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Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder Online shows off its map

Betas, Fantasy, Video, PvP, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder
Lead Game Designer Lee Hammock is your host and guide to a tour through Pathfinder Online's detailed maps.

Pathfinder's maps look a little different than a typical MMO map, offering more of a malleable report on shifting allegiances and events in a hex layout. The main map is color-coded to show terrain type, with symbols and lines representing cities, trade routes, player towns, security levels, and points of interest. Knowing which resources come from which terrain type will be crucial to building up player settlements.

Hammock and his beige shirt of stunning good looks star in a nine-minute developer video that you can watch after the break.

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Pathfinder Online's devs on dynamic escalations and new races

Fantasy, Video, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, News Items, Community Q&A, Dev Diaries, Pathfinder Online

In the latest installment of the Pathfinder Online video blog, Goblinworks PvE designer Bob Settles joins lead designer Lee Hammock to discuss escalations and alternate races. Races are the simpler topic; Hammock explains that the team does plan to expand the available races significantly, noting that races that are flavors of other races are much easier to implement because of shared models.

And what about escalations? "Escalation" is the team's fancy term for one of the game's many dynamic, hex-shaped zones that are reserved for monster spawns and can over time, well, escalate and expand to neighboring hexes, ramping up in scale and difficulty with elite bosses. Multiple escalation themes are discussed in the video, including escalations that allow participants to do something other than beat mobs into submission.

Enjoy the video below.

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Boatloads of classes are coming to Pathfinder Online

Fantasy, Video, Classes, News Items, Community Q&A, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online, MMORPG

Pathfinder Online
The latest Pathfinder Online video dev blog has arrived, and it features Goblinworks' Lee Hammock and Stephen Cheney answering questions about which classes will enter the game in which phase. The Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, and Cleric will be first during early enrollment, followed by the more crafting-based roles like the Aristocrat, Commoner, and Expert, and then the core classes of the Barbarian, Paladin, Sorcerer, and Bard. The Ranger, Druid, and Monk are likely to emerge during open enrollment.

The accompanying blog post also explains how experience and skills will map from the tabletop game to the MMORPG. We've included the complete video diary below.

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Pathfinder Online opens new storefront, posts first video dev blog

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Subscription, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder
The Goblinworks team has this evening posted several bits of news about its forthcoming sandbox, Pathfinder Online. The studio has revamped its website and opened a new store it's calling the Goblin Squad Store, a "portal for merchandise that is currently only available to Goblin Squad members." The store appears to be a way for would-be backers to toss some (or more) cash at the developers even though the Kickstarter has ended. In return, gamers can select from a lengthy list of add-ons both physical and digital, including tabletop miniatures, forum titles, gametime, and even a swanky messenger bag.

If you're keen more on learning about the game than on funding it, the team's new video blog might be of more interest. The first of planned biweekly episodes went live tonight and features Goblinworks' Lee Hammock and Stephen Cheney explaining how slots and divine powers work in the game. We've embedded the vid behind the cut.

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Pathfinder Online's Ryan Dancey on crowdforging a 'minimum viable product'

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Subscription, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder Online
In response to our recent editorial questioning whether we are in fact in the middle of a sandbox renaissance, Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey has penned a Massively-exclusive dev blog to explain why his game, Pathfinder Online, is indeed at the center of such a renaissance. Pathfinder was specifically mentioned in our article as a possible example of those pseudo-sandboxes that rely too heavily on creating a space for players to butcher each other without bothering to create the mechanics for anything else.

Dancey hopes to clarify his game's outlook today. Read on for his dev blog, in which he discusses what he means by "minimum viable product," distances Pathfinder from the cripplingly expensive graphical arms race plaguing the industry, and elaborates on just how Goblinworks plans to roll out this "crowdforged" MMO.

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GoblinWorks releases Pathfinder Q4 backer update video

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

Pathfinder Online Q4 update
GoblinWorks has released a new gameplay video for its forthcoming Pathfinder Online fantasy sandbox. Dubbed as the fourth quarter backer update, the clip shows developers adventuring in the game's River Kingdom. Pathfinder's Q4 milestone was met in January, writes CEO Ryan Dancey, and the two major focus areas were the combat system (including the UI, animations, and multiple role features) and "the conversion of the world terrain from the fully manual small scale process to a more large scale terrain development method using the Grome tool pipeline."

