Whatever happened to Line of Defense, The Exiled, and Pathfinder Online?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately? That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing!

In this week’s edition, we’ll look at three titles in development that seem to have gone quiet: Line of Defense, The Exiled, and Pathfinder Online.

Line of Defense

To most gamers these days, game designer Derek Smart is known primarily for his troubled sci-fi titles, his antagonistic attitude toward the community, and his all-consuming hatred for Star Citizen. But lest we forget, Smart is also heading up a new sci-fi shooter MMO called Line of Defense that’s been slowly forming over several years now.

The MMO has not had the smoothest of development and testing cycles. While Line of Defense was on Steam for a while, Smart yanked it from the platform in April 2016 due to what he claimed was “review bombing” by critics. In January 2017, the game was changing up its graphic engine and switching over to a buy-to-play model. Both PC and console versions were reportedly in development, with a secondary team brought on board in August 2017 to handle the console port.

While the team posted in May 2017 that the project was “winding down” as it prepared for closed beta testing, it looked as though there was a good possibility that the console edition was going to be given up in favor of concentrating on the PC client.

The latest patch for Line of Defense came back in February 2018, when Smart took players on a public tour of the game’s planetary scenes. “Please excuse the silence these past few months. A LOT of things are going on behind the scenes and all will be revealed soon. It’s all good. I promise,” Smart posted at that time, but since then, he’s apparently been busy rescuing Alganon from doom.

Can't stop won't stop.

The Exiled

The-game-formerly-known-as-Das-Tal was once a scrappy underdog on its way up in the MMO circuits with its hardcore PvP attitude and a hard-working studio. The title always seemed to struggle, however, and the name change didn’t help to build a wider audience. By June 2017, the population was much lower than it needed to be, and the dev team was doing contract work to simply make money while sidelining the game itself.

The Exiled’s Hail Mary pass came late last summer with a new “limited lives” survival mode. That generated some interest but not nearly enough, and by October 2017, the devs put the game in an unlimited trial mode while they tried to figure out their next moves. The game’s eighth season was set to conclude on November 2nd.

Since then there has not been a peep out of the dev team on official channels (though Alexander Zacherl is active on his own Twitter), and many players now assume that The Exiled is unofficially dead.

“This game still has so much potential — if only the devs had more manpower and resources,” one player lamented on the forums. “I jumped in late when the player base had already declined. However in those few moments I did experience the game as it was supposed to be. That was so much fun.”

And we may not pass this way again.

Pathfinder Online

The PvP-centric MMO spin-off of the highly acclaimed pen-and-paper RPG enjoyed early popularity and hype (not to mention an alpha that required players to subscribe, which was fairly uncommon at the time) — until it crashed and burned in September 2015. That was when we discovered that Pathfinder Online was in a lot of trouble as the team was laid off and the control reverted to Pathfinder’s Paizo.

Since then, the title has barely survived on life support, with Paizo struggling to figure out what to do with the game. Several talks with various investors have not, to date, come to fruition, but at least it’s given fans hope that Paizo wants to do something more than shut off the game’s servers. The few developers still on the project have worked to refine Pathfinder, with patches in 2017 working toward a (hopeful) full release.

And you know what? The team might actually get there some day as it continues to plug away on the game’s features and bug fixes. There was a blog post back in January on how settlement warfare works in Pathfinder Online. Two patches also have dropped this year: v14.3 primarily focused on fixes and adjustments while v15 added settlement structure upgrades, taxation, development indexes, and many other feature improvements.

Still, we had to list this as one of the top 10 MMOs to have the most uncertain futures in the industry right now. Time will tell!

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

57 Comments on "Whatever happened to Line of Defense, The Exiled, and Pathfinder Online?"

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Peregrine Falcon

Pathfinder Online is basically the World War Z movie. It’s like the paper version in name only.

Grave Knight
Reader
Grave Knight

Ah, Pathfinder Online, the game where you don’t play in of the classes from Pathfinder nor are you a member of the Pathfinder Society and not exploring ancient ruins… Wait… how is it Pathfinder again?

Reader
syberghost

There’s paths, but they won’t tell you where they are.

