22 November 2011

Pathfinder MMO?

According to EnWorld, Paizo's entered into an agreement with Goblinworks to create and produce an MMO, ostensibly based on their flagship product, the Pathfinder roleplaying game. You know what that is, I'm not going to explain it.

Now, look. I've read the official announcement, and I'm very good at translating hype and excited designer-speak into English, and these guys apparently have been either living under a rock or they're seriously overestimating both the MMO market and their own abilities.

Designing an MMO is difficult work. It's one of the most complex types of games you could possibly design, because you've got to have so many people on at once, and you've got to have things for them to do. And you've got to have things for people to do on their own when they can't find anybody to do things with them.

I'm not going to say they can't do it, because Dungeons and Dragons Online exists, and it's doing fairly well. But it's run by a company that's been doing MMOs, and it would have failed had it not essentially reinvented the free-to-play market. If Paizo wants their money back, they either need to make a spectacular pay-to-play game that people will leave World of Warcraft for (not likely) or they need to make a free to play game with a cash shop. Not even the Dungeons and Dragons name brand saved it from that fate, and I don't think that Pathfinder will fare any better.

That said, I'm at least interested to see where they go. I have a very vested interest in them not disappointing me- I'll have a new game to play!


  1. I read this news this morning and thought it was interesting. I guess we'll have to wait and see where they take it.

  2. I think you mean "... they're seriously overestimating both the MMO market and their own abilities". It makes more sense given what follows (that it's a really hard problem domain).

  3. @Keith: Thank you very much for the correction; I hate when I do things like that.


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