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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] Pathfinder Online: What Makes You Pledge?

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Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16010

OP  1/15/13 7:12:04 PM#1

Earlier this week, indie game Pathfinder Online was given the go ahead after successfully raising $1M via Kickstarter. In today's Independency, we take a look at the various reasons people pledge in order to see a game developed. Check it out and then tell us why you pledge in the comments.

Not too long ago, there was more than a hint of concern that Pathfinder Online would not make it to the finish line. With mere hours left, it was still a punishing six figures away from its goal. Twitter kept, well, fluttering with anxious beseechments to assist the project. Needless to say, it eventually edged into completion - the funding drive finished with an impressive-sounding $1,091,194.

Read more of Cassandra Khaw's Independency: What Makes You Pledge?

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/12
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1/16/13 8:16:54 AM#2

First project I've pledge to, but from what I read about this game it seems to become the game I've been waiting for since I started playing. (Way back in the -90's :P ). And if most of their visions make it in to the game when it's released I'll be the happiest gamer around. And if they will have another Kickstarter in the future I will back them once again.

So the thing that makes me pledge for a project is something I have longed for to play or watch, and this happened to be just that. And that is pretty much what entices me too. :)


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Joined: 10/02/04
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1/16/13 8:23:07 AM#3
I jsut liked the sound of some of their ideas, plus im a sandbox fan so it made sense to pledge..

My 3D models


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Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

1/16/13 8:46:44 AM#4
I like the direction they're headed with the project and they've got a solid team with an extensive background in creating great games and getting them released. The combination of all of those prompted me to pledge.

There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein


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Joined: 7/18/10
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Veni, Vidi, Converti

1/16/13 8:51:28 AM#5

The more a Kickstarter project asks for (1m$) - the more it needs to show off what it already has done.

Secondly mmorpgs are notoriously risky, expensive - and seemingly end up disappointing many players even if an equal amount of players are happy. So without being able to show 1) beta quality 2) core systems eg combat 3) synergy of each component of the game working together to create the full experience => It's a big leap of faith to back such a "New Deal".

The big names mainly are non-mmorpg so their weight is mostly in the pledge rewards merchandise - not the actual game. I think by contrast a Ralph Koestler recommendation or collaboration could have boosted another 1m$ even? Eg Shiffer, Braben, Molyneux et al. particularly the last 2 got by on their name.

Kickstarters are risky: There is the equal probably of 20:80 (good to bad delivery) Best bet is to back low and back projects that are eta as short as possible: None of which PFO kickstarter is and therefore every reason to be skeptical, especially as by comparison with other ks projects the pledges were on the high value end. Surely I would therefore not vote?

Why I backed: One of the biggest differences with this funding endeavour and with the Goblin Works devs is the community-driven approach they're aiming for with a smaller mmorpg targetting a more specific niche. That imo is where sub mmorpgs can achieve lasting success: It may not be mass market, but it's still a very big market of rpg, pnp, sandbox & mmorpg players looking for a great designed Sandbox Fantasy MMORPG. Also possibly the last Kickstarter game project I back,those last few hours were torture!

Finally it's time players voted how mmorpgs are being developed.


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Joined: 3/08/09
Posts: 195

An opinion once stated is no longer humble.

1/16/13 9:09:39 AM#6
The biggest reason I don't back these games is simple.  Money is limited right now so I can't afford to throw money at other peoples dreams that have a good chance of not making it out the gate.

The lesser of two evils is still evil.

There is nothing more dangerous than a true believer.


Old School

Joined: 5/21/03
Posts: 1410

1/16/13 9:12:37 AM#7
Originally posted by MumboJumbo

The more a Kickstarter project asks for (1m$) - the more it needs to show off what it already has done.

According to that line, you shouldnt've pledged, since they've really done NOTHING, but a small tech demo (on a licensed engine...)

I definitely would not pledge for such projects, when they've really nothing to show, but an IP and ideas.


I personally am not fond of these kickstarter things and "pre-purchase" things.. i pay when i see it.


Currently playing: -

Waiting for: Class4.

Dead and Buried: ESO, NWO, GW2, SWTOR, Darkfall, AO, AC2, Vanguard, CoH/V, EnB, EVE, Neocron, FE, EQ, EQ2, DAoC, FFXI, FFXIV, SWG, WoW, and billions of eastern junks!


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We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.

1/16/13 9:38:50 AM#8
Nothing here.  I do not trust indie comapnies to deliver.  I'd rather put 100% faith in a triple-A title.

Sandbox means open world, non-linear gaming PERIOD!

Subscription Gaming, especially MMO gaming is a Cash grab bigger then the most P2W cash shop!

Bring Back Exploration and lengthy progression times. RPG's have always been about the Journey not the destination!!!


Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 6996

1/16/13 9:40:29 AM#9

I don't pledge Kickstarter, or haven't yet, but I have supported early indie development directly.  The latest is City of Steam where I've spent $100 to support development.

