Goblinworks has published the first in a series of dev blogs designed to give starving sandbox fans a peek into the world of Pathfinder Online, and it's quite a lengthy read.
Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey introduces key members of the Pathfinder team (including industry veterans who have worked on titles including City of Heroes and World of Darkness) before moving on to a high-level view of Pathfinder's business plan. Three main strategies emerge from the wall o' text, and Dancey cites the use of field-tested middleware, sandbox design elements, and most interestingly, a hard cap on the number of new players allowed into the game each month as the factors that will make Pathfinder stand apart from the gaggle of themepark clones currently blotting out the sun.
"Making a game that starts with 4,500 players and grows to 16,500 players [after seven months] is much, much easier and vastly less expensive than making a game designed to accommodate a million players on day one," Dancey explains. He goes on to say that Pathfinder aims to emulate EVE Online's model of starting small and gradually building a larger playerbase over time while avoiding "a huge themepark mortgage" in terms of development and infrastructure costs.