Aaaaaaaaand Away We Go!

Ladies and Gentlemen and Miscellaneous Humanoids of all Types,

It is my great pleasure to announce that we are beginning the formal Alpha Test of Pathfinder Online.

We are sending emails to the folks who backed the project on Kickstarter and the people who purchased Alpha access on the Goblin Squad Store and on the goblinworks.com store.

(If you are expecting an Alpha invite and have not received one, please email customer.support@goblinworks.com)

Use this link to discuss this blog on the forums!

The start of Alpha also means the start of several related promotions and processes, which we’ll be covering in this blog.

[Update: 17:32 Thursday - Here's a link to a map of the starting Settlement!]

Live Stream of Alpha Play with the Goblinworks Staff

Tomorrow, Friday the 27th, at 3pm Pacific Time, we’ll be hosting a live stream on Twitch of the Goblinworks staff playing the Alpha and talking about various features and systems that are in the game. We will be live streaming on twitch.tv/goblinworks. You can access this stream via the Twitch website, or you can install the iOS or Android app for Twitch and view it on any internet-connected device.

This will be a great opportunity to see the Alpha and to hear our thoughts about what is working, what is not yet implemented, and what you can do in the Alpha.

We know that a lot of people have sky-high expectations for Pathfinder Online, and we want to use this broadcast as a way show the community for where we’re at and where we’re going.


Alpha Server Access

We want to concentrate player activity during the Alpha especially as we begin so that we can be sure our team is available to monitor servers and diagnose the inevitable problems. We will begin the Alpha with a limited window of availability to play, and as the Alpha proceeds we will gradually lengthen the window until we’ve reached 24x7 live operations in preparation for the start of Early Enrollment.

Each week we’ll make an announcement of the Alpha test hours for that week. This is the first week’s announcement:

To begin the Alpha server will be available from 3pm to 6am (Pacific) on Thursday, and from 3pm-6am (Pacific) on Friday.

NOTE: At this time, the client is only available for download when the Alpha server is available.

Known Issues

There is a known data loss issue that may affect your character in these first few hours of testing. We have a fix in place, but it won't go live until next week. Please log in and have fun playing, but also understand that you may lose a couple of hours of progress if you play Thursday or Friday.

The Alpha currently requires Windows 7 or Windows 8. The OSX version is not yet ready for testing. Windows XP is not supported. Windows Vista requires DirectX 11 to be installed.


PaizoCon Experience

We will of course be supporting PaizoCon this year. Like last year we’re going to take over the small banquet room near Registration and the hotel restaurant. Our plan is to have 4 demo stations running the game live on the Alpha server during the show.

We’d like to invite you to bring your laptop to the banquet room and play the Alpha on your hardware! We will have a USB drive to install the client software and we’ll have demo accounts that we can use to log the game in on your machine. You’ll need to have Administrator access credentials to enable the software to be installed and the client will require Windows 7 or Windows 8 (We’re willing to give Windows Vista a shot too!) Sorry, no Windows XP or Mac OSX availability at this time.

We will ask players to rotate out of the room (and we’ll log you out of the server when you leave) if space becomes limited so that everyone who wants a chance to play will get one.

We will also be giving a 1 hour panel presentation on the state of the game and taking questions from the audience at 3pm (Pacific). We are going to shoot for a half-hour of presentation and a half-hour of Q&A.


Release Notes

We have compiled a series of notes about the release which will be useful to Alpha players and of interest to the whole community.

Art

Gameplay Area
The portion of the world available at the beginning of Alpha is 8x7 hexes. We will expand out the play area throughout Alpha.

When you reach the edge of the playable area you will see a faint shimmering effect which will block your movement.

Character Generation
Initially, we have a limited selection of player faces, skin tones, hair, body types, and eye color for Alpha. Player characters will be more configurable over time.

Character Animation
Player character animation hookup and proper playback are very much still in progress. The current female animations are temporary and will be heavily revised.

