Catching Our Breath

Monday, November 12, 2018

The past three months have gone by in a blur, with new surveys, updates, and playtest releases almost every week! We know that this has been a challenging process for many groups, so we wanted to take the moment to once again offer up our thanks. You've really worked incredibly hard to give us the feedback we need to make this version of Pathfinder be the best it can be.

This week we're taking a brief pause to catch our breath. There's no new survey, no new update, and no new part of Doomsday Dawn to talk about. In fact, we're getting close to the end of the organized portion of the playtest, but that doesn't mean we're done. Far from it! Keep working on your scenarios and turning in feedback. The more data we have, the more certain we can be about the course we're taking.

As for us here in the office, we've been hard at work these past months collecting that data and using it to create a massive list of changes that we're in the process of making to the game. It's an ongoing process, with everyone's comments and feedback adding to the list nearly every day. Just the other day, we completed a huge examination of the math behind much of the game and discovered a number of issues, based on your feedback. This has been going on for a while and the results are something that we're sure that you're going to like.

Well, we don't want to tease you with spoilers too much just yet, but we can't wait to share more of the final game with all of you!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

Join the Pathfinder Playtest designers every Friday throughout the playtest on our Twitch Channel to hear all about the process and chat directly with the team.

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No wait, it's alright... You can totally tease us a little


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Red Rabbit wrote:
No wait, it's alright... You can totally tease us a little

...got to get the balance on teasing just right...

;)


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Hey, Jason.

Can we get some insight into what's on that list?

I bet if you posted it somewhere, you would breathe some life into those game tables that are burned out by the playtest - they could see what they accomplished and take pride in it. It could be very uplifting.

Also, I bet if you posted it, you could get a lot of lively discussions here and, maybe, you could secretly mine the best ideas from them.


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I don't understand the idea that direction of coming changes being 'Spoilers.' This isn't about plot points, it's about knowing the potential future of the game, and allowing for informed feedback, which is the entire point of a playtest. I do understand not wanting to taint the survey data with information not in the current updates. But once that concludes, I would really hope you err on the side of transparency. That way we can give maximum feedback while it's still relevant.

Friday's stream was rather reassuring, hearing about some of your thought processes on moving forward and that the updates have just been the tip of the iceberg, and how the Playtest is not PF2, but rather a lot of highly experimental ideas. I'm still a bit nervous, but that's because Pathfinder is important to me, and I want to play and love PF2 for another 10 years or so.

But for now, enjoy your break. Running this playtest has been stressful, and your side is probably an order of magnitude more so. We've generated a lot of heat on these boards, but hopefully there's been even more light and it will all pay off in the end.


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DM_Blake wrote:

Hey, Jason.

Can we get some insight into what's on that list?

I bet if you posted it somewhere, you would breathe some life into those game tables that are burned out by the playtest - they could see what they accomplished and take pride in it. It could be very uplifting.

Also, I bet if you posted it, you could get a lot of lively discussions here and, maybe, you could secretly mine the best ideas from them.

That sounds like a nice idea, except that judging by things I've seen on this forum revealing the actual list would result in a great many people deciding that they are game designers (granted I'm sre at least a few people on here actually are) and posting very frequently, loudly, and insistently on exactly how Paizo must very obviously implement x change in y way and anyone who disagrees obviously doesn't get it.

Don't get me wrong, people would come up with good ideas I'm sure, but I'm not sure I'm ready for another unproductively negative flood on this forum...


I'm really pleased that Paizo is still looking for feedback until the end of the calendar year. We're committed to going through it all (but with all the 1.6 changes, we're going to ease ourselves into it with PFS modules before we go into double-digit Doomsday Dawn adventures).

With all the changes released at the very end, I'm sure that the experiences occurring for the 12th and 14th level adventures will be different. Is there anything you'd like us to focus on specifically when we build PCs and play the module?


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Calm down, folks. The title says they're catching their breath. Saying "spoilers" is a friendly and funny way of communicating with a bunch of geeks. Don't take it so literally. Let them catch their breath and take a moment to take a deep breath of your own.

Meanwhile in Return of the Runelords...


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Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
DM_Blake wrote:

Hey, Jason.

Can we get some insight into what's on that list?

I bet if you posted it somewhere, you would breathe some life into those game tables that are burned out by the playtest - they could see what they accomplished and take pride in it. It could be very uplifting.

Also, I bet if you posted it, you could get a lot of lively discussions here and, maybe, you could secretly mine the best ideas from them.

It could also discourage people from playtesting parts of the rules that they know are going to change, even though the Paizo folks still need data on them. Basically, if Jason did not mention something during the actual Twitch video, most likely we won't find out about it until after the formal close of playtesting (when that information will go from dangerous to interesting and useful to us).


