Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Grumpy Dwarf Rants About Illusionary Carrots in Paizo's Pathfinder Online Kickstarter

Dear Clueless Crowdfunder,

Our sister company Goblinworks is busy developing Pathfinder Online, a sandbox-style MMO based on the Pathfinder world. In celebration of them raising $200k in the first week of their Kickstarter initiative (and watching the fund raising slow down), and to thank our fans for their continued support, Paizo is thrilled to announce new rewards for the Pathfinder Online Kickstarter, adding awesome new content to the Pathfinder setting! (which is, of course, the same trick they pulled with the "proof of concept demo dealie" with the other kickstarter)

The biggest news is the launch of the Emerald Spire Superdungeon (Dwimmermount was their preferred choice, but James Mal already took that) , which will become the largest official Pathfinder RPG dungeon ever published (dare we call it a "megadungeon"?). The Emerald Spire Superdungeon (guess not) includes 32 pages of source material detailing the area around Fort Inevitable (what is with the lame names?), one of the starter towns in the Pathfinder Online game. It will also add at least four, 8-page dungeon levels, designed by Pathfinder superstars Richard L. Baker, F. Wesley Schneider, Wolfgang Baur and James L. Sutter. The Superdungeon will be accompanied by the Emerald Spire Dungeons Flip-Mat Multi-Pack, a set of Pathfinder Flip-Mats presenting each dungeon level in tabletop miniatures scale. (all of which is cool if you use miniatures in gaming - probably why I don't play Pathfinder)

As the Kickstarter funding grows, so does the Superdungeon (now, follow along, because I have a big question at the end of this shell game). When the $250k sub-goal is met, I will come out of game design semi-retirement to add an original dungeon level to the book. As each $100k sub-goal is met thereafter, new levels by superstar designers will be added. By the time the Kickstarter reaches its $1 million funding goal, the Emerald Spire Superdungeon will encompass 12 dungeon levels in 128 pages, accompanied by 6 double-sided Flip-Mats in the Emerald Spire Dungeons Flip-Mat Multi-Pack. (Okay - but if it doesn't fund, do we still get ann Emerald Spire of Uber-Goodness Dungeon of Super Doom? That's why this is a bullshit carrot - it's 12 plus levels or it's nothing. Why the fuck doesn't Paizo just say: "Fund our MMORPG so we can earn monthly residuals and we'll give you the megadungeon behind door number 1,000,000"! Simply because they need fake carrots to have any hope of getting this funded at $1,000,000 and if they had set a lower goal, they risked funding but not having enough funds) But it won’t stop there! (sounds almost like on of those Infomercials - "But Wait! Theres more!") As additional stretch goals are met, the Emerald Spire will become even larger, and the number of Flip-Mats will grow.

Also, a new RPG Print Pack has been added to the Kickstarter reward tier. Backers at any pledge level can get the RPG Print Pack for an additional $100 (plus $15 shipping outside of the U.S.). The RPG Print Pack includes a hardcover print edition of the Emerald Spire Superdungeon, which will feature an exclusive Kickstarter cover by Wayne Reynolds; a print edition of the Emerald Spire Dungeons Flip-Mat Multi-Pack; a print edition of the Pathfinder Tales novel The Crusader Road by Richard L. Baker, and an Emerald Spire Campaign Cards game accessory. (sweet - so if you want in on the dungeon, you need to add $100 bucks - mega dungeon for mega funding)

New WizKids Pathfinder Battles Miniatures will also be added to the Pathfinder Online Kickstarter as rewards for all of the Crowdforger backer levels, which start at $100. The miniatures will all be drawn from the Emerald Spire Superdungeon, starting with the Bloodbriar Goblin Raider. A second miniature, the Shadowfire Elemental, will be unlocked when the Kickstarter reaches $300K, with additional miniatures revealed for each $100K raised. This means that starting at $250,000, a new reward will be offered for every $50K reached, alternating between new dungeon levels for the Emerald Spire Superdungeon and new Pathfinder Battles prepainted plastic miniatures! (again, this is an all or nothing - another bullshit carrot - 9+ minis or nothing - somehow Paizo leaves off the little fact that this must get funded before you get any of the advertised carrots - just say "when we hit goal, you get 9 minis")

With the success of this Kickstarter, Pathfinder Online is targeted for a mid-2014 Beta. As stretch goals are reached beyond the base funding level, this target date will move up as more resources are brought to bear on getting Pathfinder Online finished.