Armor
Tier 1 and Tier 2 armor suits are available for starting class roles. You’ll have to make them before they’ll be available (some characters start with Tier 1 armor).

Weapons
All core weapons animation suites, including multiple dual wield suites, are in for starting class roles.

Casting Feats
There is a broad starter selection of casting feats for clerics and wizards. Additional cleric and wizard casting feats will be brought into the world over time.

NPCs and Monsters
A population of five monster types (goblins, goblin dogs, ogres, skeletons, wolves) and multiple human enemy NPCs eagerly await the arrival of player characters.

Buildings and Props
All Tier 1 and Tier 2 buildings and props are in game. With time, additional terrain features will be included for improved realism.

User Interface

Basic Controls
In the upper left corner of the screen are icons that access key functions of the game. The leftmost icon opens a menu that allows the user to log out, quit the game and report a bug. The other icons access various elements of the character including the character sheet, inventory, feats, paper doll, etc.

Chat
Chat functionality is enabled. To enter text in the chat window, click the text area at the bottom of the chat window. You can also enter “slash commands” in this space, like “/invite” and “/trade”. (Don’t use the “” characters.)

To chat in a given channel, type “/channel x” were “x” is General, Local or Party. You’ll keep chatting in that channel until you issue a new “/channel x” command.

To whisper something to another player type “/whisper x” where “x” is the name of the character.

Parties 
A party is created using “/invite”. Party hit points are shown on each member's screen, party members can be selected using the F1-F5 keys, and party members are shown on the minimap. Right now, the minimap only displays party members that are very close - this will be updated to show party members at a greater distance.

You can leave a party by typing “/leave”.

You can remove a character from a party by typing “/kick x” where “x” is the name of the character you want to remove.

Inventory

You can drag items out of your inventory and onto the paper doll by opening both windows at the same time.

Feats
You can drag feats from the feat window to the action bar.

Movement
Move with AWSD, strafe with QE. You can move the mouse-look camera by using the right mouse button. You can move the camera independent of the character using the left mouse button. If you hold both buttons down the character will move in the direction the camera is pointing. Click the spacebar to jump. Click the CTRL key to switch into “run mode” or switch out of “run mode”. Running uses stamina. Click the “X” key to become stealthy, and “X” again to return to normal movement.

Fatigue
You will gain fatigue if you run and for various other actions. Fatigue will limit the amount your stamina will regenerate until the fatigue has passed. There is no way to see how much fatigue your character has or when it will end.

Advancement

Experience Points (XP)
Your character will gain XP in real time, all the time (you need not be logged in). You will exchange XP for feats by accessing training NPCs who await your interest in the various settlements. Currently there is no way to tell how many XP you have used.

Roles
The game allows players to acquire abilities for wizards, clerics, rogues, and fighters. Currently, a role is selected at character generation which provides basic weapons, armor, implements and feats.

Achievements
An achievement UI exists, displaying the achievements you are working on, but not what needs to be completed to receive the achievement.

Advancement
Advancing in roles requires meeting a list of prerequisites, which involves obtaining a predefined set of role-specific feats.

Currently there is no way to determine which feats are required to advance a role.

Feats
Feats are purchased from trainers, and have an XP cost and sometimes an achievement prerequisite. The starting settlement trains all roles up to level 8 and has trainers for crafting feats as well. The northern settlement trains wizards and rogues to level 16; the eastern settlement trains clerics and fighters to level 16.

Currently there is no way to see if you have completed the correct achievements needed to purchase a given feat.

Ability Scores
Ability scores are raised by purchasing related feats, and sometimes are a prerequisite to purchasing a feat. Thus, a particular feat may require Strength 15 to purchase; in order to raise a character's strength to 15, a player will need to purchase other strength-related feats.

Currently there is no way to see which feats alter which ability scores.

Max Level
Characters can advance a role as high as 16th level.

Combat

Combat System
A combat system is in place, which allows for both PvE and PvP.

