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Nihimon wrote:
Misere wrote:

1) Linked mobs that come in bunches. Split pulling was an art at one time.

3) Non-social mobs. If I am killing something, its buddy/mate across the road should notice and come help if its close enough.
How do you fix one without breaking the other?

Some games have had hard coded encounters in which that group of 3 mobs will *always* come as 3 (early Vanguard Beta, early days of EQ2, Swtor I believe as well) regardless of skills or abilities used, I'm assuming that's the situation he's referring to, while other games have managed to have groups of mobs that would only come as the full pack if they were within a certain radius of each other or possible to split off with skills/abilities.

For example, if I let that ogre roam 30 feet from his friends, he'll come single and the others won't notice, however if I misjudge and he's actually within 25 feet of his friends, and within their aggro radius, they will notice and join in.

It's possible to allow for mobs assisting each other without hard coding them to always come as a group, and I've always found that to be an enjoyable mechanic to master.

As he mentioned, in EQ, split pulling was an art, a good puller earned reputation as there was skill involved. It may sound like a small mechanic, but it had a huge impact on how the game played as a whole.

I was more proud of the pulling tricks I'd mastered on my ranger over the years than I was of any gear he had. I've really missed that in recent games.

Fra Antonius wrote:
Not sure about the money gathering side of the problem, but they should limit conquests to certain hours. This will at least give people with lives to live an opportunity to help their companies when it really counts. Of course then we have the problem of time zones etc, but IMO this is still better than 24/7 FFA.

Although I'd end up on the side that doesn't benefit from this due to my schedule, I'm against limiting events to specific times as a blanket attempt to create an even play field.

Restrictions like this seem to suck more out of a gaming experience than they add to it.

I think I'm firmly on the side of not trying to cram in contrived systems, even if it means I'm at some disadvantage to the guy who doesn't work and devotes all of his time to an MMO. I have never seen artificial restrictions do anything but create a jarring nonsensical experience that gets more and more bland the further it goes towards evening the play field.

I don't believe any systems at all should be implemented to make up for my lack of playtime, it detracts too much to be worthwhile, and of course everyone will have a differing opinion on how far it should be taken as well.

In a broader sense, and not exactly in reply to your post, as someone that will only be able to play around my work schedule, I absolutely feel that I do not deserve to be on the same level as someone who gives up sleep, showers, food & life to push on further than me.

Making games accessible is one thing, but the overwhelming sense of entitlement that's been running rampant in MMOs since a certain arrival in 2004 has done absolutely no good overall, in my opinion. Artificially inserting 'fairness' that negates any advantage someone has worked for or has access to detracts from the game as a whole.

I do not deserve to be artificially boosted to be on par with someone who puts in way more time than I do.

I really hope PFO doesn't take up the quest for fairness much beyond possibly a basic 'rested' system.

(This isn't exactly directed at your post, it's just a jumping off point as the system of time limited events has been something that's always turned me off or lessened my enjoyment of a game).

I can honestly say that in my entire gaming history (apart from possibly the old EQ midi music nostalgia), no game music has made as strong an impression on me as the music from Horizons/Istaria.

I did some searching and found it was apparently done by a guy named Eric Speier. The game tracks ranged from acoustic guitar to incredibly descriptive ambiant tracks to darker and louder bits as well.

I'm sure some of my appreciation for it was due to its in game flow, it all just fit so well with the world. For example, one of the tracks you'd find in a crafting area:

The range of styles was quite extensive but all very cohesive. I found a site that has some of his work, with a few tracks (the ones with names that sound fantasy MMOish)are from that game if anyone's interested:

I rarely give in game music much consideration unless it's implemented well (for me it's mostly either too repetative, good but too sparse, or just annoying). But this games music stood out for me amongst , jeesh, hundreds of other MMOs and countless games, so I thought it was worth a mention.

I'd love to hear something like this in PFO.

Cele wrote:
Rafkin wrote:

I understand in a sandbox game it would be silly to restrict players from pvp but i really don't enjoy it. Add in the loss of items from dieing and this is shaping up to be a hardcore gankfest.

I wanted the Pathfinder that we play on a tabletop and that doesn't usually involve players killing each other.

Watching the development blog for Pathfinder Online is like watching a slow motion train wreck. I am horrified... would never want to participate... but can't look away...

Who would take an imagination driven PvE game among friends and turn it into a pvp gank fest and invite THE INTERNET!?

I must have had much better luck, over the past 15 years I've made countless friends (some of which I've gamed with for over a decade now, as well as vacationed with) and met my wife of 11 years in EQ. It bums me out just to think of not knowing these people had I adopted a negative attitude that arbitrarily forced me to avoid interacting with people that also use the internet.

The good people certainly make it easier to tolerate the random creeps determined to spread negativity. I wouldn't write off everyone by default, personally. I'm old, grumpy and cynical, but can't deny there are a hell of a lot of great people out there and a lot of great communities I'd be robbing myself of if I wasn't willing to risk the occasional transparent jerk.

This is somewhat long and off topic, as it's more about PvP in general and some questions.

I can only come to the conclusion that it must be aspects of pvp situations that turn people off rather than the thought of an intelligent being playing the role of a character they're fighting/encountering that causes people to dislike the idea of PvP.

What if in all those PvP experiences that lead up to a negative impression you honestly didn't know it was a human behind the character, but instead assumed it was AI, would you have disliked the game for having opponents that weren't utterly predictable or enjoyed the unexpected bugbear ambush for the excitement it brought?

Knowing it's another player must play a large role in turning people off. Although I guess I can imagine that if previous games handled PvP poorly by offering little reason to either engage or not engage in PvP and little to no reward of any kind to make it worthwhile it could be seen as just an unnecessary interruption.

I can't imagine any other reasons for disliking an encounter with intelligently controlled game characters - A.I. is only a necessary technological restriction, not the better choice, no? I guess I could be alone in that, but I'd be (a little) surprised if I was.

Why is it viewed as so much worse if a player of an enemy faction springs from the bushes and kills your character than if an enraged A.I. Minotaur charged out of the underbrush and slaughtered you, if not for the information that it was another player?

Ideally I would think in a fantasy world like that of Pathfinder we'd have *all* except maybe the lowest beast operated by a human GM or player, after all, AI can only do so much.

What advantage do predictable AI mobs have over a living and thinking opponent that makes people prefer them?

I realize this post may sound 'anti-PvE players' as it's currently considered, but I'm not attempting to offend anyone, I'm just honestly curious if with these things in mind, people would still be against fighting intelligently controlled characters/monsters/enemies (provided the rewards and consequences are the same as they would be from an AI controlled character), and if so, what's the most honest reason you can think of to explain it?

I'd thought we were just tolerating AI controlled characters because hiring thousands of workers to play various roles was unreasonable, not because AI was more entertaining.

P.S.: I hope I'm clearly making my point but I've got a fever at the moment and on some pretty powerful stuff, so I could have just typed anything up there - I'll re-read it tomorrow.

