A detailed view of Pathfinder vs. 4th edition


4th Edition

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It's been my experience that a lot of 3PP content is often "over-powered" or largely "under-powered" and always suspect by DMs at the table. Heck, just look at the Book of Feats to get an idea of how broken 3PP can be.

Also, I've seen a few 3PP for 4E and, dispite my statement above, is pretty good when used in conjunction with 4E. 3PP does happen and has happened with 4E so it's not as "straightjacket" as many believe it to be. I've also considered DDI content (mostly Dragon articles) to be a form of 3PP as they're just freelance writers/designers that do 4E material.

But to me, it's been more about $ than I'd like it to be. As I've got to be careful with what and how much I buy, I like to spread it out over various hobbies. I've really really wanted to get into the D&D boardgames they've been producing but I've just not the money to do so.


Diffan wrote:

It's been my experience that a lot of 3PP content is often "over-powered" or largely "under-powered" and always suspect by DMs at the table. Heck, just look at the Book of Feats to get an idea of how broken 3PP can be.

Also, I've seen a few 3PP for 4E and, dispite my statement above, is pretty good when used in conjunction with 4E. 3PP does happen and has happened with 4E so it's not as "straightjacket" as many believe it to be. I've also considered DDI content (mostly Dragon articles) to be a form of 3PP as they're just freelance writers/designers that do 4E material.

But to me, it's been more about $ than I'd like it to be. As I've got to be careful with what and how much I buy, I like to spread it out over various hobbies. I've really really wanted to get into the D&D boardgames they've been producing but I've just not the money to do so.

My experience has been that as long as the GM is willing to tweak stuff as necessary, things typically work out. Plus, there is some 3PP content that blasts the official versions out of the water. For example, Stormwrack just can't compare to The Seafarer's Handbook from Legends and Lairs. The Seafarer's Handbook has all the cool stuff Stormwrack should have had but didn't.

I know that 4E has 3PP content, but the GSL is a lot more restrictive than the OGL. You just aren't seeing the mountains of 3PP content that was there with 3E and 3.5, and that's sad. Sure, not all of it is good, but I love looking for the gems. That's why Pathfinder gets my money, not 4E.


Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
My experience has been that as long as the GM is willing to tweak stuff as necessary, things typically work out. Plus, there is some 3PP content that blasts the official versions out of the water. For example, Stormwrack just can't compare to The Seafarer's Handbook from Legends and Lairs. The Seafarer's Handbook has all the cool stuff Stormwrack should have had but didn't.

I've seen a good portion of 3PP content for 3E and the stuff on the PFd20srd site as well. It's good, I'll give the 3PP PF content that much. However, I'm just as willing, sometimes more so, to allow player creations and homebrews in my 4E game as I do 3PP stuff. 4E is just way easier to convert, at least in my experience, in the way of Prestige Classes to Paragon Paths as well as magical items.

For those interested, here's my works on Forgotten Realms conversions from 3.5 to 4E

Homebrew Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies
Items of the Realms (4E)

Both haven't been playtested and possible have ways to break the game, but I was more focused on converting stuff than thinking of every single way exploit X power/spell or Feature. In any case, it was a big attempt to fill in the blanks left behind when they went between editions.

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:


I know that 4E has 3PP content, but the GSL is a lot more restrictive than the OGL. You just aren't seeing the mountains of 3PP content that was there with 3E and 3.5, and that's sad. Sure, not all of it is good, but I love looking for the gems. That's why Pathfinder gets my money, not 4E.

But see, that's the thing. Most of the 3PP stuff designed for PF makes it to their d20SRD site (at least, what's what I've assumed), so why would I pay for something I'm just going to get for free? And while I commend you on your devout follwing of Pathfinder and their 3PP content, I just can't envision myself buying most of their products when it's so readily available online.


Diffan wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:


I know that 4E has 3PP content, but the GSL is a lot more restrictive than the OGL. You just aren't seeing the mountains of 3PP content that was there with 3E and 3.5, and that's sad. Sure, not all of it is good, but I love looking for the gems. That's why Pathfinder gets my money, not 4E.
But see, that's the thing. Most of the 3PP stuff designed for PF makes it to their d20SRD site (at least, what's what I've assumed), so why would I pay for something I'm just going to get for free? And while I commend you on your devout follwing of Pathfinder and their 3PP content, I just can't envision myself buying most of their products when it's so readily available online.

I like having hard copies in my hand so I can lay back on my bed and read. That, and most 3PP content actually isn't in the D20PFSRD. While lots of 3PP content is there, that's only a small portion of what's available.

I typically allow homebrew as well, so long as it is balanced.


See, to me the 3PP is what made 3.5 the mess that it was. Every new book of some different type has some player coming in asking "Can I use this?" at which point I have to skim over the rules, do a quick mental check on how I think it might be abused, then make a call. If the answer is no, then I get a moody player who doesn't get to use the shiny new toy tey bought. If I say yes, I get a player who used it for a combo loophole that made them overpowered.

As I see it, all the 3PP caused the game to ramp up output, to maintain a comparable product of their own for the game they made, and bump up the power of it to be cool enough to beat the 3PP product.

