Sanakht Inaros wrote:
It is a bit derogatory. It perfectly describes how you've been acting. But it's a more polite option of what I orginally wanted to say.
If you want to keep tossing around insults, send me a personal email. Otherwise, just knock it off, you're not impressing anyone.
Sanakht Inaros wrote:
Which reasoning? the one where Eric Mona said he agrees the notion that more high level play does/will soon need to be supported with more play options?
Or the one where he said they know the play database is really not very accurate?
Oh I don't think I am the one not listening.
I did not come back after Eric pretty much "ruled" that they'd heard the request and this would be looked into more. I am not the one that put in more posts arguing against it just because I did not like it. I just responded to a number of those messages.
Regardless, favor/approval from you or the other few that want to "get me" is not something I am going to lose a great deal of sleep over. I've apologized for coming off as more aggressive than I intend - more than once. I'm done with that now. Move it along in a constructive manner or let it go.
Sanakht Inaros wrote:
I don't really know what this phrase means or how/where its commonly used, but I think that it certainly seems more than a little derogatory in nature (at best) and utterly homophobic (at worst). Regardless, its un-necessary in this setting.
Sanakht Inaros wrote:
There may not be in your area, but as a good number of others have pointed out, it is more than feasible in their area. And they are asking for some more options. Not 20 scenarios, not even 10. Another 4-8 per year.
Sanakht Inaros wrote:
I wouldn't mind stuff above 12th. But I think it's gonna be at least another year before they come up with something.
It very well may, but no one has demanded them "now". But since Mark was asking for Season 4 meta plot ideas a couple months ago, now is the time to have this discussion/request so that planning can be done now (Paizo clearly make a plan more than a year in advance).
This is Pathfinder Society. It is not a Living Campaign. There are vital differences between PFS and Arcanis, Greyhawk, etc. Does this mean other experience is wasted? No. But that experience should be tempered with the different environment.
I actually think that once you remove specifics, it pretty much IS the same. Its where people get around a table at home or at a con/game day and play a game of dungeons and dragons. The little details may be different but, in the end, its all pretty much the same thing and always has been.
Frozen, if you would just acknowledge that our opinions were just as valid, this thread would have been over long ago.
I've never said they aren't I just don't agree with all of them. That's as far as I've gone. If you're looking into it more than that, then that's on you.
And I don't necessarily want the thread to end, not as long as there are some constructive things to share.
But I think you're just trying to stir the pot more, cblome59, which I have no interest in subjecting this list to. If you want to keep talking we can do so in private, my email address is frzntundra4 @ yahoo.com
Mark Garringer wrote:
It is, however RAW for the position that you try to the best of your ability to ensure that a) data is being reported and b) quality of the data is high. That's because it's the only tool they have at present. I asked before in this thread, and was ignored about other opinions on what would make a better solution. I can't really think of anything off the top of my head. It's the best tool we have, even if it's imperfect. The data can still tell you things. Coupling the sales data with it can tell you others, and help you understand the potential dimensions of your whole.
I can't think of anything, too concrete yet either, and I've been giving it some thought. That said, if I do find a great process I may say nothing here and go sell the idea, its probably something one could make $ from :) Customer feedback/product use is incredibly valuable to companies.
I believe some other campaigns (I know I know, heading into taboo-land again!) would stop you from ordering more scenarios if you did not turn in play results from what you'd previously ordered.
1) official Society con/game day/home play and that the players want credit for in their play records
2) scenario they want to order for collecting/strict home play, no play results will be recorded.
Paizo would get a better handle on what people are using the scenarios for and what to expect play results for. Then they could also pester the orders for feedback on who/what/when things were played.
Sanakht Inaros wrote:
I was able to play the first 4 events at the GenCon they were first offered. I've been on these boards since the beginning of the campaign. Check that, I started, but the general tone and function of them were not something I had lots of time to devote to so I have not been a regular poster. I come here to look for campaign information.
I know Josh explained the level 12 cap reasoning. Josh is no longer here. Thus, I started this thread to see if the new powers-that-be have the same cap notions, and to see if a convincing proposal/discussion could sway that decision. I am glad to see that Eric has said they'll give it serious consideration (and that he believes it is/will be needed in the future).
Sanakht Inaros wrote:
By the tone of your posts, you're acting all butt hurt because it seems like the Paizo team isn't listening.
I am not hurt in any fashion :)
But I am frustrated. Mostly because the majority of responses to questions have come from a few people's opinions/memories, when what I think was pretty obvious is a question for someone at Paizo. And that's made the thread explode in ways I'd not thought it would.
In fact I know Paizo is listening. Now maybe I've annoyed Mark to no end thus far, but that was not my intent (and I'll prove it with beer for him at GenCon if he wishes).
That said, one sentence responses with no logic or reasoning frustrate me, especially when I am a cash-paying customer so yeah, I may ask for more. But Paizo is (as we're repeatedly being told) in this to make money. Well I have a chunk of the money they want, so I have some right to tell them what I am looking for. And just because other customers don't like what I like doesn't mean I have to be quiet when they don't like what I have to say.
I did not come here to pick a fight with anyone and I am going to respect Mark and Eric's request to avoid he-said she-said things so I am just not going to get into any of that any more (I've already done it and posted far more than I ever intended, but people wanted to pick apart certain aspects and I felt some specifics deserved a response).
I'm very sorry if me listing my "years of service" in OP campaigns turned many folks off, in spite of me specifically saying I was not bragging I think some took it that way. I don't think I am better than anyone. I do think I have more experience in OPs than most people here, and was just trying to share some of those experiences. I know controlling "tone" in electronic communications is hard/impossible, maybe I should have not hoped/assumed most people here would not take things in the most negative light possible.
But I am not going to apologize for using my experience to make suggestions on why another play option IS doable. Especially not when many arguments against it are things that can be addressed without affecting overall campaign quality.
I am not dismissing anyone because they are new or old to a campaign like this, both have a great deal of value (experience is not something one can fake, neither are new/fresh ideas and excitement). I'd hoped that would be a two-way street but to this point on this thread, I do not think that has happened.
I feel like because I am not a daily poster for the past few years here I am seen as an "interloper" - because I will question the what's and why's of how things are done I am some sort of terrorist. I don't follow things blindly, especially not if it involves me spending a lot of personal time and paying $ for a hobby (and I've spent a significant amount with Paizo thus far)
I also really dislike the general notion that pervades so many of the responses on these boards: "This is Pathfinder, don't tells us how to do anything, we don't care what anyone else did in another campaign!!". Is that not a prime example of cutting your nose off to spite your face?