Good point.

While this is currently my favorite board to visit for a number of reasons (incredible ratio of like minded people, intelligent discussion that often has me reconsidering things and a very friendly atmosphere), there are a lot of posts that discuss features and ideas so deeply that by the third page I find a whole system has been designed to accurately represent the drawbacks of removing ones armor to use the outhouse.

There are clearly a lot of smart and creative people here with good intentions, but at some point we're discussing some mythological dream MMO rather than Pathfinder.

Also Valkenr, we're going to have to do something about our names. Like a winner take all Jarts death match - I keep thinking I've made a new post.

I could go on for ages regarding great in game events, but I'll try and be brief.

Easily one of the most memorable events for me took place in EverQuest a long time ago, before Kunark even. There was a GM event in Kithicor forest in which giant undead were spawning and just going crazy, spilling out from the darkness and slaughtering everything.

Our guild was made up of a wide range of levels, so the three highest levels had set up camp in the center of the forest and spent the night making trips to the zone line and escorting new arrivals to our spot. As a Ranger I went along with them despite my low-ish level of 32 as they needed my tracking to get back and forth without getting totally lost in the darkness. Arriving safely back at camp was a huge relief and each trip was an exciting excursion.

After a few hours of this and taking down enough to get some nice upgrades for almost everyone, a GM appeared near the tail end of the event and entertained our gathering for awhile with riddles and small challenges. It was an absolute blast.A few unique titles were even given out (which was huge at the time, you didn't get 10 titles for finding a mailbox or whatever it is now).

On paper this may not sound like an exciting adventure, but the combination of GM interaction, player camaraderie, terror as twelve foot mummies came stomping out of the darkness, new and interesting loot that was actually useful, and people roleplaying as default on 'normal servers' all really made for a very memorable night.

While I'm not strongly for or against it as a default, I am having a hard time imagining any enjoyable impact this would have on the game for either the caster or the target & unintended target. What is it bringing to the table aside from more limitations for people that play casters and motive to avoid grouping with casters?

It's my understanding that we'll probably not be seeing an 'action' oriented combat system and instead a more traditional tab target + ability hotbar, so how would friendly fire work there as any time you're engaging enemies there will almost always be some melee in range that aren't enemies (unless everyone's a caster)? A % chance to always hit nearby allies hardcoded into all AE spells? Wouldn't that simply limit available options for casters? I just don't see the positive side of this. Are those spells then only for when they're soloing? If so, I doubt anyone soloing would be powerful enough to AE down groups of mobs according to what we've heard so far. So when would friendly fire spells ever even be used? Also, what about archers, is it your intention that they can just hit anyone aside their target as well? Where is the line drawn?

Choosing not to use an AE that will hit friends is hardly a complex riddle the intelligent wizard solves after a serious mental effort, in practice it's in all likely hood just another arbitrary limitation. So we'd end up with people that aren't intentionally playing a jerk having spells that are of little to no use considering the emphasis on grouping in this game, or people that are jerks and just attacking anyone. Sounds like no ones a winner.

I don't know, the more I think about it the less merit I see in cultivating this system for this setting. It all just sounds like a tedious headache that does nothing to meaningfully expand the dynamics of the game in a positive manner while at the same time bringing in arbitrary restrictions & limitations.

starchildren3317 wrote:

Finally, after so many years, an MMO Developer gets it! MMO - Massively MULTIPLAYER Online as opposed to MSO Massively SOLO Online.

Seriously though, every blog post I read, it is as if someone is reading my thoughts on how I would want to build an MMO.

My only problem now is that I have so many ideas for a charter company....Havesting Corps anyone??

I'd certainly prefer if soloing is something that's incredibly risky and challenging (or reserved for those who have 'done their time' and are very high level/well equipped), making groups incredibly desirable if not a necessity.

However, just because I want to play in a massively multiplayer world, it doesn't mean I want to play with them all at the same time - all the time.

I far prefer small group activities with large group activities reserved for special occasions (rare spawn dragon or so) and special situations (pvp warfare). I don't want to log in and feel obligated to join up with a roving band of 20+ players all the time because it's not only possible, but most efficient thing to do every time.

I'd like to be able to accomplish anything outside of the kingdom game (managing, pvp battles, building etc) with a group of 5-6 players. I'm certainly hoping a small group of friends and I find it worthwhile to explore some ruins, dungeons & dangerous areas and not think 'What's the point? We'll only get trash compared to what we'd acquire if we joined up with that giant zerging army over there even though we find that less fun'.

That would really bum me out.

Nihimon wrote:
BlackUhuru wrote:
I just hope they publish the game in house and stay away from having to many big suits in the office calling shots...
I'm going to cry tears of rage if I ever see Sony's name attached to this.

I'm having a hard time thinking of any traditional and current publishers that I'd actually be pleased to see. I know it's unreasonable. I realize I've become quite jaded after years of disappointment, but I didn't really understand how deep it ran until I tried to think of a publisher I'd be happy to see and came up blank.

It's hard not to be jaded after enduring years of shallow clones that drifted further and further away from capturing the PnP spirit these games initially seemed to be trying to recreate. They just seem to add limitations when I'd have assumed the goal was to remove as many as possible.

I distinctly recall thinking many times in the early days 'Wow, can you *imagine* what these games could be like by 2010? I can't wait!'. 'Past' me probably would have jumped ship well before the addiction took hold if I'd had any idea of what 2004-2011 would be like for MMOs :)

Nice, thanks.

I'm not sure how it all works on a technical level, so I'm not sure if a mix is even possible.

If a mix of funding sources is possible, based on what I know so far I'd be willing to pledge around £150 so far - more of course if you do exactly as I say!

Then again I'm not familiar enough with Kickstart to be aware of any drawbacks there may be. It just looks like such a good move on paper.

Exactly, I can only speak for myself but it's pretty clear through friends and game social communities I've been a part of, I'm not the only one who would consider spending a lot more than the average cost of a game if it were going towards funding something that suited me and could potentially result in a long term hobby.

I could easily justify at least the amount we see some games charging for lifetime subs (£100-£150), and likely more for something that appears to be ticking most of the boxes on my dream game list.

My understanding is that investors and budgeting possibilities were still being explored, unless I missed something. As I have no inside information I'm imagining based on what we do know that the initial budget will likely be quite a bit smaller than the average big name MMOs we've seen recently with $50-$250 million budgets.

With that in mind and considering the recent success of Double Fine Adventures funding approach (nearly 2 million pledged while the goal was only 400k), has any consideration been given to using Kickstarter? Or is the potential for reaching the goal through that means too small to be realistic?

I would imagine the niche of people desperate for this type of game could be passionate enough to pull off some impressive amounts.

Logical loot is fine, and I wouldn't expect pigs on a farm to have loot, but I'd always seen it as 'Ah, I'm looting the area this wild boar lived in, he's obviously killed a few people because I found a rusty longsword, a few old coins and a strange book after searching a bit', rather than 'The boar was carrying stuff!'.

