Paizo veterans to make a Pathfinder virtual world

220px-Pathfinder_RPG_Core_Rulebook_coverIn tabletop RPGs, nobody is better than Paizo, makers of Pathfinder. Pathfinder is an incredibly significant game. Here's why: A few years ago, the then-owners of Dungeons and Dragons decided for some reason to radically change the game, trying to invent a new genre of card-driven, software-supported role-playing games. This failed. Meanwhile, the then-current D&D ruleset (3.5) was left without a developer. Paizo picked up the rules, made a few changes, and released them as Pathfinder. Thus, Pathfinder is the current holder of the intellectual and artistic vision of D&D, which makes it among the most significant games available today. As such, Pathfinder is required gaming for all of my students.

Today we learn that some veterans from Paizo and CCP (makers of the massive space sandbox EVE Online) will be creating an MMORPG based on the Pathfinder/D&D ruleset. Previous attempts at direct computer implementations of D&D have been a mixed bag. Temple of Elemental Evil was great. D&D Online, not so much. Neverwinter Nights - fantastic.

Perhaps the industry realizes that the grind game market has been tapped, and exhausted, by WoW. The troubles of Rift and Lego Universe, contrasted with the success of lite visions like Minecraft and the newcomer Realm of the Mad God, certainly suggest a new direction. Happily, the Pathfinder MMO press release speaks of lots of user content, sandbox elements, and a world that users can change. On the other hand, we've heard that before. It will be interesting to watch.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Comments on Paizo veterans to make a Pathfinder virtual world:

Wilhelm Arcturus says:

The troubles of Rift? Did I miss some bad news about them somewhere? They seemed to be doing okay... at least okay enough that putting them in a sentence on par with LEGO Universe, which is being shut down, seems... odd.

Posted Nov 23, 2011 12:17:19 PM | link

Edward Castronova says:

Yeah, I shouldn't put Rift in with Lego Universe. Rift is doing fine. ( A really fun game!) My point is, Rift and other post-WoW efforts in the traditional MMORPG formula have not significantly expanded that market. Whereas, a sandbox game like Minecraft blew open the doors.

Posted Nov 23, 2011 1:38:29 PM | link

Nathan J. Evrard says:

Maybe linking Rift Lego Universe was a bad example but he is on to something. MMO's such as Rift face a very segmented market. As it stands now there is WoW and then everything else. Best case scenario Rift has about 500,000 active subscribers at the moment. Note that there are no real numbers out there posted by most MMO's. That number is still pretty impressive.

However, the main point of the article is that "the times they are a changing". Rift is quite possibly the most refined MMO I've ever played but at it's core it is really no different than every MMO that came before it.

Looking forward, an MMO where users could actually shape the world definitely has potential. As stated in the article though, we've heard this all before. For better or worse, MMO's need to evolve going forward.

Posted Nov 23, 2011 4:25:21 PM | link

RobJG says:

The times certainly are a changin. It could be argued that the MMO model is being changed with the raft of games adopting some sort of free to play system. WoW, star trek online, conan, DC universe, city of heroes. This could make it harder for new games to break into the market, no subscription=no guaranteed income.

Having said that, the jury is still out on whether free to play will attract and keep players, prepared to spend.

Posted Nov 27, 2011 11:52:32 AM | link

CherryBombSim says:

Maybe we should call them "Pay to Win" games instead of "Free to play."

Posted Nov 28, 2011 10:52:20 PM | link says:

This is great news. We hauled out Baldur's Gate and NWN over the long weekend to play with the kids; they are a lot of reading (which is sneaky teaching, actually) but so much more immersive and satisfying than a grind game.

I wonder if Goblinworks is going to convert the published Pathfinder Adventure Paths for the MMO...I'll have to follow this development!

Posted Nov 29, 2011 10:59:07 AM | link

gametic114 says:

This is a good news , salute to Paizo who contribute in gaming world. Thus, the change of playing a online D and D updated game will much an interesting one.

Posted Dec 2, 2011 11:04:05 AM | link

Mark says:

Bring it on (or should I say "Rock On")

Posted Dec 17, 2011 3:48:11 AM | link