Hello players of Pathfinder Online! Lisa here, with a sizeable update and roadmap into the future.
As many of you recall from my last address, I had hired an electronic game agent to look at the game and then come back to me with their recommendations. After spending almost a month analyzing the game, they presented me with their results. There was good and bad news given in this briefing. The bad news was that they didn’t feel that there were any large MMO companies that would be willing to put large sums of money into finishing the game. However, they felt that the game as implemented with the addition of some of the missing features would fill a niche in the marketplace quite nicely and felt that there was upside there for a more indie type company. They presented me with a list of companies for whom that might be a nice fit and I gave them permission to pursue talking to them.
But their biggest recommendation to me was to just finish the game myself. They felt there was a sizeable upside for Paizo. I was very hesitant to do this at first, but was determined to see what it might take financially to realize their vision. After doing some analysis I decided that it was time to not sit on the sidelines anymore waiting for a white knight to swoop in. Instead, I am committing to a one year timeline to finish off the following list of features that will finish out a feature set that I feel represents the game well. At that point, we will move the game out of Early Enrollment and hopefully be able to expand our staff and continue to add to the game as we always planned to.
To be perfectly upfront, we are going to have a very small team working on these features. Cole and Bob are onboard along with myself to bring these across the finish line. Because we have this small, scrappy team, we aren’t aiming to compete with the AAA MMOs of the world. Rather, we will be more of an indie MMO aiming at providing a fun and engaging game to a more niche market.
While creating the following list of features to work on, I had a number of factors to consider.
I looked for features where a considerable amount of work had already been done and it would only take a small amount of work to bring those features into the game. Settlement building upgrades are a great example of this. We had an environmental artist working on these for two years and much of his output has never been seen in the game.
I looked for features that activate elements that currently don’t work in the game. There is nothing as frustrating for a new player as being told, “Oh, that isn’t implemented in the game yet” when they encounter a feat or recipe or something else. Great examples of this are the ammo system or the gods.
I looked for features that will make it much easier for new players to learn the game and increase the probability that they will stick with the game. A great example of this is that we are going to create a Core Rulebook for the game which will serve as a way to not only learn the game but also as a great offline reference while you play the game.
I looked for features that helped to fill out the robustness of a facet of the game. Gushers for gathering and Alliances and Blacklists for settlement control are great examples.
I looked for ways to bring more revenue in for us to grow the operations through a more robust cash shop. Player owned houses is a great example here.
Finally, I wanted to deliver on some of the Kickstarter promises. Giving out the daily deals is a great example.
Bob, Cole and I then sat down with a pretty exhaustive list of things we would like to do and we debated how we could accomplish them and how long it would take. We only have a limited amount of both time and labor, so we had to look for the biggest bang for the buck.
The end result of that debate is the roadmap below. We have worked to provide a release schedule and an idea of the timing of each release to provide you with a clearer path about when you might expect new things to enter the game. As always, we will be crowdforging those features as we start to work on them to glean the experiences of the players.
To get this work done on time and on budget, we are going to need to be laser focused. It is going to take a gargantuan effort by this team. But with your support and continued input, we believe that it can be done. We have set up our roadmap so that it has some flex time where we will try to get more done than is represented on the map below. Many of these additional things will be related to various Kickstarter perks. Others are fun things that we would like to see added to the game but aren’t essential.
Of course, finishing out the feature set is only one half of the equation. We need quite a few more people playing the game for all of this to work. Thankfully, I have various marketing efforts planned that will bring in tens of thousands of people to try out the game. I just need to make sure that when I kick those plans into effect, that the game is to a point where they will have the best chance of sticking and becoming regular players. We aren’t at that point yet and it may take a half year or more before I am ready to bring a lot more players. But I wanted you to know that it will be coming as part of this takeover of the game by Paizo.
We felt that you needed this update and this roadmap. You have been so supportive of this game without any clear idea of what was going to get done, if ever, and heck, even if the game was going to survive another month. Well, those times of uncertainty are over.
Again, I would like to thank you for your support and encouragement over the past years. I hope to make you proud to be a supporter of this game.
Give Settlements more control over who can use their facilities (bank, auction house, crafting queues and trainers), including those in alliances and those on blacklists.
Let settlements select a 3-day period for their PvP windows to be open and require 48-hour minimum delay on feuds.
Bring back support, but provide partial support to learned ranks above those supported by Settlement Level.
Protect hexes that have at least 4 allied neighbors from attack.
Add shrines to settlements that can only be used by allies.
Restrict Outposts to only producing bulk resources at the upgrade level of the Holding.
Allow more PvP in Monster hexes.
Allow less PvP in Shield/NPC hexes.
Give Holding owners control of PvP rules in their hexes.
Change Azlanti Crystals to rare but unrestricted drops, and drop recipes for combining/separating them.
Add elite (T3) variants of selected T2 escalations.
Make enemies attack all nearby characters, not just those in a party.
Polish retargeting system so enemies do a better job of finding alternate targets and spreading out when they lose or can’t reach their original targets.
Show upgraded art for upgraded Holdings and Outposts.
Let allies bank, train and craft at holdings, and restrict others from regaining power.
Add Gushers for gatherers to find and exploit.
Allow raids on Holdings to steal bulk resources during PvP windows.
Occasionally send invaders from nearby escalations to raid Holdings during PvP windows.
Give new players a quest storyline to follow that offers a more structured introduction to the world.
Add mule doors to appropriate Holdings.
Rebalance resource distributions between hexes.
Add Town Criers to Thornkeep that point new players toward existing settlements.
Pull banner companies into feuds between founding companies.
Introduce Azoth, which can be used to improve crafting/refining output or converted into game time.
Make weapons use slotted ammunition and rebalance ranged combat accordingly.
Add new escalation with new enemies.
Add ability to just show Active Bids.
Auto-fill max/min prices with character’s recent prices for that item.
Add Take/Deposit/Transfer All option to appropriate windows.
Introduce Player Housing, which can be placed in settlements.
Experiment with Line of Sight restrictions for ranged combat.
Add ability to upgrade settlement structures.
Distribute +1 and +2 structure kits.
Tax settlement users to help pay for upkeep.
Add a Development Index system to regulate settlement growth and territorial expansion.
Make Bags of Holding and Rings of Protection functional.
Release a Pathfinder Online Core Rulebook PDF to introduce tabletop players to the game in a familiar format, and to serve as a reference guide for all players.
Add selectable Alignment for characters.
Add system for enchanting items.
Allow creation of social companies to act as friend lists.
Provide tools to make it easier to find friends online, chat with them and invite them to parties
Schedule challenges for the community to tackle together.
Leaving this milestone a little light so we can be flexible around the holidays, with the intention of pulling in some tasks that didn’t quite make the cut and some new tasks that come up along the way.
Log in characters who have been offline for a while at shrines.
This milestone is all about getting the game polished up and ready for Open Enrollment.
Focus on getting all existing feats and items functional.
Allow selection of deities to follow and restrict feat usage based on that selection.
Align Temples and Cathedrals to appropriate deities.
Make sure all Daily Deals are functional and distribute them to players.