In the end, I tend to always stick to only the published material of the game I play. So, the exclusion of 3PP, is no loss in my book.


Aardvark Barbarian wrote:

See, to me the 3PP is what made 3.5 the mess that it was. Every new book of some different type has some player coming in asking "Can I use this?" at which point I have to skim over the rules, do a quick mental check on how I think it might be abused, then make a call. If the answer is no, then I get a moody player who doesn't get to use the shiny new toy tey bought. If I say yes, I get a player who used it for a combo loophole that made them overpowered.

As I see it, all the 3PP caused the game to ramp up output, to maintain a comparable product of their own for the game they made, and bump up the power of it to be cool enough to beat the 3PP product.

In the end, I tend to always stick to only the published material of the game I play. So, the exclusion of 3PP, is no loss in my book.

I see this as a reason for caution, but not a reason not to use 3PP materiel. Some of it is just too good not to use, like the Seafarer's Handbook. It completely outclasses Stormwrack, it's official rival, being both 1/3 of the price and superior content wise. Legends and Lairs in general is pretty good, as is Mongoose. It's all about being careful what you go with, and getting the stuff that's reasonably balanced.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I hadnt fully considered the OGL as a determining factor before, but I certainly prefer the fact that I can own practically all the D&D material around now, which I doubt I would have been able to keep up with prior to 4E.

I have a slightly contradictory viewpoint, since I'm a big fan of Open Design. Nonetheless, the proliferation of 3PP is an overally negative in my book too.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
The OGL is why I went Pathfinder over 4E, but I do very much enjoy using the Pathfinder system. I'm not really looking to switch systems. I may have gone with OGL and not quality when deciding which system to buy, but I am highly pleased with the quality of Pathfinder.

This is cool, you obviously like your 3PPs :) I may even check out that alternative to Storm Wrack you mentioned as I am running the Freeport Trilogy and so may need some naval battle rules (I haven't read Stormwrack yet).

In terms of not wanting to switch systems, I wasn't suggesting those games to replace Pathfinder but as some games to play in addition to PF.

And I guess I have something similar in that having well priced PDFs, that render quickly and are decently bookmarked is almost a must for me. Interestingly D&D 3.5 & 4e are the main exceptions to that rule - though I still do hope WotC will produce PDFs eventually (luckily I bought the 4e PHB, DMG and MM in PDF before WotC pulled them). Without PDFs my books don't get read quickly (I still have 3.5 books I bought years ago not read).

Unfortunately Paizo's PF PDFs aren't so good either - too much backround imagery to make them render quickly on my phone or Eee PC - I ended up buying the PF RPG in hardcopy because of that :(


See with any game 3pp gets a bad stigma thanks to the glut in early 3e and munchkins (aren't we all?) So we have to value and judge everything for balance and the DMs in my area (self included) are more likely to say no to 3pp stuff not due to the credits or company, but because we don't have the time to look over one prestige class/Archetype/Feat/Spell/ParagonPath/Epic Destiny, etc. for 4e or PF. Honestly the group consensus has been a pretty poor reception of both the Magus and the Gunslinger from Paizo themselves... finding the classes too powerful at early levels (for us YMMV) and unnattractive at higher levels in some cases. But that's our group, and your group probably sees a completely different dynamic than that.

Also I am more inclined to buy 3pp stuff that I have looked at and checked out than unknown. Tha fact that it is unknown is the issue with 3pp, but thanks to d20pfsrd I can browse alot of the 3pp stuff for pathfinder and choose any that fall in what me and my group find to be our balance* and purchase those items. 4e I agree is an easy enough system to handwaive and balance yourself, pathfinder is much more complicated to the casual fan.

*What we find to be balanced and good design is not necessarily the same universally as anyone else, including designers. As I mentioned members of my group found the Magus and the Gunslinger to be broken in some ways


DigitalMage wrote:
And I guess I have something similar in that having well priced PDFs, that render quickly and are decently bookmarked is almost a must for me. Interestingly D&D 3.5 & 4e are the main exceptions to that rule - though I still do hope WotC will produce PDFs eventually (luckily I bought the 4e PHB, DMG and MM in PDF before WotC pulled them). Without PDFs my books don't get read quickly (I still have 3.5 books I bought years ago not read).

Wizards isn't doing it. They pulled the books to prevent piracy, and until they can be 100% guaranteed they won't get pirated, they won't sell them again.

The sad part is that they still get pirated, just by different methods. Wizards' decision to pull the pdfs has done nothing to stop it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Wizards isn't doing it. They pulled the books to prevent piracy, and until they can be 100% guaranteed they won't get pirated, they won't sell them again.

Yeah, bt I hold out hope that they will eventually change their mind and release them again - I post every so often on the forums asking for any whispers of change (and there was one comment about WotC wanting people to play D&D whatever their favourite edition) and also email customer support (though their stock response is that they cannot say anything that has not been official announced, but they do say they will pass on the idea to the appropriate people).

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
The sad part is that they still get pirated, just by different methods. Wizards' decision to pull the pdfs has done nothing to stop it.

