Pathfinder Playtest has Failed me


General Discussion


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Alright everyone, I'm done. I'm out. PF2 may go on to become an excellent game, but from what I have seen, I don't have much faith, so I'm done with this playtest and I have been encouraged, by my gaming group, to detail why on the forums. In the unlikely event anyone is interested, my reasons are detailed below

1) The curse of sameness:
The character creation system is needlessly rigid. The ABC character creation restricts the variations of characters that can be created. The first character I tried to build was a druid who was focused on Melee with wild shape and a Strength score of 18. Were any of you aware that this is impossible? The only ability score that can be an 18 for a druid at level 1 is Wisdom. Additionally, if I wanted to play a Constitution 18 “I block it with my chest” Barbarian, this is also impossible. Neither of these concepts seems so overpowered or abusive as to be made fundamentally impossible. This, along with the incredible paucity of options makes for, in my own opinion, an uninspired character creation system. PF classic has gotten to the point where I can easily transition from idea to character. PF2 was already telling me don’t play a shift or a slayer, play another fighter with a longsword. I’ve been playing for years, I’m done with playing fighters with longswords, and now you are restricting how different I can make my fighter with a longsword.

2) The Surveys are un-necessarily daunting:
The recent surveys take way too long to complete, and you cannot save and come back. This makes it difficult for someone like me to actually provide adequate feedback by survey. I had originally likened the PF2 playtest as a PCA pump reaction to the Shifter fiasco. I figured, based on the rigid way they wanted to received feedback, and the unrealistic schedule, that the idea was to convince us all that they were making changes, while they rushed everything to the printers. The willingness to make changes may have improved my opinion on this, but the surveys seem like they are trying to discourage people from providing feedback. If Paizo is truly trying to playtest this system, and they are as committed to getting data by survey, they need to make these surveys quicker and easier, and if that is not possible, they need to let you pause in the middle and come back to complete it

3) Playtesting isn't fun:
Above, I touched on the idea that the playtest period is super accelerated. I’m about to be starting Doomsday Dawn part 3. I’ve done a little PFS in between, but I’ll tell you, this is not a fun adventure to play. I get to play once or twice a month, and if I’m going to pick what I want to spend that brief respite from real life on, they could have at least given me an engaging fun experience. I get that the intention is to stress test the rules, but I have to believe that they could have done a better job of making it fun.

4) MY GAME IS NOT BROKEN:
The more I see of PF2, the more I feel like I’m not the target audience. I like PF classic. PF2 has changed things that I never saw as a problem in a way to make things needlessly simplistic and rigid. I want my game to give me complexity and flexibility. I took the time to learn the system because I wanted to be able to create whichever character
I can picture in my minds eye. PF2 makes that impossible. PF classic has finally reached the point where everything is possible, but now they need to reboot it. I understand that the company cannot survive if they cannot sell me the next book. While I understand this, I do not have to support it.

TLDR I’m tapping out on the playtest. I’ll keep playing PF classic as long as I have people to play with. I’ll also secretly harbor the hope that some other company will rob the bank on PF classic the way Paizo did to WOTC

Grand Lodge

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It seems to me that you're not looking for a new edition and it's fair, if you're having fun with 1e. I hope you give 2E a chance when the final product is released.

Playtesting is not for everybody, specially if you're playing once or twice a month. Have fun!


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Been playing 2e twice a week with 40 year olds and also in my high school Tabletop Gaming Club with 15 year olds. The 40somes have been playing 5e previously and the kiddos have been Pathfinder... all agree Pathfinder 2e is becoming the better of the two. The game is fun and smooth as silk to play. No lie the THREE action rule is key to making this a very strong game.


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The more I GM in this playtest and read the forums, the more I see the importance of this target audience thing. Except for one or two outliers, all the people I've GM'ed to followerd this pattern:

People that REALLY like 3.5/PF1 either found this system too streamlined, lacking in options or just something in the likes of "it's okay but I'll stick with what I'm used to".

People that REALLY like 5e found the system too complex, too rules-heavy or disliked how much magic items affect the game.

And finally, people that weren't the big fans in the world of any of those, especially those who thought of both 3.5/PF1 as too complex and of 5e as too streamlined and uncustomizable. Those people were the ones that generally got VERY excited for PF2.

Of course everyone sees problems in the system, and it currently has a lot of them, and I do not work at Paizo to be sure of that. But... from my experience it looks like this third group, especially, is the target audience of PF2. Or at least they were the ones that got interested in it and excited a lot easier.


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Short of the "Can't have 18 Constitution" claim (which makes no sense, Barbarians should have +Constitution as an option instead of simply +Strength/Dexterity, and is broken by no measure), those are deliberate design choices, because it shouldn't be fair that a Wizard with 18 Strength is as strong and melee capable as a Fighter with 18 Strength. Maybe a later-installed Kineticist will make it possible, but short of that, I'm not seeing it.

