Ranking Current Playtest Issues by Importance


General Discussion


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Lots of things have changed since the beginning of the playtest, and I think it would be a valuable exercise to re-evaluate which issues are currently at the top of the heap with respect to enjoyment.

As an example, for me early on, the list was:

1. Resonance
2. Lack of combat style customization and flexibility outside of class
3. Weak spells
4. Bland races
5. Limited first/early level customization
6. Limited class options (narrow feat level tiers, enforced party roles, "least bad" feat selection)
7. Lack of out-of-combat healing
8. Low success rate for optimized characters
9. Over-reliance on a designated "healer"
10. Heavy armor being too heavily penalized
11. Skill feats taking too much away from baseline skill functions
12. Class specific problems (Retributive Strike, Hunt Target)

Now it looks like this:

1. Lack of combat style customization and flexibility outside of class
2. Weak spells
3. Limited class options (narrow feat level tiers, enforced party roles, "least bad" feat selection)
4. Limited first/early level customization
5. Over-reliance on a designated "healer"
6. Low success rate for optimized characters
7. Heavy armor being too heavily penalized
8. Skill feats taking too much away from baseline skill functions
9. Class specific problems (Retributive Strike, Hunt Target)
10. Bland races
11. Focus

Maybe we could brainstorm some less specific problem area categories that we could put into a survey to rank the importance of current concerns?


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Some of my issues that haven't been addressed:

Item rarity

First, item rarity should be determined at the setting level, not the character level. For example, elven curve blades should be common for anyone visiting Kyonin and uncommon for anyone visiting the Five Kings Mountains. Elves and half-elves shouldn't get access to some secret elven black market that only they can access, just because they took a feat. And second, just like GMs can explicitly declare uncommon things common, the reverse should be possible. If I'm setting a game in Minkai, longswords should be uncommon, while katanas should be common.

Race vs Culture

This one requires a bit of a history lesson. The reason that D&D and descendants include things like dwarves having a racial hatred of goblinoids is that demihumans used to be insular. You could expect that all dwarves knew to hate goblins because that's how dwarves were raised. Similarly, it's why humans have a variety of languages like Taldan, Varisian, Tien, and Hallit, while all elves speak the same Elven language.

Whatever you think of the name change itself, calling race ancestry is certainly a move away from that. And yet, a decent number of racial feats (including all human feats and the vast majority of goblin ones) are based more on culture. Paizo already acknowledged this distinction with the Adopted trait in 1e. So why can't they properly split the two in 2e, and allow for things like a gnome who was adopted by dwarves and learned how to detect inconsistencies in stonework?

The DC table

Long story short, there's no formula for the tables beyond "Look things up". It's effectively a table of 120 random numbers. Compare the advancement table in 1e being not quite 30/20/13 times XP/encounter, but having random variance, and contrast BAB being strictly 0.5, 0.75, or 1 times your level, round down.

Fighters and magic weapons

Fighters are the only class where the class abilities are insufficient for filling their role. Tying extra damage dice to proficiency isn't getting too mystical. It's just creating Jason Bourne, which seems like a fitting goal for a class meant to be a weapon master.

Magic items are too ubiquitous

If everyone's expected to have a magic weapon, then they aren't special. Focusing more on special qualities, like needing to find a ghost touch rune to deal with the ghosts haunting up a place, however. Now that feels special and properly magical.

Non-magical healing

Pick a role, and I can find multiple ways to fill it. For example, giant magic weapons, sneak attack, and blasty cantrips are all ways to deal damage. Having a rogue who can disarm magical traps, having a bard invest in Disable Device and shore up that gap with Dispel Magic, and sending a barbarian in to soak up damage are all ways to deal with traps. But before update 1.3, the only ways to heal in any remotely efficient amount of time were to either be a caster with Cure Wounds or use UMD to pretend to be one. Non-magical healing won't negate the role of the cleric, any more than the barbarian negates the role of the fighter. It would just end the cleric's dominance over the role.

Optimization is assumed

Figuring out a creature's weakness should let you kill it efficiently, not kill it at all. For example, the Kraken in FF1 is weak to lightning and resistant to fire. That doesn't mean you have to use lightning to be able to kill it at all. It means that you just have to avoid using fire, while lightning lets you kill it more efficiently. Game design shouldn't assume everyone is playing optimally.

And finally, as a special mention, weapon and armor names

Yeah, yeah. I know the tropes of falchions being two-handed and padded being the joke option probably aren't going away any time soon. But I do have one complaint that feels mildly more reasonable to be pedantic about.

Half plate and full plate really don't deserve to be distinct. The difference- blacksmiths making half plate accepted that there would be gaps and patched them with chainmail, while blacksmiths making full plate avoided making gaps where at all possible. In other words, full plate is just masterwork half plate. Even the edition-that-must-not-be-named acknowledged this by making the heavy armor Plate and refluffing "half plate" as a related medium armor option that just doesn't protect your legs beyond simple greaves.


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WatersLethe wrote:


Maybe we could brainstorm some less specific problem area categories that we could put into a survey to rank the importance of current concerns?

I mean, and maybe this is just me, I think Proficiency in its current state (especially with how it interacts with skills) doesn't feel impactful.

Specialization (proficiency by extension) taking a toll is probably my personal #1. I do not like how little it means, and Skill Feats are definitely a lackluster balm on this 3rd degree burn (almost none of them scale).

