Have they got rid of +level to everything yet?


Second Edition

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The main reason I don't like + level is because hit points already scale with level. Having armor class and attack bonus also scale with levels makes low level monsters that much more irrelevant.


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Pookiebear wrote:
The main reason I don't like + level is because hit points already scale with level. Having armor class and attack bonus also scale with levels makes low level monsters that much more irrelevant.

1) Attack bonus always scaled with level, in many cases as fast or faster than it does now. AC also scaled based on the equipment you were expected to have.

2) Low level monsters were always meant to become less and less of a threat. This isn't a bag thing, and they still have a 9 level spread they can be used as part of an encounter.
3) You can adjust the level of monsters too.


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Pookiebear wrote:
The main reason I don't like + level is because hit points already scale with level. Having armor class and attack bonus also scale with levels makes low level monsters that much more irrelevant.

Try putting kobolds versus a lvl 5 character in PF1 and see how irrelevant they already were.


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Adjusting the level of monsters without having to grant class levels is such a huge benefit. I don't even want to think about how many Barbarian, Rogue and Fighter levels I gave out just to tune my encounters. Now I can differentiate goons and the upper crust of the monster encampment without resorting to Hero Lab.


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BryonD wrote:
They are way more complex games than 1E. Some I like and some I don't. When someone says that they like a more complex game than me, then I'm very much cool with that. But history shows that this model hit a sweet spot and was a huge success. There is no need to give away depth. And the playtest gave away a ton of depth.

The 'Sweet Spot' of 3.5e/PFRPG is a bit of a silly idea. Many of the players PFRPG are simply the 3.5 holdouts. I won't say it didn't bring in some new players, but nothing like 5e. 5e has sold more copies than every edition of D&D prior + Pathfinder. (And will most likely outsell every edition Pathfinder ever makes, if past history is an indication). It doesn't even seem to be slowing down right now. If there's a sweet spot, it's 5e.


Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
BryonD wrote:
They are way more complex games than 1E. Some I like and some I don't. When someone says that they like a more complex game than me, then I'm very much cool with that. But history shows that this model hit a sweet spot and was a huge success. There is no need to give away depth. And the playtest gave away a ton of depth.
The 'Sweet Spot' of 3.5e/PFRPG is a bit of a silly idea. Many of the players PFRPG are simply the 3.5 holdouts. I won't say it didn't bring in some new players, but nothing like 5e. 5e has sold more copies than every edition of D&D prior + Pathfinder. (And will most likely outsell every edition Pathfinder ever makes, if past history is an indication). It doesn't even seem to be slowing down right now. If there's a sweet spot, it's 5e.

Is that really true?

Better than AD&D at its height?

I know 5E is doing very well, but AD&D was a pretty serious phenomenon back in the day.

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thejeff wrote:

Is that really true?

Better than AD&D at its height?

I know 5E is doing very well, but AD&D was a pretty serious phenomenon back in the day.

While I have no data on this (and would be interested in seeing Shadrayl's), this is plausible in terms of absolute numbers. 5E is being sold in many more countries than AD&D was, and the population has risen significantly since AD&D's height.

I highly doubt it's true per capita in the USA.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Is that really true?

Better than AD&D at its height?

I know 5E is doing very well, but AD&D was a pretty serious phenomenon back in the day.

While I have no data on this (and would be interested in seeing Shadrayl's), this is plausible in terms of absolute numbers. 5E is being sold in many more countries than AD&D was, and the population has risen significantly since AD&D's height.

I highly doubt it's true per capita in the USA.

Feel free to Google it. Estimates put the number of 5e PHBs somewhere around 1 million 2 years ago. It's Amazon rating has stayed in the top 100 for the past several years, putting it likely in the 1.5 - 2 million range. At the 800k mark it had already outsold 3,3.5, and 4e. Accurate figures are hard to find for AD&D, but I've seen a lot of estimates of 1 -1.5 million. (Oh wait, that's the Red Box...)

