I feel like a lot of the 4e comparisons are overblown.


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By and large, I feel like a lot of the stuff the makes the game feel like 4e is just in the presentation -- old rules are being presented in a new format that LOOKS very 4e, when they're honestly mostly the same as they used to be.

For example, I think one of the single biggest culprits for it "feeling" like 4e is the way things that used to ride on top of other actions (like power attack was a part of an attack, or sneaking was a part of moving)are now their own individual actions (Power Attack action, Sneak action). Toss in the new formatting, and there you go! It looks a lot like 4e. New Power Attack? I'm just choosing which of these at-will powers I want to smack people with! Oh, Combat Grab. I can do this, or grab someone instead, or just strike normally! More at-wills. However -- and this is important -- it's still mainly just stuff you already did presented in a different way. When you understand that, a lot of the "this is 4e" facade melts away, imo.

The proficiency bonus scaling, though, that I understand as feeling very 4e. But I think that's about the only think that's actually similar between the two, at bottom. Most of the perceived similarities other than that are, well, just that -- only perceived, and not actually there.


The big problem with 4E was the play style but a few things do remind me a bit of 4E and its mostly the formatting.

One big thing IMHO is complexity though the fighter is 9 or 10 pages long and has a lot of level gated feats and crap its not actually that different from 4Es 14 odd pages per class for level 1-30.

I think that is a problem I tried reading the classes and its a bit much to digest easily, my wife also tried and she gave up and we liked Star Wars Saga edition which had something similar to PF2 but the classes clocked in at 5 pages each.

I'm going to have another crack tomorrow but its hard to get interested in a class when you are spending a good chunk of time trying to figure it out.

5E playtest was a lot more gentle, a few classes at 1st 5 or 10 levels, etc. I really wanted to read 600 pages this weekend.

Options are good but this is worse than PF1 in a way you could glance at a fighter and figure it out more or less straight away then you would go and read feats to figure out your options.

But yes it does have a 4E vibe IMHO, keywords, formatting, universal proficiency. I don't mind 4E mechanics as such if they are used in 5E for example. A bigger problem is it reads like 4E as well.

Scarab Sages

I will agree with this. On a surface level it feels very 4e inspired, but it's actually pretty different. For what it's worth, I actually think if it was MORE like 4e it would be better off (more options throughout leveling, for example), but what I'd really like is if it were more like Starfinder. I feel like they didn't commit to that enough.


4e is a hot mess. This is actually a functional system. Anytime I've tried to understand 4e I find I don't want to anymore after reading the book for a while. This playtest is pretty easy to understand once you get past the not so great organization


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Corwin Icewolf wrote:
4e is a hot mess. This is actually a functional system. Anytime I've tried to understand 4e I find I don't want to anymore after reading the book for a while. This playtest is pretty easy to understand once you get past the not so great organization

That is not a hot mess, 4E is very very dry to read. 4E is over designed if anything not badly designed as such. Not designed as an edition I want to play which is a bigger problem..


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To me, it feels more like 13th Age then 4e. Which is a very good thing. I would argue that 13th Age is what 4e should have been.


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Nohwear wrote:
To me, it feels more like 13th Age then 4e. Which is a very good thing. I would argue that 13th Age is what 4e should have been.

I thought 4E should have been more like Star Wars Saga with D&D type classes in it (vancian casters etc).

This was 2008, but yeah 13th AGE is arguably better than 4E IMHO. Its not D&D but doesn't have to be which was a problem 4E had.


Witch of Miracles wrote:
old rules are being presented in a new format that LOOKS very 4e, when they're honestly mostly the same as they used to be.

Perceptions matter. If the game looks like something people hate, why would they bother looking deeper?

Witch of Miracles wrote:
For example, I think one of the single biggest culprits for it "feeling" like 4e is the way things that used to ride on top of other actions (like power attack was a part of an attack, or sneaking was a part of moving)are now their own individual actions (Power Attack action, Sneak action).

Power Attack is fundamentally different to the old feat we had in PF1e. It does not apply to all of your attacks on your turn and it cannot be combined with other feats or used with an Attack of Opportunity. It is an at-will special attack that shares the name of an old combat feat. That is not perception. It is fact.


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What feels most like 4e is the multiclassing system. Otherwise it’s convergent evolution and formatting.

At this point many games have used a level-based bonus to everything rather than individual progressions increasing at different rates. The latter is a big part of what made 3.X so broken at higher levels, so it’s hardly surprising that games designed after 3.X ditched it.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Witch of Miracles wrote:
old rules are being presented in a new format that LOOKS very 4e, when they're honestly mostly the same as they used to be.

Perceptions matter. If the game looks like something people hate, why would they bother looking deeper?