I would really love to see them incorporate some significance to Proficiency across the board (preferably incorporating the degrees of success) to emphasize the value of being a specialist. I.E. If you are a Master in Stealth you do not automatically fail on a 1 or things of that nature.

I do want participation, but I also want mr. Rogue to be able to feel like being a Master in Stealth means more than just a +2.

Dark Archive

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I still think my top issue is Trained Vs Legendary only amounting to +3; the minor differences in what you are "specialized" in makes you feel, well, not very special.

I actually think the spells are quite good; though the number that are quite good relative to their level are limited. Magic-types seem to have plenty to work with.

I think they've handled the bland race issues; or at least "vastly improved them". At the very least, I now think races are better than PF1.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Interesting thread here folks, and I can say that we have a lot of these issues already on our list here internally.

I think most of the posters above are going to be very happy with what we've got cooking.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Interesting thread here folks, and I can say that we have a lot of these issues already on our list here internally.

I think most of the posters above are going to be very happy with what we've got cooking.

Maybe some spoilers today? =]


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Three addenda to my above comment, and one more issue:

DC table- The Easy DC progression is C+Lv (I just can't remember the constant at the moment). It's the other four that are effectively random numbers.

Weapon and armor names- The other complaint I have is that chain shirts and breastplates feel out of place, although I'll admit it's a more involved fix than just removing full plate and renaming half plate plate. Using 5e's description of half plate as an example, if called shots and piecemeal armor don't exist, why is not having leg protection worth having 15+max(Dex mod,2) AC instead of 18 AC? The two feel like options from a piecemeal system that found their way into a non-piecemeal system. Removing them would actually open up design space for some interesting historical options. Specifically, boiled leather was actually a material, not an armor type, and you could find variations like leather scale and leather lamellar. (Ironically, the fantasy standard of leather breastplate is the one variation that didn't exist) And honestly, adding options like full plate leather armor sounds more interesting than just filling the armor table in with things like chain shirts and breastplate.

Rarity- On a similar note to this, uncommon weapons should already cover exotic weapons. I don't see the point in distinguishing uncommon martial from uncommon exotic.

Weapon Proficiency

I'm going to assert that given an infinite number of feats, a commoner proficient in nothing should be able to recreate the starting proficiency of any class. Basically, developers like Owlcat Games with Kingmaker or the guy who makes Pathbuilder can cheat the system and implement a bard's weapon proficiencies by giving them a number of copies of MWP for free.

Currently, you can't do that. If you aren't already proficient in all martial weapons, you can only become proficient in all of them. For example, if the party sorcerer wants to learn to use the rapier to pretend to be a bard, she has to learn to fight with any martial weapon. This also creates problems when firearms come into play. Because they'll probably be exotic weapons, other characters would have to learn to use all martial weapons before being able to use a gun effectively.

What I think would make more sense: Buy proficiencies at the weapon group level. This has the added benefit of tying in well with the fighter Weapon X class features, because they could just be "Pick X weapon groups and advance your proficiency in them by one step".


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Interesting thread here folks, and I can say that we have a lot of these issues already on our list here internally.

I think most of the posters above are going to be very happy with what we've got cooking.

The man himself :)

HYPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE


Dante Doom wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Interesting thread here folks, and I can say that we have a lot of these issues already on our list here internally.

I think most of the posters above are going to be very happy with what we've got cooking.

Maybe some spoilers today? =]

I'd check the twitch stream later today. They have been doing light spoilers on the Fridays before their fortnightly updates.


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Am I the only one who has Exploration Mode at the top? Huh.


Bardarok wrote:
Dante Doom wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Interesting thread here folks, and I can say that we have a lot of these issues already on our list here internally.

I think most of the posters above are going to be very happy with what we've got cooking.

Maybe some spoilers today? =]
I'd check the twitch stream later today. They have been doing light spoilers on the Fridays before their fortnightly updates.

In advance thanks to whichever people at US time make a thread about it.

Also in advance thanks to the stream itself.


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Bardarok wrote:
Dante Doom wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Interesting thread here folks, and I can say that we have a lot of these issues already on our list here internally.

I think most of the posters above are going to be very happy with what we've got cooking.

Maybe some spoilers today? =]
I'd check the twitch stream later today. They have been doing light spoilers on the Fridays before their fortnightly updates.

I have been watching every Paizo Friday! =] Just like Dan so much to skip!

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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In the department of "managing expectations", the updates are focused purely on what we need to get out there for more playtest data. Many of the points made here do not fall into that category.

So, by all means, be excited for the next update, but do not expect the updates to solve every problem you are seeing with the game.

Liberty's Edge

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RazarTuk wrote:
Whatever you think of the name change itself, calling race ancestry is certainly a move away from that. And yet, a decent number of racial feats (including all human feats and the vast majority of goblin ones) are based more on culture. Paizo already acknowledged this distinction with the Adopted trait in 1e. So why can't they properly split the two in 2e, and allow for things like a gnome who was adopted by dwarves and learned how to detect inconsistencies in stonework?

Uh...the Adopted General Feat does precisely this (allowing a Gnome to take a Dwarf Feat). The price is debatably too high (and you weirdly can't take it at 1st level unless Human), but the distinction is completely acknowledged.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dante Doom wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
Dante Doom wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Interesting thread here folks, and I can say that we have a lot of these issues already on our list here internally.

