Our group is also bowing out of the playtest - and reasons why


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TL;DR: After 4.5 parts of the Playtest our group has decided that the ruleset is not fun. It does not make our players feel heroic and combat is basically a neverending slog.

So, it is with regret that our little group will no longer be participating in the Playtest. We tried to stick it out until the end, but we feel that at this point we're repeating ourselves with respect to the game's flaws. Furthermore, as a group, we don't see ourselves supporting 2e in this current incarnation. 10 weeks of playtesting has shown us that. This post is more of an explanation to the devs than an invitation for another long back-and-forth over the same points about the playtest. We feel that, after putting so much work into the playtest, the devs are entitled to a more considered response than "this sucks." From our end, we started as a group of 5 players + GM (me) and whittled down to 3+GM. One left for work reasons (couldn't make sessions) and the other became too frustrated with the ruleset. Prior to the playtest our group was in the middle of Strange Aeons, and one interesting thing about the playtest is that it's made us long for PF1e more. So we're heading back to that AP. :)

I point out that the ruleset isn't (in our opinion) fun. To elaborate - our combats wind up being an attempt to find the most optimal attack -> damage routines and spam them. This, inevitably, winds up being a martial attack. In Heroes of Undarin, we had three PCs - a paladin, a monk and a cleric who had multiclassed into fighter and wizard (thanks to the 1.4 errata). All three wound up melee attacking every single round. Why? Because melee attacks have (by far) the best chance to hit as well as do high amounts of damage - particularly when magic weapons are involved. And melee attacks never run out. So it's the same attack sequence round after round after round. There's no maneuver because there's no AoOs to worry about, there's no spell casting, because it can no longer compete. Just endless melee attacking.

I point out that the ruleset does not make our players feel heroic. Each of our players are exquisitely balanced. Despite being three different classes (pally, monk and whatever you want to call the cleric-ftr-mage) our ACs were 30, 31, 32. Our damage output was about the same as well, because the majority of the damage came from the +3 of our +3 weapons. Our attack bonuses were all the same because attack bonuses were all all +1 because of level. One way to describe this is balance. Another way to describe this is meaningless choices. There's a lot of rules out there that come to the same answer and the effect that gives the player is that everyone is a clone. We agree this feels very 4th Edition and is the antithesis of what made PF1 so awesome. It's this 4th Edition feel that, ultimately, was a deal breaker for us.

I point out that the game was a never-ending slog. By this I mean that when you take into account my first two points and place it against the enemies in Heroes of Undarin, what you have are combats that are very long and drawn out. The treachery demon, for example, has over 300 HP. Doing around 30 damage per player(because only the first hit is really reliable), you're looking at 10 successful attacks to take it down. The HP bar barely moves in roll20. This is without the demon spamming Mirror Image (which it can do at will and should do). The demon can spawn Mirror Image and the PCs can keep healing which effectively leads to a standoff for several dozen rounds. I went back to 1e AD&D to see the 'original' Treachery Demon and learned the following things:

1. It had less than 100hp (martial PCs at 12th level had around 100 hp in 1e AD&D).

2. It's attacks (5 in total) did 8-35 damage, which was between a quarter and a third of the average martial's HP. You actually see the HP bar move.

3. The demon has some fun attacks. At will it can do the following: It can cast polymorph self. It can cast fear. It can cast darkness. It can use telekinesis (which would have been great for throwing bits of the church at players). And it has a percentage chance of summoning in other demons.

The PF 2e demon has a bunch of illusory and out-of-combat abilities that, frankly, are uninteresting and underwhelming.

So that's it. Ultimately, the well-balanced encounters, the mathiness, the tweaking is meaningless if it comes at the cost of the players feeling like what they do has impact. PF2 loses all the impact that PF1 has. Every one of our characters from the arcanist to the pre-unchained thief felt like it had some part to play in our 1e APs. Yes, they could not contribute equally to every challenge, but that was okay. If we wanted that kind of balance we could play checkers. So we wish Paizo luck and hope that they can make something playable out of the playtest. We'll still be playing 1e and if there's no more 1e product after next year, that's fine too. Thank you Paizo for making the playtest and giving us a chance to partake in it. We will, of course, check out the ruleset once it's released next year to see if the necessary changes have been made. But I'm not going to lie. As it stands now, this is not a product we can get behind.


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My playtest group feels essentially the same.

We're still giving Chapter 4 a shot because a lot of us loved the Kingmaker AP and exploration rules but that's about it, and I don't think we will make it to Chapter 7, for similar reasons... :/

All of my players are now rolling exclusively martial characters, with 2H weapons only, and they're more or less clones of each other.
Their attack routines are the same (with the odd, "I start raging" action thrown here and there).

