Archetypes: Do you like them? Why or why not?


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So really, what we're saying is:

I can choose between Option A and Option B. Option A gives me the sub-choices of A1, A2, ... A10.

I don't like Option B, because choosing it removes my ability from picking the sub-choices of A.


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Pathfinder archetypes filled a particular niche in character customization which Starfinder archetypes do not and currently nothing else does. They just fundamentally are not the same thing and do not serve the same purpose.

Some classes in particular like the Solarion have a very specific and narrowly focused 'class fantasy' which Starfinder archetypes do not alter and so people who currently do not find the class appealing probably never will. Which is definitely not the case with Pathfinder archetypes, many of which create wholly different 'class fantasy' experiences.

This is not a problem of elegant or efficient game mechanics but one of psychological appeal. Those classes which are the best able to make benefit of Starfinder archetypes are also the ones which least sacrifice essential parts of their 'class fantasy' package. Which is a huge consideration because it is unlikely that any class-independent archetype will ever alter the 'class fantasy' experience which means you are usually going to be trading something for nothing, excepting those cases where an archetype will dovetail so neatly so as to be class specific without literally being so. Which will make these even more like Prestige Classes in that regard.

Phrenic Adept doesn't make your character into a psychic, although a Pathfinder style archetype could have made any of the 7 classes into a psychic by trading out some element of that classes core mechanics for something different. The Starfinder archetype will always have to be something packaged to be in line with half of a Soldier's bonus feats.


The current two archtypes just are not at the moment compelling enough to pay the cost for them for most classes. If they are going to take the place of some of the major low level class changing things like mechanic tricks then whatever is going in that slot has to be pretty dang good.

With the couple we have so far that is not really the case currently.

Maybe they will add in more that have powers worth the sacrifice and if so I can see people using them more. As it stands other than maybe for a soldier who wants some extra flavor I don't see to many going this route.


I love them in theory. On paper they are a really cool way to give any player the option of adding a new theme or angle to their character.

Unfortunately, the execution leaves a lot to be desired, but I think thats because the system itself makes module archtypes very difficult to effectively implement. They need to be designed with abilities thay any class can use, preventing them from playing with existing class mechanics too much. At tue same time, thwy have to be carefully balanced so none of the classes become totally borken when using them, which is why the abilities are, and probably will continue to be, fairly lackluster.


bookrat wrote:
Golurkcanfly wrote:
The archetypes would be so much better if Envoys and Solarians and stuff could spend a feat to get extra Improvisations or Revelations.
That was pretty common in PF. That's a pretty good idea. I like it.

From what I understand, some of the Pathfinder Devs though the extra class talent feats were too good, and way more powerful than other feats. So I'm predicting we won't see them much, if at all, in Starfinder.


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I too love archetypes in theory. But in practice, it means that you're missing a large chunk of your class features for awhile. Like. A really significant portion of them.

For Envoys, if you take Phrenic Adept for example, you only gain Envoy Improvisations, arguably the main class feature of the class, at levels 1, 8, 10, 14, 16, and 20. There's a 7 level gap of main class features in there. Sure you get expertise talents and stuff, which aren't nothing, but sure aren't improvisations.

I hope you like your Envoy Improvisation that you pick at level 1, because it's all you'll have for months of gameplay. In exchange for your level 2 improvisation, you get telepathy if you didn't already have it. You can take some feats with less requirements now. Your level 4 improvisation, when you'd normally be able to debuff and attack in one turn, gets switched out for a boost to a very specific kind of save if you spend a resolve. For your level 6 improvisation, you have Arcane Sight that you also have to spend a resolve for. Also blindsense (emotion).You don't actually get anything particularly interesting from the archetype for a loooooong time, and you've been stuck with 1 of 10 different improvisations for months of gameplay until you finally get to level 8 and pick up another one. At level 9, you can cast a spell once per day.

Envoys should uhh... be sacrificing expertise talents for most of this stuff. Or bonuses to expertise die. The other archetype gives up less, and gives some interesting options actually, but still leaves you with a total of 1 improvisation for 7 levels.

I like the concept of Starfinder's archetypes, but they should maybe have some sort of errata to make them more accessible. Either the archetypes need to be better, or they need to sacrifice significantly less.

I really want to like the archetypes coming in Pact Worlds, especially since they sound so cool. But I need them to be VIABLE in gameplay. Not just have a cool flavor to them.


Ventnor wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Golurkcanfly wrote:
The archetypes would be so much better if Envoys and Solarians and stuff could spend a feat to get extra Improvisations or Revelations.
That was pretty common in PF. That's a pretty good idea. I like it.
From what I understand, some of the Pathfinder Devs though the extra class talent feats were too good, and way more powerful than other feats. So I'm predicting we won't see them much, if at all, in Starfinder.

The problem I'm sure we understand but I'm not sure if they noticed, is that some classes are particularly hurt by taking an archetype, significantly more than others. In addition, feats are typically strong in Starfinder, whereas some of these class features are not near as strong as feats.