I think most of the posters above are going to be very happy with what we've got cooking.

Maybe some spoilers today? =]
I'd check the twitch stream later today. They have been doing light spoilers on the Fridays before their fortnightly updates.
I have been watching every Paizo Friday! =] Just like Dan so much to skip!

Dan's been really great on these shows. I've felt more engaged in Starfinder and Pathfinder 2 because of them and I try to catch at least every starfinder wednesday and pathfinder friday.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

What's this, a complaining thread? Oh, I'm in :P
First, editing OPs list:

1. Lack of combat style customization and flexibility outside of class
2. Weak spells Badly written spells (There are many good spells, but there are also many that are nonsensical, hard to parse, seemingly worthless, or otherwise unnecessarily limiting: I'm looking at you Prestidigitation)
3. Limited class options for some classes (IMO, this is already solved by multiclassing, and will only be more solved as PF2E gains more books)
4. Limited first/early level customization (There's definitely some one-true-stat-build stuff going on for some classes)
5. Over-reliance on a designated "healer" Overly powerful healing & complicated dying rules that are still too forgiving.
6. Low success rate for optimized characters Bestiary and GM guidance suggest designing encounters to be balanced against optimized characters. (Coupled with new crit mechanics, this can easily lead to unoptimized characters feeling inept)
7. Heavy armor being too heavily penalized and both heavy armor and unarmored options being monetarily penalized for no benefit
8. Skill feats taking too much away from baseline skill functions
9. Class specific problems (Retributive Strike, Hunt Target)
10. Bland races

And in no particular order adding:

  • Animal companions only get worse as you level (relative to the challenges and enemies you face)
  • Recall Knowledge is borked
  • Skill uses are sometimes unclear or vaguely defined, or leave too much to the GM with too little guidance.
  • Casters don't have enough support for traditionally desirable roles / Casters aren't able to specialize sufficiently in desired roles (Underpowered blasting options, particularly single target; Unsatisfying support spells at all levels; healing too obvious and powerful a tactic; Only debuffing and SoS spells are properly supported by the new high save DC for all spells paradigm).
  • Exploration Mode and the transition to Encounter Mode (needlessly mechanical, and has weird believability problems as a result. Plus going between modes is desperately awkward)
  • High GM overhead (secret rolls, higher numerical tracking at lower levels, lots of things left to the GM to adjudicate)
  • Rules difficult to parse and even locate (How many separate bookmarks do you need to understand how to counterspell?)

  • Liberty's Edge

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    I'm very pleased that the above issues are fairly consistent with what the designers have planned to fix. My own hierarchy of remaining systemic issues is as follows:

    1. Likelihood Of Success:

    Due to the combination of the DC chart, unavailability of skill boost items for more than a couple of skills, and monster skills being unreasonably high (even after adjustments for the mistake in calculating them), the likelihood of most characters succeeding at most skills is pretty low, and not in a good way. Monster Saves are also so high as to make the odds of success on spells lower than they should be. Direct 'attack vs. AC' combat is better, but monster to-hit is probably a bit too high even there.

    In many ways, this is the same complaint as optimization being required, and fixing one probably fixes the other.

    2. Stat Imbalances:

    Strength and Intelligence are a bit weak. Improving them is a pretty good idea. Heavy armor being less than ideal is a part of this, IMO, and some reductions to the penalties of heavy armor would thus be very good (I still like the idea of upping such penalties by one or two, then reducing them by Str Mod).

    3. Consistency Clarifications:

    There are a number of weird rules interactions that could use some fixing. Unconscious, Parlyzed, and Sleeping don't have the same effects on Reflex Saves, for example.

    The DC By Level table is also an issue, with the aforementioned lack of a formula, but also an unfortunate tendency to base DCs on the PCs level rather than how hard the task should be...partially due to a lack of guidelines as to what tasks are what level, which leads into my next issue.

    4. Not Enough Information To Run Some Things:

    What skill is it to know things about an Ooze? What level challenge is it to climb a sheer wall of ice? How hard is X and what skill do you use for it?

    There are answers to some questions like this, but only a very few out of all the possible versions of X. The stuff on what skill to identify what monster being nonexistent is particularly egregious, IMO.

    5. Class Power Level Imbalances:

    Cleric seems a tad too powerful and Ranger too weak. There are a handful of other specific class problems as well. This one seems likely to be solved, but it remains an issue.

    6. Not Enough Options:

    There aren't enough Feat options for Classes, Skills, and Ancestries. This is easily fixed, and, again, it is probably inevitable that it will be fixed, but it's still worth noting.
    .
    .
    .
    Also, please someone fix Quicksand. That stuff is terrible.


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    Thalin wrote:

    I still think my top issue is Trained Vs Legendary only amounting to +3; the minor differences in what you are "specialized" in makes you feel, well, not very special.

    I actually think the spells are quite good; though the number that are quite good relative to their level are limited. Magic-types seem to have plenty to work with.

    I think they've handled the bland race issues; or at least "vastly improved them". At the very least, I now think races are better than PF1.

    I'm with you. Proficiency training should be the most important numerical function, otherwise there's not much to the proficiency training system, which I really want to move forward. instead of having skill ranks like P1, using the proficiency training take that place feels right, but mechanically it doesn't work that way.