Consider how many times you've seen fantasy game illustrations and images of skeletons in a web, or similar , their gear still sparkling in torchlight. When my players killed that large spider for example, it was unspoken common sense that any loot recovered after the battle was obviously a small treasure hoard that had amassed in the spiders general area over the years left behind by victims, not tucked away in the spiders belt pouch.

I guess that's why I've always been more forgiving of the concept.

I think there's room for some logical leniency in that sense while maintaining a modicum of realism. If you're out hunting deer, it's almost guaranteed killing it won't result in uncovering a treasure trove, but if you're braving some wild boars thicket, an area that's been a home it's defended for years, I think it's feasible to assume that when the threat is removed, a bit of searching might uncover some loot. I guess it's all down to how it's represented in game.

The shorter version would be: Logical loot is fine to a degree, but a fantasy world in which there isn't at least a very minor chance of stumbling onto powerful, maybe even out of place treasure, is somewhat less enticing to me.

Then again, if it were to work as I've laid out above (the loot not actually tied to a mob in every case, but rather an area in certain situations) could open up potentially fun approaches for thieves and other sneaky folk by offering a chance to ceep in and out rather than use brute force in every situation. More options and a diversity of situations is always good, in my opinion.

Nihimon wrote:
Hudax wrote:
... except that each of those companion skills would be mutually exclusive.

For the love of God, please, no!

The entire point of an open-ended progression system is to give players the ability to do what they want rather than pigeon-holing them into little niches where it's easy to make them fit into a pre-defined view.

If I choose to spend 3 years learning the skills to be able to raise a skeleton and tame a bear and summon a water elemental, then by God, let me do those things. There are plenty of ways to ensure that it doesn't become overly unbalanced without putting a hard and fast - and oh so arbitrary - restriction in place. Off the top of my head, I would say that Concentration is a very simple way to balance it. Traditional summoning spells almost always center around the terrible things that befall the mages who lose concentration and thus lose control over the summoned being.

Arbitrary restrictions are the last, worst option we should ever consider.

I agree completely.

It would be a huge mistake to implement restrictions we see in current themeparks/most MMOs without strongly considering their origin, intent and if a more viable solution can't be found.

According to the tone of the blogs we're in good hands. However as this is actually a tabletop game being imported to an online space in a way, I would very much hope they don't just choose some modern MMOs to mimic (along with their weaknesses because 'that's the way it's been' [which doesn't seem to be the case luckily]) and instead follow the time-line back along the evolution of online games and possibly pick an earlier point at which to jump off while considering how to approach various problems.

A lot of systems seem to exist because 'That's the way it's done', rather than because they're good or even great ideas. The reasons for some existing and common restrictions could very well be due to time restraints, technology limitations or other issues that might possibly be dealt with in a better way.

So many recent MMOs feel like simple iterations of other recent MMOs, arbitrarily complete with their weaknesses and shortcomings, rather than an attempt to bring a fantasy based role playing game world to the online space.

It's about time someone went back along the path of what we have and why we have it, and re-investigated options and possibilities available to make that happen with a strong grasp of PC gaming/MMO history and an open, creative mind.

I realize this is a bit of a tangent and that I'm grasping onto a small portion of your point, but it's a notion that I'm pretty passionate about and feel is very important in a broader sense as well.

A large part of what made rpgs so enticing for me was the near limitless ways you could approach situations and the world. Transporting that experience to an online PC setting obviously imposes some innate restrictions that can't be helped. However, it seems to me many mechanics and limitations we take for granted could now be scrapped or approached differently.

To me it feels most everyone's been so busy falling all over themselves trying to evolve World of Warcraft in their version of the game that they forgot to look at the entire experience with fresh but experienced eyes.

In no specific order, a rough outline of what I'd like to see. Some issues don't seem like they'll be a problem for Pathfinder so far, luckily :)

1.) What I would love to see is a fantasy world that's engaging and fun to interact with, explore and exist in without relying on the modern crutch of click X or kill X tasks. I found interactions with online worlds prior to the dawning of 'click x/kill x' tasks to offer a much wider array of experiences and were inherently more dynamic as everyone's path wasn't set in stone.

I've seen enough fantasy worlds that feel as if they only exist as an afterthought and primarily are only there to facilitate the clicking of x objects to advance some menial task as a means of progression.

Quite simply, give us a vast array of tools with which to interact with the world around us. Truly develop a world that can stand on it's own as content even in the absence of all the tedious 'killx/click x' menial labor tasks.

Great big overarching 'quests' are another thing all together, and I would certainly hope to find some loftier goals that require a serious time commitment and some use of brain power to complete.

2.) Immense open world complexes to explore and venture into with your group, in the form of keeps, ruins, dungeons or abandoned villages packed with built in mechanics and rare/random spawns rather than linear instances.

I have no desire to be guided by the collar through another linear hallway that's so heavily scripted it literally plays out the same every time.

The developers story is never as important as the players personal story. Having a world with a clear set of lore and factions is great, but don't force your story down my throat. Instead give the players plenty of tools and a dangerous, exciting world in which to use them.

3.) Danger. I for one haven't appreciated any of my conquests or victories in the modern linear safety net zero risk MMO simulators. If you're creating a fantasy world populated by villainous creatures, please let it be dangerous.

The absence of risk & danger makes for a very narrow scope of experiences.

I want a long term hobby here, not a video game with cheats enabled. I'm looking to populate and inhabit an online world for an extended period of time when I invest in an MMO. Not zip to max level to get back on the same raid grind treadmill every other MMO clone has.

4.) Step away from spreadsheet gear based advancement. Modern MMOs, with their quick rides to max level and easy to complete end game raid grinds leave us all dripping in the exact same epics. Create a varied list of treasures and items and spread them throughout the world. I want to inspect someone and ask 'Wow, where did *that* come from?' as opposed to knowing from 100 feet away they're wearing rank B tier 2 raid set that they purchased with x tokens awarded from bosses, like anyone else playing that class. Bring back the exciting, interesting and fun loot of old school MMOs. Examples: Bracers of Fenin Ro, Pegasus Cloak, Tolans Bracer.

5.) Single group endgame content with large scale raids reserved as a rare and special event rather than a tedious nightly grind.

There's an intimacy and camaraderie possible with smaller groups that I've not seen replicated in large scale faceless forces. Ideally I'd like to see the hamster wheel current end game raiding has become pushed aside and see special events like that reserved for once or twice a week occasions.

There's nothing epic and adventurous, in my opinion, about swarming a boss with 20+ faceless people. I would like to see single group content be the primary form of advancement throughout the game.

6.) Step away from the disposable character situation that appears when max level can be achieved in weeks and the best gear can be obtained in the same space of time. Also force characters to face the consequences of negative behavior by not allowing fast server transfers and name changes. I enjoyed when people could actually earn a reputation, be it good or bad. That's been long gone now.

