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All posts created by Bob

Now that half of the sequences have been finished off, I'm going to switch back to listing all the hexes that still need to be cleared, along with their status. Here's the current list:

  • High Road 4-4-5-5-5: Currently on escalation 28 (Over the Crown) at 39685 strength.
  • Unassigned (Hope's End 2-2): Currently on escalation 28 (Over the Crown) at 95890 strength.
  • Staalgard 4-4: Currently on escalation 24 (Elite Duergar Slavers) at 23125 strength.
  • Talonguard 4-5-5: Currently on escalation 23 (Them Ogres Ain't Right) at 23375 strength.
  • Unassigned (Phaeros 4-4-5): Currently on escalation 23 (Them Ogres Ain't Right) at 42625 strength.
  • Fort Ouroboros 4-4-4: Currently on escalation 21 (The Wrath of Nhur Athemon) at 20000 strength.
  • Sylva 2-3: Currently on escalation 21 (The Wrath of Nhur Athemon) at 20000 strength.
  • Middenheim 4-5-5: Currently on escalation 21 (The Wrath of Nhur Athemon) at 50000 strength.
  • Corbenik 5-5: Currently on escalation 19 (Elemental Rift) at 29776.25 strength.
  • Unassigned (Sylva 4-4): Currently on escalation 19 (Elemental Rift) at 38527 strength.
  • Veggr Tor 2-3: Currently on escalation 17 (Mordant Spire) at 6049.5 strength.
  • Hope's End 4-5: Currently on escalation 17 (Mordant Spire) at 10560 strength.
  • Unassigned (Marketstead 3-3-3): Currently on escalation 17 (Mordant Spire) at 10560 strength.
  • Greystone Keep 3-3: Currently on escalation 17 (Mordant Spire) at 10620 strength.
  • Canis Castrum 4-4: Currently on escalation 17 (Mordant Spire) at 12399.25 strength.
  • Unassigned (Brighthaven 1-2): Currently on escalation 15 (The Shadow of Nhur Athemon) at 1000 strength.
  • Succinct Prime 3-3-4: Currently on escalation 15 (The Shadow of Nhur Athemon) at 8000 strength.
  • Unassigned (Fort Ouroboros 6-6): Currently on escalation 15 (The Shadow of Nhur Athemon) at 8000 strength.
  • Phaeros 3-4: Currently on escalation 15 (The Shadow of Nhur Athemon) at 20000 strength.
  • Sunholm 5-5-6: Currently on escalation 15 (The Shadow of Nhur Athemon) at 20000 strength.
  • Unassigned (Fort Ouroboros 2-3): Currently on escalation 15 (The Shadow of Nhur Athemon) at 20000 strength.
  • Unassigned (Fort Ouroboros 3-3-3-4): Currently on escalation 15 (The Shadow of Nhur Athemon) at 20000 strength.
  • Unassigned (Staalgard 5-5-6): Currently on escalation 15 (The Shadow of Nhur Athemon) at 20000 strength.
With six more sequences cleared since the last update, we've hit the halfway point! Here are the 23 completed sequence hexes:

  • Carpe Noctem 5-6
  • Aragon 2-3-2-3
  • Keeper's Pass 1-2
  • Alderwag 2-3
  • Unassigned (University Commons 5-6)
  • Callambea 4-5
  • Oak Knoll 4-5
  • Unassigned (Carpe Noctem 4-4-4)
  • Caer Coedwig 2-3
  • Hammerfall 1-2
  • University Commons 1-1
  • Unassigned (Kindleburn 2-3)
  • Ozem's Vigil 1-2
  • Dun Baile 6-6
  • Forgeholm 4-4-4-5
  • Blackwood Glade 1-2
  • Unassigned (Forgeholm 3-3-4)
  • Mediash 6-6
  • Golgotha 3-4
  • Concordia 4-5
  • Tavernhold 5-6
  • Emerald Lodge 3-4
  • Brighthaven 3-3-4
NOTE: this is not necessarily a problem or something to be concerned about, I am merely pointing out that refiners with enough XP and access to a settlements recipe and mat supplies can level up VERY quickly.

