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Operative overtuned?


Starfinder General Discussion

Shadow Lodge

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The operative keeps popping up as being OP and when you look at it, it is hard to argue that it is not.

1)It is the only class that gets 4 attacks eventually and also the only class that gets additional full action attacks with no additional penalty. It is still just -4 to attacks. The Solarian and the Soldier at full BAB characters that each get a third attack as a full action eventually but at a -6, with no 4th attack. Additionally the multi-weapon fighting only applies to operative weapons and small arms. So the operative is the only class that can achieve -3/-3/-3/-3.

2) Tons of skill points and skill bonuses. I get that the operative is a skill monkey but after all of the skill points it already gets 8+int, it gets a free skill point in 2 skills each level because of it's specialization and gets mountains of insight bonuses to skills across the board.

3) The same general bonus that gets applied to all skills is applied to initiative. As a Dex based class, that basically means that the Operative will have the highest initiative by far compared to any other class, with the same level of Initiative being unreachable by other classes in higher level play.

4)Its also the only class that gets evasion and improved evasion as well as abilities that improve fort and will saves, making it the only class to have class abilities giving it a bonus/benefit to each of the three saves.

5)It basically uses magic, many of its abilities are on par with some of the most useful and best utility spells in the game.

I get that the operative is supposed to be a bad mother, ninja, monk, rogue, inquisitor, ranger type but it is over tuned in nearly everyway outside of not having full BAB(not that it matters with all of the other buffs). The soldier might be able to deal more damage in a round over all but the operative is a close second and is at the very top of the skill game (unlike the solarian who has all these abilities giving access to skills but no real bonuses and has a pathetic amount of skill points available so it can't even take advantage of all the free skill access it has. While already being the most MAD class in the system).

I'm not normally in favor of nerfing things but I seriously think the operative needs a date with the nerf bat. (I also think the Solarian needs 8+Int for skill points. You don't write a truck load about learning/unlocking/studying the secrets of the universe and then kick the class in the balls with a negligible amount of skill points)


1) Operative can only make four attacks using Small Arms or Operative Weapons, which deal roughly half the damage of Advanced Melee weapons or Longarms. Thus, those four attacks work out to the equivalent of two attacks with proper weapons, except at lower BAB meaning worse accuracy. It's far from overpowered.

2) Envoy gets a bigger bonus to fewer skills, it makes sense.

3) True.

4) Evasion is nice to have, but not really a game-breaking point. Solarian has a Reflex bonus, thus having stuff for all three saves. Soldier has an overabundance of feats to spend on things like Improved Iron Will, etc. Also, the only things I found on Operative for Fortitude and Will were very situational and minor - it's almost exclusively things like quicker recovery from diseases as far as I could see.

5) Yes, and? Ideally, all classes should be able to compete with spells in utility.


Pretty sure you also can't full attack and trick attack. So that brings down the numbers some more.


I must admit, I do think the operative IS very much overtuned with it's skill monkeying. It's a bit too good at everything, to the point it easily overshadows other classes. I'd have preferred if all classes were good at skill monkeying in their own areas.

Dark Archive

From what ı saw on internet.Their melee damage seems ok.They are not beefy or have high ac.Thier best weapon is baton and it does 8d6 damage which is 24 avg damage at level 17(character level) swoop hammer mk 3 does 14d10(best melee weapon ı could find) Do ı need to say more about melee of operative?Trick attack is a full action so you cant attack for 4 times.That ability is there to make operative players stay in melee.Otherwise why stay in melee with operative anyway?Skill points are that high to make anyother classes such as int casters from pf to not be able to beat rogue(operative) in being a skill monkey.Well to be fair technomancer can still beat an operative in terms of skill ranks if operative forgets to raise int to respectable levels.

EDİT:Oh ı forgot to mention damage from weapon spec is reduced to half if you are using operative weapons.Did ı forgot to mention you do not get dex to damage?İs there even a reason to be in melee ıf you cant survive it?You are certainly not a tank.Fun way of playing the class(atleast to me) is by buffing int or playing a human.so with my total of 13 str ı do what at level 18 it is 8d6+1+9 x 4 attacks and 13 bab 24 dex makes for 20 when you take -3 to your attacks you have +17+17+17+17 32d6+40? and we didnt even talked about dr yet though at this level it should be easy to overcome.