The problem with making the surveys short (or more accurately, too short) is that it can skew playtest data in an uninformed fashion. If I didn't explain how X wasn't working right, and simply said "X doesn't work right," it doesn't demonstrate to the developers that X is an apparent issue that needs to be addressed. Granted, you could just keep the survey answers simple as I've described, but by that point you aren't providing much help to the developers by saying something isn't working as intended (when it very well may be).

To be fair, the plot of Doomsday Dawn being "Stop Starfinder from happening" is a pretty meta plot, so expecting the story to be fun or original isn't a realistic expectation with that in mind. Furthermore, if this sort of stuff isn't stress-tested, then it's hard to say what the limitations of the game can be, or is, which means the curve that the developers want to spin on the game (such as by determining what sort of math they want the standard to be) may not be the right one, and therefore makes for a failed product at launch.

Also keep in mind that while "your game" isn't broken, PF1 by-and-large is. Schrodinger's Wizard is a thing, and it's only a matter of time before that approaches your table and you're forced to step in and "fix" things. On top of that, dmerceless makes a relevant point; people who are solidly in PF1 or 5E camps have no real reason to abandon ship, because PF2 isn't introducing things that both camps don't already have. Simple gameplay? 5E has you covered. Complex options and customization? PF1 with their billion splatbooks has everything you need. I mean, those are players who actually like those games better than anything else out there, and still have fun playing those systems (5E being the big winner due to brand name and apparently better system design). As such, it's an unrealistic expectation for Paizo to think attracting those players is a wise decision, especially since they have stated in the past that PF2 wasn't meant to be competition for PF1, or 5E, or even SF.

Grand Lodge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Also keep in mind that while "your game" isn't broken, PF1 by-and-large is. Schrodinger's Wizard is a thing, and it's only a matter of time before that approaches your table and you're forced to step in and "fix" things.

Yes. Schrödinger's wizard is a thing. Specifically a strawman used to unfairly "demonstrate" why a system is broken.

It's not a thing that happens outside theorycraft.
"Stepping in an 'fixing' things" is the job of a GM of a flexible system like Pathfinder.


in◆⃟ wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Also keep in mind that while "your game" isn't broken, PF1 by-and-large is. Schrodinger's Wizard is a thing, and it's only a matter of time before that approaches your table and you're forced to step in and "fix" things.

Yes. Schrödinger's wizard is a thing. Specifically a strawman used to unfairly "demonstrate" why a system is broken.

It's not a thing that happens outside theorycraft.
"Stepping in an 'fixing' things" is the job of a GM of a flexible system like Pathfinder.

I wholeheartedly agree that stepping in and fixing things is the job of a GM. However having GMed PF1 for a few years and gone from strict RAW because I didn't have a clue hw to adjucate anything not clearly outlined in the rules (Seriously, I was SO dang rigid, not from unwillingness to open up but from inexperience and not knowing how to handle derailment or non-RAW stuff) to having an absolute LITANY of houserules, many to implement ideas I thought were cool, many to fix perceived issues, many to flip off feat taxes, and many to just make the game to be more enjoyable to my group, I can say this:

I LOVE PF2 in part because I feel like I have to do a LOT less to whip it into the shape that best suits my group. I ADORE the core chassis and math base and while I intend to institute multiple houserules the moment I am done with Doomsday Dawn (Should just be 3 more weeks!) I feel like far less of them are fixes as opposed to improvements for my group to have more fun, and they all feel like they will be much easier to figure out and implement.

So again, absolutely NO disagreement that it's the job of the GM to fix things. But I also don't take that as excuse for problems not being problems and I definitely am having fun with a system that feels like it's in a place that requires me to step in and fix a lot less.

Just my 2 cents.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Short of the "Can't have 18 Constitution" claim (which makes no sense, Barbarians should have +Constitution as an option instead of simply +Strength/Dexterity, and is broken by no measure), those are deliberate design choices, because it shouldn't be fair that a Wizard with 18 Strength is as strong and melee capable as a Fighter with 18 Strength. Maybe a later-installed Kineticist will make it possible, but short of that, I'm not seeing it.

The problem with making the surveys short (or more accurately, too short) is that it can skew playtest data in an uninformed fashion. If I didn't explain how X wasn't working right, and simply said "X doesn't work right," it doesn't demonstrate to the developers that X is an apparent issue that needs to be addressed. Granted, you could just keep the survey answers simple as I've described, but by that point you aren't providing much help to the developers by saying something isn't working as intended (when it very well may be).