Yeah, I had been hoping to buy the Eberron 3.5 PDFs but due to the price I was only going to buy them one at a time infrequently (I even have emails I sent to customer support asking if City of Stormreach would be released in PDF - and it was!). So as I am anti piracy I lose out on the chance to use the PDFs (and instead spend my money on Paizo PDFs) whilst those willing to pirate continue to do so. :(

Luckily I did buy the 4e PHB, DMG and MM in pdf before they got pulled so I have the basics of D&D4e but would love to also have DMG2, PHB2&3 and the Eberron books in PDF too, as I have those in hardcopy.


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You tried to get help out of WotC customer service? Ha! They ain't Paizo, friend. They don't give a s*$@ about you. Just look at the WotC forums, and it's pretty clear how they feel about customers.

As for the pdfs, they'll never release them. They can never be 100% sure there won't be piracy, and that's what it'll take. Plus, it's WotC, a company that does not care about the promises and business deals it makes. They screw over people all the time. Remember Paizo? Remember White Wolf? Remember Drive Thru RPG? You can't trust them. At all. So even if they were willing to sell the pdfs again, who besides WotC would vend them? People have pretty much figured out how untrustworthy they are.


Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:

You tried to get help out of WotC customer service? Ha! They ain't Paizo, friend. They don't give a s%&@ about you. Just look at the WotC forums, and it's pretty clear how they feel about customers.

As for the pdfs, they'll never release them. They can never be 100% sure there won't be piracy, and that's what it'll take. Plus, it's WotC, a company that does not care about the promises and business deals it makes. They screw over people all the time. Remember Paizo? Remember White Wolf? Remember Drive Thru RPG? You can't trust them. At all. So even if they were willing to sell the pdfs again, who besides WotC would vend them? People have pretty much figured out how untrustworthy they are.

WotC is there to make a profit, that's about it. Not to make nice with competitors, not to give out free stuff for the fun of it, and certainly not to help people pirate their mechandise. Now, you may not like this aspect being a customer (or ex-customer) but it's not like WotC is the first nor last company to do this.

I've found their Customer Service dept to be respectful, intuitive, and resourceful. I've found WotC to be pretty open to players ideas and have a very active role in the community such as their messageboards, on FB, and in article discussions. When they produce something that might create significat backlash (such as the Cleric update), they delved into the complaints, the requests, and the changes PLAYERS WANTED to fix what they changed. Not going to say it went 100% the players way, as I feel most players want things more powerful than before, but a great compromise was reached. They even did a special pod-cast to explain their decisions and taked about the feedback they received.

It stinks you had a worse experience with the company and I doubt much of what they do could bring you back into the fold. But I also see your post as objectionable and opinionated, which is perfectly fine. Though I felt it came off "As-matter-of-Fact" like. Not sure if that was your intention or just relaying your bad experience, so I'm assuming the latter. In any point, I understand their decision to keep PDFs off the shelves for the time being, seeing as how it's just as easy (and probably cheaper) to just grab a DDI account for a few months and downlaod/print the material out yourself. That way, it can be as selective as you want.

~Cheers!


Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:

You tried to get help out of WotC customer service? Ha! They ain't Paizo, friend. They don't give a s*%% about you. Just look at the WotC forums, and it's pretty clear how they feel about customers.

As for the pdfs, they'll never release them. They can never be 100% sure there won't be piracy, and that's what it'll take. Plus, it's WotC, a company that does not care about the promises and business deals it makes. They screw over people all the time. Remember Paizo? Remember White Wolf? Remember Drive Thru RPG? You can't trust them. At all. So even if they were willing to sell the pdfs again, who besides WotC would vend them? People have pretty much figured out how untrustworthy they are.

About WoTC and PDFs...

I don't think their decision to not release PDFs has ANY impact on piracy whatsoever. There are already fan-created PDFs for just about D&D 4e book out there. IMO, the best remedy for piracy is to create an excellent physical product that just can't be replicated in electronic form.

A lot of folks who have no qualms about pirating would still buy a book if it was a very high quality product and had things like folding poster maps and such. Things you can't easily replicate with a PDF.


Diffan wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:

You tried to get help out of WotC customer service? Ha! They ain't Paizo, friend. They don't give a s%&@ about you. Just look at the WotC forums, and it's pretty clear how they feel about customers.

As for the pdfs, they'll never release them. They can never be 100% sure there won't be piracy, and that's what it'll take. Plus, it's WotC, a company that does not care about the promises and business deals it makes. They screw over people all the time. Remember Paizo? Remember White Wolf? Remember Drive Thru RPG? You can't trust them. At all. So even if they were willing to sell the pdfs again, who besides WotC would vend them? People have pretty much figured out how untrustworthy they are.

WotC is there to make a profit, that's about it. Not to make nice with competitors, not to give out free stuff for the fun of it, and certainly not to help people pirate their mechandise. Now, you may not like this aspect being a customer (or ex-customer) but it's not like WotC is the first nor last company to do this.

