Where Does PVE Fall in Terms of Development Priority?


Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

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I know there are a lot of things (like server stability) that are at the tippity-top of the development list right now. But as we look at the bigger picture, can you good folks at GW give us any kind of scale for thinking about development of PvE beyond escalations? Things like dungeons--if you all remember the "PFO Environment Experience," something like a dungeon to explore once in a while would really be awesome. Not any scripted boss fights or anything, just something more than mobs standing in a circle outside.

Is this a first 3-6mon kind of thing? 1 year+?

Goblin Squad Member

I remember Lisa saying that something like the Emerald Spire dungeon would be a crowdforged thing, so in that regard it could be a ways off. Something huge as the Emeral Spire would also most likely be implemented in increments (per level?) since it would require so much new art and such (monsters!)

I am hoping that once the "game of thrones" itself is actually running, players will band together to get that Emerald Spire on the map. But I think we are talking post-OE here.

Maybe we can crowdforge the first level in the game pre-OE? :)

There was also talk about small instanced dungeons that could be randomly created and then "found" by a player, who could then claim it for a short time for his buddies/Company, after which it would become more of a public instance? But this sounds like tech that is more like 3 years off.

Ah, I found her post, it explains a bit more on the stance on dungeons: ES and dungeon content.

CEO, Goblinworks

I do not think that we will attempt "dungeons" in the first year of development.

PvE during that time is going to involve building more monsters, making the monster AI more interesting, and making Escalations more interesting.

Goblin Squad Member

Reading Lisa's post, all it needs is PFO taking off like a rocket to get dungeons on the map, so let's try that. :D


Ryan Dancey wrote:

I do not think that we will attempt "dungeons" in the first year of development.

PvE during that time is going to involve building more monsters, making the monster AI more interesting, and making Escalations more interesting.

I can live with this.

Goblin Squad Member

TY Ryan--appreciate the clarity on that.

Goblin Squad Member

I can see implementing dungeons opening a huge new type of gameplay; and attracting a dungeoneering sort of player. So does not surprise me that it would be at least Year 1 out what with everything else. I like the idea going into a dungeon is as much a Survival Trip (navigate, rations, skill in unlocking traps and making 50-50 decisions in the blink of an eye for the party, as well as Combat of course.

Goblin Squad Member

The game is definitely heading on a positive path and I think down the road once things like MBando mentions get in the game, it will really ramp up.

I do not think the systems that are in place currently will be enough to hold players through subscription right now. There's just too much that needs to be developed before what I consider a minimum viable product. Especially when you look at the competition that is doing the exact same thing.


The funny thing about PvE is that E is what the sandbox players will be fighting for. Should be kept in mind.

More PvE can never be bad.

Edit: Not talkin' bout dungeons. Talking about just the actual environment being more interesting.

Goblin Squad Member

@Celestialar would you say more what 'more interesting environment' looks like in your vision?

Open question: I think we will end needing more (beyond better escalations) of a PvE game to reach a right end state, but aside from Emerald Spire and eventual set-piece encounter instances crafted by players, what might improve the PvE Environment in your view?

Goblin Squad Member

Being wrote:
... what might improve the PvE Environment in your view?

The one thing that has consistently made my PvE experiences more enjoyable - and I've heard a number of other players say the exact same thing, so I'm pretty sure this is real - is being part of a larger group.

It's fun to run around and kinda dominate stuff. It's not as fun to feel like you're barely making a dent. I think this is one of the reasons the southern Escalations are so overrun - even a full group of players, with at least half of them fully utilizing +2 gear, struggle to clear a camp of those damnable goblin dogs. As a fairly well-geared and well-trained Wizard, it's a bit frustrating to see my most powerful attack not really do much damage - especially compared to others' Longbow Exploits.

Note, I'm not talking about "barely making a dent" in the overall Escalation. I'm talking about feeling like I'm "barely making a dent" on a given mob. To put it in perspective, I felt like I was in a group with a couple of Level 10s and a couple of Level 7s in World of Warcraft trying to take on camps of 4-5 Level 13/14s. You can't let any of the mobs hit any of the players more than a couple of times, and your damage will eventually whittle them down, but it's not at all quick.

