product instead of a company. So that say 50% of real profit will come back to the product *shareholders* based upon the size of their investment relative to the total pool until they have a 200% ROI.

For example, if I *invested* $1000 in the Pathfinder project, out of a total pool of $10,000,000 investment capital raised during the crowd source investment period, I'd get 0.0001% of the final (after expense) profit that came in every month, or if the product made 2M profit in a month, I'd get $200 back. Eg, the investment would pay itself off in 10 months.

Ordinarily investor relations are much more skewed, in that the investor claims a larger chunk of profits and has much stronger input into what's being made, but often they also don't really know what the hell they are investing in.

I think such a model might work, but I don't think it exists in any form at the moment. Is this just me having a goofball moment? Or would other people throw far more money at game projects they believed in if it was an *investment* instead of essentially a pre-purchase?

I did throw cash into the Shadowrun Returns and Wasteland 2 Kickstarters, but as much as I want this game to be my MMO rest home I'm dubious about throwing kickstarter funds into a game that will have a cash shop and open PvP. Unless there are guarantees from Ryan the cash shop will be only cosmetic, and the Kickstarter can make that happen (avoiding an ugly investor relationship).

If I'm to be paying $15/m for a "sub", I don't want to also buy modules that give me good gear for completion, and (training speed boost) items, and "healing potions", etc.

So, I'll happily drop money in a Kickstarter, if the detailed plans for the cash shop are released and there is some commitment to *what is acceptable* for inclusion within it. I'll also pimp it on my site, on Slashdot, and everywhere else I frequent.

DeciusBrutus wrote:
I also think that you are absolutely crazy if you think that 250ms is insurmountable latency, or that faster throughput results in lower minimum ping.

Faster net infrastructure and non-analog signals result in a much lower minimum ping. The higher bandwidth lets more data be sent each update pulse. It's not uncommon for me to ping between 15 and 60MS to any given game server on arguably one of the worst cable isp's in the states (Time Warner).

To be clear, it's insurmountable in competitive PvP in derivative MMO combat. Let me give you an example.

If I am in WoW arena, and I've partly through casting frost bolt (2s cast) to snare a melee type, and my team-mate notes the potential to kill the healer next to my current target who has 1 hit's worth of life left, I must move to cancel the current spell, retarget (multiple tabs) till I get to the healer, wait for my GCD to finish and ultimately have a fraction (less than a 5th) of a second left to get a counterspell in to prevent the life saving flash heal (1.5s cast) from completing.

In a game with aiming I could have let the frostbolt cast finish but re-aimed while it was casting at the healer. It would actually in effect be much *less* twitch than traditional MMO combat, less artificial and awkward, and less prone to latency causing my intention to go awry. My low ping in the derivative MMO scenario outlined above (<30ms) actually gave me a much greater advantage than slightly more accurate aiming does in a modern FPS where players don't run 900 miles an hour like they did in the Quake days.

I remember that thread well. Thing is, since the technical problems are not insurmountable unless you want people to be able to play on a 56k modem, and hotbar-tab target-timer based combat ends up being rather "twitch" anyways, in addition to boring and heavily gear dependent; why not have something more visceral?

His analogy (not sure if it was that thread) about guitar playing intrigued me, so I started thinking of possibilities. Active defensive skills is one of them, as is certain extra powerful attacks being "aimed" while others are not. Think player controlled parry-riposte.

One of the unique but poorly executed ideas in Matrix Online was this idea of melee "interlock", where once you locked in on someone your focus was on controlling the combat, and not your character's movement, since your character would automatically animate and move in opposition to the person you "locked on".

It got me thinking of what's wrong with MMO combat in general, and much of it is movement and behaviors that don't make sense in real combat. Like constantly for example (running through) someone in order to stay out of their line-of-sight in standard model, or "jousting" in a more realtime model.

An interlock type of system resolves that goofiness, and leaves the player free to focus on controlling the actual combat instead of juggling multiple responsibilities. Thus, combat can be much more involved without being overwhelming.

Also, range is a huge advantage that having aiming mechanisms and interlock type systems can move more towards balance.

Anyways, just some random thoughts. In my experience the standard derivative MMO combat is just as unplayable with a 250 ms ping in PvP as a 200 player match of Battlefield is with the same ping.