Dancey also hints at forthcoming UI and combat reveals plus some nifty skeletons and goblin dogs. Further details are available via the GoblinWorks blog links below. Don't forget the video after the cut!

[Thanks Chrysillis!]

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Some Assembly Required: Is this really the sandbox renaissance?

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Some Assembly Required, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, Star Citizen, Pathfinder Online, Buy-to-Play

Some Assembly Required
It's funny, but this whole sandbox renaissance feeling has got me a little worried. I'm of course ecstatic at the number of sandbox MMOs currently in development, and I'm even happier that one triple-A outfit has finally acknowledged that MMOs are supposed to be sandboxes.

EverQuest Next and Landmark aren't the only reasons to be amped, either, as games like Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, and The Repopulation are all putting their own spin on emergent virtual worlds and standing on the shoulders of genre giants.

It's not all roses, though, and amidst the cautious optimism on display from starving sandbox fans, I feel the need to remind myself of the various personal pitfalls that still need to be addressed.

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Dev blog offers snapshot of Pathfinder's finances, new screenshots

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

Dev blog offers snapshot of Pathfinder's finances
While most dev blogs focus on game systems, features, and the like, Pathfinder Online's newest one gives the public a look at Goblinworks' financial performance. And for those who backed the project on Kickstarter, the proffered pie chart gives a clear view of where their money went in 2013. The majority of funds, $1.3 million, went to employee overhead, and office overhead ate up the next largest chunk. In all, the company feels it came close to its overall budget plan for the year, with the biggest variance due to hiring more staff.

The blog continues by introducing new devs working on Pathfinder, announcing a new funding feature for those who still want to back but missed the Kickstarters, and offering new screenshots. Check out the images in the gallery below and head to the official site to meet the new staff.

[Thanks to Chrysillis for the tip!]

Pathfinder's on track for an April alpha

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder goblinses
Heyo, it's time for the latest Pathfinder Online dev blog. GoblinWorks bigwig Ryan Dancey says that last Monday marked the end of the firm's Q4 2013 development period. The milestone was capped by an internal team playtest today, with another scheduled for Paizo luminaries this Friday.

Dancey lists each of the team's Q4 goals -- including Wizard, Rogue, Cleric, and Fighter classes, all at fourth level and all with "at least one weapon with a full set of attacks -- before stating that "we met the experience goals we set for ourselves."

There are some qualifying statements in terms of "moving pieces [that] still have to fit together," but Dancey concludes with optimism and mentions that alpha testing will likely start in April. "It is increasingly likely that this crazy plan to make an MMO on a fraction of the budget and a sliver of the timeline that has become the norm is going to work," he says.

[Thanks Chrysillis!]

Forbes: ESO's subscription model is just 'a compounding factor' to risk

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Pathfinder Online

ESO
Forbes is firing back at Pathfinder Online CEO Ryan Dancey, rebutting his faith in the subscription model by observing, "The general, obvious trend is that games are moving to microtransactions or optional subscriptions at best."

Forbes contributor Paul Tassi casts doubt on the subscription chart estimates provided by Dancey, saying that they leave out costs and other factors and are mere guesses to boot. The article points out that virtually all newer MMOs have either launched with a hybrid or mictrotransaction model or have moved to free-to-play in recent years.

"With rumors of a massive budget, indicators that the game itself isn't anything phenomenal, and the insistence of the subscription model across all platforms, I stand by my assertion that Elder Scrolls Online has the potential to be a huge miss for ZeniMax and Bethesda," the article concludes. "Honestly, even a free-to-play ESO would have seemed incredibly risky by itself, and the subscription fee is just a compounding factor."

One of Pathfinder's 'core philosophies' is socialization

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

Pathfinder Online
The first Pathfinder dev blog of 2014 concerns itself with points of interest and outposts. In a broader sense, GoblinWorks uses the piece to speak about one of the primary design objectives for its fantasy sandbox.

