Paizo’s sister company Goblinworks (Goblinworks is licensed to create the Pathfinder MMO for Paizo and Paizo & Goblinworks share founding owner Lisa Stevens) is applying its goblins’ crafting skills into the creation of the much anticipated MMO of Paizo’s Pathfinder universe.
At GenCon 2013, my assistant Matt and I were able to take in a seminar about the progress Goblinworks is making with Pathfinder Online. The panel consisted of Lisa Stevens (the CEO of Paizo and COO of Goblinworks), Stephen Cheney (Goblinworks Game Designer), Ryan Scott Dancey (software developer, a salesperson, and a marketer), and Richard Baker (Writer/Developer for Goblinworks).
“In theme parks, you're expected to work your way through a lot of scripted content until you reach the end, and then you play end-game content while you wait for the developers to release more theme park content so you can continue to advance your character.”
Theme park MMOs don’t have lasting appeal, as may be evident from the hint of disdain in the definition. The panel showed the audience a graph showing the most recent theme park MMO releases. They had a high initial registration but then, playership declines sharply. Sandbox MMOs (such as Eve), are defined by Goblinworks as:
“In sandboxes, you're given a lot of tools and opportunities to create persistency in the world, then turned loose to explore, develop, find adventure, and dominate the world as you wish. You and the other players generate the primary content of the game by struggling with each other for resources, honor and territory. There is no "end game" and no level cap.”
According to the graph presented at the seminar, sandbox MMOs have a slower registration incline, but it increases steadily and the interest in the game doesn’t wane as easily. The panel called Pathfinder Online,
“A next generation fantasy sandbox game.”
The Goblinworks FAQ page calls the Pathfinder Online:
“...a sandbox game with theme park elements”.
Here are some important game play notes from the seminar:
- When you kill monsters, they don’t leave behind equipment. You will get resources and components that you will then take to another player to be crafted into what you need.
- When the game makes you aware of an issue (pesky monster raids and so on), and you don’t take care of it, say an area gets overrun by goblins, the problem will fester. There will be “escalations” for every issue.
- The game is based on territorial warfare so your character will belong a settlement. I the beginning, they will be owned by NPCs, but eventually they will players will be able to create their own settlements. However, there is not enough land to go around. There will be player conflicts over land and other resources.
- The game will involve a great deal of crafting items from the resources you acquire, but fret not, you can start an item crafting then go on your merry way and come back to a complete product. The panel stressed the point that the game play was not meant to be stressful. They want Pathfinder Online to be an escape, not a time trap. And there is much rejoicing from the MMO widows/widowers!
Continue to part 2 of this article to get important dates and more detailed information about Goblinworks Pathfinder Online.