Very true, both refiners and crafters can get through their achievements pretty quickly if they already have access to the required ingredients. Of course, refiners and crafters can generally advance through their levels without necessarily doing much gameplay themselves if other characters are willing to provide them with the needed ingredients. Still, those items represent gameplay undertaken by someone, even if not the advancing characters themselves. If you include all the gameplay that took place before the respec, the advancement doesn't seem as quick as if you only consider the time between the respec and each new level.
We also need a way of right clicking on random tokens or potions in our inventory to activate them. Un-slotting your regular consumables to slot a one off buff and then waiting for the combat timer to finish before you can re-slot your normal loadout means most of the time you do not bother. I can see where bombs may be potentially OP if they can be used in this way but normal buff/heal potions ought to work fine.

This is one partial solution we're considering. You could then leave your Inventory open, filtered to Consumables, and always have pretty easy access to everything you're carrying. Downsides would be not being able to leave the Inventory on All to see everything getting added to it, and the the Inventory screen takes up a lot more screen real estate than it really should for this particular use. Still, it's probably pretty easy to implement, and would be reasonably useful even if just used occasionally to take a potion without having to first go through the trouble of slotting it. The OP issue might be a problem, but potions in inventory are prone to loss when getting killed, and are generally expensive, so the risks and rewards of using this heavily probably balance out pretty well. Mostly, we just need to see where this fits into the schedule best.
Bob, this looks mostly straight forward but your notes of "… for bombers" makes me curious are just bombs intended to have alchemist tools to damage targets or am I reading too much into that? (Mainly the weapon kill achievement but also the ranged).
Are the Chirugeon and Mutagenist intended to just be buffing, etc. and attack with different weapons?

Good catch. This is something I've gone back and forth on a bit, and I'm not completely sold on the best answer. My current answer is that all Alchemists can use Alchemist's Tools as their primary weapon, but Bombers are particularly good at it. That's pretty similar to the way that all Fighters can use an Axe as their primary weapon, but those with Axe Specialization are pretty good at it.

The deeper question is what kind of combat actions should be available to each specialty, and in particular, which should be attack feats for the Alchemist's Tools and which should be Formulas for the Formula Books.

For Bombers, this is pretty easy: They're all about doing damage, explosively and violently. That means they want to throw bombs, all the time, constantly, and sometimes they want to throw really big bombs. So, the bombs balanced for constant attacks go on the Alchemist's Tools, and the bigger bombs go on the Formula Book.

Chirurgeons are all about making other characters healthier. They still need to be able to do damage somehow, but their primary goal is to heal others using elixirs. For expendables, that works well with making all their favored Formulas beneficial elixirs. If they want to use a damage-based expendable, they can still slot a Bomber Formula, just with slightly less keyword matches.

For attack feats, there's no huge problem with making beneficial attack feats that they could use more constantly (there are plenty of those on other weapons), but they do raise a few oddities. One is that the Chirurgeon Formulas I was exploring focus on buffs that provide recovery bonuses, to differentiate them from other healer-types. Those felt like they worked a bit better as expendables than as attack feats that you'd want to use up an attack slot for, but that's admittedly debatable. They also make the question of which attack bonus would apply to Alchemist's Tools a little less clear. Bombs fit well with Ranged Bonus Attack, but elixirs are more melee-range. Other weapons have some occasional issues where particular attack feats are ranged instead of melee, or vice versa, but the weapons that bounce back and forth the most have their own dedicated attack bonuses. We could certainly code up a new Alchemical Attack Bonus, but we'd need to make changes to the Character Sheet, and all in all it's something we should only do if it really feels necessary. Other alternatives would be to say these are ranged beneficial gas-bombs (a bit wierd, but no code involved), or we could allow individual attack feats to override the standard weapon attack bonus where another bonus feels more appropriate (would certainly be nice to have, but definitely requires code).

Mutagenists are particularly tricky because their buffs have major drawbacks, where I believe all other buffs are entirely beneficial. That makes it unclear whether or not Mutagenists should be able to apply mutagens to other characters at all without some kind of consent. Theoretically, we could do something like put up an alert when a mutagen is offered ("You've been offered a Cognitive Mutagen. Accept/Refuse" ), and only apply the effect if accepted. There are probably other alternatives as well, but all probably require a fair amount of code. My current thinking is to say that Mutagenists only take their mutagens themselves. Though this conflicts with some brief text under the Mutagenist example in Second Edition ("You transform yourself and others with mutagens." ), it's somewhat in the spirit of some text later in the Crafting and Treasure section ("Typically, only alchemists have the expertise to craft mutagens, and some say they are the only ones reckless enough to use them." ) If we say they only apply to self, and if they're pretty long-lasting, then only having them as Formulas makes a certain amount of sense. You're probably not going to be constantly switching around your current mutation. And again, mutagens are typically melee-range (if not purely self-range), so the attack bonus oddity comes up here as well.

