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Capstones... Why?


Pathfinder Online

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Goblin Squad Member

So one topic that came up today in GL's clan meeting is capstones. And it seems like there is a lot of mutual confusion as to their purpose.

Basically my confusion and what I gathered from others is this:

What is the trade off? What benefit does someone who loses out on their capstone gain that offsets the benefit of having one?

It would seem like the fastest path to making a powerful character is to follow a class to it's capstone. For example someone who spends 50% of their time training paladin skills and 50% of their time training fighter skills will likely not be as powerful as someone who trains straight to 20th level paladin.

And the way I have been made to understand the capstone system. Someone who makes a 20th level paladin, and then goes 20th level fighter afterwards will get 2 capstones, but if I train as a paladin and fighter at the same time I won't get 2 capstones when I reach 20th level in each.(Bolded because I think it's important this point is clarified.)

So....... why make capstones? What benefits from multiclassing makes losing out on a capstone worthwhile?

Goblin Squad Member

The obvious trade-off will be the capstone vs. synergy. If you mutli-type you can get some synergy that enhances your gameplay in some way, and if you single-type you can get a capstone that enhances your play in some way.

The question will be balance--if getting a capstone OR multi-typing is clearly a superior path/is a no-brainer, then they likely goofed in the balance. If instead it leads to excruciating choices, bingo :)

Goblin Squad Member

Mbando wrote:

The obvious trade-off will be the capstone vs. synergy. If you mutli-type you can get some synergy that enhances your gameplay in some way, and if you single-type you can get a capstone that enhances your play in some way.

The question will be balance--if getting a capstone OR multi-typing is clearly a superior path/is a no-brainer, then they likely goofed in the balance. If instead it leads to excruciating choices, bingo :)

I think the problem is that there is already a trade off. While I might get a good synergy, I'm going to lose out on high level abilities of each class until I reach max in both. By the time I reach max in both I will have a character IDENTICAL to someone who trained one and then the other, except by my understanding they will have 2 capstones, and I will have 0.

To me at least that gives the feeling that multiclassing is not a viable option to a character you want to be effective in the long term unless you do it by following each class to it's capstone then taking another.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

I share your understanding of the proposed capstone system.

I think it is an intentional disincentive to gain merit badges associated with foreign roles- a way to encourage players to act in a desired way.

The hardest part of maintaining game balance between characters who have been playing for 6 years is not going to be the capstone abilities.

Goblin Squad Member

Right, so for that to be a meaningful choice, the synergy over time has to be worth it. Your hypothetical multi-type who has max skilled in two types is going to be at something like 60 months, right? Maybe missing two "special and really cool power[s] reserved for characters who chose to master a single class throughout their adventuring career" will be worth a few years of synergy.


I think i read capstone abilities will mostly be fluff and nothing out of the ordinary, just to reward those players who are sticking with one class for 1.5(?) year.

Goblin Squad Member

Nope, they are "special and really cool power[s] reserved for characters who chose to master a single class throughout their adventuring career."


What i meant to say is that capstone abilities won't be more powerful than other abilities. Still they can be ''special and really cool''. More for showoff and for someone to feel special. I can't find that quote tho.

Goblin Squad Member

Mbando wrote:

Nope, they are "special and really cool power[s] reserved for characters who chose to master a single class throughout their adventuring career."

Special and really cool does not = powerful.

Actually was one point in time Ryan mentioned in overall power they may be little, it could even be a cooler looking reskin of existing skills.

One second while I go digging for that quote, it's been a loong time since this discussion has popped up.

OK still searching for the original but I found one post which I refferenced it, so I have the exact quote

Ryan Dancey wrote:

I agree. On the other hand, it's easy to have lots of stuff that would be considered "cool" to have earned but which don't affect your character's desirability as a companion. The problem with WoW is that everything they do in the game seems to require some kind of mechanical benefit (well except maybe the pets).

Earning the 20th level in a class will get you a 20th level class-type merit badge and that will unlock a 20th level Ability. That will be the mechanical benefit people will pursue. The capstone ability does not necessarily have to be something that changes a 20th level non-capstone character into a mistake. It could be something that is just enjoyable for the player - a way to "show off" to friends and opponents.

Edit 2: Go go gadget context

Goblin Squad Member

Hycoo wrote:
What i meant to say is that capstone abilities won't be more powerful than other abilities. Still they can be ''special and really cool''. More for showoff and for someone to feel special. I can't find that quote tho.

