Pathfinder Online has a new investor interested in taking over the game

Acting CEO Lisa Stevens has good news for Pathfinder Online fans – the game may have found the investors it has been looking for. According to her most recent dispatch to the fans, the new company is still in negotiations, but if they are successful it would be investing more into the game than Goblinworks had been able to invest in the game over four years of development. Assuming everything goes well, the undisclosed company would take control of the game in March of 2016.

Regardless of the game’s financial future, the developers have continued to work on bugfixes and improvements to the game, such as adding in support for cloaks and backpacks for characters. The next patch to the game is expected for January of 2016 after the team gets back from New Year celebrations. Hopefully 2016 will be a more positive year for fans of the game, although nothing seems to be finalized just yet.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Tyburn, Rhet, Goldstariv, and TJ for the tips!
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Wakkander
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Wakkander

iridescence Tridus Wakkander DPandaren Giggilybits A new investor could turn things around, who can say if they will though. I’d love nothing better than to see the game manage a degree of success simply because it would help build the brand, even if its current direction is nonsensical.

iridescence
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iridescence

Tridus iridescence Wakkander DPandaren Giggilybits You’re not wrong. As someone who loves the overall concept and has already put more money into this mess than pretty much any video game ever I still find everything about how this game was marketed a collosal clusterfuck. I want to have a glimmer of hope at this announcement but honestly it may be ruined beyond repair.

Wakkander
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Wakkander

Tridus iridescence Wakkander DPandaren Giggilybits I would like to agree about Paizo, but then Lisa Stevens has repeatedly gone to bat for the game and its design goals. Which I can see her in a difficult position, trying to not take a loss on the effort, but the blind backing of the design and lack of acknowledgement of the criticism makes it hard to do so.

Tridus
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Tridus

iridescence Tridus Wakkander DPandaren Giggilybits I don’t hate it, at all. I just don’t understand how people putting money into this ever thought it could possibly succeed. Surely Paizo knows their own players better than to think this would work?

The game is so discordant with it’s own IP that it makes no sense to me how it ever got the green light. 

It was interesting when I polled the local pathfinder society players though. Most didn’t know it existed. Those that did had the same reaction: “ugh.” Only one city’s organized player base, but that is not exactly favorable.

Wakkander
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Wakkander

iridescence Tridus Wakkander DPandaren Giggilybits While I agree hating it for not being what it was never intended to be is pointless, the problem is that it does tie up the license so that a more faithful MMO cannot take advantage of it. So I think it fair to have an active dislike for the game since it is Pathfinder in name only that for its lifespan inhibits the ability for an alternative, faithful, Pathfinder MMO. If you want to explore Golarion, see the giant ruins of Varisia, the far off lands of Tian Xia, or view the majestic Starstone Cathedral, it is not likely to happen while this one exists. A game that doesn’t reflect the rules, theme, or playstyle and takes place in a single region that while interesting in the table top game, doesn’t seem to feature the things that make it interesting in this particular game.

iridescence
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iridescence

Tridus iridescence Wakkander DPandaren Giggilybits Really I think the only reason for the Pathfinder name was marketing. It was always intended to be much more “EVE Online with swords and magic ” rather than “”play your tabletop game in an MMO setting”. I see no reason to hate the game for not being something it was never intended to be (Fine to hate it right now for being a half finished ugly piece of crap that hopefully the new company will fix though :) ) 

I did hear Obsidian got the Pathfinder licence so maybe we will get a single player RPG Pathfinder Offline game as well. I’d love to play that and no reason both couldn’t exist.
.

Tridus
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Tridus

iridescence Wakkander DPandaren Tridus Giggilybits Then the obvious question is: why make this game at all? If they can’t figure out how to make a Pathfinder MMO that might appeal to the Pathfinder audience in any way whatsoever, maybe the smart thing to do is not make a Pathfinder MMO.

They could have made a Pathfinder single player RPG. They could have made something like what Shadow Realms was pitched as before being cancelled: a group of players and a DM (with good creation tools for the DM, this would most closely mirror a real Pathfinder game). They could have made something like DDO. They could have even tried to figure out how to make a cooperative massive game work.

They did none of those things. They went almost as far in the opposite direction as it’s possible to go, short of making it an arena deathmatch FPS or a racing car game. They ended up with a game that’s called Pathfinder, but has gameplay that has nothing to do with Pathfinder whatsoever and which thus holds no appeal to the overwhelming majority of the target market of the IP: Pathfinder players.