A few other notes would include pointing out that the more developers try and exert control over exactly how players interact with their content, the less options you leave us. Taking away creative problem solving is not a good choice. Give us the tools to approach encounters from any number of possibilities, rather than forcing us to play through some simon-says scenario in order to complete the script and win the encounter.

Many happy accidents (Kiting, FD pulling) changed the way the game was played (EQ as an example here) and added layers and possibilities that hadn't been counted on. Over the years developers have tried to reign in any loose ends and limit the ways we can interact with encounters (leashing, fixed BAF coding) and when compared to MMOs that existed before WoW nerfed the MMO landscape, they feel limited and predictable.

And finally, please make your OWN game. Sure, borrow elements that you really feel would compliment your design documents, but unless you're really confident you're going to do it better, don't simply clone.

The MMO landscape is packed full of games all chasing the exact same slice of pie. Try introducing players to elements they may not have had the opportunity to experience if their gaming career began with WoW. They've learned the basics now, they get the idea, so take off the training wheels and let go of the handlebars. Don't simply try and cater to the exact same audience as everyone else with the exact same game dressed a bit diffferently. Please.

(Edit: This is a re-post of mine from another games forums from before we had too much info regarding Pathfinder, looking back at it now makes me appreciate that a lot of my concerns have already been taken off the table - So, is it ready yet?)

I don't see how a 'dungeon finder' tool would fit with the way it appears content has been laid out according to the previous blogs. I can't imagine that they'd turn the world into a lobby in which we wait to be teleported to tiny pockets of pre-scripted content. That just seems to totally go against the grain of everything else they've laid the groundwork for up until now.

Tools for encouraging group play and tools that make putting a group together convenient is one thing, but obviously the whole 'sit in town on our mounts and wait to be whisked to an instance, rush through it as fast as possible, barely acknowledging each other, so we can quickly get back to sitting in town on our mounts' system destroyed open world interaction. I'll be walking away the second I catch wind of anything that resembles that situation - luckily I don't think that's what they have in mind.

As for the estimated upper limit on groups being 24: My initial reaction is to think 'Please no, tell me they're not looking towards perpetuating the cliche hamster wheel raid system we've been stuck with for almost a decade!'. I really hope activities for large groups are something that make sense in a sandbox MMO and are a special occasion. I personally have always had the most enjoyment in small intimate groups of 4-8 people over the years, and really hope this is a reasonable number to expect to get something done with.

24 people for special events, kingdom based mechanics and PvP is all well and good, or coming together to take down some giant rare spawn, but if every day requires 'raid' numbers of people to accomplish anything worthwhile, well, that just sucks a lot of the charm away for me.

24 people for rare world events or pvp battles, fine, but I really hope the majority of in game activities are perfectly doable with a more traditional party size (4-8 or so). I'm never going back to the 'raid' grind. They were great back in the days when they were a special once or twice a week occasion (dragons & gods often on a 4-7 day respawn timer), but once WoW began trying to emulate that with it's nightly raid grinds - well, it just really wasn't so special anymore. Please tell me I have nothing to worry about.

I've played through a great number of PvP systems & rules in various MMOs and online rpgs. Some systems that work well in one game have simply failed to work out the same in others despite strong similarities.

I don't like the idea of arbitrarily reducing and restricting negative actions as a blanket fix for everything because I do like the idea of a few villains (what's a fantasy world without enemies and villains?), provided the players have an adequate and powerful means of reacting to it.

However, I'm thinking I would almost prefer triggers for PvP rather than triggers that prevent it. That is, have a system that describes when PvP becomes possible rather than searching for suitable consequences for the people that use the system as a means of griefing.

A few examples:

1.) If someone pick-pockets a character, he would be flagged as attackable with no repercussions to any attackers for a period of time and would be KoS to guards if it happens within town. Ideally, if he/she is defeated I would like any items or cash pickpocketed to be returned to any/all victims.

2.) If a player is trespassing in lands that belong to an enemy faction, they would be flagged as attackable to members of that faction or owners of that land for as long as they remain in the area, assuming the owners flagged it as private land.

3.) If a character jumps my claim, or begins harvesting a node/area that I or someone else was clearly interacting with first, he would be flagged as attackable for the claim jumping offense (no one would set up mining another persons claimed vein without expecting to be shot or shovelled to death in the old west, for example. I'm assuming they shovelled people to death anyway, I wasn't there). Perhaps a toggle in my settings that notes whether or not I want to make resources I initiate interaction with 'open to any' so that friends could harvest with me if I'm so inclined.

4.) Guilds that mutually recognize each other as enemies would flag all members as attackable to eachother.

5.) Entering specific unclaimed and dangerous wilderness areas could flag all that enter to retain some sense of open world/unplanned pvp conflict. With things like this in place you could drive players interested in griefing toward areas where they'll likely encounter people of similar level and willingly taking the risk by being there, away from towns where fresh players may just be starting out.

These are just rough ideas of course, but I think it gets the point across. I think I'd rather see the system approached this way as opposed to 'everyone can attack everyone all the time, BUT...' and then flounder around on limitations and penalties that may or may not discourage antisocial behavior (like killing level one players over and over for no gain aside from satisfying some perverse itch).

Identify realistic offensive interactions & actions that would enable PvP. This would allow someone to play the role of a thief/pickpocket if they were prepared to accept the consequences.

I think a well thought out system like this would work very well and serve the purpose of every day PvP, rather than having a chaotic system that see's unrealistic situations unfold regularly (like killing level one players over and over for no gain aside from satisfying some perverse itch).

Keep in mind, I'm not strongly championing this idea as the right way, it's just a thought that's probably riddled with some glaring flaws in logic that I've missed, but at first glance anyway I could see it being successful in a setting like this with some work and serious thought.

I've seen the other approach taken so many times over the years with success and failure rates all over the chart - like in games with nearly identical systems in place that play out very differently in their respective games despite looking identical on paper.

Here it is:

Kryzbyn wrote:
Can you discuss which engines are in the running?

Mark Kalmes (CTO, Goblinworks) Nov 23, 2011, 08:22 PM:

The big MMO engines: BigWorld, HeroEngine. We also have a few other options that we'd like to explore.

Thanks for taking the time to reply, it's very much appreciated.

Arbalester, there was a thread some time ago in which they mentioned some engines on the short list, I think Hero engine came up as a primary candidate, I think there was another I can't recall at the moment as well.

I'll see if I can find it.

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I would absolutely welcome nights that actually appear to be taking place during night time once again.

In my opinion, the ambiance and restrictions of dark nights and deep dark caves are worth any small inconvenience.

I want a broad spectrum of experiences, rather than 'all good, all safe, all easy, all comfortable, all the time' which when not in contrast to 'bad!' feel decidedly shallow. If this were a linear task hub grind, it wouldn't make as much sense or serve as much as a purpose. However in a sandbox environment, where the world you play in can be one of your biggest enemies and sources of danger, it fits perfectly - especially when considering the ways in which we're intended to interact with this specific environment as outlined in the blogs.

