JP On Gaming

Monday, December 3, 2012

[Rant?] Pathfinder MMO: Do I like it? Is this really a rant?

I have been thinking about this post for about a week. Trying to be sure that my mind was made up correctly. But also because I felt like I was going to crap all over a friend's valiant effort. This post is not that. It's just me trying to understand the whole affair.

I mean to talk about the Pathfinder MMO Kickstarter. Last summer, they put together a Kickstarter for their demo to pitch to investors. They gathered about 300k$. Significantly more than I thought. It showed the devotion and love the community has for the game and the setting, something I never doubted.

Personally, I only play MMOs once they go free to play, for budget reason (I've played a lot of Guild Wars I, D&D Online, Star Trek Online, Conan online and more recently, DC Universe Online). I simply cannot commit family resources to something I can't predict how much I'll play. I debated with myself for a long time about whether or not I should chip in - if only for the special adventure they offered. In the end, I chose not to (for personal reasons that had little with the project itself). I did re-tweet and talk about the project to people.

I look at the Paizo Con stills in awe. The goblins Paizo showed were looking great. Seoni looked... Well she had generous tracts of land and a "High Charisma". The look was impressive and I did admit to have second thoughts. Then again... the kickstarter offered little-to-nothing about the game itself: no guarantee to get in on the Beta, no play-time, just an adventure... Granted the names writing that adventure: Erik Mona, Jason Buhlman, Ed Greenwood!

So I take it the people at Goblinworks did their tech demo, created Sandpoint and parts of Varisia, met with some investors...

This new kickstarter brings up many questions.

Where are investors?

Seeing that in November/December they come back with ANOTHER Kickstarter?

Did they already blow the 300k$?

Are they just trying to get some extra cash?

This whole thing leaves me... Filled with questions and without a satisfactory answer for them. I had the chance of being somewhat on the inside at Paizo and the easy answers of "they're looking for a quick buck" just... just doesn't makes sense.

Then I saw that others were sharing my views and not being on-board as much. It made me re-think about it. I really liked Ironwolf's blog post. His post was spot-on and mirrored my reasoning perfectly. Some people I follow on the twitterverse echoed similar thoughts.

I wasn't alone.

So I've been thinking: is the community love affair with Paizo ending? Did they jump the shark on this? Does the community really want this MMO?

Looking at the first day and the numbers climbed quickly up to 100k$ (as of this writing, it has gone up to 172k$), I'll wait and see if the community really want it. But 1 million is a lot.

Then thinking back to the 300k$ they got in June... That was five times more than they asked for. What happened to that money? I don't think Paizo needs to tell the community anything. But it just seems... So quick. Like they're looking for a quick buck, garner their bank account before they start the full implementation.

That impression of the quick buck is... Well I can't get that out of my head. I don't like it. But it seems is the only answer I can get from what I've read.

On the other hand, I like the idea of the product and the look of what I see thus far. But I can't help but feel like something is... Something is... Weird.

I hope they do well and that they reach their goal.

But I don't feel right in participating in that Kickstarter. I'd love to. This one was the one I was waiting for when the first one was announced. The timing is just weird. Just so quick. How did they spend the 250k$ they got in extra money five months ago? Why are there no investors interested in the product?

This had to be the weirdest, weakest rant EVER. The worse thing about it all is that I don't feel any different... I still feel confused about the whole situation... Normally writing provides some form of relief, some form of clarity, but not this time.

I'm stuck with the same questions as I was... And that's something I can rant about! GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!



  1. I work in the video game industry, so I can tell you: making games is very, very expensive. $300k might pay 10 people for 6 months--and that doesn't include expenses for things like hardware, software, office space, and test servers.

    I don't know if that knowledge helps to temper your opinion, but knowing is half the battle!

    1. I know it costs a lot (I work in non-video game software industry).
      I would've loved for them to give us an idea of "where we are and what we did". I don't feel I got that for anything beyond the technology. Assuming they spend 300k every 6 months, the 1M would get them up to the Beta.
      Note that normally I would not worry about how Paizo spend their money. But here they are asking ME for money, they want ME to be an investor.
      What then? Another Kickstarter?

  2. re: initial investment
    If you supported the tech demo KS, there is an Update (#37) that breaks down the costs on a month by month basis. The breakdown is quite specific.

    1. As I said, I did not back the first one because I didn't feel it had anything I wanted so I did not get the update.

    2. Sorry, I missed that bit of info. Well, you will have take my word on it. The breakdown is very specific and to the dollar (everything down to the meal costs). All in all, GW (Ryan specifically) has been very transparent.

      Additionally, I forget where this is discussed (blog or KS), but GW does have investors, the most recent KS is is to shorten the development cycle and to make the game bigger, better, etc.

    3. Any chance you can forward that info?


      I "think" it is possible to see Updates even when not a KS-supporter.