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"Just the other day, we completed a huge examination of the math behind much of the game and discovered a number of issues, based on your feedback. This has been going on for a while and the results are something that we're sure that you're going to like."

Now that's what I'm talking about!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Doktor Weasel wrote:
I don't understand the idea that direction of coming changes being 'Spoilers.' This isn't about plot points, it's about knowing the potential future of the game, and allowing for informed feedback, which is the entire point of a playtest. I do understand not wanting to taint the survey data with information not in the current updates. But once that concludes, I would really hope you err on the side of transparency. That way we can give maximum feedback while it's still relevant.

I read that as a playful way of saying, "Because we are still in the process of working and reworking things, it is too soon to tell you what might change because we do not want to set up false expectations."

Transparency is great, but that doesn't mean communication shouldn't be timed well. Many of us geeks also have a VERY bad habit of taking the slightest hint of a rumor of a possibility as SOLID INCONTROVERTIBLE FACT and then get mad when reality hits and we act like our total misinterpretation/speculation is an act of betrayal on the part of the person who shared the rumor. It gets even worse when a developer shares something they HOPE to do, but then after testing it turns out to not work like they wanted and have to cancel it, much to the fury of those who took the "we hope to this" as a solid promise (I've seen video game devs in particular get burned by that a lot). So I think they are wise to not share things until they are ready, even if it frustrates the impatient.


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DeathQuaker wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
I don't understand the idea that direction of coming changes being 'Spoilers.' This isn't about plot points, it's about knowing the potential future of the game, and allowing for informed feedback, which is the entire point of a playtest. I do understand not wanting to taint the survey data with information not in the current updates. But once that concludes, I would really hope you err on the side of transparency. That way we can give maximum feedback while it's still relevant.

I read that as a playful way of saying, "Because we are still in the process of working and reworking things, it is too soon to tell you what might change because we do not want to set up false expectations."

Transparency is great, but that doesn't mean communication shouldn't be timed well. Many of us geeks also have a VERY bad habit of taking the slightest hint of a rumor of a possibility as SOLID INCONTROVERTIBLE FACT and then get mad when reality hits and we act like our total misinterpretation/speculation is an act of betrayal on the part of the person who shared the rumor.

Nice, you summed up the 5th Ed playtest.

Liberty's Edge

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If I were to bet, I'd say there will probably be a two-phase info release: a short, blog or three (maybe with a Twitch stream or two in the mix) stage of "this is the state of PF2" updates in January, reflecting on the playtest as a whole, what the surveys showed, and talking about some of the things they are planning to fix. Then there will be a whole lot of nothing while the devs actually do their jobs and go ahead and write PF2, the editors and art directors and so on and so on do their jobs and send the whole thing off to get printed. Then, starting in May or so, we'll start seeing serious previews, including a pretty in-depth look at PaizoCon, leading up to the release next August.


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DeathQuaker wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
I don't understand the idea that direction of coming changes being 'Spoilers.' This isn't about plot points, it's about knowing the potential future of the game, and allowing for informed feedback, which is the entire point of a playtest. I do understand not wanting to taint the survey data with information not in the current updates. But once that concludes, I would really hope you err on the side of transparency. That way we can give maximum feedback while it's still relevant.

I read that as a playful way of saying, "Because we are still in the process of working and reworking things, it is too soon to tell you what might change because we do not want to set up false expectations."

Transparency is great, but that doesn't mean communication shouldn't be timed well. Many of us geeks also have a VERY bad habit of taking the slightest hint of a rumor of a possibility as SOLID INCONTROVERTIBLE FACT and then get mad when reality hits and we act like our total misinterpretation/speculation is an act of betrayal on the part of the person who shared the rumor. It gets even worse when a developer shares something they HOPE to do, but then after testing it turns out to not work like they wanted and have to cancel it, much to the fury of those who took the "we hope to this" as a solid promise (I've seen video game devs in particular get burned by that a lot). So I think they are wise to not share things until they are ready, even if it frustrates the impatient.

I agree that setting up false expectations is a bad thing and they need to be very careful not to do that. But at the same time, there should be feedback on the upcoming changes. This isn't about impatience, it's about making sure the end product is the best it can be. Stopping taking all feedback at the playtest and doing everything else behind closed doors and only telling us what's going on when it's a done deal, would be a big mistake. For example, Resonance was widely rejected, Focus is getting a completely mixed reaction leading them to think something else entirely is the way to go. That's great. But that Something Else should also be getting customer feedback. It's likely too early for that at the moment, but it should come. The previous two misses show that this is a tricky thing to work out, and the surveys can't cover every hypothetical version. And even a sound concept can have an implementation that doesn't quite work.

