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[Review] Pathfinder Online: A Seed of Potential Planted in Barren Soil

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,126

When I think about the vision behind Pathfinder Online, it's hard for me not to get excited. As a fan of Iceland's greatest export, EVE Online, I have spent the last few years pining for an MMORPG that takes the sandbox structure of EVE and transports it to a more familiar fantasy universe, and what better universe than Paizo Publishing's wonderful pen and paper RPG, Pathfinder? On paper, Pathfinder Online seems like a sandbox fan's dream come true: ambitious and nonlinear; a total deconstruction of the tired tropes that have come to plague the genre since World of Warcraft paved the way for countless others to follow. But in practice, Pathfinder Online struggles to bring to life much of what it aspires to achieve.

Read more of Steven Messner's Pathfinder Online: A Seed of Potential Planted in Barren Soil.

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¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 


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Comments

  • SavageHorizonSavageHorizon Member RarePosts: 3,410
    I don't know,if you have played WurmOnline then you shouldn't have any trouble playing this. Trying logging into a totally empty world or server and building everything from the ground up then come back and tell me about Pathfinder Online.




  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko Member EpicPosts: 6,910
    I guess Ryan Dancey's search for an "appropriate" review is not yet over...
  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 11,073

    Wow.. a 4.5

     

    I'm going to have to digest the actual review, but the score pretty much says it all.  I do not EVER recall seeing a lower rating.

     

    "I should point out that no other company has shipped out a beta on a disc before this." - Official Mortal Online Lead Community Moderator

    Starvault's reponse to criticism related to having a handful of players as the official "test" team for a supposed MMO: "We've just have another 10ish folk kind enough to voulenteer added tot the test team" (SIC) This explains much about the state of the game :-)

    Proudly wearing the Harbinger badge since Dec 23, 2017. 

    Coined the phrase "Role-Playing a Development Team" January 2018

    "Oddly Slap is the main reason I stay in these forums." - Mystichaze April 9th 2018

    My ignore list finally has one occupant after 12 years. I am the strongest supporter of free speech on here, but free speech does not mean forced listening. Have fun my friend. Hope you find a new stalking target.

  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 12,926

    Moral of the story: don't trigger reviews when your game is in alpha/beta shape by turning on the subs or cash shop.

     

    Developers beware: your game WILL be reviewed.

    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
    ― CD PROJEKT RED
  • thunderclesthundercles Member UncommonPosts: 510

    Wow, 4.5. It just got real.

     

    I can hear the white knights and haters stampeding this way!!! Popcorn for sale!! Get your popcorn here!!!


  • Originally posted by Iselin

    Moral of the story: don't trigger reviews when your game is in alpha/beta shape by turning on the subs or cash shop.

     

    Developers beware: your game WILL be reviewed.

    If the NDA is off, the gloves are off. ding ding, FIGHT!

  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 11,073

    Originally posted by Iselin

    Moral of the story: don't trigger reviews when your game is in alpha/beta shape by turning on the subs or cash shop.

     

    Developers beware: your game WILL be reviewed.

    Let's hope that is true and that developers will realize we have FINALLY reached the bottom of what we (as a group) will accept as our "Minimally Viable Product".

     

    I warned Ryan quite  a while ago that his vision of an MVP product was quite different than the vast majority of potential customers.  His response was something along the lines that a few people who disliked the game did not dictate what an MVP was.

     

    When you couple the state of the game as described above, with a sub model and cash shop (although dropping the box fee) and adding a NO WIPE promise.... you get a 4.5 rated game. 

     

    I think the main point I differ with the author on is that the SUB itself is not the main fault... it's the NO WIPE in a time based XP system (in an open world PvP game with looting).  So either you pay up now (and already be 7 months behind in XP) or you fall a year or more behind the curve.

     

    THAT is the fatal flaw.  Even many of their diehards on the PFO forums realize that.