    As it stands level is the most important numerical function of the playtest.


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    The Once and Future Kai wrote:
    Am I the only one who has Exploration Mode at the top? Huh.

    Guess so. Well, allow me to elaborate if I'm the only voice of concern!

    1) Exploration Mode adds Tracking Complexity rather than Depth: Combat Mode traded PF1e's Comprehension Complexity for actual Depth. It's streamlined and rich in tactical depth. Lots of potential. Exploration Mode adds a layer of rules called "Tactics" but it doesn't actually add tactics. I had a more in-depth thread going with specifics but I think sums up my problem neatly.

    2) Social Skills - especially Diplomacy - are outmoded: Pathfinder Second Edition is, essentially, offering the same Social Skills out of combat as D&D Third Edition did 18 years ago. Using well established rules isn't a bad thing if those rules are great...but the Social skills have been one of the weakest points of the d20 System family from it's inception. It's time to have NPCs with more depth than 5 categories of relationship. Again, sorry, Fate's Social Conflict system is excellent for it's simplicity and depth; something like it would be an welcome improvement. At the least a revision that supports tactics like Good Cop/Bad Cop beyond a boring Aid Other or Conditional Bonus.

    3) Mid to High Level Character Creation is Tracking Complexity intensive: I love Low Level character creation in the playtest! It's fantastic and a great improvement over Pathfinder First Edition. So I was surprised that leading a group through character creation for Mirrored Moon was easily the most unpleasant experience that I've with the playtest. I never thought I'd complain about too many interesting options...but those add a mountain of conditional rules. I'd rather see fewer abilities that scale better.

    4) The Character Sheet isn't up to snuff: I don't care that it's landscaped or has a lot of blocks. It's missing critical information (like Shields), doesn't have enough space for other information (feats/spells/actions), and is generally ill equipped to support the playtest.

    Of course I want more options, better organization in the rulebook, more polish, specific minor fixes, and so on. But I'm confident those will come...so they don't make my list here.


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    Jason Bulmahn wrote:

    In the department of "managing expectations", the updates are focused purely on what we need to get out there for more playtest data. Many of the points made here do not fall into that category.

    So, by all means, be excited for the next update, but do not expect the updates to solve every problem you are seeing with the game.

    Knowing what is on the radar would certainly be a boost in confidence in the production of PF2 for myself, and I am sure I am not alone there. It's reasonable that only a select few changes are made each update, because too many moving parts makes any change hard to examine in detail. That said, an understanding of how these projects work would suggest that you're not making these updates every 2 weeks and shooting from the hip. Giving players a heads up on what the short-term and long-term roadmaps are can help to defray many of the concerns. It would likely also reduce many of the negative comments and threads, as we'd get to see what it is that is already planned. If I knew that there was a plan to rework Expert through Legendary proficiency tiers to make them have greater impact, I'd probably not start a thread asking for that change; I'd just get excited to see it rise up on the list of concerns and know the update was coming.


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    The Once and Future Kai wrote:


    3) Mid to High Level Character Creation is Tracking Complexity intensive: I love Low Level character creation in the playtest! It's fantastic and a great improvement over Pathfinder First Edition. So I was surprised that leading a group through character creation for Mirrored Moon was easily the most unpleasant experience that I've with the playtest. I never thought I'd complain about too many interesting options...but those add a mountain of conditional rules. I'd rather see fewer abilities that scale better.

    This is something slowly becoming an issue as we prepare for mid level stuff. I appreciate the effort to leave the process of proficiency progression in the text, but at about 7th level I just want a chart that tells me what my to-hit and saves are at and how many skills I can have at what level.

    Thinning out how frequently you get feats so that feats are interesting enough to want to write down would also be a big plus. One player commented to me how odd it was that they kept the rarely useful feat design rather than mixing broad and niche benefits together so you didn't feel your selection was wasteful.


    Deadmanwalking wrote:

    I'm very pleased that the above issues are fairly consistent with what the designers have planned to fix. My own hierarchy of remaining systemic issues is as follows:

    1. Likelihood Of Success:

    Due to the combination of the DC chart, unavailability of skill boost items for more than a couple of skills, and monster skills being unreasonably high (even after adjustments for the mistake in calculating them), the likelihood of most characters succeeding at most skills is pretty low, and not in a good way. Monster Saves are also so high as to make the odds of success on spells lower than they should be. Direct 'attack vs. AC' combat is better, but monster to-hit is probably a bit too high even there.

    In many ways, this is the same complaint as optimization being required, and fixing one probably fixes the other.

    2. Stat Imbalances:

    Strength and Intelligence are a bit weak. Improving them is a pretty good idea. Heavy armor being less than ideal is a part of this, IMO, and some reductions to the penalties of heavy armor would thus be very good (I still like the idea of upping such penalties by one or two, then reducing them by Str Mod).

    3. Consistency Clarifications:

    There are a number of weird rules interactions that could use some fixing. Unconscious, Parlyzed, and Sleeping don't have the same effects on Reflex Saves, for example.

    The DC By Level table is also an issue, with the aforementioned lack of a formula, but also an unfortunate tendency to base DCs on the PCs level rather than how hard the task should be...partially due to a lack of guidelines as to what tasks are what level, which leads into my next issue.