The Pathfinder Online Kickstarter Campaign is in progress and concludes at 2:00 GMT on January 14, 2013. We look forward to your being involved in the development of Pathfinder Online—the voice of the fans will be at the core of what we do, and we thank you for your support. To learn more about the Pathfinder Online Kickstarter, please visit the Kickstarter page!

Lisa Stevens
CEO, Paizo Publishing, LLC
COO, Goblinworks, Inc.

(Listen, even Grumpy fucks like me would like to see this get funded, but at least be honest about it. Fake sub-goals or whatever they are are total bullshit. Lots of flash, little substance. If you want the Uber Dungeon Of Emerald Pathfinderness, fund at level that includes it as a reward - but don't think that it's getting any larger until one million bucks is passed. That's what pisses me off about this email, the carrots are fucking illusions.

The Grumpy Dwarf)


  1. "(all of which is cool if you use miniatures in gaming - probably why I don't play Pathfinder)"

    Complaining about games you don't play?

  2. @Steven - Paizo generally puts out top notch stuff. I convert much of what they put out for my OSR games, or use it for inspiration, but I'll personally never be comfortable with battlempas and measuring and counting boxes.

    It slows the game and takes me out of the roleplaying. That's my experience. Yours obviously may vary ;)

  3. Actually, he's complaining about deceptive (or at the very least disingenuous) fake goals. The Grumpy Dwarf does have a point. Promoting sub-goals within the basic funding goal as though they are stretch goals, wording their descriptions as though people are gaining bonus gifts is not exactly being 100% forthright. I see their intention, but they set themselves up for this by one, calling them stretch goals (Isn't that a term reserved for when one stretches beyond a previously stated goal? Wouldn't a more honest term have been something like "milestone goal"?), and two placing these goals within the kickstarter AFTER things had already started. If they had structured their project like this from the beginning, it might have been more acceptable. While I don't feel any of the vehemence of the Grumpy Dwarf, I do see his point which is valid whether or not one plays the game in question. Plus, to be specific, he stated he doesn't play the Pathfinder RPG, bit would like to see the PF MMO get funded, presumably he intends on playing that! ;-)

  4. @SpiralBound - thanks for explaining better than I did ;)

    If Paizo put out a follow up to The Beginner Box (one of the best RPG releases EVER) I'd be there in a heart beat ;)

    I'd play the MMO, but I don't like the disingenuous manner (if it's too strong a word, substitute your own) they are setting up these false "sub goals".

  5. I dunno. I think so far it looks pretty mediocre. Hopefully they'll change my mind.

  6. I am annoyed that it looks like Lisa and Ryan are playing huckster with the publisher and hardcore fans for the game I play (which btw I run Pathfinder without minis or grid maps just fine). It ticks me off to no end that they are pulling this sort of garbage and I'm even more mortified that anyone at all so far is foolish enough not to see what a bunch of grifters they are being. The Big Businnes universe of MMOs is way beyond the scale they are aiming for, which right now seems to be "fleece our fans before D&D 5E comes out and cripples Paizo's share of the pie." Maybe. I dunno. Either way, I quite enjoyed the Grumpy Dwarf's review of the obvious hucksterism at work here!

  7. IMHO even if the funding does not go up to 1.000.000 they will produce the Superdungeon. They will sell it directly at PAIZO then. Look at the previous Kicksstarter Incentive Adventure. You can get the Print Version at Paizo. No Kickstarter pledge neccessary.

  8. I feel like I'm not getting it. Lisa's pitch says to me there will be an adventure: it starts at 64 pages, but gets bigger at each threshold. Am I misunderstanding something?

  9. Rusty - the thresholds are prior to funding level - so, it either hits all thresholds or in the end it hits none.

    These aren't stretch goals that are adding something to the project, it's more of a shell game IMHO.

  10. Halfway done and 40% funded. I sincerely hope they can pull it off (not just the KS funding, but the actual project), but I'm frankly amazed they got $400,000.


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