I've found their Customer Service dept to be respectful, intuitive, and resourceful. I've found WotC to be pretty open to players ideas and have a very active role in the community such as their messageboards, on FB, and in article discussions. When they produce something that might create significat backlash (such as the Cleric update), they delved into the complaints, the requests, and the changes PLAYERS WANTED to fix what they changed. Not going to say it went 100% the players way, as I feel most players want things more powerful than before, but a great compromise was reached. They even did a special pod-cast to explain their decisions and taked about the feedback they received.

It stinks you had a worse experience with the company and I doubt much of what they do could bring you back into the fold. But I also see your post as objectionable and opinionated, which is perfectly fine. Though I felt it came off "As-matter-of-Fact" like. Not sure if that was...

The problem is that pulling the pdfs didn't stop or deter piracy in the least. It was a completely ineffective solution. Pirated copies of the items pulled are still easily available.

As for the rest, every time I peek in the Community section of the WotC site it's mostly complaints about how they treat their customers. And this is from 4E's fans. Combined with how WotC keeps reneging on it's deals with it's business partners, I have a fairly low opinion of them. My post came off as being far angrier than it should have been, but my opinion of WotC isn't all that high.

Liberty's Edge

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
As for the rest, every time I peek in the Community section of the WotC site it's mostly complaints about how they treat their customers. And this is from 4E's fans. Combined with how WotC keeps reneging on it's deals with it's business partners, I have a fairly low opinion of them. My post came off as being far angrier than it should have been, but my opinion of WotC isn't all that high.

I really don't get this attitude towards WotC? What exactly do people want? I want a gaming company to make a product that I can have a look at and decide if I want to play/buy. It's not like any RPG product (I'm aware of) is tested on animals or any RPG company hunts whales to make the book bindings. Actually I have a feeling the RPG F.A.T.A.L. may have done both, but that's an extreme example.

I do NOT want them to become my buddy and tuck me in at night. Simple business transaction full stop. Toyota never ask me about what colors the latest models should come in, and I don't feel aggrieved. Why do we feel that RPG companies need to be our best friends when we don't give a rats about the companies that make our shirts?

I'll continue to buy PF and/or 4e material until such a time as I discover that Paizo and/or WotC kick kittens.

S.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Stefan Hill wrote:


Why do we feel that RPG companies need to be our best friends when we don't give a rats about the companies that make our shirts?

Because target groups are different between companies. Target groups for Toyota and t-shirt companies are global masses of customers who do not forum a community, who do not exchange information and who are atomized on every level: financial, social, cultural.

On the other hand, RPGs are targeted primarily at Internet-using educated nerdy citizens of USA/Europe, who often bond in gamer/geek/nerdy communities in order to keep in touch with fellow gamers. Social stigma of 40yr old mom's basement nerds and the general feeling of being "not mainstream" only furthers the desire to be a part of a community where such lifestyle/choice of hobby is accepted.

Such communities invest a lot of time and devotion to their hobby, and just like all focused hobby groups, they expect closer communication and elevated level of honesty from the companies that provide their entertainment. Just ask model train collectors or any other obscure hobby fans.

Information travels like a blitz in such target groups - if Toyota fumbles something in Indonesia, chances that it will affect Toyota customers in Sweden are rather low. If WotC/Paizo blows something, their entire current and potential customer base knows everything about it in 24 hours.


Stefan Hill wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
As for the rest, every time I peek in the Community section of the WotC site it's mostly complaints about how they treat their customers. And this is from 4E's fans. Combined with how WotC keeps reneging on it's deals with it's business partners, I have a fairly low opinion of them. My post came off as being far angrier than it should have been, but my opinion of WotC isn't all that high.

I really don't get this attitude towards WotC? What exactly do people want? I want a gaming company to make a product that I can have a look at and decide if I want to play/buy. It's not like any RPG product (I'm aware of) is tested on animals or any RPG company hunts whales to make the book bindings. Actually I have a feeling the RPG F.A.T.A.L. may have done both, but that's an extreme example.

I do NOT want them to become my buddy and tuck me in at night. Simple business transaction full stop. Toyota never ask me about what colors the latest models should come in, and I don't feel aggrieved. Why do we feel that RPG companies need to be our best friends when we don't give a rats about the companies that make our shirts?

I'll continue to buy PF and/or 4e material until such a time as I discover that Paizo and/or WotC kick kittens.

S.

It's not about wanting WotC to be my buddy. It's about them repeatedly screwing over their business partners. Paizo, White Wolf, Drive Thru RPG, and RPG Now all got the shaft from them, and I'm sure there are others. I can't bring myself to trust them after that.

Plus, the whole pdf debacle only harms one group of people: their customers.


Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:

It's not about wanting WotC to be my buddy. It's about them repeatedly screwing over their business partners. Paizo, White Wolf, Drive Thru RPG, and RPG Now all got the shaft from them, and I'm sure there are others. I can't bring myself to trust them after that.

Plus, the whole pdf debacle only harms one group of people: their customers.

