Playtest Thoughts: Week 2

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Advanced Class Guide Playtest continues to roll along and the design team has been getting some great feedback from the boards. It's been a busy week; we've made changes to the arcanist, launched the playtest survey, and stuffed ourselves on Thanksgiving. This week, we'll take a look at those in detail and cast an eye toward the upcoming revisions.

Late in the day on Wednesday, we released a revised version of the arcanist, swapping out the blood focus class feature for a new mechanic designed to give the class flexibility along with a clearer and better sense of role in the game. The arcanist gained an arcane reservoir that she can draw upon to fuel exploits (special class features that let her tinker with the forces of magic). She can consume her own spell slots to fill up her reservoir and can even learn to siphon such power from magic items and enemy spells. If you have not seen the update, forums right go to the forum post here. We aren't done with this class quite yet, but it's a step in the right direction.

The other big news last week was the launch of the playtest surveys. Each class has its own questionnaire, allowing us the gauge their interest, power, and versatility. The great thing is that you can update the survey as the playtest continues, meaning that we can see how opinions and ideas for each class change as time goes on. This also means it is vital for you to fill out your survey now, so that when you change it later, we can get a sense of whether or not we are heading in the right direction. You can find the surveys right here. Of special note, please base your arcanist survey answers off the original version of the class, not the revised version on the messageboards.

Let's take this chance to share some feedback from the survey. We asked the same eight questions about each of the classes, and we found some interesting trends.

The first two questions are about comparing each class with its two parent base classes. For example, the shaman questions compare the shaman to the oracle and the witch. Most of the classes are falling relatively close to their parents, but there are some outliers. The original version of the arcanist is seen as being more powerful than its parents, but I think the revision will normalize those numbers a bit. On the other hand, people are seeing the skald as being a bit weaker than its parents. The big winner here was the shaman, which most feel is pretty close to the mark as compared to its parent classes.

Next up, we ask whether the theme of the class matches its mechanics. The bloodrager and slayer were the big winners here, while the hunter and the warpriest need some work.

Our fourth question looks at how each class is presented in terms of clarity and ease of use. The slayer once again comes out on top here, along with the investigator. Interestingly, this is the only question in which the shaman gets some poor marks—understandable considering how the spirit and wandering spirit mechanic plays out.

Next, we ask you two questions: one comparing the class in terms of power and balance to the other playtest classes, and another comparing it to all of the other classes in the game. The shaman and skald once again show that they need some work in this department, while the brawler, investigator, shaman, and slayer are all falling closer to the mark.

The seventh question asks whether the class has enough options and versatility. The head of class here is the bloodrager, investigator, and shaman. At the other end, it's clear that the skald and swashbuckler need a few more options added to their frameworks.

Finally, we look to gauge your interest in playing the class. Not surprisingly, the bloodrager, investigator, shaman, and swashbuckler are all pretty high on the list. The hunter, skald, and warpriest are lagging behind, which is key feedback.

What all does this tell us? First off, that some of the classes are getting close to where they need to be. They're not done, and they still need a lot of polish and refinement, but they probably don't need any major revisions. Others need to see some big changes to get them closer to the standard we're striving for. We aren't basing mechanical decisions solely off survey responses, but it will help us understand how our upcoming changes impact the consensus opinion.

And that brings me to my final point: barring any catastrophes, we are hoping to release a revised version of the playtest document sometime in the next week. Once we release that document, we will be calling on folks to update their surveys as soon as they have gotten a chance to read through them and run them out for a test drive. Remember, the surveys and playtest forums will remain open through Tuesday, December 17th.

Thanks again for taking part! We'll see you on the boards.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Playtest
1 to 50 of 80 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Can you put the text of the classes up on the PRD so we can see it online for the latest updates, until the play test is over?


Quote:


Next, we ask you two questions: one comparing the class in terms of power and balance to the other playtest classes, and another comparing it to all of the other classes in the game. The shaman and skald once again show that they need some work in this department, while the brawler, investigator, shaman, and slayer are all falling closer to the mark.

Emphasis mine. I'm assuming one of them is a typo, but honestly have no idea which one. Clarification?


I like the change in design in the arcanist. The class has become more flexible and each character can be shaped differently according to the player's whims. (Additionally it is really easy in future supplements such as Player Companions to add a few more arcane exploits.)