That's why I talked about enhancing gameplay rather than power. The idea is that they are meaningful, so not fluff, but not necessarily mechanical advantages. If they aren't meaningful in terms of gameplay, then they offer no incentive.

Goblin Squad Member

Mbando wrote:
Right, so for that to be a meaningful choice, the synergy over time has to be worth it. Your hypothetical multi-type who has max skilled in two types is going to be at something like 60 months, right? Maybe missing two "special and really cool power[s] reserved for characters who chose to master a single class throughout their adventuring career" will be worth a few years of synergy.

I suppose it remains to be seen which is true, but my estimation is that a character will be able to achieve more power through sticking with a single class until capstone than mixing classes unless they come up with a build that has REALLY good synergy because of their earlier access to high level abilities. I see the character who goes 0-20 paladin, then 0-20 fighter, as being the more powerful of the two characters all the way through to 20 paladin, 20 fighter, where they are undeniably the better of the two.

I would imagine any build that could even be competitive would have to be very well thought out and achieve a very high level of synergy which really is something that shouldn't be discouraged if a player is willing to take that kind of time to think things through.

I don't know capstone to me seems less of a balancing feature and more of an extra slap in the face to people who are ADD in their skill training / a disincentive to multiclass.

I would far rather see a system where reaching level 20 in a class at any point ever means you get the capstone. But I guess it's too early to tell which one of us is right.


Mbando wrote:
The idea is that they are meaningful, so not fluff, but not necessarily mechanical advantages. If they aren't meaningful in terms of gameplay, then they offer no incentive.

If they offer no mechanical advantages, aren't they fluff by definition?

Anyways, people love to have something special in a mmo, no matter if it's meaningful in terms of gameplay, if only to show off.

Goblin Squad Member

I agree with Andius. What if I want to get Druid to level 10 for decent spells and wild shape uses but dip into barbarian to make my earth elemental tank wild shape that much worse with rage powers.

I shouldn't be penalized just because I wanted to spice things up a bit.

Lantern Lodge

I got the impression that it won't be a mistake to ignore the capstones (since Ryan explicitly said as much) therefore they are likely to be just fluff or at least the benefit being something that could just as easily be gained from elsewhere.

To me it not being a mistake means, it won't be penalizing. But still if it isn't that big a deal, what's the point? What's the point of encouraging straight one role/class anyway? In any game what's the point (not including the ones that deny any kind of multiclassing)?

Goblin Squad Member

Exactly. The capstone should symbolize that we got that profession/job/whatever to 20, not that we got it to 20 in the proper order.

Druid wild shape at will at level 20 for instance. That's a refresh we wouldn't have to use if we decided to grind for four hours. It's not highly important no but it improves quality of life. Especially if we were having difficulties with a dungeon and wiped a lot.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

Xein wrote:

I agree with Andius. What if I want to get Druid to level 10 for decent spells and wild shape uses but dip into barbarian to make my earth elemental tank wild shape that much worse with rage powers.

I shouldn't be penalized just because I wanted to spice things up a bit.

You aren't being penalized. You get to spice things up a bit, and the capstone power is the spice for the character that goes straight through.

Goblin Squad Member

I like the idea of capstones, and I want them to be more than fluff. Multi-classing in the PnP meant you would not see the more powerful aspects of a class, and that penalty should be reflected here. If you take a short cut by finding synergies with other skill paths, you don't get the big benefit at the end. Capstoneing a character should put you above those who didn't.

If a capstoned druid fights a druid that took some barbarian, the capstone should balance out the benefit of taking the barbarian.

I would like to see capstones be unique ability load-out options, that limit what abilities you can take to what would not be restricted by the capstone. So a Druid can't take barbarian skills and still have the capstone. This should apply to all 3 load-outs, so you cant have someone switching between 3 capstones in combat. I feel this would diminish most people concerns about a person who hit 20 in once class then 20 in another, being better than someone who alternated between two archetypes until they were both 20, because they had access to two capstones. You could only activate one capstone at a time.

Again the idea is to balance the synergy inherent in multi-classing in an open skill system.

Goblin Squad Member

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I think at this point Mbando has the best answer; barring specific details about this beyond "could be cool" but "maybe not that super cool" we can't really do more than debate the possibilities. Basically, its gotta be a hard choice, and more importantly, the devs need to accurately and succinctly provide players with the proper information to make this choice. Its about communication really.