Perhaps there should be a new Moving Forward survey that gives broad outlines about various potential paths forward that are in the works and asks which are preferred.

There's also the fact that if something has been identified and fixed, but we don't know about it, then there's likely going to be a lot of long and heated discussions on these boards that have no purpose because it's already been fixed. For example, there's a thread about how it seems 1.6 removed access to mutagens entirely from all alchemists that didn't take the Mutagenist field and wondering if that's intentional. A single comment that "Oh yeah, that's a mistake, all alchemists will have mutagens in the final." would put the whole thing to bed and we could focus on something more meaningful. Or do they acknowledge that special materials and heavy armor are both lackluster and need improvement? We don't know. A bunch of threads about subsystems that have already been decided aren't going to be in the final game are just a waste of time and energy.


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"Just the other day, we completed a huge examination of the math behind much of the game ..."

Math! I hope to see this math one day.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

While I really like a lot of the new components of the game and the general direction things are headed and am overall optimistic that the final product will be great, I am very concerned about the amount of testing that will be done on the final version of the game. It sounds like there are significant changes being done to the system, right down to the core math of the game. As an engineer, I cannot fathom making this amount of changes without doing another large-scale test on the final product. I know that you will be doing internal testing, but that is a significantly more limited scope that an open playtest. I really want Paizo and Pathfinder 2E to succeed.


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Mathmuse wrote:

"Just the other day, we completed a huge examination of the math behind much of the game ..."

Math! I hope to see this math one day.

Until then, you'll only be able to amuse yourself by musing about the math.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Barbie once said...

"Math is hard!!"

Silver Crusade

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I am very much looking forward to more information about the changes to the underlying math since that was one of the major complaints from my group thus far.

Even if you cant share your solutions just yet, sharing a couple of examples where the math is wrong in the current build and showing us where the final numbers should be, would be very reassuring.

Though considering all the moving parts involved, even that might have to wait until later.

EDIT: Right now it is not easy to motivate myself to run more playtest, but I might have a couple of players who didn't get to do so, and their feedback to some non-math related systems might still prove to be valuable.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Doktor Weasel wrote:


I agree that setting up false expectations is a bad thing and they need to be very careful not to do that. But at the same time, there should be feedback on the upcoming changes. This isn't about impatience, it's about making sure the end product is the best it can be. Stopping taking all feedback at the playtest and doing everything else behind closed doors and only telling us what's going on when it's a done deal, would be a big mistake. For example, Resonance was widely rejected, Focus...

I'm not following you. I don't see where they are saying they are going to cease taking feedback.

Jason Buhlman wrote:
Far from it! Keep working on your scenarios and turning in feedback. The more data we have, the more certain we can be about the course we're taking.

This appears to be saying "yes feedback please."

They're just not revealing any more changes this week. When they DO reveal more changes, I don't see them saying they're not going to take feedback on that either. If I've missed a statement to the contrary, please point me in the right direction.


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DeathQuaker wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:


I agree that setting up false expectations is a bad thing and they need to be very careful not to do that. But at the same time, there should be feedback on the upcoming changes. This isn't about impatience, it's about making sure the end product is the best it can be. Stopping taking all feedback at the playtest and doing everything else behind closed doors and only telling us what's going on when it's a done deal, would be a big mistake. For example, Resonance was widely rejected, Focus...

I'm not following you. I don't see where they are saying they are going to cease taking feedback.

Jason Buhlman wrote:
Far from it! Keep working on your scenarios and turning in feedback. The more data we have, the more certain we can be about the course we're taking.

This appears to be saying "yes feedback please."

They're just not revealing any more changes this week. When they DO reveal more changes, I don't see them saying they're not going to take feedback on that either. If I've missed a statement to the contrary, please point me in the right direction.

They are only taking feedback until the playtest ends with the start of the new year.


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They're only going to be taking feedback for the playtest sure, but they'll still be reading our thoughts and opinions. They just won't be updating the playtest document with patches anymore as they create the final game.

So our thoughts and opinions are going to be not up to date to the latest iteration of the game; but the things that we really want to be fixed or modified from 1.6 of the playtest are still valid.


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Byron Zibeck wrote:
While I really like a lot of the new components of the game and the general direction things are headed and am overall optimistic that the final product will be great, I am very concerned about the amount of testing that will be done on the final version of the game. It sounds like there are significant changes being done to the system, right down to the core math of the game. As an engineer, I cannot fathom making this amount of changes without doing another large-scale test on the final product. I know that you will be doing internal testing, but that is a significantly more limited scope that an open playtest. I really want Paizo and Pathfinder 2E to succeed.