To be fair, the plot of Doomsday Dawn being "Stop Starfinder from happening" is a pretty meta plot, so expecting the story to be fun or original isn't a realistic expectation with that in mind. Furthermore, if this sort of stuff isn't stress-tested, then it's hard to say what the limitations of the game can be, or is, which means the curve that the developers want to spin on the game (such as by determining what sort of math they want the standard to be) may not be the right one, and therefore makes for a failed product at launch.

Also keep in mind that while "your game" isn't broken, PF1 by-and-large is. Schrodinger's Wizard is a thing, and it's only a matter of time before that approaches your table and you're forced to step in and "fix" things. On top of that, dmerceless makes a relevant point; people who are solidly in PF1 or 5E camps have no real reason to abandon ship, because PF2 isn't introducing things that both camps don't already have. Simple gameplay? 5E has you covered. Complex options and customization? PF1 with their billion...

Okay, IDK what Schrodinger's Wizard is. I'm assuming a rocket tag reference maybe? But I laughed when I saw this because in the most LOLBroken PF game I have run there was a character named Schrodinger. Albino Catfolk. This was a game using a Pathfinder version of 3.5's Gestalt for all characters, hence the insane brokenness. Schrodinger was a Rogue/Wizard who eventually prestiged simultaneously into Master Spy and Arcane Trickster. Used the Knife Master archetype and Goggles of Sniping with Greater Invisibility to TWF throw Daggers with Sneak Attack 1d8+2 per two levels. To add insult, one party member got the spell Bestow Grace of the Champion and because Master Spy can alter their apparent alignment the CN Charismancer Rogue could get access to Smite Evil as a Paladin of 1/2 her level. And if Invisibility failed she was a master at feinting.

Like I know this is hilariously broken beyond anything legal because Gestalt but if we are talking about broken things that have Schrodinger and Wizard in the title...

As to the 18 Con, I agree that Barbarian should have that option. I think Paladin should too TBH. Ironically I made a thread on this very topic and almost every response was that we shouldn't bother because it would be a trap option. XD


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in◆⃟ wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Also keep in mind that while "your game" isn't broken, PF1 by-and-large is. Schrodinger's Wizard is a thing, and it's only a matter of time before that approaches your table and you're forced to step in and "fix" things.

Yes. Schrödinger's wizard is a thing. Specifically a strawman used to unfairly "demonstrate" why a system is broken.

It's not a thing that happens outside theorycraft.
"Stepping in an 'fixing' things" is the job of a GM of a flexible system like Pathfinder.

While Schrodinger's Wizard may not be a problem that affects real tables, the fact that spellcasters are leagues above martials for almost anything is. This is one of the main reasons I left PF1, and I know other people who have similar stories. Although things like CoDzilla are a little bit more difficult to make in Pathfinder than they were in 3.5, most martials are... at most equal to spellcasters in combat, and that if the martial is optimized for combat and the spellcaster isn't. And then you have out-of-combat utility, which I don't even need to compare.

What is "broken" depends a lot on the person speaking, but at least for me a system where a character can lag miles behind in what they can do just because he chose the "wrong" class is pretty broken. And that is not even considering outlier, crazy munchkin builds.

The point isn't to say Pathfinder 1 is bad, I really like it, and it was revolutionary at its time, but there are reasons why a lot of people think a new system is needed and/or welcome.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
PF2 wasn't meant to be competition for PF1

mission accomplished


in◆⃟ wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Also keep in mind that while "your game" isn't broken, PF1 by-and-large is. Schrodinger's Wizard is a thing, and it's only a matter of time before that approaches your table and you're forced to step in and "fix" things.

Yes. Schrödinger's wizard is a thing. Specifically a strawman used to unfairly "demonstrate" why a system is broken.

It's not a thing that happens outside theorycraft.
"Stepping in an 'fixing' things" is the job of a GM of a flexible system like Pathfinder.

Of course it's not a thing that happens outside theorycraft, because any sane GM would've curbed that sort of power well before it ever hit the table. An insane GM would've either ran it as RAW and fought fire with fire, or would've just thrown the "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies" card and abolish it that way.

And no, PF1 isn't any more flexible than any other system. A lot of things I could do as "fixes" for PF1 I could do for 5E or some other similar system, and say "It's just fine." The problem is, when I keep doing all of these fixes, am I really playing the same game as everyone else? No. Hell no. It's the reason why PFS is so vastly different from typical Pathfinder games, so that's clearly a bunch of hooey.


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dmerceless wrote:


The point isn't to say Pathfinder 1 is bad, I really like it, and it was revolutionary at its time, but there are reasons why a lot of people think a new system is needed and/or welcome.

I'll grant the latter, but PF1 was absolutely NOT revolutionary at its time. Not being revolutionary was entirely the point of PF, and how it gathered its initial player base.

Backwards compatibility was an actual mantra of PF1, and an ongoing source of many of the problems it had.