Andius wrote:


I don't know capstone to me seems less of a balancing feature and more of an extra slap in the face to people who are ADD in their skill training / a disincentive to multiclass.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves in all the internets, and it is endemic of forums about games. I'm sorry to call you out Andius, but they're your words...

No player is getting "slapped in the face" and they never will by a game, or by its Devs. I know its a popular turn of the phrase, but frankly, its exactly the wrong tone of Dev vs Players that i believe has no place in any constructive discussion. Its not an insult if they decide to do "that thing" regardless what that is. Its their game, and we're lucky to have such a level of influence as has been presented to us now. There's absolutely no place for this type of language.

Goblin Squad Member

I don't believe he meant it as harshly as you're taking it.

That said, Valkenr may have the right idea. We would get every capstone but would be limited by which we have "active" at any given time.

I may like that.

Goblin Squad Member

That phrase in particular has the very specific intent of setting up a VS relationship, wether intended or not. We're here to work with the Devs, suggest our preferences, devise ways of advancing a common goal, provide feedback for a thing not yet even fully conceived. Language and how we use it is important.

Personally I'm interested in seeing Capstones as a unique but not overpowering ability. Perhaps the easiest solution would be to allow a capstone to unlock when the required 20 merit badges have been earned, but only N of consecutive merit badges (eg. levels). However its done, I'll reiterate that it has to be very clear for the Player that if they go "off archetype" or "multi-class" (or whatever phrase is in vogue), that they be well informed of the impact this may have. Particularly since the capstone may be months off in the future, effectively disassociated from whenever the divergence occurred.

Lantern Lodge

Limting capstones in that fashion makes it even less enticing to get them.

@Valkner
In PnP it was quite possible to see the 20th level powers for multiclass characters, they just would be higher then level 20 in total. But in this game they want to make so multiclass can't get something ever because they multiclassed, I agree that getting a capstone at 20 badges shouldn't be possible unless all 20 are the same role.

However, my question remains, what is the point of denying that power for all time to those who dabbled? Eventually those who dabbled will get all 20 badges in a class yet they will be denied that power, and I don't see the point, they say it's to encourage "single-classing" but why encourage single-classing?

People are already going to rarely be even powered 1 on 1, and it's been stated that balance isn't high on priorities list, so what's the point?

2.5 years is a long time to play only half of what I want, just to get a single ability.

Goblin Squad Member

DarkLightHitomi wrote:


People are already going to rarely be even powered 1 on 1, and it's been stated that balance isn't high on priorities list, so what's the point?

Balance between class X and class Y 1v1 isn't a priority, IE Goblinworks has no problem with wizards losing to clerics 9/10 times, but say clerics usually losing to fighters, and wizards usually beating fighters, as well there will be PVP builds that usually beat PVE builds etc...

Balance between ensuring that as a whole in group vs group, no characters are so much higher in power level than the others that you may as well not bother trying to fight however is. no matter what the case ensuring that 5 year vets don't see pre-capstoned characters as minor speedbumps, is a priority of balance from my understanding.

Goblin Squad Member

DarkLightHitomi wrote:

Limting capstones in that fashion makes it even less enticing to get them.

+1

Lantern Lodge

@ Onishi

You still didn't answer the question.

What is the point of encouraging single classing?

Goblin Squad Member

I believe you [u]only[/u] get the capstone ability if go gain twenty consecutive levels in a class. I.e. 20 levels of Wizard then 20 levels of monk will get you the capstone abilities for both classess, while gaining 10 levels of wizard, 10 levels of monk, 10 levels of wizard then 10 levels of monk won't provide a capstone ability for either class.

Personally I think a capstone ability should be gained once you're gain 20 levels in a class. No matter the order you gained them in. Otherwise you have the situation of a one 20 Wizard / 20 Monk who does have the capstone abilities, while another character with the same levels won't get them because they didn't get 20 consecutive levels in a singles class at a time.

That being said, I vaguely remember Ryan being firm on this design feature as being set in stone.

Goblin Squad Member

Ravening I really hope that's the right way to interpret it.

Goblin Squad Member

DarkLightHitomi wrote:

@ Onishi

You still didn't answer the question.

What is the point of encouraging single classing?

Didn't answer it because that wasn't my focus, I was just clearing up what I viewed as misnomer about balance. To me keeping vets from viewing newbies, should be top priority to the development.