Maybe they did want to make a game “where large groups of people come together to accomplish things and oppose each
other”, and that’s fine. But that’s not Pathfinder. “Little groups all doing their own thing like DDO” is Pathfinder.

If they’re going set out to make “not Pathfinder”, they should not call it “Pathfinder”. What they did makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and comes off as some guys wanting to make their idea for an MMO and just finding whatever IP was available.

Wakkander
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Wakkander

iridescence Wakkander DPandaren Tridus Giggilybits Which would have been possible without open world PvP. With it however, where is the audience? Certainly not enough of a PvP community to support the original development, which regardless of PFO’s own level of quality, is already split amid countless indie MMO’s whose focus is open world sandbox PvP. Its an already crowded niche that isn’t very large to begin with.
The community that surrounds Pathfinder isn’t one made up of hardcore PvPer’s, nor hardcore crafters, or city building enthusiasts. It is made up of people who enjoy working together to overcome the odds, and perhaps importantly, highly dedicated and creative DM’s who can, have, and will spend countless hours crafting adventures, dungeons, and other homebrew material.
It even already has a subset of players who want to play a more limited experience, the pathfinder society is a set of organized play where players play common adventures. Something that gives a perfect lore basis for an MMO. 
The opportunity was there for them to build on any of this, and instead they went about as far into the other direction as possible, and one that doesn’t even have much evidence for being a success. I would have hated a WoW clone, but at least there are examples of success in that field.

iridescence
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iridescence

Wakkander iridescence DPandaren Tridus Giggilybits OK, that’s an interesting point. I never played KingMaker, just heard of it. I think the problem is that co-operative play makes sense in a small group which PnP games are made for, it’s much harder to translate that experience to a game with thousands of players at one time. Not saying it’s impossible. In fact DDO does a decent job of replicating that experience but it is an almost  completely instanced game which doesn’t feel very “massive” I think PFO wanted to make the game where large groups of people come together to accomplish things and oppose each other rather than just little groups of players all doing their own thing like DDO is.

Wakkander
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Wakkander

iridescence DPandaren Tridus Giggilybits The Kingmaker modules were a series of six interconnected adventures where the party cooperatively ruled a kingdom while dealing with NPC rivals and monsters. I ran it for my group, unfortunately it went quite awry for them and the party got wiped by trolls and traitors after a series of shenanigans. (Tip: Inviting an evil lumber consortium to set up shop in your kingdom in return for giving them seats on the government might not have been a great idea, especially not even trying to negotiate with them over it.)
It had no PvP, nor was it designed for PvP. Pathfinder like 3.5, AD&D 2.0, and Basic, and even 4e and D&D Next, are not made for PvP. All of them are self described cooperative roleplaying games.
I don’t think anyone who is criticizing the PvP direction is arguing that it should have been a wow clone/raid grinder. Many ideas for PFO regarding its PvE content is positive, the escalation system I think is fantastic in concept. But that is a far cry from the cooperative experience fans of the table top game are familiar with and would be looking for out of a licensed title.

iridescence
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iridescence

DPandaren Tridus Giggilybits It’s based on the Kingmaker model which has a fair amount of player conflict and politics. I think they did it this way to make it *massively* multiplayer without making it a quest/raid grinder WoW clone which they specifically did not want.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

Tridus Giggilybits >It doesn’t explain why they decided to take a PvE cooperative RP and dungeon crashing game like Pathfinder and make a PvP/gathering/crafting game out of it in Pathfinder Online, though. That just makes no sense whatsoever.

Queue every one here who demands to have PVP in their MMO.

Radfist
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Radfist

strangesands Radfist Pathfinder is the spiritual successor to Star Wars Galaxies :P

Tridus
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Tridus

Silvercat18 Tridus Giggilybits A friend of mine worked in a games store for years, and for a while he was the “Games Workshop” guy. They had a specific person to deal with GW because of what a PITA they are. He’s told us some crazy stories.

Telwar
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Telwar

Silvercat18 MarkHanson1

I kind of sometimes think that they got the idea from the Wow-Killer super-MMO in Reamde.

Giggilybits
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Giggilybits

Tridus Giggilybits Hey thanks for the answer wasn’t expecting such detail. Appreciate it.

Silvercat18
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Silvercat18

MarkHanson1  Eve is still doing remarkably well in its niche and is a good example of how getting in a good spot can carry a product for years and years. I`m not entirely sure what the PFO niche is, unless its to be “eve but with swords and not in space”. Still, that could get them somewhere, if Camelot Unchained doesn’t take that up with its RvR focus.

