On FAQs and Errata - please change your policy!


Paizo General Discussion


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I believe that this is PFS related, because errata has a much more pronounced effect when one is required to abide by it. (If it isn't, feel free to move it).

This is a feeling that I've had for the past few years, and the recent printing of Ultimate Equipment finally made me post it.

Paizo staff are human, humans make mistakes.

When a published book has an error in it, errata is the only way to properly correct the error. An FAQ might 'clarify' the material (and even change it), and the Campaign Coordinator may choose to disallow it if it is a class or item, but the only way to really fix it is with errata.

And this is where the problems start occurring.

In my time playing PFS, the two most pronounced sets of errata have been the Ultimate Combat changes to various feats (like Crane Style), and these recent Ultimate Equipment changes.

Because of Paizo's policy of "we only errata when we reprint", many of the changes appear rushed, more for the purpose of ensuring that the rules are not abused than resulting in a balanced fix.

This also comes up with further issues with some of the fixes having unintended consequences, such as the Ring of Inner Fortitude negating polymorph spells. And since the second printing has already been typeset and probably sent to the printers, it's unlikely to be properly fixed in the next two years.

I understand that Paizo is not a large company, and that there are always development pressures, but as it stands, there is currently no good method to correct an error.

What we need is a revision of way the errata is issued. It should be decoupled from the release of new books, making it more easily modified and giving a better chance for it to be applied to less popular products. When a new printing of a book is needed, it can be applied and typeset.

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.

While PFS does eliminate the use of some subsystems like Leadership and crafting to maintain balance in an Organized Play setting. It is unlikely that there will ever be a point where PFS starts picking and choosing which updates to the Pathfinder rules they will use.Since PFS is run and managed by Paizo. It is easier to decide to allow or ban a particular item then to rewrite entire sourcebooks just for PFS.


I'm not sure what you're expecting PFS to do about these updates/errata. PFS can't affect how errata/FAQ/clarifications of the regular Pathfinder rules is released. They can't ignore it either, but instead only clarified/limited in use for PFS organized play.

Grand Lodge

Actually, that is what the FAQ system is for. *A LOT* of the changes in the errata first appeared in the FAQ system and in response to posts in the forums. I suspect that many of the others (Such as Jingasa) were seen as to radical a change to the item to be just put up on the FAQ, and have been sitting on someone's desk for a while, waiting for the reprint.

I know Ring of Inner Fortitude has been up there on the FAQ list for a long time.

Crane Style is a good example of this, actually. It was first errataed on the boards, and then when that errata was shown to have been too far the other direction, it was reerrated to compromise.

I suspect, given the arguements, that the ring of internal fortitude may be a similar candidate for reclarification.

Grand Lodge

You mean Ring of Continuation? The change to Inner Fortitude wasn't in the FAQ.

Sovereign Court

I think there might be more support for such drastic errata if they were foreshadowed through the FAQ process; if the item needs such a drastic fix, why wait a year? Then if the reaction shows that the fix went too far in the other direction, it's not too late as far as typesetting is concerned.

EDIT: and given how much making FAQs seems to be an unwelcome chore, this might also provide a filter on "is it really necessary to change this?"


The main issue is that there are three types of issues that go into an errata
1) Typos - Nobody really cares beside English majors.
2) FAQs - These are issues with the rules that are brought up by the player base. They usually involve something along the lines of "rule x doesn't work well, is this really how it works or are we not understanding the intent." Sometimes the FAQ is no fix, sometimes it is a clarification of the rule as written, and sometimes it is a revamping of the rule to make it work better / as intended.
3) Stealth errata - These are usually the changes to rules / items that are deemed over powerful compared to similar choices. These changes never see the light of day before the errata because nobody is asking for an awesomely powerful option to be replaced / nerfed.

There really is no mechanic for sharing the last option with the player base before the errata is published and even if there was no one would want to hear it. Since these changes tend to be negative game balancing changes, the reaction would probably be exactly the same. At least with the stealth errata we get to play with our shiny toys right up to the bitter end. How would you all feel if the developers decided to nerf down the Jingasa over a year ago and published something pre-errata and PFS wrote the change in. It would be the same response from the player base...just over a year earlier.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lab_Rat wrote:
3) Stealth errata - These are usually the changes to rules / items that are deemed over powerful compared to similar choices. These changes never see the light of day before the errata because nobody is asking for an awesomely powerful option to be replaced / nerfed.

Actually these do get errata'd from time to time; like Pummeling Style for example.

Though the bar for what the player base considers OP tends to be a bit higher than what the developers think, it seems.

Lab_Rat wrote:
There really is no mechanic for sharing the last option with the player base before the errata is published and even if there was no one would want to hear it. Since these changes tend to be negative game balancing changes, the reaction would probably be exactly the same. At least with the stealth errata we get to play with our shiny toys right up to the bitter end. How would you all feel if the developers decided to nerf down the Jingasa over a year ago and published something pre-errata and PFS wrote the change in. It would be the same response from the player base...just over a year earlier.