When Chapter 1 started, I had a Wizard, Alchemist and Sorcerer in this 5-PC party.
During Chapter 2, I had a Druid, a Wizard and a Bard.
Then Chapter 3 happened and I was left with just one Cleric (despite the rules for playtesting, since no one wanted to play a spellcaster anymore).
Now, none of my players want to play anything else than Fighter, Monk, Rogue and Ranger (with TWF or bow since the rest doesn't work at the moment).

I am DMing and I love describing PCs' actions in combat.
I'm running out of synonyms to eloquently describe a sword or axe attack and it's getting incredibly boring.

Some major changes will need to happen before we consider committing to 2nd edition at release.


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Just make sure that you explain as much and with this detail in the surveys as well!


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Erpa wrote:
Just make sure that you explain as much and with this detail in the surveys as well!

They ought to have an exit survey, as e.g. some MMOs have had.

Lacking that, survey attrition ought to be a very interesting statistic.


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I've been playtesting with a mostly new group. Only one actually experienced player is with us and I play a character as well as DM and even though we are only in Chapter 2, my experienced player as well as myself are feeling what you are talking about. Magic just doesn't seem as magical when you can whack something every round for equal or better damage.

Liberty's Edge

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I really think lots of folks are taking away bad impressions of the system based off the PT rules because the Test requires that DD be essentially a standardized test with little/no room for creative problem solving or even balanced encounters.

The sweet spot for PF has always been allowing groups to use the rules to play their own thing on their own terms, that and providing QUALITY Adventure Paths, neither of these things are currently applicable to PF2 and I fear there are many players who just don't have the temperament or patience for trying new rules only to throw them out a few weeks later.


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Well... to sum it up PF 2e combat ends when the players collectively roll over 10-to-12 (depending on class and weapon used) on their attack die.

Magic only exist to lower that roll threshold by 2 points.

Scarab Sages

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Our group came to pretty much the same conclusion.

I was a huge fan of 4e, and this rules set feels like 4e, but with all the unique things you could do removed.

That's not to say I would like to see it move more towards 4e, as that is not what made pathfinder great.

The game needs more variance in build choices (all builds currently feel samey and pigeon holed), more variance in actions (meaningful things to do), more variance in stats (wider AC and to hit ranges within the same level) and less variance in the amount of damage melee weapons deal.

On top of that the characters just don't feel heroic. The abysmally low success rates on any given roll just aren't fun. Failing more often than you succeed isn't fun.

As you said, right now combat is essentially just taking the highest potency weapon you can as early as you can, and spam it over and over again, regardless of which class you are.

I made a goblin wizard, and more often than not the best action for me to take in any given combat round was to run up and attack an opponent with my melee weapon. That just seems wrong.


Azmodael wrote:

Well... to sum it up PF 2e combat ends when the players collectively roll over 10-to-12 (depending on class and weapon used) on their attack die.

Magic only exist to lower that roll threshold by 2 points.

Well, magic can heal too: a cleric can heal better than any other two healing classes combined while doing other stuff too. :P


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Bartram wrote:


The game needs more variance in build choices (all builds currently feel samey and pigeon holed)

Well, right now the build options are kind of like those adventures where you may go east or west, you may chose to take road A or road B, you may chose to climb the mountains or swim the seas, but you will still end up in the Mysterious City of Y'r Questiz'ere. :) :)

People's tolerance for this may vary, of course.


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Outside the Playtest, I will only play it with house-rules (the big ones are the +Level deal and extra weapon damage dice coming from magic weapons).


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this post sort of sums up everything I love about the playtest. I was reminded again, when I played kingmaker the CRPG all this week and last, and I was reminded just how how easy it was to break the pathfinder 1st edition system, how two level 12 characters could be miles apart in power level, how the game became rocket tag once the characters reached around 10th level.


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I agree with ikarinokami.

I will also add that I feel the playtest has a strong system, but is severely lacking in options.

That IMO is a great problem to have right now, because the number of options will only ever increase but the system isn't going to change once released.


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Zi Mishkal wrote:
Good points

This conforms with my experiences during playtest, both as DM and player. Paizo is asking for a lot of suffering on behalf of its players, many of whom were content with the game they were already playing, to slog through the playtest in order to arrive at a destination that is looking increasingly like a place they don't even want to be.


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Themetricsystem wrote:

I really think lots of folks are taking away bad impressions of the system based off the PT rules because the Test requires that DD be essentially a standardized test with little/no room for creative problem solving or even balanced encounters.

The sweet spot for PF has always been allowing groups to use the rules to play their own thing on their own terms, that and providing QUALITY Adventure Paths, neither of these things are currently applicable to PF2 and I fear there are many players who just don't have the temperament or patience for trying new rules only to throw them out a few weeks later.