Did I offer criticism of the current state of things? Absolutely. But it wasn't malicious/attacking nor directed at anyone in particular (Eric Mona certainly did not take it that way). I do think there are too many people on these boards that are unquestioning followers. Paizo is a group of people, very talented people, but anything run by peoples can always make improvements. They've admitted things can be better. So I get frustrated when a "vocal minority" of people on this board just ravenously defend everything coming from anyone that is not a "regular" on these boards.
As far as asking questions and getting answers I will also not apologize for then also questioning the foundation of those answers. If you have a reason for something you should be able to defend it. Its already been admitted that the one major piece of data used to make decisions is not very accurate. The initial response said the database was the decision factor, but inquiry about its validity has since revealed that it is not the only variable, and that is what "we" were asking for. I am not in control of the fact that it took 150+ messages to get to that point.
Other people have wanted to continue discussing various points so since I started the thread, I felt I could continue to respond. So here we are.
Mark Garringer wrote:
Mark, you make a good point and I apologize for mis-speaking. I should not make complete blanket statements. Not every VC has posted against this notion.
Maybe what I more meant to say is that I get a distinct feeling that most of the VCs that have posted here are, in the least, not in support of the notion.
Mark Garringer wrote:
I don't know exactly what is in the RAW of these positions, but I'd guess that its main function is to promote PFS and thus by default also represent Paizo.
To this point, I feel that much of the VC reaction to this request has had a very dismissive tone. In spite of many people (and Mr. Mona) saying that the play record database is "pretty pathetic", the general response has been "go report results, maybe something will happen." And of all the involved people short of Paizo employees, the VCs should know dern'd well how powerless the players may be to report results in a meaningful manner.
Mark Garringer wrote:
I agree with the first part of your statement, and to me it is (was) more about the 1-7 5-9 7-11 tiering system. Though it seems the new dedication to consistent monthly releases has ironed this out a great deal.
I appreciate your honesty in saying that you don't have personal interest to play/judge events over 12 but are cool if others do want that options.
My problem is that this is not the opinion others have shared, its clear most people arguing against this would strongly prefer to have it just go away, and I feel it is important to point that out.
And neither am I a lesser player/person for asking about and making an argument for some new play options.
I and those trying to make a solid argument for why this is viable are these one that've been told we're part of a "vocal minority" and told to "STFU and just do what you're told".
And since a fair bit of that message has come from VCs yeah, maybe I am a bit frustrated. Maybe its my marketing/management career rearing its head, but I think its never a wise idea to tell your current customers (even if its just some of them) that they should just do what you say and like it, especially when they are trying to GIVE you feedback (most companies pay big $ for this stuff) on what they'd like to see (and pay you for).
So explain to me how it is that _you're_ the one being told your opinion is not valid because its different than yours or someone else's?
The people making the pleas for a few more high level play options have done so by trying to provide information, examples and experiences they've had. Most of the people arguing against it have an argument that can be boiled down to "I don't like it or I may miss out on something".
There's room for numerous play styles in a campaign this large. One group is simply trying to make its case for what it likes. If its not your cup of tea, why are you trying to put a stop to it? just go keep doing what you like (there's plenty of scenarions available).
Joseph Caubo wrote:
I agree, that is a problem/contradiction. And is another reason the leveling every 3 events is an issue (to me) because it is so easy to get past that level 5 and into the world's defined "power belt".
I mean, imagine how many characters are going to be over level 7 at the end of Season 3 (not to mention over 11). How about at the end of Season 5?
Now, the "census" of all active PCs doesn't have to be something that is "recognized" by the campaign world itself. Really, in spite of characters "knowing" each other we as players should take it all with a grain of salt and understand that "only" they are the ones doing each scenario, its not also happening with the other thousands of characters that are also being played through those encounters.
So dose of suspension of disbelief is always is required for a shared organized play campaign like this, I think.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
I find it amazingly and amusing that you can put your "disclaimer" at the bottom of your message, right after taking a "shot" at me and/or others. What exactly did saying "then maybe your work isn't as good as you thought it was" possibly do other than insult or attack the group making the argument for more high level play?
If you'd not read some of the stuff these folks have written I am confident you'd see that its quite good. If you have read it, no matter your reaction to it, then you're just trying to take a shot without repercussions.
If/when some requests for writers to submit samples or ideas for higher level scenario then maybe I/others will do so. But since that has not been a request (to this point the level 12s have been handled in-house author-wise) I won't do so just on a hope and a prayer. In general I believe it is is waste of time to submit unsolicited writing to a publishing company. And since there is not a shortage of actual events, I don't see a need to just submit more, that was not the gist of this thread/request.
But no one asking for more high level play has ever made this about "we can do this better than 'you'." All we've said is we've seen/done a lot on OP campaigns, and are trying to make the argument that quality/fun higher level scenarios can be produced without affecting the quality of the "other" aspects of the campaign. In fact, I (and others) believe it would enhance it, on a number of fronts. And some of the folks have mentioned they'd volunteer to help.
From what is reported and being said by many on these boards, a majority of players are not at level 12 with even one character. Well then my response is that those players have nothing to worry about, there's still plenty of events to play for them. One can't say they fear there will be a reduction of what is available, then also say they have lots to yet play. Contradiction.
And for those mentioning this is a vocal minority trying to get their way, I'd submit that the nay-sayers are not able to prove they are any more/less of a vocal nor minor group. And I think trying to make the vocal minority argument is akin to saying "we don't like you or what you have to say so just go away". Very welcoming.
I also find it interesting that, of those arguing against the higher level notion, every single VC that has posted has been against it. To me, this flies in the face of the "Explore/Cooperate" aspect of the campaign. Accommodating all interested players is part of a VC's charge, right? or is it just for new players?
If you do not want to partake of play past level 12 that is fine, you do not have to, neither as a player or a DM. Heck, you can stop playing at any level prior to 12 if you so choose, maybe the game is most fun to you from levels 1-8. I am fine with that.
I've yet to see a solid reason put forth against higher level play. But I have seen a lot of negative reaction to the idea. And I just don't understand it. No one is asking to have anything taken away from those that do not like play past 12.
