Goblinworks Blog: Time Keeps On Slipping, Slipping, Slipping into the Future!

Pathfinder Online

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Goblinworks Executive Founder

How about Community Forge? The community is supposed to be forging the path ahead right?

Goblin Squad Member

Player Piloted Progression

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Stuff We Do

Goblin Squad Member

One problem I see with trying to redefine a genre of games is that the general public will call any game like this a MMO. Whether it is a sandbox or themepark. The term MMO is really ingrained into the brain of the gaming public. And it refers to any game that has a subscription (or free to play), is online, has updates, and can handle thousands of people at once.

So, trying to redefine a game will not gain traction with the vast majority of players out there. This is, of course, my opinion.

But, if you are looking for another term to describe what PFO will be like you could call it:

Live Development Gaming

Liberty's Edge


Goblin Squad Member

Player Guided Development

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Ryan Dancey wrote:
And it doesn't capture the essential difference, which is that development shifts from us telling you how the game plays, to a community directed development effort.

I still like Rokolith's idea of "Crowdlaunching" for this.

It's catchy, and the phenomenon that it references describes the developmental shift that Ryan is talking about. A crowd-sourced launch. Crowdlaunching.

Daron Woodson
Abandoned Arts

Goblin Squad Member

I love the D.I.C.E acronym.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
What do people think about "The Pilot Program", like the pilot before a series starts...

If you change it to "The Piloted Program" it won't sound like something that is not a sure thing.TV pilots make you think of something that is different than what PFO is.

Goblin Squad Member

Open Development?

Public Development?

User Development?

I'm honestly trying to think of what this would be in a Project Management sense...it's far beyond a typical UAT (User Acceptance Test) phase. It's really a post go-live activity which typically exists outside of most Waterfall style project timelines.

If we look at it from an Agile perspective it's the beginning of the second cycle (called Sprints). But I'm just not sure that there's a meaningful "name" that would really be descriptive.

You could definitely call it Sprint 2. With each successive iteration being labeled a new Sprint. But again that's really specific to Agile methodology, Scrum in particular. And may not have the same relevance to the gaming community at large.

I agree however that whatever is decided upon could potentially be an adopted term for this style of game development in the future. So it is worth careful consideration.

I cannot wait!!!

Goblin Squad Member

Many-to-One Design?

Active GM Design?

Post clarification...

I think the word Progressive, if you can look past the insurance company, is exactly what PFO is going for. The term "Dynamic" is already used... I like continuous but I think progressive works a little better.

Progressive Massively Multiplayer Online/RPG (PMMO/RPG)
Progressive Community Driven Development
Progressive Community Driven Design
Progressive World MMORPG


Goblin Squad Member

I think "Progressive" is a good term. I wonder, though, if it might already be too loaded because of "Progression Raiding"...

Goblin Squad Member

makes me think of progressive, and I don't want Flo ruining my immersion :P

Sczarni Goblin Squad Member

How about

player impact gaming


player impact game evolution

Goblin Squad Member

Player-driven Proof of Concept Checking?

Blueprint Development?

Experimental Sandbox Design?

Goblin Squad Member

EvE obviously has a Developer-Player Committee which has a good reputation for communication/support of the game in a 2-way process; so maybe "Developer-Community Game Design Committee"?

"2-Way Sandbox"?

"2-Sided Sandbox"? rolls off the tongue a bit better!

Sczarni Goblin Squad Member

Im thinking more along the line of phrases that would compliment the mmo genre and show that players play a large role in the development and ultimately cause the game to evolve and change based on the feedback that they give.

Symbiotic Sandbox MMO?
Symbiotic Development?

Dark Archive Goblin Squad Member

As I said before:

Pathfinder Online: Emersion
Pathfinder Online: Immersion

And perhaps:

Forgefather's Road
Founders of Thornkeep
The Unbidden Path

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Honestly every MMO out there that is worth your time is a constant work in progress. Even LotRO is drastically different game now than it was when I first played it and, Wurm, Mortal, Darkfall, EVE, all have changed a lot over the years. Especially EVE. I don't think continual development is going to set Pathfinder Online apart from other MMOs. Nor is considering the feedback of the community when deciding how to move forward. Not unless GW is claiming to go a step above and beyond other MMOs.

Every MMO company makes those promises so when GW makes that promise why should the general MMO audience listen? I'm not talking about the members of the PFO community that already believe in this project, I'm asking an honest question to Ryan, Lisa, or anyone else in the team. If I am talking to a friend about Pathfinder Online who may know nothing about it, what should I tell them to convince them that the GW team is more dedicated to continual development and listening to community input than any other MMO claiming that?