I honestly don't have much care one way or the other as far as encoraging single classing vs multi. My only concern is that mixing and matching does not blow the power level out of proportion so that in starting the game after it has been running for a few years, new players don't feel like they have to wait a year before they can have any impact on the world.

If capstones don't float your boat, and having a larger variety in your skills is better, go for it, as long as the game isn't made to the point where single classes are the ones critically gimped, I honestly don't care one way or the other,

Goblinworks Executive Founder

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The point of encouraging focusing in one role would be to reveal the powers of that tier at the desired time.

If everyone who plays a wizard also spends a month taking fighter powers, but a significant number of people focus exclusively fighter, then the new wizard abilities will arrive a month behind the new fighter abilities of the same tier.

For at least the first 30 months, the wizards with the highest tier wizard powers will be the ones that started with the highest wizard training stats and put everything possible into getting wizard stuff. That means that they will be fragile, and everyone who is less fragile will be somewhere behind them on the training curve.

That lets the initial balance of every tier be with known quantities, rather than with a mash-up of varied classes.

THAT is why I would encourage single-role characters: so that I had a fairly well standardized set of characters played by dedicated players participating in the feedback processes, rather than a mis-mash of various multiclassed characters.

Goblin Squad Member

Maybe, but taking your wild shape-focused druid tank to 10 and grabbing 4 levels of barbarian for the rage then finishing the last 10 levels of druid can't be a bad idea can it.

Lantern Lodge

@ DeciuBrutus, You forget many things,

One, multiclassing gives more time before hitting higher tier not less,

Two, initial balance is pointless, it only matters if it counts throughout the course of the game, "initial" as a qualifier precludes that possibility,

Three, by the time you get high level characters you will have multiple join up periods of people, and probably hit open entrance, thus characters of every level will be present,

Four, you assume that everyone who plays wizard will also take a little fighter,

Five, you also assume it matters whether the the fighters hit top tier first,

Six, the only real concern on when powers are revealed is to make sure those powers are ready to be revealed, in which case more time is better then less time.

Seven, Ryan stated that such balance is not really a concern,

Eight, there is going to be a lot of mash up and straight classes either way,

Nine, paragraph three of your post entirely relies on all wizards spending an entire month on fighter skills to state a point that will be in effect, regardless of what happens with the concepts we are discussing.

Ten, any character made in a standardized system, is a stanardized character. The fact that is was made in a standardized system is what makes it a standard character. Thus any character made without cheating is viable as a standardized study subject (and only an inexperienced researcher would take such a poor sampling of the known possibilties, it's like taking a survey of what americans like to eat but then talking only to 62 year old women, it's not representative of the entire group under study)

Goblin Squad Member

Onishi wrote:
DarkLightHitomi wrote:

@ Onishi

You still didn't answer the question.

What is the point of encouraging single classing?

Didn't answer it because that wasn't my focus, I was just clearing up what I viewed as misnomer about balance. To me keeping vets from viewing newbies, should be top priority to the development.

I honestly don't have much care one way or the other as far as encoraging single classing vs multi. My only concern is that mixing and matching does not blow the power level out of proportion so that in starting the game after it has been running for a few years, new players don't feel like they have to wait a year before they can have any impact on the world.

If capstones don't float your boat, and having a larger variety in your skills is better, go for it, as long as the game isn't made to the point where single classes are the ones critically gimped, I honestly don't care one way or the other,

I think the point I am making is I don't see how a single class is gimped vs. a multiclass. Synergy is balancing factor not something that makes multiclassing inherently better.

My fighter/rogue may be able to get some synergy going for a really awesome sneak attack, but he doesn't have access to high level fighter abilities, or access to high level rogue abilities. Access to high level abilities COUNTS FOR SOMETHING BIGTIME. So if I spend 1.25 years training as a rogue, and 1.25 years training as a fighter. I just don't see my character more powerful than a 2.5 year rogue or fighter at ANY POINT during their training. I'm thinking more in terms of Guild Wars then P&P since I see that as what progression will more closely resemble. In Guild Wars I had the option of a secondary class that I could use to create synergy with my primary class. Often I made no use of the secondary class because because I could make a more powerful combo with what was available to my primary alone and I didn't want to lose out on skills in my primary by dabbling in my secondary. For instance in Guild Wars my main PVP character was a Monk/Warrior who used only Healing and Divine intervention skills. His warrior secondary only gave more credit to his name "Super Warrior Tank" which I used purely to confuse my enemies into not realizing he was actually "Super Squishy Healer" if they didn't pay attention.