Reader
Ben Stone

Pathfinder was such a shame, had a lot of potential.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

I agree, I support the brand and I backed the game because of that.. but I knew as a PvP game it would die a death as that isn’t what the tabletop experience they were trying to create is all about.
If it had been a PvE game I imagine they would be looking at a vastly different future for that game right now.. such a shame. :(

Reader
MrBringslite .

Not many are aware of the actual Random PVP situation in PFO. I hope that no one minds if I dispel a few misconceptions here and drop a little info on how things are now.
-It is not open world random PVP anymore. Groups of players can set “Security Levels” on the areas that they control. These basically range from: High Security = “Not Allowed” to Medium = “Allowed but Aggressor Takes Reputation Penalty” to Low= “Wide Open PVP”.
-The starting city and nearby it, is Ultimate Security. No PVP. Period
-It is not Full Loot PVP. Gear can take damage but it does not drop at this stage.
-The only way around security settings is through Feuding your target. This can only be done during 3 days of the week and those set by individual player groups. Feuding costs “Influence” which is gained by doing regular PVE things in the game.

The above are a few things that are different than the original concepts and some of which I see people have a misunderstanding about.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

As I mentioned I was a backer, I am aware of the setup although I am sure others may benefit from the clarification if they were not.

However for me and I am sure others this issue is NOT the setup of PvP in PFO but the very notion of it.

This game is based on a tabletop RPG that is about groups of players adventuring..not ganking each other. Even in the River Kingdoms it is supposedly set a so called Frontier..adventurers are not running around killing each other in the PnP game for that region so why would they for the computer MMO of that region??? it made zero sense.

What they should have done is make an MMO with a concept that consolidates on all the things people love about Pathfinder (a) and the River Kingdoms (b) which was the setting of one of its most successful adventure paths of all time the Kingmaker (which interestingly is now being made into a single player RPG by owlcat games).

PVP made ZERO sense, and killed the appeal for most of us. It really isn’t an issue as I say of “how” PvP happens but rather an issue of it making no sense that it happens AT ALL in the context of either the region it is set of the game it is based upon :)

Those of us drawn to the game and its kickstarter were drawn for THOSE reasons, and what we got was a D&D/EVE online hybrid.. the horror!!! lol No thanks i’ll pass. I support the brand and Paizo and I even supported that games kickstarter but it evokes ZERO interest for me to play with what it is.

Saddest part of it all is people were telling them throughout the kickstarter and beyond..but it all fell on deaf ears. Pathfinder as a Pvp game just made no sense to anyone but the dev who had the brainfart to make it that way…its a shame.

Reader
MrBringslite .

Really can’t argue with anyone that points out PFO is a far cry from it’s TT origins. Neither can I answer for the thinking behind why it was designed so very much different, conceptually, from the very start.

Furthermore, I will not waste time trying to convince anyone totally uninterested in PVP that PVP can be good for games. Or that PVP can be fun. That is an old debate that is silly as it is a matter of preference and not hard fact.

I can state that, from what I remember about the KS info, PVP was not any type of secret in how the game was described. It was “out there” and plain knowledge. It was planned from the very start of the conceptual design. As we were told, a sandbox style game is much less expensive to build with an emphasis on PVP aspects rather than PVE aspects. I’ll wager that most any MMO is, with players being relied upon to generate a good part of the content themselves.

Unfortunately, whatever “style” of game that you want to build, without $$$ (which befell GW and Paizo), no “style” is going to be viable within a short time.

Also please note that PFO is hardly the longest running project in the MMO games genre at this point. It is, compared to many others, still in it’s infancy as far as Development time. Many tweaks, changes and overhauls are still possible. That’s part of the multitude of reasons that it’s player base is still hanging in there, even if it is a small one.