Witch of Miracles wrote:
For example, I think one of the single biggest culprits for it "feeling" like 4e is the way things that used to ride on top of other actions (like power attack was a part of an attack, or sneaking was a part of moving)are now their own individual actions (Power Attack action, Sneak action).
Power Attack is fundamentally different to the old feat we had in PF1e. It does not apply to all of your attacks on your turn and it cannot be combined with other feats or used with an Attack of Opportunity. It is an at-will special attack that shares the name of an old combat feat. That is not perception. It is fact.

1) I agree perceptions matter, but I'd hope we'd at least give it a shot for a little bit, given that paizo seems to believe in the product and also seemed adamant it still felt very pathfinder-y.

2) If I told you that PF2e Power Attack is just Vital Strike put into this system and buffed up a bit (and that's all it is), can you follow the logic better?


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More importantly, they're irrelevant. Whether PF2 is any good or not is wholly distinct from the extent to which it bears any resemblance to a previous edition of D&D.

Also, being over-engineered and being poorly designed aren't mutually exclusive and I've always felt both criticisms apply to 4e.


John Lynch 106 wrote:

Perceptions matter. If the game looks like something people hate, why would they bother looking deeper?

Yep. I started flipping through the playtest stuff last night in the core rulebook and the bestiary. All I could see was 4E. I am not a fan of 4E. I'm already done. (No, it's not fair, but it is what it is.)

But I do love PF1, so I'm good. :)


Zardnaar wrote:
Nohwear wrote:
To me, it feels more like 13th Age then 4e. Which is a very good thing. I would argue that 13th Age is what 4e should have been.
I thought 4E should have been more like Star Wars Saga with D&D type classes in it (vancian casters etc).

Me too, they said SWSE and ToB/Bo9S were snapshots into 4th Ed design at the time, unfortunately they went more with ToB, than SWSE, for me.

I prefer SWSE's separation of class Talents, and Feats, rather than pretty much everything a Feat.


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Atlatl Jones wrote:

What feels most like 4e is the multiclassing system. Otherwise it’s convergent evolution and formatting.

At this point many games have used a level-based bonus to everything rather than individual progressions increasing at different rates. The latter is a big part of what made 3.X so broken at higher levels, so it’s hardly surprising that games designed after 3.X ditched it.

I think "convergent evolution" is a good descriptor for this situation. I believe that Paizo came to a lot of the same conclusions that the 4E designers likely came to when noting the design space limitations of 3.X D&D, and this is why there is a similar feel to individual parts of the whole to 4e and even 5e in some cases (The multiclassing/archetypes change, the level bonus increments, the spell heightening). Even 5e changed its action economy to simplify and expand on what can be done in a round, same as PF2 trying to give three different actions instead of just one.

So this is definitely NOT "the worst parts of 4e and 5e" -- it's the result of trying to redesign to remove limitations, and on the surface the answers look similar.


Witch of Miracles wrote:

1) I agree perceptions matter, but I'd hope we'd at least give it a shot for a little bit, given that paizo seems to believe in the product and also seemed adamant it still felt very pathfinder-y.

2) If I told you that PF2e Power Attack is just Vital Strike put into this system and buffed up a bit (and that's all it is), can you follow the logic better?

1) I will give it a try (I gave 4th ed, 5th ed, AD&D 2e, 3.5, Starfinder and PF1 a try. I on,y play 1.5 of those games with regularity). It's going to be an uphill battle to get my group to try and the worse the first impression is the harder it will be to get them to switch to PF2.

2) Sure. You took a PF1e at-will special attack and ported it into PF2e. Now I'll ask where are the power attack style feats and you'll say there aren't any really before level 10. That is a fundamentally different experience to PF1e fighters and instead harkens closer to 4e (Essentials more specifically).


I find it closer to 5e than 4e in pretty much every sense except bounding accuracy.


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The only only thing with P2 that's reminded me of 4E, is some of the extremely short duration on some spells and powers. Feels like they were tested out based only on combat-mode consideration and not how they can be useful otherwise. When I came across those, it did send a cold shiver up my spin, but for the most part, the P2 playtest and 4E are completely different worlds.


Vic Ferrari wrote:
Zardnaar wrote:
Nohwear wrote:
To me, it feels more like 13th Age then 4e. Which is a very good thing. I would argue that 13th Age is what 4e should have been.
I thought 4E should have been more like Star Wars Saga with D&D type classes in it (vancian casters etc).

Me too, they said SWSE and ToB/Bo9S were snapshots into 4th Ed design at the time, unfortunately they went more with ToB, than SWSE, for me.

I prefer SWSE's separation of class Talents, and Feats, rather than pretty much everything a Feat.

Same some of my players want me to overhaul SWSE math and tweak the talents. Basically rewrite the crap ones and use 5E or 4E unified attack and prof numbers to prevent cheese like +13 use the force rolls at level 1.

This is why PF2 is going with a unified proficiency it opens up design space on skills.

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