At them moment, I would be utterly shocked to see a group of 6 Tier 2 players able to take on one of those camps with 6-8 goblin dogs and 3-5 goblins without kiting them.


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Being wrote:

@Celestialar would you say more what 'more interesting environment' looks like in your vision?

Open question: I think we will end needing more (beyond better escalations) of a PvE game to reach a right end state, but aside from Emerald Spire and eventual set-piece encounter instances crafted by players, what might improve the PvE Environment in your view?

Starts at the bottom with challenge and rewards.

I want both things, though. I want a very interactive as well as dangerous environment.

I want places to be different and the further you venture into the wilderness, the more you should be able to get crazy rewards and also find crazy enemies.

I'd like to see places where everything changed. Like snow places or a volcanic area... I want to feel as though I am in this environment.

I really wanna see some pickable stuff. I wanna see things you can touch. I want enemies that are gonna keep the good rewards protected, not the players.

As I have said before, I think the ideal sandbox is a functional game with sandbox features on top of it... not a game that is very base and requires the players to provide all of the danger, reward, etc.

PvE is that part that would make someone want to play if they didn't like pvp. It's imperative, in my eyes, to get people who only play as PvE. It's a different type of person, it creates social dynamics.

Again: I feel PvE is the base of the game, then you add sandbox open pvp on top of it and everyone wins. As far as I can tell, no game has done this.

Dungeons, to me, do not matter because they are, although not instanced, something outside of the general PvE. I want to have to think where I am going, both because of players and PvE challenges. I want a chance to use the environment in my favor if I understand it better than my enemy.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
It's fun to run around and kinda dominate stuff.

I'm actually on the other side of that coin. Dominating things just gets boring fast, and I like a challenge that can't be overcome simply by throwing more people at it. Maybe it's because I have a background in "breaking content" in theme park games. The most enjoyable moments in those involved dying repeatedly to find and perfect tactics that defeat the encounter. In a sandbox game I don't imagine that experience coming up, but I at least want a challenge, and again, preferably one that can't be overcome just by throwing more bodies at it.

Goblin Squad Member

<Magistry> Athansor wrote:
Nihimon wrote:
It's fun to run around and kinda dominate stuff.
I'm actually on the other side of that coin. Dominating things just gets boring fast, and I like a challenge that can't be overcome simply by throwing more people at it. Maybe it's because I have a background in "breaking content" in theme park games. The most enjoyable moments in those involved dying repeatedly to find and perfect tactics that defeat the encounter. In a sandbox game I don't imagine that experience coming up, but I at least want a challenge, and again, preferably one that can't be overcome just by throwing more bodies at it.

While I agree that doing the same thing over and over again has, and will, get bring fast (approach big group, send in tanks, pull certain, wear down, beat boss, rinse, repeat), having "one" series of things that kills a bad guy is equally boring. Raids have always been a complete drag. They are really based on a specific action (read "programmers trick" to win. Standing in a certain spot, casting a certain spell at a certain moment, etc). When a raid can be beaten by doing the very same thing time after time, it is not a boss fight, it is a "beat the programmer" event, and utterly not fun.

Still, I am looking forward to trying out certain PvE related events that I have read about, to see how they are developed. I remain hopeful.

Goblin Squad Member

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To me, it is about exploration and mystery, with combat as a spicy sideorder. Have you clibed to the mountaintop yet?
I nearly got there there yesterday, but had to give up due to IRL stuff, will there be someting at the top? Not now, but in the future perhaps it will.
As an example I would hope there would be a stone with the name of those did it,
or a special resource that you can create a ring from (the reciepy is gained from getting your name on the stone) and it will only allow you to do something smallish, like know of other climbers, or give access to a special chat channel or whatever.