Since the campaign began in there have been (or by Aug will be) 83 scenarios (Season 0 - 28 [19 are still playable], Season 1 - 28, Season 2 - 27) available to play, plus 4 adaptations of published Paizo adventures and and three GenCon specials.
Five of these events are for level 12 characters. Five. That is an itch above 5 percent of what is available.
If Paizo continues to produce 28 scenarios each year, and 4 of those were written for play past level 12, that would be just under 15% of what is available. If they wrote 6 per season, that would be just over 21%. If Paizo took a poll, I bet more than 15-20% of its player base would say they do want this option made available.
Under a yearly 22/6 ratio there would still be plenty of play options for people of all flavors. As time goes by more and more players will have more and more characters running past 11th level. Some people could/will have their 3rd level 12 character in early 2012 - even with slow advancement this will probably happen by GenCon 2012.
Erik has said they will be talking about this in-house and making a plan. He did not say he was going to scrap all play under level 11. So no one that dislikes higher level play has anything to panic about.
Eric, thank you for the sincere request for ideas on what players are interested in seeing and for giving this notion some good consideration.
I am confident you know that, in your current player base, there is a lot of experience writing and managing the higher level play options for organized campaigns. A request from you and/or Mark would certainly produce more than a few volunteers to help make things successful.
Does Paizo really care why someone is paying them money for a product they are producing as long as it is selling decently? Do they really care if people are playing them as official Society manner or as home games?
Regardless, by that logic, don't then the sales numbers of the regular 1-11 events get just as "skewed" as the level 12s?
I would be very curious to see/hear about the differences between ordering numbers and reported Society play numbers for the scenarios, in all the level ranges.
Ryan Bolduan wrote:
Ryan, I am not saying you do not do a great job running events, so hope you did not take it that way. I have noticed your numerous posts about games in Mpls the past year or more, so good job!
But until I checked your profile this morning I did not even know you were the VC for Mpls.
I will say that not everyone wants or needs a VC to help them get at a table for games. For many of us, a week night or other game store event may not work with our life's schedules. "My" group plays at one of our houses over the course of some weekend, then we travel to a few regional/national conventions each year (mostly to play with other friends from around the country).
But lack of attendance at local events does not mean lack of playing. So making blanket statements about all players in one area is not automatically accurate just because it comes from a VC.
If one of the VCs jobs/responsibilities is to report back to Paizo about activities in their area AND it is going to have an influential role in product production, well then that is valuable information more players need to know.
Chris Sanders 137 wrote:
Excellent, Chris, thanks for putting this into words in an appropriate manner!
K Neil Shackleton wrote:
The reporting system is the only objective measurable feedback Paizo actually has to what is happening with Society play.
Ryan Bolduan wrote:
The only piece of objective evidence Paizo has to go off of is reported events. Everything that is said here is tempered by the fact that none of us, with the exception of Paizo, really has a high-level view of the distribution of modules played.
I would argue that the most important and decision-driving measurable Paizo has is sales figures.
Numerous people have said that they are in this business to make money, so no factor should weigh heavier than sales.
Additionally, as experienced as many of the Paizo folks are they have to know/understand how amazingly incomplete the play records have to be. You're just never going to get an even reasonably accurate set of responses, people just don't value giving a company feedback as much as a company wants it, that is why most companies are trying to find give away product to get good customer feedback.
Amen. I definitely think the scenario length limit is a quality-limiting factor.
Now I understand that page count and word count have real/potential $ implications for the business end of scenario production but it would be my strongest argument that producing quality is far more important than quantity.
Ryan Bolduan wrote:
Statements like this make me think that there is little understanding to the amount of effort that goes into producing Pathfinder society scenarios, and the amount of effort required to produce even a 20 page module.
Well you would be wrong. I know pretty well what it takes to write, edit and produce a scenario for an org. play campaign. I wrote more than a dozen for LC and LG campaigns. I edited and play tested dozens more.
Ryan Bolduan wrote:
Adding an additional 20%-25% to the module load Paizo has to produce for PFS every year (which is roughly what 6 modules would represent) involves art costs, freelancer costs, and technology costs, not to mention Mark's time. Two modules every month plus special events AND developing the metastory, AND working on his other commitments is a real amount of effort for Mark. Paizo already struggles around the summer months when the back-to-back conventions eat away most of their time. In the case of your request, I would not be surprised that you're talking about another 15%-20% to the marketing budget before factoring in that they would likely need to hire another in-house developer to help out in what could be considered a 100% overhead position. Quite simply, I don't see how it's not feasible with their current staff and until they begin to see some real objective evidence to interest (and no, a thread on the boards is not sufficient objective-based evidence).
I do not think you'd need to add much of anything under, say, the rough model I posted yesterday (and again, that was just a first-crack at a general idea I think could work, obviously there would need to be some massaging).
28 scenarios a year is more than most players play during the 12 months of a campaign Season, right? That is a pretty clear message that everyone saying they have no or very few characters over 9th level are saying (intentionally or not). As of now 26 of the 28 (Seasons 1 and 2 each had 2 scenarios) are for levels under 12. If the majority of players aren't playing everything, why not "steal" a couple more and make them available for those that are playing everything? 24 scenarios for everyone to play, 4 for those with level 12+. This would leave enough events for the more casual player to enjoy, and a few more play opportunities for those wanting to dust off some old characters. I don't think that's any ridiculous ratio, and is producing the same amount of material as now. Which is pretty much a 0% increase in any budget.
Ryan Bolduan wrote:
I know there are a number of players who can't wait for this. I also know that my local area doesn't even have more than a handful of 8's, let alone enough level 12's to indicate that high-level play is ready for the mainstream.
Ryan, you may want to learn a bit more about the players in your local area. Most of the people I am taling about and play with are IN the Mpls area, or a few hours drive. Just because they do not come to your game days doesn't mean they are not around.
Ryan Bolduan wrote:
History has already proven that low-level play is absolutely vital for the long-term viability of PFS and that one low-level module is required every month. This was also near disastrous about 9 months ago when Paizo had to completely revamp their release schedule to bring out low level modules. Until a base can be founded which allows for players to really appreciate and play low-level games, I struggle to understand why people are pushing so hard because it just isn't going to happen.
And my point is about planning for the future once those (previously new) players have been around for a while, you need to offer them other play opportunities, offer them new and unique things to keep them interested. And I firmly believe that, even if its "only" 25% of the player base, that interest is in playing events past the level 12 cap.