When did Paizo express that they were shafted? As far as I know they were ok with the buisness changes. I can't speak for the other companies, but Paizo said they weren't screwed over.


ghettowedge wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:

It's not about wanting WotC to be my buddy. It's about them repeatedly screwing over their business partners. Paizo, White Wolf, Drive Thru RPG, and RPG Now all got the shaft from them, and I'm sure there are others. I can't bring myself to trust them after that.

Plus, the whole pdf debacle only harms one group of people: their customers.

When did Paizo express that they were shafted? As far as I know they were ok with the buisness changes. I can't speak for the other companies, but Paizo said they weren't screwed over.

Well its a case of being unhappy with the fact that ones cheese has gotten moved versus being mistreated.

Paizo was unhappy - they had been growing Dungeon and Dragon constantly and where doing an excellent job. They where pretty clearly less then pleased to have that contract ended.

On the other hand WotC in no way shape or form screwed them. They had the products under licence and where fully aware that their licence could be ended in agreed upon manner. In the case of Paizo (and Marget Weis as well) WotC was extraordinarily lenient allowing the companies to continue to work past the end of the licence in order to finish up products that where parts of series.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

Well its a case of being unhappy with the fact that ones cheese has gotten moved versus being mistreated.

Paizo was unhappy - they had been growing Dungeon and Dragon constantly and where doing an excellent job. They where pretty clearly less then pleased to have that contract ended.

On the other hand WotC in no way shape or form screwed them. They had the products under licence and where fully aware that their licence could be ended in agreed upon manner. In the case of Paizo (and Marget Weis as well) WotC was extraordinarily lenient allowing the companies to continue to work past the end of the licence in order to finish up products that where parts of series.

If they were less than pleased they played up the "we knew well beforehand" card to it's fullest. And then they profited, probably beyond expectation. As much as I believe there were people around the office that had no clue, on the forums they have said there were no hard feelings. In fact they announced they were pleased that WotC extended the license so that Savage Tide could wrap up (originally the license would have ended a few months earlier, but WotC extended it so Paizo could wrap up the adventure path). I haven't heard any Paizo employee say sanything negative about the seperation from WotC.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
On the other hand WotC in no way shape or form screwed them. They had the products under licence and where fully aware that their licence could be ended in agreed upon manner. In the case of Paizo (and Marget Weis as well) WotC was extraordinarily lenient allowing the companies to continue to work past the end of the licence in order to finish up products that where parts of series.

Yes—Wizards gave us more time to conclude the license than they contractually had to so that we could finish publishing the Savage Tide Adventure Path. They also cut us slack on some other clauses in the contract that could have caused difficulties for us. Trust me—if they'd wanted to hurt us, they had the opportunity—but they did just the opposite.

Liberty's Edge

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
It's not about wanting WotC to be my buddy. It's about them repeatedly screwing over their business partners. Paizo, White Wolf, Drive Thru RPG, and RPG Now all got the shaft from them, and I'm sure there are others. I can't bring myself to trust them after that.

I can see this being important if you were an investor. If you are then I see your point completely and apologize for my rant.

But as an 'end user' (i.e. I buy the books to read/play) as long as the company produces a product I want then really why should I care about RPG Now or whatever? They also are NOT my friends and I won't be inviting them around anytime soon for cake and tea. My point being that while I see people who have a vested financial interest indeed may have a valid reason to dislike company A or B or in this case WotC, but as a consumer I don't see any of the above impact my life one iota. If Wotc or Paizo or <insert company> here make something I don't like, I'll vote with my wallet.

See my point?

The Exchange

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
As for the rest, every time I peek in the Community section of the WotC site it's mostly complaints about how they treat their customers. And this is from 4E's fans. Combined with how WotC keeps reneging on it's deals with it's business partners, I have a fairly low opinion of them. My post came off as being far angrier than it should have been, but my opinion of WotC isn't all that high.

I really don't get this attitude towards WotC? What exactly do people want? I want a gaming company to make a product that I can have a look at and decide if I want to play/buy. It's not like any RPG product (I'm aware of) is tested on animals or any RPG company hunts whales to make the book bindings. Actually I have a feeling the RPG F.A.T.A.L. may have done both, but that's an extreme example.

I do NOT want them to become my buddy and tuck me in at night. Simple business transaction full stop. Toyota never ask me about what colors the latest models should come in, and I don't feel aggrieved. Why do we feel that RPG companies need to be our best friends when we don't give a rats about the companies that make our shirts?

I'll continue to buy PF and/or 4e material until such a time as I discover that Paizo and/or WotC kick kittens.

S.

It's not about wanting WotC to be my buddy. It's about them repeatedly screwing over their business partners. Paizo, White Wolf, Drive Thru RPG, and RPG Now all got the shaft from them, and I'm sure there are others. I can't bring myself to trust them after that.

Plus, the whole pdf debacle only harms one group of people: their customers.

Screwing? WotC had a business strategy. They decided to change it (as is their wont). And everything they did was within the agreements they had with their "partners" - many of whom also competed with them. They didn't actively try to drive these businesses out of business with hostile lawsuits, they didn't break the law, I fail to see what they did that was unethical. And see also Vic's comments above re the Paizo licence. They simply decided to change what they do. That's just how it works - you change suppliers, distribution channels and so on because you want to change how you do business. Failure to adapt is quite a good way to go out of business.

