My group has quit the playtest


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Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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After our play session last week the group unanimously decided to stop playing PF2 playtest. The biggest issues was that we weren't having fun. I would have pushed through and run more of it, but with none of the players wanting to, it wasn't really an issue. I'm pretty sure if I had insisted that I would have ended the group entirely.

I plan to continue to read the updates, skim the message boards, complete the surveys, and see what the final version of the game looks like in August 2019, but if the final version of the game is substantially close to the playtest, I'm not predicting that my group will want to switch over.

The other group I play with is even less interested in the new version - we played 1 playtest session and everyone agreed that going forward we'd much rather return to our previous PF1 game.

As much as I'd like to have playtested more (despite also not being a fan of what I've seen so far), I'm mostly relieved that I don't have to.

I'm not starting this thread to debate the merits of PF2, since that's covered more than enough in other threads. I did want to share this data point though, and would be curious to hear how many others have had similar experiences. Ideally, one of the surveys will have a few questions around if your group decided to quit playing the playtest, do you prefer PF1 or PF2, and are you expecting to play PF2 once it comes out? While I don't think Paizo will change their plans from these types of questions, I hope it would give them a better sense on how much of the PF1 audience will be moving to PF2, and how large of a print run they should make for PF2 (and not just the Core book which will sell like hotcakes no matter what, but for subsequent products which will better correlate with how many people play PF2 rather than bought the Core book to see what the game looks like.)


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JoelF847 wrote:


... I did want to share this data point though, and would be curious to hear how many others have had similar experiences.

Our gaming group, who have played PF1 adventure paths for over five years, came to pretty much the same conclusion. In fairness, there were some who wanted to give it a little more play, and I think I was the most militant against this adaptation. But it was nearly all thumbs down on a fundamental level. The entire philosophy of the change was judged to be lacking. that was our takeaway.


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Halfway through Affair at Sombrefell Hall - group voted discontinue, and move on to doing the Reign of Winter AP. As I posted when this came up earlier, I don't know if it's that we're a bad match for playtesting or if it's the structure of the playtest.

This feels more like an alpha (throw the extreme variants of the rules out there, see what sticks, update frequently) than a beta (base rules are set, and we're polishing the finer points). I was part of an alpha test for a TTRPG expansion years ago (that never made it out of alpha because it just never gelled) and this feels a lot like that play experience. It wasn't what I expected with a testing schedule and a publish date already set.


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I do feel like it over-all is more of an Alpha product at this point. And I feel like a longer playtest with time for both fundamental shifts and polishing of details would really be the best approach. A Core Rule product like this just establishes so much for the game. And they can release Splat that offers alternate approache, but the base paradigm is always the base, it's just infinitely more important to get right. Really I feel like only the most optimistic outcome would have a satisfactory Beta product at end of playtest, and event that isn't allowing broad public eyes to focus on the final details and presentation/errata issues which is also really beneficial. All I can say is I hope that if Paizo thinks they need and would benefit from longer than scheduled playtest/development, they would go ahead and change their schedule... If anything, I think their reputation would be heightened by taking such a move in interest of Core game quality.

I sympathize with OP on playtesting being a harsh ride, although it is important work to help build game.

Liberty's Edge

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This is inevitable in any playtest. Playtests are not primarily designed to be fun, but to stress test the system and find problems. They are thus often less fun than non-playtest games.

My group are having fun, mostly, and will be continuing with the playtest, but not everyone will, and that's perfectly understandable...and, as mentioned, inevitable.


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Our family stopped the Doomsday Dawn campaign. But we like the character builds and most of the mechanics of the game itself. We will probably be creating our own adventures to play at some point before the PF2 release using the playtest game rules. Currently we have a Starfinder game going, so that is taking all of our RPG time allotment.