Chris Mortika wrote:
I don't think it is necessary to have Pathfinder have events that were as earth-shaking as what Arcanis did, in fact, I think that would be a bad idea for them. Clearly Golarion is a different world than any other, and should be treated as such.
That said, there is a spot between world-impacting revelations and random treasure hunts and/or isolated adventures.
And that is where I think the Society would be at its best.
Andrew Christian wrote:
I think this is an inaccurate and unfair assumption to make.
I would believe that most people (certainly the ones I play with) have other things in life to pay attention to, they aren't really interested in doing an audit of their playing history.
Additionally, the system has some flaws,s ince it is relying on DMs and Con coordinators to enter all this. It can be a lot of work, things can get lost, etc. Its not realistic to assume everything in a person's play history is accurate, their own fault or not.
Event reporting was a dismal failure in most every organized play campaign I've ever seen. I am not saying that Paizo should not try to do it, but it should be taken with a grain of salt, an inaccurate data set will produce inaccurate results. It should not be the only/major factor determining what is produced. I'd think raw sales numbers would be far more important to them, since the argument of what sells is what is produced.
Erik Mona wrote:
We've got the Eyes of the Ten series, which based on play reporting and sales, seems like it came out too early and a lot of people are still waiting to play it, even though they have characters who qualify. I must confess that this puzzles and frustrates me (mostly as the narcissistic author of the first one, but also as publisher). It seems to me that, despite our best intentions, the Eyes of the Ten series does not appropriately speak to the desire of the folks clamoring for high-level play.
Speaking for the few tables of players I know and play with, its mostly been a scheduling issue, and waiting for the whole arc to become available. Plus we got additional people involved in playing since the first table started playing, so its also about getting some folks up to 12.
Now that all 4 scenarios are available I expect we'll play them either before GenCon or before the end of Sept. We just have to figure out which group of PCs we want to play :)
Erik Mona wrote:
I'd love to see a wider variance of playable levels for each scenario, not necessarily all past levels 11-12, though some could easy be made so. I find it can be quite tricky to plan out playing everything as is now, with the 1-5, 1-7, 5-9 and 7-11 structures and varying release dates, though the releases seems to be more organized the past 6+ months as events have been released on/before published dates. With as easy it is to advance NPCs and even monsters, the same badguys can be "built up" to challenge any party.
Where does the time come from? Hard to say as I don't know what the staff work loads and time requirements for each adventure are, but based on what has been produced thus far:
I'd LOVE to see special events (Battle INteractives, MegaDeath adventures, etc.) at PaizoCon, Origins, GenCon (and whatever cons can suport them).
But in general terms, I'd like to see similar to what Eyes of Ten is (from what I hear), but with its story more built off the general campaign stories/plots and have it very focused around some new central issue (of some previously unknown item power/aspect/threat uncovered by the Pathfinders).
Erik Mona wrote:
What is it, exactly, that would satisfy your desire for more high-level PFS play?
Here's a rough draft of my large-picture notions/desires:
I think this is a two-tiered issue and is not just about high level play, but it certainly builds into it.
And my concern about the limited level 12 play options is that in spite of have all four scenario parts out now, a group can resolve those in one weekend of play. Then they have about nothing to play, since there seems to be no plan to do more at this time.
Most of my personal dis-satisfaction to the Society scenarios thus far has been the general lack of any really interesting over-riding stories. Certainly the Shadow Lodge story is the first stab at making a larger story and that has made improvements in scenario quality.
But the vast majority of adventures thus far still amount to "Go find these items" (for the Society and/or a Faction) or "go stop random Shadow Lodgers XYZ". And that is not meant as any "rip" on the authors of the scenarios who have written fine things, its more about the larger view. The Shadow Lodge story is not nearly as interesting as that of the Rise of the Runelords. And that is where I think the Society mods should be!
So other than geographic/location variety on Golarion, there is not a lot of variance adventure to adventure. And to end a character at level 12, and being able to get there very quickly, is not very rewarding. As someone succinctly stated previously, part of the interest in playing an organized play campaign (for me) is about the quality of the journey, not just the quantity/hours of play time. And to me, being involved with more than monster of the week adventure is what is improves campaign quality. I think (hope) most players would agree with that.
Players would make a character for each arc and play them from start to finish, from level 1 to 12. At the end, if/when they reached level 12, most characters would probably be ready to "retire" from general Society activities and move into other areas of their lives (administration of the Society as Venture-Captains, family, religious callings, etc.).
Not every scenario would need to be plot-centric (though the over-riding issue could affect them) so it'd be entirely cool to have some one-off adventures.
Then, the PCs that did the whole series would be ready for the level 12+ story arc. Players had no interest in playing past 12 could retire their character once they hit whatever level they were happy with.
As someone mentioned previously, these PCs would be more of a Seal Team Six group, characters that may wield more martial/magical power but not the organization/faction/information power of the Venture Captains or other powerful NPCs.
This arc would also have a beginning and end though it'd of course not need nearly as many scenarios each year (6 would be great).
The end of these story arc scenarios would be "retirement" for this character except for any unique/original events like PaizoCon/GenCon specials or published modules (like Iron Medusa) that Paizo would decide to do.
Now the key to all this is timing, so when regular campaign story arc #1 begins, that is what would be available. As the story arc #1 ends, the story arc #2 begins, as does the 12+ story arc #1. As story arc #2 arc ends, so does the 12+ story arc #1. So things would stagger on a continual basis.
Players interested in playing "everything" would likely have two "active" characters, one for the regular story, one for 12+. People with no interest in playing past 12 can have as many active characters as they want (same as now).
I know this whole idea isn't perfect, but its a rough idea of what I think would work well, especially for something like Paizo that has proven it can produce scenarios on a set schedule (an essential aspect).
Mark Moreland wrote:
If those players want to see more post-12th level opportunities, I suggest they get those 12th level PCs through Eyes of the Ten and report their sessions. If we see a huge influx in 12th level play, we will readjust our plans for high-level events based on that. Until more than a handful of people have played the highest level stuff we've offered, we won't be investing resources in catering to even higher-level play.
Absolutely makes sense, and they (we) will do so within the next few weeks/months when we can find time in the calendars to play the 12s).
I really am not trying to be a pain in the rump her (though I am sure some folks think I am). I just don't want this topic to die off without trying to discuss many of the variables that make this possible.