If I am allowed, I urge the developers to apply the same design paradigms onto other classes that lack such a design currently (such as the brawler and hunter).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Having this information is great but also disappointing as it shows that the class I wanted changed the most is "working as intended". I've got 9 other classes to make up for the one that's gonna be a wash for me and my table though so that's a good thing.


I can't wait to take a look at the revised ones.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

KramlmarK wrote:
Quote:


Next, we ask you two questions: one comparing the class in terms of power and balance to the other playtest classes, and another comparing it to all of the other classes in the game. The shaman and skald once again show that they need some work in this department, while the brawler, investigator, shaman, and slayer are all falling closer to the mark.
Emphasis mine. I'm assuming one of them is a typo, but honestly have no idea which one. Clarification?

Oops. That should ready "the Hunter and Skald once again show that they need some work in this department"

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer


Seraphimpunk wrote:
Can you put the text of the classes up on the PRD so we can see it online for the latest updates, until the play test is over?

I believe they've automated a lot of the PRD update procedure, so it essentially pulls directly out of the PDFs of the hardcovers. I'm not sure it would be an easy process to keep the PRD updated with the latest fixes depending on how that process is setup.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Is it likely that the revised PDF will include longer lists of talents/exploits/etc? When you get 10 talents selected from a list of 16, well, that makes evaluation a little harder. :/

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Speaking about the slayer, there are several new talents added to the list, as well as a list of rogue talents you can select as a slayer talent, for a total of 24 available base slayer talents and 11 advanced slayer talents.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Sweet, thanks!


Paizo always refers to the majority of people as 'She'. Why is that?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
SuperSlayer wrote:
Paizo always refers to the majority of people as 'She'. Why is that?

They use the gender of the iconic for pronouns.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
SuperSlayer wrote:
Paizo always refers to the majority of people as 'She'. Why is that?

Actually, it's 50/50 split. The 'she's just stick out.

Grand Lodge

Cheapy wrote:
SuperSlayer wrote:
Paizo always refers to the majority of people as 'She'. Why is that?
They use the gender of the iconic for pronouns.

I believe this is correct.


The iconics are a 50/50 split so you're both right.


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Captain Netz wrote:
The iconics are a 50/50 split so you're both right.

YAY! Everybody's right for a change!

...How often does that happen around here? :)


Robert Jordan wrote:
Having this information is great but also disappointing as it shows that the class I wanted changed the most is "working as intended". I've got 9 other classes to make up for the one that's gonna be a wash for me and my table though so that's a good thing.

One thing to note is that, from a design perspective, different classes are made for different players (just like how Magic: The Gathering has popularized their own player psychographics). It's the reason why people have favorites and least-favorites among all the core classes, even. So having one class that doesn't draw you, personally, in and make you want to play it isn't unusual or even bad (though that being said, if the class doesn't appeal to anyone, thats' a big problem).

In the meantime, thanks for giving updates on the survey results so far! I'm really heartened to see that the Swashbuckler will be getting actual options in character creation, since that's the fatal flaw in my most anticipated class at the moment. Even just something along the lines of a greater range of Deeds, but having to select the ones you want as you level up.

Good luck on the hunter and war priest. I think the Hunter is mainly an issue of giving it a power boost, as the core concept is quite solid. I hope you're not afraid to do for the War Priest what you just did for the Arcanist though.


So it is safe to assume that the revised playtest will be next week if everything goes according to plan.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
So it is safe to assume that the revised playtest will be next week if everything goes according to plan.

That would not leave a lot of time for the actual playtesting. I hope they get the revisions right, then.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
magnuskn wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
So it is safe to assume that the revised playtest will be next week if everything goes according to plan.
That would not leave a lot of time for the actual playtesting. I hope they get the revisions right, then.

I hope they'll consider extending the play test, or doing a second round in a couple months.

Let's say they come out with the updated one at the start of next week, so the 9th. That leaves approximately 1 week for feedback on the redesigned classes as opposed to the nearly 3 weeks the originals got. For most of the classes that should be mostly fine, but for classes like the Arcanist, Warpriest, Hunter, and Skald that are getting large initial overhauls, that seems problematic.


Quote:
The original version of the arcanist is seen as being more powerful than its parents, but I think the revision will normalize those numbers a bit

Frankly this seems like an odd claim. The class lost pretty much 1 spell per day at its lower levels and the largely pointless Blood Focus ability. In return it gets a wide array of excellent exploits which give it abilities no-one else gets (hello Immediate Action counterspell) along with a bunch of hopelessly weak blasts which no-one with any sense would ever choose. It's a pure power up for a class that really didn't need it.

