Happy 2017 River Kingdoms!
As we enter the third year of Pathfinder Online, I wanted to bring you up to date on a number of things and give you an idea of where we are going in the short run.
First off, congrats on the server-wide success of our year-ending Legendpalooza! Together you successfully took down all the Gatherings of Legends on schedule and managed to get the maximum 10 Gatherings on January 7th. Bob and I were a bit skeptical that the challenge could be met, but you proved us wrong with long hours of game play, alliances between settlements, and an unwillingness to give in despite the holidays being in the middle of the whole challenge. This event was so successful that Bob and I will have to put our heads together and come up with another one sometime early this year.
The year 2016 will go down as one of exciting promises followed by disappointing letdowns. Numerous times during 2016, I felt that we were days away from being able to announce funding for the game, only to have it all fall apart at the last minute. It turns out that funding an MMO nowadays is much harder than ever and this has led to the hard road we have been on.
Much of the effort in 2016 was being led by NewCorp and their efforts to find funding. I have done what I can to assist with contacts and information, but for the most part, I have been on the sidelines as much as you all have.
As part of my New Year’s resolution, I am changing that going into 2017. At the end of 2016, I had the good fortune to be introduced to the CEO of one of the largest digital games agencies in the world. I talked to their CEO right before the holidays and they have agreed to examine Pathfinder Online and then talk to me about possibilities for the game’s further development. This is huge for me as their rolodex is much, much bigger than my own and they have a good feel for who might be interested in the game and the ability to approach them about it. Now, they may come back to me and tell me that there really isn’t a funding option available right now, but that is just as important to know.
Because as much as I want to see Pathfinder Online funded, this isn’t my line of work. I don’t understand the digital game industry. I have done what I could to explore options as they came to me or to reach out to people I have been introduced to in the industry, but ultimately, I have very little clue as to how likely any of my contacts are to come through with the funding. This agent changes that equation, by giving me the broadest possible list of potential answers and then getting me a quick resolution as to their feasibility.
The agent’s employees have been looking at the game, poring over design documents, and talking to Bob. While I have no firm timeline for their analysis, there is a strong possibility that I will have my first feedback by the end of January. If options for funding arise from that feedback, then of course it will take more time to run them to ground. If there aren’t any other funding choices, then at least we will know that and can decide where to go from there. I hate the idea that there are stones left unturned in my quest to get funding for the game. This agent will turn over all those stones for me and get me clarity on where we stand.
Now NewCorp isn’t entirely out of the picture. The agent may find someone who wants to fund a studio to make the game, in which case, they could be brought back into the mix. Heck, they may turn up funding that isn’t on their radar right now. Or things may evolve in a different way, with a different NewCorp. I will hopefully know a lot more in less than a month.
In the meantime, I have decided that we need to shake things up in the game and introduce settlement warfare! I was loath to add something so fundamental to the game with the possibility of funding coming at any time, but now I feel that I can tread water no longer. I have sat down with Bob and we have come up with a way to get this long-anticipated feature into the game. Check out his blog post right after this one for information. There are still details to finalize and work to be done, but this is something we hope to get into the game quickly. Taking over a settlement is not going to be something done quickly unless that settlement is undefended. It will cost the attacker quite a bit of resources to make the siege and to keep it up. There will be plenty of ways for a defender to stop the siege or prolong it. There will be a lot of logistics and supplies needed and people to carry out the attack.
With the introduction of settlement warfare, we will finally have versions of all the main systems in the game that we promised way back when we started. The map will be open to change and you will be able to make a settlement pay for any slight, real or imagined.
Bob will have more on this new mechanic as we roll forward including the recipes and resources needed and a better idea on what date we will be rolling this out on. Stay tuned to the Goblinworks forums for more info.
I want to thank you for your patience and wish you a healthy and prosperous 2017 both in game and out.