As a WotC customer I'm pretty happy with what they do for me. You may feel otherwise, but don't assume you have an objective view of the truth. The pdf thing doesn't bother me but if they were the primary route for theft of copyright, what they did is hardly surprising, nor is it surprising that they tried to protect their property. How invested you feel with a company varies over time - me, I was a very keen Paizoan but over the last couple of years feel that I'm not really a fully paid up member of this community anymore - Paizo has changed, the community has changed, and I've changed. That's life, time moves on, and I'm aware the issue is me, not Paizo. I suspect the issue you have with WotC is you too.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
You tried to get help out of WotC customer service? Ha! They ain't Paizo, friend. They don't give a s#*! about you. Just look at the WotC forums, and it's pretty clear how they feel about customers.

My position is, if enough people contacted customer services (rather than just posting on forums etc) asking about PDFs and stating they are willing to spend money on them, then hopefully the message will get through to the necessary people that they are losing out on a source of revenue.

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
As for the pdfs, they'll never release them.

That is your belief and fortunately not a statement of fact (unless you are the decision maker within WOTC! :)

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
They can never be 100% sure there won't be piracy, and that's what it'll take.

I hold out the hope that WotC realise piracy is still going on despite the lack of official PDFs and therefore they are better off getting an extra source of revenue even if that does increase piracy a bit, rather than having no income and still having a significant amount or piracy happening.

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
who besides WotC would vend them? People have pretty much figured out how untrustworthy they are.

I imagine DriveThruRPG would have WotC PDFs back as they would likely be a significant source of revenue for them as well as WotC.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
DigitalMage wrote:
And I guess I have something similar in that having well priced PDFs, that render quickly and are decently bookmarked is almost a must for me. Interestingly D&D 3.5 & 4e are the main exceptions to that rule - though I still do hope WotC will produce PDFs eventually (luckily I bought the 4e PHB, DMG and MM in PDF before WotC pulled them). Without PDFs my books don't get read quickly (I still have 3.5 books I bought years ago not read).

Wizards isn't doing it. They pulled the books to prevent piracy, and until they can be 100% guaranteed they won't get pirated, they won't sell them again.

The sad part is that they still get pirated, just by different methods. Wizards' decision to pull the pdfs has done nothing to stop it.

There's also the matter that they don't want to cannibalize their own market. 4E is the line they are producing and supporting now, and they're simply not set up to to profitably support two separate and incompatible game systems. Especially since the bulk of 3.5 and 3.0 core rules are available for free download.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
There's also the matter that they don't want to cannibalize their own market. 4E is the line they are producing and supporting now, and they're simply not set up to to profitably support two separate and incompatible game systems. Especially since the bulk of 3.5 and 3.0 core rules are available for free download.

True to some degree, however some WotC people (I cannot remember who) said they want people to play D&D whatever the edition.

And with all the retro clones and also Pathfinder there are already products out there that could theoretically compete with 4e sales - better to be making some revenue out of that market than let others earn all of it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DigitalMage wrote:
LazarX wrote:
There's also the matter that they don't want to cannibalize their own market. 4E is the line they are producing and supporting now, and they're simply not set up to to profitably support two separate and incompatible game systems. Especially since the bulk of 3.5 and 3.0 core rules are available for free download.

True to some degree, however some WotC people (I cannot remember who) said they want people to play D&D whatever the edition.

And with all the retro clones and also Pathfinder there are already products out there that could theoretically compete with 4e sales - better to be making some revenue out of that market than let others earn all of it.

The perceived market for 3.5 dried up and blew away when 4.0 was announced. All of the players who were making 3.5 material, White Wolf, Blizzard, closed up thier lines right afterward. It would have been a questionable buisness decision at best. There's a reason that Paizo isn't spawning several paper and dice RPG's as opposed to concentrating on only one. If you put out something, you're expected to support it. And you have to do what you do with a fixed budget of staff time.

The only reason that Pathfinder became the success that it is... it's because it's NOT 3.5, it's NOT a Mongoose type reprint of the SRD. While it used grognard discontent to launch an initial market, it would not have survived if that was the only thing that kept it going.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
If you put out something, you're expected to support it. And you have to do what you do with a fixed budget of staff time.

Putting up for sale PDFs of old editions of the game is what I am talking about, not supporting the line with new material. The 3.5 (and older edition PDFs) were already there before, I can't imagine it would take much effort to make them available again.

And there are still customers out there willing to buy 3.5 stuff, maybe not enough to warrant a load of development effort, but I would wager more than enough to warrant getting the PDFs that already exist available once again.

LazarX wrote:
The only reason that Pathfinder became the success that it is... it's because it's NOT 3.5, it's NOT a Mongoose type reprint of the SRD. While it used grognard discontent to launch an initial market, it would not have survived if that was the only thing that kept it going.

Possible, but there are those of us who still actually prefer 3.5 and only play Pathfinder now because its the closest we can get to 3.5 in terms of games at conventions and a living campaign.


