Always Online Podcast: Soulframe's Reveal, No Minecraft NFTs, And Are You Hopeful For Pantheon: Rise Of The Fallen? Ep 440

TennoCon was a hell of a show this year. Warframe fans got new on the Duviri Paradox and the next update and Digital Extremes announced a whole new MMORPG in Soulframe. We'll look at that and dive into our thoughts on Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen and if it'll deliver...or even actually release. To cap it off we've got some fine NFT news as Minecraft says "no" to them and more! All that and more on this week's Always Online!

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Discussion Timestamps:

00:00 Show Intro

03:45 Warframe and Soulframe

26:58 Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen MMO

39:30 Miscellaneous News Including Minecraft

52:00 Weekly Bombs (DA-Bomb / A-Bomb) / Question of the Week

If you have submissions for the show's Weekly Bombs, have questions for the panel (nothing is off limits!), or just ideas for what you want covered you can now send them to You can also be a guest in the show, just send us why you want to host, and what topic or game you would like to cover. Always Online (formerly the Free-To-Play Cast) is the official podcast (and videocast) of about multiplayer online games. Always Online takes on the week's biggest news with plenty of opinion, weekly bombs, community feedback, guests, laughs thrown in for good measure and much more. Have fun and expect a new episode next week!

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Discussion (5)

magicman 1 year ago
Minor Correction: Soulframe is being worked on exclusively by Digital Extremes. The Aircraft Syndicate partnership is for another project that will also be talked about at The Video Game Awards.

View 1 reply
nesogra 1 year ago
A reply to your reply about my reply to the previous QOTW (try saying that 5 times fast ^_^):

I don't play games for the story. To me story in a game is like seasoning on food. When done well it adds a ton of flavor to a game by giving context for what I'm doing but it's never the core reason for me to play. I'm the kind of rpg player who wants to play and max out every class or character, constantly customize my build to overcome the next challenge, play the economy, and generally explore all the mechanics the game has to offer.

Gacha games ruin this by:
1) Locking play-styles to characters that can only be gained through pulls
2) Having overly complicated systems that are designed to confuse player into spending more money instead of being fun to play with
3) Failing to give f2p players enough resources to keep all of the characters they get strong enough to feel good to play so f2p players have to focus their resources into making one strong team instead of fully using all the character they get.

By compromising their mechanical/power progression to extract more money gacha game just aren't as fun as they could be.

bazgrimtv 1 year ago
Hey all, really glad to hear you starting to talk about Pantheon. Pantheon has indeed been in the public eye for the long time and I don’t blame anyone for being skeptical about it. We’ve all seen countless stories of games never making it out of the gate.

Visionary Realms definitely struggled for a while to find their footing. As Q said, even though the Pantheon Kickstarter was announced in 2014, development didn’t start right out of the gate. The Kickstarter failed to meet its goal so they didn’t get any of that money. And because they were just a small startup with basically no money, they had to keep putting out whatever concepts and demos they could to raise awareness and funding. Because of that, earnest development on the Pantheon we know today didn’t really start in true until the beginning of 2015.

But that’s still a long time ago. As you mentioned, an average MMO takes 3-6 years to develop. And that’s usually with full publisher funding on day one. What’s really slowed the pace of Pantheon’s development is that they are having to raise funds as they go. That’s caused them to make some moves that aren’t the most efficient.

Even after their first angel investment in 2015, they had a pretty bumpy road. As I’m sure you know, MMORPGs are the most expensive type of game to make, which is why the devs have had to proactively crowdfund to supplement the individual investments.

On top of that, they’re extremely picky about who they partner with for funding (whether it be an investor or a publisher) because they want to retain 100% creative control. They’ve stated that if they had sacrificed some of their values, they could have taken deals years ago that would have provided them full funding, and the game would probably be out by now. But for better or for worse, they staunchly believe in their vision for this game.

As a side note since you mentioned it, the designs for Pantheon’s systems like perception, climbing, climates, etc. have been established since 2015. While they’ve evolved over time (like any game design should) and some have come into the spotlight more recently (which some people may confuse for feature creep), the reality is that Pantheon’s design has overall stayed very consistent through the years. It’s arguable that some tech upgrades like the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) which allows for better graphics and a fully seamless overworld, could be considered feature creep as it’s a fairly recent change. But that’s still not the same as if they kept adding major gameplay systems.

The encouraging thing is that since 2020, they’ve gotten more major private investments which has allowed them to significantly expand their team at all levels - and they’re finally starting to get some serious momentum. There’s still a ways to go, but at least they’re on the right track now.