    4. Not Enough Information To Run Some Things:

    What skill is it to know things about an Ooze? What level challenge is it to climb a sheer wall of ice? How hard is X and what skill do you use for it?

    There are answers to some questions like this, but only a very few out of all the possible versions of X. The stuff on what skill to identify...

    Number 4. The surveys weren't good at pinpointing how arbitrary the DCs are in the playtest adventures. I think there needs to be some baseline tasks for every 3-5 DCs to compare things to when writing an adventure instead of just blindly using the table 10-2 row for the indicated adventure level.


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    In no particular order:

    - Spells largely don't feel impactful, you don't get enough of them, and in general magic feels weak.

    - I find two bonus types somehow more confusing than having more types, mostly because figuring out which ones to use is harder when you have more of them to sort out (I rarely ever had multiple sacred bonuses, for comparison).

    - I find creating characters at higher level with a list of item levels restrictive as compared to just having gp to spend. It can function as a useful guide for newer players by guiding them towards the right things, but having an option to skip that and just pick the gp would be nice.

    - The rulebook could use an editing pass focused on reorganization to put relevant things together, although I have no doubt this will happen in the release version. :)

    - As most spells are two action, casting a spell and moving makes a shield effectively useless that turn. Being able to use the reaction without raising your shield would fix that (but wouldn't give you the +2 bonus).

    - Hero points are inconsistent in application, put too much emphasis on the DM handing them out, and are wildly uneven in usage. In particular, the option to get out of dying is far too powerful. I would remove that one entirely and give people 1-2 uses of the other two options per session so the DM doesn't have to hand them out and won't face favortism accusations if it's done unevenly.

    - Wands in the updated test rules have too many things to track. In general, I'd prefer items either require a player power (like focus) or are consumable. Not both. It's overly complicated.

    - Higher end skill usages feel under utilized right now. There's a lot of opportunity to do some really neat things (like a master thief literally stealing an item out of someone's hand as they try and use it, which someone else suggested). In general, crank up the knob on skills so that every class can build to do something awesome that they'll tell stories about later.

    - The character sheet could use space to write down what some of the feats do, as it's easy to lose track as you pick up more of them.

    - Treat Wounds being effectively unlimited use unless you roll badly doesn't sit well with me. If you roll a natural 1 and crit fail your first attempt of the day, then it's just gone. If you don't, you can effectively spam it.

    - NPCs following totally different rules. Monsters are one thing, but it bafffles me that an NPC fighter can do the same damage as a PC fighter with a +3 weapon, only without the weapon. Why are they so much better than the PCs? It's immersion killing when the world doesn't have internal consistency.

    The good news is that my group has been enjoying themselves when playing. People are having fun and we're still going through the playtests. So that's a huge plus, since you can iron out a lot of the other stuff but it's hard to inject fun if it's not there. :)


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    My list:
    1) Magic weapons being (by far) the most important source of damage.
    2) Skill DCs, in particular:
    2a - it's difficult to consistently determine the level of tasks;
    2b - it's difficult to imagine/design high level tasks.
    3) Healing, in particular:
    3a - Channel Energy is incredibly good and feels mandatory;
    3b - out-of-combat healing should be tuned better.
    4) Heavy armor penalized way too much.
    5) Exploration mode rules currently only good as guidelines.
    6) Balance, expecially in regard to some classes.
    7) Master/Legendary skill feats are lacking.
    8) Ancestries still too bland, and see point 12.
    9) Spells: some of them are overly nerfed and could use a little help.
    10) Hero points, in particular:
    10a - handing them out based on session scheduling and other real life stuff;
    10b - uses are unbalanced and priced backwards.
    11) The (near) absence of AoO is not a universally good thing .
    12) Feats too stretched over the 20 levels (see below).
    13) Polishing: some conditions don't make sense when compared to others, some rules are hard to interpret, the rulebook can surely be made easier to consult.

    About stretched feats:
    I mean that most of them could have their required level reduced.
    Take Fighter feats, for example: Impossible Volley is neat, but I see that as a mid-level thing, not level 18. Does Graceful Poise break anything if used at level 10 instead of 16? Reflexive Shield is another typical example.
    Compressing existing feats into the 1-12 range would open up space for the truly impressive ones that I would love to see in high level play.
    I would also like to see higher level ancestry feats.


    Megistone wrote:
    5) Exploration mode rules currently only good as guidelines.

    Glad Exploration Mode made someone else's list.


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    WatersLethe wrote:

    I think it would be a valuable exercise to re-evaluate which issues are currently at the top of the heap with respect to enjoyment.

    Now it looks like this:

    1. Lack of combat style customization and flexibility outside of class
    2. Weak spells
    3. Limited class options (narrow feat level tiers, enforced party roles, "least bad" feat selection)
    4. Limited first/early level customization
    5. Over-reliance on a designated "healer"
    6. Low success rate for optimized characters
    7. Heavy armor being too heavily penalized
    8. Skill feats taking too much away from baseline skill functions
    9. Class specific problems (Retributive Strike, Hunt Target)
    10. Bland races
    11. Focus

    I'm not really seeing all these issues. The lack of options issues I put down to this being a playtest and obviously there will be more developed as it matures. Yes there being losts of options is very important to me.