Even with the difficulty of pinning down exact numbers on the old editions, it's pretty impossible at this point to claim any sort of 'sweet spot' in 3.5/PFRPG.

Pathfinder is a tiny drop in a D&D sea.


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thejeff wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
BryonD wrote:
They are way more complex games than 1E. Some I like and some I don't. When someone says that they like a more complex game than me, then I'm very much cool with that. But history shows that this model hit a sweet spot and was a huge success. There is no need to give away depth. And the playtest gave away a ton of depth.
The 'Sweet Spot' of 3.5e/PFRPG is a bit of a silly idea. Many of the players PFRPG are simply the 3.5 holdouts. I won't say it didn't bring in some new players, but nothing like 5e. 5e has sold more copies than every edition of D&D prior + Pathfinder. (And will most likely outsell every edition Pathfinder ever makes, if past history is an indication). It doesn't even seem to be slowing down right now. If there's a sweet spot, it's 5e.

Is that really true?

Better than AD&D at its height?

I know 5E is doing very well, but AD&D was a pretty serious phenomenon back in the day.

I believe I heard this from one of the WotC high ups (PF wasn’t included in his comment).

Of course, it was phrased vaguely (I remember thinking at the time that when I first read the statement, it sounded like number of units, but on reflection could have been nominal $ value).


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This is Mearls on 5e sales, August 2016. You have to extrapolate some stuff to the present, and guess at which figures are correct for old editions, but by any metric regarding TTRPGs, 5e is ridiculously successful.

Edit: He also makes clear in the comments there, he is definitely talking actual units.


Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:

This is Mearls on 5e sales, August 2016. You have to extrapolate some stuff to the present, and guess at which figures are correct for old editions, but by any metric regarding TTRPGs, 5e is ridiculously successful.

Edit: He also makes clear in the comments there, he is definitely talking actual units.

Though that tweet is specifically 3, 3.5 & 4.

He says when asked about AD&D "very hard to say - details are spotty at best".

No argument that 5e is ridiculously successful though.

And Deadmanwalking had a good point about larger population and more distribution outside the US. It could well have sold more overall, but have less market saturation in the US than AD&D did.


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thejeff wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:

This is Mearls on 5e sales, August 2016. You have to extrapolate some stuff to the present, and guess at which figures are correct for old editions, but by any metric regarding TTRPGs, 5e is ridiculously successful.

Edit: He also makes clear in the comments there, he is definitely talking actual units.

Though that tweet is specifically 3, 3.5 & 4.

He says when asked about AD&D "very hard to say - details are spotty at best".

No argument that 5e is ridiculously successful though.

And Deadmanwalking had a good point about larger population and more distribution outside the US. It could well have sold more overall, but have less market saturation in the US than AD&D did.

Very possible, but I've never seen an estimate for AD&D that's over 1.5 million copies, and 5e has still been selling like hot cakes in the years since that tweet. (At which point the estimate was around 800k - 1 million.) Based on the Amazon rankings, 5e sells as many copies each year as Pathfinder 1 has ever sold.

I'll stop derailing, though. My point was simply that using popularity of 3.5/PF1 as a metric of people's taste for complexity is pretty silly, as it has been massively outsold by a much simpler system.


If we are going to talk market saturation, one imagines 5e also has a lot more competition than AD&D did. There are many RPG options now.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
If we are going to talk market saturation, one imagines 5e also has a lot more competition than AD&D did. There are many RPG options now.

We have a lot of RPGs today, but a glance at some of the first years of Dragon Magazine shows the 80s were saturated with a lot of gaming crap as well.

Also, we shouldn't continue to discuss this...

---

I'm worried about Equipment a lot this edition. The boost to proficiency tiers boost is too big, and items being inconsistent with that would probably be ok, but defeats the purpose of the universal system.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
If we are going to talk market saturation, one imagines 5e also has a lot more competition than AD&D did. There are many RPG options now.

We have a lot of RPGs today, but a glance at some of the first years of Dragon Magazine shows the 80s were saturated with a lot of gaming crap as well.

