Overall Recommendation


General Discussion


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Okay, without trying to get into specifics, the overall feel I have from the playtest is this:

That the goal was to simplify character creation in many ways in order to let new players to the TTRPG genre get started quickly and easily.

I feel like a lot of the issues I have stem from this, and that they all boil down to the same root cause.

That the attempt to streamline ends up with the effect of trying to lead players by the nose to certain outcomes, instead of making it easier to build what the player can come up with.

People talk about the bloat of 1e, but what that ended up doing was giving a dozen different paths to the same end destination, and those different paths lead to a greater diversity overall.

Instead of layout out a myriad of different ways to achieve a goal, and then finding a way to help point people towards the options that would suit them best, it feels like what happened was more closing most of those side paths down entirely so that there are less choices to make.

While less choices up front does indeed make getting started easier, in the long run it means there are less places to go. Which means more people getting into the game, but less people STAYING with THIS game.

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To use a metaphor/allegory, back in the day I was in a guild in World of Warcraft. We wanted very much to be a high end raiding guild, but we didn't have enough skilled players to fill the large team requirements that raiding had at the time. So, we made the decision that we'd take in almost anybody, we'd train them in how to raid, we'd help gear them up so that they could raid, and then...

...then everyone would leave our guild to join one of the hardcore raiding guilds. We became a revolving door that trained and geared half the hardcore raiders on the server, but because we couldn't give them the end goal they wanted (those cutting edge final raids), they left us as soon as they got good enough to be accepted by another guild.

That is kind of what I'm seeing PF2e as being right now. A gearing guild. Its something that wants to be more, but is stooping down to appeal to the entry level players, but doesn't have the end game content (the complexity) to retain any of them once they've got their footing.

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So overall recommendation?

Rethink the guidance. Instead of having clear goals for where you want players to go, refocus on creating ways to help people navigate a more complex path.

New people in 1e were overwhelmed by choices and options because there was nothing there to shield them from the excess. Having a million choices is not a bad thing, if there is a way to filter them down to a dozen or two that would be right for what you were wanting to make.

Do I have an easy answer on how to do that? No, I don't. But I do fully believe that you need both an easy entry for new people, AND the full complexity for the older people, or you will fail. New people are fickle and will come and go, who will buy one or two books in large numbers and then vanish. Old players will buy damned near everything, but are fewer in numbers.

The goal should be "How do we make it easier to transition newbs into vets", not "How do we sell as many books as possible to the newbs before they wander off?".


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Reading this (and thinking of a video game I'm a fan of also going through this), it occurs to me that it wouldn't be an unreasonable strategy if you made sure the endpoint was still Pathfinder.

I guess I'm saying that PF2 would work decently as an entry point for PF1, but not so much as its own thing.

Silver Crusade

I think alot of this maybe a function of the playtest having limited options. Yes each of the class Feats basically leads the players through the archetypes, but I sense that there will be more Feats etc in the full book/splat books that allow for more varied paths than the clearly layed out character arc. They mentioned this in the paladin blog that other styles etc would be included or coming shortly after release but the playtest only has a limited space so they are choosing the strongest archetypes to represent. Yeah they are tropes at this point but from a playtest standpoint the first thing you need to know is can you represent the stereotypes before you ask can I build the outliers.


lordredraven wrote:

Yeah they are tropes at this point but from a playtest standpoint the first thing you need to know is can you represent the stereotypes before you ask can I build the outliers.

Thats just it, right now we can't even do all of the main stereotypes.

The two dagger wielding rogue doing a flurry of attacks isn't possible with the Rogue we have without making a MASSIVE multiclass investment into Fighter, and "Thief with 2 daggers that have lots of little cuts that add up to the same as the fighters with their big weapons" is one of the most basic tropes out there.

The only fix I see for the system presented is what many derided about 1e, bloat. When the system doesn't allow for a generic pool to draw from, the only option is basically duplicating the same basic thing across multiple classes, and coming up with dozens and dozens of layers of stuff for each class. We already see some of that with the same feats for TWF being in both Fighter and Ranger.

That might give lots of room to sell books, but it doesn't make it any easier to navigate for a new player, as we're right back at "I need 37 different books to make what I want" when a greater eye for flexibility at the start could have headed much of that off.


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Edymnion wrote:

Rethink the guidance. Instead of having clear goals for where you want players to go, refocus on creating ways to help people navigate a more complex path.

New people in 1e were overwhelmed by choices and options because there was nothing there to shield them from the excess. Having a million choices is not a bad thing, if there is a way to filter them down to a dozen or two that would be right for what you were wanting to make.

Do I have an easy answer on how to do that? No, I don't. But I do fully believe that you need both an easy entry for new people, AND the full complexity for the older people, or you will fail. New people are fickle and will come and go, who will buy one or two books in large numbers and then vanish. Old players will buy damned near everything, but are fewer in numbers.

The goal should be "How do we make it easier to transition newbs into vets", not "How do we sell as many books as possible to the newbs before they wander off?".

Possibly Paizo could draw inspiration from how Spheres of Power and Spheres of Might handle things. They have a very large number of feats (or "talents" that can be bought for a feat, if you want to be technical) but they're divided into the eponymous spheres. Each sphere is grouped around a specific theme; and whenever you get a talent, you can either spend it to unlock a new sphere along with getting its base ability, or choose a talent from one of the spheres you've unlocked.

This means that you're not overwhelmed with options that aren't going to be relevant to you. Want to play a sneaky sort of character who likes to sneak up on people and stab them where it hurts? Take the fencing and scoundrel spheres, and then just choose from talents in those two spheres. Hoping to remake Drizzt? Take most of your talents from the dual wielding sphere, dabbling in the beastmastery sphere just enough to get an animal companion.

Since there aren't too many spheres to choose from, and they all have very clear themes, it's generally fairly easy to decide which spheres you want. And there are then only about as many talents in each sphere as there are class feats for a PF2 class, which is far more manageable. Yet because you can mix and match different spheres, it's possible - and, in fact, surprisingly easy - to make almost any combat style you like.

PF2, on the other hand, forces you to pick just one class, and (other than the limited options for multiclassing) you're then stuck with just the feats associated with that class, limiting your options. Worse, though, since the classes don't represent just one specific combat style, each class has to provide the feats to allow for several different styles. So the fighter has a bunch of its feats dedicated to dual wielding, and another bunch dedicated to fighting with a single 1h weapon, and so on. Since each class only has limited feats available, this means that once you've chosen your combat style you have very few actual choices about which feats to take - since most of them are obviously irrelevant to you. With better organisation, dividing up feats by combat style rather than class, there could be a lot more interesting options for builds, without making things any more complicated.

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