They still have some work to do to improve their communications so that you don’t have to watch the development like a hawk to make sense of it. But I’m confident that in the near future, the public perception of Pantheon will shift more positively. I’ve been playing the game longer than just about anyone. I had the incredible privilege of getting my hands on the game back in October 2017. I was allowed to run around and play for hours without limitation. And I’ve gotten to see the game evolve before my eyes since then.

For all intents and purposes, Pantheon is playable. Maybe even more so than some early access titles. You can group up, chat, fight, loot, equip, die, level up, climb anything, craft, deal with Fractures and Climates, buy/sell, interact with NPCs and the perception system, and probably more that I’m forgetting. (Fortunately you don’t need to take my word for it and can watch full Pantheon gameplay videos and more at What’s even better though is that the gameplay is fun. The main thing is that it needs a lot more content. The playable world is still small for an MMO.

Even though there’s really nothing stopping the devs from letting anyone log in and play in “early access,” they’ve simply chosen to not let the public in until it’s more complete. It’s certainly up for debate whether or not this is the best way to do it. But I’m sure we can all think of a game that was opened up to early access too soon, was panned by players and critics for not having enough polish/content and then never recovered from those first impressions.

This is why Alpha is so important for Pantheon and will likely be the big turning point, one way or another. And that point is not as far away as many people think. Thousands of people will be getting their hands on Pantheon for the first time and the NDA will likely be dropped, at least partially. If the devs can show that Alpha is a well-received, viable product, that’ll be their best chance by far at securing full funding without losing creative control. And that’s what they need to take the game across the finish line.

If you have any other questions about Pantheon’s development, feel free to reach out. I’ve been documenting their entire process and would be happy to share more.


therek 1 year ago
Hey MMOBomb! Just listened to the episode and wanted to say how much I enjoyed hearing you cover Pantheon. As you talked about in the episode, some of the content creators in the Pantheon community (myself included) were invited to play in a live stream last year. I wanted to share some of what I can about that experience with your listeners as was mentioned on the show. I can tell you that it was a truly memorable experience. If you look at Pantheon’s official website, you’ll find their “Tenets” of game design. I felt the experience very much was in line with these. Firstly, their focus on class identity was very apparent. Between myself on the Wizard, and the the members of our group, we all had roles that were not only distinct, but also critical to our success or failure. We HAD to work together, communicate, and be engaged in the game or risk failure at any moment. The enemies were intelligent and the AI was impressive. Enemies would target our casters, break their allies out of being mesmerized, and heal each other. As noted, I was playing the Wizard and one of my abilities was a spell interrupt that I had to use wisely. Same goes for my teammates. Our rogue had to utilize his traps and stuns when our crowd control was lacking, our tank had to hold the enemies as best he could when I got a little happy with the fireballs, and so on. I’ve been playing MMOs a long time and the sense of accomplishment from this group experience was something I haven’t had in quite some time.

Another aspect that resonated with me was the non-linear dungeon exploration. There were several places in the dungeon we had access to that utilized verticality. In one instance, we found a cavern leading up to what apepeared to be a well. However, none of us had the climbing ability or acclimation needed to ascend. In another moment, we acquired an artifact that allowed us to float down to an otherwise inaccessible valley where we encountered a unique creature with some fantastic loot. Dungeon design has been a hot topic as of late with Pantheon, and these are both examples of something I experienced first hand. VR says “content is king” and it’s not just a nice sounding phrase - they designed this dungeon with that in mind. They recently said dungeons in Pantheon are places they want players to inhabit, and I felt this. We could have spent weeks in this place just finding all its secrets, hunting named mobs, gaining experience.

I could go on, but this comment will get way too extensive, so time for a shameless plug. If your listeners want to see what I’m saying in action there are videos on our YouTube channel (PantheonPlus) linked here which demonstrate what I’m saying. We’re a fan community that has been following Pantheon for a long time so we’re happy to share what we know with folks interested in Pantheon.

Just a quick note as well, one of the thing that came up on your last episode was a common concern about development time. There’s no denying Pantheon has been in development several years, but I have every confidence, based on closely following the game and discussing every detail that we can get our hands on, that it will come to fruition. Even with the opportunities Visionary Realms has given us here at PantheonPlus, we keep a critical eye and voice concerns when they arise. As much as we’re rooting for them to succeed, we’re not blind to the potential pitfalls.

Thanks again for the opportunity to share this, and keep up the great work on the podcast!

~Therek (PantheonPlus)

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