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Noodlemancer wrote:


4) Evasion is nice to have, but not really a game-breaking point.

Considering how many players and NPCs can now fling fireballs around at will (Grenades, Explosive weapons, in addition to Spells) Evasion is in the running for THE best defensive ability.

I have to agree with the OP. The operative was the class that I picked as the 'best' (in terms of most overall abilities and advantages) when I first read the book.


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Space rogues are overpowered ?? O tempora o mores :D


Something can be overtuned without being overpowered. Right now, the Operative utterly dominates non-combat with that hefty bonus to every single skill meaning they'll often outclass other people in most things.


The Envoy can (sometimes) beat the Operative at the few skills it focuses on, but the Operative's omnicompetence and the (sometimes) advantage of the Envoy being so narrow in its specialties feels like a problem.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

The Envoy has options for expanding what skills it can monkey, if it really wants to compete that way.


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YogoZuno wrote:
The Envoy has options for expanding what skills it can monkey, if it really wants to compete that way.

While the Operative just automatically monkeys every skill. That's not at all comparable, dude. Not at all.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

If you say so. The Operative still can't use his bonus on untrained trained-only skills, so it's not like he can use it on every single skill either. And the Envoy can use Expertise on a number of common skills by default. The Operative is probably the better jack-of-all-trades when it comes to skills, but the Envoy would be a close second, imo.


And the other classes mostly go and sit sadly in the corner. The Solarian's skill bonuses bounce between on and off for...some reason meaning a Solarian can't actually use athletics and acrobatics bonuses in combat where the main uses of them are and the Engineer gets a tiny fragment of the operative's bonus (And at a slower rate). God help the poor Soldier's lack of any skill bonus at ALL.

Dark Archive

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YogoZuno wrote:
If you say so. The Operative still can't use his bonus on untrained trained-only skills, so it's not like he can use it on every single skill either. And the Envoy can use Expertise on a number of common skills by default. The Operative is probably the better jack-of-all-trades when it comes to skills, but the Envoy would be a close second, imo.

At Level 2, Operatives can take the Jack of All Trades ability to use any skill untrained with double their normal skill bonus, so they can use it on any skill with a single talent. Envoys, by comparison, can use their skill-boosting feature on Sense Motive and one more skill chosen from a limited list, plus another every 4 levels after that. Acrobatics, Athletics, Life Science, Mysticism, Perception, Physical Science, Piloting, Profession, Slight of Hand, Stealth, and Survival are not on that list. The one big advantage Envoys have over Operatives is that their class skill list is much larger.

Liberty's Edge

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Okay, I recently did a Solarian and Soldier damage comparison (in melee). Let's add Operative (also melee, for simplicity).

A 20th level Operative does maybe 8d6+14 damage (average 42 points), with a +26 to hit w/Weapon Focus (or +23/+23/+23/+23 at best in a Full Attack). A Trick Attack adds a debuff and adds 10d8 damage (average 45 points), but that's mutually exclusive with the full attack option.

So that's 168 if all four attacks hit, or 87 on a Trick Attack.

A Soldier, meanwhile, hits for 12d10+33 damage (average 99 points) with a +30 to hit with Weapon Focus (+24/+24/+24 in a Full Attack).

So that's 297 if all three attacks hit, 99 on a single attack.

A Solarian, meanwhile, hits for 18d6+42 damage (average 105 points) with a +29 to hit with Weapon Focus (due to being MAD, +24/+24/+24 on a full attack)

That's 315 damage if all attacks hit, 105 on a single attack.

That comparison is pretty clearly not in the favor of the Operative, especially with the lower attack bonus.

Any other Class, absent Class abilities, but with Weapon Focus and Advanced Melee Weapon Proficiency and Specialization and with Solarian-equivalent Str does 12d10+28 damage (average 94 points) but with only +25 to hit (or +21/+21 on a full attack).