    For me the issues in decreasing order are

    1. The maths of the system only works within narrow bands of +/-1 level. When our level 12 party was attacked by a larger group of level 9 monsters, we just crushed them without a sweat and rolled critical after critical. In comparison the level 13 monsters were extremely tough. Suggestions from our group was to either
    a) reduce critical successes and fails to just natural 20s and 1s, or,
    b) make AC, to hit, skills and saving throws go up by +1 per 2 levels

    2. Offensive magic sucks. Why would I ever cast a level 1 Fear spell? The target has to critically fail before it is a useful result. A normal fail only gives them -1 for a round. What a crock! The wizard is better off firing a bow or using a cantrip. So much of the magic list is just like that. Direct damage spells are so so, buffing and utilities are OK but limited duration, but everything else is much worse. It does even met the test of the wizard spends a spell and an action to have a 50% chance of denying an opponent an action. If magic is not interesting and somewhat powerful then there is no point in playing the game. Its a core part of the FRPG concept.

    3. There needs to be a few combos in the game. You have to allow a few things to stack together. The special bard cantrips and the barbarian rage should be untyped and stack with everything. Its the primary purpose of the class. Why not let me use Magic Fang on my Animal Companion, my wild shape or Animal Form? No? Then what is the spell for then?

    4. Too many very complex fiddly little numbers. When the Paladin strikes with his bludgeoning holy flaming weapon against a demon with vulnerability to good but resistance to fire. But see its a retributive strike at -2 to hit on santified ground at +1 hit and damage, but there is a heroism up +2 but that doesn't fully stack with the sanctifed ground, -1 because the Paladin was enverated, its a reach weapon so screening? etc etc.
    The people who play pathfinder are generally the one who think 5th ed D&D is too simple, we aren't afraid of maths but throw us a bone please. Each battle was taking over an hour and I'm with a group of very experienced and intelligent gamers.

    5. Skills I'd perfer if the some of the skill feats were moved into actions available at higher ranks of a skill, and the rest moved to general feats. Also please change the skill rank bonuses.
    -4,0,1,2,3 isn't big enough. Try -4,0,2,4,6 for skills.

    6. Two weapon fighting still needs a bit of help even after the ranger changes. Remember that agile weapons do significantly less damage due to low die size. Sword and board, reach, mounted, and two handed are fine.

    7. I'd prefer if the increase in weapon damage dice was not just purely about magical weapons. I'd be happy if fighter types got an extra dice just due to their skill at mid levels.

    8. Monk AC is too low, everyone else can get an armour plus dex bonus of 7, Monks start at 5 with an 18 DEX counting their extra proficiency and it sucks for a melee character. We can't get anyone in our group to even attempt playing a Monk.

    9. Alchemist still sucks even after the changes. The mutagens just aren't good enough effects. We had players trying to put together a build but just giving up.

    10. Progression of various form spells are wrong. My druids AC dropped whenever he went into Animal or Dinosaur form. I like the intention of simplifing things but why cast a spell to give you a worse AC and a mediocre damage output.

    11. Please put some meat on size differences and weapon sizes.

    12. Please make the Bard a bard and give him a reason to carry an instrument. Making him a full caster just means he is another type of Wizard.

    13. Healing. A lot of people are complaining that the cleric heal is just too good. Maybe take it down a dice size to d6s. I view the channels as a party thing not really just the one character. But really the scalling problem at the top of the list means that the party has been rarely challenged and I'm not confident enough to speak much on this issue till we find some tougher encounters.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    Main issue for me eclipsing all others: characters feel so niche locked and feat gated as to have a baked in 'one true build', want an aggressive Paladin? Nope, Retributive strike forces you to be the 'tank'...yea, sorry never seen paladins like that, so deal breaks for me. Clerics...ahh clerics, actually in an good place...as long as you want to be the healer/buffer build, offensive spells? Flat out bad monsters are so powerful, and tough that they basically ignore you, and that holds for all casters, they can buff...ok for a really short duration, but that is about it. Rogue? Not seen one played so no idea. Ranger: In a better place, but TWF took an utter kicking with the changes, as the full MAP secondary action, like all full penalty second strikes, is fishing for 20s, you wont do much otherwise, so even tho it costs less actions, the penalties make it way to unlikely to hit to be worth it.


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    I agree with much of the issues mentioned here. But might as well offer up my own list. It's not as definitive as some, and some of the ranking is a bit arbitrary, but gets into some of my thinking.

    1. The book isn't easy to understand. Layout and comprehensibility really need a lot of work. For this game to bring in a lot of new players, this needs to be much better.

    2. Spells aren't good enough. Thankfully they have finally acknowledged this and are fixing damage spells. Ironically, damage is probably the part the needed the least fixing, but as probably the easiest part it's understandable that it might be the first. Spell duration is one of the biggest problems in my mind. Followed by number of slots, lack of auto-scaling and then number of targets for buff and utility spells. And the unnecessary ruining of flavor spells. Unseen servant can no longer really be used for it's main flavor purpose of cleaning your tower or serving tea.

    3. Restrictive classes. The locking of certain options to particular classes and vice versa is too limiting. I don't think multi-classing really addresses it enough. The featification of the classes opens up the opportunity to really customize characters, but that's going unused. Instead classes are locked into set roles. I want to be able to do a lightly armored swashbuckling paladin or a ranged paladin or ranged barbarian. Every martial class should have access to good two weapon options, etc. The proposal for weapon style archetypes might help, but still doesn't feel right to me. Especially if dedication stays.