Does this sort of /anyone can now do it/ integration of real time combat into MMO middleware complete with provided reference game code make it more likely Goblinworks will go for a more active combat model than the WoW standard tab-target timer-based hotkey pressing? Eg, might we get some active aiming and blocking mechanics going on?


Reference Worlds — Access to reference worlds of typical online games (social, FPS ect), complete with example code.


"There are actually 2 worlds -- a world with a blade you can download to get references and check how things work, and a player client for a different world where you can actually play. There is not a great deal of “gameplay” other than shooting other robots in the face. But there are kill streaks and leader boards, etc. There’s a standard rifle, and a melee axe, and limbs can get blown off."

Nihimon wrote:

My only real MUD experience was Arctic MUD, set in the Dragonlance world.

In many ways, it was the most fun I ever had playing a game. It's a lot easier to describe really complex systems in text than it is to make them work correctly in 3d graphics.

True that, but I think mostly it's been a lack of trying since companies decided after WoW that theme parks were where the real money was at.

There were more innovative MMO's coming out in the early 2000's than there are now. We have PFO being made by some CCP vets/real gamers, World of Darkness by CCP, a bunch of indy projects that are way underfunded and suffer tremendously for it, and over 9000 theme park WoW clones.

Nihimon wrote:
Buzzo wrote:
In those MUDs combat consisted of "attack mud crab," but it was still fun as hell.

Preach on, brother!

Any of you guys ever play Medievia or Materia Magicka? First thing I flashed back to when I first came across the Pathfinder Online blog was running caravans between towns in Medievia. Funny how long it's taken some of these mud features to make their way to graphical games.

Yeah, I would too. I'd be happy about most things. Honestly the game could be using 3rd person top down BG perspective in 2d and I'd still be interested, but I'd love a first person and more "realistic" art style. Not necessarily meaning it looks like Skyrim or something, but that things are drawn to realistic proportions. No chain mail bikinis, Rakhasas being anime cat girls, or GIANT SHOULDERS and hands.

Just because something is stylized and (drawn looking) doesn't mean it has to be of the awkward cartoon like proportions say, Elder Scrolls Online, or WoW is. The Walking Dead is a wonderful example of this.

http://thecontrolleronline.com/2012/04/the-walking-dead-episode-one-review/ #3

Eg, I'm not opposed to a much more stylistic look, except when that style is american Saturday morning cartoons or anime.

Nihimon wrote:
Obakararuir wrote:
I just disagree with having someone lock a dungeon to "sell" it to someone.

It saddens me that you treat "sell" like a dirty word.

Would you react with as much aversion to the idea of "selling" information about prime locations for mining Iron? How about "selling" the iron itself?

Back to the topic of dungeons...

Since it's obviously going to be possible to "discover" a dungeon (Type 1, anyway) and return to town to try to get a group to explore it, what steps do you feel should be taken to ensure the discoverer can't receive compensation for guiding a group to the dungeon and then leaving that group to explore the dungeon without his assistance?

For profit exploration is actually one of the coolest things I'd never even considered that might be possible here. So, that's kinda awesome and I see nothing wrong with it. Most games don't reward exploration at all, or only through "achievements"; for the kids that care about those.

Art Direction and UI are extremely important factors that determine how much immersion a game has. If the user interface is full of 30 hotbars, a mini-map, a guild chat panel, inventory bags, and archaic /slash commands it becomes much harder to *forget* you are playing a game and get drawn into the world.

By the same token art direction has the same effect. If a game looks like a cartoon and/or has poor animation quality, it's not only hard to take it seriously, it can be hard to get engaged in the combat and content, even if it's of a high quality. The engagement is on a "game" level, and not on the *epic movie/book* level that a more realistic game art style can offer.

Personally, I'd love to see *highly playable* first person perspective in Pathfinder, although the cynic in me says it'll be all third person. I'd also love to see a less obtrusive UI, but most attempts to deviate from standards have met with failure.

So, what do you guys think? Would you prefer a more realistic or "cartoon" style in Pathfinder? How important is animation quality and art direction to your level of immersion?

/edit: Lagged while posting this and ended up with 4 copies, I deleted the dupes. As an aside I want to thank Goblinworks for making a sandbox fantasy MMO to begin with. With the recent extraordinarily disappointing announcement that TES online would be another "me-too" theme park this game has moved to #1 on my anticipated fantasy games list.