So I appreciate all points of view. I hope that the Devs will read some of these. They need the input, from outside. They need it over and over.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

You’ll be happy to hear I can concur Pvp can be good for games and can be fun, not for me..but still for others :) although again the issue remains not the play style but its absolute lack of ANY context in a Pathfinder game.
And you are right their intent was out there from day one, I acknowledged that previously when I stated that people were telling them that it was a bad idea throughout the KS and beyond.. which they did.
I don’t recall them giving the rationale you make note of regarding why pvp was chosen, but PFO isn’t really a full sandbox per se, and even discounting that factor I don’t really see how a pvp sandbox is less expensive than a pve one considering they both require much of the same assets just different means of implementation and PFO does have PVE..but in a somewhat restrained gankbox. And whether a PvP or PvE sandbox it is the same that both would be generating their own content themselves..that is not a playstyle specific thing.

You are also absolutely right withouyt money they can’t produce a game..but then that was what the kickstarter was for, a successful, pointful game would have attracted bums on seats and therefore further capital being generated by the game… but as most of us did not get WHY it was a vpvp game it did not draw bottoms on seats and thus did not generate income and so has ended up in virtual maintenance mode with development being more along the lines of as…and when.. it is a sad, lost opportunity for something which could have been amazing and drawn the Pathfinders fans in…instead it drove us out.

I agree it would be nice if the Devs did read some of this, although much of it has already been repeated during the KS many times by many folks and they sadly didn’t pay much notice then as they were hell bent on the PvP angle for whatever reason.

In all honesty i still find it very odd that the people who made the much loved PnP tabletop RPG would have chosen to go that route, as it was a terrible failure to read and understand their settings fanbase, sadly now they aren’t necessarily in any position to do much about it, barring a total redesign and further crowdfunding attempts, which I can’t see happening. :(

Reader
MrBringslite .

The rational that I make reference to is probably more through discussion across the PFO forums during and after the first and 2nd Kickstarters. It was pointed out over and over that it takes a vastly larger amount of money to produce and keep producing content that players will burn through faster than can be produced. To me, at least, that does make sense.

From what I can understand (I could be wrong) the idea was that by including PVP, much of the “opposition” for character groups would be “The Bad Guys”. Perhaps depending on your point of view who would prove to be far more challenging than any AI. Thus, opposing character groups have content. Some would be for you and your friends. Some would be you and your friends and more players that were inclined towards common goals that you all shared.

I am not saying that this should have been attractive to all types of players. I am not saying that GW did it right, though I will say having more funds might have helped achieve their goals. PFO was expected to be a niche game from the start. Even a niche game can be a “cash cow” if managed correctly and costs are kept down.

Unfortunately, between investors dropping out and the target audience not being ready for such a game, there was little chance to succeed. Now ice that cake with a design so VERY FAR from recognizable PF TT and THE POOCH WAS SCREWED.

Reader
MrBringslite .

Pathfinder Online has had a small team steadily working on improves all through the time that it has been on a low key “Roadmap” to deliver on as many of its original core concepts as possible. This process is still ongoing and has delivered many changes/improvements/polishes so far.
Opinion: The game is better than ever now. It still has a long way to go before it can show a clearly developed “general theme” that will provide an enjoyable experience for a wide enough type of player base to be truly a hit, but it is much more close now. This is due to Paizo not having given up on it and the small team of Devs being so dedicated. It definitely has its own group of diehard players that keep things interesting.
It will get where it needs to be, given time and forward motion.

Austin Alexander
Reader
Austin Alexander

I definitely agree with this, and I hope Paizo continues to develop it. I do wish, though, that there were an easier way for me to come back to check out the changes and see if I want to stick around a while without forking over the dough upfront. Though I like their concept of paid testing the way they were trying to do it, it’s hard to warrant paying the sub at the moment with how slow and trickling updates are these days. Had I the money, I’d likely keep a sub going just to help keep it alive, as it’s such a unique and charming project that I’d hate to see it finally die without releasing.

Reader
Iridescence

May give it another look sometime, still bitter about it as a backer but happy they’re at least still working on it.