Equipping Weapons
A character can have two different sets of up to two weapons equipped, or a weapon and a shield, or a two-handed weapon. Each weapon set has up to six attacks (each individual attack must be trained). Switching between sets occurs via the ~ button, or the UI.

Player Status Meter
A player status meter displays health (red), stamina (blue), and power (yellow), for both player characters and NPCs. Upon entering combat, the status bar appears. Buffs and debuffs show up as symbols next to the status bar. Some icons have mouseover hints others do not.

Power
Power is used for more powerful abilities, mimicking the daily abilities from the Pathfinder tabletop roleplaying game. Power is planned to replenish with rest in taverns and other designated areas. Currently, there is a known bug that causes power to replenish only upon logout.

Death

Currently, dead characters immediately respawn at a Shrine of Pharasma, one of multiple resurrection points located throughout the game - the shrine determined by relative distance to the point of death. Corpses cannot be looted.

PvP

Reputation System
A reputation system is in place. You lose reputation by killing other players, unless they display the "Attacker" or "Aggressor" flag. If your reputation becomes low, guards in settlements will attack you, and you cannot train at a trainer. Reputation replenishes over time when you are logged into the game. Currently, there is no way to view a character’s reputation.

Aggressor Flag
If you attack a player once, you become hostile to everyone, and receive an "Aggressor" flag. This does not cause a decrease in reputation. The "Aggressor" flag lasts for a short period of time. A player attacking someone who has the "Aggressor" flag will not experience a reputation decrease.

Attacker Flag
If you attack that player a second time, you experience reputation loss (computed based on the difference of reputation and power between you and your target), and gain the "Attacker" flag. The "Attacker" flag lasts until a short time after combat ends. This will cause guards to become hostile.

Gathering/Crafting

Nodes
Four types of nodes exist in the world (mineral, plants, essence, and junk), each of which produces a resource that is useful in crafting.

Gathering
The amount of time it takes to gather from a node is determined by a character's gathering skill. The amount a node produces is determined by gathering skill and the resource rating of the hex. Resource ratings are not currently displayed.

Refinement
Resources can be refined and used for crafting.

Recipes
Recipes (required for crafting), expendables (scrolls for learning spells and maneuvers), and coin drop off all types of monsters.

Item Drops
Killing monsters has the potential to drop items (expendables, resources, and recipes). Currently they are automatically transferred to your inventory.

Trading
To trade, select the target character. Once selected, type “/trade” in the chat window. The Trade User Interface will appear.

Escalation cycles

Escalation Cycles
Monsters will spread out from monster hexes and infect nearby hexes if they are not dealt with. As they spread out, they will get more powerful. In hexes involved in an escalation cycle, public quests will spawn. If completed, the progress of the escalation will be reduced.

Beating an Escalation Cycle
Beating an escalation cycle summons a boss. Substantial rewards are gained by killing the boss.

Escalation Cycle Indicator
An escalation cycle indicator displays limited information on escalation cycles on the minimap (it appears as a circular control at approximately the 10 o’clock position). Mousing over it gives additional info.

What's Not Included Yet (But is scheduled for Alpha testing)

Threading
A character will have a specific number of magical, death-defying threads that bind selected items to him/her, keeping them from looting or destruction upon death. Higher level gear will require more threads than lower level gear.

Looting and Item Destruction
Upon death, 25% of a character's unthreaded items will be destroyed. The remainder will remain on the corpse, ripe for salvage/looting.

Encumbrance
Inventory refers to encumbrance, but this mechanic is not yet in the game.

Alignment
Alignment has not been implemented except for Reputation.

Consumables
Consumable tokens (potions, ammo, etc.) exist in the game but currently have no mechanical effect.

Expendables
Scrolls for learning spells and maneuvers exist in the game, but you cannot currently use them.

Critical Hits
During combat, sometimes "Critical Hit!" is enthusiastically displayed. However, the critical hit mechanic has not been implemented.

Magic Items
Magic items do not yet exist.

Enchanting
As magic items do not exist, enchanting cannot create them.