Silvercat18
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Silvercat18

Tridus Giggilybits  It was a great victory for the consumer and for compatibility. One of the things I hate is that new editions of pen and paper games are often not made to be better, but to make all the old things you own obsolete, forcing you to buy them all over again.

Eventually, enough was enough. Wizards of the coast even went as far as to destroy entire settings like Forgotten Realms, so that they could start afresh and copyright everything. Alarming, this has happened again this year with Games Workshop, who wiped out their fantasy setting, Warhammer and replaced it with a new one, called Age of Sigmar. They even went and changed the names of elves and orcs to their own made up version so that they could strengthen their ownership of them. No that’s not an elf, its an Aelf, which means we they own it. No joke.

Pathfinder was one of the few victories of the little guy against corporate greed and that’s one of the reasons the online game has such a committed fanbase – despite the strange disconnection between the setting and the actual game experience. Pathfinder, at least, seem to be good guys and that gets you a lot of trust….which has not yet been lost and I hope its stays that way.

Telwar
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Telwar

Good luck!
I have utterly no interest in PFO, but maybe they’ll find enough people who do.

neutronium777
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neutronium777

Congratulations Curt. I hope 38 Unlimited will be a winner!

iridescence
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iridescence

strangesands Silvercat18 A totally PVE game would be so boring. Especially when I already have DDO and single player RPGs like NWN2 for that. The game needs a metric ton of polish and content but it has a lot of potential as is.

Tridus
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Tridus

Giggilybits Yes, but there’s a good reason why they seem so similar.

Back with the third edition (3.0 and 3.5), Dungeons & Dragons had an open game license (OGL) called the d20 system. Under certain conditions, anybody could use it to make compatible game products. Paizo was one such company doing that. They made D&D 3.5 content and were even the publishers of Dragon & Dungeon magazines.

When Wizards of the Coast (Hasbro, owners of D&D) came out with 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons (4e), they decided to do away with the OGL and put a much more restrictive version in place. Paizo found themselves without a system to publish for, as Wizards also discontinued 3.5. 

However, what Wizards didn’t count on was the astonishingly negative reaction 4e got. People who play D&D have always stuck with old versions for a while, in fact you can still find original and 2nd edition games to this day! But with 4e, the reaction far exceeded everyone’s expectations. Players rejected it en masse in favor of the beloved 3.5, which despite its warts excelled at giving people the tools to run fun campaigns in all kinds of different ways. Why 4e failed is the subject of a whole series of posts, but anyway…

Paizo still had all that 3.5 system experience, and no incentive to stay friendly with Wizards, who had just cut them out of everything (the magazines were discontinued as well). Paizo took the OGL d20 system, started making changes to fix some glaring issues, and called the new game Pathfinder. Early in it’s life, it was unofficially called “3.75”, and one of their earliest posters for it had the slogan “3.5 survives. 3.5 thrives.” 

That’s why Pathfinder and 3.5 look so similar. If you take the d20 SRD core rules and the Pathfinder PRD core rules, you will find large sections word for word identical. Core stats work largely the same way. Core mechanics largely work the same way. Core classes are similar. Stuff is changed, but it’s like going from one WoW expansion to the next in terms of classes being changed and such. Details change, but the fundamentals of the system still work the same way. So, they are very similar, and someone who knows one can sit down at a game of the other and understand what’s going on very quickly (and be tripped up on details that got changed, heh).

All this leads to oddities with Pathfinder video games. The OGL d20 system didn’t allow other kinds of games to be made with the system. So while a D&D game can use the D&D rules as is, a Pathfinder game cannot. That’s why some of the combat systems have to inherently work differently in Pathfinder Online.

It doesn’t explain why they decided to take a PvE cooperative RP and dungeon crashing game like Pathfinder and make a PvP/gathering/crafting game out of it in Pathfinder Online, though. That just makes no sense whatsoever.

Giggilybits
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Giggilybits

Is Pathfinder(Paizo) a separate entity from Dungeons and Dragons(Hasbro)? Ive tried playing a few of the virtual table tops out there Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds and seems the games are somewhat intertwined someway.

MarkHanson1
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MarkHanson1

Good news for the folks over at Paizo I guess, as well as the ones playing this game.Once it’s done, I just wonder how many customers they will need for the game to actually be profitable?
I think a niche game can do well in today’s market, if managed properly. Never tried this one , I’ve got my fingers crossed for Project Gorgon.