Reader
wratts

When I saw the post title, I wondered if it wasn’t an attempt to conjure a certain Warlord. MOP and he seem to have an interesting relationship

Reader
Arcanum Zero

I was right smack-dab dead-center in Goblinworks’ target audience for Pathfinder Online:
– big Pathfinder fan
– disposable income
– loves EVE Online (at least in concept)

There is nothing I would like to play more than a fantasy sandbox MMOG that rewards me for playing a traveling merchant. But they made weird, tone deaf choices:
– a subscription fee in a market where subscription fees were already becoming non-standard
– a player-run economy in a setting that should be adventure driven
– open PvP that actively punished aggressors
– heavy economic regulation to eliminate cutthroat practices

Who was this game for? At best, it was doomed to be everything a minuscule target audience could ever want and therefore unable to fund ongoing development. Ultimately, Goblinworks made the classic primary error: the majority of their interested players were always going to be solo casual PvE players, and they were convinced their game could evangelize them into group PvPers. They punished organic incentives and created artificial incentives to replace them — I’m not sure that will ever work.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Well done summery and I totally agree with your points. Would have loved to have seen this done right and released, sadly it won’t as it currently stands. :/

Reader
Nathan Aldana

Yeah thats the biggest issue. They seemed like they wanted to convince pve Tabletop roleplayers into playing TOXIC tabletop roleplay styles. Most of us grew out of wanting to be the dude who built his rogue to rob half the party blind and then burn the story npcs house down. Convincing us to enjoy that is a fools errand

Reader
Iridescence

It had (has?) a lot of good ideas. It was just pushed out way too early with extremely dubious monetization practices, double dipping sub and cash shop for *alpha*. That’s why it failed, plus the graphics they produced…no one expected next gen but the game looks awful and was not immersive at all in that way. But it doesn’t mean the ideas were bad, there’s a reason a lot of people (including myself) were initially very enthused for the game.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

I dunno about that. None of it sounded like good ideas to me. But I admit I have absolutely zero interest in a game the second I hear the words “pvp” and “sandbox”.

especially not when theyre attached to the name of a game that I tend to associate in my mind with cooperative storytelling.

Reader
ichi sakari

very informative article, for example I learnt that LoD does not stand for Lots of Delay

Reader
syberghost

Anyone who’s tried to play it knows it really stands for “lagged out dammit”

Reader
Nathan Aldana

Pathfinder Online. because when i think “tabletop rpg” I think generic fantasy base building with pvp sandbox.

Tamanous
Reader
Tamanous

I can’t even fathom why they were given the rights to make Pathfinder online. If a company pitched a concept that didn’t reflect the game it was based upon, I’d give a quick, “K thanks bye now.”

It’s not even a debate.

deekay_plus
Reader
Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

it’s actually based on an existing pathfinder game.

just not the pathfinder game that people tend to associate with the brand the most.

Tamanous
Reader
Tamanous

Literally no idea what you are talking about. I am an RPG player at my core and know the D&D, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, etc very well. There’s nothing about the base Pathfinder RPG system that could lead to how this game was made. That was what the license was for.

deekay_plus
Reader
Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

you know there’s way more to pathfinder than just the 3.75 ruleset right?

there’s tonnes of pathfinder games. this is based on one of them. just not the pnp rpg pathfinder game that everyone is most familiar with from the brand.

anyways under the terms of the open game license that 3.75 uses paizo couldn’t license out 3.75 along with the pathfinder brand, so that’s why they didn’t use the rules you are familiar with. because they couldn’t.

this game is probably why kingmaker has the 3.75 – it proved to paizo they needed to get the rights to use them in future video games with their brand.

Reader
Arcanum Zero

@deekay_plus
Which one? I’m asking in all honest curiosity. If Pathfinder Online was not intended to be based on the tabletop RPG, which piece of Pathfinder game IP was it based on?

For the record, the myth that the D&D3 OGL did not permit the creation of video games under license has been repeatedly debunked. It’s the last question in the FAQ here: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/oglfaq/20040123f

Reader
Dušan Frolkovič

The main thing i can see the online game is using and for which you need a license is the Pathfinder world, Golarion.

At least for 3rd party PnP products it makes the difference between OGL and need to be generic or licensee and can use Golarion.

Reader
Wakkander

There isn’t one. Though there is also a card game (also cooperative), there is not, nor has there ever been, a PvP focused pathfinder game. At best I assume he is referring to Adventure Paths since the Kingmaker AP is often cited as the ‘inspiration’. But claiming an adventure path is a different game shows a lack of understanding of the way the game is actually run.