You would surprised how much faith in a company can push a product, as we are talking a core group of followers that keep the word of mouth going, similar to a grass roots organization. Having an edition war keeps the wounds fresh, and helps to build walls for supporters of either system. For those that don't get caught up in the fervor, they may be capable of judging a game independent of the company. But it is not easy.

Having the ability to own and modify a character builder and related utilities is what I want. This would be my main criteria to determine if a company will hold my interests in the long term for subscriptions, or buying new content. PDFs are nice, but most the time I only use them to copy and past, which can be replaced and improved with computer programs that offer similar features.

I don't see enough distinction between 3.5 or Pathfinder in regards to rules, except for the power curve of characters. So I can understand the dilemna that presents when using older material, and not having the choice to continue to use older material since it is not available.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have begun to wonder, seriously, how many of us own both games, play both games, and cannot decide if we like the brunette or the blond girl better, but since we don't need to marry either one of them, it isn't something we are in a hurry to finalize.

Shadow Lodge

I wouldn't know what to do with two of 'em! D:

Liberty's Edge

I have said this before and it needs to be said again. Every rpg company on the planet wants to both sell you more product and make a profit. To go well "no not paizo just Wotc or WW". Really find me a rpg company that is a non-profit organization and survives on goodwill. As to why fans seem to hold up certain rpg companies above a pedastel far above the rest. An underserved overinflated sense of entitlement. It's happening everywhere not in rpgs yet imo it's the worst in rpgs. Were talking about a community who would rather an rpg company continue pulbishing a product that makes less money rather than a new one that make more money. With a lack of how business works.

No one really complains when Windows or Mac release a new editiion of their operating system or when Toyota sells more cars. Why should rpgs be different. Each one is selling a product just a differetn type. So don't try telling me "it's not the same thing" it is. For me as long as I get decent service. My products on time and I like modt of ehat is released in terms of content I'm happy. The whole notion of companies being your best friend is ay best a naive one. As much as I like the Paizo devs I'm not expecting them to show up at my place for dinner and a group hug.

As for Paizo being a succes because it's not 3.5. It's the opposite it is a success because it's 3.5 with the serial numbers removed and a small amount of new content. At the very least the core PF book is. The newer supplemetns have made it a game on it's own. People buy it either to return to 3.5 like me or for the most part they have a huge library of 3.5 material that can be used in PF games and vice-versa. I know of three people who play 3.5 yet buy Paizo priducts to mine and borrow them for ideas. None of them including myself remotely consider PF to be a new version.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I own bookshelves of 3.5 material including just about every Compleat Complete that ever came out. With the exception of the WOW d20 game which I read for game background and entertainment purposes, it's all gathering dust.

Why? because it's redundant, and highly inconsistent in quality. It's an abject lesson in that more does not equal better. I don't want Pathfinder to become the rules bloated monstrosity that 3.X became.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
memorax wrote:


No one really complains when Windows or Mac release a new editiion of their operating system or when Toyota sells more cars.

A major reason cited for Firefox losing it's 2nd place browser position to Chrome IS the multiplicity of new versions which have come out this year alone. The torrent of new editions has been a major problem to 3rd party developers.

Liberty's Edge

LazarX wrote:

I own bookshelves of 3.5 material including just about every Compleat Complete that ever came out. With the exception of the WOW d20 game which I read for game background and entertainment purposes, it's all gathering dust.

Just because your letting your 3.5 material gather dust does not mean everyone else is doing the same. It's not the same for everyone

LazarX wrote:


Why? because it's redundant, and highly inconsistent in quality. It's an abject lesson in that more does not equal better. I don't want Pathfinder to become the rules bloated monstrosity that 3.X became.

I think rules bloat is inevitable. Paizo promising otherwise imo was not a very smart thing to do. Already we are seeing a small amount iof rules bloat. Hell even their APs have new material. Eventually every rpg falls victim to it. Espcially successful ones. You need to offer some sort of new content in a book. Beyond "it's new it's shiny and it' s from Paizo!/ to get my gaming dollars at least.

As for quality of the 3.5 being inconssitent I agree yet I still use some. You may not use them and dislike 3.5 does not universally make it a fact across the board.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm not claiming universal facts. The thing is that 3.5 isn't the shiny perfection of a gaming system that some diehards seem to think it was.

Shadow Lodge

Amen. Otherwise Pathfinder, the Tomes, E6, and all the other variants wouldn't exist.

Heck, there's a .5 on the end there!

Liberty's Edge

LazarX wrote:
I'm not claiming universal facts. The thing is that 3.5 isn't the shiny perfection of a gaming system that some diehards seem to think it was.

Correct, that award goes to 1e AD&D... ;)

Liberty's Edge

TOZ wrote:
I wouldn't know what to do with two of 'em! D:

So much for the idea that role-players have a heightened sense of imagination.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yea...hey wait a minute!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

memorax wrote:
I think rules bloat is inevitable. Paizo promising otherwise imo was not a very smart thing to do. Already we are seeing a small amount iof rules bloat.