JakeDunnegan
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JakeDunnegan

I got an email as well, since I was one of sucke…. um, kickstarters. 
One thing that told me they were still effing clueless was the pride with which Lisa mentioned how they were adding a /stuck command.
“Great!” I thought. 
Until I read that it would take FIVE MINUTES to activate. 
By typing /stuck, you will enter a countdown timer for five minutes.  During that time, you cannot move nor engage or be engaged in combat.  If any of those things happen, the /stuck command expires.  If you can manage to not move or be part of combat, after five minutes, you will be teleported to the nearest shrine and none of your items will take durability loss.
Good grief. To think that these people went out and started to craft an MMO without, apparently, having ever played an MMO, from all appearances…?
Please, Mr. Investor Person – just let this thing die. It’s an embarrassment.

toomanywowclones
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toomanywowclones

a fool and his money…

GabeNewellFetish
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GabeNewellFetish

Given some of Lisa’s released statements in 2015, I have already washed my  hands of the entire thing and considered my crowd-funding contribution to this to be a bad mistake and moved on.

SirUrza
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SirUrza

But what direction will the take with the game? I didn’t play it because I don’t view Pathfinder as a pvp game. I only funded it for the pen & paper rewards, which I ended up liking.

libertylion7
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libertylion7

Why won’t you just die already?

ProfessionalNoob
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ProfessionalNoob

Damonvile I see what you did there.

RicharddeLeonIII
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RicharddeLeonIII

Part of me is glad Pathfinder has a second chance, but another part of me wishes the new investor forces goblinworks to remove PVP entirely and make it a true coop DnD experience >.<

strangesands
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strangesands

TheDonDude strangesands Doubtful.  Would mean a major (and costly) revamp.

TheDonDude
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TheDonDude

strangesands TheDonDude Gotha.  You mentioned Lisa (the CEO) acknowledged this problem?  Does that mean it’s going to be fixed?

Damonvile
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Damonvile

It would be cool if the new company wanted to make a pathfinder mmo out of the IP

Damonvile
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Damonvile

BalsBigBrother Which fans? pathfinder ones or the people who liked this abortion ?

Koolthulu
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Koolthulu

So the guy who wants to fund the game has to get funding from someone else? Yeah, that sounds real promising.

And their big development for December is a /stuck command where you have to stand still for five minutes for it to work. /facepalm. In every situation in other games where I have needed to use the /stuck command, I have been considered “moving” so it didn’t work. Why do devs keep sticking to this idiotic design decision?

Anyway, hope it actually works out for the players still liking this game.

Tridus
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Tridus

Wratts Tridus Wild_Phil Well, PFO’s literally keeping the lights on with subscriber money at this point. Even hardcore loyalists won’t stick around forever without some kind of hope.

This announcement happens to be a nice way of giving hope to the fans without saying anything binding.

Wratts
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Wratts

Tridus Wratts Wild_Phil Ah, reading source material FTW.  Yeah, I’m surprised she went public if that’s as far as they are.  You’d hate to have to backtrack because a lender looks at it for a week and says “oh, hell no!”

Tridus
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Tridus

Wratts Tridus Wild_Phil Second paragraph:

“Just today, I received a signed letter of intent from a company that
wants to take on the Pathfinder Online legacy and see it through to
completion”
The third paragraph mentions that the company who signed the LoI are themselves trying to line up funding. So a company without the cash to buy it signed a LoI, and now has to themselves find the cash to do it. That’s anywhere from “almost finalized” to “pipe dream”. All kinds of deals fall apart at this point, it’s entirely common.
In business, a LoI from someone without the cash is very, very far away from a cheque.

Tridus
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Tridus

Silvercat18 I don’t see how the game is a good investment. It doesn’t have a loyal core big enough to do anything except keep the lights on. It needs millions more to get in a state where it can be sold to the general market. It’s in a highly competitive segment of the market with all kinds of new games coming out, in a market that itself isn’t growing. 

And, the game being made has nothing to do with Pathfinder and holds little to no appeal to the core Pathfinder audience, so the cross promotion potential from the IP is almost non-existant.

That is not my definition of a good investment. That looks like a money pit.

Wratts
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Wratts

Tridus Wratts Wild_Phil where do you see LOI in there?  I’ll admit I’m speculating, but they could just as easily be deciding on 8% rate on a 4 year note vs. 12% rate on a 6 year as be stuck at LOI and due diligence phases.  I was just adding in that the CEO made a public announcement and is talking transition plan, to me that says they’re further along.