Liberty's Edge

Brutedude wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
So it is safe to assume that the revised playtest will be next week if everything goes according to plan.
That would not leave a lot of time for the actual playtesting. I hope they get the revisions right, then.
I hope they'll consider extending the play test, or doing a second round in a couple months.

This post from Sean explains why that's not at all likely.


Well that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the link.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

The problem brutedude is the one class that's currently a turn off is the one I actually wanted out of the product, it's just not turning out anything like I wanted in it's implementation. That's the disappointment.

Liberty's Edge

Robert Jordan wrote:
The problem brutedude is the one class that's currently a turn off is the one I actually wanted out of the product, it's just not turning out anything like I wanted in it's implementation. That's the disappointment.

Which class?


Shaman. I think Robert wants more spirits at once?

Grand Lodge

Here is my analysis of the playtest classes for balance:
Arcanist No Change
Bloodrager Will save should be High
Brawler No Change
Hunter BAB should be High
Investigator Spell should be Low instead of Medium. Keep Sneak Attack.
Shaman Should use Druid Spells List instead of Cleric
Skald BAB Should be High, Spells should be low
Slayer Add Low Spells
Swashbuckler Fort. Save should be High
Warpriest BAB should be High

Remember the Magus get Medium attacks because it is a Fighter/Wizard (High/Low = Medium), where Hunter and Warpriest (High/Med = High).

Kirby


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Did you manage to figure out a way to give the Swashbuckler access to Weapon Finesse at "the appropriate level"?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I want a couple things fixed, like can I use extra hex to take any hex from any spirit or just my primary one. Can I use extra hex to snag a witch hex since I'm technically part of the witch class. The fact that the majority of their "hexes" are revelation level in power throws me for a loop cause does that mean a Witch can take one of their hexes? I feel the spirits are a missed opportunity to really make that their central focus and gameplay. I expounded more in the Shaman discussion, but generally I feel no matter what spell list they wind up with expanding the number of spirits they can have at one time is the best way to give them a custom list, without giving them a custom list. You can customize it yourself by binding the appropriate spirits that day. The real disappointment is check the first post in every class and there's an update from the team, except Shaman and that's disheartening. We did get that they're thinking of using the Druid spell list, which is fine the spell list they use doesn't really matter to me whether it's the Cleric, Druid or Witch list as the Spirits should be your customization in regards to spell selection. I just feel that the Spirit feature should be the focus and currently it's more like swappable Oracle mysteries than dealing with spirits.


andreww wrote:
Quote:
The original version of the arcanist is seen as being more powerful than its parents, but I think the revision will normalize those numbers a bit
Frankly this seems like an odd claim. The class lost pretty much 1 spell per day at its lower levels and the largely pointless Blood Focus ability. In return it gets a wide array of excellent exploits which give it abilities no-one else gets (hello Immediate Action counterspell) along with a bunch of hopelessly weak blasts which no-one with any sense would ever choose. It's a pure power up for a class that really didn't need it.

I think you're pretty heavily underselling what losing a spell slot of your second highest level does, underselling the spell-level acquisition rate hit, and overselling the value of exploits. Right now, Arcanist has the fewest spells per day of any full caster, and gets new levels of spells at the same rate as a sorcerer. The new casting mechanic is exciting, and it might make up for the obvious loss in power vs Wizard, but gun to my head right now I'll vote against the Arcanist, at least from a power-level standpoint. (Side note -- love the flavor.)

Exploits are nice. Metamixing and Spell tinkering in particular look quite powerful I'm very excited to try them out, but they're comparable in power level to bloodline powers. I'd take Sylvan, Arcane, or Pit-Touched bloodlines over exploits in a heartbeat, and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

And (rant incoming) the immediate action counterspell thing needs a break. You're burning an equal-level slot (on a class that gets new spell levels late) and a point of your reservoir to have a 50/50 shot of countering an equivalent CL casting, as a class that has fewer spells/day than anyone else. Don't get me wrong, it's strong in the way that anything which improves action economy is, but it's mostly going to be countering low-level spells. The really scary stuff will be uncounterable because you don't have spells of that level yet, or not worth it to counter because you can't afford to spend your highest level slot for a coin flip. And that's not mentioning the "can't quicken a spell next turn" cost.


