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All posts created by Bob

Bob
harneloot
Heck, bring back the Starter Goblins and put them right outside TK for new players to bash away at and get use to the mechanics and attack combos while dropping all sorts of salvage or T1 gear. Make the gear low durability if you worry about its effect on the economy.
I could look into some more satisfying early mobs around Thornkeep. We've already made sure the closest mobs are pretty easy to handle. Since they never launch in large groups, and no longer launch repeatedly in the same locations, there's a limited ability to farm them. That means I could probably make them a little more rewarding without unbalancing things too much. I do worry about dropping gear just because I don't like to train new players to expect to get their gear from drops only to take that away from them, but more interesting/varied drops doesn't necessarily have the same issues. I could also consider making the gathering around Thornkeep more varied, with very small chances of getting raw materials you'd otherwise have to travel pretty far to get. That could help with the difficulty of crafting certain items in Thornkeep while there's not a lot of raw materials getting brought in for sale, and just generally make the Auction House offers more interesting. Worth considering anyway, haven't thought any of this through completely.
Bob
Flari-Merchant
There was mention, some time ago, about maybe being able to leverage art assets from developments in parallel game systems based on Paizo IPs like KingMaker. Is that still an option that could help in some way?
That's still a possibility, but will likely require a fair amount of Cole's time combined with the help of an artist. On the positive side, it will likely become much easier after the Unity upgrade, since part of the difficulty was downgrading assets to work with our current version of Unity.
Bob
Azure_Zero
This new tax effectively sets settlement level to the activity of a settlement, this means that if a settlement was running at level 20 and had nothing, but casual players, it would nuke the players to say low teens, and the players would Hate this and leave.

This proposed change would indeed limit settlements based on the activity level of their characters, but that doesn't necessarily mean that many (or any) existing settlements would find their settlement levels reduced. It all depends on the exact numbers. As an extreme example, if we set the Max Influence reduction to .001 per Holding per day, a settlement could have 30 holdings and only need to generate 11 influence per year to keep that running.

Admittedly, a number that low probably wouldn't have a significant impact on the overall balance, since the additional influence needed per holding would basically be .365 per year. Then again, groups considering having 30 underutilized holdings might at least think twice before increasing their influence needs by 11 per year to do so, unless holding them serves other important strategic purposes.

Our goal is to find a number low enough not to put an undue burden on more casual groups will still being noticeable for more active groups. The originally proposed reduction of .5 per day was probably too high, and very well might have pushed the more casual settlements down to something like level 14 or 16, depends a lot on what one means by casual. We still think there's a number in there somewhere that hits the right balance, or perhaps a slight tweak to the calculations/rules that does the trick, but if not, then we'll look for a different solution.

Bob
Flari-Merchant
Take us to the moon, Bob!
Our twin moon shots at this point are the cloud and Unity upgrades, which are both huge undertakings that will monopolize Cole's time for the rest of the year, and possibly beyond. It's unfortunate that they're not focused so much on making the game more fun as they are on keeping it running, but the latter has become a priority at this point. It's also unfortunate that they keep us from tackling other large tasks that require significant code work. I'm looking at trying to help out with some of the coding where I can, but I'm far more likely to be useful in helping Cole get through those upgrades more quickly than in tackling actual feature work. Meanwhile, I'll be trying to do what I can through spreadsheet and low-level art changes, and we can certainly debate about which of those would have the most immediate impact in terms of making the game more fun on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute basis.
Bob
I should also make clear that this is in the Crowdforging forum for a reason. At this point, this is a plan that we're looking for feedback on before moving forward, not something we've implemented and are looking to tweak. Not all players have the same concerns and we want to hear as many different voices as we can before making any final decisions.

An another note, anyone having particular comments or questions that they'd prefer not to air in public, send email to customer.support@pathfinderonline.com and we can talk through it.
Bob
Maxen
If Paizo believes one of the necessary steps to attracting players is to level the playing field by freeing up hexes and settlements, I’m all for it.