... or secret groves of trees that only manifests in wild places, if you are alone in a hex. Stuff that is difficult to repeat in the exact the same way (snow could shift at the mountain forcing different angels of attack, Yetis moving around).

I want strange recipies that is not listed in the AH and generally not known (perhaps dynamically changing each drop, making them useless to list in cheatsheets) creating stuff that perhaps not better, but different. Like rearranged keywords, or keywords borrowed from utilities.

I want interaction with strange beings, like goblins wanting to trade for stuff and not just targets for practise shooting.

I want to find a spring that when clicked (I generally want more things to click on) and you are of the right role/alignment/level/utterly-not-min-maxed/having-equpiment-that-is-purely- ornamental get a visit by a naiad telling you a secret/giving a mini quest/curse you with a geas ...

Of course this demands special systems to be created, but I think one suitable versatile module could handle create and handle these dynamically.

Events that are not repeatable using a well defined order of steps (I mean, climb to the highest mountain top is acceptable, take three steps to the left of the tree, jump, twice, turn 45 degrees left and cast levitate, count to ten, dismiss and kick once ..... Etc etc, is not)
Neither should it cater to min/max concepts, those have their charm by their own, instead it should support things like Necromancer/Rouges (as the combos will grow to a nearly impossible amount perhaps less specific than so, but you get the picture).
The quests/geas/whatever should enforce interaction with others and travelling, say .. Buy one thing in all AHs ... Keywords open ups a world of possibilities here...

Ooooki, that become long, think I have to go and take a cold shower now...

Goblin Squad Member

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<Magistry> Athansor wrote:
...dying repeatedly to find and perfect tactics that defeat the encounter.

I didn't grow up playing games--though many existed--where one kept re-doing until one became "good enough to get it right", so when raids-as-puzzles came along, they had less than no interest for me; they actually drove me away from that content. I love puzzles, but, when one has to perform the same actions repeatedly, boredom shuts my brain down.

Yes, I don't play a musical instrument, either. Lack of manual dexterity, combined with lack of interest in developing any... :-)

Goblin Squad Member

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I say if you haven't played Black Sanctum on a TRS-80, you haven't gamed.

Goblin Squad Member

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I personally hope the blend of PvE + PvP (faucets + sinks) and the intermingling of them works well.

But to separate PvE for dissection and use PFO's "vocabulary":-

[LIST

  • Adventure
  • Exploration[/LIST]

    1. ADVENTURE

    A. Dungeons such as:-

    i. Torchbearer pressure
    ii. procedural generation
    iii. require skill to find (Exploration)
    iv. special skill-training eg survival et al to get in and out of.

    2. EXPLORATION

    Eg nav and map of huge world and logistics.

  • Goblin Squad Member

    <Magistry> Athansor wrote:
    The most enjoyable moments in those involved dying repeatedly to find and perfect tactics that defeat the encounter. In a sandbox game I don't imagine that experience coming up, but I at least want a challenge, and again, preferably one that can't be overcome just by throwing more bodies at it.

    I've said it before, but I hate combat that feels like "chopping wood". There's no real risk - unless I make a stupid mistake - but it takes a long time to grind through the mob's hit points. I had kind of assumed the Goblin Ghouls we were facing in the Escalations around us were Tier 2 mobs since they were so hard to kill.

    I want my challenges to come from other players. They'll do things I never expected, and there's no guarantee at all that what I did last time will be effective this time.

    Grand Lodge Goblin Squad Member

    I think one problem is - be it PvE or PvP content that first everything needs to be build up. Even PvP needs a basis, needs a settlement, etc.

    Politics - well - we had enough on these boards to have 5-times as many wars or partnerships/alliances as are needed for meaningful interactions. But there won't be a good war if you go against each other with clubs and no armour.

    So the first one or two month will be building up rather then interacting with what other people are doing (doing to you). Maybe this even takes longer.