On a larger note, there's also a possibility that having non-bomb attacks would make it difficult to give Bombers the attack bonuses I had in mind for them without also giving them bonuses on elixir/mutagen-based attack feats. I think that might actually already work fine, since I think those bonuses don't get applied to attacks labeled Beneficial, but that would require some testing to be sure. We could probably find a way around that if it doesn't already work, likely with additional code, but avoiding the issue completely has its temptations.

So, we could certainly do Chirurgeon/Mutagenist-style attack feats for the Alchemist's Tools, but there are some details that would need more thought than was required for Bomber-style attack feats. They're probably best avoided unless they're important enough (meaning the Alchemist role just doesn't feel right without them) to make it worth dedicating code-time to implementing them right, or if the oddities can be kept minimally noticeable.
Here are some of the details under consideration for the Alchemist Feature Feats. First off, keywords:

  • Bomber: Creative, Student, Elegant, Chemical, Mechanical, Journeyman, Ruinous, Professional, Undetected, Cryptic, Master, Unnatural, Besieging
  • Chirurgeon: Elegant, Student, Complex, Chemical, Visceral, Journeyman, Undetected, Professional, Victorious, Ancient, Master, Cryptic, Vigorous
  • Mutagenist: Complex, Student, Creative, Chemical, Visceral, Journeyman, Victorious, Professional, Undetected, Unnatural, Master, Ancient, Guarded

There's enough crossover between the lists to allow for expendables that match perfectly with Alchemist expendables intended for that specialty, while still matching reasonably well with those intended for the other specialties. They also match up fairly well to Toolkit expendables, a little less well to Rogue Kit expendables, a bit with Trophy Charm and Holdout Weapon expendables (just the standard Student, Journeyman, Professional, Master progression), and not at all with Spellbook and Holy Symbol expendables.

Next up, the bonuses:

  • Bomber: Persistent bonus to alchemist and bonuses to precise, base damage and critical chance with all alchemical attacks. Similar to the various Fighter Specialization Feature Feats, just when wielding Alchemist's Tools, which is heavily focused on bombs, where the other Alchemist types focus more on expendables.
  • Chirurgeon: Persistent bonuses to alchemist, fortitude defense and most types of recovery (afflicted, bleeding, burning, drained, exhausted, razed and slowed). Reflects their focus on physical healing.
  • Mutagenist: Persistent bonuses to alchemist and all resistances, along with enduring that has a chance to trigger on any alchemical attack while untargeted. The resistances reflect a lifetime of self-experimentation constantly altering their physical nature, while the Enduring chance is inspired by the Revivifying Mutagen feat from Second Edition, which lets Mutagenists metabolize a mutagen's power to heal themselves.

Basically, all give a bonus to Alchemist crafting, then break off to reflect their research fields. We're also looking into ways to give each feat bonuses when using alchemical items related to their specialty. That looks like it will require new code, but could go a long way toward making the Alchemist combat role feel special. Also, one of our concerns is that the ability of the Alchemist to somewhat imitate the effects of alchemical items on-the-fly will undermine the value of the crafted items, but giving Alchemists a bonus when using them would in turn make them more valuable.

Finally, for advancement, all would have XP/Coin costs and prerequite numbers similar to those for the initial Feature Feats in the other Roles (like Evoker or individual weapon specializations), focusing on these specifics:
  • Category Points: Adventure or Crafting
  • Feats: Formula Book Implement Proficiency for all, Alchemical Weapon Proficiency and Ranged Attack Bonus for Bomber
  • Achievements: Alchemist role/level for all, Alchemical Expert (kills with Alchemist's Tools) for Bombers
  • Ability Score Requirements/Bonuses: Intelligence

Basically, they should advance pretty much the same as most other Feature Feats, just with Alchemist-specific requirements and bonuses.

There is lots of good stuff here and as great a plan as any. I do not see anything about an upgrading of the engine (unless I missed it).