I considered supportinig this, but it doesn't have enough of the right big names for me to feel comfortable with it.  Those are all great creative forces, but for an indie I would want a stronger team with mmo experience.  Making an mmo seems to be an entirely different beast from any other sort of development project.

I do hope they succeed though.  I am interested in their project, will watch it, and would consider supporting it at a later stage in its evolution.

No one has as many friends as a man with many cheeses!


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Veni, Vidi, Converti

1/16/13 9:44:27 AM#10
Originally posted by Fusion
Originally posted by MumboJumbo

The more a Kickstarter project asks for (1m$) - the more it needs to show off what it already has done.

According to that line, you shouldnt've pledged, since they've really done NOTHING, but a small tech demo (on a licensed engine...)


Exactly. For most people this is the rational response, hence one reason why it pipped it. Kickstarter projects either a) Fail miserably b) Just succeed in reaching their goal (ie reach ~60%; 98% are funded stat) or c) Totally blow away that goal.

I think I backed it for mostly for emotional reasons: Missing UO and EVE's inception, this is one chance to see a mmorpg with a great design take off and be there. It may be like rolling 2d10 and hoping for 20 or game-over. I think that's how polarised over mmorpgs I am these days. 


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/31/06
Posts: 2115

1/16/13 9:49:58 AM#11

The title seems to be what people are replying to rather than the article, but that's what you get when you have a title that asks a question, when the real question is the opposite:  Why didn't more people pledge?


I'll tell you why.  The kickstarter page didn't inspire confidence in the project.  Even as someone who pledged (albeit at the last minute), I had plenty of reasons not to.

1.  Release date 2016.  That's a long time to wait for a game, and by 2 years the furthest off project I've ever pledged for.  A lot can change in a persons life in three years, are they really expected to plan that far ahead?  What if they have a family or crisis or different job, or simply are no longer interested?


2.  Graphics.  Graphics aren't everything, but they do often represent the level of programming competence you have at the table.  Not just with textures and models created by artists, but by the polygon count and post-processing the foundation engine is you are using.  If that's no good, like Hero Engine and SWTOR, then you will scare people off who don't want to get burned again.


3.  Pathfinder, while growing in popularity, isn't a big name yet, and neither are the people working on it, despite what this article says.


4.  Convoluted rewards.  The kickstarter page is nearly a novel in length and isn't all that clear on what you get for what price, what gets added on, and how some of the features even work.  Someone made a flow chart to help sort it out, and even that wasn't crystal clear.  The fact that one was even made, is proof that they did something wrong on their page. 


The features sounded good, and the rewards simply too tempting to pass up.  Never has an mmo kickstarter offered so much that release players will never get, and even at the 35 dollar level.  It's almost shady or pay2win.  Heck, it is pay2win, and I didn't want to lose, if the game happens to be good. 


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Joined: 6/28/12
Posts: 559

1/16/13 10:05:49 AM#12
I feel Pathfinder Online is going to fail because of how experienced the devs are. You can already feel the pnp map style in that tech demo, which is rather unlikely to work in an mmo environment. Not just that but for every "success" we have like Pathfinder, we have a Greedmonger.

I did battle with ignorance today, and ignorance won.

To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled - because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/15/13
Posts: 16

1/16/13 11:32:32 AM#13

Well this article gets right at it - this was a very strange Kickstarter. I pledged $100 about 10 days before it ended, and so I followed it as closely as I could. This was the first game I ever backed - mostly because I liked the ideas they presented and I feel like I should start shelling out for developers in this situation. It was really hard to puzzle out what was going on with it, they don't even have a real forum for the game.


Why did I pledge? well, because they played off of impulse buying with the daily deals. I logged in on the day they were offering the mage dagger. I don't want a mage dagger, neither for magery nor stabbery - but I HAD TO HAVE IT and couldn't bear to miss out on future goodies, just in case they were what I wanted.


Secondly I bought into the $100 level for their croudforging vote pledge. I now fear I was a fool - their first vote was to ask about which race should be added to the game. Turns out - we're getting gnomes. Awesome, never been a gnome before... wait a minute... Their second vote is asking players to pick from the following to include at launch: 1) pets 2) additional gods, or 3) fast mounts - Seriously? More WoW options? Not only that, but we have to pick which is included? I suspect that this voting is just a ploy to make people think their input is doing something, to build a community around game features.


What have I done with my $100 I ask? I've bought a possibly successful subscription to a mash together of WoW+EVE+D&D. It has the best elements of all three (or so it claims), but I mistook that for a different game. I look forward to PO and hope it will be a lot of fun, but I'm beginning to think I bought into their Kickstarter under a false impression.