This isn't a car or some physical thing that will crash and harm people though. If they use the massive amounts of data and make a few changes towards what seems to be popular then that should be enough no?

You'd think that this new system has already been tested far more than the original Pathfinder was, and we still love that system despite its warts - none of them ended up stopping us from playing it, and it seems like the new system has already fixed quite a few of those niggling issues from the past.


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clgarret wrote:
Byron Zibeck wrote:
While I really like a lot of the new components of the game and the general direction things are headed and am overall optimistic that the final product will be great, I am very concerned about the amount of testing that will be done on the final version of the game. It sounds like there are significant changes being done to the system, right down to the core math of the game. As an engineer, I cannot fathom making this amount of changes without doing another large-scale test on the final product. I know that you will be doing internal testing, but that is a significantly more limited scope that an open playtest. I really want Paizo and Pathfinder 2E to succeed.

This isn't a car or some physical thing that will crash and harm people though. If they use the massive amounts of data and make a few changes towards what seems to be popular then that should be enough no?

You'd think that this new system has already been tested far more than the original Pathfinder was, and we still love that system despite its warts - none of them ended up stopping us from playing it, and it seems like the new system has already fixed quite a few of those niggling issues from the past.

No it won't kill any people (probably), but if this (their primary product) Crashes and harms or kills the Company, I think we'll all regret it.


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DeathQuaker wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:


I agree that setting up false expectations is a bad thing and they need to be very careful not to do that. But at the same time, there should be feedback on the upcoming changes. This isn't about impatience, it's about making sure the end product is the best it can be. Stopping taking all feedback at the playtest and doing everything else behind closed doors and only telling us what's going on when it's a done deal, would be a big mistake. For example, Resonance was widely rejected, Focus...

I'm not following you. I don't see where they are saying they are going to cease taking feedback.

The bit at the end about sharing more of the final version of the game.

'Final' implies they're done already, which seems weird.
'More' implies they've already shared parts of the final game, which is... surprising.


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clgarret wrote:


You'd think that this new system has already been tested far more than the original Pathfinder was, and we still love that system despite its warts - none of them ended up stopping us from playing it, and it seems like the new system has already fixed quite a few of those niggling issues from the past.

You can essentially count whole 3rd edition(3.5 at minium) of DnD as a playtest of PF1. And no mistake about it as a game PF2 is nothing like what came previously in it's lineage.

Personally I am not optimistic.(Granted my pessimism started with the preview blogs and hasn't gone anywhere.) I simply do not have the blind faith that the devs seem to be asking. "Yeah we are fixing a whole lot of things." Yet not saying how or even what. Paizo doesn't have a track record in the same solar system that is needed for me to trust someone selling me something. I understand that there are certain factors that make it difficult to be fully transparent, but I don't need it all. I would be perfectly happy if in January we got a proper explanation on what are they working on and to what end. So I know if I should keep even casual attention to this.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, maybe the devs (praised be their works) might give us some inkling on when they can give us more info :-)


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Voss wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:


I agree that setting up false expectations is a bad thing and they need to be very careful not to do that. But at the same time, there should be feedback on the upcoming changes. This isn't about impatience, it's about making sure the end product is the best it can be. Stopping taking all feedback at the playtest and doing everything else behind closed doors and only telling us what's going on when it's a done deal, would be a big mistake. For example, Resonance was widely rejected, Focus...

I'm not following you. I don't see where they are saying they are going to cease taking feedback.

The bit at the end about sharing more of the final version of the game.

'Final' implies they're done already, which seems weird.
'More' implies they've already shared parts of the final game, which is... surprising.

I don't really see that, because 'sharing more of the final version' only implies that they WILL be sharing more of the final version; it does not state when. Further, we already know that there WILL be a point where they are done with development on one or more parts, and at that point they'll start sharing it.

And they already have shared parts of the final game -- a large amount of the playtest material WILL be in the final game, but we already knew that. Even considering silly basics such as classes, levels, and stats, it's accurate, and assuming they are definitely keeping the concept of ancestries, and spell slot heightens, and stronger cantrips, and the three action system, all of these parts seemed to be widely praised, and there's no reason they wouldn't be in the final.

In all, not saying Voss is doing this here, but reading into their statements more than is there will only lead to people misunderstanding, claiming Paizo lied about something or other, or situations where due to a messed-up game of Telephone, posters four months from now SWEAR that they read a Paizo employee writing that the game was completely finished well back in August and they were hiding the real version from the public, or something.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Well, maybe the devs (praised be their works) might give us some inkling on when they can give us more info :-)

Haven't they said they will be more candid after the formal playtesting period has ended and are mostly being coy now as to not contaminate the playtest data?

