Something Old and Obscure – Pathfinder Online
I remember when this project was still fairly new. It was being promoted on some of the table-top RPG podcasts I listened to at the time. I even remember where I was when I listened to the episode I’m thinking of, I just don’t remember when that was or why I was there. I’m guessing it was late 2012, but could have been as early as their kickstarter in mid-2012.
Now, I haven’t followed this project very closely. At the various times I had checked on it, it was either not available, not in a state I was willing to pay for, or appeared to be dead. I actually though it had shut down in it’s entirety, but that’s not the case. Development has continued with, I think maybe, two people. It came to my attention again because there’s a trial key in the $1 tier of the latest Pathfinder book bundle on Humble Bundle. I figured I’d give it a poke and see what had come of the project I heard about so long ago.
After going through the class tutorials, I can see why I haven’t heard much. This certainly isn’t a game that’s going to have mass appeal. I managed to get through the first few class tutorials before the game randomly decided to shut down and I chose to stop there. I actually considered not even writing this post at all at that point.
This morning, though, I decided I should at least finish the class tutorials before I wrote about it.
Like most sandboxes, guidance is quite minimal, and some amount of paying attention and reading the dialogue/quest text is needed. Right off the bat I struggled to figure out how to equip items because I hadn’t read the text and couldn’t find the one key that brings up that particular window. I do quite like the appearance of the window though. Something about it’s overall scheme and layout I find appealing.
I didn’t find combat very interesting, but I think that’s because I don’t understand it. There are three bars there, blue is stamina, red is health, and I dunno what yellow is. There are a lot of little icons that pop up on that interface in combat that aren’t explained and mean nothing to me. I just end up spamming the main attack ability ad nauseam. I also didn’t find archery, divine magic, or arcane magic to be, in any significant way, different other than flavor.
I ended up doing mostly gathering after I finished the tutorials. It’s found in various types of nodes scattered around the map, but generally seem concentrated in areas covered in things that want to kill me. I used the longsword from the fighter tutorial and the leather armor from the archer tutorial because the gathering classes armor bonuses are mostly in the “light” category.
I ended up killing lots of goblins in the process. The little buggers just can’t be bothered to let me be.
The map is a somewhat odd thing as well, being based on a hex grid. The borders aren’t actually so obvious when you’re running around, and I have no idea what the icons mean, but it’s a decent way to lay everything out I guess.
I was originally going to point out that I hadn’t seen any other players during the time I spent with it, but I did eventually see some. Three people, total, were running through tutorial stuff while I was finishing mine this morning. I presume they’re all there using the same trial key I also had. I mean, why not right?
I might be playing it some more to better flesh out my opinion, or I might not. It’s not a bad game, by any stretch. It reminds me of The Repopulation in a lot of ways. It’s now a super small project supported by a tiny team that’s function but a little rough. The difference being, of course, that Pathfinder Online is subscription based, and I’m highly unlikely to actually sub at the moment. It’s not completely dead though, so there’s that.
Think I’ll leave it there for today. Thinking about the original pitch and promises from years ago compared to where they ended up is mildly depressing.