I think it would be healthy to, actually. Under the current system, when errata comes out and it overshoots its target, there's not much that can be done about it because "we just printed a new run". If changes went through the FAQ process, there'd still be chance to walk it back a bit if it overshot its target, before the next print run.

But, it would also put some brakes on the amount of changes between editions. For minor balancings of things that were only a bit more powerful than they needed to be, developers may shy away from changing them this way. Which I think is actually good.

What I think isn't appreciated enough by the developers is the "change fatigue" caused by their drastic errata process. Every time you need to relearn which bits of a book were actually good enough to use leads to change fatigue. Every time your physical book becomes tragically outdated because dozens of options seriously changed, leads to a lot of fatigue. It leads to people questioning whether it's worth it at all to buy first printings of books because a significant chunk of the stuff that's good and useful will change in the next printing.

Quite a few people are already overwhelmed by the amount of entirely new stuff coming at them - ACG, Unchained, Occult classes, Intrigue stuff - that they can't really dodge either if they want to GM PFS "because that's easy for people with busy lives". So they have a lot of new stuff to process whether they want to or not.

It would be nice if the amount of stuff that we have to re-learn could be kept to a minimum.

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Mekkis wrote:

Because of Paizo's policy of "we only errata when we reprint", many of the changes appear rushed, more for the purpose of ensuring that the rules are not abused than resulting in a balanced fix.

It doesn't feel rushed at all, it means the developers have a set amount of time to discuss and tinker with issues that the playerbase brings up. Crane style took almost 18 months to be changed, and developers were talking to the playerbase on these boards for over 6 months prior to the reprinting.

Mekkis wrote:


What we need is a revision of way the errata is issued. It should be decoupled from the release of new books, making it more easily modified and giving a better chance for it to be applied to less popular products. When a new printing of a book is needed, it can be applied and typeset.

That's exactly what happened in the case of Ult Eqipment. a good number of the Errata issued were previously clarified to work this way as FaQs (in fact almost all of the Ult Equipment FaQs were/are able to be removed now)


But not all of it. Now we have more page space wasting items because of it.


Lau Bannenberg wrote:
What I think isn't appreciated enough by the developers is the "change fatigue" caused by their drastic errata process. Every time you need to relearn which bits of a book were actually good enough to use leads to change fatigue. Every time your physical book becomes tragically outdated because a significant chunk of the stuff that's good and useful will change in the next printing.

Let's just say that Paizo did start to put internally driven changes into the FAQ to the point that the only thing new in an errata would be grammar issues. Don't you think that this would drive just as much fatigue?

Now rather than one big adjustment process, you are always having to check the FAQ for stealth FAQs. They change one item that effects your character and just when you are used to that change they do change something else. Then they decide after much uproar that maybe that change was too much and so they change it to something in the middle. And every time this happens, PFS rules change and poor John has to make a post regarding how you can sell back your items and rebuild your character.

Sovereign Court

I'm hoping that it will lead to fewer changes overall. Less adjustments afterwards, only when it's really needed.


Lab_Rat wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
What I think isn't appreciated enough by the developers is the "change fatigue" caused by their drastic errata process. Every time you need to relearn which bits of a book were actually good enough to use leads to change fatigue. Every time your physical book becomes tragically outdated because a significant chunk of the stuff that's good and useful will change in the next printing.

Let's just say that Paizo did start to put internally driven changes into the FAQ to the point that the only thing new in an errata would be grammar issues. Don't you think that this would drive just as much fatigue?

Now rather than one big adjustment process, you are always having to check the FAQ for stealth FAQs. They change one item that effects your character and just when you are used to that change they do change something else. Then they decide after much uproar that maybe that change was too much and so they change it to something in the middle. And every time this happens, PFS rules change and poor John has to make a post regarding how you can sell back your items and rebuild your character.

In an ideal world, no errata would be necessary.

However, at the moment we have a couple of systems:

1. FAQs - these are split between Rules Clarifications, and stealth errata. There are a couple of cases where poorly thought out clarifications (often phrased as a certain interpretation rather than an overt errata) resulted in undesirable unforeseen consequences. An example of this would be the SLA ruling that was used for early entry into prestige classes.

2. Errata - these only get released when a new printing of a book is released, sentencing much of the Pathfinder Chronicle and Companion line to never receiving the errata it deserves. In addition, because it is set in stone when it is printed, Paizo tend to be very conservative about it. An example here would be the Bracers of Falcon's Aim, which was nerfed into uselessness.

The issue is that when an FAQ comes out, it still causes issues - sometimes it's unclear as to whether it was an actual rule change or not. Indeed, they are often worded as a "this is how it's always been interpreted" rather than a "this was printed incorrectly; it should have been different". Compare and contrast the SLA ruling with the Ring of Continuity FAQ-based stealth errata.

It is better to acknowledge that what is being done is errata, and mark it as such. I shouldn't need to refer to the FAQ to know what the rules are.

Community / Forums / Paizo / General Discussion / On FAQs and Errata - please change your policy! All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in General Discussion