    4. Class feats (and other feats) just don't offer meaningful enough choices. You make a lot of choices in character building, but they're often not really meaningful choices. Too often there are class feats that are basically required to be effective with what you're trying to do so you have no real choice. And other ones are just so marginal that they'll be ignored, again making them no real choice. I'm thinking that classes maybe should get more static features and let the feats focus on customization instead of being the main source of class abilities.

    5. Magic items. Focus is still too complicated and doesn't really solve anything. Either go back to the PF1 way of handling magic items (except without slots), or move focus on to only being a total replacement for charges and daily uses. With a much larger pool that isn't connected to your powers of course. Stop the nerfs. 1d4 rounds of invisibility is not a reasonable potion.

    6. Damage. The scaling of damage often just seems off to me. With the multiple dice and especially the way crits work, Rocket Tag seems to be as strong as ever. A slightly over-leveled monster can easily just come in and drop someone in two actions. The multiple dice for magic weapons is something I both love and hate. It does make the die type too important, and magic weapons are just too required now to be effective. I'm not sure I want the damage to be based entirely on the character's proficiency either. I really don't know what the best option is here. And then thre's the weird thing of monsters doing more damage with a mundane weapon than PCs simply because they're monsters. That feels wrong to me.

    7. Skill DCs and monster stats. Still way over-tuned for super-optimal characters. Take out the assumptions of skill items, and let optimized characters be really good. A fully optimized character being able to auto-succeed isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's better than requiring them to be optimized just to be moderately effective. Or fall behind.

    8. Alchemists. Really, just everything about them. They can't hit enough, can't do enough damge, bomb splash damage is a joke, even with the feats to boost it, elixirs and mutagens are mostly uninspiring etc. I like the base idea of them using alchemical items, but look back to the PF1 alchemist for some of the capabilities.

    9. Heavy armor just isn't good enough. It's no better than light or medium if you've got more dex than a turnip, and has a whole lot of penalties on top of it. Stop the Max dex + AC always being the same. Heavier armor should be better.

    10. Back-loaded and uninteresting ancestries. The recent change is a positive step, but not nearly enough. The Heritages seem a bit too cobbled together and not like proper heritages.

    11. Weapon balancing. The bastard sword needs to be fixed so it's not both a longsword and a greatsword. It should be in-between. Lances should be more powerful. Longbows shouldn't have volley. Crossbows should have a reason to exist for martial ranged characters. The casters now have damage cantrips for when they're out of slots. Katana shouldn't be a more expensive longsword, if anything it should be more like the bastard sword (a fixed one, not the current longsword + greatsword version), 2 hands was the default.

    12. Exploration mode seems artificial and unnecessary.


    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    The Once and Future Kai wrote:
    Megistone wrote:
    5) Exploration mode rules currently only good as guidelines.
    Glad Exploration Mode made someone else's list.

    I guess that you aren't seeing it much because it's something easy to ignore altogether, so it doesn't seem as problematic as other aspects of the game.

    I think it could be a big selling point of this edition, instead, but it's very hard to write concise rules about something so large and varied.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Gortle wrote:
    11. Please put some meat on size differences and weapon sizes.

    I'm actually in favor of scrapping the concept of larger weapons doing more damage. That's already reflected in giving larger creatures higher strength and smaller creatures lower strength. Why the double penalty? Additionally, it makes sense for the same reason as size bonuses to attack rolls. If you have two characters that are the same size, increase their size, and change nothing else in 1e, they're hitting each other just as often, but killing each other more quickly, even though their weapons should still be proportional.

    It's more bookkeeping for not that much of a benefit, especially when no one can remember the entire damage progression anyway. If it really matters, just say something like "If wielding an improperly sized weapon, do 1 additional damage for every size too big or 1 less damage for every size too small"


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    My top 10

    1. Ease of Use. Not nearly enough attention to ease of use in play currently. Refering tables for DCs, tons of overlapping conditions, stacking issues, fiddly numbers, afflictions that come in stages, tons of tracking, hero points, charges, sensed/concealed/etc. This is the only MAJOR issue I have with the game. Failure to significantly improve things on this front is the only thing that would make me pass and look elsewhere.

    2. Balance problems. I can fix these through house rules, so not as big a deal as #1. This is stuff like the cleric's OP channel energy and the lackluster barbarian and animal companion.

    3. The damage die issue. Currently, the "die to damage" implementation heavily favors big weapons. I hope they do something to make smaller die weapons more worth it. I want using two daggers to be a thing that isnt terrible.

    4. Overly tight math and the need to aggressively min max to succeed. If I need to max my main stat to be effective, don't give me the option NOT to do that. Just max what I need maxed and let me spend points on other stuff. Also, with math this tight, consider a more forgiving stat bonus/penalty model so that small races can be strength based classes since they no longer get size bonus to hit or to ac.

    5. Destroy Feat Taxes. Get rid of stuff like Ki Strike or make it amazing. Personally, I hope they REMOVE as many feat prereqs as they can and, instead, allow feats to improve themselves over time. So, feats can be used for more cool stuff.

    6. Book organization. Too much reliance on key words and page flipping. I would rather pay for two books (phb and dm guide) that are well organized than one CRB with this much page flipping.

