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All posts created by Bob

We're making lots of progress toward EE 15, but it's proving more complicated and less predictable than we'd hoped. I'm starting this thread to keep you all updated on our progress, and to explain a little bit about the process we'll be going through while getting EE 15 ready to deploy.

A few weeks ago, we finished up all the known, planned work for EE 15 and began testing the work done so far. That testing is done on our local machines, running simplified servers on the same machine as the client, with generally only one hex running at a time. At that stage, we're looking primarily to see if updates are operating as expected, and if there are any big chunks of work remaining that we hadn't originally realized would be needed. Because EE 15 was dependent on a lot of untested assets, and on a lot of existing code features that hadn't yet been tried out with structure upgrades active, we weren't sure exactly what we'd find. Unfortunately, we found more problems than anticipated, but we should have all of those issues closed up within a week or so.

At that point, we'll be ready to move on to the next stage, where we start making full builds and running them on our internal server. That server runs a fairly small chunk of the world, about 63 hexes near Thornkeep, and makes it a lot easier for us to test out multiplayer scenarios, or issues where companies need to hold multiple hexes, like when we want to test out different DI scenarios. At that point, we're usually looking for more obscure bugs, or things that feel like they need more polish. We anticipate that we'll spend a week or so testing on the internal server, with any changes getting a quick local test before being re-deployed to the internal server. Again, EE 15 has been very unpredictable, so there's a good chance it will take longer there than hoped.

Once we're satisfied that the build is ready to be seen by everyone, we'll move it up to Zog, our official test server. We generally try to avoid going to Zog until we have what we consider to be a Release Candidate, meaning a build that doesn't have any known issues serious enough to prevent it from going to Live. However, sometimes we'll put something a little rougher up if we really want to get more feedback upfront, and we may do that in this case. Many of our updates only need to spend a few days up on Zog, though we usually assume that big updates will 1-2 iterations as new issues are uncovered. Each of those iterations gets tested both locally and on the internal servers before being re-deployed to Zog. Depending on how tricky the issues are, builds may go up the day after an issue is found, or several days later, particularly if multiple issues come up. In the case of EE 15, given how complicated the update is, there may very well be more iterations than usual, or the issues may require longer periods between builds if particularly tricky issues are found.

We usually try to leave the last Zog build up through at least one Daily Maintenance, no matter how small the changes are between that and the previous build. Overall, I'd anticipate another week or so on Zog, but we'll generally know within a couple days of the first Zog deployment whether we're just looking at a few quick issues to track down or at deeper issues that will require multiple large iterations.

I'll keep updating this thread every 2-3 days to let you all know how things are progressing, and feel free to ask questions along the way.

On a related note, I've contacted all the settlement owners at this point about distributing any remaining structure kits. If you think you should have been contacted but haven't heard from me yet, send email to and we'll get things sorted out. You'll definitely want at least your Keep Structure Kit +0 ready to place on the first day of EE 15. I'd also recommend grabbing whatever territory you need and upgrading your holdings before the first day so that you can maximize your initial DI and get the DI you need to upgrade your structures as quickly as possible.
We could create a ClearBlacklist command that settlement leaders could use, but it would require a non-trivial amount of work to implement and test. If there was enough interest in it, we could certainly look into it. My guess, however, is that this is the kind of thing that settlements would use pretty rarely, and we've got quite a few improvements we could do in roughly the same amount of time that would get used more often.

On the other hand, if we're in the middle of the code again for some reason (we do plan on adding a whitelist at some point, and hopefully we'll be able to fit that in relatively soon), then it could be worth adding at that time. I'll throw in a bug report to help remind us when the time comes.
How difficult would it be to make Settlement Chat persistent until server down? Almost like a daily message board no matter when you log in during the daily cycle?

It would be a fair amount of work, since our chat system is basically a fire-and-forget system. After the various game servers send the chat messages off to the appropriate clients and logs, they forget about them and leave it to the clients to remember enough of the their recent history in each channel so that you can scroll through a little bit of the past. We'd have to tell the game servers to start remembering those messages, then whenever someone logs in, send them the history for their particular settlement. In the end, we'd have to put some kind of limit on how much history got saved, so it's possible that a settlement's history might get too long and the important messages would get lost. It would certainly serve the purpose most of the time, but if the primary goal is to provide a way to be sure that settlement members see certain messages, we could probably find a way to do a minimalist implementation focused on that for roughly the same amount of work.

How hard to turn "Help" into Alliance chat?

The biggest issue there would be that alliances are technically only between individual settlements, so A can be allied with B and C, while B isn't allied with C. That's fine for broadcasts/announcements, but conversations get weird when some participant's can't see each other's messages. This kind of thing probably needs to wait until we have at least some concept of the long-planned Nations integrated into the game.

Had a chance to look at Extravagant Padded Armor more closely, and it looks like it wasn't intended to be identical to Strapped Shadowskin. I went ahead and changed its keywords from Shadowskin (with Camouflaged and Stealthy) to Sage (with Inscribed and Attuned) to match Guide 14.

While looking at that, I noticed that Archer 14 had a similar problem, so I added Military to the Truesilver Shirt keywords to give that one full match.

These changes will be included with EE 15. If anyone does find themselves with a set of Extravagant Padded Armor that doesn't work for them with the new keywords, I'll trade them for Strapped Shadowskin after EE 15 ships.
You get a small amount for every crafting/refining project completed. It isn't currently adjusted in any way to reflect the value/difficulty of the project, though that's something we'd like to look into eventually.
I suppose one thing that puzzles me is the knowledge that one or very few settlements could easily provide all needed training to 20 for the entire server. The incentive, in a case like or similar to that outcome, does not encourage the server to strive for their own +5 buildings or to live where those building are.