Is GW actually making the claim that you will be putting in just as much effort to advance PFO's system two, five, or ten years down the road as you are right now if this game is still profitable? If so I think you guys should create a pledge or mission statement tight across the front page of the GW site saying so.

Right now what I'm telling my friends about PFO is they are going to release a very unpolished game and develop it around us as we play. But in a year or two, when the game was pretty polished that we wouldn't be seeing the game developing much faster than any other post-release MMO. That was also what I thought we were naming. Should I be telling them that that level of dedication or development won't slack off as long as funds permit?

Goblin Squad Member

We're saying that this will be a unique process. We will actively solicit player input, and will be factoring that input directly into the prioritization of feature implementation.

We will also be asking and listening to player commentary on balance issues and we'll be using that input to adjust the game systems to make them work better.

The first 12 months or so of the live game will be a feedback-driven period when we intend to move player participation into the development of the game in a way more intimate than any other developer has done with a successful MMO to date.

Everyone who is playing during those 12 months will have the opportunity to see their ideas made into reality if enough other players agree with those ideas and if they're feasible to develop and they stay within the boundaries of the game design we've outlined.

There will be formal processes to solicit this feedback. There will be many avenues of indicating agreement or disagreement with plans and priorities. And of course there will be a tremendous informal give and take between the developers and the community via every venue we can organize effectively.

A lot of projects promise that there will be a lot of interactivity between their community and their developers but the very nature of the games they build make that really impossible. This is another advantage of making a sandbox not a theme park. Because we're focused on the idea of giving the players tools to enable them to maximize their own interaction, we don't have a huge list of mandatory content that has to be developed and tested then shipped.

We have instead a service-based plan that says once we get the game into a very basic playable state our vision for the game gets replaced by a vision that combines our ideas with your ideas.

This is in my opinion a unique process. It is not something that any successful MMO has ever announced, attempted, or implemented. It is, to steal a phrase from the VP, a big f-ing deal.

Unfortunately so far none of the ideas for a way to name this concept have really encapsulated the importance of this idea nor have they really be usable from a branding and communication standpoint - being either too obscure, too close to Pathfinder or too non-descriptive to be useful. But we're still listening to see if anyone can find the right nomenclature.


Goblin Squad Member

Democratic Development? (Maybe that choice of words is too lop-sided in US atm/Nov?)

Design by Devolution?

Genetic Design?

Ryan Dancey wrote:
There will be formal processes to solicit this feedback. There will be many avenues of indicating agreement or disagreement with plans and priorities. And of course there will be a tremendous informal give and take between the developers and the community via every venue we can organize effectively.

This sounds like where the difference is most identifiable. I'll try to focus on thinking along these lines for next suggestions.

Goblin Squad Member

Interesting. Both from a perspective of finding a name and from revealing this game's intentions. For me at least, the vision of what GW is trying to achieve here is much more clear. I think Avena cut the right quote out of that post to get right down to the heart of how what Ryan is promising is different than any other major MMO on the market.

For me the problem is this. Any good name should be 2-5 words long... and 4-5 is pretty excessive. But it's hard to appropriately encapsulate both the idea of a bare bones launch, and that they players will have a high degree of input on what features are added after that launch, into a short easily digested phrase that sounds even somewhat catchy.

I'm coming up with things like Player Driven Development that don't really fully encapsulate the ideas.

If this helps anyone else come up with a better name, I'm picturing this game like a car that has all the bare basics to run but is missing all the non-essentials. Basically a frame with all the parts to make it run and a seat for the driver. And the owners(players) are telling the mechanics(developers) what to put on, or maybe to replace some of the existing parts with something better, with the mechanics doing the best they can to give them what they want while still making this a good car that will actually run.

Maybe that will bring some phrases to mind for someone who knows more about cars than me.

PS. Calling the players the car owners really got me thinking. WoW and the other theme parks out there are like a roller coaster. You pay to get on but you have no say in anything. You just enjoy the ride and pay again, or you don't and you leave. The car analogy fits in more ways than one. It sounds as if the idea behind Pathfinder Online is that it really is intended to be owned by the community.

The description of the development model really sounds like a form of evolution.

I think that biological terms might provide a rich hunting ground, with the added bonus that many of them are already in the public consciousness.

I'm thinking something like "Player driven evolution" with the initial stage being "Initiation" or "Epigenesis".

I'm not a creative marketing type, so I am sure someone else will come up with a much better term. Here's a list of evolutionary biology terms.