I think my main problem with the War Priest is that I have always considered the Cleric to be a War Priest. Personally I would rather see a True Priest class that can be customized to each deity.

I do like the new Arcanist and his ability to tweek spells.

I would like to see the Slayer get some supernatural options, so I could create an Undead Slayer, Demon Slayer or Lycanthrope Slayer.

As to the Investigator, I would add access to all Wizard Divination spells for CSI purposes.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Some thoughts:


  • I don't remember if the Warpriest gets a Void Blessing. Now that the Void Domain has been officially introduced to the Core Rulebook line via Bestiary 4, it probably should. If not, kudos for being awesome!

  • I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thought that the Swashbuckler needed some help in the options department. I look at the Swashbuckler in the same way I look at the Cavalier; you don't have to be a Cavalier to excel in Mounted Combat, but if you play a Cavalier who specializes in Mounted Combat, expect to be the best at it. The swashbuckler should be the same; she should be a Dexterity-based character who can use her Dexterity bonus in ways other characters can't. That doesn't mean that other classes have to be terrible at Dexterity-based stuff, but it does mean that the Swashbuckler should have some neat tricks up her sleeve. I think allowing the Swashbuckler to "finesse" any light or one-handed weapon as long as she wields nothing in her offhand (except a buckler) would be acceptable. It opens a bunch of different options for the swashbuckler while still leaving a very noticeable limitation in place.

  • The skald is regularly the character that I'm the least excited about, mostly because buffing your allies with rage is often as bad as it is good. I can think of a lot of characters who wouldn't like the idea of being locked out of their spellcasting or mental skills. (Kirin Style Magus and Lore Warden both come to mind.)

  • This is just personal opinion, but the Warpriest really looks like a worse cleric in my mind, mostly because it doesn't get the full base attack bonus. The trinkets it does get don't justify the loss of a 9-level spell progression, and I think a full-base attack bonus would work well for the class. Warpriest won't surpass paladin as long as it doesn't get a smite mechanic or any of the paladin's amazing bonuses.

Keep up the good work, Jason, Stephen, and Sean!

Grand Lodge

Random question: How many hours a day are sean et al. spending reading just this one board? I can barely keep up with the three threads for the classes I am most interested, let alone all the rest of them, and even then I don't do any more than skim the first line of most posts!

How are they doing it?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
FLite wrote:

Random question: How many hours a day are sean et al. spending reading just this one board? I can barely keep up with the three threads for the classes I am most interested, let alone all the rest of them, and even then I don't do any more than skim the first line of most posts!

How are they doing it?

Spiders.

No, seriously, spiders. People who trawl the web looking for data that meets certain criteria. Very useful for data mining, tracking suspicious (or any) activity, anything. Spiders are dedicated employees who do absolutely nothing but read the internet and kick a report to someone else.

Scarab Sages

Prince of Knives wrote:
FLite wrote:

Random question: How many hours a day are sean et al. spending reading just this one board? I can barely keep up with the three threads for the classes I am most interested, let alone all the rest of them, and even then I don't do any more than skim the first line of most posts!

How are they doing it?

Spiders.

No, seriously, spiders. People who trawl the web looking for data that meets certain criteria. Very useful for data mining, tracking suspicious (or any) activity, anything. Spiders are dedicated employees who do absolutely nothing but read the internet and kick a report to someone else.

The worldwide spider web?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Brawling Elf wrote:
Prince of Knives wrote:
FLite wrote:

Random question: How many hours a day are sean et al. spending reading just this one board? I can barely keep up with the three threads for the classes I am most interested, let alone all the rest of them, and even then I don't do any more than skim the first line of most posts!

How are they doing it?

Spiders.

No, seriously, spiders. People who trawl the web looking for data that meets certain criteria. Very useful for data mining, tracking suspicious (or any) activity, anything. Spiders are dedicated employees who do absolutely nothing but read the internet and kick a report to someone else.

The worldwide spider web?

I don't invent the terms, I just turn them into horribly punny boss fights in D20 Modern.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I personally hope they come out with archetypes for these like a gunner archetype for Investigator (if that would even work), I'd love to make a monologuing detective. XD


I'd actually say Bloodrager is pretty low on options. They are limited to one very big option taken at 1st level, but the only class features with multiple options they have beyond that are spells (which they get so many spells known they will wind up knowing most spells relevant to them) and bonus feats (which they effectively only pick the order of and eventually get all but one of. Plus most bloodlines have a stinker, a feat that only really works for specific builds or, in a few cases, a feat that needs to be taken WAY earlier than your first bonus feat like power attack, so the choice of what feat to drop is pretty easy).

