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Pathfinder Online

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

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

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]

Pathfinder Online explains role features

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

Pathfinder Online armor designs
The latest dev blog from Pathfinder Online's team has been released this week, including news on the various character type mechanics, new hires to the Goblinworks team, and more.

Of special note is the introduction of the "role feature" that allows characters to take on specific class roles. The role features are set active outside of combat, but can be switched around as you would with traditional alt characters. So, for instance, a Fighter role feature is a weapon specialization role that allows you to play as a fighter with a variety of melee weapons. A Rogue role feature focuses on stealth, evades, and sneak attacks, as you might expect.

Read more about the Fighter and Rogue specialties and feats in this week's dev blog.

[Thanks to Chris for the tip!]

Pathfinder's Q3 milestone video now viewable

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

Pathfinder's Q3 milestone video now viewable
Remember that Pathfinder update we posted last week that featured snippets of in-game video alongside soundbytes from GoblinWorks CEO Ryan Dancey's GamesBeat 2013 speech?

Well, today GoblinWorks has released the full video to the public. No, not the speech video, the in-game video! It's basically an update on the dev team's progress toward its third quarter milestone, and you'll find all three minutes and twenty-six seconds of it after the break.

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Pathfinder's Dancey on the 'broken AAA themepark financial model'

Fantasy, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder's Dancey on the 'broken AAA themepark financial model'
GoblinWorks CEO Ryan Dancey gave a presentation earlier today at GamesBeat 2013 focused around Pathfinder Online's approach to solving the "two fundamental problems of MMO development." These problems are the "broken AAA themepark financial model" and the customer desire for a game that "persistently reflects the cumulative effects of their actions."

The sandbox paradigm is the solution to both problems, Dancey explained, as is a community-driven initiative that GoblinWorks calls crowdforging. Crowdforging revolves around feature implementation that is heavily influenced by the game's community. Pathfinder "maximizes meaningful human interaction, and a minimum viable product allows us to build our game with a small, agile team," he explains, before citing a few of the project's Kickstarter numbers. Dancey also shows off in-game footage from the game's most recent milestone.

Finally, Dancey says that Pathfinder monetization will begin following an alpha in early 2014. The monetization will take the form of an early enrollment system akin to Gmail's beta. "We're on schedule, on budget, and ready to change forever how MMOs are made," Dancey concludes.

We've embedded a lengthy GamesBeat video stream after the break. The Pathfinder presentation starts around the 03:23:00 mark.

[Thanks Chris!]

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Pathfinder Online dev blog explores outpost raiding

Fantasy, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online, MMORPG

Pathfinder Online
Goblinworks celebrated its third major Pathfinder Online milestone with a detailed blog centered on the game's PvP raiding system. While the company was careful to note that raids are still in deep development and may change in scope and design, the blog dives into the rewards and risks of raiding along with the consequences to other players.

Raids are short, small skirmishes initiated against player outposts. Since every outpost produces goods, there is always something worth stealing at any given outpost. To challenge an outpost, raiders must kill NPC guards in addition to any defending players. Raiders can stock up on an outpost's goods after its defenders have been bested. According to Goblinworks, NPC guards for outposts are "few and far between." Stealing items from outposts disrupts supply chains to local settlements.

If raiders hold an outpost for over 10 minutes, they can then strip mine it. Strip mining increases the output of goods but deals damage to the outpost until it is destroyed. You can read more about raiding, strip mining, and how each affects your hostility rating over on the official post.

New Pathfinder dev blog details salvaging, harvesting, and more

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

Pathfinder outpost concept
So what about Pathfinder's non-combat gameplay? I'm thinking specifically here about salvaging, harvesting, and gathering. What's that, you say? GoblinWorks has just posted a dev blog on these very topics?

Well, I'll be!

It seems as if salvaging has been simplified a bit since the last the time the devs talked it up. Oh, and harvesting spots are generated procedurally, so you won't necessarily be able to map out iron and tree nodes like you can in more typical MMOs. Gathering nodes have also been tweaked. More specifically they're now tied to the supply of harvestable resources in a particular hex, and GoblinWorks is currently going with a system of exclusive discovery rights to prevent claim-jumping.

Finally, today's dev blog touches on the game's outposts, which are semi-permanent structures in wilderness areas that produce a steady supply of bulk goods by the hour. Hit the links below to learn more.

Latest dev blog highlights PvP aspects of Pathfinder Online

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

Latest dev blog highlights PvP aspects of Pathfinder Online
In its latest dev blog, PvP is heralded as the core of Pathfinder Online. And designer Tork Shaw offers a broad overview of the different levels of PvP combat that players have to look forward to in the upcoming sandbox. One level is settlement conflict, or territory control, where hundreds of members can fight for and defend their player-run settlement when it's at war with others. On the other hand, since companies have between eight and 50 members, these conflicts are on a smaller scale. Companies can declare feuds with one another and participate in shorter bursts of warfare. An additional level of PVP in Pathfinder will be found in factional conflicts.

The blog continues by stating that the idea of PvP flags is being revisited. It also outlines the basics of the alignment and reputation systems, and it assures players that bounties still exist. For more details on these systems and the various conflicts, check out the full blog post.

[Thanks Chris!]

Pathfinder dev blog discusses guild design, functionality

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

Pathfinder dev blog discusses guild design, functionality
If you've been wondering about companies in Pathfinder Online, today's dev blog is for you. And no, that's not companies as in GoblinWorks or Paizo, but companies as in adventuring companies! Designer Tork Shaw says that companies are the "most basic form of permanent player organization" in the game. If that sounds a lot like "guilds" in other MMOs, that's intentional, though Shaw explains that Pathfinder's companies work best with 50 or fewer members as opposed to giant, hundred-member zergs.

Companies can be sponsored by certain in-game settlements, which affords them bonuses, protection, and perhaps danger if said settlements are engaged in hostilities with other in-game groups. Companies advance via an influence mechanic that stems from the deeds of their members. Click through the links below for more info!

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