    Goblin Squad Member

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    I'd like to use the "dungeon generator", whenever it comes along, to allow a creator to tell a story. There doesn't need to be a lot of loot (there won't be), or dragons (there won't be many), but if at the end, the group running through thinks "Wow! That was really cool and unexpected!", or "Oh my! I can't believe that happened!", or elicit an emotional response, that would be a great thing.

    Goblin Squad Member

    I'm not speaking of the permanent monster spawns (lairs), but the other escalations when I ask this: Will they change to a different type, once defeated?

    I think it would be much more interesting and add greater incentive to defeat escalations if there was a chance they may change.

    Goblin Squad Member

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    yes per dev comments ingame after a 24 hour cool down an escalation home will be repopulated be a RANDOM escalation type.

    Paizo Employee Goblinworks Game Designer

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    TEO Malvius012 wrote:
    yes per dev comments ingame after a 24 hour cool down an escalation home will be repopulated be a RANDOM escalation type.

    And to make this comment both more official and way too specific, here's the details:

    Roughly 24 hours after an escalation is defeated in a source hex, a new semi-random escalation will spawn. I say semi-random, because we use a system of spawn weights to decide which escalation to spawn. This system is probably best understood using an example.

    Suppose we're choosing from 4 escalations to spawn: A, B, C, and D. Each escalation has a setting for the maximum number of instances it can spawn at one time. Suppose they are set to the following:

    A: 10
    B: 6
    C: 4
    D: 2

    Further, suppose each of those escalations is already running elsewhere the following number of times:

    A: 5
    B: 0
    C: 3
    D: 2

    Now we get the spawn weight for each escalation by subtracting the maximum number from the current number:

    A: 10 - 5 = 5
    B: 6 - 0 = 6
    C: 4 - 3 = 1
    D: 2 - 2 = 0

    Finally, add up all the spawn weights (5 + 6 + 1 + 0 = 12), roll a random number between 1 and that total (a d12 in this case), and then select the escalation based on the spawn weight:

    A: 1-5
    B: 6-11
    C: 12
    D: Can't happen

    Later, there will be home hexes that only run one specific escalation. We haven't completely worked up the rules for those.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Nihimon wrote:

    I've said it before, but I hate combat that feels like "chopping wood". There's no real risk - unless I make a stupid mistake - but it takes a long time to grind through the mob's hit points. I had kind of assumed the Goblin Ghouls we were facing in the Escalations around us were Tier 2 mobs since they were so hard to kill.

    I want my challenges to come from other players. They'll do things I never expected, and there's no guarantee at all that what I did last time will be effective this time.

    PVP certainly makes it easier, and is probably the most enjoyable repeat content. Unfortunately in a lot of games that becomes repetitive as well. You recognize names, what they're capable of and what they're likely to do. You also learn common tactics for different roles, what the most effective means of locking people down are, etc. In a skill based game it'll be better as there are more possible surprises, so I'm looking forward to that.

    As far as PVE, it doesn't have to feel like chopping wood to have a challenging encounter. There's no reason it has to be long and tedious. Some of my favorite encounters from games were short. I've done a lot of PVE and a lot of PVP across a ton of games and I just appreciate well designed content.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Bob Settles wrote:

    Further, suppose each of those escalations is already running elsewhere the following number of times:

    When an escalation spreads into a neighboring hex, does that count as a second instance?

    Paizo Employee Goblinworks Game Designer

    <Flask> Ulf Stonepate wrote:
    Bob Settles wrote:

    Further, suppose each of those escalations is already running elsewhere the following number of times:

    When an escalation spreads into a neighboring hex, does that count as a second instance?

    Nope. A single escalation instance is made up of a source hex and all the infected hexes it owns. Ownership is established by either infecting the hex in the first place, or by claiming a neighboring orphaned hex that was leftover from a previously defeated instance of the same escalation.

    Some folks have also referred to super-escalations, where several instances of the same escalation border each other and cover large amounts of territory. They are still technically treated as separate instances, with each source hex owning specific infected hexes. However, I believe those instances won't attack each other on their borders (non-aggression as opposed to cooperation). Also, if one of the source hexes is defeated, all the orphaned hexes it leaves behind will be quickly adopted by one of the other sources, so it's even more important in these cases to build up some space between the instances before tackling the sources.