I am interested though, Mark, what do you all consider a "handful" of players?? 200 may not be a lot to you, but is 1000 even enough to tip the balance?
Thea Peters wrote:
Personally I think that making the assumptive leap that we are all clamoring for higher level game play from the eyes of ten mod being on the best seller list is inaccurate and doesn't truely reflect actual gameplay. More than likely it's on the best seller list because there are people that are going to buy every mod as it's released just because.
I, and no one else that I have seen yet, is saying that _everyone_ wants higher level play options.
What I am saying is that a lot of players do.
More than what is represented in the play numbers for the events or is generally being portrayed on these message boards.
Another interesting common theme this weekend was that everyone I talked also said their play records were woefully inadequate. But they as players also did not care. I don't think it is logical to most players that said database would be what so many of the campaign decisions are made from.
And really, you want to make the argument that the order total is high because people want to add it to their collection? I am not saying that is impossible, but few people are so anal or $$-flush to be giving it away like that. By that logic, it would then also mean that most of the below 12 mods are also being ordered for collecting purposes. I just don't buy that reasoning.
BTW, Eye of Ten Part IV is now #2 on the Society Top Selling list....(the collectors must have been busy this weekend) :)
Lou Diamond wrote:
I completely agree with this.
And the frustration I feel about this in regards to the Society play is that Paizo IS producing quality events past level 12, just not for the Society.
The Adventure Paths clearly go past level 12 (generally to the 15-16 range, right?). And aren't those some of the best-selling products they sell (besides the Core rulebooks)?? So for those making the argument that higher-level products don't sell and/or that most people stop playing at about level 12, are you saying most of the home-game Adventure Paths stop playing after book 4 or 5? I am betting that most finish all the way through.
Thus to me, the logic of the arguments about why not to do scenarios past level 12 just does not hold.
Its not a matter of losing players, it's simply not enough demand for the material to make it worth producing. Having top notch writers develop material for 12th level+ play that gets run by 200 people just doesn't make sense. The numbers need to be in the thousands. Right now I'd be surprised if there are 200 players at 12th level.
I was at what I consider to be a pretty small to mid-sized con this weekend, there were 5-6 tables of Pathfinder each slot. Most people there were local or within 2-3 hours drive (we drove 5-6 hours and likely traveled further than most/all others).
I did a quick head count and came up with 9 players that had a character that was level 12. 12 players had a character (9 of them were second characters) that was level 11, not yet 12 so they could play a few mods, but they could have been 12 if they wanted.
I sincerely doubt that those 12 players are in actuality 5-10% of the characters that would justify the claim of there being not even 200 12th level characters in the campaign.
All of the people said they DO want to see play opportunities past 12th level.
My long-time response to the reasoning about having DMs prepared to run tables like this is two-fold.
You have to get them experience at some point, right? No one is (or should be) demanding perfection.
Yes there are spells/powers that cause problems in a shared-world organized play campaign like the Society, but they CAN be dealt with to not have effects that last past each scenario (or aren't allowed, etc.). There are also many other options to choose from, so that should not be a deal breaker.
I absolutely agree with the higher-quality journey notion, it is absolutely the most important part of any campaign. Had I my druthers (and not just mine) I;d love to see play beyond 12th even, as it is and can be very fun in more ways. Adding advanced skills/powers/experiences makes for a fun campaign/character, too.
Playing Dalsine (and 6 other events) at a con in Milwaukee this weekend.
Kyle Baird wrote:
I am curious about something I've seen a few people remark about - hours of play time.
Is this significant in a manner I am missing? I don't really relate chair time to advancement, but maybe others do.
Pyrrhic Victory wrote:
Now this is a very succinct and accurate way to address a few of the things I would like to see more of, so thanks for detailing it so well, P V!). I echo the notion that it does not often feel like anything we the Player Characters do has much of an impact on things beyond sheer number crunching - being tabulated for how many are in what faction, etc. I know, its hard to decide when who does what matters, but a critical events summary of at least certain events could be submitted by DMs.......something like that is possible!
I don't know that having world-impact has to be level-dependent, but I have found it often was (in other campaigns).
But does anyone at Paizo have any player impact design/philosophy fundamentals they'd be able to share with us?
K Neil Shackleton wrote:
Tundra, you should be made aware that at the largest gaming convention in the world last year, the Level 12 scenarios were cancelled due to lack of players.
I assume you mean GenCon, at which I was at and did see that an event or two for the 12s were cancelled.
However, that does not mean there are not players out there with characters available to play them. I know my group of 8-9 that were at the con could have played but since a few of our friends were unable to attend we decided to wait.
And that brings me to my concern about this area, which is the accuracy of the data being used to make these decisions. I know my personal play records are not nearly as complete as they should be. And who/where I play with is pretty good about reporting results (or at least they tell me they are). I've honestly never paid that much attention to those records, are those what is used to tabulate how many 12th level characters there are in the campaign?
So back to a point I brought up earlier, that the latest 12th level scenario (and 4th of the series) is the current 3rd most popular event ordered on the Paizo Society's "Top Sellers" list. I'd assume the sales of that event must be pretty good to rank that high since it is up against other events released just as recently that have level ranges of 7-11 and 1-5 (tiers everyone is saying have so many more available players/characters).
To me, the logic says that if that many people have ordered a scenario, how do the order numbers compare to the data for characters of 12th level?
K Neil Shackleton wrote:
My concern is that if I do not voice some of my desires (which are not just mine own, mind you) then the status quo will never change. I am not demanding anything, I am trying to let it be known that there are (imo) other options to also consider.
Playing the published adventures is a bit of a fix, its at least an option for the short-term.
I just see SO much potential in this campaign/world that I'd love to see explored more fully, and that is what I am really pushing for.
K Neil Shackleton wrote:
FT, I think there are many valid answers above.
I agree, there are. But I also see a whole slew of options and solutions to these perceived "blockers". None of the answers have to be written in stone. And as I said, smaller and less supported campaigns had pretty significant numbers of players wanting to play characters past 12th level. So PFS should be able to apply these concepts pretty easily, if they want, and have scads of people interested.
K Neil Shackleton wrote:
The 2 key ones, IMO, are the time needed and the need to skew a module more specifically to your players in high level play. PFS is available for many playing options, but 2 of the key ones are convention and store play. In those environments, predictable session durations and flexibility on party makeup are key. So a High Level scenario which truly captures the best things about high level play is likely to be less useful in those venues.