I'm hoping they use something really powerful like the Unreal Engine. Saw a trailer for another upcoming F2P sandbox today on Unreal 3 and it blew my mind.


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Keep in mind that the Baldur's Gate is rated teen.

It has:

1) Enemies that explode into showers of body parts.
2) Working brothels.
3) Depictions of torture.
4) Literal fountains of blood.
5) Your main character is a spawn of the god of murder who raped thousands of mortals during the time of troubles to ensure his continued survival.
6) Quests involving serial killers (The Skinner chain, etc).
7) Slavery (including of children)
8) Disfigurement

I think in most everyone's head Pathfinder is equilavent to D&D in content style and tone. Most everyone would also agree that the content in say, Planescape Torment, or the Baldur's Gate series is rather mature, even though it's rated 'T'. If those games came out today, they would probably get an 'M', but that's irrelevant in PFO. Those games are likely in line with what Paizo considers acceptable content for PFO.

Would you Goblinworks guys say that is a safe assumption? Or, are those classics more mature than your aim?

Ryan Dancey wrote:

Sometimes developers are too wrapped up in how "perfectly balanced" their game designs are, or who think that "letting the players develop the world" excuses any degenerate behavior. I've decided after watching these games for a long time that you have to have a steady, controlling hand on the tiller in the beginning so that the game forms productive and fun play patterns which become strong enough to act as a real check against degenerate behavior.

I think you hit the nail on the head there. No matter how great the design was on paper it needs adjustment and a guiding hand in game to see it through.

No matter how cool the original idea is, if you crowdsource hundreds of people into exploiting it mercilessly it's going to turn ugly without adjustment.

I'm very curious to see how the PvE works. IIRC it was previously mentioned that campaigns and modules would be sold via the store. Presumably these would be available as part of the package to subscribers.

While this makes sense to me having played DDO off and on since it came out, it fails to make sense to me in the context of a sandbox with time based advancement.

First because you can't really quantify what you're trying to sell to marketing. DDO being basically a hacked up D&D 3.5 can say, "Intended for balanced parties of adventurers, levels 14-16". Pathfinder I suppose could say, "Balanced archetypes levels 7-10" but there is a ton of leeway there to have characters that are more or less suitable to actual combat. Also, level 7-10 are characters that are about a year old. That's about the oldest you could ever anticipate characters being while designing modules because of attrition in a game with a super long curve.

Second because you can't load up these modules with fantastical loot in any way I can figure out without invalidating much of the idea of a crafting/economy based game.

So, I think it's safe to assume there will be introductory quests to pull you into the game and explain the game systems, the rest of how PvE might work is entirely mysterious to me.

randomwalker wrote:
Marou_ wrote:
Ryan Dancey wrote:

On paper there would seem to be a large disincentive towards activities like say, guarding a caravan, or a harvesting node. As, unless they could pay more than the value of the goods being protected it would be more rewarding to just rob them.

Can you share some of the systems that will be in place to prevent this, or is it by design?

The main system to prevent anarchy are the guilds.

The statement "it would be more rewarding to rob them" assumes that the risk is the same. Which any competent caravan owner will make sure is not the case!

Consider a caravan with 5 guards, 3 of whom are in the same guild as the caravan owner. For any one of the guards it makes no sense to attack the rest, while doing the job builds trust. For any small bandit group it would also be risky - and any organised bandit group attacking might be starting a guild war they may not want.

The paradox about economics is that the more people try to steal from each other instead of producing, the more valuable the loot becomes - and also the produced goods.

Yeah, the effect of similar systems in other sandbox PvP games such as Mortal Online has been that *everyone* is unlawful / KOS to everyone else, and lawful characters are anomalies. This in spite of the fact that game has harsher death penalties for unlawful characters that theoretically act as a deterant to such behavior. Those penalties fail to perform their design function since in spite of them the risk/reward ratio is very slanted towards the aggressor achieving a more favorable outcome/reward.

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Andius wrote:
What is considered equipped?

The weapon you're wielding, and the armor you're wearing.

For instance say you have a barbarian ... If his bow is equipped and he dies will he drop his greataxe? If his greataxe is equipped and he dies will he drop his bow?


The intent is not to make it "safe" to play. The intent is to make it reasonably possible for you to get your stuff back if you happen to die.