That objective is socialization. Or, as GoblinWorks says, "one of our core philosophies is to maximize meaningful human interaction." A major example of said philosophy is the firm's plan to create "a hierarchy of social structures so that many people have a chance to try their hand at leadership and management." This hierarchy starts with outposts, which are the "heart of the in-game economy" and connected to the aforemention POIs.

Click through the links below to learn more!

Pathfinder Online CEO defends Elder Scrolls Online's subs

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, Free-to-Play, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Pathfinder Online

ESO
The Elder Scrolls Online's subscription-only business model has had an unlikely ally step up to defend it: Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey.

The Pathfinder Online head chief claimed that subscriptions were still responsible for upward of an estimated $100 million a month in revenues in the Western market with a much smaller amount being gained by cash shops. "It's even harder to estimate how much revenue is being generated from microtransactions but it is extremely difficult to imagine that the revenue even approaches 50% of the amount being paid as subscription fees," he wrote.

Dancey also commented that initial box sales will be incredibly important for ZeniMax: "This may be the internal justification ZeniMax is using to benchmark its budget for Elder Scrolls Online. Skyrim, the most recent single-player entry in the Elder Scrolls franchise, is reported to have sold approximately seven million units, which we can impute translates to something like $210 million in revenue. If the MMORPG can carry that kind of weight, its budget becomes suddenly very rational."

Incidentally, Dancey said that Pathfinder Online will launch with a subscription-only model as well, although he predicts that will change over time.

Perfect Ten: New MMOs to watch in 2014

MMO Industry, Opinion, EverQuest Next, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, Destiny, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Pathfinder Online, Trove

perfect ten
Out with the old desk calendars that you didn't use past February 2013 and in with the new, I always say! It's a brand-new year, and while we don't know all of the twists and turns that we'll travel in MMO news in 2014, I dare say it promises to be a fascinating ride.

Last January I gave my list of 10 new MMOs to watch for that year, and I'm a sucker for traditions. With 2014 a mostly blank slate right now, I want to lay out the up-and-coming class of games that at least have a shot at releasing by December. There are the big names, of course, but several other titles that could be sleeper hits if all goes right. Which will succeed, which will flop, and which won't even get out of the door? I don't claim to know all, but I know all, so here are my prognostications for 2014!

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Pathfinder's latest dev blog outlines reputation, alignment

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online, Buy-to-Play

Pathfinder artIf you missed this week's Pathfinder dev blog, well, go read it! It features an update/intro penned by GoblinWorks CEO Ryan Dancey, while the meat and potatoes concerning the fantasy sandbox's alignment and reputation systems are brought to you by designer Lee Hammock.

"Reputation is our system for measuring how a player behaves in game," Hammock writes. "We want to provide a means by which a player can judge the aggressiveness of other players at a glance." Pathfinder's rep "has no bearing on your interactions with NPCs, quests, escalation cycles, or other PvE content."

Alignment features two components. One, the player's core alignment, is chosen at creation and "is the intended alignment of the character." Active alignment, on the other hand, "begins at core alignment values but changes based on player action." Specific examples and much more detail are available via the links below.

[Thanks Chrysillis!]

New Spellcasting Pathfinder dev blog declares game 'half done'

Classes, Game Mechanics, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

In the most recent dev blog for Pathfinder Online, CEO Ryan Dancey announced that the game is half done, stating,"We're a little bit past the halfway point of development before Early Enrollment." Luckily for those eager to hear specifics about said progress, the blog goes into more detail -- a lot of details! These details, provided by Designer Stephen Cheney, focuses on changes to the spellcasting system.

After bumping into difficulties with the system as first proposed, devs came up with some solutions to address concerns. The new system includes a new class of weapon that produces expendable effects (called spells for casters and maneuvers for non-casters) and alterations to the Refresh system. The expendables are also dropped as loot and treated like learned feats, which also prompted a few changes in active feats. You can read up on all the details in the blog post.

[Thanks to Crysillis for the tip]

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