(Note: I'm no proposing fewer feats/bonus spells. Larger lists would be better)

Silver Crusade

Can we expect any surprises with the revised pdf, or will it just be codifying the updates we've seen in the class threads?

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Uh, Paizo doesn't have anyone check the boards for us and provide reports.


13 people marked this as a favorite.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Uh, Paizo doesn't have anyone check the boards for us and provide reports.

Are you breaking up with me? :(

Dark Archive

I'm surprised that slayer fared so well; in my opinion it does not bring anything new to the table, and it isn't even very good at, well, slaying. At least when compared to fighter/rogue or ranger/rogue. Both of 'em are more versatile and effective in combat than the slayer.

I tried to create a 12th level villain slayer for my campaign. Actually, he already exists as a fighter/ranger, so I kind of "upgraded" him, but I felt so dissatisfied with the slayer's mechanics that I returned to the original concept. AGain, maybe it's just me but I feel any combination of fighter, ranger and rogue -- esp. if you consider archetypes and multiclassing into assassin -- already do better what this class is trying to accomplish.

I think Favored Target should be +1d6 to damage per 3 levels, and activating it should be a swift action. There are other very good suggestions on the slayer feedback thread, but I'm not reposting them here.


@Twinkletoes: bahahahahahahahaha!

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I presume they read / check as part of their daily job, and possibly in the off hours since they're good workaholics churning out quality products for us to devour.


My concern is that regardless of the validity of the survey data, if it doesn't match the actual playtests and voiced critiques of the various Hybrids' threads then the survey isn't as informative as I would want it to be. Personally I feel the Slayer needs a considerable revamp, and there seems to be some groundswell on that, but that may just be me and a few others with a peeve. Survey appears to show people are happy with the Slayer.

However, if the survey data does closely map to the playtests and threads, then all is ok. And I like that the surveys will be open throughout the changes.

Tell you what Paizo, anywhere you find a really compelling critique, take it over a survey. Fully 68.89% of statistics are misleading.

Silver Crusade

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Tell you what Paizo, anywhere you find a really compelling critique, take it over a survey. Fully 68.89% of statistics are misleading.

Problem with that is just about everyone fully believes that their assessment is the most valid and well though out response there is. We have to consider that we don't necessarily represent the entirety of the playtest audience. Even within the forums its easy to get fooled into thinking you've tapped a vien of public demand. In a thread with 600-1000 posts, 'me and four other people on the last page' doesn't really constitute a massive outcry.

tl;dr - Don't get mad and think the designers are ignoring the players if something you don't like ends up in the final release.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The surveys better measure the broad opinions of the playtesting audience.

The forums better measure the intensity of those opinions.

In other words, you could have outraged threads about, say, the Slayer, but the surveys only show a blip. That would be a vocal minority. Worth listening to, since they care so much, but should be taken in measure to assign emphasis. I'm not sure who wins in a vocal minority vs. a silent majority (in the assigning of revision efforts).

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Excellent point, Majuba. All too often a small handful of people on a message board (here on Paizo.com or anywhere else, really) can make a LOT OF NOISE about a given opinion and make it feel like there are many people voicing that thought, while a great many folks who don't bother posting may actually feel the exact opposite.

These surveys are valuable because, while that small,but LOUD vocal minority can post the same thing over and over, they can each only fill out the survey once. So, the surveys, in theory at least, give a more accurate account of what everyone thinks since each person's survey results have equal 'weight'

Jason, Sean, Stephen and company are smart people - I'm sure they use utilize all the the worthwhile data (survey results, forum posts etc) during these playtests :)


Roberta Yang wrote:
Did you manage to figure out a way to give the Swashbuckler access to Weapon Finesse at "the appropriate level"?

I cannot help but utter an evil snicker every time I read this. I should probably go see a psychologist or something.


Arae Garven wrote:
Roberta Yang wrote:
Did you manage to figure out a way to give the Swashbuckler access to Weapon Finesse at "the appropriate level"?
I cannot help but utter an evil snicker every time I read this. I should probably go see a psychologist or something.

Nah, you're not the one who needs to go see a psychologist.

1 to 50 of 80 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Advanced Class Guide Playtest / General Discussion / Paizo Blog: Playtest Thoughts: Week 2 All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.