Pathfinder Online Modfies Magic for MMO Mojo

Pathfinder Online Modfies Magic for MMO Mojo

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Some of the "signature spells" of the Pathfinder tabletop RPG will function differently in the upcoming Pathfinder Online but Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey says that's the only practical way to keep them in the game.

Adapting tabletop RPG rules to the online world can be a tricky business. What works in one medium doesn't necessarily fly in the other, but leave too much on the cutting room floor and you risk alienating long-time fans who come to the game with certain expectations. Fortunately for Pathfinder Online studio Goblinworks, most of the potential trouble associated with Pathfinder magic is limited to "just a handful of spells and effects" like Fireball and Lightning Bolt, and while it's not exactly an easy job to make the required changes, it's worth the hassle in the long run.

"For the flashy big damage spells we'll make modifications to the way they work to keep their power constrained so that they don't become overpowered. That means that we'll limit the number of such spells that can affect a target in a short period of time, and limit the amount of damage that they can deliver," he said in an interview with Warcry. "That requires a lot more alteration to the basic game mechanics from the tabletop, but the value in keeping signature spells in the game outweighs (in our opinion) the downside of making them work differently."

He added that there are certain "game breaker" spells, like Polymorph and Locate Object, that definitely won't be included in the game, and others, including Dominate and Disintegrate, that are still up in the air. "We'll be carefully picking and choosing what spells go into the game in close collaboration with the community as a part of the process of design we call Crowdforging," he said. "I'm sure that we'll have more than enough interesting magic to keep everyone happy without stretching the game design to the breaking point."

The "fantasy sandbox MMO" Pathfinder Online wrapped up a successful $1 million Kickstarter in January and it currently expected to begin beta testing sometime in 2014.

Source: Warcry

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What? A video game not functioning 100%like its tabletop counterpart?

NO SALE!

Mad props for the alliteration, by the way.

Why is that night elf pole dancing in the middle of a fight?

DVS BSTrD:
Why is that night elf pole dancing in the middle of a fight?

She's using her flexibility role to vault around the orc and get it to toss her gold piece singles. It's a very practical and legitimate skill that gains the team extra money.

Am I the only one who thinks all these MMO based upon D&D settings are going about it all wrong? Why must they copy the WoW model and simply bring to the game their sometimes some what unique setting? I don't think any MMO is ever going to dethrone Wow by trying to out WoW world of warcraft. If you want your game to have any chance of dethroning world of warcraft you're going to have to take some risks and as of yet no one seems willing to do that.

Give me a massive multiplayer turn based RPG system, with instance dungeon and turn based PvP on a field. I bet it could be done. Give me something new anything new please for the love of god.

What...why...

Why make a pathfinder MMO? I thought the whole point of Pathfinder was to provide an alternative to D&D 4th edition by listening to the criticism of 3rd edition and fixing it.

How does that translate into an MMO at all?

DVS BSTrD:
Why is that night elf pole dancing in the middle of a fight?

She's not a night elf. Or a drow - she's a regular high elf. That's just really bad lighting/coloring.

OT: I was originally very interested in Pathfinder Online.

And THEN I read that there would be no classes, that you'd level skills individually, and that you'd do it "offline" EVE style.

Yeah, no thanks.

I don't play Pathfinder because of its world (which is okay). I play it because it's the current version of the d20 rule-system. When you take away the d20 rule-system, it isn't Pathfinder anymore. Why even name your game that if you aren't going to be remotely similar to the game you're supposedly named after.

Also, their list of "game breaking" spells makes me laugh so very much. Pretty much every fantasy MMO has some sort of fireball spell. Why Pathfinder's would be different?

Ugh. This entire project disgusts me.

RatherDull:
What...why...

Why make a pathfinder MMO? I thought the whole point of Pathfinder was to provide an alternative to D&D 4th edition by listening to the criticism of 3rd edition and fixing it.

How does that translate into an MMO at all?

Well, D&D had an okay MMO - D&D Online. Set in Eberron. I had some fun with that for a while.

I had fun because DDO used 3.5 rules. Sure, there were small changes, but it was still a d20 system game.

Taking the world from Pathfinder and using mechanics from EVE Online of all insane inspirations is just a terrible idea.

Is this the niche mmo war version of wow clones? There exists this game called DDO and after years of patching and free content it's pretty awesome now.

The problem with taking any tabletop game and converting it to an MMO is that you essentially remove everything that makes it fun. The best thing about magic in tabletop is all the creative things you can do with it, and all the utility and non-combat spells. All the approaches you can take to situations. When you remove all of that by going to a video game, it just becomes all combat spells, buff spells, debuffs, control, etc. Everything just becomes a variation of smacking enemies with numbers.

While it's always possible he'll surprise me some day I pretty much see Ryan Dancey as being the virtual destroyer of PnP RPGs and D&D/Alternity in paticular. I had some dealings with him via the RPGA network forums (when I was a member) back during the transition from 2E to 3E. This is incidently the guy who pretty much murdered Planescape after making promises that it would continue to survive as it's own setting if "Torment" hit certain sales records, which it did easily because of that, people were watching it, and it went "gold" before it was even released. Don't like where D&D went, or the fate of a lot of the classic campaign settings, material, and other changes... that's the guy that was in the middle of it all and pretty much directly responsible. Needless to say I didn't back his project.