That's 188 damage if all attacks hit, 94 on a single attack. But, of course, with lower to-hit than the Operative and no debuff.

Looking at that...the Operative is an amazing non-combat class I'd be pleased to play, and can hold its own by default with those who focus on combat. But overpowered in combat? I think not.

Non-combat is entirely different, of course, but a Mechanic is going to better at Computers and Engineering, and the Operative lacks Life Science and Mysticism (ie: the Knowledge skills) entirely. And the Envoy is likely to be miles better at a few skills and probably on par on everything else Charisma based.

Solarian, Soldier, Mystic, and Technomancer will likely be worse at most skills (though, as mentioned, Life Science and Mysticism are likely to be better on all but Soldier...and rolled a bunch), but as noted above Soldier and Solarian are miles better in combat, and the other two have spells, which is no small advantage. The Envoy also has abilities in combat that are unique, impressive, and impossible for the Operative to duplicate, while the Mechanic has either a Drone or all sorts of Exocortex tricks.

Dark Archive

You can get skill synergy to pick two more skills as class skills.I cant find a good feat to spend on operative anyway except weapon focus and since most of the games will not go more than 12-13 levels you dont need multi attack as a feat anyway.You can get all the skills mate.All of them.....BTW is there a way for an operative to get more skill ranks?I am an android operative with 14 int.So other than buffing int at level 5 and 7 ı cant seem to find more ways to increase this.ı dont know the levels you can pick your second +4 ability bonus upgrade.But at total ı can get 15 skill ranks per level.Well it is nice but ı want more.


A human Operative who maxes int can at level 20 have 20 ranks in all skills. Its not optimal but it sure is silly

Dark Archive

Do you need anything other then dex and int?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
lakobie wrote:
A human Operative who maxes int can at level 20 have 20 ranks in all skills. Its not optimal but it sure is silly

One person's, "silly" is another person's, "Wow, that's awesome and speaks of good planning!"

Liberty's Edge

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Lausth wrote:
You can get skill synergy to pick two more skills as class skills.I cant find a good feat to spend on operative anyway except weapon focus and since most of the games will not go more than 12-13 levels you dont need multi attack as a feat anyway.You can get all the skills mate.All of them.....

I'd argue Deadly Aim is actually a solid call for Operatives as the levels go up, too.

But sure, they can wind up with everything as a Class Skill pretty readily...but the Mystic or Technomancer is still very likely to have better Mysticism and any Int-based class to have better Life Science. And an Envoy is very likely to have better Cha skills in general (especially Diplomacy).

An Operative is an excellent skill generalist, and likely better at any skills they have than other people who only dabble in said skill, but real specialists tend to beat them out in non-Dex skills unless they utterly handicap themselves in their primary stat (which is, indeed, Dex).

And, again, they lack spells, do worse in combat than either Solarians or Soldiers, and lack the special abilities of either Envoys or Mechanics. They have a niche, which they are excellent at, but they don't actually tend to overshadow other people in their own areas.

Lausth wrote:
BTW is there a way for an operative to get more skill ranks?I am an android operative with 14 int.So other than buffing int at level 5 and 7 ı cant seem to find more ways to increase this.ı dont know the levels you can pick your second +4 ability bonus upgrade.But at total ı can get 15 skill ranks per level.Well it is nice but ı want more.

Aside from upping Int or being Human? Not that I know of.

Dark Archive

Can you use deadly aim with trick attack?And do ı get trick attack right.You dont actually do attack roll you just roll your spec's designated skill check vs 20+cr(which is somewhat high) if you pass the dc you do your weapons's damage+trick attack damage and enemy is flat footed until the start of your next turn?


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Ikiry0 wrote:
I must admit, I do think the operative IS very much overtuned with it's skill monkeying. It's a bit too good at everything, to the point it easily overshadows other classes. I'd have preferred if all classes were good at skill monkeying in their own areas.