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People are going to have differing experiences. Our group just ended our long running 5e game and are moving over to P2. We all enjoyed 5e. Some in our group were fans of P1, others weren't. One player after one Pathfinder experience with a different group in the past had to be begged to give P2 a chance. She was beyond resistant simply because it shared the name Pathfinder. Yes, she hated her Pathfinder experience that much, but we got her to give it a go and she seems to like P2 so far. It took two years of good will built up in two very successful 5e games, and my personal assurance that I too hated Pathfinder and 3.5, and that P2 was very different.

We're starting our own P2 campaign, albeit with a few variant rules, most notable running the system Bound.

As far as the playtest process goes, the scenarios are very different from a "fun" perspective than adventure paths or homebrew campaigns. Not to mention the options are pruned down etc etc.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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Deadmanwalking wrote:

This is inevitable in any playtest. Playtests are not primarily designed to be fun, but to stress test the system and find problems. They are thus often less fun than non-playtest games.

My group are having fun, mostly, and will be continuing with the playtest, but not everyone will, and that's perfectly understandable...and, as mentioned, inevitable.

I get that, but the biggest issue for us wasn't that it wasn't a finished product, but that the core chassis of PF2 wasn't what we wanted. The lack of fun came more fro that than anything else. Based on the level of changes coming through the updates, it's clear that Paizo isn't going to be changing that, and thus the lack of fun comes from this not being a game we want to play, based on the trajectory it's on. Even though the playtest isn't designed primarily to be fun, the game it's play testing IS designed to be fun. I've been in plenty of playtests where every minute played was a blast, because the game was great - even though it went through updates and revisions as part of the playtest.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
This is inevitable in any playtest. Playtests are not primarily designed to be fun

While this point is completely valid, I hope these data points of people opting not to play aren't dismissed entirely using this logic.

My group has opted not to playtest the game, not because of unclear language, poor formatting or a lack of pretty pictures. It's chosen not to continue because the core rules of the game are not something that would be close to enjoyable. Sounds like JoelF is having a similar experience (although after playtesting to a degree) and others have had similar ones as well.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

This is inevitable in any playtest. Playtests are not primarily designed to be fun, but to stress test the system and find problems. They are thus often less fun than non-playtest games.

My group are having fun, mostly, and will be continuing with the playtest, but not everyone will, and that's perfectly understandable...and, as mentioned, inevitable.

My wife and our scientist housemate stress test published roleplaying games. It is their playstyle, to get all they can out of the narrative. Fun is building their own story on top of the written story. Our other housemate, the scientist's wife, gets irritated at bad rules, so she bowed out and did not take part in the playtest.

The playtest is not as solid a story as a Paizo module, but my players weave their story to include the odd elements thrown into the playtest merely to test them.

However, they have demands. For example, in The Lost Star, my wife wanted to play a paladin of Alseta. The minor goddess Alseta was not included in the playtest, so we had to adapt her from the Pathfinder 1st Edition material. In In Pale Mountain's Shadow, she was willing to take up the challenge of testing a Superstition totem barbarian (I make my own demands), but only if that barbarian could use climbing skill properly (Expert Climber Aiding Trained Climbers). Yet her demands created a houserule that really should be a rule in PF2: Save Other. Playtests don't simply stress test the existing elements. They help identify the missing elements, too.

Liberty's Edge

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@JoelF847 and John Lynch 106:

That's fair. Many games aren't for everyone. I certainly agree that some people dropping out are because it just isn't the game for them...though I do think that in some (but by no means all) cases that's due to stuff that might yet change.

@Mathmuse:

I'm in complete agreement with you, for the record.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

@JoelF847 and John Lynch 106:

That's fair. Many games aren't for everyone. I certainly agree that some people dropping out are because it just isn't the game for them...though I do think that in some (but by no means all) cases that's due to stuff that might yet change.

.