I completely agree that Pathfinder needs the creativity in its play.

I had been conflicted over whether to play the playtest chapters rigorously by the rules and adventures as written or whether to use my usual style in running the Paizo adventure paths and giving the players narrative control. Habit won over rigor and I went for the creative player-controlled narrative. In retrospect, that was the right choice for gameplay and the right choice for playtesting the system. The players are testing the rules that they will use.

Reporting the results will be difficult, especially on the standardized surveys.

However, when I asked my wife, one of my playtest players, for an example of how my playstyle made the survey more difficult, the one that she recalled was the +1 ghost touch dagger from The Lost Star. She had had to ask me about it when filling out the survey. I had described it as an ornate dagger and the party had not bothered to identify it, since Identify took an hour (before a rule update reduced the time). Thus, they never learned that it was a +1 ghost touch dagger. Was that the fault of my playstyle, or do the playtest writers erroneously expect player characters to stop to identify every fancy dagger?

Right now, I am writing up a detailed chronicle of In Pale Mountain's Shadow to report a lot of valuable non-standard playtest information. The writing is slow work. As a math teacher, I learne that tedium turned off my students' brains. I have to include the mechanical details but make the account flow well so they don't sound tedious.


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The system makes characters of all stripes (except maybe healing clerics) feel weak and pathetic. Not for me. PF1 is an excellent game, despite and because if it's flaws, and they distanced themselves way too much here.


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Sherlock:
I wonder how much of it is system design vs adventure design in making characters feel ineffective. I would ask folks to remember that this is meant to be a stress test and thus many play experiences may feel more negative than normal play. Maybe Paizo should have followed WotC's example from DnD Next and released adventure conversions so people can actually test "fun" with the playtest rules.

OP:
I like PF2 quite a bit but I do think the OP brings up some good points. I too would like to see more tactical play at the table. Currently, at early levels (first 2 parts of DD), Magic Weapon is clearly the best use of spell slots. Certainly, other spells can be quite good (Ray of Enfeeblement, Flaming Sphere, etc). But Magic Weapon is easy, long lasting and incredibly impactful.

Part of this may be dealt with when a spell pass is done (I would like to see more spells have an effect even on a save) and when additional class feats go into the final doc.

Still, magical weapons doing extra die of damage does make auto-attack a very attractive and simple strategy. Then again, at low levels, this has generally always been true. I am curious if others feel this is true at higher levels as well.

Grand Lodge

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If people are not enjoying the playtest and don't consider it "fun," that's going to predispose them against the released game because bad impressions last.

That seems like a big (marketing) problem.

-Skeld


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ikarinokami wrote:
this post sort of sums up everything I love about the playtest. I was reminded again, when I played kingmaker the CRPG all this week and last, and I was reminded just how how easy it was to break the pathfinder 1st edition system, how two level 12 characters could be miles apart in power level, how the game became rocket tag once the characters reached around 10th level.

While I agree that Rocket Tag at high levels was a problem, I don't believe solving this should come "at all costs" so to speak.

That definitely seems to be the experience for a lot of players, though I haven't gotten to 10+ in any of my games yet. The +level bonus and lack of meaningful Legendary/Master proficiency value definitely had me thinking it could be an issue though, so it's interesting to see that some of those that have gotten that far do feel that way.


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Skeld wrote:

If people are not enjoying the playtest and don't consider it "fun," that's going to predispose them against the released game because bad impressions last.

That seems like a big (marketing) problem.

-Skeld

Looking at the rules there are a lot of things that I like and my players like but doomsday dawn has been a grind for us. Everything is just a bit too hard to hit and their saves are too good the PCs feel effective at the specialty and suck at everything else as opposed to generally competent and actually good at their specialty, it makes the game less fun.

Right now it's looking like my group will do one more chapter after the one we are on now but after that I think the majority wants to start a 5e game rather than a PF1 or PF2 play test one.


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Data Lore wrote:

Sherlock:

I wonder how much of it is system design vs adventure design in making characters feel ineffective. I would ask folks to remember that this is meant to be a stress test and thus many play experiences may feel more negative than normal play. Maybe Paizo should have followed WotC's example from DnD Next and released adventure conversions so people can actually test "fun" with the playtest rules.

OP:
I like PF2 quite a bit but I do think the OP brings up some good points. I too would like to see more tactical play at the table. Currently, at early levels (first 2 parts of DD), Magic Weapon is clearly the best use of spell slots. Certainly, other spells can be quite good (Ray of Enfeeblement, Flaming Sphere, etc). But Magic Weapon is easy, long lasting and incredibly impactful.

Part of this may be dealt with when a spell pass is done (I would like to see more spells have an effect even on a save) and when additional class feats go into the final doc.

