Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My thoughts on Goblinworks and Pathfinder Online

Those familiar with tabletop RPG gaming are certainly no stranger to Paizo and its flagship product the Pathfinder RPG.  Last summer the company announced that an online "version" of Pathfinder would be developed by a spin-off company, Goblinworks.  Over the summer, Goblinworks ran a hugely successful kickstarter to gain funding for a technology demo of the new Pathfinder MMORPG.  And in December, they attempted to capitalize on previous success and start a second kickstarter with the goal of speeding up the game's development.  With six days remaining the second kickstarter is over 300k short of its one million dollar goal.

Regardless of how this kickstarter ends, I can't wait for the week to end, and the kickstarter to go away.

This sounds harsh, and let me be clear about a couple things before I go into more detail on my thoughts on the matter.

First, I am big fan of MMORPGs... Or rather, I used to be.  I grew up on EQ classic.  "You died?  Hope you can find a necromancer to summon your corpse."  "Oh, you ran through Kithicor Forest at night?  Hope you can find a necromancer to summon your corpse."  I branched out in many other classic MMOs, Shadowbane, Guild Wars, EQ2, Dark Age of Camelot, and of course eventually World of Warcraft.

My wife and I played WoW nightly, we were in a raiding guild, we made "real-life" friends, it was "our thing" to do for a very long time.

The third member of our house changed all of that... It's really hard to raid when the baby needs to eat.  So, we drifted away from WoW.  It was soon thereafter that I discovered a way to scratch the itch that no more RPG left behind, when I discovered table top RPGs, which brings me to my second big point...

I am a big fan of Pathfinder.  I am still a youngin' when it comes to table top RPGs.  I had wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons for as long as I can remember.  But finding groups, especially if you don't know anyone else who plays can be daunting, especially for us old folks who tried to get into it before the explosion of social networking.  About 3 years ago, while investigating my curiosity I came across a program sponsored by Wizards of the Coast know as "Encounters" that was hosted at a game store not far from my house.  So I ventured out the front door, leaving the wife at home, and wandered into new territory.  From then on, I was an enthusiast.  As my appreciation and enjoyment with the hobby grew, I inevitably discovered Paizo and Pathfinder, and my group of fellow newbies (wife included by now) decided to give it a spin and try to save the world through the Carrion Crown adventure path.

We never looked back.  The small collection of D&D books I had acquired were sold off, as soon as possible once Wizards of the Coast announced "D&D Next," and though I took a loss, I was happy to have some money back in my pocket and the books off of my shelf.

Today, my collection is far from small.  I have 4 complete adventure paths, 6 or 7 big hardback books from the core line, and numerous player companions, campaign settings, and modules.  To say I love Paizo and Pathfinder would likely be an understatement.

So, a Pathfinder MMO should be a perfect fit for me, right?

Not so much.

When I want to be a hero these days, I don't rely on a digital representation of said hero.  I don't spend hours upon hours putting up with obnoxious internet users to gain some new pixels to adorn said hero.  I spend those hours around a table with my wife, and increasingly more and more our son, some good friends, and some dice.

The new baby girl needs to eat?  Ok, lets take a little break.  No need to worry about finishing a fight, or ruining other people's fun while you have to go "AFK."  We don't have to devote every night to gaming, we spend about 1 night a week.

I for one, have no interest in going back.  I don't want to have to log in and 'maintain' my character.  I don't want to risk griefers having their enjoyment at my expense.  I don't want to have to worry if my wife and I both have computers capable of running the new game and its expansions.

To be blunt, I have no interest in Pathfinder Online.

It is my hope that when this kickstarter expires, that Paizo will put just a little distance between itself and Goblinworks.  I enjoy using some free time to check the Paizo forums, and the front page is my window as to what's 'trending' right now.  More and more this window is dirty with discussions about an online game that is 4 years away, and that I don't care about. Yes, that's a small complaint, and I might be in the minority, I'm OK with both of those things.  I look at it at it this way, Pathfinder and Pathfinder Online are two different things.  Paizo and Goblinworks are two different companies.  Sure, they're related, but they're different, if I want to read about one of them and take part in one of their forums, I want to be able to do that without dealing with the other one.

Separate the games, separate their websites, clean my window! 

((In the interest of full disclosure, I did support the first kickstarter.  The dirty secret?  I only did it to get a cheap PDF of a dungeon that I could use at my table.  The second kickstarter really cemented my apathy for the whole thing.  I couldn't help but think, "I already gave you money once, and now you want a million more?"  I may, again, be in the minority here, but I'm pretty sure there are others who share my disenfranchised attitude towards another request for money.))

What are your thoughts?

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