One can make the argument that since the Kingmaker AP features you building a kingdom and facing off against other small city states and realms, it is simulating the kind of experience you would get with that AP.

However, this ignores the core of pathfinder as a cooperative game, and that the players in that AP are working together against villainous NPC’s, not other player factions. It seems reasonable when viewed from a distance without familiarity, but with familiarity it completely falls apart as anything approaching being representative of anything remotely like Pathfinder.

deekay_plus
Reader
Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

the stipulations of using OGL for video games pretty much make it impossible to meet those stupulations and make a game that uses it functionally.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

I mean Thats kind of a problem in itself if you’re basically trying to run off brand recognition but the only part of the brand you can publish in an MMO isnt what you are recognized for though, innit?

deekay_plus
Reader
Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

i agree. and goblinworks initially left it up in the air for a long time to let potential backers think they could use the ruleset.

Reader
Arcanum Zero

@deekay_plus
I’m no fan of Pathfinder Online or its original Goblinworks PR team, but this is patently not true. The original Kickstarter pitch made it clear the game would not include classes, which is kind of a dead giveaway: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1675907842/pathfinder-online-a-fantasy-sandbox-mmo/description

deekay_plus
Reader
Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

yer gonna have to quote the part of that page you are referring to because i couldn’t find out anything explicitly discounting this there.

Reader
Arcanum Zero

Under “What is Pathfinder Online?”:

1. No Grinding- Pathfinder Online uses a skill training system like that of EVE Online. You train skills by choosing what skill you want to train and allowing the time required to elapse. You don’t train any faster by farming mobs or spamming your abilities than you do exploring the world, role playing with your friends, or even being offline. You will need to complete certain achievements to complete a skill and open up new avenues of training.

2. No Classes– Unlike other games that give you a narrow range of abilities as you train your class, in Pathfinder you gain levels in different Roles based off what you have trained.

deekay_plus
Reader
Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

none of that discounts the possibility of adapting the 3.75 ruleset to those things, especially given the clasues of #2 which just sounds like what 3.75 has anyway.

they were asked by alot of people directly as well and they never gave an outright no to it, i believe keeping it an open possibility for quite a while.

Reader
Arcanum Zero

Okay, buddy. Whatever you say.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

yeah and thats a huige issue cuz like One of my favorite MMos of all time designwise is DDO. and a game with a similar back end but more modern engine would be something I woulda thrown so much money at

Reader
Nathan Aldana

especially given like soon after came the age of Critical Role and various podcasts for every tabletop game under the sun from D&D to Call of Cthulhu and back, and D&D literally becoming the vanguard of a new wave of inclusiveness and collaborative storytelling for everyone. Instead…pvp sandbox.

Reader
Wakkander

I mean, they really just wanted a Fantasy EVE, and Pathfinder was an available IP they could latch onto. I seriously doubt they put more thought into it than that.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Exactly the conclusion I came to as well. :/

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Ashfyn Ninegold

I bought Alganon and played the beta. The actual launch was an unplayable trainwreck unfortunately and for a the longest time topped my list as the worst MMO launch I participated in. But when I went back to it a few years later, it ran well and was enjoyable. It definitely needs a graphics update, though.

During the BFA WoW beta, as I struggle through the mushy GCD combat on my Retro Paladin, it came to me that combat felt familiar. It was like WoW had eaten its tail and turned into Alganon.

At this point, since Alganon has not strayed far from its WoW roots, it is probably a better representation of the original WoW than WoW is and undoubtedly, when it comes back on line, will be a more “vanilla” experience than Vanilla.

I’m not surprised that Das Tal/The Exiled has vanished from sight. When it changed its name to something so generic (and, hello, Path of Exile and every other game that starts with “you’re an exile”) that seemed a sign that the developers were in crises.

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

Paizo should have made a really souped up version of roll20 or fantasy grounds and then sold modules and 3d art assets and costumes for characters online. and for folks to make their own adventures.

plasmajohn
Reader
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
plasmajohn

A real spiritual success to Bioware’s NWN would have done well.