Pathfinder Online: Everything but the game is looking awesome!

I was recently talking to a friend about Pathfinder Online, with the gist of the conversation being that I love everything about the game on paper, from the design docs to what the devs have said, but actually seeing it in video is a complete no-go for me, and what that ultimately means.

On the one hand, ‘gameplay’ is a rather important aspect of any game, if not the most important. If what you are doing in the game isn’t actually fun most of the time, what kind of crazy person must you be to keep playing?

As crazy as most EVE players?

I mean, how much fun gameplay is there in many of EVE’s activities? Is mining ‘fun’? Are missions great gameplay? Even the high-point events like massive battles; for the average F1 pilot, is the gameplay really that great? I think most of the above can be answered with a “no, but…”. And that ‘but’ is huge (rimshot), because while mining is either boring or relaxing depending on perspective, it feeding into the best economy in the genre is a large part of what makes it such a popular activity in the game.

If Pathfinder gets the economy right, if it has interesting/worthwhile crafting, etc, would the fact that it has rather poor mining ‘gameplay’ matter? Because at this point I’d rather take poor gameplay but solid, sustainable systems over the opposite. If I just want great but shallow gameplay, I’ll play something other than an MMO.

Of course some of the gameplay has to be good/great. In EVE PvP can be thrilling, and at the highest levels (Alliance Tourney) it’s as deep and skillful as anything else. Pathfinder is in alpha still, so maybe the combat/gameplay will improve significantly, but even if it doesn’t, I can’t fully rule it out, even in the shape it’s in today.

(That said, please for the love of god improve the gameplay Goblin Works!)


About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in beta, Combat Systems, crafting, EVE Online, MMO design, Pathfinder Online. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Pathfinder Online: Everything but the game is looking awesome!

  1. The key difference is that it *makes sense* for combat between large, lumbering spaceships being slow and tedious. It makes sense for huge spaceships to lock onto one another and fire volleys, the smallest spaceship is larger than a 747 for crying out loud. The people who piss and moan about the Eve combat and want to fly the Eve ships as if they are dogfighters are missing the point.

    On the contrary, the Eve gameplay does not fit in a fantasy game where you control an otherwise nimble and fast humanoid character.

    • SynCaine says:

      Very valid point in terms of why we ‘accept’ EVE being one way, while not accepting fantasy MMOs being something similar.

      • Rynnik says:

        I agree and mostly had the same thoughts before reading these comments.

        Stark cold space of sci-fi translates to being more or less forgiving of stark boring gameplay.

        On the other hand the fantasy genre seems to have conditioned us to vibrant and active settings that are enormously hard on any representative gameplay.

        Probably enormously unfair in the sense that the average gamer’s perception of armoured ‘medieval’ fantasy combat is ridiculously far from real physics and requires a heavy dose of magic, wishing away the problem, or simply not giving a shit on the part of the consumer in order to be satisfied with it.

    • Matt says:

      I don’t know…it worked for Star Wars.

  2. sid6.7 says:

    I haven’t seen any gameplay videos in months but the problem I saw with it was that the animations were klunky. If those are off, the whole game simply suffers.

  3. Adam says:

    I’ve followed Pathfinder Online since its initial announcement and I’ve spent way too much time on their forum. I had a total hard-on for this MMO but I’ve since come to suspect that it’s going to be a total wash. The videos I’ve seen are not just below average, they’re downright awful. And yet each video release is greeted on the forums by cries of bliss and worship. You just know where this is heading.

    On top of that the head of the project, Ryan Dancey, is divisive and encourages the forum rats to attack anyone who disagrees with his megalomaniac plans. The vast majority are toeing the line because they don’t want to be shut out of the initial release where the player numbers are going to be capped. On paper it looks amazing, it still looks amazing. I reckon it’s a 5% chance at best that they pull it off.

    • Rynnik says:

      As to it being a wash or not Ryan Dancey’s continual assertion that they aren’t designing the game to appeal to more than a small (capped) and growing number of players through their Early Enrollment stage of development is going to make for a VERY interesting topic of discussion over the months between now and Open Enrollment in 2016. If it works, if the current backers remain the ONLY support base (and the high end packages don’t pay sub fees until open enrollment), if the current visual presentation drives even those people away, etc. is going to make for some real decent *popcorn* moments in the blog world I am sure.

      Personally the debate still rages on for me and my wallet vote. Even if I decide the current gameplay isn’t enough, do I listen to the EVE offline voice that says throw money and sit it out ticking up XP for when (if?) it gets sorted? Is ‘Spreadsheets in the Riverlands’ enough for me even with this gameplay to immerse myself and answer all my MMO needs regardless of the window dressing?

      Still not sure.

  4. Catalina de Erauso says:

    Sid Meier said that games should be simple to learn, challenging to master and fun to play.

    Probably he wasn’t thinking about ‘Exception Online’, but if I ever had to develop a MMO, I would rather do as Sid Meier than try and imitate CCP…

    • saucelah says:

      I only played Eve for a few months and find it to be a game I like in theory more than in practice.

      But I think it’s fair to say that Eve is simple to learn, challenging to master, and fun to play for many people. The old meme about the Eve learning curve is more about how it is challenging to master — within moments, anyone can understand the basic controls and be popping rats or mining.

      In other words, I think your post is meaningless.

  5. saucelah says:

    This headline has the stupid Lego Movie song stuck in my head now. Troll.

  6. Matt says:

    Maybe it’s best for MMOs to trade on the persistent world feature, given that it’s really the only unique advantage they have. To that end, the goal would be to convince people that status in the virtual world is important and worthy of attainment. People will do all sorts of boring crap if they think they are getting ahead by doing so.

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