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They Flew the Colors, They Began to Fight

The big news last week was the deployment of the fulfillment system for the Kickstarter backers! If you backed the Pathfinder Online Kickstarter, now is the time to log in, check your reward level, and select your add-ons.

We have had a few common questions since the system went live that we wanted to address:

How do I send an Add-On to another account?
You don't. The ability to move things like Add-Ons between accounts is going to be enabled later, and will probably be a part of the Pathfinder Online account management system. Until then, just select the Add-Ons you're going to want to distribute and sit tight. When the Pathfinder Online account system is ready we'll make sure everyone knows. That will likely be something we work on closer to the end of 2013.

When do I get the Emerald Spire super-adventure?
The adventure is in development, but it's a long way from production. We're estimating it will be ready to release in the summer of 2014. The PDF will be available shortly before the printed books are ready.

When do I get the miniatures?
We're only going to ship once, so everything goes in one box. That means that everything goes out when the last piece is ready; that is likely going to be Emerald Spire, so the physical products will be delivered in the summer of 2014.

Why can't you send the miniatures now—they're just repaints?
They have to be produced like everything else and that takes time. While many are repaints, they must still be managed through the normal production process. Even if we wanted to ship them early, we would not be able to save much time. Having multiple shipping processes running in parallel is too expensive, so everything will be shipped at the same time. Sorry, we don't have a way to expedite miniatures-only orders.

Why does the system say I'm getting access in the last month of Early Enrollment?
There is a perk for people who pledged at the Adventurer Level that grants access in the last month of Early Enrollment. Since the Crowdforger Pioneer level (and above) get "everything the Adventurer level gets", you're seeing that benefit as a part of your Reward list. It's meaningless if you're a Crowdforger Pioneer or higher—you'll already have access to the game in Early Enrollment.

What if my email address on Paizo.com and Kickstarter are different?
We're sending emails to everyone who backed the project with a claim code that you can use to set up a connection. You'll have to wait to receive that email. Due to all the potential delays in the interwebz, don't contact customer service about the email until next Tuesday to give the message time to be sent and received.

I got the wrong pledge amount or reward level—what do I do?
Contact customer.service@paizo.com.

Something is wrong and I'm worried I'll lose my place in the Early Enrollment. What do I do?
Email customer.service@paizo.com. Tell them what you see in the Fulfillment System and what error you are worried about. We have all the transaction logs from Kickstarter, so we should be able to untangle any problems of reward level, pledge amount, or timing.

What is the timeline for making the Pathfinder Society Boon available?
We've got an open action item for this right now and we're discussing it with Paizo. We'd like to get it out as soon as possible, but we don't want to cause problems for the Pathfinder Society team. As soon as we have more information on this topic, we'll make an update on the Kickstarter page and notify you via the blog.

When and how do I reserve my character name?
Character name reservation is not a part of the fulfillment tool, but we haven't forgotten about it. We'll handle that down the road when we have the system in place to do so.

We know that folks are increasing their pledges. We're going to have an update on the progress towards additional stretch goals, and we'll be refactoring and relaunching the survey for the second Crowdforging poll shortly as well. More about those topics in an upcoming blog!

OK, now on to our weekly design and development topic. This week, lead designer Lee Hammock expands on an idea introduced in last week's development blog: The PvP window.

Settlement PvP Window

Last week we mentioned a concept we've been working with in regards to settlements, the PvP window. However, we did not explain what that meant. Some aspects of the idea were clarified in the comments following last week's blog post, but we thought a blog specifically about settlements and the PvP window would be useful.

At its heart, the PvP window is a limited span of time each day during which a settlement's NPC defenses are lowered, making it easier for enemy players to attack the settlement. This window of vulnerability is set by the rulers of the settlement so they can make sure it matches up with the time their people are most likely to be online. The larger the PvP window is, the higher the settlement's Development Indexes can grow.

While the PvP window is closed, the settlement is defended by a large number of NPC guards from one of the major alliances in the game: Hellknights for LN, LE, NE, and TN towns, Knights of Iomedae for LG, LN, NG, and TN towns, or the League of the Wood for CN, CE, and NE towns. These guards are reasonably powerful and respawn swiftly. You'll still be able to sneak around or reconnoiter a guarded town since we don't flood the town with NPCs, but if any guards are killed, they respawn quickly. Any force attacking the town outside the PvP window is going to be met by a rapidly replenishing force of NPC guards that will make any attempt to take the town a herculean effort. It's just barely feasible to power through the settlement's NPC guards anyway, but it would not be an economical choice and would require a massive commitment of forces.

In exchange for their protection, these alliances take supplies and resources from your settlement, represented by a cap on your Development Indexes based on how long your PvP window is open. For example, if your PvP window is never open, you may only be able to get up to 200 in each Development Index, limiting you to low-end structures. If your settlement is open to attack for a good portion of each day, the settlement's DIs will have a pretty high limit (if any limit at all). Thus you can ratchet up your PvP window length as your settlement grows and needs higher Development Indexes to advance. This allows smaller settlements with lower Development Indexes to keep their PvP windows small, warding off attack until they are more ready for it since their Development Indexes are already low.

When the PvP window opens, the settlement's extra NPC guards leave. A smaller number of NPC guards remain, but their abilities and respawn rate are dependent on the Development Indexes and structures in the settlement. As a settlement comes under attack and its Development Indexes begin to drop due to losing control of hexes, leaders being assassinated, etc., the settlement's NPC guards become less and less effective. Most settlement assaults will likely involve several stages of preparatory warfare to weaken the target settlement before the actual siege begins if the attackers want to minimize the effectiveness of the target settlement's NPC guards. This is doubly true if the attackers get to the point of planting capture flags in the target settlement, because if the defenders still have guards spawning relatively quickly, any such flag-planting attempts are likely to be disrupted. Clever attackers may need to observe a target settlement carefully beforehand to determine when NPC guard strength is at its lowest and PvP is most likely to succeed.

Points of Interest such as Inns or Watchtowers in wilderness hexes controlled by a settlement can also have NPC guards defending them, but these are much smaller forces than the NPC garrison defending a settlement. Like a settlement, a Point of Interest has a PvP window, and outside this time its NPC defenses are massively increased. Any Points of Interest controlled by a settlement must have the same PvP window as the controlling settlement.

Overall, the establishment of a PvP window allows settlement leaders some control over when they are likely to be attacked, so they don't have to worry about having people online at 3 AM on the off chance that their enemies might come calling. Instead, most settlements will set their PvP window to be open when the highest number of their members is online. The PvP window also concentrates PvP activity into smaller bursts of activity—keeping PvP active and interesting requires a critical mass of players online, and if all the players are spread out over the entire 24-hour cycle, it is less likely for PvP battles of significant size to develop. This does mean that settlements will likely be open to attack at different times based on the time zone of the majority of the members of that settlement, but we don't think that will be a huge hurdle for dedicated attackers to overcome.

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