Still, magical weapons doing extra die of damage does make auto-attack a very attractive and simple strategy. Then again, at low levels, this has generally always been true. I am curious if others feel this is true at higher levels as well.

One of the most iconic and hard hitting single target spells is Disintegrate. It is acquired a level 11, about the same time the fighter gets +3 greatsword and his power attack is improved.

Both require to-hit, but lets assume both have hit already.

Disintegrate does 12d10, save half at the cost of 2 character actions.
This averages to 66 damage on failure, 33 damage on save - or roughly 50 damage overall since monsters are geared to save 50% of the time. Most likely you are firing this spell on a boss, so the chance to save is even better, but lets leave it at 50%.

The fighter does power attack for 6d12+5 (+runes, lets say 1d6).
This averages to 47 damage.

Yes. Every fighter swing does as much damage as the highest single target damaging spells casters have at their disposal.

In this edition you play caster for 3 reasons:

1. Healbot the fool who thought playing barbarian/monk was good idea.
2. Give an ally +2 AC or +2 to hit via one round duration conditional debuff spell and pray the monsters roll 1 on their save for a brief moment of nostalgia about good old times when debuff spells were awsome.
3. Utility/buff spells. Help an ally reach the enemies, or see them, or whatever.


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Skeld wrote:

If people are not enjoying the playtest and don't consider it "fun," that's going to predispose them against the released game because bad impressions last.

That seems like a big (marketing) problem.

-Skeld

I tend to agree. I think if they would have released conversion notes to something akin to Isle of Dread or Caves of Chaos, people would more likely have a better time with it.

Azmodael:

You make some good points but I disagree on some of your assertions. I find some spells very impactful. Ray of Enfeeblement is quite potent. Even Glitterdust can have some impact (AOE, 20% miss chance for 1 minute duration on a failed save) in addition to great utility. The spell list is filled with hidden gems which can turn the tide of battle. Those are just some low level examples.

I would caution that 5E has soured me on spells with too much power as then it becomes boring for the opposite reason. 5E Bless, for example, trivializes tons of encounters.

I do think your Disintegrate example is solid, however.

Grand Lodge

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Data Lore wrote:
Skeld wrote:

If people are not enjoying the playtest and don't consider it "fun," that's going to predispose them against the released game because bad impressions last.

That seems like a big (marketing) problem.

-Skeld

I tend to agree. I think if they would have released conversion notes to something akin to Isle of Dread or Caves of Chaos, people would more likely have a better time with it.

Cypt of the Everflame would've been ideal, I think. It was the first Module written for PF (so it's been out a long time) and it was used in some of the demo podcasting that cam before PF2's release.

-Skeld


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Due to what is happening on this forum, I can understand why; something very strange and upsetting is going on.


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Skeld wrote:

Cypt of the Everflame would've been ideal, I think. It was the first Module written for PF (so it's been out a long time) and it was used in some of the demo podcasting that cam before PF2's release.

-Skeld

I would suggest something akin to Against the Cult of the Reptile God, When a Star Falls or Tomb of the Lizard King (thats my go to classic 1E trio of low level modules). Each could take a few sessions to go through. They have random encounters, rp and dungeon crawling. Together, a decent little campaign.

A set of modules like that released with the playtest might help testers persist through and enjoy the experience.


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Struggling with playtest burnout myself. Our 20 round, 4 and 1/2 hour final battle in part 4 didn't help.

Grand Lodge

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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Due to what is happening on this forum, I can understand why; something very strange and upsetting is going on.

Am I missing out on some drama?

Data Lore wrote:
I would suggest something akin to Against the Cult of the Reptile God, When a Star Falls or Tomb of the Lizard King (thats my go to classic 1E trio of low level modules). Each could take a few sessions to go through. They have random encounters, rp and dungeon crawling. Together, a decent little campaign.

I love me some Old School, but I doubt Paizo could officially put out conversions to old D&D adventures. :/

-Skeld


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Skeld wrote:

I love me some Old School, but I doubt Paizo could officially put out conversions to old D&D adventures. :/

-Skeld

I agree. I just mean something like them. Mini sandbox, town/npcs, dungeon, hex crawl, last a good handful of sessions, etc.


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Skeld wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Due to what is happening on this forum, I can understand why; something very strange and upsetting is going on.
Am I missing out on some drama?

Not drama, per se.


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Skeld wrote:


Am I missing out on some drama?

It has to do with players providing feedback and the perceived reception of it by Paizo staff, judging by devs posts on these forums.

I won't say more, last time I did, my post was deleted and so was Vic's.

Sovereign Court

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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Skeld wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Due to what is happening on this forum, I can understand why; something very strange and upsetting is going on.
Am I missing out on some drama?
Not drama, per se.