Wow, its hard to figure out how to fit all of that meaning into a phrase. Heck, it's hard to fit it into a paragraph.

User-Centric Iterative Development?
User Solicited Revision

I've been conservative so far, lets see about more dramatic terms, maybe I can get a little closer... (User could be swapped with Player in all of these).

Radical User-Centric Perpetual Development
Developer-User Unified Development
Proactive User Input Driven Design
Awesome User Designed Fantasy Sandbox By Bada** Developers Who Drink Vytautas Mineral Water

Goblin Squad Member

Well, this isn't a term/label that you could run with, but, what we will essentially be doing is:

Programming the Holodeck.

Think about it. The Holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The people there would construct a program so they could enjoy it in the Holodeck.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Unfortunately so far none of the ideas for a way to name this concept have really encapsulated the importance of this idea nor have they really be usable from a branding and communication standpoint - being either too obscure, too close to Pathfinder or too non-descriptive to be useful. But we're still listening to see if anyone can find the right nomenclature.

How about "The Community Development Initiative"? Or some spin-off from that: "Player Development Initiative", "Development by Players Initiative", "Communal Game Design Initiative".

Goblin Squad Member

I wonder if the Basque Mondragon Corp. model could be a useful reference (in a way)?:

Wiki Mondragon Corporation

BBC: Basque co-operative Mondragon defies Spain slump

BBC News wrote:
Here lies the headquarters of Mondragon, reckoned to be the world's largest worker co-operative.

Pathfinder / "mmorpg co-operative"?

Goblin Squad Member

@AvenaOats, I think you may have hit on something with "Co-op". It has the right connotations already built in.

Shadow Lodge Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
...once we get the game into a very basic playable state our vision for the game gets replaced by a vision that combines our ideas with your ideas.

Coalition Event

I feel that it invokes the idea of the players and the developers coming together in a meeting of the minds, and to celebrate our combined effort in bringing this new experience to the world.


Goblin Squad Member

You could always go highbrow and try Greek.

DISCLAIMER: I do not speak Classical Greek, so I am probably doing this sloppily. Here goes.

If the concept of the 'Noosphere' is the evolving sphere of gestalt human intellectual thought, then perhaps a 'Nooskainos' would be a ' gestalt evolving thought creation', denoting a cooperative intellectual virtual building effort.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

If you want a word to describe something which has never been exemplified, you need to coin a new word.

Promising roots: develop; community; player; customer; (non)traditional; new; iterative.

I'll dig out the thesaurus and Latin later on working from those bases.

Goblin Squad Member

It seems to me that you just want to call it what it is. It is a sandbox.
Saying something like "Sandbox release" gives the impression that it will only be that way for a short time though

Instead, you want to say something that describes what the game will be for the long term. It is a sandbox game where you (the developers) work closely with the community over the course of the games life.

Call it a community sandbox.

Or, be clever and relate the phrase to phrases people already understand.
The first five thousand people will be allowed to play in a way that is similar to a closed beta release. However you don't want to seem like you're saying it will only be for the one phase, you want to tell people that it will eventually be open to everyone and still be the same type of game. So contrast the phrase "closed beta."

Call it an open sandbox.

If you want something that also includes the idea that you will be more interactive with the community than people expect use a word that denotes that.

Call it a collective sandbox, call it a conjoint sandbox.

Lastly you want something that denotes the mutual reciprocal aspect of the game between the developers and the community that you are trying to create.

I would say the phrase that both connotes and denotes all of these things would be the phrase "interdependent sandbox."

I give everyone all of my thoughts though, because I was just engaging in wordplay, and perhaps one of the thoughts that I had on the way to that conclusion will spark something more worthwhile.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member


Portmanteau of synergize and morphic. Synergized actions of devs and players conststantly changing the world to create a greater experience.

1. Sounds good.
2. One word.
3. Works in a sentence. Examples:
-- PFO was the first synermorphic MMORPG, as well as being the first true fantasy sandbox.
-- PFO is the iconic example of synermorphic world development.
4. Didn't see anything after (15 entire seconds) of Google searches that resembles the term.
5. Synermorphic applies on day 1, day 180, and year 5.

1. Getting closer, but not instantly grokked, as it is a made up term, and it is not instantly clear who is synergizing.

Playermorphic/usermorphic is slighty more grokable, but less alliterative. Also, I like the idea of the devs and players working together for a greater whole; while playermorphic emphasizes players more.

Synerevolved doesn't ring/look quite right. Anything with terraformed (fantastic word by itself)I can't get to quite fit in.