In PFO I see a half rouge half fighter being like if you took a warrior/assassin from the original Guild Wars, and only gave them access to 50-75% of their skills vs someone who could only play warrior or assassin with access to 100% of that classes skills. My money is on the pures but best case scenario for the hybrid is a fairly even fight. So why penalize the hybrid?

Lantern Lodge

Paritcularly since we have a limited number of ability slots to balance stacking abilities. There is no longer any danger of the complete dominance of multiclass characters that some expressed a fear of.

Goblin Squad Member

I'm under the impression that each "role" as with training a "career" is long and narrow in what specialisms it improves your performance at. And choosing different roles makes things wider eg not just a pro at dispatching undead things (eg cleric) but goblin (eg barbarian). Seeing as Training time is a big investment and has 2 options: Vertical or Horizontal: Then both options need to have equal reasons to go with.

Maybe it's up to the individual: If I like doing Ranger things and want to be "the best" or "the first" et al. to experience down this path, is the Cap Stone just recognition of this specialism in the game, that a small portion of people enjoy playing the game in this way and are the "most useful" for situations they're specialised for?

Perhaps the Cap Stone skill is a unique skill that only is acquired for this specialism, which is therefore useful in special circumstances that gives the player the sense of being "payed-back" for their commitment (which they were probably happy to do anyway)? IE if there is a unique skill it is therefore unusual and therefore potentially very handy?

Goblin Squad Member

is this Multi-Class-Phobia something game developers get brainwashed with during training?

Calling the denial of the capstone a penalty OR calling the reward with capstone a bonus... is really just sqabbling over semantics and an attempt to change the subject.
_______

I remember the discussion for the beta test of Pathfinder,
the most memorable reply was:

"Multiclassing contains it's own punishment"
(through missing out on higher level class feats)

Fortunately the designers came up with something reasonable in the final version. Something that is also understandable from an in-game perspective.
_______

It's really a shame the cards appear to be stacked for capstones so early in the developement process, especially when aparently there is no universally understandable explanation given.
What is the out of game expalation?
What is the in-game explanation?
_______

A good in-game incentive to stick with a class would be to make training take longer at every switch of directions:

so if you go
Fighter5/Rogue20 you change direction once and take X weeks longer

with
Rogue5/Fighter5/Rogue15 you change direction twice and take 2*X weeks longer

go
Rogue1/Fighter1/Rogue1/Fighter1/Rogue1/Fighter1/Rogue1/Fighter1/Rogue1/Figh ter1/Rogue15
and getting to the same 25 Levels will take 10*X longer

I'm not saying this is brilliant, but at least the reason for the delay is clear. I thought up the reason first and calculated the consequences. And because I went about in this order it's flexible to adjust the amount of "time reward" you want to give to people who stick with a single class.
_______

The capstone limit feels extremely contrieved.
(quick, we need penalty for dabbling!! AGAIN!)

BTW: By speculating about the reason for the capstone you are doing the developers jobs: They should be the ones doing the thinking and reasoning before putting stuff like this in.
They shouldn't set something like this in stone so early on (without giving a good explanation) and hope some players will come up with a good reason to keep it.

Goblin Squad Member

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DarkLightHitomi wrote:


What is the point of encouraging single classing?

the immediate points that i can see

1- To maximize social interaction! The more generalist, the less you need others and the less you can add to the group. Single class encourages following one specialized path that also fits a useful role in most adventuring parties without becoming a one-trick pony. (monk/rogue haters: assume GW will do magic).

2- it is more PnP/Golarion flavoured.

3- (dubious statement) it makes it easier for content makers to anticipate the abilities available in groups, and match the challenge. (ie it is easier to write adventures for the four basic food groups than for every conceivable party composition.

4- (dubious as well) more specialization = sharper scissors, heavier rocks and larger papers in pvp. Good as long as single class cookie cutter builds do not end up limiting the spectrum of characters and tactics.

5- it is a convenient crutch for players who do not have a specific character concept and get intimidated with too many options.

Goblin Squad Member

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randomwalker wrote:
DarkLightHitomi wrote:


What is the point of encouraging single classing?

the immediate points that i can see

1- To maximize social interaction! The more generalist, the less you need others and the less you can add to the group. Single class encourages following one specialized path that also fits a useful role in most adventuring parties without becoming a one-trick pony. (monk/rogue haters: assume GW will do magic).