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Well, maybe the devs (praised be their works) might give us some inkling on when they can give us more info :-)
Haven't they said they will be more candid after the formal playtesting period has ended and are mostly being coy now as to not contaminate the playtest data?

They've said precisely this, yes.

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Well, maybe the devs (praised be their works) might give us some inkling on when they can give us more info :-)
Haven't they said they will be more candid after the formal playtesting period has ended and are mostly being coy now as to not contaminate the playtest data?

Yup, explicitly and in many places.

Liberty's Edge

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Quite understandable but I still do not know what to expect after the 31st of december. More than now for sure, but then more than zero is not very precise


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ENHenry wrote:
Voss wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:


I agree that setting up false expectations is a bad thing and they need to be very careful not to do that. But at the same time, there should be feedback on the upcoming changes. This isn't about impatience, it's about making sure the end product is the best it can be. Stopping taking all feedback at the playtest and doing everything else behind closed doors and only telling us what's going on when it's a done deal, would be a big mistake. For example, Resonance was widely rejected, Focus...

I'm not following you. I don't see where they are saying they are going to cease taking feedback.

The bit at the end about sharing more of the final version of the game.

'Final' implies they're done already, which seems weird.
'More' implies they've already shared parts of the final game, which is... surprising.

I don't really see that, because 'sharing more of the final version' only implies that they WILL be sharing more of the final version; it does not state when. Further, we already know that there WILL be a point where they are done with development on one or more parts, and at that point they'll start sharing it.

And they already have shared parts of the final game -- a large amount of the playtest material WILL be in the final game, but we already knew that. Even considering silly basics such as classes, levels, and stats, it's accurate, and assuming they are definitely keeping the concept of ancestries, and spell slot heightens, and stronger cantrips, and the three action system, all of these parts seemed to be widely praised, and there's no reason they wouldn't be in the final.

In all, not saying Voss is doing this here, but reading into their statements more than is there will only lead to people misunderstanding, claiming Paizo lied about something or other, or situations where due to a messed-up game of Telephone, posters four months from now SWEAR that they read a Paizo employee writing that the game...

I hope that, cos I'd love to keep updating PF2 easy Tools and PF2 easy Actions Tree.


Keep the hard good work up!

Please do something to the static and unflexible skill system while you are at it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:

Hey, Jason.

Can we get some insight into what's on that list?

I bet if you posted it somewhere, you would breathe some life into those game tables that are burned out by the playtest - they could see what they accomplished and take pride in it. It could be very uplifting.

Also, I bet if you posted it, you could get a lot of lively discussions here and, maybe, you could secretly mine the best ideas from them.

It could also discourage people from playtesting parts of the rules that they know are going to change, even though the Paizo folks still need data on them. Basically, if Jason did not mention something during the actual Twitch video, most likely we won't find out about it until after the formal close of playtesting (when that information will go from dangerous to interesting and useful to us).

My tabletop group looked at the latest massive number of changes for the last update for the Playtest and said "screw this" and now are starting a Reign of Winter campaign. They'd not been far into the Playtest, mind you, having started only a month ago... but the huge number of changes hitting them just was one bridge too far. (My Skype-based group is likely to continue the Playtest but we'll probably only get two more games in before the Playtest ends, and are only in the 9th level adventure. So I'm not sure how much good they'll provide.)

----------

One of the bigger problems lies with character creation for the side adventures. If we'd been working with the same characters for each adventure then there would have been more investment in the characters. If pre-gen characters were provided then that would have saved on time and let the players just step into a new game.

While there was undoubtedly both internal groups and some external groups that ran the Playtest going level-by-level with the same characters, I think that the lack of this option was perhaps an oversight for the Playtest. People don't get a chance to learn the rules or grow with their characters. This slows things down - to the point that one 9th level encounter took over two hours because my players in the Skype group didn't know what they could do.

Ironically enough, two of the characters in that game were more pre-gen. While I was able to contact two of my players over Skype and level them up, the other two dragged their heels and wanted to level up when the game started - despite it taking upwards of two hours to level things up for one character (due to having to look things up and decide what works best). So I leveled them up and sent them their revised character sheets.

As an aside, I think Trinkets and Consumables are over-leveled. A one-shot item, even if it has some truly nice benefits, should not be the same level as a static magic item... especially since you can buy a dozen Trinkets for a static item of the same level. As a result the usable magic items for certain levels ends up quite generic with everyone choosing the same things over and over again and then using gold to buy Trinkets (if desired - and one player did invest in several Trinkets, seeing he was playing a Fighter).


