Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Discussion: What Are Your Predictions For Pathfinder?

Time for another round of our ever-popular Friday discussion, where I throw out a topic and you respond. This week's topic is all about Pathfinder. Paizo’s “3.75” OGL continuation will be hitting the shelves at Gen Con. Now Paizo is well-regarded in terms of layout and art, and they have a goodly following from their Pathfinder line and Dragon Magazine days. Obviously, the playing field is a little different from them compared to Wizards of the Coast—what might be a disastrous sales level for WotC might be a raging success for Paizo.

This week's question(s): What are your predictions for the Pathfinder RPG? How will it do, relatively speaking? Will it still have a good following in a year? Can Paizo bump White Wolf off their 2nd-place pedestal? What can Paizo do to help encourage success for Pathfinder?

Be insightful, be snarky, be funny, be honest. Admit it's a wild-arse guess, or share your insider genius. However you do it, just discuss it, enjoy the cross-talk, and have a great weekend!


Mad Brew said...

I predict the copies they bring with them to GenCon will sell out (much like the softcover beta copies did last year -- that could be downloaded for free!).

I think their greatest strength is adventure writing, and that is why they will still have a following years from now.

I think they might eventually usurp White Wolf, but the Storyteller also has the backing of CCP [EVE online], so it might be interesting to see how that plays out.

If Paizo stays in touch with their fans and continue to utilize them them as a valued asset (like with the beta), then success will be ensured.

Questing GM said...

Pathfinder will be filled with 7 wonders goodness and I think they have already built up the anticipation long before the game even recently hit the printers. I think for many, this would be the real 4th edition that they've been waiting for.

I agree with Mad Brew that their adventure writing skills would be one of their prime sources of revenue long after the Pathfinder RPG is released. But their second strength is definitely in their writing which really brings back some of the heavy feeling of playing a RPG.

They have carved and dominated their niche with their style and I believe this would be their trademark for many years to come.

I really hope that Paizo maintains that down-to-earth friendly nature with their fans because I believe it's that will make a huge difference in how Paizo and Pathfinder will do in the future.

Alex Schroeder said...

I'm a subscriber of their modules and adventure paths, even though I start finding them quite verbose for use at the table. Nevertheless, they'll remain my main source of 3.5 material, I presume.

Having all the rules, I'm not too enthusiastic about buying the new rules. As new players join my games, however, they will have a hard time buying the 3.5 books and will have to buy the Pathfinder books.

And once players buy new revisions of the rules to use at the table, I'm sure that other players will start looking into it and we'll eventually switch over.

Already a fellow DM has decided that he also wants to subscribe to Pathfinder modules, adventure path, and setting material, based on what he saw in my book shelf. Thus, they certainly know how to make their material attractive.

Plus, we had two 4E playtest sessions. We liked it, but nobody was excited enough to actually suggest we switch our 3.5 games to 4E.

Based on this small numer of datapoints, I assume that Pathfinder RPG will succeed. They won't outshine 4E, but they'll be a strong RPG publisher in the years to come.

Rognar said...

I think Pathfinder will do very well. The one big problem I see is that the supplementary 3.5 material (i.e. splatbooks) is not OGL and therefore, cannot be updated to be fully Pathfinder-compatible. I suspect more than a few 3.5 players who give Pathfinder a try, will eventually migrate back to 3.5 because of this.

Giga boy said...

I think Pathfinder will prove a failure in the long run: instead of reducing munchkinism the beta I've seen seems to promote it.
So it actually breaks an already broken system, a system that needed to be simplified and not burdened with MORE.
Also I think that a 400+ pages rulebook is crazy, too much of a hassle.
It is a real pity, it could easily have been the game to topple D&D.
My 2 copper pieces,

MJ Harnish said...

I think PF will have big sales early on but taper off pretty quickly. RPGs have never been a big business and PF is fragmenting an already small market. What you're going to get is a lot of early adopters via all the people who know who Paizo is and have been part of the PF crusade. However, D&D has brand recognition and thus is much more likely to draw in new players.

Donny said...

Paizonians will be thrilled.

I just wish they would playtest theur AP's better. The constant TPK's at nearly every #@#$$# turn were one of the driving factors that pushed my group to 4E.

And yes, we know how to play :)
And yes, I know how to DM :)

Seriously, anyone remember Age of Worms? Currently chapter 8 and we've had 9 PC deaths! Three of them mine :(

BlUsKrEEm said...

I'm going to have to agree with Harnish here. Putting it on par with White Wolf is entirely to optimistic. Pathfinder will always be competing with the world's most recognizable RPG to attract new players. I predict that in the years to come path finder will be in a simular place that Hack master is, a good game, with a loyal fanbase, but not a titan of industry.

Steven said...

We are one of the Pathfinder Rpg licencees who were given the option of early access to the rules, so I am biased.

My wild guess is that it will have a solid following amongst its core, it will be interesting to see how much they can gain.

WotC has made a number of stratigic blunders that Paizo could easily take advantage of.

I know they have my support.

Steve Russell
Rite Publishing.

Ryan said...

Though I will not be playing Pathfinder (My interests have migrated away from 3.5), I wish Paizo well... they are definitely a customer oriented company and they have a lot of love for what they do. Though they are an excellent company, I think the success of Pathfinder is inexorably tied to the performance of 4th edition. While I'd love to see Wizbro get kneecapped by the underdog, I don't see Pathfinder being much more than a modest success on the rpg market unless D&D 4 gets shelved or merged fully into the D&D Minis game.

I am certainly interested, no matter what the outcome.

mxyzplk said...

I think initial sales will be excellent. Sustainability depends on how their distribution and marketing is. Their great adventures will drive sales throughout existing gaming groups.

If they can get into the "normal" bookstores and advertise enough that someone outside the RPG forum-lurkers have exposure to them, then I think they'd have a shot and new pickup sales too. Although a simpler "box set" kind of thing might help a lot there.

Scott said...

I think Pathfinder will be very successful at its release, but will flare out quickly. I suspect a lot of the people who try it for a few sessions will end up going back to 3.5, either because of what problems with 3.5 Pathfinder doesn't address, or because of what it does add to or change about the game.

By 18 months after its release, I'm guessing it will have a solid core of devoted fans, but a small enough core that it isn't close to challenging White Wolf, let alone WotC. I think most of their audience will buy in early, some will migrate back to 3.5 or to other games entirely, and there won't be a whole lot of new blood replacing those.

Wickedmurph said...

I think that Pathfinder will have strong initial sales, primarily to people who want to stick with the 3.5 ruleset. But after that, the won't continue to grow.

Pathfinder is a decent niche market, and they'll make a living, but that's about it. Me, I'll buy some of the adventure paths and convert them to 4e, cause I really do like the writing.