PS - Props to AvenaOats, as I think "co-op" is moving in the right direction.
PPS - Props to DeciusBrutus, as I think we're at the point of making up words. I would assume the contributors of this thread have a combined knowledge of a significant portion of Webster's, if not of the OED.

Goblin Squad Member

I was also thinking of Progressive launch, so I am adding my support to the term. Maybe Progressive-Entry Launch. Or gradual instead.

Lantern Lodge

Active Community Design

Active Feedback Design

Community Feedback Design

Feedback Driven Design

Community Driven Design

Just some of my ideas, if you have a specific idea of why these don't work, would like to know to shape the next set of ideas.

Edit I like the last two best.

"This is a feedback driven game."
"This is a community designed game."

"This is a community driven and designed MMOSBG"
(SBG - SandBox Game)

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

Organic Dev co-op

Goblin Squad Member

Co-opperative MMO, or Co-op MMO, or COMMO.

Goblin Squad Member

A sandbox game that supports a "Sandbox (style of) Developement". Players do what they want in a sandbox game so the idea could be used to describe the games ongoing developement. The idea being that future developement is now a part of the sandbox, the players being able to 'do our own thing' with developement.

Sandbox Developement , or add 'Style' or 'Type' in the middle or at the end.

Goblin Squad Member

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I'm really not sure about using sandbox as a term to refer to development. While I kind of see where you guys are going with it, it still makes me think. "So they are developing a sandbox..." when I read your suggestions. Not that the development process itself is sandboxesque.

Mind you I don't have any better suggestions yet. :P

I like Feedback Driven Design though it doesn't make any reference to the launch process. But honestly I think the better direction to go would be to name the gradual start with players coming in a bit at a time, and the high degree of player involvement in design choices as two different things working together. One name may just not be able to fit them both.

Unless you want a name like Gradual Admission Feedback Driven Design.

Actually... not horrible. Reminds me of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. No cute phrase, no cute acronym, but it does spell out in a few words the basics of what it is.

Combining the two best ideas (IMO) for each concept creates:

Incrementally Launched Feedback Driven Design

Though I think this may be better:

Incrementally Launched Feedback Driven Development

Lantern Lodge

Really I think you are right, having gone back and read more of what was posted, I think refering to the slow launch and the concept of players input on design are definatly two different things.

Though, running them together as above can work.

Goblin Squad Member

I never liked "sandbox" as a name for the type of game I like, but we are stuck with it. So..... whatever sticks is what it will be called.

Maybe we need to move out of the "sandbox" and into the "Playground Game". A name I don't like but it might stick. harhar

Goblin Squad Member

We don't need an acronym or a string of capitalized words built of insider-speak. Those just et sent to /dev/null in people's brains.

Think about what Apple or Starbucks would call this process. "Retina display" is what I want - something descriptive enough that you know what I'm talking about, free of gibberish, memorable, and once I explain it, you are likely to remember why it matters

"Pumpkin spice latte".

Trust me, I know this is hard. I do marketing for a living and if it were easy I couldn't feed my family. :)

Goblin Squad Member

Is this a name that will be used instead of sandbox mmo and theme park mmo? Or what is being used now that this will be a replacement for? If you did not have a new name ,what would it be called now? It sounds like you want a name for a third type of mmo. It will have to be similar to the sandbox mmo and theme park mmo naming convention then.

Goblin Squad Member

world simulation mmo, heh.

Goblin Squad Member

Organic MMO? "Grow your own, free of pesticides or additives."

Jazz MMO? "the chords are there, but everything else is freestyle!"

DIY MMO? "order the parts, mess it up, and then pay an expert to make it properly for you?"

PfO, part of the "Maker Movement: MMO"? ref: Makers: The New Industrial Revolution By Chris Anderson

Goblin Squad Member


Could also be PFO:Genesis

Here is my reasons for calling this period Genesis.
First of all, most folks know what the book of Genesis is all about so you got a sublime understanding of the concept, secondly, the book of Genesis (at least it's first part) is about the primeval history of the world up to the great flood, all the changes in the world are a consequence of ancient men doing.

My 2 cents.


Goblin Squad Member

Given that the current industry term is MMORPG, this should be an interesting endeavor.

Goblin Squad Member

@Nihimon - actually, the "industry" has abandoned that term and just uses MMO. All the other "mmo type" games are stuck with qualfiers - MMORTS, etc.

Goblin Squad Member

We refer to the game as a next-generation fantasy sandbox MMO. What we're looking for is a term that will describe the unique experience players will have co-developing the game, especially as they will experience it during the first 12 months.

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