So I am curious if some of these things will create problems, later, that cause much back recoding for the newer engine version's requirements?

That's still on the long-term plans, but will be a major undertaking and didn't feel like the best choice for the next batch of updates given our current resources.

Fortunately, none of the things we're working on should conflict significantly with a future Unity upgrade. They do add to the overall size of the codebase, and so there will be more existing code to review, but most are in areas that have been heavily abstracted away from any specific Unity code, and others (like Per Character Subscriptions and Respecs) largely involve back-end server code that doesn't touch Unity at all.
Per Character Subscriptions:
This is nice, But how will it interact with DT accounts?

As part of this change, we'll be explicitly marking which characters are DT's of each other. Those two characters will always be subscribed (or not subscribed) as a pair, in line with the original plans for them.

New Escalation/Sequence:
This is a great New Year's tradition, But given the game's current population and number of active settlements, I ask that the number of hexes seeded with the sequence are cut down, as we have not even finished half of what was left from last year, so yeah cut it down to a number equal to say 2 to 2 and a half times the number of active settlements. What'll define 'active settlement' as a definition is that the settlement can't of been shutdown for more then a month for the whole year.

There's a certain amount of overhead to adding some kind of eligibility requirement, but it would be possible to do something along those lines. My initial thought was just to make the sequences significantly shorter this time, particularly with spreading escalations getting added in a month or two later.

Spreading Escalations:
This is good, in that it'll keep folks busy and tending to their holdings.
Though I ask that if a hex has been infested for say a month, that any holding and it's outposts degrade by one like in a capture, so as to slowly clean out the dead company and settlement claims.

The exact mechanics haven't been decided on, but yes, part of the idea is that having one of your hexes infected will eventually result in the holding shutting down if you don't do anything about it. In general, we don't want to turn fending off spreading escalations into too much of a chore, and our definition of chore will be pretty generous for now, but spreading escalations will increase the likelihood that abandoned holdings will fall, and eventually that abandoned settlements will shut down for lacking DI.

XP Purchases:
I hope this gets a cap so one can't have more exp then a day 1 account and so day 1's can not buy their way into being level 20 in everything the second it's available.

We haven't finalized the mechanics/limits for this yet. The goal is to find the right balance between letting players make reasonable use of this feature and respecting the XP players already have. Hard caps may be part of that, increasing costs are another possibility.

At the very least, advancing always involves a certain amount of gameplay through the achievement prerequisites. Even if you could purchase enough XP to reach level 20 (and there very well may be unplayed day 1 characters out there sitting on that amount of XP), you couldn't just enter the game and immediately learn all the feats to hit level 20.

Breaking one of the Kickstarter rules, in that respects were never to be allowed.
But since it's coming, so far it's not a bad, but could be more costly to really make player think about it and that includes wiping the recipes learned.

We still want to make sure that past advancement choices are meaningful choices, but blocking all forms of respecs seems unnecessarily restrictive for achieving that goal. What's important is finding the right balance of costs in exchange for those respecs. Causing recipes to be forgotten would be one way to increase those costs, though it would be a high cost for someone planning to relearn those crafting skills and no cost at all for someone planning not to relearn them. The same could be said of losing certain achievements, but they also provide category points that are more broadly useful, so the cost hits a larger percentage of players.

Expanded Escalations and Additional Elite Escalations:
A nice thing, but we need a completely new type of escalation, one that can sow chaos and put players and settlements on alert with their feet on the ground and a focus to kill it fast.
This new PVE escalation type should be designed to sow chaos to the mundane operations of the game's day to day, as a small band of Zycor's would.
I do have an idea of how to do it along with a number of it's mechanics, but that'll need a whole new thread.

We'd certainly like to explore more PvE experiences, but these particular items made it onto the list because they don't require any new code. That makes them good choices for updates that are already heavy on codework but low on design/testing.

Flag for PvP:
This needs to be done right, and the risk vs reward for PVP need to be big. When I say big I mean that it changes the game completely for the player opting in or out of PVP.
I mean access to; claiming territory, placing holdings, entering low sec hexes, level caps, etc.