     

     

     

    "I should point out that no other company has shipped out a beta on a disc before this." - Official Mortal Online Lead Community Moderator

    Starvault's reponse to criticism related to having a handful of players as the official "test" team for a supposed MMO: "We've just have another 10ish folk kind enough to voulenteer added tot the test team" (SIC) This explains much about the state of the game :-)

    Proudly wearing the Harbinger badge since Dec 23, 2017. 

    Coined the phrase "Role-Playing a Development Team" January 2018

    "Oddly Slap is the main reason I stay in these forums." - Mystichaze April 9th 2018

    My ignore list finally has one occupant after 12 years. I am the strongest supporter of free speech on here, but free speech does not mean forced listening. Have fun my friend. Hope you find a new stalking target.

  • Azaron_NightbladeAzaron_Nightblade Member EpicPosts: 4,713

    Makes me glad I have zero interest in that game.

    My SWTOR referral link for those wanting to give the game a try. (Newbies get a welcome package while returning players get a few account upgrades to help with their preferred status.)

    https://www.ashesofcreation.com/ref/Callaron/

  • Azaron_NightbladeAzaron_Nightblade Member EpicPosts: 4,713
    Originally posted by Slapshot1188

    I think the main point I differ with the author on is that the SUB itself is not the main fault... it's the NO WIPE in a time based XP system (in an open world PvP game with looting).  So either you pay up now (and already be 7 months behind in XP) or you fall a year or more behind the curve.

     

    They'd be lucky to get a handful of people to sub if the whole thing was going to be wiped.

    The only game that could pull that kind of thing off would be SC.

    My SWTOR referral link for those wanting to give the game a try. (Newbies get a welcome package while returning players get a few account upgrades to help with their preferred status.)

    https://www.ashesofcreation.com/ref/Callaron/

  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 11,073
    Originally posted by Azaron_Nightblade
    Originally posted by Slapshot1188

    I think the main point I differ with the author on is that the SUB itself is not the main fault... it's the NO WIPE in a time based XP system (in an open world PvP game with looting).  So either you pay up now (and already be 7 months behind in XP) or you fall a year or more behind the curve.

     

    They'd be lucky to get a handful of people to sub if the whole thing was going to be wiped.

    The only game that could pull that kind of thing off would be SC.

    But if your main purpose and selling point was CROWDFORGING the game, then you shouldn't care that you would not be paying for a year + advantage right?

     

    I mean, CROWDFORGING is supposed to be about helping provide input to develop the game, not making your character stronger than those that follow.

     

    Edit to add: But anyhow, I get your point.  We can talk about this in the PFO forum.  I don't want to detract from the author on here.

    "I should point out that no other company has shipped out a beta on a disc before this." - Official Mortal Online Lead Community Moderator

    Starvault's reponse to criticism related to having a handful of players as the official "test" team for a supposed MMO: "We've just have another 10ish folk kind enough to voulenteer added tot the test team" (SIC) This explains much about the state of the game :-)

    Proudly wearing the Harbinger badge since Dec 23, 2017. 

    Coined the phrase "Role-Playing a Development Team" January 2018

    "Oddly Slap is the main reason I stay in these forums." - Mystichaze April 9th 2018

    My ignore list finally has one occupant after 12 years. I am the strongest supporter of free speech on here, but free speech does not mean forced listening. Have fun my friend. Hope you find a new stalking target.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Member RarePosts: 14,247
    Originally posted by Iselin

    Moral of the story: don't trigger reviews when your game is in alpha/beta shape by turning on the subs or cash shop.

    Developers beware: your game WILL be reviewed.

     

    I think it's a big lesson for developers. They can try to make as many 'moments' as they want, but one of them - usually the most monetized one - will be considered as, judged as, and openly reviewed as the final version. 

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo Member UncommonPosts: 3,219

    Seems a very fair (and well written) review at this stage. Even though it's charging steep for such a rough product in the market, if the monetization/progression model of "stored value" does work it could still come good; a risky but potentially clever gamble from that pov.