Also, we shouldn't continue to discuss this...

---

I'm worried about Equipment a lot this edition. The boost to proficiency tiers boost is too big, and items being inconsistent with that would probably be ok, but defeats the purpose of the universal system.

I'm at the point where I'm waiting to see the full thing. Individual mechanics in isolation are just too tempting for me to go overboard on expecting the worst.

Mostly, I'm just really disappointed in the way they went on equipment in general, as I've always hated D&D's item treadmill. The ability to almost completely ignore items is my favourite part of 5e.

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Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
If we are going to talk market saturation, one imagines 5e also has a lot more competition than AD&D did. There are many RPG options now.

We have a lot of RPGs today, but a glance at some of the first years of Dragon Magazine shows the 80s were saturated with a lot of gaming crap as well.

Also, we shouldn't continue to discuss this...

---

I'm worried about Equipment a lot this edition. The boost to proficiency tiers boost is too big, and items being inconsistent with that would probably be ok, but defeats the purpose of the universal system.

I'm at the point where I'm waiting to see the full thing. Individual mechanics in isolation are just too tempting for me to go overboard on expecting the worst.

Mostly, I'm just really disappointed in the way they went on equipment in general, as I've always hated D&D's item treadmill. The ability to almost completely ignore items is my favourite part of 5e.

As the spearhead behind us putting Automatic Bonus Progression into Unchained, the ability to extremely easily institute a variant with no items / only random "fun" items is an important part of PF2's design to me. You do need to use a (fairly simple) variant (which we'll be releasing relatively soon after the main launch but we made it easy enough that I'm sure you guys will figure it out beforehand).


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
If we are going to talk market saturation, one imagines 5e also has a lot more competition than AD&D did. There are many RPG options now.

We have a lot of RPGs today, but a glance at some of the first years of Dragon Magazine shows the 80s were saturated with a lot of gaming crap as well.

Also, we shouldn't continue to discuss this...

---

I'm worried about Equipment a lot this edition. The boost to proficiency tiers boost is too big, and items being inconsistent with that would probably be ok, but defeats the purpose of the universal system.

I'm at the point where I'm waiting to see the full thing. Individual mechanics in isolation are just too tempting for me to go overboard on expecting the worst.

Mostly, I'm just really disappointed in the way they went on equipment in general, as I've always hated D&D's item treadmill. The ability to almost completely ignore items is my favourite part of 5e.

As the spearhead behind us putting Automatic Bonus Progression into Unchained, the ability to extremely easily institute a variant with no items / only random "fun" items is an important part of PF2's design to me. You do need to use a (fairly simple) variant (which we'll be releasing relatively soon after the main launch but we made it easy enough that I'm sure you guys will figure it out beforehand).

I would favorite this twice if I could. NOW I CANT WAIT O_O!!!!

Paizo Employee Designer

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ChibiNyan wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
If we are going to talk market saturation, one imagines 5e also has a lot more competition than AD&D did. There are many RPG options now.

We have a lot of RPGs today, but a glance at some of the first years of Dragon Magazine shows the 80s were saturated with a lot of gaming crap as well.

Also, we shouldn't continue to discuss this...

---

I'm worried about Equipment a lot this edition. The boost to proficiency tiers boost is too big, and items being inconsistent with that would probably be ok, but defeats the purpose of the universal system.

I'm at the point where I'm waiting to see the full thing. Individual mechanics in isolation are just too tempting for me to go overboard on expecting the worst.

Mostly, I'm just really disappointed in the way they went on equipment in general, as I've always hated D&D's item treadmill. The ability to almost completely ignore items is my favourite part of 5e.

As the spearhead behind us putting Automatic Bonus Progression into Unchained, the ability to extremely easily institute a variant with no items / only random "fun" items is an important part of PF2's design to me. You do need to use a (fairly simple) variant (which we'll be releasing relatively soon after the main launch but we made it easy enough that I'm sure you guys will figure it out beforehand).
I would favorite this twice if I could. NOW I CANT WAIT O_O!!!!

