Playtest Closing Thoughts

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Has it really been four weeks already? The playtest of the new classes set to debut in the Advanced Class Guide is drawing to a close. Today at 5:00 PM Pacific time, the boards and surveys will be closed, marking the end of one of our more successful playtests. It's been a wild ride for us here on the design team and the classes have seen marked improvement from their initial designs. For that, we have you to thank.

Playtests of this nature are a tricky process to manage. There are disagreements, heated discussions, wildly varying design philosophies, and threads that seem to go on for countless pages. Through it all, we have endeavored to read and respond as much as our time would allow, while still putting time in on the classes themselves to improve them and clarify their abilities. We released a second version of the classes just last week, to show off some of our progress, but we are not done yet. The work will now continue in house as we dial in our final changes to make these classes a great addition to your game. It's a lot of work, but it is well worth the effort.

This will be our final update on this book until its release this coming August. Expect to see a number of previews, showing off some of the final designs, as we approach that date. For those of you playing these classes in Pathfinder Society games, continue to use the second playtest versions of the classes until the book is released. For the rest of you, I can honestly say that we are excited to show off our final work on these classes and I am sure that most of you will be happy with the results. As an side note, I will be posting up a thread in the Pathfinder general discussion forum for folks to give us feedback on the playtest process itself, so that we can continue to improve our playtest process. Look for that thread after the playtest has closed.

Finally, I want to remind all of you to update your survey results right now! The surveys come down today at 5:00 PM Pacific time as well, and we want to make sure that we get your opinions on the revised versions of the classes. You can find the surveys right here.

So, in closing, the design team would like to off up our thanks for all of your hard work on this playtest. Although we are now mentally exhausted and ready for a nap, we greatly appreciate you putting us through our paces on these designs. I think you will find that all of the long hours reading PDFs and playtest boards will have paid off. The Advanced Class Guide is shaping up to be an awesome addition to the Pathfinder game.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Playtest
Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I can hardly believe it's over already! Phew, what a whirlwind!

Blog wrote:
Expect to see a number of previews, showing off some of the final designs, as we approach that date. For those of you playing these classes in Pathfinder Society games, continue to use the second playtest versions of the classes until the book is released.

Just to clarify, does this mean that even if a blog previews a class and it's different than the playtest document, we should still use the playtest document and not update to match the blog?

Liberty's Edge

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I would have preferred a longer playtest.

I suggest you include levelling rules so that playtesters who want to try them at higher levels can do so from a common point. For example an Arcanist might be played at 1st, 7th and 3rd in not-for-credit PFS games to fill out a table and still provide useful information if he had 150gp, 11,000gp and 3,000gp equipment respectively. PP would need to be part of the equation since someone with 28PP may act differently than one with 8PP.

I would also suggest a second, shorter playtest in February with your Gold Release classes. Just before going to print to work out any ommissions, grammar or spelling mistakes.

Dark Archive

Overall I really like how the classes turned out by the end of the playtest, and I hope to see them undergo very little change before final release. In particular, I'd like to cite the warpriest as a class that was given a very good change in mechanics. It went from being sub-par to a class I'd definitely play in any given situation, with all the utility and martial prowess its station dictates that it should have. The ability to make full use of essentially any weapon we want to on the warpriest was also a nice decision. Likewise, the near-total arcanist overhaul was also entirely positive, and I hope to see it undergo very little change between now and final release.

I still feel the investigator could use a bit of love. I understand that it isn't meant to fulfill the combat role specifically, but it will be called upon to fight. It feels right now as if its combat ability could still use a little work. Look forward to seeing the end result on that as well.


So the design team probably got a few more ideas for archetypes.

Will we see some iconic's backstory before the book is released?

Grand Lodge

Great work , and as i said in the forums , it would be great to have a "final version" of the playtest , not with any changes , but with all the errors/toys/etc that have been found in this last version corrected, so that the players that will go on playing can have a document with everything in order , and not run thru the hundreds of posts looking for them.

Shadow Lodge

Blog wrote:
As an side note, I will be posting up a thread in the Pathfinder general discussion forum for folks to give us feedback on the playtest process itself, so that we can continue to improve our playtest process. Look for that thread after the playtest has closed.

I do have a few things, but will wait for that thread to open up. :)


Could we have some part of boards left open to leave suggestions for exploits, bloodrager bloodlines, blessings and such?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Due to an unexpected character death last friday (rest in peace, Nicodemus Artemis Astarte, oh ye magnificent Wizard. Welcome, Ciaphas Vail, Inquisitor of Cayden.), I was occupied creating my new character the whole weekend, so I got no playtesting done. Oh, well, others did a lot of it.

Anyway, before closing the discussion threads, I would love to see closing thoughts from the class lead designers on their individual classes, maybe with some last updates for PFS.

Shadow Lodge

I agree. For example, the Warpriest got a special thread for issues with Blessings opened, and it never really seemed to go anywhere or have questions answered.


magnuskn wrote:
Anyway, before closing the discussion threads, I would love to see closing thoughts from the class lead designers on their individual classes, maybe with some last updates for PFS.

I agree, it would be great to hear from the designers what they got out of the playtest, and some hints as to the direction or work that will be done on the classes over the next few months...especially the classes that didn't get as much attention (cough....shaman)....