    I decided PFO was not for me: I could not at the present time recommend it to people based off the steep price to value.

    That said it's Game Design Document in the blogs is one of the best I've seen in any mmorpg; learning many lessons from the genre and adding more besides.

    But that's what is such a wrench with PFO: It seems to me the devs, Goblinworks by taking "THE STAPLE" mmorpg-engine aka the WOW-style presentation (Yes even Crowfall is doing exactly this!), it heaps so much extra overhead on realizing all those BRILLIANT DESIGN SYSTEMS in the doc. That is the "seed" in the title" and the barren soil as my mini-thesis goes is the WOW-Engine.

    What's needed in the genre for fantasy is discarding that engine - then we'll genuinely seen innovation/revolution etc in this genre. As it stands I have a feeling that will come outside the genre in fantasy in other game genres that'll then add more and more multiplayer/online additions for example what will get players really excited is the vision in fantasy such as a huge army going to war eg Total Warhammer actually produces that vision. So with PFO, it's gone for the avatar adventurer progression which with present tech I think may have had it's day. I was looking at Vermintide and thinking that's the sort of combat I want in Fantasy; mmorpgs are trying to be everything to no-one. What does mmorpg do better than all the other genres? Networking many players together. Edit: The Single-Shard World shows again the potential for PFO; but that damn engine, is going to make things so challenging technically but also marketing too.

  • kikoodutroa8kikoodutroa8 Member RarePosts: 558
    Originally posted by Slapshot1188

    Originally posted by Iselin

    Moral of the story: don't trigger reviews when your game is in alpha/beta shape by turning on the subs or cash shop.

     

    Developers beware: your game WILL be reviewed.

    Let's hope that is true and that developers will realize we have FINALLY reached the bottom of what we (as a group) will accept as our "Minimally Viable Product".

     

    I warned Ryan quite  a while ago that his vision of an MVP product was quite different than the vast majority of potential customers.  His response was something along the lines that a few people who disliked the game did not dictate what an MVP was.

     

    When you couple the state of the game as described above, with a sub model and cash shop (although dropping the box fee) and adding a NO WIPE promise.... you get a 4.5 rated game. 

     

    I think the main point I differ with the author on is that the SUB itself is not the main fault... it's the NO WIPE in a time based XP system (in an open world PvP game with looting).  So either you pay up now (and already be 7 months behind in XP) or you fall a year or more behind the curve.

     

    THAT is the fatal flaw.  Even many of their diehards on the PFO forums realize that.

     

     

     

    That's not a flaw, that's what motivates current subscribers to keep on paying.

  • mrneurosismrneurosis Member UncommonPosts: 300

    On paper, Pathfinder Online seems like a sandbox fan's dream come true: ambitious and nonlinear; a total deconstruction of the tired tropes that have come to plague the genre since World of Warcraft

     

    I would rather go play game like WOW then even though it is plagued with tired tropes. In the end it is all about having fun. I wonder why even mention WOW  in such a manner if the final review for PO was going to be this horrible. 

    I thought 'hey look good old themepark bashing to begin a review, looks like PO is finally the holy grail for sandboxes'' and then i saw the score. 4.5!!!!

  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 16,464

    The problem with this game SHOULD be very obvious.

    If you are building the basic shell then hoping to expand on that through the development and feedback,you are in essence as of right now selling NOTHING.

    There are a lot of freeware engines out there that we can go in and mess around,create some sort of world with pre made assets.

    I can't speak for other people but i am not just after the TOOLS to form a world i also want the developer to make content,scripted content not just a fake world and dot down some assets.

    Scripts are what makes the world come alive,otherwise it is not even a game.This of Rifts or Invasions or my personal fave Besieged or Campaigns.If i absolutely have to lmao,we can toss in GW2 Dynamic events,it is all scripts.

