The latest Pathfinder Online
dev blog is all about contracts. It's also about 20,000 pages long, so reading it starts to feel like reading a real contract after about the 10,000 page mark. OK, it's not all that bad. Heck it's actually pretty interesting stuff, since most MMOs these days go out of their way to segregate players from each other and from decisions that have lasting gameplay implications.
Not so in Pathfinder,
thanks to its contract mechanics, which Ryan Dancey
says are like "a questing system hidden in plain sight." While some of what you'll read in this particular blog is theoretical (and as such, it carries the standard subject-to-change disclaimers), the system as it stands right now is broken down into four in-game tools: escrow, reputation, alignment, and the law.
Contracts themselves are sub-divided into assassination, auction, bounty, guard, loan, purchase, sale, and transportation flavors. It sounds somewhat complex, but there's definitely a method to Goblinworks
' madness. "Ideally, most of the commercial, diplomatic, and adventuring activities in the game will develop through player-to-player contracting," Dancey writes. "If somebody offers you a reward for bringing them 10 rat tails, it will be because another player needs 10 rat tails for some reason, not just because an NPC has an exclamation point bobbing over his head."