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Steam early access

One idea I want to throw around is the idea of Goblinworks getting Pathfinder Online onto steam early access, and funding the development through purchases and subscriptions from hopefully new customers. I would expect that EE11 would have been released and that a period of polish done before being released on early access.

If the game is able to get and maintain enough new people from steam then it would be possible to hire some more developers.

With EE11 we finally can customize our settlements and can really differentiate ourselves from each other. By fixing bugs and adding polish, the game can hopefully hold onto new customers. This I believe is key as I am not sure that the game has previously been able to hold onto enough people. By appearing on steam the game also gets to show that it is alive and going through active development. This would also hopefully persuade old customers to re-subscribe.

Things I see that will need polishing.
  • Chat functionality
    • ability to copy and paste
    • can click away without text disappearing
    • ability to easily reply (click option?)
  • Right click character to bring up menu.
    • Menu option to trade
    • Menu option to invite to party
    • Menu option to set party leader
    • Menu option to leave party
    • Menu option to send whisper
  • Auction house
    • Show only bids
    • update auction house in realtime
  • Trade/bank/personal inventory
    • easily move set amount of items
    • have bank vault not slow down when full with many items
    • search in inventory
    • have same items of different quality show together (so iron ore, true instead of true iron ore).
    • Fix settlement upkeep vault permissions
  • Have placeholder T3 equipment
    • so use things like T2 armour to represent T3. Perhaps adjust the texture.

Thoughts, comments, criticisms?
Elder of Forgeholm
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Duffy Swiftshadow
Feature tweaks would all be cool no doubts and help with some basic stuff, but unfortunately it's really the lack of content that makes those UI and unpolished things really feel like a 'problem'. They'll need to round out some of the content systems and get more variety in the game to really make playing more desirable in and of itself.

As to getting it on Steam I guess the important question is: can it make things any worse than they already are? If the answer is No, than might be worth looking into. That said it's basically a blind hail-mary pass, no guarantee it will do anything and you'll probably just see a ton of negative reviews that will scare off passerby shoppers.

Even if it did mediocre on Steam and maintained an okay review rating, need to keep the numbers in mind. Based on some industry folks I've talked to they estimated it would take somewhere between $3-5 million to really 'finish' the game depending on scope desired for launch. I don't know their actual burn rate but based on how long it took them to get this far and what we know was raised via Kickstarter let's guess it would take them 2 years to 'finish' and polish the initial release. With some quick napkin math they would need to average 8,000-13,000+ active subs over two years to cover development (with a bit more staffing than they had previously), that is also assuming those subs are consistent enough to keep staffing stable.

So given the current state of the game and sudden wide exposure do you think we could hit those sort of numbers? (To the best of my knowledge it's been estimated we've only ever had a few thousand active subscriptions, which is still more than we've had active players)
Lisa said a few weeks ago that the game started to lose money when they started giving away free trials. If the game were on Steam for $20, provided a free month of gameplay and gave a few Steam achievements/cards I think it could sell 50,000 copies over the next year. Far worse games have sold more. People will even pick up a badly reviewed game just because they want to review it too. If players think PFO may sunset anytime soon it will even be perceived as a limited opportunity to collect achievements. Call it early access, post updates on sales figures to encourage more sales, and promise new entry level classes and races if barriers are met. Adding a game to a Steam library adds a layer of PC gaming "legitimacy" that PFO lacks today. For almost no effort in marketing the game will receive more promotion and find crowds that might not otherwise login to the Goblinworks site to download the game.
If there were a meaningful influx of new players from Steam, maybe there would be more forum users both there and here. With more of those, you have a better chance of getting across that it is really important to play "within" an active group.

For it to really have a chance on steam I think that two major things would have to be better (besides UI which is top of list). Those are some more and interesting PVE content AND the ability for newer players to place holdings and/or settlements. That might just be the draw that triggers interest.

Actually, some polish and revamp (created reasons) to PVP might trump better PVE.
Virtute et Armis

I don't see how putting it on Steam can make things any worse than they are now; the game is empty.
No one disagrees that the game needs a major polish overhaul on quality of life features such as the party mechanic, chat, and inventory management. I feel, however, that it needs an engaged and active player base more. If this game could get to a threshold where 3000 active players were logging on daily, we'd really have something here. Steam early access might be the vehicle to take us there. I say give it a $40 price tag and include 45 days with purchase. This gets casual players into T2 for a bit so they can see what the game is really like.
Go West for freedom and adventure! Join the free soil settlers of High Road. Be a positive and constructive force for freedom in the Bulwark Hills.
I guess Steam is a very probably future, but it hinges a lot on the Ones that buys this, at this point I wonders how much those who aquire this benefits by keeping us around. The model tried so far hasn't really proved THAT successful.
Perhaps better for them to restart everyone from zero in Thornkeep and let the poulance work themselves up to this point again while they foucus the new dev team on flesh out/polish/theme park the world….

Schedim: Peddler and dealer in stuff easily transported, restless wandering the land of the River. Trying to find out how to reawaken the cult of Hanspur. To realise this ambition I created the company named Rats of Hanspur.
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Well there was a guarantee that our earned exp was a sacred cow that would not be sacrificed. That and "no more DT accounts" if I remember correctly.

I have to admit that examined in context: keeping my earned exp and playing in this situation is less attractive to me than somehow starting fresh with 100 times more players in the game.

There wasn't any sort of guarantee that there would not be NEW servers started for new markets such as Steam might offer.
Virtute et Armis
There was talk early after EE launched that the Zog environment would eventually become a second production world with no wipes.
Caldeathe Baequiannia
I don't think they can price it more expensive on Steam than through the regular entry, and even if they changed the entry at GW to $40 for 45 days, it would get them shredded in many places for being more expensive than it was when they couldn't get new customers.

The entry would have to be made consistent, or at the very least, cheaper through steam than at the GW Store. I'd suggest $15 for 45 days at Steam, and $25 for 75 days on the GW Store. Neither is a lot of money, and both give plenty of time to get invested in the game while removing the attraction of setting up new accounts just because they are free.
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