There are some vague plans to eventually put some limits on just how much crafting/training/etc can be done at a particular facility, which would push for the creation of additional settlements when too many people were using the limited structures available. We'd probably only want to prioritize that if we found the world had a whole lot of players using just 1-3 big settlements.

Meanwhile, it's certainly true that there would be a lot of advantages to everyone cooperating on just a small number of high-level settlements, but we expected there'd always be some who'd want to rule their own kingdoms, and so far we haven't been disappointed on that front.
…. 700 of each bulk a week gets you level 20 support but very low level training/facilities. If you want to go to the other extreme and get level 20 training/facility on everything 24/7 (equivalent to a current level 20 settlement) you will need to find 1475 of every resource a week instead.
Interesting as I had thought that was a set of game-able results that GW was most interested in avoiding for many reasons…

Those are in fact the correct numbers you were looking for. And you're correct that we've moved away from making the support requirements quite as harsh. We decided quite a while back to look into ways to let settlements have more support than was strictly available from the structures themselves, as long as that support was at a reasonable price. Yes, you can get pure support at level 20 for half the cost of actually having the structures, but then you have to train elsewhere, and you can't charge other people for making use of your structures. That should make for a reasonable tradeoff, and still make settlements that just want their support for PvP purposes have to work for it.

And, if it doesn't turn out to be quite restrictive enough, we could always add some requirements along the way so that your settlement has to be somewhat developed before you can even choose the higher settlement levels. Probably overkill at the moment.
Here's the numbers we're looking at for settlement upkeep. The goal is to have a settlement with almost all possible +5 S/M/L structures automatically get settlement level 20. It will then take a smaller and smaller percentage of structures at the appropriate upgrade to automatically get the matching settlement level automatically.

These upkeep numbers also ensure that a full town at a specific structure upgrade level will never automatically provide a settlement level more than one above the matching level. For example, a town full of +1 structures won't automatically grant level 14 (matches +2), but will grant level 13. These upkeep numbers grant one settlement level up for towns full of +0-2, but only grant matching levels for structures +3-5. That said, such settlements automatically get a fair amount of the way toward the next settlement level, so paying half the difference will often be a good value to get the next level of support.

On a related note, when calculating the difference between what's being paid toward the structures and what's required for the target settlement level, the amount of bulk resources paid toward the structures will be averaged across all 5 bulk resource types. This will prevent settlements that are heavily-weighted toward using one particular bulk resource from having to make up a huge difference on their least-favored bulk resource.

Settlement Level 9: 5 of each bulk resource, 100 copper coin
Settlement Level 10: 8 of each bulk resource, 160 copper coin
Settlement Level 11: 15 of each bulk resource, 270 copper coin
Settlement Level 12: 31 of each bulk resource, 430 copper coin
Settlement Level 13: 58 of each bulk resource, 630 copper coin
Settlement Level 14: 102 of each bulk resource, 860 copper coin
Settlement Level 15: 171 of each bulk resource, 1110 copper coin
Settlement Level 16: 278 of each bulk resource, 1370 copper coin
Settlement Level 17: 440 of each bulk resource, 1630 copper coin
Settlement Level 18: 675 of each bulk resource, 1880 copper coin
Settlement Level 19: 1000 of each bulk resource, 2110 copper coin
Settlement Level 20: 1400 of each bulk resource, 2310 copper coin

Again, settlements only pay half the difference, so a settlement that just wanted to have support at level 20 but only had a +0 keep (the bare minimum) would wind up paying a grand total of about 700 of each bulk resource (less than the current 756) and about 11.5 silver coins each week.

Eventually, a settlement running all +5 S/M/L structures would be spending more like 1475 of every bulk resource (average across all 5 bulk resources) and 24 silver coin each week. In the short run, a settlement running all +2 S/M/L structures at settlement level 19 (our starting point for easing everyone into structure upgrades) would be paying about 588 of each bulk resource (very close to the current 583) and 16.5 silver coins each week. Plus, they'd actually be getting level 20 training and facility ratings for that first month, though only support to level 19. Prices would ramp up steadily each month for similar results, since you'd steadily need either better structures or higher settlement levels, until we hit the final target in month 7.

Thanks Bob. I know that you can put new items in game. I think that you can create new expendables and recipes- purify "flask of dirty water", "distill dirty water". I know that you can create items "flask of dirty water". (like alchemists need more recipes, lol), so I had thought that it might be a cinch for you guys.

You're correct that those kinds of things are relatively easy to implement, at least when only adding a few more items and recipes. More importantly, as long as the items use existing art and gameplay systems, there's no new code required, and that's usually where we're most constrained. That said, there's still a fair amount of work that goes into designing, implementing, and testing such things, so it's still got to get prioritized against other possible work. In this case, one of the possible solutions for water is mostly just a bunch of manual work on my part, though probably more work than explaining away the lack of water. When we get a chance to put one or the other option into the schedule, we'll have to make a decision on which path to pursue.
Are there long range plans to expand the things available in the Game-Store?

Yes, though we're not ready to talk about specific possibilities yet.

Are there plans to market Azoth as one of the game's currencies, such that items in the store could be purchased with Azoth?

We've talked about that a bit, and it's a tricky question. Having a second currency complicates the economy quite a bit, particularly since it's one whose supply isn't a function of game activity. We might be better off facilitating direct trades for Azoth in a simple Contracts system, where you could specify anything you wanted to trade, including Azoth. Either method would be a bit of work, and we know for sure that we want Contracts anyway, so that could be a better place to start when we have a chance to look into it.