Pathfinder Online is a fantasy, sandbox MMO based in the River Kingdoms of the Pathfinder roleplaying game universe. Licensed by Paizo and Created by Goblin Works for PC and Mac, the game was partially funded through Kickstarter. That backing as well as independent investors brought it to where it is now. The Kickstarter funding was always billed as just part of the funding necessary, with the rest of the funding coming from the independent investors. Lisa Stevens, CEO of Paizo and acting CEO of Goblin Works says in a recent community address, “Some delays in getting the game to market coupled with some anticipated funding falling through have left us about 25% short of the money we need to finish the game and bring it to Open Enrollment.” To get them through, they have laid-off some employees from Goblin Works. This, and the current monthly subscription fees, are keeping Goblin Works afloat while they look for a publisher for the game.
But that means we need you, the Pathfinder Online Community, to continue to support us with your monthly subscription fees. They are very literally what is keeping the servers paid for, and keeping our core team employed, working on [the next release], and talking with various potential partners about purchasing the game so they can finish it. If you wish to see the game through to its finish, we need you to support it financially for the next few months, and if you know people that want to support it, encourage them to subscribe now. – Lisa Stevens
Pathfinder Online is currently in an early-enrollment beta phase, and community members have been playing from when it was in its most basic form, getting to experience the world as it’s evolved. The game is a sandbox, as opposed to an amusement park-style game where instances of various quests continually repeat. All significant items are crafted by players. Players form settlements and compete for territory. Non-player threats are generated programmatically as escalations where monsters start to rise up and spread, thus requiring player intervention to quell the threat.
When I participated in the Kickstarter, I knew that the likelihood of a small company creating a successful MMO that would survive the gluttony of competition was low, but Paizo has always offered me something that keeps me coming back. My primary roleplaying game is Pathfinder, and it’s not because of its rules set, but instead because of the community, the support, and the devotion to the game Paizo exudes. Paizo is entirely Pathfinder and, as such, their focus is on supporting the RPG in every way possible.
This community-feel makes PaizoCon my favorite convention of the year, in a large part due to every person working there having direct interest in making the Pathfinder experience the best it can be. The employees are accessible and approachable. As an average community member that has no inside-connection with Paizo, I have played numerous games with various staff members at PaizoCon, conversed with them on the online forums, and even had dinner with a few, including Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens, at the PaizoCon banquet. Pathfinder Society organized play is heavily supported with rich and entertaining stories being published continuously. There is a vibrant online community on the Paizo forums where the roleplaying game can be discussed and played. It’s this community and family feel that keeps me coming back.
Again, while, as a realist I knew making an MMO that could compete with Guild Wars or World of Warcraft was unlikely, what I hoped for was that Pathfinder Online could carve out a niche and players would experience the same community and love of the game that I get with my Pathfinder table-top experience. This is what I still hope for.
My wife and I have enjoyed exploring the River Kingdoms together on Pathfinder Online, foraging, exploring, and adventuring across the world.
So, if you’d like to give this vision a chance of success, take the leap and subscribe to the game for a few months ($14.95/month). See if they get their financial footing. Or, check out the free trial, look for Lisa Stevens in-game and ask her what it’s all about.
The ability for us to make Pathfinder Online has always been entirely dependent upon you, the Pathfinder Online Community and the support you have given us. I would like to thank the Pathfinder Online community for your fierce dedication, support, feedback, and drive to see this game made well. The only reason to make Pathfinder Online is you, our customer. I hope you will stay with us over the next few months as we search for that proper partner to finish the game. It is your support, literally, that will allow this to happen. Without you, there is no Pathfinder Online. – Lisa Stevens
If you’d like to read acting CEO Lisa Stevens’ complete community post on the situation check it out on the Goblin Works website. I asked Lisa Stevens if there were any updates or changes since that September 2nd post. She said that the response to her post was great and Goblin Works has been approached by a number of potential investors as well as a number of potential publishers for the game and negotiations are “ongoing” with both.
There is a lot more hope right now than there was when I wrote that blog post. – Lisa Stevens
Here’s a snapshot of the game from a video Goblin Works created a few months and a few updates ago.