I can't see the fundamental mechanics of PF2 changing. There's an outlook driving the rules and changes I and most of my group don't want to play. Tweaking around a few rules ain't gonna change that very much.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As a counterpoint to this dramatic 'datapoint'...I am part of a group of 6 players who have played every edition so far, mostly in the shared organised campaigns. We have played PFS and various PF APs solidly since 2012. We almost unanimously walked away from 5th ed after playing through the first season of the Adventurer's League (most of us found it too bland and unstatifyingly simple), and have played PF1 and Starfinder exclusively since.

None of these players have had any significant mechanics issues with PF2, beyond getting used to the new quirks of a new system. Our one and only issue so far was with the setup of one of the encounters in the hex crawl.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I dropped out this week after playing through the first four parts. I felt like I had a sense of what the system was like, I didn't think the story was very good, and it was becoming a real chore to make characters for each part. I plan to stick with PF1.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Hey there all,

Just wanted to drop in and say that if the playtest is not working for your group, that is OK. Playtesting is not for everyone. It's not even for everyone that I play with on a regular basis (which is why I am running them through a 2nd edition module I am writing).

Doomsday Dawn is designed to be a test environment, and I am regretting not making that a bit more clear up front. Come back when the game is more polished and the adventures are designed for fun and narrative balance. I think you will find the difference stark and refreshing.


I know of 18-24 groups that have had the same experience as you have. Most of the groups do a fair amount of testing of new rules or have GM's and players looking to create new games.

Having heard from various people in those groups about the play test they have had the same experience as you have. I myself turned down playing in at least 5 games but I submitted my opinion on the system before so they could compare my notes to their experiences.
I talked to a local Gm yesterday that is a huge supporter of PF1 and he said as of right now (last weeks game) it has turned the group off so much they do not plan on buying any PF2 material (the GM bought 5 physical copies of the play test rules as well as a hard copy of DD, he may have bought more as often he buys stuff to sell off at a later date).

I for one hope there are significant changes to the core/base of the system so as to bring back the local group as well as the others throughout the world that I talk to and enjoy PF1.

MDC

Edit: I agree that every system is not for everyone and in general most of us are very aware of our likes and dislikes as well as those of the other groups. For example I for one hate ultra rules lite systems and GM is the director games so when people send me those types of games for comments on I let them know up front that the game better be the best there is or my comments are going to be on the harsh side (yes I tell them my bias before hand).
MDC


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

Just wanted to drop in and say that if the playtest is not working for your group, that is OK. Playtesting is not for everyone.

Thanks for the input. It's not the playtest as such that's the sticking point for me or my group, though. I thought the adventure was fun, but not enough fun to overcome the rule changes.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

Just wanted to drop in and say that if the playtest is not working for your group, that is OK. Playtesting is not for everyone. It's not even for everyone that I play with on a regular basis (which is why I am running them through a 2nd edition module I am writing).

Doomsday Dawn is designed to be a test environment, and I am regretting not making that a bit more clear up front. Come back when the game is more polished and the adventures are designed for fun and narrative balance. I think you will find the difference stark and refreshing.

No one believes me when I tell them that. :P Glad you put it out there though.

I've done a bit of play testing and play testing is legit work. People don't seem to realize that on there first time at it.


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Actually, yesterday I felt bogged down too. And for one simple reason: the game was too difficult.
The fights were hell'a hard (chapter 2) and honestly the GM was unprepared. For now the biggest issue is that if you slack on preparation it is felt a lot. You can't just open a monster tab and expect to roll over because every monster has its gimmicky.
Chapter 2 is probably very annoying because it tries to test every kind of terrain rule so the GM must know them, for once. And moreover if you've done a melee character you're going to not have that much fun.
But, I mean, it should be appreciated that the difficulty of the game has shifted from character creation to the actual play. It's not anymore a matter of piling competence, luck,morale,profane, untyped bonuses but to do the right choices at the table.