I think that's likely very relevant.

Lantern Lodge

Number 1 sounds like a very intelligent answer, touche.

Number 2 I don't see any capstones in PF (unless they just call the last ability capstone for no other reason then it's the last one, and even then I don't know anywhere in the book that they are referred to as such)

Number's 3 and 4 sound like developer's excuses. (With a little merit but still an excuse)

Number 4 sounds fits aliright for greenhorns who don't know what they are doing yet, but seems a bit more excuse like for someone who understands what's going on, particularly for such a long term thing.

Who spend's 2 years playing a character that was lazily made with no real thought or inspiration put into it?

If I didn't know what to make then I would make a few nonsense characters and just fiddling around and lots of thinking and wouldn't commit to a character until I had something I knew I would stick with for the long haul. Of course that might just be me and my dissatisfaction with simpleton and stereotypical flat characters.

Goblin Squad Member

randomwalker wrote:
DarkLightHitomi wrote:
What is the point of encouraging single classing?
1- To maximize social interaction!

From Your Pathfinder Online Character:

Quote:
Of course, if you decide that it would be more interesting or fun for your character to training in the skills of more than one archetype, you'll still earn the appropriate class-type bonuses when you meet the prerequisites—you just won't be eligible for the final special capstone ability when you achieve the 20th merit badge in that archetype.

Obviously, PFO is going to support what we're calling "multi-classing".

Obviously, PFO is not trying to "encourage" single-classing.

As much as some of you really think it would be a great idea if they made it impossible to use the abilities of more than one Role at a time, there are others of us who really think you're very, very wrong.

Goblin Squad Member

There is no question here in PFO not supporting multi-classing, it certainly does, but by giving out a Capstone ‘only’ if you focus on one class (at a time) I would consider they are encouraging single-classing.

I agree with Andius in that a character should not be penalized (and yes, they are being penalized by losing access to the Capstone) for not taking all the same class levels at once. That the player who wants to be a 20th level Fighter and 20th level Wizard should be able to still reach their Capstone if they want to go up back and forth each level. They are spending the same amount of time as someone who goes the straight route for each class. Why take away the Capstone for someone who wants to change it up every couple of levels?

Goblin Squad Member

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Hobbun, here's why:

CAPSTONES
Games that encourage multiclassing—taking levels in more
than one class—tend to create generalist rather than specialist
characters. These same games tempt players to take a level in a
new class just to gain a specific ability without offering any inworld
incentive to incorporate the nature of that class into play.
The Pathfinder RPG gives players an incentive to focus on
the same class by adding a special ability, informally called a
capstone, that a player can earn only by taking 20 levels in the
same class. Since the tabletop game is designed for characters
of up to 20th level, only single-classed characters can earn the
capstone ability.

To capture that flavor, Pathfinder Online offers capstone
abilities for characters that earn 20 levels in a single role.
However, herein lies another key difference between the
Pathfinder RPG and Pathfinder Online: characters in the online
game can earn more than 20 levels, and can eventually earn
multiple capstone abilities. While the Goblinworks designers
expect it to take years for anyone to earn 40 levels, the current
thinking is that anyone with that level of commitment to a
character’s development deserves to play a truly epic character.

(Thornkeep, "Behind the Scenes of GW" p. 72-3)

It's really straightforward: their design philosophy is to avoid munchkining where you take 1 level of this, two levels of that, etc to get the three abilities that optimize a character. Instead, they want players to be immersed in "roles": to walk the long path of an arcane master, to dedicate yourself to a diety and bringing tyat dieties word to the world, to being a ranger whose steps track across the farthest hinterlands of Golarion, etc.

But they are still allowing people the choice to multi-type, and if they get it balanced so that you can have a good, effective character in more than one way, that'll be a win for players.

Lantern Lodge

One, the PnP has no such limit on leveling only to twenty.

Two, not everyone multiclasses because of optimization.

The concept of a fighter who casts buff spells on himself can only be built as a multiclass character because the only single class that mixes the two assumes that the magic is used purely offensively. That would a role I could be immersed in.

Why would I want to play a stereotype?

Goblin Squad Member

DarkLightHitomi wrote:

One, the PnP has no such limit on leveling only to twenty.

Two, not everyone multiclasses because of optimization.