Waiting at the zone line of Kithicor Forest at night brought the world alive, the darkness was an entity and it meant something, it added weight to an otherwise mundane area. You knew Kithicor was a dangerous area at night, prone to undead invasions, and traversing it alone in the dark was down right risky. Waiting for others to arrive so you could make the journey in a group was wise; the second you shed light on that you destroy the entire zone.

Here I am over a decade later clearly recalling experiences that led to social interaction and really made the (then) unforgiving world of Norrath a very real place to be.

I want to explore dungeons by the light of a flickering torch and traverse vast forests that are pitch black mysteries beyond the reach of my lantern.

I don't want you holding my hand all the time, I don't want a cave artificially lit by fluorescent bulbs and I don't want wilderness lit by street lamps. I want to, as they say in their blogs, stumble into adventure - what better way to do that than by flickering torchlight?

If the game is designed with the notion that nights will be dark, caves will be dark, the underground will be dark - aside from tools like spells, torches or lanterns, I think the end result would be a game that could treat darkness as a realistic danger and entity, and more than just an inconvenience to some.

It's worked great in the past.

I would gladly welcome any small inconvenience it brings for the sake of setting, ambiance, threat and immersion.

The Larry Elmore art of the 1983 D&D basic 'red box' was directly responsible for certain major paths I would take in my life. It had a massive impact on the 8 year old me. It's now something I can point to as being directly responsible for getting me involved in gaming, fantasy and eventually majoring in fine arts & illustration years ago.

Art is important. To me, it's clearly very important.

With that in mind, I'd like to ask about the art direction for Pathfinder Online. Will we see a strong Wayne Reynolds influence, as we do in the books? I personally think his strong style suits existing Pathfinder works perfectly and also feel it would translate very well into 3D graphics (wait, it IS 3D, right?), provided caution is used to avoid overly cartoonish results and a more styelized flavor could be achieved.

So, I'd like to ask: Where are we on that front? Has conceptual work even started yet, and if so, is there anything that can be shared with us in terms of what to expect regarding art direction?


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I very much hope learning your way around counts for something and that geographical information remains somewhat esoteric. Hands down the best adventures I've ever had online were in the pre-map/mini-map days of rough guesses, guides, word of mouth and blind luck.

Having someone in the group suggest a dungeon I'd never heard in a zone I'd never been to lent the entire experience and journey an air of mystery. I clearly remember the many times we never reached the intended goal but found adventure elsewhere along the way - or got lost in Rathe mountains for hours while well below the level of the zone, almost lost our corpses to sharks in some ocean somewhere and got drunk back in Freeport to celebrate our eventual return to civilisation.

Did we walk away with some predetermined quest reward and a carefully rationed amount of XP? No. But I did walk away with an experience from 1999 that I fondly remember to this day.

None of that would have had the chance to happen if every area was revealed via in game maps/mini maps. Sure, mini maps make sense in linear task hub grinder themeparks, but in a sandbox environment they do more harm than good.

If they can incorporate in game player made maps as some of the above ideas suggest, that could truly be an amazing thing and would certainly appeal to a lot of people (provided there would be more and more new lands to map as the game expands).

If they can't manage to get a system like that in place, I'd settle for lack of GPS level maps on new born characters who would most likely only have a rough idea as to the shape of the lands beyond their town.

In short, I really hope the majority of wilderness is a mystery to me until I've arrived to see it, or until I open the map I just bought from a player in town.

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Nihimon wrote:
8. "And there's even the chance that you might be able to create your own module content for other players—perhaps even on a for-profit basis." I've already said elsewhere I think there's a real opportunity here for letting 3rd parties create content like this. I'm very, very pleased to hear that y'all are thinking about how to make that work, and I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of tools evolve to meet those needs over the next decade or so. There's evidence all over the web that motivated users can and will create a lot of high-quality content for free just because they love what they're doing. If you give them the tools to do that in PFO, that will change the MMO world.

There's no question a robust system like this that actually worked could add an invaluable amount of longevity to the game for any of us 'Game Master/Dungeon master' types. Some of us love creating and building games as much as or more than we love playing them.

However, some examples of MMOs that tried to achieve this (player created content) off the top of my head would be: City of Heroes, Ryzom and EQ2. In every one of these examples I find the limitations implemented in order to maintain balance cramp creativity so severely that the content feels bland and lifeless.

Obviously developers need to maintain some level of control in order to preserve balance and curb Monty 'Haul' scenarios, so where they draw the line will be very important in determining whether it's a system worth implementing and devoting resources to, or not.

Unless they're certain they can give players enough tools and freedom to really create complex experiences, I would rather see the resources and time devoted to other game systems. The trade off wouldn't be worth it if what we're allowed to create amounts to a limited variation of bland rooms dotted with scaled monsters and nothing more. EQ2s new dungeon creator system for example was something I found to be very restrictive in terms of tools, rewards and challenges, and very bland and predictable to play through.

However, if the system offered something approaching the tool set available in NWN (I doubt we'll quite see that, but we can hope), I can't even imagine how much that could do down the line for this game in terms of longevity and replayability, and would certainly love to see resources devoted to that.

To sum up more succinctly, if they can provide a robust system that actually gave us with tools needed to create something that would be fun to play through, great. If it's going to be so severely limited due to balance restrictions that the end result is a lifeless series of halls and scaling monsters, skip it and devote resources to another area, as so far every attempt to incorporate this into an MMO setting has fallen very short. Personally, I would love for someone to get it right eventually.

Nihimon wrote:

@Valkaern, there's another thread called Have you started Coding yet? where...

Vic Wertz wrote:
Our main effort right now is in crafting the design document that lays out the fundamentals of how the game will work. That needs to be pretty well nailed down before you start writing code. We're also working on getting our financing in place, and on figuring out who we're going to hire for some key positions.

That's from just a couple of days ago, so I would imagine it's still pretty accurate.

Valkaern wrote:
And also, is it ready yet? How about now?
How about now?

Excellent, I missed that one. Thanks for the tip =)

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For me, each blog continues to tick every box on the design document that is pretty much my dream MMO.

It's hard to manage expectations after a decade spent dying of thirst in a zero risk, zero danger, zero variation wasteland of theme park clones.

Out of curiosity, and I'm not really expecting a meaty answer, has there been any mention of how far along the development process is technically?

I was assuming they were in a pre-production stage of refining the design doc and possibly mapping out a development calender, or has any actual coding or asset creation begun? And also, is it ready yet? How about now?

Edit: Great questions by the way guys, most of what I intended to ask upon initially reading the blog has been asked.

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It all comes down to how exactly travel is important in this particular world.

Without more specific details on the risk of travel, distances, and territory control, I can only arbitrarily say that in general I lean towards not trivialising travel and reserving fast travel for rare situations.

All of that hinges on if it's justifiable in the game. Travel doesn't simply become important by removing fast travel and fast travel is only as valuable as the risks it's helping you avoid, the time it saves you and the value of its convenience.