I however DO NOT favor the use of a level requirement for gear. I think that if a level one can afford to outfit themselves with the best gear in the game and maintain it that they should be able to.

You will need to have the requisite merit badges to equip most gear. You will get those merit badges by training skills and by accomplishing in-game deeds. You won't be able to just use whatever you find or can buy.


On paper there would seem to be a large disincentive towards activities like say, guarding a caravan, or a harvesting node. As, unless they could pay more than the value of the goods being protected it would be more rewarding to just rob them.

Can you share some of the systems that will be in place to prevent this, or is it by design? We know about the bounty system, but I fail to see how dying matters much in most cases if you are running around looking for PvP. A team of mages comes to mind wearing nothing valuable. Pop the target, allied salvagers come in and kill the mages looting the ill gotten gains from them without taking a lawful hit, profit.

Skwiziks wrote:

@Marou_, which is part of the reason why if someone loots your corpse after killing you they receive one random item from your inventory, then your inventory/body is destroyed. It's hard to gain through PvP when you could easily end up with eight stacks of torches as your only ill-gotten gains. Caravans though, we'll see where that goes.

In general I wonder if we all more or less want the same things, we're just worried about particular aspects. The game needs to make the participation of new players meaningful and fun, at the same time veteran players need to have some advantage over new players. The game needs to discourage griefing, but needs to allow banditry in most areas. Gear progression should matter, but shouldn't be the be all and and end all of success. Character progression should be meaningful, but shouldn't be so complex and long as to be frustrating.

For the most part I'd agree that we do all want the same thing. The devil is in the level of detail needed to turn those generic things into an actual game.

Some mechanics don't work at all towards achieving what we want, some sort of work, and some seem like they'd work until you think about it sideways and realize it actually has the opposite incentive when you're playing.

Goblinworks said, "We want to make a fantasy sandbox in the Pathfinder universe that captures the spirit of Pathfinder in a persistent player controlled world." in not quite those words. Our initial reaction was of course, "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY".

10 minutes later you start to think logically and recognize that the details are key to making that dream game into a reality. Since we all care; we nitpick details. It's all good spirited I think, and I've enjoyed posting here.

I like Andius' gear driven progression ideas because it lowers the barrier to entry. If much of the character's effectiveness comes from gear "catching up" on skill advancement or becoming stuck in a narrow specialization becomes much less of a concern. It makes your victory more about how you played instead of /subscribed time, while also making wealthy merchants with powerful magic wands and defensive equipment less attractive targets.

One of the problems sandbox PvP games face is that the most optimal path to advancement ends up being killing people. Sure, you could run a trade caravan, but the guy who just robbed you made more money than you would have (no initial investment) and can engage in a wider variety of activities.

The mechanism that prevents this from being universally true in Eve is the destruction of assets through combat. If only unequipped items are dropped only people who aren't looking for PvP will lose items. Knowing the merchant on top of the merchant caravan may have the wand equivalent of an AA12 and a ridiculous set of enchanted armor would go a long way towards making his life as viable as the lives of those who would rob him.

Under the systems as described the cost of defeat for those attacking a trade caravan or harvesting operation is a walk; or maybe later "bounty hunters" show up and make you "walk more". Still no loss. The victims could lose millions of gold worth of assets. In that equation all of the risk is on the people attempting to be productive. Which is more attractive to the average player? Exciting times raiding and stealing, worst that can happen is a walk. Or, working your butt off and constantly being robbed?

Nihimon wrote:
Can't say. Don't know Shadowbane, and there's so much variability in what you mean by "mechanically copies WoW Combat" and what I would imagine that we're not even speaking the same language.

1+ second global cooldown between skill uses. Defensive abilities are passive % chances, attacks are auto-aimed and can not be avoided except passively or through line of sight. Skill usage is limited through cool downs instead of resource consumption. Core gameplay consists of min-maxxing and macro'ing "skill rotations" to optimize DPS for "burst" or "sustained". Crowd control (stuns, snares, mezzes, fears, etc) and healing abilities are the strongest PvP abilities in the game.

/edit: Shadowbane city management - http://www.anybrowser.org/shadowbane/city.html

Curiosity inspires me to ask these questions.

1) What is the "sweet spot" for you all when someone can fully participate in the game (competitively engage in all available activities) with 1 subscription/character? Never? (eg, 10+ years), 5 years? 7.5 years? (How long WoW has been out so far...), 9 years (how long Eve has been out?)