The concept of a fighter who casts buff spells on himself can only be built as a multiclass character because the only single class that mixes the two assumes that the magic is used purely offensively. That would a role I could be immersed in.

Why would I want to play a stereotype?

A fighter who casts buff spells on himself???

That's pretty original bro!

Goblin Squad Member

I think people are basing some of thier conclusions based upon facts not yet in evidence....

- That the abilities granted at higher levels are neccesarly significantly more powerfull then those granted at lower levels. While we know this is true in the PnP ruleset and it holds true in most games. It may not neccesarly hold true in PFO. One of the design goals of the game is to reduce the power curve between low and high level players...essentialy broader set of options not neccesarly deeper (more powerfull) abilities. Granting abilities gained to higher level characters that are significantly more powerfull then those granted at low and medium levels would work against that goal. Thus abilities gained at higher level may simply broaden the tactical options availble to the character without vastly increasing thier raw power in an area. Meaning that a 20 and a 17/3 could both have roughly the same power level and both roughly the same breath of options, just one is spread out over a wider range of situations.

- That earning levels requires the same time/effort regardless of how deep in a path you are.That is going from 1-5 is the same as going 15-20. I can't find the exact quote, but I believe this has already been partialy refuted and the intent in PFO is that the first few levels in a class will be relatively easy to gain.

Given the above, it is potentialy the case that the Multi-Class character is inately advantaged...in that they can gain the same or wider breadth of options then the single class character in less time. That is partrialy addressed by the limited ability slots, as described in the posts on the details of combat, and may also be partialy addressed by the introduction of capstones by granting a small reward to characters who dedicate themselves to pursue a single class to completion (20th level) to offset the fact that they will be learning abilities at a SLOWER rate then Multi-Class characters who will learn the first few levels of each class they take at an accelerated pace.

Goblin Squad Member

Grumpy, on the length to make it to your 20th merit badge, I would guess that it's not your skill acquisition within an archetype, but overall for your character. It wouldn't make sense for one player to take to 30 months to make it 20th merit badge within one role, but then someone who picked from 11 archetypes to get to 20 in 2 months.

Goblin Squad Member

DarkLightHitomi wrote:

One, the PnP has no such limit on leveling only to twenty.

Two, not everyone multiclasses because of optimization.

The concept of a fighter who casts buff spells on himself can only be built as a multiclass character because the only single class that mixes the two assumes that the magic is used purely offensively. That would a role I could be immersed in.

Why would I want to play a stereotype?

PNP does not have such limitations, however there are general invisible limitations in P&P that negate the need for concrete limitations.

1. In P&P pretty much everyone you run into, to ally with or oppose, is almost certainly within 5 levels or so of you, any party you are in, is pretty much guaranteed to be within 1-2 levels of you. Challanges in the world, wandering monsters etc... will also coincidentally adjust, the challanges you will run into at level 1, and the dangers the world is facing when you are 15, are drastically different. Essentially the world secretely levels up with you.

I've heard stories and posts of DMs who have policies like "If you die, you rejoin as a level 1 character. In general players despise that, being a level 1 character in a world that is now around level 7, you basically don't participate and you hide out in the background until you level. The only justification in that setting is that the level 1 character rapidly levels up due to the XP curve rules.

The goal of PFO, is for the 1 merit badge characters, to co-exist in the world with 20 merit badge characters. Theme parks have multiple worlds, IE in WoW etc... the big cities are just hubs that both characters exist in, but aside from the auction house, there's basically geographically seperate worlds.

As far as the stereotypes things, within limits I'm fine with multiclassing, the key is that in group combat, even when one is a jack of all trades, in general efficiancy does come from roles, when your team mates don't know what you are doing. If the fighter is about to charge into melee combat, he's most likely determined before the battle who he is counting on to toss him that heal so he doesn't get shredded, and he isn't going to be casting the heal on himself when he's moving into AoO position for 3 different guys.

In the end in any group activity, it comes down to roles, with few exceptions at the start of the play, the team is adjusted and prepared for it before the ball is snapped, it's the obscure 1% of times that it's actually a good idea to improvise.

Goblin Squad Member

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If the capstones are little more than special emotes, or reskins of lower level powers that just come with flashier FX, then what difference does it make?
If you really want the benefit that multiclassing offers, then you will be willing to trade the capstone for it.

If you are so OCD that you can not bear to do without the capstone, then you're going to be complaining about them even if the capstones were nothing but badges that only you could view.