Vanguard, as an example, struggled a lot with this in beta. Many of us were strongly opposed to fast travel and we watched the developers swing the pendulum back and forth trying to find the right balance. However, because of the lack of risk associated with travel on a pve server in the games release build, travel felt arbitrary.

It didn't add enough weight to the death penalty as they introduced ways for you to bind near just about any adventure area, it didn't introduce you to adventures you would have otherwise skipped over (often) and seemed to only increase travel times for the sake of travel times (which were eventually toned down anyway).

More succinctly, I'm opposed to fast travel that trivialises the risks associated with an open and dangerous world, but if in turn you offer safe roads that run the entire distance anyway, there might as well be fast travel as travel in that case is already trivial.

Mark Kalmes wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:
Can you discuss which engines are in the running?

The big MMO engines: BigWorld, HeroEngine. We also have a few other options that we'd like to explore.

I'm certainly no expert on the inner workings of various engines. Having only ever messed around with Unity & Realmcrafter most of any knowledge I have on the matter is from reading others reports.

However, after seeing how poorly SWTOR handles large scale open PvP performance-wise with the Hero Engine, part of me is a bit dubious.

Certainly some of that could have been their coding or due to any number of modifications made to the engine, as well as things I'm potentially not even aware of.

In my experience though that engine in that incarnation completely fails to handle large groups of players well. Their somewhat insulting reply was that 'only 5% of players were experiencing performance issues', which means our entire 100+ member guild IS that exact 5% despite the variance in our hardware.

So hopefully before you decide you, can identify why it handles those situations so poorly and be certain your designs won't end up in the same situation.

This is really less about me telling you something obvious that you're more qualified to judge anyway, and more about me explaining a bad experience and expressing some concerns.

If you *do* need my professional help outside of any art related capacity, I'd be more than happy to teach you how to make two cylinders with health bars run at each other, get stuck, and spin endlessly around one another in the Unity Engine. Don't hesitate to let me know if that's of any value to you ;)

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11.) Avoid arbitrarily relying on 'bound' items. Reserve it for special occasions in which you absolutely feel making an item non-tradable is required to maintain the balance you're aiming for.

We've come to expect some degree of 'Bind on pickup' or 'Bind on equip' system, but I feel it makes the worlds economy and trading space more dynamic when lightly used. I personally don't have a problem with advanced players gifting some great gear to less advanced players, provided someone originally did the work required to obtain the item.

If I defeat Slargoth the Maniacal, I should be able to distribute his treasure hoard however I see fit, in my opinion.

Besides, I've never understood why a low level couldn't get lucky and on rare occasions in a fantastical world, discover an item of amazing power early on in their career. I would personally love to spend time in a world in which there's a teeny tiny chance that someone could potentially win the lottery and discover a very powerful item at any time.

Anything that makes me feel less like I'm playing through a spreadsheet is a good thing.

12.) Avoid over use of item limitations beyond possible skill proficiency requisites.

I just defeated a monster that was carrying a sword, however while I'm powerful enough to defeat the enemy, I'm not powerful enough to use the sword...yet? How does that make sense?

I've always been annoyed by that. I know it's easier on developers when they can exert control over every aspect of how you interact with their content, but some sacrifices should be made on occasion in the name of enjoyment.

13.) Avoid trivialising travel and exploration as much as possible, provided the world justifies doing so.

Obviously if you're creating a world in which there's no reason to go off the beaten track, making travel time consuming makes no sense. But judging by the tone of the blogs and proposed systems we do know of, I don't think that's PFO.

It's certainly an area to be approached carefully as it will probably have a large impact on gameplay.

1.) Avoid lack of diversity in items and gear, as in WoW where it feels everyone's wearing the same gear from the same raid/raid token merchant.

I'd like to see the diversity of items available in EverQuest as an example. I enjoyed inspecting people and thinking 'where did *that* come from?' and also knowing there were a number of fantastic sounding locations I had not yet been even after months of playing.

I never once felt that in WoW as the world was incredibly small by comparison and all loot anyone of a certain level likely all came from the exact same boss or raid.

I haven't really seen the variety in EQ equaled since, and everything that's come in it's wake felt like the loot was all generated and distributed based on some boring soulless spreadsheet calculation.

Also related to this is the lack of fluff/function/utility items available in modern games. Fun items such as Tolans bracer (right click to summon a stack of arrows)Pegasus cloak (right click to grant yourself levitation). Other fun utility items granted numerous effects such as run speed, damage shields, water breathing, shrink spells, temporary pets etc. Loot lately is just plain boring, I want to discover interesting treasures, not save up tokens to buy the exact same gear as everyone else of my clsas.

2.) Avoid a world that's only designed to facilitate the menial task grind we see in current MMOs. Instead, craft a world that's fun to interact with and explore inherently, and not just there as a surface to plop collect tasks down on.

3.) Avoid the disposable character syndrome we see in other current MMOs in which max level/top end gear can be achieved in a few weeks. As I've said before, I want a long term hobby here, not a quick little ride to the top in an rpg with all cheats enabled. I'm almost 100% confident this will be avoided in PFO based on what we've heard, but a healthy reminder never hurt.

3.) Avoid awkward and clumsy animations regardless of graphical quality.

Proper animations can't be underestimated as they add a tremendous amount of weight to our actions. Slightly off or unnatural animations can strongly detract from the feeling of a well crafted and functioning game.

4.)Avoid full disclosure as much as possible, maintain as many mysteries as you possibly can - which admittedly is a tricky task in a world of loot databases.

I want to at least have the illusion that anything is possible and anything can happen. That will keep me playing. I don't ever want to feel I can precisely predict where or what I'll be doing in a weeks time or what gear I'll be using when I get there.

In larger MMOs prior to WoW the amount of gear and places was almost overwhelming - in the best way possible, it would be a challenge to track down specifics regarding triggered events or loot on Alakazam. However with the smaller current themeparks, it all feels very preordained.

5.) Avoid unresponsive gameplay. Just about the only thing I'd ever recommend borrowing from WoW, ever, is their responsive gameplay.

6.) Avoid offering us a different shade of what we already have. Unless you're confident you're going to do it better, don't simply copy what we can already get elsewhere. I don't think this is something we have to worry about with PFOs proposed direction.

7.) Avoid limiting the ways in which I can interact with your content or encounters. Leave some room for us to approach things from any number of angles, rather than clamping down via strict scripts that play out the exact same every time with one path to victory and no room for creative problem solving.

8.) Avoid linear scripted hallways falsely labeled 'dungeons'. Let us have at least a few gigantic open world complexes to adventure in again. For me the dynamics of an open space offer more replayability and room for adventure than any heavily scripted hallway dungeon ever has.

9.) Avoid limiting the ways we can interact with eachother.

By going to great lengths to prevent players from negatively affecting eachother you also remove any possibility to take the high road or positively affect others in many cases. I want the option to be a hero or a villain, not fenced off by some arbitrary mechanic. Instead discourage potentially negative behavior by forcing culpability and not offering fast name/server changes. This would go a long way towards making a characters reputation carry some weight once again.