To make sure I was clear (which I'm pretty sure but just in case): This is not in the Core; that is to say, the core game still has item bonuses and such. But it's very easy to remove them, and we will be releasing info on how to do that later on but on the sooner end.


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I 100% agree that 5E has blown away prior editions.

It is an outstanding game and has learned a great deal from the successes and failures of other games over the past couple decades.

There are still tons of "simple" games that have fallen by the wayside.

Also, keep in mind that late 3E, or at least late 3E-era Wotc, was frequently mocked because better product was coming from other companies. The ton of D20 crap/glut notwithstanding, there was enough great stuff coming out to put a dent in WotC's share. Which still isn't to say that 5E isn't outselling all of that combined. It may be. It probably is. Hell, the population has grown and the "geek chic" thing is still on an upswing. D&D is much more accepted than it was even in the 2000s. There are a ton of factors and it is impossible to parse it all out.

But certain facts remain.
3E was a huge hit. At its height it was receiving criticism that its market dominance was shutting down innovation because everybody was doing D20 stuff.
Pathfinder is the only game (aside from a brief instant for WoD)that has ever knocked the D&D brand off the top.
4E was trumpeted as an easy to DM, easy to learn, low entry point game. And it failed.

If simplicity over complexity alone was the answer, then 3E would have crashed and burned. Pathfinder would have never existed. And 4E would have been monstrously successful.

Yes, 5E is simpler than 3E/PF. But there is a great deal of depth there and it is a step away from the low entry bar of 4E. But, more importantly, it is simply an awesome game. all indications are that, within reason, complexity is a plus for success. But that is not remotely the only lever. 5E is awesome in a lot of ways.

Now step back and take a fair, honest look at the conversations going on and compare them to the run up to 4E and the run up to 5E. The playtest 2E (and I still consider it vitally important that we don't know a great deal about the final 2e) is described by both advocates and detractors in terms and concepts that strongly mirror the conversations in the run up to 4E. And 4E fans who loved "simple low entry" still to this day decry 5E as a "step backward" (the massive success having no impact on their assessment).

I'm not a defender of sticking with 1E. It is **OLD** and outdated. Now, *I* still love it. But the marketplace has left it behind and I'm entirely open to a great new game.

For my taste, the product reflected in the playtest was not remotely great. And, again, the tone of debate is disturbingly similar to pre-4E. Right down to the "thats just an anecdote, the professionals know what they are doing" The plural of anecdote is data.

My point regarding pro-complexity is just one of many lines of evidence. And, in this case, was in response to the suggestion that less complexity itself was a boon.

Will 2E be awesome? I hope so and I truly don't know. But the debates here still center around the ideas intrinsic to the playtest becasue we know so little else. 4E had a low entry barrier, but in so doing it drove fans flocking away. It didn't remotely compensate.

I expect that ANY 2E is going to be streamlined compared to 1E. Fine. Make it awesome like 5E and it will do very well. I see tons of differences between 2E and 4E, but the heart of the approach is very similar and the responses for and against are practically identical. For good reason.

Bottom line, you can't just take that one topic, point at 5E and ignore everything else. One thing 2E is not is 5E.


To be clear on one point, I'm not saying it should seek to actively copy 5E. When I say "awesome like 5E", it can be a very distinct game, but it needs other awesome things (the 3 action economy and crit/crit fail approach are a good start, IMO).


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Mostly, I'm just really disappointed in the way they went on equipment in general, as I've always hated D&D's item treadmill. The ability to almost completely ignore items is my favourite part of 5e.
As the spearhead behind us putting Automatic Bonus Progression into Unchained, the ability to extremely easily institute a variant with no items / only random "fun" items is an important part of PF2's design to me. You do need to use a (fairly simple) variant (which we'll be releasing relatively soon after the main launch but we made it easy enough that I'm sure you guys will figure it out beforehand).

This is great to hear and I am glad pestering you guys is bringing some results :)

...I might still write down a very early "bridging" version for those who just can't wait.