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Tangent101 wrote:


While there was undoubtedly both internal groups and some external groups that ran the Playtest going level-by-level with the same characters, I think that the lack of this option was perhaps an oversight for the Playtest. People don't get a chance to learn the rules or grow with their characters. This slows things down - to the point that one 9th level encounter took over two hours because my players in the Skype group didn't know what they could do.

Yes, this was a big problem for my group, too. We've only just finished part 3, but the players are really struggling to keep up with all of the rules and what their various abilities do. There's a LOT of stopping to look things up, which is not ideal.

I can't imagine what it will be like if we endure until part 7 and everyone is running level 17 characters.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Yeah,

We knew this was going to be a problem for some. Unfortuantely, we did not have the time to allow groups to play through an entire AP so that we could get enough data on the higher levels of play (as doing so usually takes about 12-18 months on average for most groups).

Jumping between levels was the best way for us to get some understanding of how higher level play works (which is something every other playtest we have ever run has lacked).


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Yeah,

We knew this was going to be a problem for some. Unfortuantely, we did not have the time to allow groups to play through an entire AP so that we could get enough data on the higher levels of play (as doing so usually takes about 12-18 months on average for most groups).

Jumping between levels was the best way for us to get some understanding of how higher level play works (which is something every other playtest we have ever run has lacked).

I understand that. I still think the Playtest should have focused on the same characters through the entire adventure.

You already were using the Pathfinder Society to run side adventures. The "stress test" could have been some side adventures with premade characters that allowed players to examine specific aspects of the game rather than going the route you did. That way, the playtesters would be invested in their characters and have smaller leaps in power and leveling up. Moving an existing character to level 4 and then level 7 is easier than creating a whole new character.

Another thing the Playtest was to examine was how the game played at different levels. Having the same characters for each adventure would have provided that baseline. You even could have had harder scenarios at points using minor artifacts to bring back the characters upon death or something to that effect.

But as I also said, having pregen characters that people choose from would have helped speed things along nicely as well.

Liberty's Edge

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Tangent101 wrote:
I still think the Playtest should have focused on the same characters through the entire adventure.

As I understand it, one of the things they most wanted to check was how well (and quickly) character creation worked, which is why they had so much of it. Which this suggestion, or those involving pregens, would not be conducive to.

Keeping the same character would also greatly decrease the number of Classes that most groups would see in play, which would limit the scope to notice problems with any individual Class, which strikes me as not ideal for playtesting.


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Tangent101 wrote:
But as I also said, having pregen characters that people choose from would have helped speed things along nicely as well.

This. I see the benefit of experiencing PF2 how it would be played naturally, with one PC levelling up through many different adventures. That would give a lot of good feedback for the 'feel' of the game. But having built a dozen different pre-gens for my players, I feel like I have a better understanding of the breadth of play, of how different classes and builds affect gameplay (The LG Paladin is a better 'bodyguard', standing next to their ally and waiting for enemies to come to them; while the Fighter is a better 'beachhead', moving into the fray to clear a path and hold a foe in place). Knowing how my Elf Monk or Half-Elf Paladin played over several levels would allow me give good emotional feedback, but a wide swath of PCs allows me to give a better empirical feedback.

I'm not sure how important it was to have people make their own PCs, however. I feel like one person in the office could have spent a week pumping out pre-gens: one for each class, with one version for each level of play. Their hard work could have made the playtest more accessible.


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EberronHoward wrote:
I'm not sure how important it was to have people make their own PCs, however. I feel like one person in the office could have spent a week pumping out pre-gens: one for each class, with one version for each level of play. Their hard work could have made the playtest more accessible.

I have gotten up to only the 3rd chapter in Doomsday Dawn, so my players have created three player characters each. One, the returning AD&D player, said that she loved to create new characters. Another, my grandmaster wife, also dreams up new characters easily but dislikes the PF2 character creation process. A third, the newbie, has confirmed my other player's suspicions that he roleplays only one character despite the class.

As for the data from the character creation, I can't talk about a class in these forums until I have seen it played. Real data always beats theorycrafting.

And the difficulty of character creation has been unexpected. Four hours for my wife to create her first character, a goblin mind-quake-survivor paladin, for The Lost Star, could be marked up to inexperience with the new system. The same amount of time to create her second character, a human nomad barbarian, for In Pale Mountain's Shadow, could be due to the first exposure to the new magic items. But ten hours to create her elf noble bard for Affair at Sombrefell Hall shows that practice does not make character creation more efficient.