As far as people's criticisms of what's going on with Pathfinder online, that's pretty much what I'd expect with him involved in the project, especially in a position where he's acting as the "face".

That said, I myself don't see much of the point of using an RPG rules system as the selling point for an MMO if your going to violate it. I've criticized "Neverwinter" which I am so far pretty fond of for the same thing, but at least in the case of "Neverwinter" it has the Forgotten Realms setting behind it still, which is the big reason I was interested in it. I suppose at the end of the day most fans of "Pathfinder Online" will be fans of the world of the Pathfinder RPG setting.

I'll also say that my previous experiences aside, for all I know they will somehow hit this one out of the ball park, I am just not holding my breath. I don't advise anyone get psyched for this, if it winds up being good, enjoy it, but I'd definatly wait a while on it and see what the feeback is a couple of months after release rather than running right in to be part of the first wave. Right now I personally prefer to pretend it doesn't exist, and probably will continue to do so, unless I hear some really great things about it from sources I trust.

-

When it comes to the "WoW-factor" understand that WoW is extremely dated by this point and even Blizzard seems ready to change their MMO focus away from it with the upcoming "Project Titan". The problem isn't so much a matter of being able to do what WoW does as well, or better, but in the amount of content most MMOs launch with in comparison to it, as well as few MMOs putting much effort at all into figuring out how they are going to maintain a constant endgame population. WoW got around that at the beginning because you really didn't have much in the way of competition, but nowadays you have games like WoW with robust endgame experiences that can keep players entertained with tons of varied content for months or years. Most MMOs launch with one raid, or maybe some "hard modes" for normal instances and then wonder why people leave after a couple of months. Sure, WoW didn't have any of that stuff when it launched, but it's a differant world since WoW launched. That and the idea of trying to bring casual gamers into MMOs is also counter productive, the casual market is fickle, and you want dedication. If you proudly proclaim, and deliver on, an experience where just anyone can get top end level gear no matter what their play style is... including casual, you rapidly wind up with everyone maxxing out and moving on, and the serious gamers who would be your backbone are going to be the first ones to gear up, burn out, and move on to another game where they have something to work on.

The point here being that for all my criticisms of Pathfinder, and to be fair a lot of other MMOs, including ones I'm not predisposed to dislike, They typically don't fail for playing too much like WoW, or even looking like it, OR conversely from being too differant from it (as many marketing execs doubtlessly fear) they fail because of long term planning. You need to come up with something that is going to movitate some guy who has hit the top level with his favorite PC to keep playing (and thus paying subscription OR being involved enough to be tempted by microtransactions), you have to make it both time consuming AND entertaining.

-

When it comes to Pathfinder's magic system, I doubt Ryan and company will read this (or this far) or care if they did, but I'd warn them about nerfing magic too far. A lot of other MMOs have done exactly that and it's created endless problems. Your typical dedicated caster with no melee skill, little or no armor, and intense magical power tends to run into a problem in games where they are ultra-squishy, but for "game balance" reasons everyone can do as much damage as they can, and their CCs are something that people can squirm out of relatively easily because being locked down for an entire PVP fight or whatever "isn't fun" for the victim. In that enviroment you typically wind up with more versatile, less squishy,
characters getting the DPS roles in raids, and casters becoming virtual walking victims in PVP against opponents that know what they are doing. For example in an enviroment where a warrior can break CC with an abillity of item, automatically "charge" or "intercept" into melee range, and hit like a truck on little or no other characters while having heavy armor and bucketloads of hit points, it's not really "balanced". Mentally people get this image of mages and stuff decimating everyone with magic before they can react, but it rarely if ever works out that way, and to be fair if you make it so mages are made out of tissue paper and die if you sneeze on them, by definition they should be blowing apart other characters like tissue paper
when they get their first attack.

While things could have changed, I point this out because I was a VERY dedicated mage player in WoW in paticular (since people mention it) and while things were okay in the beginning, before I left they created a situation where pretty much all DPS characters were relatively on par for their damage output to ensure nobody got screwed out of a raid slot. A ranged DPS druid, or elemental shaman, could do as much damage as a mage could given equal skill, gear, and proper builds. The problem being that a mage could only DPS, and was forced to run around in cloth, with pretty craptastic numbers of hit points. Even if it wasn't plate those other characters could wear armor better than cloth (leather, chain) and still had their other abillities even when specced as DPS, even if they weren't as powerful as they would have been with a dedicated spec. For example a Shaman or Druid could still heal, throw out a battle rez, drop support totems, or say shift into a more durable form for some extra survivability to take a couple of hits while a tank regained aggro in a pinch. Mages pretty much had none of that, and what's more in later dungeons their CCs became useless (where pretty much nothing was a humanoid or regular beast that could be polymorphed) and spellstealing and such was only really needed in one fight created right afer they introduced the abillity, and otherwise not required for much else of anything ever again.

