London Bridges falling down.....

Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

So, I know Ryan and GW have talked about the need to prevent serious choke points arriving in the game to prevent small forces from repelling much larger ones, and I generally agree. That being said, I think there is a place for some logistic connection nodes that can enhance border conflict and economies without creating such a problem.

Bridges, Tunnels, and Harbors. I imagine these as three potential special improvements that can be constructed at special point of interests. At a settlement or wilderness hex with a river, settlements can build bridges that provide two things: a base quick path across the river AND a fast travel node (more on that later). Now, the key to the bridge is not to have it be necessarily to cross an obstacle, merely a convenience. Depending on terrain features, you can ford a river or cross further upstream, and are not dependent on the point, but having them provides unique advantages worth defending. Also importantly, as a player built structure, they have to be built, maintained, and defended less they're destroyed - providing another source of contention.

The other advantage would be in relation to fast travel. Now, obviously this system hasn't been designed yet, so this point may be irrelevant. I remember reading something about the fast travel system intended to allow players to skip the boring slog, but not allow them to escape meaningful encounters. To my mind, what I envision is that fast travel 'roads' or connections need to be constructed between two or more settlements - in doing so, they are required to place down a set of nodes between their locations on a map. Each node acts like a link in a chain, and must be defended - if a node is 'down', fast travellers pop out at the break, and must cross to the next link the long way before they can fast travel again.

Depending on the distance, size, and investment the settlements commit, these connections will be fewer or more, and will have variable safe times to travel (similar to active pvp windows). Bandits have the ability to set ambushes and block nodes for a period of time to catch victims.

Bridges and tunnels are merely important links in those chains - they aren't crucial to crossing any distance, but blocking a bridge may severely hamper trade and troop mobilization between settlements - as such they are nice hot spots of activity.

Anyways, let the discussion commence.

Goblin Squad Member

I thought they were wanting to do that to prevent campers from killing random travelers?

I dont like the idea of preventing smaller forces from defeating larger forces. That is a part of warfare, and if settlement warfare is the basis of the sandbox, it should be here.

Bridge fights, Thermopylae, ridge fights, and etc are common military practice in a setting such as this. This is a great thing to have in the game.

Anyway, good thoughts.

Goblin Squad Member

I like the idea that with proper planning and good execution, a smaller force should be able to defeat a larger (on all scales of engagement). This seems to happen most often when the larger force's command is outwitted or utterly incompetent to begin with (usually lack of information or use of).

Movement and the ability to move when/where you want are one of the keys to that.

On the flip side there need to be strategies/tactics that can be used to prevent that if used. Your suggestion offers both so I don't think that it is a bad idea.

In the case of regular scale: Caravans, travelers, harvesters, etc... there is a mechanic proposed (but not fully detailed yet) for pulling people out of "fast travel".

In the case of troop movement scale: I hope that "fast travel" is not an option for large groups on the warpath whether aggressive or defensive.

Goblin Squad Member

Depending on how Fast Travel is implemented, if you can only Fast Travel on Roads, then having an army of a hundred or so players running down the road should be visible from a distance, and easily stopped by throwing AoE spell effects onto the road, forcing them to stop fast-travel, possibly breaking up their formation while your people snipe at them from the outer limits of bow/spell range, then the defenders mount up and go wait up the road.

Then that means the invading army will need Horses to keep up with you. Which is another expenditure they have to cover. And more training to ride the horses, and possibly an additional badge to ride a mount into combat.

A smart General will divide his forces up and Fast Travel to the outskirts of the enemy Hex(es), then force his troops to march in formation till they reach the target settlment to prevent being caught out and demolished on the road.

A general who divides his forces risks them being ambushed on the roads while they are getting to the enemies hexes however so there is a trade off there and someone who studies their opponents tactics will be sure to exploit this.

Out of curiousity....any words about whether you can be in a formation and in stealth? Whole units in stealth formation could be mildly amusing :)

Goblin Squad Member

I get the giggles as I imagine a platoon of Dwarves with tower-shields, and branches strapped to said Tower-shields, attempting to sneak up on an Elf army as a 'giant bush'.

Goblin Squad Member

HalfOrc with a Hat of Disguise wrote:
... easily stopped by throwing AoE spell effects onto the road... possibly breaking up their formation...

Ryan has previously stressed that Formations are not likely to be sitting ducks to AoE spells.

Golarion is a world filled with supernatural and spell-like abilities. And characters of all types who gain them. Is it so hard to imagine that in the 10,000+ years of recorded (human) history people have figured out how to combine "being a soldier" with "dealing with magical attack"?

Why is it so hard to imagine character abilities of a supernatural or spell-like nature that can reduce or counter the effects of common spells that would be virtually certain to be deployed in any mass combat environment?

To think otherwise seems .... rather narrow-minded.

CEO, Goblinworks

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The problem with choke points isn't that they can be used to restrict travel. It is that the lands behind them tend to be drastically underutilized. In EVE there are vast tracts of space that are virtually empty despite a constant pressure for claimable territory because of this effect.

There will be choke points in Pathfinder Online. We won't make them the exclusive path to access a substantial tract of territory.

Goblin Squad Member

A choke-point may simply be the quickest and most obvious 'path' to a Hex or rich resource node, which also makes it an excellent ambush/toll site for the Bandit-Clans or the Controlling Faction/Company.

I like that, because it encourages people to go out into the wilds to bypass the choke-point, and it forces the Bandits to spread their people out to find these stealthy convoys of merchants and crafters, who have probably hired at least one path-finder, or at least bought a map of the Hex from such a player, and brought along their own PvP-focused Guard-PCs.

Do you risk running into a Monster or Escalation or a Bandit patrol, or do you pay a huge S.A.D. to the Bandits or a toll to the controlling faction to enter the easy way?

Goblin Squad Member

As long as there are some choke points for ambushes (armies later maybe?) then it is good for the outlaw elements (Saladin's, Sun Tzu's) I'd guess.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
There will be choke points in Pathfinder Online. We won't make them the exclusive path to access a substantial tract of territory.

I'm very glad to have this confirmed. I really want terrain to be a major influence in both strategy and tactics. I would love to see terrain be as important to combat in PfO as it was in the Myth games. While tree branches blocking arrows might be a bit out of scope for an MMO engine (at least on today's technology), things like hills and water affecting movement and combat effectiveness shouldn't be.

Dammit, now I'm going to have to go look to see if I can get the Myth series for my current hardware.

Goblin Squad Member

PS. There is actually a group of volunteers who maintain the Myth codebase to get it to run on modern OSes (and have done so for more than 10 years) called Project Magma.

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