They are.The Mechanic, Mystic And Technomancer get the same insight bonus as the Operator to their areas of expertise (Computers, engineering, mysticism etc) and they are also Int/Wis-focused. Not to mention they get extra abilities to these very skills that the Operator cannot get. So if a Mechanic pushes increases Int the same manner as a Operative increases Dex, the Mechanic will always be better at Int skills such Computers and Engineering.

The Operative is second best at skills that are not Dex-focused. But is plainly beaten in other cases

Liberty's Edge

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Lausth wrote:
Can you use deadly aim with trick attack?And do ı get trick attack right.You dont actually do attack roll you just roll your spec's designated skill check vs 20+cr(which is somewhat high) if you pass the dc you do your weapons's damage+trick attack damage and enemy is flat footed until the start of your next turn?

Uh...no. That's not how that works at all.

You roll your skill (or skill +4) vs 20+CR (which isn't actually high at all...skills go up way faster than level if you focus on them, and you can take 10 and auto succeed a lot starting at 7th level).

Then, if you succeed, they're Flat Footed and at -2 on their AC, and you do the extra damage if you hit.

Then you make an attack roll as normal.

Dark Archive

so you roll a d20 2 times.....hmm.That's ok ı guess.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Okay, I recently did a Solarian and Soldier damage comparison (in melee). Let's add Operative (also melee, for simplicity).

A 20th level Operative does maybe 8d6+14 damage (average 42 points), with a +26 to hit w/Weapon Focus (or +23/+23/+23/+23 at best in a Full Attack). A Trick Attack adds a debuff and adds 10d8 damage (average 45 points), but that's mutually exclusive with the full attack option.

So that's 168 if all four attacks hit, or 87 on a Trick Attack.

A Soldier, meanwhile, hits for 12d10+33 damage (average 99 points) with a +30 to hit with Weapon Focus (+24/+24/+24 in a Full Attack).

So that's 297 if all three attacks hit, 99 on a single attack.

A Solarian, meanwhile, hits for 18d6+42 damage (average 105 points) with a +29 to hit with Weapon Focus (due to being MAD, +24/+24/+24 on a full attack)

That's 315 damage if all attacks hit, 105 on a single attack.

That comparison is pretty clearly not in the favor of the Operative, especially with the lower attack bonus.

Any other Class, absent Class abilities, but with Weapon Focus and Advanced Melee Weapon Proficiency and Specialization and with Solarian-equivalent Str does 12d10+28 damage (average 94 points) but with only +25 to hit (or +21/+21 on a full attack).

That's 188 damage if all attacks hit, 94 on a single attack. But, of course, with lower to-hit than the Operative and no debuff.

Didn't know the potential damage difference between the classes was that high. Nice example.

Liberty's Edge

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Erk Ander wrote:
Didn't know the potential damage difference between the classes was that high. Nice example.

Thanks. :)

Most of it is just the third attack on Soldiers and Solarians (though both do also have class-exclusive damage bonuses), and the lower damage of Operative weapons for the Operatives (which the extra attacks make up for, mostly anyway).


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Erk Ander wrote:
Didn't know the potential damage difference between the classes was that high. Nice example.

Thanks. :)

Most of it is just the third attack on Soldiers and Solarians (though both do also have class-exclusive damage bonuses), and the lower damage of Operative weapons for the Operatives (which the extra attacks make up for, mostly anyway).

Your welcome. Yeah unless I am wrong the Soldier for instance have some abilities that increase damage, for instance the Gear boost melee strike.

On another note I do think ALL of us should be careful with labels such as underpowered or overpowered etc. The game just came out. While numbers are important and useful (you proves that previosuly) its not the everything.

Liberty's Edge

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Erk Ander wrote:
Your welcome. Yeah unless I am wrong the Soldier for instance have some abilities that increase damage, for instance the Gear boost melee strike.

Yep! You can see the difference on the single attack damages.

Erk Ander wrote:
On another note I do think ALL of us should be careful with labels such as underpowered or overpowered etc. The game just came out. While numbers are important and useful (you proves that previosuly) its not the everything.

This is definitely true at this stage.

Partially because I'm sure we're all missing a lot of stuff and thus just not accounting for it in the math. Some early Solarian/Soldier analyses ignored all of the Solarian's class=specific damage bonuses while including the Soldier's, for example.