2) What is the LONGEST you have ever played a single MMO. Subscribing without playing doesn't count, nor does a game you went back to several times with big subscription lapses.

3) Why did you stop playing the game you played the longest, if you played in spurts, why did you stop going back?

4) If PFO mechanically copies the following systems but strings them together into a believable economy and world, how long will you play it before becoming bored?

-WoW Combat
-Eve Manufacturing
-Eve Skill Training
-SWG Harvesting
-Shadowbane settlement construction

MicMan wrote:

Soo, if I am understanding that right, the discussion is that my new char can't compete with someone who is in the game for years?

Gosh, who would have thought that from an MMO?

People who are tired of the same old lazy *dime a dozen* MMO design and are looking for a real fantasy sandbox? After all, if the standard approach is what you want, hundreds of games out there cater to it.

With "real time" skill training that takes 2.5 years to reach the pinnacle of 1 archetype, and a PvP focus on controlling resources; the gap between established and new players can not be insurmountable as it is in a standard (2 mo/cap) game; or you end up with no new players and a game that dies fairly rapidly.

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MicMan wrote:

The basic weakness of all MMOs to date: you are mostly just a grunt, one of a million when you really want to be the hero.

If you want to change that you have to invest ungodly amounts of time and/or money to archieve a glimpse of something that Skyrim gives you for free - a world where everything revolves around you - just with noone else to admire/envy/.. you.

But if you really want to have a interesting world, you can't look to PvE as to date even a game as complex as Skyrim is still shallow and scripted.

Problem is, that in the classic fantasy MMOs this is just as true as PvP is reduced to arena style sport events.

This is what Pathfinder will hopefully change.

In order to fully appreciate the AI in Skyrim you have to stop fast travelling. The non-combat AI is way above anything else I've played sans the Sims. In most MMO the NPC's are loot pinatas and quest vending machines. In Skyrim I followed this group of undead/vampire hunters once for a few hours. It lead me to some extremely interesting content that had nothing to do with quests. 400 hours in I'm still finding strange things laying around Skyrim. Some is scripted, some is emergent behavior of the AI. Sometimes the 2 collide with really amusing results, like General Tullius being attacked by a Dragon while he gives a rousing speech in front of the final war related battle (Imperial aligned).

I'm very excited about Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns, me and the wife have been playing through Baldur's Gate 2 and older Fallout games to get in the right frame of mind.

Nihimon wrote:
Marou_ wrote:
If activity 1 is not inherently fun but it earns you a bunch more money than activity 2, which is also not inherently fun, which will you do?


Right, but then there is all this cool crap going on all around you in the world. That's what inevitably makes me break down and go, "Ya know, maybe I'll try Eve again." Which always regardless of the path I took brings me back to cancelling in 3 weeks. I had alot of fun in the beta because everyone was a mover and shaker in the sandbox. Everyone was on relatively equal footing. The player competition and dyanamic nature of the world overcame the shortcomings of the gameplay itself.

When I sold my high skilled jack-of-all trades to pay off a CC (it was worth that much) 3-4 years ago, I mostly stopped playing Eve. It was pretty fun on that character because I had a wide variety of viable activities I could do alone or in small groups. However, that character had alot of REAL TIME TRAINING behind them. That character also *grew up* along with everyone else, and built up many skills while I wasn't even playing the game but was still subbed/queue'ing skills. They were never the extremely limited *can't really participate in the sandbox* character that the newer ones I try with my wife are.

Nihimon wrote:

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
note you can NOT have massive amounts of fun until you have AT LEAST a passing ability to do what you want.
I am convinced that certain players will not have fun doing something until they can do it at least as well as anyone else can.

In Eve the entertainment value of the "activities" themselves is very dubious. So, the "fun" comes in making money, winning, and taking risks, yeah? If activity 1 is not inherently fun but it earns you a bunch more money than activity 2, which is also not inherently fun, which will you do?

The *fun* that comes out of Eve activities is the same kind of *fun* that comes out of a slot or video poker machine. If I must trade/mine/etc for 6 hours to earn as much ISK as I would in 1 hour of PvE, and the *gameplay* behind any of these activities is not exciting or inherently fun on a gameplay level, trading is zero fun for my combat focused character.

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