    7. Make magic items and focus use WONDROUS. Bracers of Missile Deflection are so... Meh. +2 Ac against one ranged attack at the cost of one focus? It may make math sense but its not fun or dramatic. We need magic items to feel exciting.

    8. Magic. Modify spells so more are like ray of enfeeblement or glitterdust. They do stuff that matters even if the target saves. Some spells, like Fear, should be juiced up a bit. Martials are in a pretty good place. Magic users can be buffed a little bit without fear of "linear fighter, quadratic wizard." Just dont go back to PF1 level of nonsense.

    9. DCs. Related to the tight math issue. Basically, we need to succeed more. Much more. DCs should ONLY factor in proficiency increases NOT stats, items or magic. If you factor those things in, PCs feel like they are treading water when they should feel like they are getting much better and it severely punishes those that do not min max. So a hard DC at level 20 should only be +19 higher than at level 1.

    10. Big change I would recommend (that I know wont happen): Dramatically improve skill feat selection or simply remove skill feats (maybe bake them into general feats). Alot of that should probably just be baked into TEML increases, IMO. So, if you are a master at stealth, you should just be able to foil senses. Baking it into TEML increases would make TEML feel more impactful too.


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    Generally lackluster abilities
    Feats, class features, and spells tend to be minor improvements or rarely useful. I love the amount of customization in the playtest, but I have to care about what those abilities do for it to be worth the effort. I need to have a hard time deciding which one I like best, not picking out which one seems least bad. This issue determines whether I play PF2 or not.

    Success rates and specialization
    While attack rolls might be able to use a small bump, this applies mostly to skills. Items shouldn't be required to be competent in a skill. You should be able to be competent, numerically, in a skill without having the highest possible proficiency and without having an maxed out ability modifier. Being Trained in many skills feels lackluster because failure is so high for all but your absolute best.


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    The Once and Future Kai wrote:
    Megistone wrote:
    5) Exploration mode rules currently only good as guidelines.
    Glad Exploration Mode made someone else's list.

    I was gonna put it in mine. But, I figured it wasn't such a huge deal since I can just ignore it. Kinda think this is one of those parts of the game that could stand to have lighter rules.


    WatersLethe wrote:

    Now it looks like this:

    1. Lack of combat style customization and flexibility outside of class
    2. Weak spells
    3. Limited class options (narrow feat level tiers, enforced party roles, "least bad" feat selection)
    4. Limited first/early level customization
    5. Over-reliance on a designated "healer"
    6. Low success rate for optimized characters
    7. Heavy armor being too heavily penalized
    8. Skill feats taking too much away from baseline skill functions
    9. Class specific problems (Retributive Strike, Hunt Target)
    10. Bland races
    11. Focus

    Maybe we could brainstorm some less specific problem area categories that we could put into a survey to rank the importance of current concerns?

    I do have to say, my current list is pretty much the same, maybe switching around the first 2 points.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Data Lore wrote:
    The Once and Future Kai wrote:
    Megistone wrote:
    5) Exploration mode rules currently only good as guidelines.
    Glad Exploration Mode made someone else's list.
    I was gonna put it in mine. But, I figured it wasn't such a huge deal since I can just ignore it. Kinda think this is one of those parts of the game that could stand to have lighter rules.

    That's basically what I've been doing in my homebrew playtest campaign. The problem is that ignoring it invalidates many Skill feats and some Class feats. This problem will only be compounded as Paizo releases more material for the system.

    So, if at all possible, I'd like them to address it now. The alternative is for me to ignore/rewrite that mode but then have to edit/filter player choices for the remainder of the system's lifespan.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Kai:
    Makes alot of sense. I have been watching some actual plays and I don't think I have seen one group make the current exploration mode rules seem engaging or fun when they bother to use the rules at all. I gave up trying to use them after the first session.

    If they are going to dedicate development time to a thing, it minus well be done well enough that people bother to use it.


    Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

    I haven't been able to participate because I have no group to do so with, so I'm kinda just stuck here reading updates and critiques. I'm glad to see that the dev team is working on a fair amount for us to get a chance to test. And from what I've seen in civil discussion, I can agree with a lot of this issues and hope they get addressed. Though I do feel that there are some common points here being stated that are just due to the nature of how a playtest works, but thankfully more often than not, they're being noted as an irritant that can be easily be fixed come time for the final publication.


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    Tridus wrote:
    - NPCs following totally different rules. Monsters are one thing, but it bafffles me that an NPC fighter can do the same damage as a PC fighter with a +3 weapon, only without the weapon. Why are they so much better than the PCs? It's immersion killing when the world doesn't have internal consistency.

    This is a big one. The PC Fighter is wholly dependent on their Potency runes for damage, but the NPC is such a master that their damage is a matter of pure skill with the weapon. That's kind of the reverse of how heroic fantasy usually works.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Scythia wrote:
    Tridus wrote:
    - NPCs following totally different rules. Monsters are one thing, but it bafffles me that an NPC fighter can do the same damage as a PC fighter with a +3 weapon, only without the weapon. Why are they so much better than the PCs? It's immersion killing when the world doesn't have internal consistency.
    This is a big one. The PC Fighter is wholly dependent on their Potency runes for damage, but the NPC is such a master that their damage is a matter of pure skill with the weapon. That's kind of the reverse of how heroic fantasy usually works.

    Thirded. This encapsulates my two biggest issues on the current playtest.

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