Tridus
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Tridus

strangesands Silvercat18 They can’t change the name because the “Lisa” here is the CEO of Paizo. If this game doesn’t have Pathfinder in the name, the money folks will be asking questions pretty quickly about why the CEO is wasting time on it.

They probably already have asked that, which is why Paizo isn’t putting more money into it, but the name is the only reason Paizo is involved at all. “Generic gankbox MMO 247” would be cancelled immediately.

deekay_zero
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deekay_zero

Wratts deekay_zero can also look at the books for this company and product itself so far, which might be incongruent with other pathfinder product performance.

as well as the costs associated with using the licences involved for the IP for this product vs that performance.

it’s been pretty clear the financial performance of this game has not done so well. 

i know alot of folks that backed the kickstarter are unhappy with the direction teh game took since then as well. which retention of existing customers would also be a consideration for an investor. vs incoming new customers, which obviously has not been great for this product.

Wratts
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Wratts

deekay_zero I think the nice thing from an investor perspective is that for a know IP like Pathfinder you’re going to find a lot of data on Google Analytics or something to do a decent market sizing (at least for US/EU) for the initial box sales.  From there, there’s trend data for cash shop conversion, player retention, hosting costs, etc. and most of the costs are variable and can scale up or down pretty quickly based on the success of the game.
There’s risk sure, but it’s a pretty mature market now and unless you’re trying to do something really technically risky the rest should be pretty predictable.  You’d also be looking at any game as one of a portfolio of investments, so a game might fail but you’re betting that over a portfolio you have enough population data to balance your risks.

When you look at the opportunity out there, like for something like a King gaming that’s able to generate 50% operating profit on a trivial little product like Candy Crush . . . there’s money to be made and you know someone will make it

strangesands
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strangesands

Silvercat18 strangesands Yeah, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be cost effective to change direction.  But if that’s the case, the game will be a complete pass for players who actually enjoy Pathfinder and are the supposed intended audience.

strangesands
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strangesands

TheDonDude strangesands That the game being built doesn’t represent the Pathfinder IP.  Pathfinder is a team focused tabletop roleplaying game.  Pathfinder Online is a PvPfest.

Tridus
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Tridus

TheDonDude strangesands The most obvious one is that PFO’s focus is totally disconnected from Pathfinder. Pathfinder, like it’s D&D ancestor, is primarily a game about a team of players slaying monsters and finding loot. Although PvP and things like crafting can and do happen, they are not the focus. No Pathfinder society campaigns are focused on either of them. Published material is rarely focused on either of them (and typically omits them entirely!). 

If you walk up to a typical Pathfinder game, you will not find people out in the wilderness gathering materials to use crafting skills. In fact, the rules for crafting specifically exclude gathering: you just use gold to buy the materials you need, and “gathering” doesn’t even exist. Similarly, you won’t find much if any PvP. You will often find player disagreement and tension, but outright PvP is lethal to characters and causes players to need to make new ones, which screws with long term storytelling and tends to lead to hurt feelings. Parties often disintegrate when PvP happens too much.

Pathfinder Online? It’s a PvP heavy game featuring gathering, crafting, and settlement building. It doesn’t use Pathfinder’s combat rules (for licensing reasons with the d20 system), but it also doesn’t share Pathfinder’s focus on what the core gameplay is about.

That’s why the game has so little traction with what you’d expect it’s audience to be: Pathfinder players. The gameplay doesn’t resemble Pathfinder at all. The whole concept is flawed. It’s like someone wanted to make yet another open world sandbox PvP MMO, and decided to slap the Pathfinder name on it.

In its current incarnation, this product will never be successful. It uses an IP and then runs as far away from that IP as possible, and straight into a crowded market segment with a lot of other games all being made.

Mikey Moo
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Mikey Moo

Good news in the sense that the game will probably finish development. But it probably won’t be the same game anymore. It was always going to be a niche game, so who knows.

Silvercat18
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Silvercat18

strangesands Silvercat18  I am very interested to see how much change does take place. There were some statements about “sticking with the old direction” in the recent keepside chat and that is a sentiment that has always worried me. In this case I would welcome some change. You are quite right about the very thin link to the pathfinder brand and it would be really good if this was either strengthened or dropped altogether.

TheDonDude
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TheDonDude

strangesands TheDonDude I probably haven’t been following Pathfinder Online enough to know, but which problems there?

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