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The Final Days of PFO?

Orclord
When PFO was first announced, I was very skeptical of why Paizo would put money towards yet another fantasy RPG, to compete with so many others. The only way to compete, would be to offer something different and unique. After reading the design plan for the game, I was quite intrigued. Being an old Ultima Online player, I really became accustomed to skill-based character development as opposed to level-based character development, and I was happy to see PFO was going the route of the former.

The more I read, the more I became both interested and concerned. If this was any other company publishing the game, I would have been quite concerned if they could achieve everything they had set out. I had complete confidence that Paizo would do their typical outstanding job with this. (I realize "Goblinworks" was the official publisher, but for all intents and purposes it was really Paizo.)

Then "the day" finally came, and I got early access to the game from being a crowfunding supporter. I anxiously logged in, and was horribly unimpressed with what I saw. Sad graphics, for both character appearance, structures and terrain. Having been an alpha tester for many other games, I figured that the graphics I was seeing, were not the final graphics. When it came to interacting with the game environment, I was quite puzzled. The interface was sadly lacking on so many levels. I rate interfaces based on how intuitive they are… having been a programmer for over 33 years, I don't base it on my ability to figure it out, but rather on a "reasonable person" standard. Accordingly, PFO's interface was significantly lacking in most everyway and was not intuitive – my wife could not figure out how to play it. Again, this is something I thought would be addressed in time, but it wasn't. (Note I stopped playing in May when they wanted me to start paying a subscription, so all of my observations are based up until that time period).

Once I learnt that the game was no longer being offered for free, I knew it was done right there. The game was still at best in a mid-to-late alpha state, yet they did not think it was.

While the game had some great mechanics incorporated into its design, the cosmetics (graphics and interface) were the poorest of its category. In my early programming days I was very much pro function over design. Sadly, I would see people flock to games which had inferior game mechanics, simply because the graphics looked prettier. Finally, after a few years I conceded and recognized the importance of a great cosmetic appearance in game design. Sadly, Goblinworks did not understand this and thought people would come to the game for the great game mechanics and overlook the graphics. Wrong! So very wrong! We live in a world of so many varying levels of superficiality, that the simple fact is, is that your product has to look pretty. This is something that Paizo knows so very well, and excels in with almost every RPG product they publish! Sadly this philosophy did not follow them over to PFO.

The monthly subscription model was also a doomed model from the start. You have to have a damn good game, with a lot of longevity built into the mechanics, to make a monthly subscription game which will compete with the plethora of free play games out there (many of which are of an extremely high quality, such as Neverwinter Online). When the beta test ended for Elder Scrolls Online, I posted on their forum commenting how great of a game it was to play for 1-2 months, but it lacked interesting content that would ensure its longevity, and accordingly players would not pay a monthly subscription for it. A few months later my words rang true when they came to the same realization and opened the game up for free.

One important thing I want to point out to any future game publishers out there, is that there are so many fantasy RPG's out there, you have to make sure your game is fully, or nearly complete before you open it up to the public. (Investors don't usually have a great appreciation for this key element!) You need to ensure you hook that customer the first time they try the game, or else they are not coming back. (I also remember one of the Star Wars online games that learnt this lesson the hard way).

The Paizo staff are some the gaming industry's most talented, dedicated and hard working staff, and that is why I have been concerned that they have not recognized the course PFO was on, and pulled the plug earlier. I think there is a lot of pride the Paizo staff have in the products they make, and they did not want to admit that PFO was a failure. I can appreciate that they want to try to save the many years worth of work that went into the game and ensure it was not all for naught. Sadly, any more time or money devoted or invested into this game, is a complete waste of resources! I'm sure there is a small group of loyal followers who love the game as-is, however they are a significant minority and their numbers alone will never be attractive enough for an investor to take over the game.

I hope Paizo can come full circle on this soon and just write this off as a learning experience and move on. (Its a good learning experience for any potential RPG publisher). Lisa is an extremely busy person, and I just don't see how she could have the time to resurrect this in any reasonable way. Take the loss and move on is my suggestion.

I say put all the time and attention into the future of RPG's… such as Pathfinder 2nd Edition smile (We need a less complex D&D 3.5th edition, and more a complex D&D 5th edition, surely Paizo is up for this challenge smile
Giorgio
-1
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The Eternal Balance
piss off, hey?
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Edam
Andius ?
Memory-High Priest of Desna
Lol. This guy has exactly two posts.

One (which was his first post ever) was a similar diatribe that basically said one thing: "I'm bitter because I was playing the game for free but now I have to pay a subscription fee. How dare you make me pay to play. Paizo should just quit developing this since you're not going to let me play for free."

And now he's posted this, which is the same message but with an added gloating tone, as if he wa right all along.

Make of it what you will folks, but it looks to me like we got another soapboxer with nothing constructive to add.
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Tyv Blodvaerd of Aragon
I don't believe attacking the OP for expressing his opinion is the way to go at this point. He actually wrote a well thought out criticism of the gane, without it being abrasive, which is a difficult thing for me to do most of the time.

PFO is beyond the point of over protective Fanbois having any leg to stand on.

I would say to the OP that PFO is now under the management of a new CEO, and I have seen games make a turn around with similar shake ups (most notably Age of Conan). Also, these are likely not the last days, unless you meant that figuratively, more likely the last months unless things can be turned around.

This may be especially true if we portrait this as an opportunity to move in a different direction.
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PFOFIREFIGHTER
Memory-High Priest of Desna
Lol. This guy has exactly two posts.

One (which was his first post ever) was a similar diatribe that basically said one thing: "I'm bitter because I was playing the game for free but now I have to pay a subscription fee. How dare you make me pay to play. Paizo should just quit developing this since you're not going to let me play for free."

And now he's posted this, which is the same message but with an added gloating tone, as if he wa right all along.

Make of it what you will folks, but it looks to me like we got another soapboxer with nothing constructive to add.

Perhaps a reality check is in order here. The game failed. The game model failed. Anyone who think that charging a sub for early enrollment was a good idea at this point needs to have their head checked. Perhaps it was the only choice GW had, but to make fun of someone who is pointing out that it was a critical fault is just silly.

Sorry, but when the company chops all their staff except 3 people and only has confirmed that the game will run until the end of the month, I don't think rational people would believe their business model worked.
Daeglin
Guy on the Internet with an opinion.

Who'd a thunk it smile

(Seriously, congrats on keyboard use)
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Tigari
the responses to the OP are pretty sad…I would concider that kinda crap "Toxic" moreso then the bad posts between EoX and the former EBA. If the op just said "PFO SUCKS I WASTED MY MONEY" mine, toss him the trollfood. But he wrote out a post with his sincer thoughts..and you all just "-1" him and crap..

That's like me tell you to piss off, or -1 every time you talk about adding more PVP restrictions to the game. It's your opinion of the game..that I disagree with.
Dazyk of Phaeros
Yeah, I agree with Tig; the OP is clearly not trolling or shouting 'I told you so!', in fact I really have to agree with most of his post.
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