My group is still sticking with it, but I can certainly see why others aren't. The playtest adventures are sometimes ok (Somberfell Hall was rather cool, we finally felt heroic and it had a cool Night of the Living Dead vibe) but other times rather unpleasant (In Pale Mountain's Shadow, ugh). We're still toughing it out, because we want our voices heard and want PF2 to be a great game that we'll enjoy playing for years to come. A couple of months of painful adventures isn't too high a price for that. I think the system does have the potential to be that, but it's currently still falling quite a bit short. I do agree that it feels more Alpha than Beta, and am very concerned that the playtest is too short and that a Gencon release would be more of a Beta level of quality rather than a worthy final product. On the other hand, doing much more testing like this might overload and wear out my group if it's still a similar grueling experience. If the second round of testing was more relaxed, it might work though.

I think we're actually getting some good data out of the test though. We've discovered the extreme power of hit-and-run tactics by highly mobile enemies caused by the three action system, and aggravated by the severe nerfing of magic preventing counters. A dedicated GM can easily get TPKs. Hopefully this will be addressed. Some of our bad experiences have been due to misinterpreted rules, showing that presentation needs some work. For example we had trouble with the greater shadows spamming darkness everywhere and weren't able to pierce it. But that was because it was mistakenly thought innate spells auto-heightened like powers or cantrips, so I think the spell level really should be written even when it's cast at the default level, this will also help when you don't have the spell's default level memorized. I just discovered today through using this forum that we were misinterpreting the grab, knockdown and push attacks. The write-up (particularly for Grab) made it unclear that there is a separate action needed after a grab attack to actually complete the grab. This is odd, an attack saying it grabs leads to the logical conclusion that grabbing was part of the attack, not a separate thing. So while those bits caused a lot of frustration, they also uncovered problems that will hopefully be addressed before the final release of the game. That does suggest that the torturous parts of the test are doing their job of exposing bugs.

Although the larger question of whether we'll switch to PF2 or not is still undecided, because the main sticking point is due to more fundamental aspects of the game such as resonance, which thankfully sounds like it's on it's way out, and the poor state of magic, which we have no clue if it's even being considered or not. So it comes down to what the design decisions are more than any particular rule. And those have been fairly opaque.

Grand Lodge

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JoelF847 wrote:
I get that, but the biggest issue for us wasn't that it wasn't a finished product, but that the core chassis of PF2 wasn't what we wanted. The lack of fun came more fro that than anything else. Based on the level of changes coming through the updates, it's clear that Paizo isn't going to be changing that, and thus the lack of fun comes from this not being a game we want to play, based on the trajectory it's on. Even though the playtest isn't designed primarily to be fun, the game it's play testing IS designed to be fun. I've been in plenty of playtests where every minute played was a blast, because the game was great - even though it went through updates and revisions as part of the playtest.

I'm just curious, but can you specify what mechanics made the PT unfun for you? And did you play with 1.0 rules?


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This whole thread makes me sad.

Most of the posts here (and on many other threads) make it clear to me that these posters didn't come to test the rules. They don't seem to know what testing means, didn't seem to realize that testing takes extra preparation and extra work, and don't seem to always be very good at expressing the issues/defects they've discovered in their testing.

What I've learned here is that playtesting is not for everyone and maybe an open playtest was a bad move.

It seems that a great many posters on these forums thought they were going to be gamers when they picked up the 2e playtest rules.

They were wrong. They were going to be test analysts. Even if they ignored the test aspects of the playtest, they got stuck with modules and monsters and rules that are deliberately stressful, created that way on purpose to TEST the system and find it's flaws.

It seems that many gamers didn't realize this and are unhappy with finding out that they're not gamers at all, but rather, testers.

I hope all the countless posts I've read on this forum over the last month or two (even a couple in this thread) that say things like "I will never buy PF2" or "My whole group is so turned off by these rules that they are going back to 5e forever", etc., are mostly exaggerated. Because if it's true, then Paizo has lost customers by inviting them to be test analysts when they thought (mistakenly) that they were going to be gamers.