I've been a dozens of conventions and store play days where adventures that supported play past 12th level ran in 4 or 8 hour slots perfectly fine. Yes people may take/use 13 hours to play a game at home, but I've found that to be true of standard low-level adventures just as much as high level. Events can be planned and run within an established time frame.
One thing I've always found out is that if you have a group of devoted players "party balance" often works itself out. And if you're truly building a long-term customer then they'll make sure when they make 2nd to 5th characters that the folks they play with frequently have all the core bases covered (melee, divine, arcane, sneak, etc).
There are no absolutes in any of this, ever, but neither should a concern about having perfect party balance stop people from playing events past 12th level. I've experienced numerous problems with this and its just as much of a challenge at 7th level as it is at 16th.
K Neil Shackleton wrote:
To be honest, there are also some financial considerations on Paizo's end. High level encounters are going to take up more word count, both for stat blocks, and to cover more of the options available. To maintain the standard format of PFS scenarios, it is likely that they would have to have a longer document. So they can either chop non-encounter essential word count (possibly lowering quality), raise the price of the product, or take a (likely) loss on the product.
I am not sure that a word-count limit or a set number of encounters per scenario should drive what a scenario ends up being. I know, this may be easy for me to say as I am not in charge of producing these things, but I really dislike when a product is clearly lacking in certain areas, and its because there is a ratio or words/pages that must be adhered to. I understand business decisions rule the day but if that is the reason for not fleshing scenarios out as thoroughly as they can be, then that does not exactly make me feel like quality is the foremost guiding principle though I DO think it should be.
K Neil Shackleton wrote:
Further, as you said, they wish to sell product. Having people retire and start new characters is a good way to encourage them to get the new shinies out there.
I don't see this as a genuine nor absolute correlation. I don't buy product based on starting a new character, and I doubt most others do, either.
In fact I'd argue that new product could/should be used as incentive to get players past 12th level, or at least that its inclusion in the campaign could be leveraged into some increased sales.
I'd also argue that being "eligible" for the High Level Campaign could be incentive to help increase play for many players.
What encourages me to buy product for something like Pathfinder is seeing that the campaign is of high quality and that there is a devotion to making it playable for all sort of gamers, new and old alike. And truth be told, at this point my largest disappointment is that most of what Paizo is doing is aimed almost exclusively at new or casual players. This must be what their marketing and business research is telling them to do as I am not seeing a real dedication to people looking to do something long-term because to me that means playing a character more than 3-6 times/year.
K Neil Shackleton wrote:
This could be revisited down the road, as more players cap out. But I suspect that even if it did change, it would be a gradual adding of a level or two. In the meantime, the module play is the best solution.
I'd be really curious if this is an "official" Paizo answer because if it is, then my question would be why should I bother to bother to spend any $ with anything involving the Society campaign? If i can just play anything I want at home play via other published materials why should I work to organize 2-4 tables of players on any regular basis as I do now?
W E Ray wrote:
I am not saying I am the most experienced org play person there is, but I do think I have more than most. I am saying I have been around for some time and am still coming back for more.
And here I thought Paizo was interested in selling product. And while I may be "old" I'm not out of playing this game yet.
I fully understand that I am not really in Paizo's ideal demographic, but I do buy product so think I have some right to share my interests and ideas. So I am not going to sit by and be told that since I am no longer 22 my input has no value (and that is no "slight" to you, W E R, I'm just saying I will not be shy because I am older than the "standard" gamer).
As far as the holy Erik Mona goes I've spent (literally) hundreds of hours running/playing/organizing events with him during those late 90's early 2000's so I have a pretty good idea what his experience is :)
Thea, that was exactly the kind of response that makes many (most) people despise coming to these message boards. Sorry I did not refresh my browser for an updated response from someone else less than 2 minutes before posting mine, I am not such a constant troller of these boards to have to see every response within seconds of it being posted, but thanks for the "advice".
And where exactly did I say anything about PFSer's being "scared"of anything?
You should note that I never demanded nor even asked that PFS do anything exactly like any other campaign. I just said that there were successful concepts that could be empowered in PFS, too. Too often I've seen/heard where folks in PFS (and most often on these board) by default say they won't do something just because some "other" campaign did. Well that's just foolish, other people that have run campaigns well in the past have ideas that can be borrowed and utilized to excellent results.
And I challenge you to point out where I am berating anyone for anything. I am simply stating that some folks do want to see play options past 12th. I demanded nothing, on any time-line.
I decided to say this on these boards because the majority of what most people say to this is nay-saying this notion and I don't think the majority of posters represent the majority of the actual players.
And if you think a campaign that is going into its FOURTH year is "new" then I am not sure what to say. Yes, it is still developing, and it should constantly do so, but that does not mean players (even ones that do not post 18 times/day) should not be able to share ideas and opinions without being jumped on like unwanted varmints by the daily talking pundits.
You're not the only person with a soapbox. I was very intentionally very civil about my suggestions in my original post(s), I expect the same in return.
I feel like I should share some of my background, so people know this is not my first rodeo.
I am NOT bragging in any fashion, I am just trying to show that I've seen more than a little of what various campaigns do and have done, so have some idea of what is possible, what is popular, what is successful, and what has not worked well at all.
I've been playing organized play campaigns since the late '90s.
I played a fair bit of the old RPGA Living Jungle and Living Death campaigns (these had their quirks, were very "specific" in setting, but were popular and fun).
But in every one of these campaigns there were large numbers of players that wanted to play higher level adventures. Not everyone, but lots and lots of them. I marshaled 20+ tables (6+ people per table) of a high level 2 round event at GenCon the last year it was in Milwaukee ('02, iirc).
So I have a hard time believing that there is not enough interest in playing games past 13th level from a gaming product produced and promoted like Pathfinder/Society is - I am guessing more players that have been exposed to this product than these pre/early internet campaigns ever had, its much more visible and available right off Paizo's web pages.
Yes, it is harder to write events for a higher level party, yes it takes a bit of a more experienced judge to run a scenario well, and yes it may take more than 4-5 hours to play an event (though this last point does not have to be the case for all scenarios). But these should not be deal-breakers for making higher level play an (even if infrequent) option for this campaign.