Part of the slowdown with the bard creation was that this was her first full caster class in PF2, in contrast to the powers of the paladin. And the Playtest Rulebook had no summaries of the spell effects in its spell lists, so she had to page between the list and the spell descriptions to merely check whether she was interested in the spells. And the magic items grew more confusing with level. Fortunately, the Dancing Scarf, an item 6, fits her bard's personality.

But other players had their troubles with their 7th-level characters, too. The newbie was confused by the cleric receiving spell slots of cleric and domain spells, spell points for domain powers, energy points for channeling the Heal spell, and resonance points for magic items.


Quote:
The newbie was confused by the cleric receiving spell slots of cleric and domain spells, spell points for domain powers, energy points for channeling the Heal spell, and resonance points for magic items.

I've mentioned before that I think there's too many 'power silos' in the Cleric class. And it's odd because the other spellcasting classes create manageable silos for additions to the class' spell power sources. You have the minimal additions of the Bards and Druids at level 1, and you have Wizards and Sorcerers adding spells slowly over each caster level. Then you have Clerics which give out several significant pools of spells and spell points at level 1.


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My players are gaining individual levels, because I'm running a sandbox instead of DD... character creation took about 8 hours in total, and each level-up has taken up about 4 hours. Which means by 3rd level we'd wasted an entire month's worth of playtime on the "age of accounting".
I would like to say there was some particular element which slowed everyone down, but there wasn't. The book playtest rulebook is simply unusable throughout. All three of my players have complained about how user-friendly the book isn't; and that is with a physical book, up-to-date printed errata, and simultaneous access to multiple mobile devices with copies of the PDFs.


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Cantriped wrote:

My players are gaining individual levels, because I'm running a sandbox instead of DD... character creation took about 8 hours in total, and each level-up has taken up about 4 hours. Which means by 3rd level we'd wasted an entire month's worth of playtime on the "age of accounting".

I would like to say there was some particular element which slowed everyone down, but there wasn't. The book playtest rulebook is simply unusable throughout. All three of my players have complained about how user-friendly the book isn't; and that is with a physical book, up-to-date printed errata, and simultaneous access to multiple mobile devices with copies of the PDFs.

Christ really? I made a little spreadsheet that calculated hp, level and proficiency bonus and nothing else (so all the automatic stuff none of the choice.) Levelling up a character took less than ten minutes each time. Like look at your feat choices and done.

Liberty's Edge

Cantriped wrote:

My players are gaining individual levels, because I'm running a sandbox instead of DD... character creation took about 8 hours in total, and each level-up has taken up about 4 hours. Which means by 3rd level we'd wasted an entire month's worth of playtime on the "age of accounting".

I would like to say there was some particular element which slowed everyone down, but there wasn't. The book playtest rulebook is simply unusable throughout. All three of my players have complained about how user-friendly the book isn't; and that is with a physical book, up-to-date printed errata, and simultaneous access to multiple mobile devices with copies of the PDFs.

Have any of the group considered Hero Lab Online? The Demo is free and it can really be quite helpful to teach a player the steps in creating a PC.

Liberty's Edge

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IME, how long character creation takes varies a bit once you're used to it (between an hour and three hours or so...three was an indecisive player, and a level 14 full spontaneous caster, one is closer to typical), but I can't imagine a single level on an existing character taking more than half an hour basically ever.


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The rulebook layout is a definite mess, but particularly for leveling-up, there just aren't that many choices at any given level that it should (or honestly, even could) take hours, especially at low levels.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Cantriped wrote:

My players are gaining individual levels, because I'm running a sandbox instead of DD... character creation took about 8 hours in total, and each level-up has taken up about 4 hours. Which means by 3rd level we'd wasted an entire month's worth of playtime on the "age of accounting".

I would like to say there was some particular element which slowed everyone down, but there wasn't. The book playtest rulebook is simply unusable throughout. All three of my players have complained about how user-friendly the book isn't; and that is with a physical book, up-to-date printed errata, and simultaneous access to multiple mobile devices with copies of the PDFs.
Christ really? I made a little spreadsheet that calculated hp, level and proficiency bonus and nothing else (so all the automatic stuff none of the choice.) Levelling up a character took less than ten minutes each time. Like look at your feat choices and done.

With my players, choosing magic items for their new 7th-level characters took hours. Part of it was inexperience. They had not read the lists of 5th- and 6th-level level magic items before. (Try guessing what a Thurible of revelation does from name alone.) Kindly, the table on page 350 gives page number references, so looking up the item was a matter of typing the page number into the PDF viewer rather than searching for the right page in the alphabetic list of items. Using an online tool might have been faster, but we did not seek them out. Learning an online tool takes time in and of itself. I just checked http://pf2playtest.opengamingnetwork.com/, and it does not appear to contain high-level item descriptions.