That is what makes me sad. Both the general unhappiness of gamers who misunderstood what they were going to be doing and the possible loss of members of the community if they really are abandoning Pathfinder for good.


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DM_Blake wrote:

This whole thread makes me sad.

Most of the posts here (and on many other threads) make it clear to me that these posters didn't come to test the rules. They don't seem to know what testing means, didn't seem to realize that testing takes extra preparation and extra work, and don't seem to always be very good at expressing the issues/defects they've discovered in their testing.

What I've learned here is that playtesting is not for everyone and maybe an open playtest was a bad move.

It seems that a great many posters on these forums thought they were going to be gamers when they picked up the 2e playtest rules.

They were wrong. They were going to be test analysts. Even if they ignored the test aspects of the playtest, they got stuck with modules and monsters and rules that are deliberately stressful, created that way on purpose to TEST the system and find it's flaws.

It seems that many gamers didn't realize this and are unhappy with finding out that they're not gamers at all, but rather, testers.

I hope all the countless posts I've read on this forum over the last month or two (even a couple in this thread) that say things like "I will never buy PF2" or "My whole group is so turned off by these rules that they are going back to 5e forever", etc., are mostly exaggerated. Because if it's true, then Paizo has lost customers by inviting them to be test analysts when they thought (mistakenly) that they were going to be gamers.

That is what makes me sad. Both the general unhappiness of gamers who misunderstood what they were going to be doing and the possible loss of members of the community if they really are abandoning Pathfinder for good.

I relate to this post and there is also an emotional response in me that I try to curve where I just wanna say Well good riddance every time I see it. I have to think there response is also an emotional one born out of frustration. Which knowing that I wish it helped more. The one thing that I do wish they would do is give specifics of what aspects turned them off to the game. not parabols like EVERYTHING like what specifically you didn't like. If you can't isolate the specifics then I feel like that is a sign that they didn't play test very well in the first place.


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As a counterpoint, I am a professional test engineer. One of my players is a Six Sigma black belt test engineer. Three others have PhDs and everyone is very analytical. We've all played PF1 and Starfinder extensively.

We knew we were going to be testers, not gamers. And yet, we still work in some RP and story telling along the way.

We don't generally like some of the rules, or the layout of the book (my comments are elsewhere on much of this), but have hopes that much of it will be fixed if we and others are diligent enough. We like a lot of it. We see promise in the parts we don't like and in the system as a whole, but feel it needs a lot of work. We're a little skeptical that Paizo has given themselves enough time to get all the work done by the deadlines they've set. We'll see how it goes.

But nobody is quitting. Not even talking about it. Closest I've heard at the table is that we're hoping to push through it fairly quickly to get back to our Starfinder campaign. Why? Well, it's a lot of work and the clunkiness of the stressed rules is cumbersome at best.

I think the main difference is that the professional testers in the group knew what we were in for, shared that with the rest, and everybody signed on for testing. Not gaming.

So far so good.


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Hey, Jason, maybe it's too late, maybe not. Or maybe it might be useful in the future, perhaps for Pathfinder 3.0 or Starfinder 2.0:

Consider creating a waiver. Each player must sign it with an e-signature. (I know, you can't enforce it). The waiver would say some version of:

"I am fully aware that these playtest materials are designed for testing. In order to make this test as meaningful as possible, the story has been minimized and many gaming elements are deliberately overtuned to put maximum stress on the game mechanics. This means that playtesters will often feel like they are working hard at making sense of rules that might not be entirely fun at this time, which is deliberate. It's the only way we can truly find out what works and what doesn't.

If you agree by signing below, you will gain access to our downloadable playtest materials. However, if you're looking for a fully realized and fun-to-play gaming system, please avoid this playtest and consider our other existing product lines for your gaming group."

Or whatever. Your legal team could work out the details.