At least with some limitation to how often you could take the feat, "Extra Class Feature" feats would promote more archetype use. You'd see less of people taking weapon proficiency feats just because it's the best/only good option, and you'd have people take archetypes, which are really interesting thematically.

I'm definitely allowing the feats proposed in that other thread somewhere around here. Maybe you can take it only once for each of these class levels you've obtained: 3rd, 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th.


One of the archetype fixes that I like is trading out regular feats for archetype features.

Contributor

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Ventnor wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Golurkcanfly wrote:
The archetypes would be so much better if Envoys and Solarians and stuff could spend a feat to get extra Improvisations or Revelations.
That was pretty common in PF. That's a pretty good idea. I like it.
From what I understand, some of the Pathfinder Devs though the extra class talent feats were too good, and way more powerful than other feats. So I'm predicting we won't see them much, if at all, in Starfinder.

It also would kind of hurt the soldier, since soldiers mostly trade bonus feats for archetype alternate class features.

In my experience writing Starfinder Archetypes for Everyman Gaming, the system works best when you think of it more like prestige classes and less like Pathfinder archetypes. The SF archetype system isn't going to let you tinker with a class's fantasy the way that PF archetypes like the sanctified slayer or the mutagenic mauler do. But they can let you put a list of new powers representing a common theme that you want for your character on your character. That's why I've been doing a lot of "convert legacy Prestige Classes into SF archetypes" products—because it works REALLY well in most cases.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I recall reading somewhere that Owen K. C. Stephens said the reason for doing archetypes this way was just to save book space.

As it is right now, the only class that will ever take archetypes is Soldier.


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I have a human Phrenic adept mechanic with an exocortex. And a kathasa operative with the Starfinder Forerunner archetype.

And, of course, a human sharpshooter soldier with Phrenic adept.

Contributor

Bloodrealm wrote:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I recall reading somewhere that Owen K. C. Stephens said the reason for doing archetypes this way was just to save book space.

As it is right now, the only class that will ever take archetypes is Soldier.

I wouldn't know, and even if I did I wouldn't want to give statements like that on his behalf.

Regardless of what was or wasn't intended by the Starfinder team, however, that doesn't change what I've personally experienced in my own, personal Starfinder designs. ;-)

As an aside: I think it's difficult to make claims about who will or won't take archetypes based on the existence of two First-Party archetypes. Give the mechanic time, maybe pick up a few Third-Party supplements and see if they do anything you like. (*hint hint*)


Archtypes are a lot like Power Armor in my mind. Examples and proofs of concept more than anything actually viable at the moment. I like the idea in theory and I support the fact you don't need matrices for what you're losing or double dipping archtypes etc.

If future archtypes get a more gentle replacement curve (nothing says they need to replace something at every available trade slot after all) and more nifty abilities, you might be able to persuade even envoys and solarians to dip.


The problem is that they'd need to make archetypes that are very powerful to make up for losing out on a chunk of the basic functionality of a class or archetypes that only replace one or two things.


I love the concept, I just hope that they won't get in the way of implementing Pathfinder-like archetype rules.

What I don't like about them is that they remove the high customization options of the classes, keeps the bulk and instead returns very static abilities with little room for customization (this makes them feel very niche to me, like the Pathfinder prestige classes).

I would love it if they made archetypes that replaces the base class' customization options with its' own.

I would also love it if they made other classes of archetype (call them prestige classes, why not?) that instead replaced the bulk of the class and keep the customization options.
Example: Say we get a Hell Knight prestige class. It replaces the basic bulk class abilities with some Hell Knight staples and still grant you the customization abilities from your base class. This way, you can build and customize your Hell Knight.


Way too soon to tell you, personally...

I need to see more of these before stating on them.

They did streamline the system so every single archetype ability replaces the same class abilities every time, making it a LOT easier to read and build.

However... what do the base classes lose that would be bad when archetyping?

The only thing I kinda hate is that the Phrenic Adept doesn't receive Telekinesis. Come on, that's all it takes to make any solarian a Jedi warrior XD


Solarians already have Star Wars Force Powers:
Gravity Hold and Gravity Surge are Telekinesis/Force Throw
Gravity Boost, Stellar Rush, and Defy Gravity are Force Leap/Speed
Gravity Hold and Crush are Force Choke
Hypnotic Glow is Force Persuade
Gravity Shield is a Force barrier
Hell, they can even duplicate Lightsaber stuff with Reflection (especially with Ultimate Graviton's upgrade to it) and Plasma Sheath.


Yeah but you can't actually throw large bits of debris at people or shove enemies around (at least in a manner that isn't gently moving them 5ft off the ground) aka Push/Throw implemented at a higher value than lightsaber sized things. Minor quibble for Jedi replication, but I can understand the appeal of wanting full Telekinesis.


Conceptually classless templates are a cool idea. They don't however take the place of traditional PF archetypes and I hope SF's devs don't forget about those because those are great.

In practice I'm not a fan of the current ones, as others have said they feel like they really dilute the class and many of the features just aren't very cool compared to what you give up.

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