The overall goal is to be welcoming to PvP-averse players. Restrictions on claiming territory or placing holdings are completely appropriate, since those actions are inherently forms of PvP ("There's a very limited amount of this, and I claim this one, so you can't"). Not being able to enter claimed hexes set to low security might be okay ("I'm paying a price in blood or treasure to keep you out of here, but there are plenty of other hexes you can explore"), but it might be better to just say they can't gather there or that they get heavily taxed in some way (depends on how welcoming it is to let specific monster hexes get blocked off for long periods of time, versus letting them get blocked off for more like a day at a high price). Level caps, on the other hand, seem pretty unwelcoming, since they'd significantly impact a character's PvE capabilities.

While I can say this is a step in the right direction, I think the order is a bit off. But given the game's population it's the better start point.

This is here largely because there are already so many aspects of the game implemented that touch on deities, but feel incomplete without at least some ability to follow those deities. It also felt like a good step toward factional PvP. Not that we'd necessarily get that aspect in right away, but having the deity factions set up would give us something to hook such PvP up to, making it that much easier to implement, in turn making it a more compelling choice for future updates.

Also since I'm still here, add in Kurgress to the list of the initial release of deities.

In some ways, adding more deities would be relatively easy. A lot depends on just how deeply each deity gets incorporated. If it's just a question of adding them as a deity to be followed, with a faction to earn points in, that's probably trivial. Hooking up things like temples, domains and sanctified attacks adds a fair amount of overhead to each deity, and in some cases may call for additional code in order to implement them in a remotely satisfying way. Kurgess, for example, favors the javelin, which we don't really support. However, he does support some domains we already include, so that might make him a little easier to implement. Other deities might only support domains we've yet to implement, and some of those domains might not work well with our existing combat effects. Admittedly, some current domains don't yet work quite the way they were intended to, but at least we were able to find alternative effects for now. We can probably do the same for plenty of other domains, but I suspect some would be pretty difficult to reflect in any meaningful way without new code.

We're also looking at aligning the deities better with Pathfinder Second Edition, so it will probably be easier to talk about the deities that have already been adapted for that.

Still, sometimes folks just want to worship a particular deity, regardless of the consequences, so we could look at getting more of them into the game in a limited way if that appeals to enough players.
Also the bandoliers sounds very interesting also since I get annoyed by only being able to carry 9 potions and such currently.

The bandoliers won't really solve the 9 potion issue, since you don't load them up with potions. Instead, they're similar to quivers or charge gems, except bandoliers get loaded with reagents instead of with arrows or charges. That said, the attack feats that make use of reagents will often be similar to the effects of potions, so in a sense the bandoliers will enable you to feel somewhat like you're using potions more often. However, the attack feats will be balanced more like other attack feats, so they generally won't be as powerful.

We do have some thoughts on making it easier to carry and use potions, and hope to do some work on it soon, but don't have that scheduled at the moment.
  • It needs to be possible to readily integrate the various abilities like bandoliers into existing characters (presumably after suitable training and XP spent) the same way we currently integrate clerics with rogues etc.

That's definitely the plan. The mix of "feats reserved for those advancing as Alchemists" and "feats that are probably more useful for Alchemists but not reserved for them" should be pretty similar to the mix created for other roles. For example, you can't advance in Formula Book Implement Proficiency without advancing as an Alchemist, just as you can't advance in Holy Symbol Implement Proficiency without advancing as a Cleric. However, Alchemical Weapon Proficiency doesn't require Alchemist, just as Focus Weapon Proficiency doesn't require Cleric. It's certainly easier to advance in them while advancing in those roles, and there are more possibilities for acquiring other feats with matching bonuses, but it shouldn't be significantly more difficult to add some Alchemist abilities to a Fighter than it currently would be to add some Cleric abilities.

  • It is critical that this new role is not released in a form that later needs a substantial nerf after people have already spent XP/Money/Time on the character.

We'll do our best, and that's a large part of why I'll be opening each of the details up for crowdforging as we go. Getting started now means I can post a steady stream of details without suddenly dropping an overwhelming batch of numbers on everyone.

  • If you attach all these new features to gathered mats and salvage items that take a dedicated party of six running escalations every night a month to collect the time spent developing the role will be wasted.

My plan is for the standard Alchemist recipes to use existing standard refined items, or at the very least for any new refining recipes to use existing standard stocks. The overall difficulty of gathering/refining/crafting Alchemist items should similar to doing so for other roles.