10.) Avoid forcing *your* story down my throat, it will never be as important to me as *my* story.

Sure, flesh out your worlds lore, NPCs and factions, but don't force us all to play your story from start to finish, leave us room to find our own adventures in your world.

- I'll stop at 10 for now or I'd go on forever.

While I can and do enjoy a more action based combat system in certain games, I just don't think it makes much sense in a game in which I'm playing the role of a character.

If I want to test my skills, speed and manual dexterity, there are any number of FPS's and the like in which to do so. In an RPG/MMO, I'm generally playing the role of a character, not myself. I enjoy making the decisions, but it's his/her stats that, I feel, should determine the outcome - not mine.

I admit it's a hard line to walk (where do you even draw the line?) I personally just find the more traditional wasd/hotkeyed abilities/target locking works better in MMOs from my experience.

Any hybrid that attempted to introduce more active combat (DDO, AoC, Tabula Rasa as examples) felt, in my experience, half hearted and clunky, as if they were trying to be both at once and succeeding at neither, leaving a wonky feeling jumble in place of a fully realised combat system.

I'm open to new approaches, I even liked Vanguards 2005 beta version of almost turn based combat. In that (unfortunately short lived system) you queued up abilities based on the abilities the enemy had queued up, the higher your perception stat the further down their queue you could see and plan against. So for example if I saw the troll was about to stun our tank, I could set up my ranger to lunge in and divert that particular blow.

But when all is said and done, a characters stats and skills should have more of an impact on combats outcome than simply player reflexes. Not only does it plainly make more sense to me, it seems to fit better and feels more natural in a role playing game environment.

Although, it really all comes down to determining where exactly you draw the line in regards to how much weight my input carries and how much my weight my characters stats carry.

I may very well be in the minority, I'm positive there are many clamoring for a fast paced/active combat system.

I just personally feel in an RPG it's important to differentiate between player & character, and twitch based combat doesn't really service that distinction well.

To me it seems a strange outlook, especially coming from someone who's apparently acquainted with the open ended nature of tabletop RPGs. I'm by no means judging and really hope you don't take offense as I honestly mean none, it's just something I openly admit I don't fully understand.

Even if I was only going to be logging in for an hour or two every other day (apparently into a game with a skill advancement system similar to EVE, in which skills progress based on time, even when offline), I'd prefer that my play took place in a persistant online world I could continually visit and advance in during my free time, rather than something I'm only playing because I know it has a distinct end and finish line (single player rpgs).

I personally can't imagine, with my love of RPGs in all shapes and sizes, *only* wanting to play one that I could finish in a timely fashion - it strikes me as counter intuitive. I would clearly want that experience to carry on for as long as possible.

The notion that you have to put in so many hours before you can actually have fun in any MMO is an outright fallacy, especially in a sandbox oriented game world. I'm aware that WoW is a popular MMO and may very well be exactly what comes to mind when people hear 'MMO', but it's by no means the only type that has ever existed or in existance. Not all MMO's are a linear progression grind which only really begin at max level.

In the end it's your choice obviously, I would just hate for someone to miss out on something they might enjoy based potentially on misinformation or a misunderstanding. I can understand to some extent feeling obliged to level/advance at a certain speed in themeparks such as WoW, but in a sandbox setting, it doesn't really make sense. I guess it's a matter of perspective.

Everyone's entitled to their opinions, and certain people naturally have different tastes, I just can't make sense of only wanting to play games that have distinct finish lines when instead I could have an endless adventure.

Regardless, I'm ecstatic that Pathfinder will be an MMO and I'm also relieved to hear it will break from the 'clone' mold. I can't wait to hear more.

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KitNyx wrote:
Daniel Powell 318 wrote:
I don't think there will be 'quest items' in the sense you are thinking of. "Bring me twenty pristine wolf livers" isn't the core of sandbox games. There might be a NPC who pays a bounty on rat tails or wolf pelts, but that is just a mechanism for gold to enter the economy.

If crafting is as great as some of us hope...and can be a primary source/reason of play for us...and with this looting system, there will be gathering quests.

I as a blacksmith may not waste my time trying to gather and defend myself, instead I will pay you x gold for y piece of z ore. How you gather them, via trade routes or off a fence, I may not care. But, true to the sandbox...these missions should be player driven.

The modern task system is a crutch and a poor excuse for content, in my opinion. I won't call it a quest system because I don't recall hearing any heroic tales in which the adventurers undertook a quest to click 10 vases. They're more often than not, menial tasks.

However, a player driven task system as you described could be excellent if implemented well.

While at the core they're very similar, the key difference's to me would be that the player driven task system would be inherently more dynamic by it's own nature, and it would save me the trouble of reading some hokey pop culture reference text that attempts to justify the clicking of said 10 vases.

All in all, I don't want to adventure in a world that only exists as a place to facilitate the clicking of 10 vases. I want to adventure in a world that's designed to be adventured in.

I would ideally like the play space to be treated as just that, it's own mechanic and made as interesting to interact with as possible without relying on tasks such as 'Walk ten feet to that guy and deliver this cheese, you'll be obscenely rewarded for such a petty act'.

Long over-arching quests that are quests in the truest sense and potentially span across many play sessions are another thing all together, and I would fully welcome the option to pursue loftier goals.

The long and short of it is, instead of investing in a mundane task system and devoting resources to such a system, see how much can be done without relying on that by making the game world itself enjoyable to interact with.

Courtney! wrote:
There's been a fair amount of talk that sounds dismissive of WoW and other popular MMOs. I think WoW is quite fun and gives you that addictive sense of accomplishment, and I have some fond memories from the RP servers. That said, my fondest MMO memories are of UO, of running panicked through the wilderness and being rescued by a kind and experienced warrior, invited into her home to rest and resupply. I remember the schemes my friends and I hatched, and how anything seemed possible. I'm feeling that same sense of wonder and possibility again. I hope it is well-founded.

I'll readily admit I've spoken out against WoW on numerous occasions for a multitude of reasons, and I will always lament the damage it did to the MMO landscape (we can talk about that another time), but I will also admit there were some advancements in mechanics that came along because of what they did, and some of that games elements were outright 'fun'.

However, I would rather see those 'fun' elements (primarily the responsive/fluid combat - actally that's the only one I can think of at the moment) worked into a deep sandbox-esque world. It was also what they didn't do with the potential they had that frustrated me.

I think expanded horizontal growth and advancement, rather than just linear vertical purely gear based advancement, would have gone a long way towards making it something I could have enjoyed as well. That plus some giant open world dungeons instead of those repetative linear hallways that played out exacty the same on every run.

I realise a developers job becomes much easier when they can dictate how you interact with their content, but I do think WoW went a bit too far reigning in the options available to players in that area.