What "strange and upsetting" thing is going on?

EDIT: Ah.


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dnoisette wrote:
Skeld wrote:


Am I missing out on some drama?

It has to do with players providing feedback and the perceived reception of it by Paizo staff, judging by devs posts on these forums.

I won't say more, last time I did, my post was deleted and so was Vic's.

I have to say, for the first time on a forum such as this, I really got a creepy feeling; kinda turning me off the whole program.

But, I am still interested in the Playtest, and the future of PF, so my answer is 3, you are holding up 3 fingers!

...I beg of you...*in the voice of John Hurt*


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Skeld wrote:

If people are not enjoying the playtest and don't consider it "fun," that's going to predispose them against the released game because bad impressions last.

That seems like a big (marketing) problem.

-Skeld

I think it's a small marketing problem.

My impression is that the number of people posting in the PF2 forums is pretty small (compared to the PF1 playtests). I have lots of theories about that (mainly based on my middleage preconceptions) but this impression leads me to think that most people exposed to PF2 are not going to have gone through the playtest.

Personally, it feels to me that the participation of current fans is a significant distinguishing factor between the PF1 and PF2 playtests. (eg there's lots of "I don't play PF1 but have come back to try this playtest" posts now - I don't think there was the same significant cohort of people playing other systems when Paizo developed PF from 3.5).


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Skeld wrote:

If people are not enjoying the playtest and don't consider it "fun," that's going to predispose them against the released game because bad impressions last.

That seems like a big (marketing) problem.

-Skeld

I think it's a small marketing problem.

My impression is that the number of people posting in the PF2 forums is pretty small (compared to the PF1 playtests). I have lots of theories about that (mainly based on my middleage preconceptions) but this impression leads me to think that most people exposed to PF2 are not going to have gone through the playtest.

Personally, it feels to me that the participation of current fans is a significant distinguishing factor between the PF1 and PF2 playtests. (eg there's lots of "I don't play PF1 but have come back to try this playtest" posts now - I don't think there was the same significant cohort of people playing other systems when Paizo developed PF from 3.5).

This sounds a bit dismissive and unpersuasive.


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Midnightoker wrote:
ikarinokami wrote:
this post sort of sums up everything I love about the playtest. I was reminded again, when I played kingmaker the CRPG all this week and last, and I was reminded just how how easy it was to break the pathfinder 1st edition system, how two level 12 characters could be miles apart in power level, how the game became rocket tag once the characters reached around 10th level.

While I agree that Rocket Tag at high levels was a problem, I don't believe solving this should come "at all costs" so to speak.

That definitely seems to be the experience for a lot of players, though I haven't gotten to 10+ in any of my games yet. The +level bonus and lack of meaningful Legendary/Master proficiency value definitely had me thinking it could be an issue though, so it's interesting to see that some of those that have gotten that far do feel that way.

It's true. Rocket tag is a problem. But so is bullet sponges.

For those who don't play shooters, a bullet sponge is a mob that soaks up bullets and has way to much HP. They slow the game to a crawl and turn into a slog because they're not interesting to fight. They just drag on.

2e combat can turn into that when stuff has tons of HP but you can only hit it half the time on your first attack (and far less on subsequent ones), and then it goes and pops another at will Mirror Image. Combat then turns into "we attack it" for 17 rounds of tedium until someone finally falls over.

Rocket tag has its own problems, but it's unspoken virtue is that it keeps the story moving.


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dnoisette wrote:
Skeld wrote:


Am I missing out on some drama?

It has to do with players providing feedback and the perceived reception of it by Paizo staff, judging by devs posts on these forums.

I won't say more, last time I did, my post was deleted and so was Vic's.

I think it has more to do with some players making a point to come to every thread and sowing dissent in emotive posts when it is clear the devs have already heard it.

This isn't some conspiracy - they're just game developers. Give constructive feedback and your posts will stay. Playing devil's advocate for the sake of it is not productive.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
I think it's a small marketing problem.

I think it’s a lot more than a little problem. I’ve asked a lot of local players what their thoughts were on 2E and not one has said they are excited about it anymore. At first there was a lot of interest as love it or hate it, everyone mostly acknowledges that 1e could use some tweaking. After playing 2E though there is a collective “meh” about the new game. We’ve lost a fair number of players to 5e since the playtest started and others have just stopped playing altogether. I really don’t think these players are going to pop back up when the new game goes live.

I personally feel if they want it to be successful, 2E needs a MASSIVE overhaul from the devs,as in starting over. I think there is a bit of burying their heads in the sand and not wanting to acknowledge the feedback they’re getting.


