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Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder details corpse looting and more

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

GoblinWorks CEO Ryan Dancey has published a new blog post touching on today's Pathfinder early enrollment release.

Version two of the fantasy sandbox adds player husks, which is another way of saying lootable corpses. "The extent of your losses will be related to how quickly you are able to return to the site of your husk and if you are able to recover the inventory that remains on the husk before others are able to take all of its contents or its timer expires," Dancey writes.

There's a bit more to the update, but you'll need to click through to the GoblinWorks website to read it!

Pathfinder Online outlines its update and test patterns

Betas, Fantasy, News Items, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

They're also renaming the internal test server to Wendy's Falafel & Cheese Party (All Night Every Night) but that has nothing to do with release.  You probably don't want the story.
The early enrollment stage of Pathfinder Online has started, and that means it's time to start setting a regular update schedule. A new development blog establishes that the game is currently slated to put out a new major build every other week, with the acknowledgement that the first few weeks will be something less than reliable due to the growing pains of turning the servers on. Players can look forward to the War of Towers kicking off tomorrow, January 14th, at 1:00 p.m. EST.

A bunch of the game's moving pieces are being either reopened or renamed. The alpha accounts are being renamed platinum accounts, since the game is no longer in its alpha testing phase. The test server is coming back online as a way to double-check all of the new adjustments to the game before they go live. Worth noting is that account perks used on the test server will still count as consumed on the live server, meaning that an account entitlement you use on a test will be gone as surely if you used it in the core game. Check out the full update for more specifics and the mechanics of taking part in update testing.

Pathfinder Online's Ryan Dancey on early adopter experience bonuses

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, Endgame, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Subscription, Pathfinder Online, MMORPG

Pathfinder Online
On yesterday's Massively Speaking podcast, Justin and I discussed Pathfinder Online's plans for granting its earliest and most loyal players what seems to be the ultimate character bonus: an experience edge over everyone else, forever. I'll let the Pathfinder Online dev post Hard is Fun! explain verbatim:
Our game uses a unique real-time based XP system. Characters gain XP through the passage of time, not through being logged in. So the characters that are created in the first month will be the characters with the most XP for all time. A special perk will be in effect that backdates XP to the start of Early Enrollment for the first month so no matter when you purchase an account, if you create a character in Month 1, you'll have that maximum XP.
Usually games with offline experience systems also have either a hard cap or a diminishing returns mechanic to avoid the core "sandbox problem" -- that those who get to the sandbox first perpetually have the most power because they claim all the best toys (and so on). But as written, the Pathfinder Online system seems to exacerbate rather than fix that problem by promising "pioneers" more power in the form of permanently more experience.

Suspecting there was more to the plan, we asked Goblinworks' Ryan Scott Dancey to explain just how it plans to balance its concessions to early backers with its presumed desire to attract newbie players in the more distant future. He's done so, in detail, for us today.

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Pathfinder Online opens up early enrollment

Betas, Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Launches, News Items, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

This will either work out all right or backfire spectacularly.
The hour has come at last! Yes, we said that yesterday, but this time we really mean it! Pathfinder Online has entered early enrollment as of today, allowing backers to jump in and play the game in its early state. There are even some new screenshots (exclusive to Massively!) to go along with this stage of the game's slow rollout; they're embedded in the gallery below.

A new blog entry has also been posted, stating the game's design philosophy once again and explaining how the earliest stage of deployment will work out. If you really want to get in but aren't already a backer from the game's second Kickstarter, access will set you back $100 with three months of included game time.

[Source: Goblinworks press release]

Early enrollment comes to Pathfinder Online tomorrow

Betas, Fantasy, News Items, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

Tomorrow: Reality!
The hour has come at last! Almost. The hour of Pathfinder Online's early enrollment approaches swiftly with a scheduled start time of 1:00 p.m. EST on December 31st, assuming some horrible bug doesn't crop up between now and then. More posts will appear on the official site to detail how, exactly, one takes part in Early Enrollment if eligible; there will also be detailed information on how the game world moves and behaves so that no one is caught off-guard.

The last day of the alpha servers won't be quiet either; testers will be given access to developer powers, allowing them to make whatever ludicrously overpowered superheroes they want for fun. This starts today at 1:00 p.m. EST and runs until the servers go down for the last time before early enrollment. So have some fun today, and get ready to start in on the real thing tomorrow.