    Goblin Squad Member

    Bob Settles wrote:
    Some folks have also referred to super-escalations, where several instances of the same escalation border each other and cover large amounts of territory. They are still technically treated as separate instances, with each source hex owning specific infected hexes. However, I believe those instances won't attack each other on their borders (non-aggression as opposed to cooperation). Also, if one of the source hexes is defeated, all the orphaned hexes it leaves behind will be quickly adopted by one of the other sources, so it's even more important in these cases to build up some space between the instances before tackling the sources.

    Ahha. That explains why we can't find a contested seam to exploit between two Ripping Chain groups. (It's probably to our benefit that they won't take out similar groups, or one escalation could hold the entire map). And you've given fair warning - we will want to separate two large but similar escalations before attacking their stronghold.

    While I can imagine more immersion from the PvE content in time, I do like the flavor they present already. Down in the SE, Brighthaven is facing this reality: if we want to create a large settlement, we're going to have to cut the territory out of the Kingdom of Zog. (in EE it will likely be some other group). Perhaps in time we can get announcements in general/local: "Ripping Chain Goblins have conquered a hex close to $Settlement".

    Goblin Squad Member

    Urman wrote:
    Perhaps in time we can get announcements in general/local: "Ripping Chain Goblins have conquered a hex close to $Settlement".

    Or perhaps employ scouts and trade for info from those who travels a lot. To much automated information served by the system Are IMO negative to the very idea of forcing the creations of communities and interaction.

    A lot of discussions here on the board is about making stuff easier and simpler for PvPers and Crafters, but perhaps the solution isn't creating info feeds, but instead finding other roles useful.

    Actually I have begun to feel the mini map needs some nerfing, perhaps its usefulness should depend more on your Perception skill to give info. When I started playing I spend way to much time staring at that map while moving around. Now days I use the actual view more and more to spot and indetifying things. On a larger screen (I playing on a rotten old laptop) I imagine it would even more to identify using the "real world" view.

    Goblin Squad Member

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    Schedim wrote:
    Actually I have begun to feel the mini map needs some nerfing, perhaps its usefulness should depend more on your Perception skill to give info. When I started playing I spend way to much time staring at that map while moving around. Now days I use the actual view more and more to spot and indetifying things. On a larger screen (I playing on a rotten old laptop) I imagine it would even more to identify using the "real world" view.

    I support this idea. I'm also in favour of nodes not appearing on your minimap unless you have the skill to harvest them.

    Goblinworks Executive Founder

    What happens to infected hexes when the source is defeated? Do they stop reinforcing, weaken over time, or continue to reinforce but don't spread anymore? (Absent another escalation attacking or claiming them)

    Goblin Squad Member

    "Bob Settles (15 Oct) wrote:
    I'd have to check the exact implementation details with programming, but once the source hex is dead, the remaining hexes have few, if any, sources to add to their strength. I believe they stop spreading or reinforcing each other, and they may even stop running events. It's still best to clean them up, because other instances of the same escalation are capable of absorbing them, but they generally have nowhere to go but down.

    Paizo Employee Goblinworks Game Designer

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    Urman wrote:
    "Bob Settles (15 Oct) wrote:
    I'd have to check the exact implementation details with programming, but once the source hex is dead, the remaining hexes have few, if any, sources to add to their strength. I believe they stop spreading or reinforcing each other, and they may even stop running events. It's still best to clean them up, because other instances of the same escalation are capable of absorbing them, but they generally have nowhere to go but down.

    Just checked with Paul and the remaining hexes should indeed stop doing any reinforcing or attacking of neighboring hexes until they are claimed by another instance of the same escalation. The also won't start up any new events, though they'll still finish up any events that are already running. The end result is that orphaned hexes quickly run out of any sources of strength.

    Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

    The problem with nerfing the mini-map is that people will write 3rd party programs to read the data stream and bring it right back up to its current state, unless all the range-checking and ability-checking is done server-side.

    I like the idea that increased Perception would let the mini-map show you things at greater range, and increased gathering skills would show you nodes that lower levels can't gather from, but I don't know how much of that could be isolated on the server side to prevent third party mini-maps from un-hiding the information.

    Goblin Squad Member

    KarlBob wrote:

    The problem with nerfing the mini-map is that people will write 3rd party programs to read the data stream and bring it right back up to its current state, unless all the range-checking and ability-checking is done server-side.

    I like the idea that increased Perception would let the mini-map show you things at greater range, and increased gathering skills would show you nodes that lower levels can't gather from, but I don't know how much of that could be isolated on the server side to prevent third party mini-maps from un-hiding the information.

    *facepalm* What people do just to cheat and not accepting limitations. I'm so happy I don't do game design,not only needing to get computers to behave, also outthink munchkins...

    Goblin Squad Member

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    As a focused gatherer, I'd really, really like the ability to highlight prefered nodes (like mining nodes, say). I might or might not want to not see other nodes on the minimap; it could just be player choice.

    Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

    Schedim wrote:
    KarlBob wrote:

    The problem with nerfing the mini-map is that people will write 3rd party programs to read the data stream and bring it right back up to its current state, unless all the range-checking and ability-checking is done server-side.

    I like the idea that increased Perception would let the mini-map show you things at greater range, and increased gathering skills would show you nodes that lower levels can't gather from, but I don't know how much of that could be isolated on the server side to prevent third party mini-maps from un-hiding the information.

    *facepalm* What people do just to cheat and not accepting limitations. I'm so happy I don't do game design,not only needing to get computers to behave, also outthink munchkins...

    Yup. It's kinda sad, but cheaters will cheat. Third party mini-maps go all the way back to Everquest 1.

    Goblinworks Executive Founder

    Bob Settles wrote:
    Urman wrote:
    "Bob Settles (15 Oct) wrote:
    I'd have to check the exact implementation details with programming, but once the source hex is dead, the remaining hexes have few, if any, sources to add to their strength. I believe they stop spreading or reinforcing each other, and they may even stop running events. It's still best to clean them up, because other instances of the same escalation are capable of absorbing them, but they generally have nowhere to go but down.
    Just checked with Paul and the remaining hexes should indeed stop doing any reinforcing or attacking of neighboring hexes until they are claimed by another instance of the same escalation. The also won't start up any new events, though they'll still finish up any events that are already running. The end result is that orphaned hexes quickly run out of any sources of strength.

    That sounds like they remain at constant strength unless affected by players or live escalations.

    Goblinworks Executive Founder

    KarlBob wrote:
    Schedim wrote:
    KarlBob wrote:

    The problem with nerfing the mini-map is that people will write 3rd party programs to read the data stream and bring it right back up to its current state, unless all the range-checking and ability-checking is done server-side.

    I like the idea that increased Perception would let the mini-map show you things at greater range, and increased gathering skills would show you nodes that lower levels can't gather from, but I don't know how much of that could be isolated on the server side to prevent third party mini-maps from un-hiding the information.

    *facepalm* What people do just to cheat and not accepting limitations. I'm so happy I don't do game design,not only needing to get computers to behave, also outthink munchkins...
    Yup. It's kinda sad, but cheaters will cheat. Third party mini-maps go all the way back to Everquest 1.

    Further back than that. The original Diablo had a plethora of third-party hacks, such as one that prevented the one that killed another player from working. (Anti-autokill). There was even one that showed you the inventory of other players in the same instance, and indicate which item IDs had been noticed as duplicate.

    EQView was tame compared to what it had to draw from.

    Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

    But I need my third party hack! Without it, the other third party hack will kill me!

    I didn't know about those.

    Goblinworks Executive Founder

    That was before everybody knew that the client can't be trusted.

    Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

    I guess so!

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