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Tridus wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
ikarinokami wrote:
this post sort of sums up everything I love about the playtest. I was reminded again, when I played kingmaker the CRPG all this week and last, and I was reminded just how how easy it was to break the pathfinder 1st edition system, how two level 12 characters could be miles apart in power level, how the game became rocket tag once the characters reached around 10th level.

While I agree that Rocket Tag at high levels was a problem, I don't believe solving this should come "at all costs" so to speak.

That definitely seems to be the experience for a lot of players, though I haven't gotten to 10+ in any of my games yet. The +level bonus and lack of meaningful Legendary/Master proficiency value definitely had me thinking it could be an issue though, so it's interesting to see that some of those that have gotten that far do feel that way.

It's true. Rocket tag is a problem. But so is bullet sponges.

For those who don't play shooters, a bullet sponge is a mob that soaks up bullets and has way to much HP. They slow the game to a crawl and turn into a slog because they're not interesting to fight. They just drag on.

2e combat can turn into that when stuff has tons of HP but you can only hit it half the time on your first attack (and far less on subsequent ones), and then it goes and pops another at will Mirror Image. Combat then turns into "we attack it" for 17 rounds of tedium until someone finally falls over.

Rocket tag has its own problems, but it's unspoken virtue is that it keeps the story moving.

This for sure.

Bad instances of rocket tag can leave you unsatisfied, especially if it was supposed to be a big encounter. But, at least you can move on with the game.

Bad instances of bullet sponges eat your both enthusiasm and session time and leave everyone hating the encounter.

Long combat =/= good combat.
Good combat == good combat.


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Vic:

I have run parts of the playtest for 3 groups of random people I met on Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds forums.

Of the 12 people in those groups, only 5 had played PF1 in the past (I think 2 recently). Most have been 5e players.


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Tridus wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
ikarinokami wrote:
this post sort of sums up everything I love about the playtest. I was reminded again, when I played kingmaker the CRPG all this week and last, and I was reminded just how how easy it was to break the pathfinder 1st edition system, how two level 12 characters could be miles apart in power level, how the game became rocket tag once the characters reached around 10th level.

While I agree that Rocket Tag at high levels was a problem, I don't believe solving this should come "at all costs" so to speak.

That definitely seems to be the experience for a lot of players, though I haven't gotten to 10+ in any of my games yet. The +level bonus and lack of meaningful Legendary/Master proficiency value definitely had me thinking it could be an issue though, so it's interesting to see that some of those that have gotten that far do feel that way.

It's true. Rocket tag is a problem. But so is bullet sponges.

For those who don't play shooters, a bullet sponge is a mob that soaks up bullets and has way to much HP. They slow the game to a crawl and turn into a slog because they're not interesting to fight. They just drag on.

2e combat can turn into that when stuff has tons of HP but you can only hit it half the time on your first attack (and far less on subsequent ones), and then it goes and pops another at will Mirror Image. Combat then turns into "we attack it" for 17 rounds of tedium until someone finally falls over.

Rocket tag has its own problems, but it's unspoken virtue is that it keeps the story moving.

So true. I don't know about everyone, but the last thing I want is to spend 3 out of 4 allotted hours fighting an enemy that is completely ineffective but refuses to die. Time spent in combat is time spent not seeing what happens next in the story.

Dark Archive

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Skeld wrote:

If people are not enjoying the playtest and don't consider it "fun," that's going to predispose them against the released game because bad impressions last.

That seems like a big (marketing) problem.

-Skeld

Honestly the more I see the more I'm worried this is turning into a new Coke situation.


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The bullet sponge issue is certainly one of the largest problems. It's a necessity to make in combat healing make sense, but it makes the rest of the game much less enjoyable. Starting over with the philosophy that in combat support would be done similar to life link healing, and balancing around that, would probably lead to a much better pace of game.

I get the desire to limit rocket tag, but man do I hate chopping down trees.


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Kevin Mack wrote:
Skeld wrote:

If people are not enjoying the playtest and don't consider it "fun," that's going to predispose them against the released game because bad impressions last.

That seems like a big (marketing) problem.

-Skeld

Honestly the more I see the more I'm worried this is turning into a new Coke situation.

5e's playtest had a lot of issues early on, too. It worked out pretty well in the end.

If you put out a strong product at release, people will forgive you. They'll hear from their friends how much more fun it is now and can be persuaded to try again. But that requires you to understand what it was that turned people off and fix it by release.

If the same stuff that was identified in testing is still bad at release, then people who tested and brought it up feel like you wasted their time and that leads to bad places.


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Take a look here for a list of the adventures folks played during the DnD Next playtest: LINK

Look at those modules and conversions!

These were legit adventures that were made to be enjoyed. Ya, DnD Next improved quite a bit until release but people persisted because they had fun adventures to play.


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Tridus wrote:

...

5e's playtest had a lot of issues early on, too. It worked out pretty well in the end.
...