Pathfinder Online ends its stress test and preps for early enrollment

Betas, Fantasy, News Items, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

There's a path!  Do I win?
The bad news is that if you had hoped to do nothing but strain the Pathfinder Online servers over your holiday, you were denied that option. The good news is that the test ended because the servers passed the stress test with flying colors, and that means it's time for the development team to move on to the next phase of access. Yes, early enrollment is just around the corner.

Of course it hasn't kicked off just yet, as the developers behind the game are human beings who would like to actually spend some holiday time with their families. But it's coming soon. The change will mean that players who have alpha access via friends & family options or are normally slated to enter during open enrollment can no longer log in; so if you want to keep jumping into the game you may wish to upgrade your account. For those already happily waiting for early enrollment, nothing else remains to be done other than continuing to wait. Not much longer now.

Pathfinder Online continues to delay early enrollment

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

pathfinder
While Pathfinder Online groupies may get a little excited at the imminent release of a new patch, Goblinworks put it out there that the long-delayed early enrollment start is still on hold.

"This build does not meet our internal requirements for the early enrollment release candidate," the studio announced to players yesterday. Previously, Goblinworks said that the game must be able to support 2,000 simultaneous logins and 100 characters per hex before it would activate early enrollment.

However, the good news is that the game is getting better with the release of Alpha 12.1, which is now live. The patch contains balance fixes, better hairstyles, performance improvements, and the activation of the encumbrance system.

Pathfinder Online early enrollment will not be launching today

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Launches, News Items, Subscription, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder Online
Pathfinder Online's early enrollment launch for paying backers has already been delayed multiple times since its original goal of September 15th, and last night we learned that release has been put off yet again. Goblinworks' Ryan Dancey explained that the ongoing stress tests convinced the team that the server infrastructure needs bulking-up; consequently, the October 30th date -- today -- has been set aside. Dancey wrote,
We have set an internal objective of being able to handle 2,000 simultaneous connections, and 100 characters active in a single Hex as our minimum threshold for server performance. This reflects our expected peak concurrent activity for the first 10,000 players in game - roughly what we anticipate during the first 90 days of Early Enrollment activity. Currently the server does not reliably meet that benchmark.

With your help, we generated tremendously useful data via the stress test process and our performance team is confident that they can identify areas of the server system that can be rapidly improved to hit that benchmark. They are building and testing the necessary software and are making steady progress.

We want the first players in Pathfinder Online to have a high-quality experience and we are committed to delivering the game in a condition that meets that objective. Rather than commence Early Enrollment on the 30th we are going to enter a temporary "hold" state while we continue to optimize the server. When the team is confident that our benchmark for performance has been met, we will then exit the "hold", notify the community and begin a 48 hour countdown to Early Enrollment.
Dancey told players that Pathfinder's alpha test will continue, allowing devs to "roll out these polished feature iterations and to test server capacity improvements," and he thanked backers for their assistance and feedback.

GoblinWorks: Pathfinder's PvP 'provides meaningful context'

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

GoblinWorks' latest Pathfinder developer blog went live this week, and in it CEO Ryan Dancey previews alpha version 10.0 which "closes a number of critical game loops" by adding several features.

Testers will experience increased character power, increased crafting abilities, and a new company/settlement UI, to name just a few of the improvements. Dancey also says that Pathfinder's PvP will "provide meaningful context" while acknowledging that "many people have serious reservations about PvP."

Dancey says that the solution to the problem of bad PvP behavior and "no-fun experiences" is the context. "When people struggle over something meaningful they behave differently than when PvP is just [a] random fight." How exactly will Pathfinder provide this context? You'll have to read the dev blog to find out!

[Thanks Chrysillis!]

Pathfinder Online begins alpha stress test

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Sandbox, Subscription, Pathfinder Online

pathfinder
Pathfinder Online has thrown open its doors to all of its supporters for an important alpha stress test as the game transitions into Alpha 9.1.

The Alpha 9.1 update is primarily focused on bug fixes but also includes "more fluid and lifelike" animations, a faster character selection process, the ability to tab-target enemy players, and a doubled drop rate for common refining recipes. The team has also removed energy resistance from heavy armor to make light armor more desirable in various situations.

This stress test is part of the build-up to the repeatedly delayed early enrollment launch, which is currently scheduled for October 30th.

