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Interview 26 – Mark Kalmes, part 1
by Dan Repperger

You can find a transcript of this show here!

If you’re interested in backing the Pathfinder Online Kickstarter, you can do so here.

* (0:43) The postcards contest is ready for your vote to pick the grand prize winner!  Get your votes in here!

* (1:08) Some breaking news on the Pathfinder MMO: Mark tells us about the upcoming “Guild Land Rush”.

* (5:26) Introducing Mark Kalmes.  City of Heroes (and Villains), the Mastermind, and the game’s shutdown.  Asheron’s Call and Meridian.

* (11:49) Mark’s work in robotics.

* (14:12) The relationship between Goblinworks and Paizo.

* (15:58) How close will the MMO stick to the Pathfinder tabletop rules?  The nature of a class-less, skill-based system.  How characters advance, how they’re capped, and how new players can enter a world alongside well-established ones.

* (32:51) Player-versus-player combat in Pathfinder Online.  The reasoning behind the lack of PVE (or purely consensual PVP) options.  The role of NPC hirelings.  A player-based economy and the importance of inter-player relationships.

* (46:37) Breaking into an established world.  Finding a role for your character and a piece of land for your house.

* (51:09) The consequences of character death.

* (53:36) The relationship between the in-game and real-world economies.  We also talk about active subscriptions versus playing on a lapsed subscription.  The story of Second Life and the IRS.

* (58:41) The number and structure of servers, and the number of accounts per server.  Hurdles put in place to keep one guild from dominating the game world.

* (1:02:17) How the casual and solo players fit into the order of things.

Hosts: Dan, Johann, John, Pat

Guests: Mark Kalmes

Comments (5)

Daniel KingDecember 20th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Excellent, really enjoyed listening to this. :)

SamDecember 25th, 2012 at 1:10 am

This is making me think twice about this game. I’m not liking what I’m hearing.

DanDecember 25th, 2012 at 10:57 am

Sam, first off, Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Second, what exactly are your concerns about Pathfinder Online? It’s not my product, so I can’t really say much either way, but I’m just curious to hear your thoughts. Also, I know a few folks from Goblin Works are watching this discussion, so they might be able to comment in more detail.

Take care!

SamDecember 27th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

It appears to be very guild and economic-centric. The interview tended towards comparisons with Eve Online, which was my worst experience with an MMO. I was drawn in by its setting, but the actual game play and community was not fun.

They did not really touch on what about those people who might play the game with 1-3 other friends. It sounded like a small guild not starting with the kickstarter will be relegated to scrub-lands in the middle of nowhere. Larger guilds able to obliterate them at a whim.

Always on PVP is another. The only drawback is an alignment change? What if they are from an evil guild, or a guild big enough that one bad egg doesn’t make a difference?

There are a few small other nitpicky parts, but I do know its early in its development so I will just wait and see how things happen.

And as a side thing if they are watching, here is another vote for allowing kobolds as a playble race. Goblins are fun, but kobolds are more so!

RyanDDecember 28th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Sam’s expressing issues that we are comfortable with. When we decided to do the game as a sandbox, we knew it would immediately be an issue for people who simply have a low tolerance for pvp. And while EVE is incredibly successful it has also turned off a lot of folks due to factors inherent in its design so when we tell people we’re using EVE as an inspiration we know that turns off some people too.

Sandbox MMOs are best played in large groups. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing small groups or solo players can do, but it means they elect to play a much harder game than those who play in larger groups.

It’s just the natural cost of good segmentation; by definition that means that we’re making something that’s really appealing to some people, and not appealing at all to others, and we accept that trade-off.

I expect that once we’re up and running and people can see what we’re doing that is different than the other attempts at sandbox games and that we’re being successful at creating a community that isn’t toxic and filled with jerks, a lot of folks will take a second look. We’re in this for the very long term and expect that it will take a long while to change some hearts and minds.

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