The point I'm making here is that the logic that "well, we need to cap magic damage or they will dominate everything" really isn't going to work if your dealing with the traditional "robe and staff" wizard, and your usual crowd of adventurers (the guys from WoW are actually pretty typical representitives of their concept throughout gaming and themselves have PnP analogies they descended from). If your going to expect that guy to run around in a bathrobe and use a whole "kill him before he can cast" methodology to combat, you had best make the spells damn powerful when he gets them off. Otherwise why bother? Grab the guy who can DPS just as well and give you an extra battle rez (or whatever else might apply in Pathfinder).

Also disclaimer, I got burned out on WoW and retired a while ago when my guild (as I knew it) more or less collapsed. I am not up to date on all the changes and how well they might have addressed class issues. For all I know Mages have it a little better now.

Fireball? Lightning bolt? But... but it was never really the damage-dealing spells that made spellcasters good in 3.X? Like, if you want to load your dude up with fireball or whatever, sure, have fun, but that's kinda the least effective way to play a wizard when you could be shitting out save vs death or save vs suck or whatever. Yeah, sure, you could do 1d6 damage/level... or you could just mind control the dude. Or immobilize him and his buddies for the rest of the fight. Or just flat-out kill him. Or any of the billion other things.

Which of course all loops back into the question of "Why the fuck would you try to make a Pathfinder MMO?"

Andy Chalk:
He added that there are certain "game breaker" spells, like Polymorph and Locate Object, that definitely won't be included in the game

And yet such spells are in many other games, including MMOs, without breaking anything.

It hasn't been said yet but it needs to be, If you haven't heard of Pathfinder Online until now then you probably need to know that it isn't likely to be a WoW clone.

Kahani:

Andy Chalk:
He added that there are certain "game breaker" spells, like Polymorph and Locate Object, that definitely won't be included in the game

And yet such spells are in many other games, including MMOs, without breaking anything.

Yes, WoW has a spell named polymorph. Given their decision not to include it, it's pretty likely that polymorph in pathfinder does something other than turn a player into a sheep for 8 seconds.

Hey, as long as they keep Geas/Quest I'll be happy... yeah, that's likely not going to fly >.>

How about inter-planetary teleport?

SecondPrize:

Kahani:

Andy Chalk:
He added that there are certain "game breaker" spells, like Polymorph and Locate Object, that definitely won't be included in the game

And yet such spells are in many other games, including MMOs, without breaking anything.

Yes, WoW has a spell named polymorph. Given their decision not to include it, it's pretty likely that polymorph in pathfinder does something other than turn a player into a sheep for 8 seconds.

Here we go the full description of Polymorph: This spell transforms a willing creature into an animal, humanoid or elemental of your choosing; the spell has no effect on unwilling creatures, nor can the creature being targeted by this spell influence the new form assumed (apart from conveying its wishes, if any, to you verbally).

Bara_no_Hime:

Taking the world from Pathfinder and using mechanics from EVE Online of all insane inspirations is just a terrible idea.

Eve online has been growing for 10 years. How many other MMOs can say the same? Seems like a savvy inspiration to me.

LiMaSaRe:

Bara_no_Hime:

Taking the world from Pathfinder and using mechanics from EVE Online of all insane inspirations is just a terrible idea.

Eve online has been growing for 10 years. How many other MMOs can say the same? Seems like a savvy inspiration to me.

Are you kidding me?

EVE online has its own fanbase, sure. But ripping off someone else's style and putting it where it doesn't fit is not a good idea.

People play Pathfinder because it is the current evolution of the beloved d20 system. Pathfinder without d20 would be like playing Chess by flicking rubber bands at the opposite side of the board. Yes, you could create a game that way, but it wouldn't be a very good game.

EVE does fine as itself. However, ripping it off and passing it off as Pathfinder isn't going to make anyone happy.

Meh. I'm tired of MMOs. What I want isn't a massively multiplayer or a single-player tactical RPG. What I want to see more of are small, co-op RPGs that you can play with a select group of friends, either by LAN or online. Y'know, kinda like, say, tabletop games? The forebears to all modern RPGs? Seriously, Richard Garriot has the right idea with Shroud of the Avatar, but why has it taken this long to figure that out?

Mad Sun:
Meh. I'm tired of MMOs. What I want isn't a massively multiplayer or a single-player tactical RPG. What I want to see more of are small, co-op RPGs that you can play with a select group of friends, either by LAN or online. Y'know, kinda like, say, tabletop games? The forebears to all modern RPGs? Seriously, Richard Garriot has the right idea with Shroud of the Avatar, but why has it taken this long to figure that out?

I agree. With how well Borderlands did you'd think developers would be falling over themselves to do a first/third person 4 player co-op RPG game. It's what Elder Scrolls Online should have been. But, no, it seems everyone's just itching to dash themselves on the walls WoW's mighty tower.

 

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