Many of the elements of earlier games that were beloved by the community were the results of player creativity and happy accidents on the developers part. Feign death as a pulling mechanic, kiting...these were unintended uses of abilities, discovered through players being creative. And that meant a lot to me. You *could* approach an encounter in any number of ways, while with games like WoW, they want to absolutely dictate how you interact with an encounter and as such they've clamped down tight and reigned in any possibility of players getting creative with mechanics. Which leads to: One tactic for each boss that is scripted to play out the exact same way every single time. Yawn.

I don't believe 'old school' MMO elements have been revisited properly in a very long time, and with the technological advancements the MMO genre has benefitted from in the past few years it might be a great time to see what the best of the old school features and elements mixed with todays technology can produce.

I do think a number of people brought into MMOs with WoW might be ready for the adrenaline rush, edge of your seat jolt that you simply can't have when death has no consequences and the world is danger free.

There's a lot to be said for the sense of satisfaction and camaraderie that comes when looking around after the dust has settled, after a bad pull that should have wiped you 5 minutes ago, and realising you somehow managed to survive.

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PS: I just re-read the original blog more thoroughly, and as I haven't asked any questions yet and many questions are being answered, I'd just like to ask: Is it ready yet? How about now?

I know I said I wasn't going to get my hopes up, but given that I'm here instead of playing the latest entry into the 'we want a slice of WoW pie'christmas release, I think it's pretty evident that it's too late for me.

Looking forward to more news, and was very pleased to see some solid details with this latest entry.

DarkWalker wrote:
Ryan Dancey wrote:

I Can't Stand The Idea That My Stuff Gets Taken Or Lost

Yup, I hear ya. Luckily, there are umpteen dozen themepark MMOs for you where you don't have to worry about it. We already know how those games develop: They have a big spike, a maximum level of success, then a collapse followed by server consolidation and a starvation of future development investment due to a failure to "compete" with World of Warcraft. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is one of the definitions of insanity.

While I can understand why you are doing this, unfortunately corpse looting / gear destruction means my interest in the game just died. I get my fun in games, at least when solo, from taking extreme amounts of risk; this obviously results in a copious amount of deaths. Thus, my play style is not really compatible with harsh death penalties; I end up enjoying better an average game with no death penalties than a really good one with harsh death penalties.

(When in groups I don't take unnecessary risks, but it's more to avoid unintentionally griefing the group than due to some personal preference. It's perhaps the main reason I'm very picky about grouping up in MMOs; unless the players I'm grouped with are fun enough to make up for me being forced to not follow my preferred play style, in the end I have less fun and more frustration from playing in a group.)

That's fair enough, but as mentioned there are hundreds of other MMOs that *ALL* cater to a playstyle in which there is no consequences for taking risks. Death is a quick form of travel in most MMOs, can't we just have this one in which it's not trivial? :)

I personally think the prospect of actual risk in what's supposedly a dangerous world sounds extremely refreshing after almost a decade of slumming it in 'zero risk for epic reward MMO emulators'.

Having a playstyle that can be defined as 'taking extreme amounts of risk' is probably not something you'd have picked up if there had been consequences for failure, for a game that actually has consequences, should you decide to play, it would simply mean you'd need to treat the world with a bit more respect.

You might even find you enjoy it, I personally think playing in an online fantasy world that's all cuddely and covered in safety foam is a very one dimensional experience. I'll take as broad a spectrum of experiences as possible.

I have no fond or strong memories of doing those task hub grinds in the zero risk zero consequence setting of WoW, however I recall distinctly the adrenaline of losing a corpse in Plane of Fear, and am still in touch a decade later with the friends that helped me recover it.

I, for one, am very pleased to hear they're taking this approach.

While we don't have much to go on just yet, the information we are receiving indicates so far this is shaping up to cater to me 100%.

As someone who's felt increasingly homeless as MMOs cater more and more to the 'zero risk for epic reward while exerting minimal effort along a clearly defined linear path now now now crowd', this information has me cautiously excited.

While we don't have details on every system yet, I can atleast rest easy knowing that every aspect of what has been shared with us is certainly leaning in the right direction (for me).

I definitely believe that there is a fairly large (few hundred thousand maybe?) subset of MMO players that are simply not being catered to by the endless onslaught of dumbed down linear task hub grind clones. I'm sure whoever manages to tap into that crowd would stand to gain a loyal following provided the game was of acceptable quality, and probably more success than if they chase after the exact same piece of pie everyone else is.

After a certain 2004 MMO introduced new people to MMOs, I asssumed developers would ease them into the basic concepts of what MMOs are, then take off the training wheels. Instead the training wheels have been left on, developers are suffocating us with extra thick padded armor and are now refusing to even let go of the handlebars. Ugh!

I'm sure *some* of those people might be ready for a taste of a dangerous fantasy world that's actually dangerous. A broad spectrum of experiences in a persistant online world just makes more sense to me. How can I appreciate my victories and successes when there's no risk and no consequences for failure?

I guess one answer to that is that for some these are just games, while for others, they potentially represent a multi-year spanning hobby.

Obviously it's very early yet and while trying not to get my hopes up, I will eagerly be jumping on any tid-bit of news shared about Pathfinder in the coming months.

Thanks a bunch for the update :)

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I'm eagerly awaiting more news for sure. What really has me (cautiously) excited though is the prospect of a PnP rpg being translated into MMO form.

While early MMOs (and earlier MUDs) seemed to make a reasonable attempt to recreate these fantastic worlds online, modern MMOs just seem more interested in rehashing previous MMOs; all the while incorporating all of their inherent limitations without a second thought as to what these games were originally attempting to do: deposit players in a fantastic world with enough tools to freely navigate through it in many various ways.

Triple A MMOs no longer seem to go back to the drawing board to see if there's possibly a better way to facilitate that. Instead we see one successful model rehashed over and over with different graaphics. They include illogical design decisions that were originally made over a decade ago (some even in the last century) as a knee jerk reaction that comes from emulating a video game rather than from trying to capture the true open ended rpg experience.

I would love to see a development team not simply dive in and say 'Ok, how do we emulate other MMOs successfully?', but rather carefully consider which decisions were made due to the technoligical limitations of the past as well as limits of imagination. A sort of 'going back to the drawing board' scenario to determine how best to bring players into an online space with the express goal of facilitating a varied, interesting and engaging experience in their given lores universe.

While it may not lead to the reinvention of the wheel, it may lead to discoveries that will not come from simple emulation of existing models.

I also genuinly believe that any innovations will come from smaller development companies as they generally seem to have enough lattitude to explore possibilities, rather than from a larger game development house with strict expectations and a fear of risk.

While I don't expect the Pathfinder MMO will have the jaw dropping budget of other current releases, I'm certainly hoping passion, ingenuity and especially creativity will lead to a fresh and welcome gaming experience.

Lastly, (congratulations if you made it this far! I had no idea it would be *this* long.)it's been a long time since I've felt I was playing a game that was born of someones absolute passion for an original idea that they just *had* to see made, rather than the endless reverse engineering and spreadsheet analysis MMOs that have been flooding in. I'm hoping Pathfinder is in the former category.

Anyway, back to awaiting more news, thanks & best of luck :)