I am saying, it is do-able and I see in Paizo a chance for a company/organization to finally do it as "right" as possible. They are an actual company (not some half-formed "company" run by two dudes) they have publishing power, editors, designers, artists, experienced/involved regional volunteers, and a large fan base of active players. No one, not even WotC had the resources/ability to support an organized play campaign like this.
I just want the powers-that-be to see that there IS demand for quality high-level adventures in their Society campaign. I can list 30+ people that would play it if it were available (and I certainly do not know as many gamers as I used to when I went to a lot of conventions!). Maybe these numbers aren't enough to get their attention but if the general reasoning for not producing anything past 12th level is lack of play/pay interest, I'd like them to let us know that.
As a player I want to play story-arc driven and "important" events. I've done enough of the "save the damsel" or "there is a monster in them-thar hills, go kill 'em and his horde is your reward" adventures to be bored by that most of the time. I want some teeth in my scenarios. I want true danger and challenge. I want continuity and consistency in the campaign world. I want risk and reward that is innovative and appropriate. And usually, this is better done when characters are higher level.
I'll respond to some specific comments/options others offered in a while......this post was far too long as it is already ;)
I am curious about the rule that the Society Organized Play campaign will never have characters playable past 12th level.
Paizo makes about a zillion classes and sells all kinds of products with details on how to play a character to 20th level.
The fourth part of the 12th level character arc (Eyes of Ten) is currently the 3rd best selling event listed on the scenario top sellers, so there must be a fair amount of players out there that are enjoying that series.
So I am curious about this rule and the reasoning behind it.
Mark Moreland wrote:
Some lines are meant to be read between...others, not so much. We are not raising the level cap. Some groups playing Pathfinder RPG go to 20th level, but no one in Pathfinder Society Organized Play will ever reach 13th level.
This is very disappointing.
I understand that higher level adventures are a fair bit of work, but a few per year are do-able, imo. And I think as another year of the campaign begins more and more people will wish they could keep playing a character they got to 12th level.
I understand what people are saying that they like the fast advancement, because they do not get to play that often so want to feel some progress.
However, I don't think that argument holds any more weight than those who do play often and dislike the rapid advancement.
I also am not a fan of breaking down play advancement to hours played or number of encounters faced. This is not a math equation, playing the game should not be about set/established/predictable advancement rates.
And while I appreciate the brain-storming, the notion of making a second (or fifth) character that is pretty much the "same" as another and just alternate playing them...well that is just weird, imo, and will cause issues, too.
The issue those of us that dislike the rapid advancement have an issue with I think (at least I know those I play with feel this way) is that we make a character we enjoy playing and have them develop and then, in pretty fast order, we can't play them any more. And I think that is a shame.
And let me clarify, I am advocating an option of more play time for levels 7+. Plus I'd like to add more play options for levels past 12.
Additionally, because of the screwey tiering system of 1-5, 5-9, 7-11 it can be very challenging to have enough games to actually play with multiple characters that are about the same level. There just is not that much available all the time, especially not if your group has played most of what is out there.
I just think there is a way to balance this out so that those that play often can play a liked character longer, and those that play less frequently still feel like they are making progress.
Chris Mortika wrote:
I agree that some rule to provide a player to start a new PC (due to permanent character death) at an appropriate level to the rest of the group would be ideal. The reality is, we're playing this game to have fun so shouldn't be such rules sticklers as to block that for a home group or established set of players.
That said, I am always a bit baffled about the arguments of death ruining a play group. In PFS, there is really NO penalty for death if the rest of the party can recover the body and pay for a Raise Dead (16 PAs, 10,910gp, both of which are reasonably obtainable totals, especially since a group can pitch in gold for spell casting services). And if a group has played itself to 4-6th level and has been mostly successful in faction missions and earned some gold there is no reason that spell can't be afforded. Past 6th level this si about a moot issue, imo. Obviously, there are always specific situations that nullify recovery/casting options but I think they are the exception, not the rule, and should be applied accordingly.
I've found that most PFS events are MOST deadly at 1st and 2nd level, since there's usually 3-6 combats per day and healing/powers are in short supply.
Jason S wrote:
I am definitely not a fan of slower leveling at lower levels, its the higher ones and the 12th level cap that I struggle with and think can be improved.
And while there may be difficulty finding players that will play level 12 games at GenCon, it does not mean they are not out there.
For example, the folks I regularly play with (and yes most of us have played since the beginning) will have, after GenCon (if we play everything there), two characters that are 12th level, one that is in the 6-8 range, and another that is in the 2-3 range. And this is like three tables of people, not just barely one.
Yes, we play (or will have by then) most everything that is available. We'll either play a bunch of games (5-7) at a regional con or we'll have weekends at someone's house. But it still comes out all of us that we level too fast. "We're always about to level" is our mantra. Maybe we're "old" and recall the days of previous organized play campaigns where leveling (like in 2nd Ed) was very (too) slow - but, still, it just feels like you have no time to "get to know" your character before he goes from newbie to almost retired.
Let me echo your thoughts, this is the exact number/model my group and I have settled on as being the optimal progression scenario. I'd even be approving of a system where its 3 events per level until 4th, then your current level of events to advance.
Additionally, I agree that getting past 5th level is where the mot "fun" happens as far as what a character can do and when the player actually can see some things come together for characters skills/abilities. I personally think the game is best in the 7-11 range, once 7th level spells begin things get tougher to mange.
You are definitely not the only person that thinks leveling happens too fast. But I am glad to see Mark says there may be some changes to this structure so I'll wait and see.
Now, if someone will (also) do something about making some (more) adventures available for play past 12th level......
Once you pointed out that the covers are visible in the Paizo store, I understood how you might see some unwanted spoilers if you're going to GM some games and play others. But if you're at a game day and a GM is flashing around some spoilers (cover art or anything else), isn't that the GM's fault?
Who's fault it is at that point is kinda irrelevant to me, though I'd certainly be appreciative of a GM or con organizer that takes care to hide the covers from the players - though I've found most do not seem ot do this, they have other things to worry about.
Its the fact I am now "in the know" is what is more important and disappointing, to me.
James Jacobs wrote:
I agree that covers should serve as teasers. But I think the movie analogy is a bit inaccurate.
First, a movie is something I just watch, I can't affect it at all. An adventure, well that's something we as players interact with, the interaction is the whole point!