Pathfinder Online's latest alpha patch is live

Betas, Fantasy, Economy, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

The mysterious roaming Stress Test, a beast no one can confirm seeing.  There may be one hiding in this header.
After no small amount of hand-wringing, the latest alpha patch is live for Pathfinder Online, with the intent of eventually cracking open the servers for stress testing. It's a pretty important patch even without the aim of a stress test, though, as it expands the map size to its full early access scope and fixes a variety of issues with advancement and the game's overall systems. Even if you didn't get to play recently, the development is humming along.

Obviously those who didn't get to play also didn't get to experiment with the game's recent auction house functionality, which is explained in depth on the official site. Setting up an auction requires a starting price and a minimum price. Over the auction's duration, the price slowly decreases from the starting price down to the minimum; if no buyers are found at that discount rate, the auction ends unsuccessfully. Check out the full development blog for more details.

Pathfinder Online's early enrollment is delayed yet again

Betas, Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, News Items, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Subscription, Pathfinder Online, Buy-to-Play

Pathfinder Online has further delayed the start of its next testing phase, Goblinworks wrote on its blog yesterday in a post titled Early Enrollment Will Not Start This Week:
There are a lot of final pieces coming into place to turn Pathfinder Online into a Minimum Viable Product so all of our early adopters can play and have a great time. The Auction House didn't make it in for a build last week and that is a critical feature of our MVP. As always, Goblinworks is dedicated to making sure the players have a solid and fun game experience. As a result we are going to reschedule the start of Early Enrollment. The team is developing their roadmap and when we have a revised start date we will provide an updated blog to present that plan. We appreciate your continued patience.
Those of you playing along at home will recall that this is the third such delay. On September 3rd, early enrollment was shifted to September 22nd for bug fixing; a week later, it was set for September 25th to accommodate, Goblinworks said, its players' vocal "desire to have the whole early enrollment map ready for play on the first day of early enrollment." Early enrollment is the equivalent of paid early access for backers and incurs a subscription fee.

Pathfinder Online gears up for a stress test

Betas, Fantasy, News Items, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

I feel like one of them should have a pitchfork to accentuate the dourness.
The early access period of Pathfinder Online has been delayed a little bit, but the game is still moving forward, and that means opening up for stress testing. On September 20th the game's current alpha client will be receiving an update for a variety of game mechanics; following that, the servers will open their doors on September 22nd for all players who have Open, Early, Explorer, or Alpha access. This means that more people than ever will be allowed to fire up the game and start playing.

Access will be provided on a rolling basis, chiefly to prevent a huge rush of people from all attempting to log into the game at the exact same moment. The goal, as with any stress test, is to ensure that the system can handle itself under severe loads. The official update offers more details on what's coming for the 22nd as well as mechanical changes players can look forward to when the test version goes live.

Pathfinder Online further delays early enrollment to include more map

Betas, Fantasy, Launches, Patches, Sandbox, Subscription, Pathfinder Online

pathfinder
When will Pathfinder Online's early enrollment period begin? The answer to that question continues to change as its studio makes last-minute adjustments. Originally it was supposed to be September 15th, which then was pushed to September 22nd for more work on alpha features, and it's now delayed until September 25th in order to give players a larger initial game world. Players who have early enrollment access will be able to access the wipeable alpha (if they don't have it already) starting on the 18th.

"Our community has been very vocal about their desire to have the whole early enrollment map ready for play on the first day of early enrollment, and we're making changes to our deployment plans to accommodate that desire," Goblinworks posted. The studio also said that it will be delaying the start of the War of Towers until October 16th and that the Mac client should be ready to go by the start of early enrollment.

In the meantime, the team is consolidating its alpha patches into a single large patch for tomorrow and then will be doing updates on Thursdays going forward.

The Daily Grind: Would you pay a sub for an alpha?

Betas, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

The MMO community is fast becoming inured to the idea that we're now expected to pay a lump sum for alpha and beta access rather than exchange our testing time for early access. But what about paying a subscription for that access?

Pathfinder Online is banking on it. At last weekend's PAX Prime, we learned that the Goblinworks dev team will be charging players $15 a month to play the alpha (they're calling it "early enrollment" to their "minimum viable product," but it amounts to what most of us would call an alpha). The upside is that character data won't be wiped, so that makes it more like a very incomplete soft launch, but it's still a novelty in the industry.

Would you pay a sub for an alpha?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

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