You can ask "Why punish someone that multiclasses?", but I can just as easily ask "Why not reward people that forgo the instant gratification that multiclassing offers?".

Especially if that reward doesn't involve game-balance.

Lantern Lodge

Point number 1 isn't being disputed and isn't relevent to single vs. Multi class.

The roles required for party don't fall along the lines of classes. If I am a ranged damager it doesn't matter whether I am shooting a bow or shooting magic, just as long as I am shooting something. The ability to do multiple things isn't as bad as you imply either, sure the focused healer is who we have doing the primary healing but someone else being able to heal the healer when she gets sneak attacked and suddenly in melee by an opposing rogue is always a good backup plan.

The fighter/monk, pure melee and doesn't worry when he gets disarmed (and if a monk can be disarmed then something is seriously messed up).

Build the group well and both speciality people and generalist people can be put into good successful strategies.

Having pure specialists isn't the only way, look at nature, some creatures are specialists and some are generalists, and yes generalists come in social varieties as well.


Mbando wrote:
Grumpy, on the length to make it to your 20th merit badge, I would guess that it's not your skill acquisition within an archetype, but overall for your character. It wouldn't make sense for one player to take to 30 months to make it 20th merit badge within one role, but then someone who picked from 11 archetypes to get to 20 in 2 months.

I believe you are incorrect here. It has been stated that its expected that in 5 years a player could capstone 2 roles - if it went by how you are stating, a 2nd role would take much longer to cap. The strength of a multiclassed character won't be 'role1badges + role2badges'. A multiclassed character with fighter5/barbarian5 will take less time and be less powerful than a fighter10. Probably it'd be more equivalent to a fighter7-8 in time, and fighter6-7 in overall power. It has also been stated that 1week characters will have a place near 2year characters. Thus, I would expect a 2-role to be about 85-95% as strong and twice as broad as a 1-role character, for x training time. There's a serious potential for multiclassed characters to fit well into more situations, although being less specialized will do so less well. There would be diminishing returns on this, as a all-roles3 character would be awful compared to a monk8 and take a similar amount of time

I think the key to balance is making (for equivalent training time) single role characters slightly more powerful than multi-role characters, and multi-role characters effective in more situations. (Edit: Whether GW stated this or not in the blogs, I'm pretty sure this is their plan anyway, which is where I got the notion from.)

Goblin Squad Member

Why would you want to play a stereotype?

Because you want to. Maybe there's too much focus on a massively incomplete level of mechanical detail, and not enough consideration for someone that simply isn't interested in branching out beyond a single "class" tree. If all i want to do is play a raging half orc barbarian, then that's all i should be encouraged to do, regardless of how some people might think a 4 hour training dip into cleric would be "so much better". If at the end of my merit badges, there's a neat ability that lets me vorpal whirlwind for 10 seconds, great. If at the end of it my rage causes my hair to catch on fire, awesome. Point is, I've played the character archetype I wanted to play. If someone else has played a Wizzie-Rogue/Fighter-Cleric i sincerely hope they've enjoyed their time as much as me, even if they don't get to set their head on fire.

Really, there are literally no details to drive any comparison between multi-path and single path. There can be no real discussion about optimization beyond the broadest possible strokes. These details probably haven't even been written for the MMO, so what you're really arguing about is whether or not its "funner" to cross class or not. The answer is, Yes. Both will be fun.

In a perfect game, neither will be "optimal".

Lantern Lodge

@Sparrow who ninjad me

The answer to your final question, multiclassing isn't instant gratification, it's playing the character I want, the problem comes in when 5 years down the road, if I'm still playing, then my character has achieved everything and is identical to this other character and yet that other character has something I don't, not because he spent money, or because he completed some quest that I didn't, but because he didn't play what he wanted.

It's not punishing me for multiclassing, it's punishing me for playing what I want for 5 years, as opposed to not playing what I want for 5 years.

It's a game, and as such should be enjoyed every minute of playing it. I shouldn't have to spend 5 years playing something just to get to the point of playing what I want. I can garuntee, that no game will get me to play for 5 years without me enjoying it the whole way through.

Edit: ninjad by Gruffling,
Not quite the direction I was refering, not everyone wants to play a stereotype and we shouldn't be herded into it without a good reason and I have only gotten 1 good reason and it isn't a good idea reason, just a good motivation reason for why they did it.

I should be rewarded for playing the character I want, rather then the character the developers want.

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