Yeah, and 5e had something like two years and two months between initial playtest release and final release. PF2E is getting what, like a year or so? And everything has to be sent to the printers well before then and non-game-design stuff has to be done like getting art assets together and doing typesetting which adds a constant time overhead.

The reality is that in terms of time that the PF2E team can spend tinkering with new mechanics before locking it in, they have maybe a quarter of the time the 5e team did. Throwing in the fact that the PF2E playtest is oh so very rough around the edges, I just flat out think that they don't have the time to sort out all it's myriad issues.

I think this is a major part of why some people are so disheartened. If PF2E was coming out in 2020 and we had over a year of constant tinkering before everything was locked in, playtesters could at least comfort themselves with the knowledge that there is enough time between playtest and release that the entire game could be gutted and rewritten if necessary, so any problems they have now could reasonably be fixed. Contrast to PF2E, where we have a long list of untested subsystems that are tightly coupled to each other. All of them feel wonky in one way or another, some more wonky than others, and there is a real possibility that there just isn't enough time to fix everything. At that stage, it is tempting to write off 2E as a lost cause and abandon the playtest.


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pogie wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I think it's a small marketing problem.

I think it’s a lot more than a little problem. I’ve asked a lot of local players what their thoughts were on 2E and not one has said they are excited about it anymore. At first there was a lot of interest as love it or hate it, everyone mostly acknowledges that 1e could use some tweaking. After playing 2E though there is a collective “meh” about the new game. We’ve lost a fair number of players to 5e since the playtest started and others have just stopped playing altogether. I really don’t think these players are going to pop back up when the new game goes live.

I personally feel if they want it to be successful, 2E needs a MASSIVE overhaul from the devs,as in starting over. I think there is a bit of burying their heads in the sand and not wanting to acknowledge the feedback they’re getting.

I was mainly referring to what I see as a difference in the two situations facing the PF1 playtest versus the PF2 playtest. I don't think "big" or "little" are really worth defining (and I do think there's a problem for Paizo to address as they launch PF2) but Skeld's comment struck me as illuminating a shift in the market over the last decade that I think is significant.

Those of us who are current PF1 players (and who are taking strawpolls of people in a similar situation) are likely overestimating the significance of that cohort. I think the fundamentals of the market are very different now than they were in 2007-2009. I'm also basing that on the reports from developers that indicate the feedback on the forums is far more negative than the feedback via other venues.

To be clear, I'm a PF1 loyalist. I'd have preferred they not change it at all and don't find much in PF2 I prefer over PF1. I just think that Skeld may have overestimated the scale of the problem as (it seems to me) the posts of people quitting the playtest because they fundamentally don't like the direction the game is heading are predominantly PF1 players and I think PF's history may lead one to overestimate the significance of that antipathy.


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I think the main problems are as follows, with the biggest problem being add level:
Ac and attack add level:
All this does is make high level characters invincible to low level characters
If you always vs adversaries that are similar level to you the dice rolls never change, this results in you never feeling more powerful, it’s the world of warcraft syndrome where you don’t feel like your getting stronger Le, they feel it in that game because of fear, we fell it in this game because the number goes up each level for no reason.

Hit points too high:
Too many rpgs go with more and more hit points, it’s a shame they didn’t try a spin on the FFG Star Wars, soak system.
Where armour soaks damage but you don’t have many hit points so once the reduction occurs the excess goes through and can kill you.
With higher and higher hit points, higher and higher damage output needs to occur. Keeping the numbers smaller makes it more manageable.
This is seen by the mistake of making magic weapons increase dice number.

Skills
adding level to skills seems stupid, my 20th level fighter can make a better bow then a 2nd level bow maker because he’s killed more people, really?

How to fix:
Ac and to hit and hp and damage;
This issue could be fixed by separating being hit and having your armour hit.
By this I mean you take a war hammer approach of, roll to hit then the person takes an armour save roll, although in this case there would be no armour save roll, you would just reduce damage by the armours soak value,
Excess would be done to the player.
You could incorporate a hit location, and certain armours protect different areas better or worse, example a breast plate would not protect the arms, getting hit there would not only receive full damage but if the damage exceeded a percentage amount the ads would be destroyed, eg a hit occurs, it’s on the arm, the breast plate doesn’t work, the damage exceeds 10% of the characters hit points, so the arm is destroyed. You could do a lesser version without hit allocations nd it would work too.