And my wife read through every 5th-level magic item to find anything that suited her elven noble bard who also dabbles as an occult detective. She settled on a Phylactery of the Occult and was looking up 3rd-level occult spells for a scroll as her second free 5th-level item, when she had an idea. She wondered whether she could upgrade her 4th-level +1 rapier to 5th level by making it out of cold iron. The character creation rules did not cover that case, but I looked up the prices (cold iron expert-quality rapier with +1 potency rune) and it was in the same price range as the 5th-level items, so I allowed the substitution. Technically, the +1 cold iron rapier is still a 4th-level item, i.e., it could be made by a 4th-level magical weaponsmith, but it is expensive for one.

The magic item system in PF2 is not convenient. Magic weapons and armor have to be built, by adding special materials and magic runes to high-quality weapons or armors. Settling for a +1 steel rapier in PF1 7th-level wealth-by-level would leave cash to buy something else, but settling for a +1 steel rapier in a PF2 5th-level treasure slot at 7th level is shortchanging the character. That makes the decision more difficult.

By the way, my wife's noble also spent money renting a coach and hiring a servant as a footman to drive the coach. It's what nobles do. She has great fun with PF2's backgrounds. But this also means that she takes time to consider her choice of background.


Mathmuse wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Cantriped wrote:

My players are gaining individual levels, because I'm running a sandbox instead of DD... character creation took about 8 hours in total, and each level-up has taken up about 4 hours. Which means by 3rd level we'd wasted an entire month's worth of playtime on the "age of accounting".

I would like to say there was some particular element which slowed everyone down, but there wasn't. The book playtest rulebook is simply unusable throughout. All three of my players have complained about how user-friendly the book isn't; and that is with a physical book, up-to-date printed errata, and simultaneous access to multiple mobile devices with copies of the PDFs.
Christ really? I made a little spreadsheet that calculated hp, level and proficiency bonus and nothing else (so all the automatic stuff none of the choice.) Levelling up a character took less than ten minutes each time. Like look at your feat choices and done.
With my players, choosing magic items for their new 7th-level characters took hours. Part of it was inexperience. They had not read the lists of 5th- and 6th-level level magic items before.

Well that is different, that is making a higher level character from scratch non organically with every option available immeadiately. That will take longer. That would take ages in PF1 (if you weren't comfortable with it being asked to make a level 7 character would be a colossal task.) But leveling up in the course of a normal game like Cantriped talked about was taking a bizzare amount of time. You don't have to look over all the options at once, you don't even have to look at the magic items chapter. The worst would be if you are a caster and need to do spells (which is no worse in this edition I found) and for non casters you mostly just pick one feat from a list that grows a little bit each time.


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I have to agree that the things which slow down character building the most are picking items and picking spells, but that's entirely because these things are laid out alphabetically as that's ideal for when you have to look up a reference, but is terrible when you are comparing options trying to figure out which one you want.

It's my sincere hope that once PF2 gets rolling I can just go to AoN and search by "3rd Level Primal spells" or "6th level magic items" and go from there. Since picking class feats is pretty easy (unless they refer to things in other chapters, like domain spells or ki powers) and picking skill feats isn't that hard.


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While we're catching our breath, there is one thing I would like to see reviewed in more detail: the emphasis on 'balancing the math' which seems to be at the expense of a little thing I like to call 'fun'. As a specific example of this, I'm looking at the Treat Wounds action.

This action - like so many, many parts of PF2 - has a DC that scales with level, which just makes no sense: why are higher level characters harder to cure than low level ones? I'm not insisting on 'realism' (this is a fantasy game where magic routinely b&*%#-slaps the laws of thermodynamics) but there has to be some sort of internal consistency and this breaks it (for me). The only reason it works like this is to 'balance the math' of the game engine. This scales-with-level DC just makes the whole game into a Red Queen's Race (where you have to run as fast as you can simply to stay in the same place).

The house-rule that I will be implementing (assuming I can get my group to pick up PF2 and not defect en masse to 5E) will be to have a fixed DC for Treat Wounds that heals a minimal amount of damage (say d6). For every 10 (or possibly 5) you beat the DC, you get to heal another d6.

The skill is useful out-the-box for low-level characters (regaining d6 hit points is meaningful), while powerful characters will be capable of healing lots of damage, as befits their high level. In addition, low-level friendly NPCs can still contribute some healing to a high-level character.

Making players run the Red Queen's Race for the sake of 'balancing the math' isn't fun to play.

(views expressed here are mine and not attributed to the community as a whole)

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