<3 u

(and also: if this is in a sort of GM guide together with custom monster rules and a couple other things I've heard you mention, it might just become my favourite book)


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The argument that 4E’s low entry barrier vs Pathfinder’s complexity in no way takes into account a major factor: the 10 years of growth and change to the marketplace. 4E may not have brought a plurality of new players to the hobby, and to be frank neither did PF1 - it serving more as the safe haven for those fleeing the unfamiliar ground. 5E damn sure did bring a lot of new people into the hobby and some of those people have found their way to PF1 and felt that it had a barrier to entry.

PF2 doesn’t have to respond to 4E’s criticism of 3.5’s complexity and book bloat so it is irrelevant to bring that shop worn argument up. What it has to speak to is the additional complexity and book bloat that PF1 built around itself in its 10 years.

PF2’s Playtest didn’t play like 4E, so constantly using 4E as some sort of benchmark in your comparison is disingeniuous. And the similarity of arguments both for and against 4E and PF2 doesn’t prove the connection you think it does. What that tells me is that the players who were unwilling to try 4E migrated to PF1, and the people who were willing migrated (like I did) shortly after their enjoyment of 4E wore off. And now the same exact people are rehashing the same argument along the same dividing lines 10 years later.

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BryonD wrote:

But certain facts remain.

3E was a huge hit. At its height it was receiving criticism that its market dominance was shutting down innovation because everybody was doing D20 stuff.
Pathfinder is the only game (aside from a brief instant for WoD)that has ever knocked the D&D brand off the top.
4E was trumpeted as an easy to DM, easy to learn, low entry point game. And it failed.

4E had several deep and abiding problems involving both presentation and mechanics which it seems extremely unlikely for PF2 to duplicate. Saying that PF2 will have problems because 4E did is every bit as inaccurate as saying it won't because 5E didn't (which, for the record, I agree is inaccurate).

PF2 will be its own game, and we'll see how well it does, but I think the evidence is pretty good that it will not be quite as problematic as 4E. For one thing, a fairly significant minority of people are primarily invested in Pathfinder for the APs and adventures and always have been, and those people will absolutely stay as long as the system isn't completely terrible. For another, part of what hurt 4E was all the people deserting ship as 3PP deserted due to the license changing...which is simply not gonna happen since they don't seem to be changing the license.

Does that mean it will be successful? I have no idea, but it makes 4E a rather poor comparison since the two do not seem particularly equivalent.

BryonD wrote:
The plural of anecdote is data.

No. No, it is not. Data is acquired in a rigorous fashion, while anecdotes are not. 1000 anecdotes are meaningless if there is no control for selection biases and similar things.

Sales figures are a form of data, but anecdotes? Not so much.

BryonD wrote:
My point regarding pro-complexity is just one of many lines of evidence. And, in this case, was in response to the suggestion that less complexity itself was a boon.

Less complexity, in and of itself, is a boon. What it is not is a panacea that fixes other systemic issues. A simple bad game remains a bad game...but the simplicity in and of itself makes it less bad than it would be if it were a complex bad game.

Now, additional options and mechanical distinctiveness, for example, are positive advantages that, as is discussed above, must be bought with increased complexity, but the increased complexity is a cost a downside that must be used to pay for certain upsides, not a good thing in its own right.


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What DMW said. BD, do you even know the definition of anecdote or anything about even basic research methodology?


Mark Seifter wrote:
To make sure I was clear (which I'm pretty sure but just in case): This is not in the Core; that is to say, the core game still has item bonuses and such. But it's very easy to remove them, and we will be releasing info on how to do that later on but on the sooner end.

There's been a lot of mention of variant rules coming soon after the main release. One question I have (which you might not be at liberty to answer) is how compatible will these variants be with upcoming material such as adventure paths and additional items, rules, classes etc? How much modification would be needed to use the newer content?


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Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
If there's a sweet spot, it's 5e.

