Pathfinder Online takes place in Pathfinder campaign setting, and is a hybrid sandbox/theme park-style MMO roleplaying game where characters explore, develop, and dominate the River Kingdoms, a treacherous no-man's-land of squabbling kingdoms on the edge of wilderness. Players explore, adventure, develop, and dominate their domains by playing fighters, rogues, wizards, or any of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game's many character types, or they can use the game's archetype system go beyond standard options.
Pathfinder Online's robust trading system puts players in control of the world's economy with player-created items, consumables, fortifications, and settlements. Character-controlled settlements can grow into full-fledged kingdoms that compete for resources as they seek to become the dominant force in the land, raising vast armies to hold their territory against the depredations of monstrous creatures, NPC factions, and other player characters.
Social organizations scale from small parties of a few adventurers to player nations inhabited by thousands. As settlements develop, the surrounding wilderness develops more complex and challenging features, including randomly generated encounters and resources as well as scripted adventures.
On August 28, 2015, Goblinworks laid off most of its staff due to a lack of anticipated funding, and announced talks with publishers to continue work on Pathfinder Online. On March 17, 2017, Lisa Stevens announced that Paizo would fully take over and continue developing Pathfinder Online on its own, with a goal of opening enrollment in March 2018.