If you are a pen & paper RPG enthusiast like I am, chances are you heard about the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, a fantasy RPG created by Paizo Publishing that improves considerably on the base of the D&D 3.5 ruleset.
The newly opened studio Goblinworks recently announced that it acquired the license to turn Pathfinder in a MMORPG, that will be titled Pathfinder Online.
The development of the game sees a deep involvement of the original creators of the game from Paizo Publishing and the people at the helm of Goblinworks are industry veterans like Lisa Stevens (formerly at White Wolf, Wizards of the Coast and Paizo itself), Ryan Scott Dancey (ex Chief Marketing Officer of CCP) and Mark Calmes (that used to work for Cryptic and CCP).
The CCP background shows quite evidently in the fact that the game will not have pre-determined classes or levels, but a skill-based progression system that will allow players to create the character they want and and “act as merchants, farmers, miners, teamsters, caravan guards, spies, and explorers, and in any other role they choose to create”. According to the developers, players will actually be able to create their own banks and auction houses.
Similarities don’t end there, as Pathfinder Online will have an extensive trading system that will put players in control of the world’s economy with crafted items and consumables, fortifications, and settlements. Character-controlled settlements will be able to grow into full-fledged kingdoms that will compete for resource and raise vast armies to hold their territory against monsters, NPC factions, and other player characters.
While the main platform of the game will be PC, a Mac OS X version is in development, but it may not make it in time for launch. The business model will be the hybrid one that we’ve seen in many MMORPGs as of late. Players will be able to decide to pay a monthly fee to access most of the game, or to play for free with a more limited experience supported by microtransactions.
The development process has just begun, so there’s no release date set, yet, but you can definitely color me interested.