Second, when sitting down to play any adventure, if Paizo published it, I begin assuming it will (or should) be a quality event, and that shouldn't (and likely won’t) be heightened by a teaser/blurb/cover art. However, blurbs or cover art have ruined things by giving away story points (even as simple of what kind of monster is behind the dastardly deeds).
Third, a blurb can be very good by telling folks what the adventure is generally going to be about and still not give away (a/the) key plot points. Same with a movie trailer or artwork. The Book of Eli is a prime example. DUH! he was carrying a Bible, but that’s not the relevant part of the story that makes things interesting.
The "type" of adventure has little to do with the sort of opponents you may be facing. I personally find it very enjoyable when I (as a player) am going into some dungeon and have no idea what monsters lurk there where as if I do know ahead of time the anticipation is substantially lessened. Call me crazy, but that unknown - that anticipation & surprise - is a big part of the fun of playing the game. Knowing ahead of time takes away much of the unknown.
I am not talking about affecting the outcome of the adventure by using upfront info, I am talking about preserving the fun factor for the players by keeping certain things unknown (which is half the fun, imo).
If an adventure is called "Against the Beholders" and the blurb and opening info from whomever sends you on the mission says "there's 17 beholders on that mountain which happens to be where some valuable scrolls are believed to be hidden in an old temple. Go clean them out and get the goods!" then, by all means put a beholder on the cover (I'd assume there is/are other interesting plot points to be revealed).
But if its called "Me So Hungry" because the caravans bringing food to a city aren't making it and no one knows why, please don't put a blue dragon on the cover if he's what's eating it all. Let that info be discovered as he swoops over a sand dune when the party is following scraps of discarded food crates across the desert.
If the big twist of the adventure is having the PCs find out exactly what the main antagonist is then please, don't put an obvious picture of what they are on the cover!
I do disagree that all covers don't have major spoilers (more do than do not, I feel) especially some kinds of adventures. If there is an encounter with a woman asking for help and I know there's a succubus on the cover, as a player, this encounter likely got a lot less fun/interesting because try as I would to keep IC and OC info separate, there is still nothing making me (the player) forget this is probably a succubus. Where if the cover art is of a pretty lady who looks like she needs help then I have no clue that such a monster is involved in the adventure but the art is still relevant. The situation is much more enjoyable when the party figures out that senorita was not just a nice needy lady (one way or another).
If the cover art of the adventures is mostly a marketing/sales decision then all I have to say is "wow". I am far less positive about my initial reaction towards Paizo in general, which is to say that Paizo's mission statement seems (and should be) more about putting out quality gaming materials than marketing edicts and sales figures. I understand each has its place, but I feel one should not detract from the other, nor be a victim of the other’s demands. And if the main reason to put the monsters in the covers of these adventures is to try and show off the cool artwork in the Beastie books in hopes of increasing sales then.....”WOW” (and not in a good way).
There is little to be gained by putting a specific/integral monster graphic on the cover, but there is at least the significant possibility of having a lot to lose. And there's options for other art that keeps the notion of traditional adventure-specific art alive and well.
I think what I am/was asking for/suggesting is more consideration for what is put on the cover (words and/or artwork).
And I say “was” as I feel this already a dead issue from the perspective of the Paizo staffers that have posted - which makes me ask myself why I am still posting??!! call me stubborn I guess :)
Chris Mortika wrote:
This is exactly what I am saying. Cheaters are cheaters and should be handled appropriately (with floggings and salt poured in wounds) but not my worry in this instance.
Its the people that aren't trying to do anything (but have and use their eyes) and get information by accident that lose a little (or a lot, depending on perspective) of the enjoyment of the adventure.
Some of us may be the organizer of what our groups/cons/games days play so it is literally impossible to avoid this information, evne if we are not going to GM everything or anything.
Also, I agree that artwork is cool and can help make an adventure standout, be organized, etc. I am just saying, there are options for artwork on covers that can be relevant/teasers that are not also spoilers. If its a dungeon adventure, put the entrance to a cave or the frame of an old archway on the cover. If the adventure is about recovering a lost sword, put a cool blade on the cover. With what I assume is a massive selection of art Paizo has, there has to be many options for art that have nothing to do with monsters inside the adventure.
I am not trying to be troublesome, but I do not think everyone that has responded has thought this through, or is thinking about the perspective of everyone. To some of us, the presence of such detail does detract from the quality of the experience.
Also, I’ve yet to hear what this artwork adds that cannot be replaced by something else that is equally adventure-cool and relevant but not detail revealing.
I feel that some folks have supported my notion. That a few folks have said "I don't print/show the covers to the players" is, imho, sort of proving my point. That the GM has to take these steps shows that this is spoiler information, and I feel most players and GMs would prefer to avoid that.
Maybe not all players see the covers, but its not like they are hidden. One doesn't even need to be actively looking for this stuff to see it. If anyone spends any time on Paizo's PFS site, the lists (and covers) of best-selling events is prominently displayed on the side, as they are under description of the events for each Season.
I am all for cool graphics/maps/pictures etc. I just think, with the library of images Paizo must have available, images could be put on the covers that are not also spoiler info for the event. Something like an image of a city, or an NPC that is not the main antagonist/opponent.
If Josh doesn't want to make that change, that is his choice. I just feel that basic intuition says that most people would prefer to not have this information available (both as GMs not wanting to give away info too quickly and players looking for the unknown or a surprise).
Regardless of what happens, I've said my peace.
You may not have heard about it, but I know @20 people that play this campaign to varying degrees of involvement (2nd to 10th + level) and across the board they agree, the covers take away from some of the fun (to a certain and not insignificant degree) when they realize its also the major opponent in the adventures.
Maybe most people don't realize the connection or they enjoy the "insider information".
While trying to avoid seeing them is an option, its simply not always possible, not all GMs are considerate or think its a big deal. And some people are the group planners for what to play next, or just like to see what's coming down the pike for future adventures.
Maybe I am "old school" but I find that a good part of the fun of an adventure is the "unknown" and when that's removed, so is some of the enjoyment. It certainly makes a "mystery" adventure less mysterious when the cover has a picture of a shape-changing creature on it.
Regardless, thanks for the fast response.
Is it just me and the groups I play with, or are others wishing the person/monster on the cover of the events wasn't also a bit of a (often major) spoiler?
Josh, any chance the images on the covers can be of something other than what usually seems to be the main or most challenging adversary in the adventure?