I don't recall promising "no rules bloat." That would be silly, as—among other things—different people have different opinions for what constitutes "rules bloat" in the first place.

We did say that we're sensitive to the issue, and explained that one of our strategies for minimizing it is releasing just a few books in the RPG line per year, with at least one of them being something relatively free of new rules, such as a Bestiary.

But promising "no rules bloat" would be just as impossible as promising "only products everyone likes."

Liberty's Edge

Vic Wertz wrote:
memorax wrote:
I think rules bloat is inevitable. Paizo promising otherwise imo was not a very smart thing to do. Already we are seeing a small amount iof rules bloat.

I don't recall promising "no rules bloat." That would be silly, as—among other things—different people have different opinions for what constitutes "rules bloat" in the first place.

We did say that we're sensitive to the issue, and explained that one of our strategies for minimizing it is releasing just a few books in the RPG line per year, with at least one of them being something relatively free of new rules, such as a Bestiary.

But promising "no rules bloat" would be just as impossible as promising "only products everyone likes."

That and nobody is forcing anyone into buying anything they don't want too, and nobody is forcing anyone to use material in their games they don't want too. I collect the Pazio rulebooks but my group only plays Core rules (like 3.5e, 3e, 2e, and 1e before PF). Not that we are cheap, just we equate More Rules to More Arguments. We have made peace with every rule in PF Core and adding new books just means more boring discussions on what rules mean and less game time. As Vic said bloat is a relative term, my groups idea of rules-bloat is the APG and Ultimate books - others can't live without them.

S.

Shadow Lodge

Heck, I buy PF books and still play 3.5, barely using any of the PF books in my game!

Liberty's Edge

TOZ wrote:
Heck, I buy PF books and still play 3.5, barely using any of the PF books in my game!

BURN THE HERETIC!!!!

(oops did I say that out loud)

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
How invested you feel with a company varies over time - me, I was a very keen Paizoan but over the last couple of years feel that I'm not really a fully paid up member of this community anymore - Paizo has changed, the community has changed, and I've changed. That's life, time moves on, and I'm aware the issue is me, not Paizo. I suspect the issue you have with WotC is you too.

While I generally agree with what you're saying here, I still see a difference here. I'm still a keen Paizoan but I'm not as active as I've been before on these boards and as you, I'm aware that the issue is me, not Paizo.

Now there was also a time when I still was a very keen follower of all things WotC but that didn't change gradually or due to personal development but because of the release of 4E. And without going into details my investment with WotC didn't end because my preferences changed but because their strategy changed. At the same time my opinion about Wotc changed not because of this strategic change but because of the way they implemented and communicated this change.

Shadow Lodge

Stefan Hill wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Heck, I buy PF books and still play 3.5, barely using any of the PF books in my game!

BURN THE HERETIC!!!!

You're gonna need a lot of kindling.


Let's see if I can mis-quote Vic:

Vic Wertz wrote:
I ... recall promising ...only products everyone likes.

Thank you for your commitment to excellent products Vic!

NOTE: Hopefully, everyone can clearly see I am butchering his comment. It was just too tempting.

Liberty's Edge

Vic Wertz wrote:


I don't recall promising "no rules bloat." That would be silly, as—among other things—different people have different opinions for what constitutes "rules bloat" in the first place.

We did say that we're sensitive to the issue, and explained that one of our strategies for minimizing it is releasing just a few books in the RPG line per year, with at least one of them being something relatively free of new rules, such as a Bestiary.

But promising "no rules bloat" would be just as impossible as promising "only products everyone likes."

I agree i'm not the one that needs convincing on that issue. It's just that imo you may have want to stick to the "rules bloat is inevitable" position because it is. Even with a slower release schedule new feats, spells, and other newer stuff appears in books. I'm not trying to criticize just that short of not publishing anything rules bloat will happen.

And expect to have the usual "More rules Piaoz promised to try and put a stop to that" type of threads from other posters. Rather then admit that they cannot say no to players or lack self control to buy new products you will get flak for new products always unfortunately. I still remember reading one of the reason against a races guide a long while back was because if Paizo published one no one would want to play human or the other core PF races. Like it's Paizo fault that happens.


memorax wrote:
And expect to have the usual "More rules Piaoz promised to try and put a stop to that" type of threads from other posters. Rather then admit that they cannot say no to players or lack self control to buy new products you will get flak for new products always unfortunately. I still remember reading one of the reason against a races guide a long while back was because if Paizo published one no one would want to play human or the other core PF races. Like it's Paizo fault that happens.

And this is another reason I'll play 4E over PF, it's because there are little rules for races in PF aside from the initial stat block we get from them. Little to no support for races in the terms of feats or class features. Example, in 4E Tiefling Paladins play, look, and feel a heck of a lot different than Dragonborn Paladins which both work and play differently than Human Paladins (even when their ability score is based off of Charisma). In short, they all bring different aspects to the table that can be used differently instead of all sorta being the same except for how you might look.

So maybe a Races book with a ton of options for class Archtypes, racial feats, alternative class features or racial options, and possibly one or two new races would be a big success. I'd certainly like to see some support for the races they already have.

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