Scarab Sages

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I do wonder how often you will end up making a full attack versus moving and a single attack (which the Trick obviously incentivizes).

Dark Archive

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Belabras wrote:
I do wonder how often you will end up making a full attack versus moving and a single attack (which the Trick obviously incentivizes).

At low level ı would guess all of your attacks will be trick attack.Because you can actually move without provoking reactions with an exploit.But ı dont know how good that will be.But ı think playing an operative in sf in combat will be more boring then Urogue in Pf.that is what ı am thinking right now.I am %51 percent sure of that.


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Belabras wrote:
I do wonder how often you will end up making a full attack versus moving and a single attack (which the Trick obviously incentivizes).

just pick hit and run as your soldier's primary or secondary fighting style, and then do BOTH! move AND full attack.

Liberty's Edge

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Belabras wrote:
I do wonder how often you will end up making a full attack versus moving and a single attack (which the Trick obviously incentivizes).

At high levels, you'll Full Attack when you can, and Trick Attack when you need to move. The extra damage from Full Attacking is just way too good to pass up.


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Belabras wrote:
I do wonder how often you will end up making a full attack versus moving and a single attack (which the Trick obviously incentivizes).

Pretty much what deadman says. Compared to Trick attack Full attack is almost twice at good max lvl. However TA is more accurate so against a single foe TA is good. There is also the debuffs. Though A full attacker can get the debuffs via exploits. So I guess its a wash.

However with TA you can do stuff like hide behind cover after shooting, fall prone attack etc. It's very versatile. Damage isn't everything. For instance TA can cause the condition flatfooted. Thats effectively a +2 to hit for the entire party. In Starfinder thats significant. At high lvs you can several debuffs. So


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Belabras wrote:
I do wonder how often you will end up making a full attack versus moving and a single attack (which the Trick obviously incentivizes).
At high levels, you'll Full Attack when you can, and Trick Attack when you need to move. The extra damage from Full Attacking is just way too good to pass up.

I think it's going to depend heavily on where enemy AC numbers end up.

But at low levels it seems clear that combat is swingy enough that full attack is the best choice.

Liberty's Edge

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Looking at the one CR 13 thing I have to look at, the Necrovite from First Contact, it has a 26/27 AC.

If that's anything close to typical, Full Attacks are indeed better.

At that level, 4 attacks at +14 for 6d4+8 or so average a bit under 40 damage or so. One attack at +18 for 6d4+8+7d8 averages more like 35. It's not a big difference, but a real one.


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I for one welcome out new rogue overlords.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
At that level, 4 attacks at +14 for 6d4+8 or so average a bit under 40 damage or so. One attack at +18 for 6d4+8+7d8 averages more like 35. It's not a big difference, but a real one.

You also missed that when you use Trick Attack, the enemy is flat footed. So, the average vs AC26 for the full attack is 41.4, and for the trick attack it's actually 40.875, which is much closer. At AC27, the averages actually become 36.8 and 38.15, putting trick attack ahead. We should probably also be factoring in the chances of succeeding at the Trick Attack check, but I expect the Operative will be pretty close to 90% successful, based on how good everyone thinks they are at being skill monkeys.

Liberty's Edge

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YogoZuno wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
At that level, 4 attacks at +14 for 6d4+8 or so average a bit under 40 damage or so. One attack at +18 for 6d4+8+7d8 averages more like 35. It's not a big difference, but a real one.
You also missed that when you use Trick Attack, the enemy is flat footed. So, the average vs AC26 for the full attack is 41.4, and for the trick attack it's actually 40.875, which is much closer. At AC27, the averages actually become 36.8 and 38.15, putting trick attack ahead. We should probably also be factoring in the chances of succeeding at the Trick Attack check, but I expect the Operative will be pretty close to 90% successful.

I was just going back to edit that in! You're totally right, that does make them almost on par. Which is cool, since it makes them more mobile.