Hp is fine at first level, but the increases to fast.
If you incorporated a soak system you could have caster health increase by 2 per level, rogue types by 3 per level, fighters by 4 per level, barbarians by 5 per level.
Con bonus would be added per 5 levels.
Resulting in a human wizard with con 10 at level 20 having 48hp
And a human barbarian with con 18 at level 20 having 128hp
It brings in the numbers, now those magic weapons go back to a magic increase is +1 damage for. +1 magic item and +5 damage for a +5 magic item (you could make a a +1 item be +1 to hit, +2 damage and so on)

Skills:
Skills tiers are enjoyable, but maybe instead of ramping up the scores, you reduce the dc scale of what’s needed for easy and hard.
Make the players get skill points to invest as before, maybe give them heaps, but have the ranks in skills harder to attain.
Example:
Have ranks untrained, apprentice, adept, professional, master, legendary
Untrained is 0 skill points, apprentice is 1-2, adept is 3-6, professional is 7-11, master is 12-17 and legendary is 18 ranks
A character can only invest 1 point per level
And gains 8 skill points per level, a bard might get +1 per level and rogue + 2 per level.
Bonuses to skill rolls would be ranks invested plus ability score, and the ranks would unlock new benefits similar to feats automatically upon reaching them.
Weapons and armour and magic schools could also have a similar system, but it would be automatic, and gained through the class.

Spells should also have options, as I have said in another post, making spells be templates that combine together, would allow for far more creativity. Eg as a level 0 spell I choose bolt and combine it with the template fire, fire says deal 1d8 damage and if the character fails a save, it’s catches slight suffering 2 damage per turn until put out, bolt says action, 60yard range 1 target, but I could have chosen frost bolt, same range and target and somantic components, but frost deals 1d8 and prevents 1 of the targets actions next turn from being slowed.
As a level 3 spell I combine the blast template which deals damage to everyone in a 20ft radius at 120ft range with the sonic template, which means it deals 6d6 sonic damage and deafens everyone it hits for 1d4 rounds.
The same could be done for healing spells and so on.

I also think something like 5e cantrips could help keep casters competitive with melee.

Anyway hope this feedback helps


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pogie wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I think it's a small marketing problem.
I personally feel if they want it to be successful, 2E needs a MASSIVE overhaul from the devs,as in starting over. I think there is a bit of burying their heads in the sand and not wanting to acknowledge the feedback they’re getting.

To reply to this more directly. I agree with you (kind of - that's not really the right term..) that it needs a massive overhaul for me to like it. I disagree with you that not doing so is going to lead to a market failure. I don't think there's enough evidence in the public domain to form a view on that.

There's a bunch (what forty/fifty?) of relatively vocal posters here who don't like it but there's a number who are positive. It's hard to tell how that will wash out - there'll be some dropoff in PF1 fans and some pickup from people who may have balked at getting into Pathfinder but for whom a new edition will be a good jumping off point.

Ultimately, my contention (pretty much nothing more than a guess from reading between the lines) is that the hardcore "I switched from 3.5 and want PF to always be a continuation of that system" cohort is of dwindling significance economically but form a significant majority of the group being turned off by PF2.

When you say "I think there is a bit of burying their heads in the sand and not wanting to acknowledge the feedback they’re getting." I think it's worth remembering that they're getting information from many different places than just those we can see.

It doesn't make sense to me that they would wilfully ignore feedback. They're not fools and they have a proven track record of reading the market. Given it's not developing to my tastes I think it's much more likely that I'm no longer in the majority than that Paizo are somehow doing all these surveys/interviews/playtests and totally missing the mood of the market.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Ultimately, my contention (pretty much nothing more than a guess from reading between the lines) is that the hardcore "I switched from 3.5 and want PF to always be a continuation of that system" cohort is of dwindling significance economically but form a significant majority of the group being turned off by PF2.

I hear what you’re saying but I think it’s a misstep for Paizo to think they’re going to replace pf1 players who don’t like the new system with new players. D&D has too much of an advantage in name recognition and is frankly a better designed game for what it is than pf 2E.


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Skeld wrote:

If people are not enjoying the playtest and don't consider it "fun," that's going to predispose them against the released game because bad impressions last.

That seems like a big (marketing) problem.

-Skeld

I think it's a small marketing problem.

My impression is that the number of people posting in the PF2 forums is pretty small (compared to the PF1 playtests). I have lots of theories about that (mainly based on my middleage preconceptions) but this impression leads me to think that most people exposed to PF2 are not going to have gone through the playtest.

Personally, it feels to me that the participation of current fans is a significant distinguishing factor between the PF1 and PF2 playtests. (eg there's lots of "I don't play PF1 but have come back to try this playtest" posts now - I don't think there was the same significant cohort of people playing other systems when Paizo developed PF from 3.5).

This sounds a bit dismissive and unpersuasive.

It wasn't intended to be persuasive.

Skeld (on the off chance you felt dismissed) my apologies. When I replied to you, I didn't mean to imply you were wrong, merely that I have a different perspective.

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