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Pathfinder Online

Betawatch: July 5 - 11, 2014

World of Warcraft, Betas, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Shroud of the Avatar, Pathfinder Online, Landmark

ArcheAge
ArcheAge dazzled MMORPG players this week with the announcement that its closed beta will kick off on July 17th. What else is new in the world of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup for the week of July 5th to 11th is below.

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Pathfinder Online releases new alpha client

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

pathfinder
Pathfinder Online alpha testers have a shiny new client to test out, an upgrade that hopefully will distract them from the requisite XP and inventory wipe.

The new client includes better lighting, animation fixes, coin drops from mobs, additional utility feats, and a better distribution of resource nodes. NPCs have also been given a speed boost to cut down on the ease of kiting by players.

[Thanks to Chrysillis for the tip!]

Pathfinder Online formally opens alpha to backers

Betas, Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, News Items, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder
"Ladies and Gentlemen and Miscellaneous Humanoids of all Types," wrote Ryan Dancey on the Goblinworks website today, "It is my great pleasure to announce that we are beginning the formal Alpha Test of Pathfinder Online."

According to Dancey, invitations are now en route to Kickstarter backers and everyone who purchased alpha access through the official game store, so check your email if you ponied up. You can also check out the release notes to clue you in on what's in the alpha and what isn't quite.

For those not participating in the test, the studio plans to livestream the current build tomorrow -- that is, Friday, June 27th, at 6 p.m. EDT -- on its Twitch channel.

Pathfinder Online takes crowdforging seriously

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, News Items, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder
Goblinworks, whose sandbox MMO Pathfinder Online entered alpha earlier this month, is turning to hopeful players for crowdforging purposes by way of the IdeaScale platform. You've probably seen the concept used for software and mobile development already: Players post mechanics and gameplay suggestions and ideas, and other contributors vote them up to show the developers where to focus time and effort.

The Goblinworks team has highlighted a number of ideas via Twitter, including player books, gender neutrality, clothing dye, beast taming, and terrain as impediment. You can check out and contribute to the entire list of suggestions on the official site.

Pathfinder Online details the War of Towers

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

Not pictured in this screenshot: towers, wars.
If you're gearing up for Early Enrollment in Pathfinder Online, you'll be pleased to know that your experience will be a bit more robust than planned. When the development team looked at the minimum viable early access product, it didn't appear indicative of what the game was supposed to be in the long run, but there was no way to get the full territory control system in without a lot of further work. So what could be done? Why, a stripped-down version.

Dubbed the War of Towers, the system will reward players for capturing and controlling towers near one of the existing Settlements, allowing those Settlements to advance and improve in new directions. There's a video available just past the break that explains the details of how this tower capturing works, but the short version is that it should at least fill a gap until the full territory control system can be rolled out later.

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Pathfinder set to begin NDA-free alpha

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder
GoblinWorks released a new Pathfinder dev blog this week. In a nutshell, the team is kicking off the fantasy sandbox's alpha test in very short order. The first week or two "will be an internal test" comprised of employees and family members, writes CEO Ryan Dancey.

Dancey also points out that alpha really does mean alpha, but even so, GoblinWorks will not restrict testers with any sort of NDA. Click through the links below for more info!

[Thanks Chrysillis!]

Pathfinder focuses on crafting in latest dev video

Fantasy, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, Dev Diaries, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder Online
Pathfinder Online's crafting system is the focus of this week's dev blog by Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey. Through crowdforging, the company hopes to develop improvements and features with the help of the community. In the included video diary, designer Stephen Cheney talks more about how resources and materials are gathered for crafting, the importance of tiers, refined items, and how important crafting will be in the game.

The dev blog also discusses the Kickstarter rewards, the status of the guild land rush, and more. Check out the complete dev video embedded after the cut.

[Thanks to Chrysillis for the tip!]

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Pathfinder Online announces a second guild land rush

Fantasy, Guilds, News Items, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder
Pathfinder Online's Lee Hammock today announced the three winners of Goblinworks' promotional guild competition: The Empyrean Order, Pax Aeternum, and The Seventh Veil. The guilds will helm the first three PC settlements when the game hits early enrollment.

But you don't care because you're probably not in any of those guilds, right? So Goblinworks hopes to command your attention with a new account system that will pave the way for you to claim a chunk of the game world for you and your mates. Anyone's who's bought a crowdforger or early enrollment package for the game can form a guild for this second "Land Rush," which will go on for 10 weeks and allow teams to jockey for position and territory long before the game goes live.

More details on how to finagle a guild settlement once the new system is active can be found on the official blog.

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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