Greetings Pathfinder Peoples,
Having just received both of my PFRPG betas, I immediately dove into them, and was a bit surprised to see that it looked almost exactly like the Alpha III.
While I understand that this could be a sign of percieved near perfection, as much as I am loving the new game, I am a bit concerned. You see, while the class reduxes are really cool and all with the low level play being much improved, the high level game still sucks the great wrinkled teat of lameness.
Despite all of the piddly complaints about VERY obscure and niggling rules fixes, the biggest problem in 3.5 is high level play. You folks have mentioned it a couple of times, but I see absolutely nothing that has changed enough to matter.
I would assert that one of the primary reasons that 4E was such a radical departure from the 3rd edition ruleset, is that they realized it was broken beyond the realm of an easy fix or errata update. Add the cash cow prospect of selling a whole new set of supplements and splatbooks and Voila! An edition is born.
You see, I hear complaints all over these boards (especially during the edition wars) about how "broken" the system was. Truth is, the game really does grind to a halt above level 15. I've found that even switching to a mainly cinematic/narrative doesn't help either, because THE RULES DON'T SUPPORT IT. This in turn leads to inconsistent gameplay, binders full of houserules, and I STILL spend hours doing prep and watching a battle go on for hours.
The biggest and most obvious example of this is multiclassing. Yes, multiclassing. I have seen dozens of complaints about how lame the "single and double dip" into rogue or fighter is. Personally, I don't agree, but I digress. You see, the rules do not support an even split multi-spellcaster. I refer to the Fighter/Wizard, Paladin/Sorcerer(personal favorite), and all other incarnations not involving druids.
Some would say that a fighter10/wizard10 should be a fairly badass character. You are pretty well versed in the martial as well as arcane arts. You can swing a sword, throw fireballs, buff yourself and others, etc. Problem is, this character is nearly worthless in a CR20 solo encounter. The average AC for a CR20 solo critter is near 40. With a BAB of 14, a (generous) strength of 22, and a +4 weapon = +25 to hit for primary attack. I hit on a 15 or better AT 20th level. Add DR, and spell resistance that I can never hope to breach on anything better than the same roll, and my "Warrior-Mage" becomes a cheerleader. It improves slightly if the encounter is skewed towards the lower end, that is, say a CR15 BBEG with 8 CR 13 Minions. But that is no fix, assuming you want a challenging solo opponent.
If I wanted to play a cheerleader, I would have played a stupid bard! Flame me all you want about "getting what I deserve" and "Broken builds" and all that crud, but I say that I am being punished by the rules for evenly progressing. Why do the rules tell me what kind of characters I cannot play effectively? I mean really, This isn't some stupid Monk/Druid/Bard randomness, this is a viable character concept. Am I now FORCED to find a flavored PrC to "fill in the gaps?" What if I don't want another class? Where are my choices?
I am trying not to rant or whine, but it just seems silly that Eldrich Knight and Practised spellcaster ar the only things ou there that support this kind of toon. Better yet, Anyone try playing a Ranger/Cleric or Monk/Sorcerer? They are just about as useless using an even split multiclass.
Am I stuck now with single or double dipping? Am I missing something? Help me Obi-Jason-Bulmahn-and-staff-Kenobi, you're my only hope!