Both groups I play in enjoy the playtest so far. To each its own, I guess.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I remember some playtests earlier for PF1 classes and I am amazed at the incredible ability of the Devs to transmute vinegar to honey

We will make PF2 great


Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

I know of 18-24 groups that have had the same experience as you have. Most of the groups do a fair amount of testing of new rules or have GM's and players looking to create new games.

Honestly?

I personally know 122 to 231 groups and they all enjoy the Playtest so far.
It's okay to not like the playtest but this fantasy novel you bring here is quite amusing and made my day.


Belisar wrote:
Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

I know of 18-24 groups that have had the same experience as you have. Most of the groups do a fair amount of testing of new rules or have GM's and players looking to create new games.

Honestly?

I personally know 122 to 231 groups and they all enjoy the Playtest so far.
It's okay to not like the playtest but this fantasy novel you bring here is quite amusing and made my day.

It's not like the guy owns a game store and lets groups come to play or simply chats with his most frequent customers, or there's no chance he moderates a Meetup group in a reasonably large town or city, nor is there any real possibility that is a member of a RPG club at a large university or some such.

It's just fantasy?


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DM_Blake wrote:
Belisar wrote:
Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

I know of 18-24 groups that have had the same experience as you have. Most of the groups do a fair amount of testing of new rules or have GM's and players looking to create new games.

Honestly?

I personally know 122 to 231 groups and they all enjoy the Playtest so far.
It's okay to not like the playtest but this fantasy novel you bring here is quite amusing and made my day.

It's not like the guy owns a game store and lets groups come to play or simply chats with his most frequent customers, or there's no chance he moderates a Meetup group in a reasonably large town or city, nor is there any real possibility that is a member of a RPG club at a large university or some such.

It's just fantasy?

It's this onesidedness in his statement. If he had mentioned that part of the groups were opposed or unsure, I would have bought it but this total exclusion of any opposing attitude seems a bit unlikely. This would imply that those 100+ people exclusively refuse the playtests unanimously and this is very implausible. Verily so.


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For clarity, the changes that PF2 has made, the overall ideas behind them, have alienated my group. Not playtesting as such; not working with an incomplete project.

There's a mindset to nerf class abilities and magic in general that take out flavor and fun in the game. I'm sorry if that's not specific enough, and I'm working to make my thoughts clearer. But I look at what they did to the Druid in particular with horror. The same goes for the other spell casting classes that I haven't studied as closely. I just don't see, barring a severe change of heart, without throwing out the guiding principles that led to the changes, how they could be re-worked so that I'd ever want to play PF2.


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EpicFail wrote:

For clarity, the changes that PF2 has made, the overall ideas behind them, have alienated my group. Not playtesting as such; not working with an incomplete project.

There's a mindset to nerf class abilities and magic in general that take out flavor and fun in the game. I'm sorry if that's not specific enough, and I'm working to make my thoughts clearer. But I look at what they did to the Druid in particular with horror. The same goes for the other spell casting classes that I haven't studied as closely. I just don't see, barring a severe change of heart, without throwing out the guiding principles that led to the changes, how they could be re-worked so that I'd ever want to play PF2.

See I just don't understand. I actually really like the druid changes. I don't know what you could possibly be complaining about. There is some wild shape things that need to be rounded out but over all I really like it.

Nerfing is only important in regards to the internal consistency of the system. If the problem is the numbers just aren't as high that really doesn't matter as long as the monster numbers are reducded as well. at that point what once was a +44 being just a +23 doesn't have any flavor differences its just a number.

Now if your complaint is that spell casters are no longer over powered to the point where they make everything else trivial then that is something I can understand but I am against. If you want spells to trivialize the game then that is irreconcilable in my book.


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Sorry to be off topic, but it would be better if we could get past the personal suppositions and focus on the game itself I think.

I'd rather this thread not get locked down because I've read many good points, some of which I even disagree with, that have helped me focus my thoughts on this game.

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