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

While my work on the playtest was based more on getting a class flavor which would attract people to play these classes, I know that the many people who played them and answered the survey's along with your own in house games will make sure the mechanics work out well. And while I would have liked to see at least a third version of the classes before the playtest closed, I know the BBEG or marketing needs to have these heroes on time for publication.

So good luck on the final stretch team pathfinder, and I hope to see 10 awesome new classes when I purchase the ACG whenever that comes out. :)

Best wishes and happy holidays,
Zergtitan


You're getting feedback on the process itself? Awesome! This was a pleasure, and I'm going to love looking through all the final options!

Grand Lodge

I still hope they change the names of the Bloodrager and Warpriest. The devs themselves said they were not 100% happy with those. Regardless of what ends up in the book I'm calling the Warpriest the "Sentinel." I'm not sure what to do about the Bloodrager. I don't want to make up some faux fantasy name that is just as bad if not worse. I'm going to do some research into mythology and folklore to see if I can find anything that will fit the concept. There has to be something from the Nordic or Germanic myths and legends that is close enough to use.

Other than that I'm really happy with the way the classes have turned out and can't wait to see the devs final polish when the book comes out. I REALLY want to play an Arcanist. I was completely underwhelmed by the first incarnation of the class but love the "hacker of magic" class that evolved from that. I hope they take that concept and run with it.

Other than that, I'm a little sad that a class called "Slayer" didn't get an ability called "Shred."

Fine. I'll get my coat.

SM


So, wait, another update to the Advanced Class Playtest? Does that mean Paizo will put out one final PDF before previewing the final versions of the classes on the site?

Grand Lodge

Berselius wrote:
So, wait, another update to the Advanced Class Playtest? Does that mean Paizo will put out one final PDF before previewing the final versions of the classes on the site?

No, this is it. We won't see the final versions until the book comes out next year.

SM

Paizo Employee Developer

EricMcG wrote:

I would have preferred a longer playtest.

I suggest you include levelling rules so that playtesters who want to try them at higher levels can do so from a common point. For example an Arcanist might be played at 1st, 7th and 3rd in not-for-credit PFS games to fill out a table and still provide useful information if he had 150gp, 11,000gp and 3,000gp equipment respectively. PP would need to be part of the equation since someone with 28PP may act differently than one with 8PP.

You can still play your playtest class characters in Pathfinder Society following the normal character advancement and wealth rules and any restrictions or rules alterations presented in the Additional Resources document. In fact, the more people play these, even after the playtest is done, the more familiar players and GMs will be with them when the book comes out in final form, which makes for a more seamless release within the organized play environment. Thus, if you want to try that arcanist at 7th level, I suggest finding a group running some Pathfinder Society events in your area and get him a few more scenarios under his belt. ;-)


This was the first playtest I did much more than just lurk in, and it was quite interesting and fun. Several of these classes I was lackluster about going into things, and several of them completely changed my opinion to one of eager optimism, either through their first incarnations, or through the changes that came about during the second portion of the playtest.

In closing, I just wanted to say thanks and show my appreciation for Jason, Stephen, and Sean for all their input and creativity throughout this process. It can't be easy to deal with all the negativity, the off-topic comments, even just the incredible mass of well thought out and fairly given advice and suggestions, and I hope this process was as useful for you as it was intriguing for me.

Very much looking forward to August (augh! It's almost a whole year away! :( :)


Mark Moreland wrote:
Thus, if you want to try that arcanist at 7th level, I suggest finding a group running some Pathfinder Society events in your area and get him a few more scenarios under his belt. ;-)

Hee. Eric's one of our 2-star GMs, and I suspect he's rapidly closing in on his 3rd.


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I just have to say it because I have not had a chance to in the past. Thank you for allowing us to participate in the crafting of the little slice of heaven that is Pathfinder.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I will say that the Alt-classes did make things rather interesting for my Skype group (as I'd written up prior). While I'm a firm believer that the classes need their own spell lists (as limiting a Warpriest to level 6 Priest spells would end up depowering him compared to both the Bard AND the Cleric/Oracle), the alterations that were posted helped to make these classes more balanced.

If I were to say one thing, however, it's this: Alter the Rogue Class so they can use Precise Damage against a single foe much in the same way the Investigator can. Currently the Rogue is the odd child out without the combat versatility of the warrior classes, a lack of spells like the bard or warpriest, and now the inability to use Precise Damage except in limited circumstances.

The Rogue has been eclipsed by the Ninja, the Ranger (to a degree), and now the Investigator. The Advanced Class Guide gives you the opportunity to alter Rogue rules so to put them back on par with the Investigator (even if their "study foe" were a Swift action that precludes their use of other Swift actions!).

The purpose of the Advanced Classes is not to supplant their base classes, but to present an alternative that is of equal interest. Currently the Investigator and Ninja supplant the Rogue. A fix is needed.

I mean, otherwise you're going to put everyone's favorite elf out of a job, and she'll be forced to try and supplant Shax as Demon Lord of daggers. We wouldn't want that now, would we. ;)


Thanks for having such a transparent play test and being so open to feedback.
Looking forward to the finished product.

-TimD

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