    Besides scripts you also need systems and the more the merrier,not over the top difficult to understand but in depth ones that give players choices.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • ragz45ragz45 Member UncommonPosts: 808

    at one point I was really interested in this title.  But everything about the way it's being developed & run smacks of miss-management, poor planning, and novice game design.  From the charging of a sub fee to help Alpha test a extremely limited and quite often broken game, to the CEO laying blame on it's backers and players for not getting the word out about the game.  As if that is the backers jobs, and they are being paid to advertise for the studio, I can't help but wonder what MJ thought of that little soap box episode....

  • SomeHumanSomeHuman Member UncommonPosts: 560
    I had a lot of hesitation moving to the pathfinder rule set, when my GM suggested it. We plodded ahead and, ultimately really enjoyed all the modules and gameplay that resulted. Paizo did a good job bringing in great story, art, and adventure. I was hoping for more from PFO. It feels like it's been in the pipeline forever and hasn't delivered much. May be best to check back in another year.

    Gaming since 1985; Online gaming since 1995; No End in Sight! My YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8POVoJ8fdOseuJ4U1ZX-oA

  • reeereeereeereee Member UncommonPosts: 1,636
    Originally posted by Iselin

    Moral of the story: don't trigger reviews when your game is in alpha/beta shape by turning on the subs or cash shop.

     

    Developers beware: your game WILL be reviewed.

    Eh, it's 2016 an investors are not throwing money at MMORPGs anymore.  Charging a subscription fee for alpha actually seems like a far more reputable way to conduct business than trying to sell people $1,000+ ships for a game that doesn't even exist yet. 

  • AlomarAlomar Member RarePosts: 1,189

    A year ago this was one of the 5 or 6 upcoming sandbox mmo's I was keeping an eye on. Now, I've lost almost all interest and will just see how it pans out in years to come with no skin off my back by not being invested in it, financially or emotionally. Gloria Victis and CU are my remaining true hopes.

    Fortes Fortuna Iuvat

    18 year MMO veteran 
    Retired PvP Raid Leader 
    Lover of The Witcher & CD Projekt Red

  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 12,926
    Originally posted by reeereee
    Originally posted by Iselin

    Moral of the story: don't trigger reviews when your game is in alpha/beta shape by turning on the subs or cash shop.

     

    Developers beware: your game WILL be reviewed.

    Eh, it's 2016 an investors are not throwing money at MMORPGs anymore.  Charging a subscription fee for alpha actually seems like a far more reputable way to conduct business than trying to sell people $1,000+ ships for a game that doesn't even exist yet. 

    You totally missed the point which is about when a game sets itself up to be reviewed, not about how to monetize them - that's your thing, not mine.

     

    PS... check your calendar.

    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
    ― CD PROJEKT RED
  • jason523jason523 Member UncommonPosts: 79
    I had the same thoughts about the game back in February.  It's depressing to see not much was done since then.  Granted I don't know the size of the team.
  • AthisarAthisar Member UncommonPosts: 666
    We all know how we are being milked by early access charges, especially some of the ludicrously obscene amounts some people will pay to get some worthless cosmetic fluff and a title. Charging a sub for an unreleased game seems incredibly stupid though.
  • YashaXYashaX Member EpicPosts: 2,411

    Originally posted by thundercles

    Wow, 4.5. It just got real.

     

    I can hear the white knights and haters stampeding this way!!! Popcorn for sale!! Get your popcorn here!!!

    I think the reviewer gave a fairly generous score compared to what was actually written in the review, especially for the "gist" scores. For example "value" is set at 4, but my impression from reading the review is a 1 or even 0 for value, and longevity seems extremely optimistic at a 7.

     

     

    ....
  • superconductingsuperconducting Member UncommonPosts: 871

    Not surprised here.

    image
  • TheRabidsmurfTheRabidsmurf Member UncommonPosts: 146
    Once again, being overly generous with the score. Ilike system,genre, and love the history of the source matter. So, perhaps im put off more or hoped more this game would have more to show. It doesnt. Its an empty shell beyond a character sheet devoid of personality. So sad it is yet another D&D game so poorly realized.
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