We're not so much looking to free up many hexes or settlements, or really even slow the growth of any active settlements. The goal is just to balance out the advantages and disadvantages of expanding to make it a more meaningful choice, where right now we almost entirely incentivize expansion. It does seem likely that just about any system we came up with to achieve that would result in at least some groups pulling back a little bit, but we can scale the effect to minimize that.
Bob
harneloot
Bob, "Until players are likely to return in large numbers"
To clarify, this quote was just in response to a point about companies with some players who find themselves having to stay away from the game for extended periods, for military deployments and the like, not about the larger issue of needing more players in the game. My point was just that companies knowing they were going to be less active for a while could bank up sufficient influence to cover the gap.
Bob
For reference, here are some estimates I came up with for the number of hexes required to meet a settlement's bulk resource needs back when DI and the current Settlement Upkeep system were introduced:

  • All +0 Structures (Settlement Level 10): 1 +0 hex
  • All +1 Structures (Settlement Level 12): 3 +0 hexes or 2 +1 hexes
  • All +2 Structures (Settlement Level 14): 4 +1 hexes or 3 +2 hexes
  • All +3 Structures (Settlement Level 16): 7 +2 hexes or 6 +3 hexes
  • All +4 Structures (Settlement Level 18): 11 +3 hexes or 10 +4 hexes
  • All +5 Structures (Settlement Level 20): 19 +4 hexes or 17 +5 hexes
  • All +5 Structures, including Support Structures (Settlement Level 20): 22 +4 hexes or 19 +5 hexes

These numbers assume something like 80% efficiency in overall resource production, so they allow some wiggle room for not being able to select the ideal hexes. They're also in the general ballpark of what's required for DI if a settlement has at least some infrastructure.
Bob
Azure_Zero
If a settlement has only one company with holdings and that company is full of casual (or in the military) players
I should mention that this kind of example situation is perfect to point out so we can take it into consideration. Fortunately, this was actually one of the situations we considered. While we do want the ability to hold territory to somewhat reflect current activity levels, our current plan would at least let companies like this plan ahead for periods of less active play. As long as the daily Max Influence reduction is kept predictable, then companies can maintain a buffer that will cover them until players are likely to return in larger numbers, and each company can decide on the buffer appropriate to their own play styles.

This would also mean that unspent influence is always serving a purpose by acting as that buffer, and isn't something that may as well be banked in a new holding and outposts unless they're worth the effort. Yet another aspect that makes expansion a more meaningful choice.

Of course, if companies are already having trouble getting enough influence to meet their basic requirements, then the need to build up those buffers fairly quickly would be another argument for increasing the current influence generation rates.
Bob
Azure_Zero
I get that you could make a new company as a work around, but even a new company adds work.
True, there's a bit of work involved, but not very much if you're already generating all the bulk resources you need from your existing holdings/outposts. If Max Influence is static, any new influence earned is thrown out after the limit is reached, so you may as well start another company and build up influence there, and then you way as well start feuding and taking more territory. You can always bounce to whichever company gets feuded as needed, and any new territory will largely run itself as long as you don't mind getting raided/invaded occasionally.

Azure_Zero
If a settlement has only one company with holdings and that company is full of casual (or in the military) players, it'll be a problem as they'll be losing their stuff when they all take a break for a bit due to RL, then you'll permanently lose them as paying players as when they get back the system will have nuked their stuff they worked hard at and then lost.
Generally speaking, as long as the settlement still has one reasonably active character, this proposal (with the proper numbers) would let them hold on to enough territory to keep the settlement running at a decent level, though it might call for some temporary downgrades, which can be reversed at basically no cost when more players return. Some holdings might get lost, but anything in those vaults would still be protected. Might not have access to them without reclaiming the hexes, but everything would still be there.

Also, without effective limits on influence of some kind, that territory will become more and more likely to get taken over, which has the same result. We're not looking to completely prevent that, successful PvP should be rewarded after all, just to make the decision to expand beyond one's needs more meaningful.