And they'll auto-succeed at Trick Attack pretty close to universally from 7th level on. They all get Skill Mastery, which lets them Take 10 in combat. With a starting 12, level ups, and the +4, that lets you auto-succeed at CR 17 foes at 13th level.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So in short it doesn't really matter what you do. The numbers for Starfinder have been so finely tuned, that you never really fall behind or manage to get ahead, at any level.

:-P

Liberty's Edge

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Ravingdork wrote:

So in short it doesn't really matter what you do. The numbers for Starfinder have been so finely tuned, that you never really fall behind or manage to get ahead, at any level.

:-P

Well, it depends on what you mean. A Soldier or Solarian does vastly more damage than an Operative, for example. Weapon choice also matters quite a lot.

But it does look like Trick Attack and Full Attacks have pretty comparable damage vs CR=APL foes. Likely, Trick Attack will be better choice vs. higher CR foes and Full Attacks better for minion sweeping, though.

Sovereign Court

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Lausth wrote:
...But ı think playing an operative in sf in combat will be more boring then Urogue in Pf.that is what ı am thinking right now.I am %51 percent sure of that.

If combat as a Urogue in PF is boring to you, you are doing it wrong.


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Yakno... I built an engineeer then my friend built an operative.

and.. i was seriously disappointed with how focused in engineer/computers I was and yet he really was almost just as good as me

and he was just kinda throwign stuff at it cause the op does so well. He pretty much built damage and then noticed "oh.. i can also do.. everything else." basically haha.

Dark Archive

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Don't forget that DR and energy resistance means the math could often swing the average damage in favor of the single Trick Attack as opposed to four lower-damage attacks.


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Zwordsman wrote:

Yakno... I built an engineeer then my friend built an operative.

and.. i was seriously disappointed with how focused in engineer/computers I was and yet he really was almost just as good as me

and he was just kinda throwign stuff at it cause the op does so well. He pretty much built damage and then noticed "oh.. i can also do.. everything else." basically haha.

Out of curiosity was this at 1st level? I'm curious at the type of Operative and Mechanic type as well, was it a non-Hacker Operative? Mechanic was Exocortex or Drone? And what were the computer/engineering total bonuses for both?

I've been in a game with a non-Hacker Operative and Soldier who had identical Engineering and Computer rolls at 1st (+6). So it may be at low levels there is not much difference in skill rolls between any classes who actually take that given skill without a Skill Focus feat or significantly different stat allocations.


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Hiruma Kai wrote:
Zwordsman wrote:

Yakno... I built an engineeer then my friend built an operative.

and.. i was seriously disappointed with how focused in engineer/computers I was and yet he really was almost just as good as me

Out of curiosity was this at 1st level? I'm curious

skillpoint wise they are pretty close

the talents and mods set them a bit apart though...just not at level 1

but technically if the mech goes drone he can hack/repair 2 things at once


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The mechanic doesn't have to go drone to hack 2 things at a time.


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HammerJack wrote:
The mechanic doesn't have to go drone to hack 2 things at a time.

can he hack 5 things with quad targetting?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Quad tracking states that you can track 4 targets, and hacking a computer doesn't count against that limit.

So, no, you can still hack two things, you can just do it while tracking 4 targets. That you aren't shooting at. Because you're busy hacking.

Dark Archive

YogoZuno wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
At that level, 4 attacks at +14 for 6d4+8 or so average a bit under 40 damage or so. One attack at +18 for 6d4+8+7d8 averages more like 35. It's not a big difference, but a real one.
You also missed that when you use Trick Attack, the enemy is flat footed. So, the average vs AC26 for the full attack is 41.4, and for the trick attack it's actually 40.875, which is much closer. At AC27, the averages actually become 36.8 and 38.15, putting trick attack ahead. We should probably also be factoring in the chances of succeeding at the Trick Attack check, but I expect the Operative will be pretty close to 90% successful, based on how good everyone thinks they are at being skill monkeys.

Don't you need to account for CRIT fishing? 4 attacks over 1 CRIT chance will push the balance in favor or 4 attack crit fishing mode.


The operative is definitely the better choice when it comes to being better in just about any skill. Their Edge stacks quick and applies to everything.

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