I posted on it more in-depth at another site a few days ago: Case Study - Pathfinder Online


Novice Member

Joined: 11/22/11
Posts: 104

1/16/13 11:54:46 AM#14
I have backed one kickstarter, but it was not PFO. I love the ideas this game brings, look forward to trying it, but I could not back it personally because I felt it was too far out in production and although they have a very qualified PnP team they have noone with MMO or even programing experience in thier roster. I see them able to plan this game out perfectly, but not able to implement a thing. I hope for the best though, and wish them the best of luck.

Often lurking, rarely posting


Elite Member

Joined: 6/08/10
Posts: 2195

1/16/13 11:59:25 AM#15
I have faith in indie companies, and kickstarter is great, but games with laundry lists of features and nothing demonstrating those features make me instantly run away. I have a feeling PFO and Greed Monger are going to plop face down, they're over promising with nothing to show.

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1/16/13 12:02:22 PM#16
I pledged because it reminded me of a mix of Asheron's Call Darktide and Horizons/Istaria. Destruction, player run and built. I'm also affectionate to the parent company and their roleplaying side. 

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Joined: 1/16/13
Posts: 5

1/16/13 1:35:18 PM#17

This is the first MMO that got me interested since DAoC. I was tempted by EvE but I don't dig space games.

I also liked City of Heros/Villains very much it just held no real long time motivation for me because of the theme.

And now guys from EvE and guys from CoH come together to make a fantasy EvE set in the awesome world of the currently best selling RPG.

And that is really important because I know the community of pathfinder and it is a GREAT community, which is fundamental for the success of such a game!


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"When you are confused, you are learning something"

1/16/13 3:10:39 PM#18

Pathfinder Online is the first Kickstarter i have backed.


The reason for my decision to back this project is (as with every Kickstarters i'm interested in) i did my research.


Game Design:

Ryan Dancey has wrote a mile long blog post detailing his game design, not just saying "i want such and such feature" but detailing how these game mechanics and feature will be implimented.

He has also, in great detail, writen up the entire development plan Pathfinder Online and has shared this with the community. 


The First Kickstarter:


After being funded with great success with the first Kickstarter, Ryan show the community with video and blog posts what he was doing with the money.

Goblinworks set up offices, bought hardware, hired 8 more developers, procured a middleware, created a tech demo, and followed his development plan to the tee. All while being 100% transperent with the community on the Pathfinder Online messageboards.


Development Team:


Ryan Dancey -

CMO of CCP, CEO of Isomedia, Five Rings Publishing, Wizards of the Coast and a long rooted background in TTRPG's.


Lisa Stevens -

CEO of Paizo Publishing, Creator of Pathfinder RPG, Creator of Vampire: The Masqurade, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, Launched Magic the Gathering, Launched Star Wars RPG etc etc. Deep roots in the RPG community.


Mark Kalmes -

Cryptic Studios, Lead Programmer City of Villians, Software Director Champions Online, Lead Director World of Darkness etc...


Lee Hammock -

Lead Designer Fallen Earth, Lead Zone Designer Elder Scrolls, Creative Combat Design, Designer for many TTRPG'S etc...


Mark Hines -

Built Middleware Layers for Unreal Engine, Manager for Epic China Titan Studios etc...


Stephen Cheney - Lead Game Designer Icarus Studios


Micheal Wallin - Lead Animator Pitch Black Games


Stephen Minkin - 3D Character Artist for Pitch Black, Big Hude Games, Digital Armada


Da Hsia - Senior Character Artist Pitch Black Games, Omen Studios


Legendary Game Designers and creative writers:


Ed Greenwood, Frank Mentzer, Kieth Baker, Rich Baker, Erik Mona, James Jacob, Jordan Wiesmen, James Sutter, Jason Buhlman, Wes Sneider, Micheal Stackpole, Mark Rein Hagen, Wolfgang Bauer etc...


Art Design by Wayne Renolds



So needless to say i had no hesitation in making a pledge to the Pathfinder Online Kickstarter, so much talent behind this one and i have said for years "it's going to take real RPG developers to make a real MMORPG".



"It would be awesome if you could duel your companion. Then you could solo pvp".--Thanes


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Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 3612

If you can't kill it, don't make it mad.

1/16/13 3:19:18 PM#19

Mostly because I tend to back these types of games, when they look interesting.  If it doesn't work, then I'm only out $100, and I spend more than that in any given month on my gaming hobby any way.

I suspect one of their problems is the graphics. Those are quite basic, and nothing like what we've all come to expect these days.  A game doesn't have to be like TERA or Aion, but that level of graphics tends to attract peoples attention.


Advanced Member

Joined: 1/20/05
Posts: 247

1/16/13 3:25:06 PM#20

I'm a Pathfinder fan (P&P) and absolutely love the ruleset and am okay with the setting. However, the MMO didn't get me to pledge because of what they are providing.

Yes, their concept of combat is interesting, with the whole action points thing, but I don't want a sandbox MMO. I would've rather took a Neverwinter nights game with Pathfinder setting & rules. Think of all those sweet PWs!

I guess I'm just tired of MMOs in the end and want... well, something different.

We´re all dead, just say it.

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