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The Goblinworks staff has been super busy adding more depth and features to the game since it launched in January. One the biggest features that makes PFO different from most other MMOs is the persistence of the environment. If I leave an encampment of ogres on the road when I am travelling to Forgeholm, they will be there when I come back through unless somebody else has killed them off in the meantime. In April, we added the ability for players to add outposts and holdings to the game. These structures will help players provide resources to run their settlements. The player building the structure gets to decide what type of building they want to put up and where they want to put it, and when it's finished, it becomes a part of the world for everyone. Almost overnight, buildings were been built across the Echowood. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. But I figure that it might be easiest to tell you about Pathfinder Online by telling you what my character has been doing in the game.

"Laurethoron" outside of the Bloodstone Swords' Library Holding

My main character is "Laurethoron", a female elven fighter who has a smattering of cleric and rogue skills to augment her fighting prowess. She wields a longbow and greatsword. In January, I started the game in the southeastern corner of the map in the Southern Cragthorn mountains, centering my adventures around the Neutral Good settlement of Brighthaven. For the first month or so, I battled goblins, ogres, bandits, wolves and undead with the members of the Argent Crusade adventuring company, with occasional forays against the much tougher Ustalav invaders and Mordant Spire elves.

While my time with the folks of Brighthaven was awesome, I felt that I needed to do something in game to encourage my fellow workers at both Goblinworks and Paizo to play together. So I started a company called the Bloodstone Swords, based on the mercenary group detailed on page 12 of the Pathfinder Chronicles: Faction Guide. We moved our base of operations to the NPC town of Thornkeep and started building a crafting empire to outfit all the new players being added to our company. Gathering resources and leveling up my crafter characters took much of my time for the next few weeks as plans were laid and implemented. At the end of that time, the Swords had swelled in ranks to 26 characters and we were ready to start adventuring. To date, we have mostly tackled lower-level escalations—those are large encampments of monsters and other NPCs—as everyone got used to working together.

Then about a month ago, it was time to move again. NPC settlements are great for getting started, but the only way to gain advanced training for your characters is to become part of a player-run settlement. After looking around the game, we settled on Pathfinder University, a settlement run by a group of players who are dedicating their gameplay to helping new players learn the game and get situated with equipment and training. I liked their mission, so we dedicated the Swords to helping them out, and moved from Thornkeep to University Commons. We are now safely ensconced in our new home and have made a bunch of new friends including Pathfinder U's Faculty and many of the recruits that the University helps out.

As community members, we have taken on the responsibility to build and maintain a few holdings and outposts in the hexes surrounding University Commons. To the south, we built a Library, supported by a lumber camp and a hunting camp. To the southwest, we built a Sanctum, again with the support of lumber and hunting outposts. To build these structures, we had to gather raw resources; refine them into items such as iron nuggets and hemp rope; beat down a few of the escalations that plague the land, giving us victory markers that allow us to claim the territory we want to build on; then bring everything together to make the buildings. It was a tall task that took the skills of numerous Swords to pull off, but now we are the proud owners of two hexes that will support University Commons.

The Bloodstone Swords have also started a little business making nicer gear for beginning characters and providing them with spells and recipes that allow them to craft their own items. Our crafting queues have been pretty full making goods to put into the Auction House and our gatherers keep us stocked with raw materials.

In the next months, we will continue to support Pathfinder University, but we also have a new goal. A few weeks ago, I invited all of the Pathfinder Society Venture Officers to join the game, and they've been flooding in from all parts of the world. Right now they are getting their feet under them in the game, but I don't doubt that there will be quests and goals aplenty for this group as they spread their wings in the game, and the Bloodstone Swords will be there to lend a hand.

I am really proud of this game and where we are right now. A very small and dedicated team has put in countless long nights and weekends to get us to this point. I would like to invite each and every one of you to try the game out. And it has never been easier to get started! Every new account gets a 15-day free trial that you can use to check out the game. If you like what you see, then you need only to start paying the $15 per month fee after your free trial period is done.

If you are at all interested in what we are creating with Pathfinder Online, I would like to encourage you to jump into the game NOW! We have just added a lot of functionality to our new player experience, and the Pathfinder University staff are helping people in game chat or on their Mumble server at: port 3093. There's almost always a live player online to answer questions.

We are creating a great game, but I need you to help us out. We need players to get into the game and help us build a world that will keep us entertained and occupied for years to come. In the near future—just a few months from now—you will be able to build and direct your own settlements—large communities of players making their own towns. But settlements don't appear overnight; lots of preparation needs to take place, and foundations for success need to be laid.

You will find me in game mostly playing "Laurethoron". Feel free to search me out near Pathfinder University and, who knows, maybe we can go adventuring together!

Speaking of which, this Saturday, June 20 at 11:00 AM Pacific time, there will be an Adventure Time With Lisa! We will meet at Thornkeep outside the Auction House and then see how many escalations we can clear. Each party will be made up of an experienced player and as many new players as we can get. Come adventure with me and have some fun! We will be coordinating via the Pathfinder University mumble server listed above.

Pathfinder fans are the greatest in the world. I know together we can build a great game. Come along for the ride. The River Kingdoms await!

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015