Voss wrote:
dmerceless wrote:


The point isn't to say Pathfinder 1 is bad, I really like it, and it was revolutionary at its time, but there are reasons why a lot of people think a new system is needed and/or welcome.

I'll grant the latter, but PF1 was absolutely NOT revolutionary at its time. Not being revolutionary was entirely the point of PF, and how it gathered its initial player base.

Backwards compatibility was an actual mantra of PF1, and an ongoing source of many of the problems it had.

Yeah, maybe revolutionary was a bad choice of wording since it was modified 3.5, but what I meant to say is that a lot of its modifications became staple and even inspired some things in the now very popular 5e, so it changed some concepts in the market at the time.


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dmerceless wrote:
Voss wrote:
dmerceless wrote:


The point isn't to say Pathfinder 1 is bad, I really like it, and it was revolutionary at its time, but there are reasons why a lot of people think a new system is needed and/or welcome.

I'll grant the latter, but PF1 was absolutely NOT revolutionary at its time. Not being revolutionary was entirely the point of PF, and how it gathered its initial player base.

Backwards compatibility was an actual mantra of PF1, and an ongoing source of many of the problems it had.

Yeah, maybe revolutionary was a bad choice of wording since it was modified 3.5, but what I meant to say is that a lot of its modifications became staple and even inspired some things in the now very popular 5e, so it changed some concepts in the market at the time.

Um? 5e always struck me as a throwback blend of 2e and a few bits and bobs from 3e and 4e.

Nothing really jumps out at me as being from PF- it was largely a rejection of that kind of complexity.


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Been gaming for almost 27 years and one thing I can say about Pathfinder 2e... it is the first game my players have used Perception or a Knowledge skill in battle... it is the first system, no one has gotten mad when I tell them they do not have weapons drawn... it is the first system where my gamers both the 40 year olds and the teens do something different every round... THREE fricken actions and every game someone does something neat... today it was the Quick draw feat, rogue used Stealth, Quick drew her heavy crossbow, dropped it and Quick drew her shortbow... 2nd level rogue and she got two sneak attacks and she is 14 years old. Everytime we play this game... the teens talk less about PF1e and the grown ups talk less about 5e... yes, there is nothing wrong with PF1e... I played it for four years and stopped because the power creep was awful and gamemastering was too complicated... then played four years of 5e and found I was making up too many rules and reading too many homebrewed stuff... so PF2e feels like a middle ground between too much math and not enough rules :)


Edge93 wrote:

Okay, IDK what Schrodinger's Wizard is. I'm assuming a rocket tag reference maybe? But I laughed when I saw this because in the most LOLBroken PF game I have run there was a character named Schrodinger. Albino Catfolk. This was a game using a Pathfinder version of 3.5's Gestalt for all characters, hence the insane brokenness. Schrodinger was a Rogue/Wizard who eventually prestiged simultaneously into Master Spy and Arcane Trickster. Used the Knife Master archetype and Goggles of Sniping with Greater Invisibility to TWF throw Daggers with Sneak Attack 1d8+2 per two levels. To add insult, one party member got the spell Bestow Grace of the Champion and because Master Spy can alter their apparent alignment the CN Charismancer Rogue could get access to Smite Evil as a Paladin of 1/2 her level. And if Invisibility failed she was a master at feinting.

Like I know this is hilariously broken beyond anything legal because Gestalt but if we are talking about broken things that have Schrodinger and Wizard in the title...

As to the 18 Con, I agree that Barbarian should have that option. I think Paladin should too TBH. Ironically I made a thread on this very topic and almost every response was that we shouldn't bother because it would be a trap option. XD

Schrodinger's Wizard is a popular build using the Exploiter archetype and the Quick Study power which let said characters "re-prepare" their Wizard spells to suit their needs. While the slots would still be expended and unusable as normal (fixed through Pearls of Power, of course), the main point is that a Wizard with a large amount of Arcane spells could theoretically be prepared for any situation as the need for his spells beckoned. This, combined with the amount of versatility and power spells already packed, made Schrodinger's Wizard one of the most powerful niches in the game.

It's only a trap in that Constitution doesn't do much more when pumped, but you're still required to have a staple amount of it to even live as a PC, and even moreso if you're a martial whose expectation is to get thumped hard and often. But for a Barbarian who doesn't care about AC, and actually gets more use out of Constitution compared to other classes (like the Rage feature for Temp HP actually scales with Constitution), I think it's silly that they can't get 18 Constitution.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Th OP has said their piece on the game, and while I appreciate the folk jumping in to defend the playtest, there is no need to continue this further.

To the OP, sorry you didn't have a good time in the playtest. Rest assured that 2nd edition will address some of the issues you mentioned. If not, I'm glad 1st ed will continue to provide ed you entertainment.

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