What PF2 needs to do is find a secondary complexity sweet spot; just complicated enough that it allows for more depth than 5e, without being so complicated it drives new players away. (There might also be another sweet spot of 'simpler than 5e but just complex enough that you can have a satisfying campaign', but I don't think that's what Pathfinder is about.)


Ediwir wrote:


...I might still write down a very early "bridging" version for those who just can't wait.

Call me one of those. =)


5E seems to currently have another advantage.
In the last year, in all of the social networks I'm in were popping up people that started Pen&Paper-RPGing because of an appearantly very popular video-podcast (CriticalRole). And they chose 5E because that was what the podcast played, it was the entry point.

I don't know how big that influence really is - all I can see is that big surge of people starting to play and liking that podcast.

I would understand WotC if they held the CR people at gunpoint to never change their playing system.

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I'd be cautious about attributing much of 5es success to its design. Most of 5es success comes from the rise of video game streaming and the idea of watching a game played rather than playing it coming to prominence. A couple of prominent streaming groups took it on and then it exploded.
5e being lighter in design and less tactical than 3.5/Pathfinder/4e was an advantage in the role of a spectators game. Specifically intense tactical combat isn't much fun to watch unless you are very invested but its a hell of a lot of fun to play.
Personally I'm not at all a fan of 5e, but I see why it appeals to people.


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It's also quite possible that 5e's success is due largely to its design, but not at the extremely broad scale of it being less complex.
At the more finicky level of how the pieces work together.

You can have a well-designed complex game and a badly designed simple game. 5E may just be its thing done very well.

Add to that the huge name recognition and the publicity - including the streaming.


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It’s a little reductive to say that the games success is almost exclusively due to streaming campaigns and people enjoying it as a spectator. That fails to take into account the PHB sales (pure spectators don’t go out and buy as many copies as have been sold.) It also fails to take into account the groundswell of new players in forums across the internet.

I’d be cautious to be so dismissive of what is happening with 5e. You don’t have to be a fan of it personally to see that it is bringing new players to the hobby in a way that the 20 year old 3.0/3.5/PF1 didn’t.

Handwaving all of that away and attributing the majority of its success to Critical Roll and Geek & Sundry kind of just sounds like sour grapes.


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masda_gib wrote:

5E seems to currently have another advantage.

In the last year, in all of the social networks I'm in were popping up people that started Pen&Paper-RPGing because of an appearantly very popular video-podcast (CriticalRole). And they chose 5E because that was what the podcast played, it was the entry point.

I don't know how big that influence really is - all I can see is that big surge of people starting to play and liking that podcast.

I would understand WotC if they held the CR people at gunpoint to never change their playing system.

Yeah, and their home game before the stream started was actually PF1e. Imagine how different the market would be if they didn't swap over to 5e when they started streaming. I imagine if PF2 was out at the time, they would probably have not switched to D&D, since PF2s mechanics are a lot more accessible and that's one of the big reasons they switched to 5e for the stream.

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3rd edition D&D actually brought a ton of new gamers in and the d20 glut was a real force in early 2000s. Now that eventually crashed but Pathfinder dominated the late 2000s/early 2010s for a reason and that was appealing to that large demographic. However 5th ed hasn't crashed yet, so going after the 5e playerbase seems premature.

The reason I link the rise of 5e to streaming is that the initial 5e launch was tepid with a very small publishing schedule and a greatly reduced team (they had to delay a book nearly a year because a staff member got jury duty). It was intended to be a low key edition to keep things ticking over. Then it caught on in streaming and exploded. Take away streaming and people would be asking about 6th ed right about now.

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To take this back to scaling a little, the virtue of the +1 level system, means that an Ogre at 1st level is a dangerous threat, but at 7th you'll mill through a large number of them demonstrating your characters increasing power. This ties into the new critical hit system, where despite their substantial hit points, you'll reliably crit them making them faster to take down turning them into just big mooks.

Thats a virtue narrowly bounded accuracy misses out on and while some people find treadmilling "silly" it has advantages in the rules and provides valuable tangible rewards for leveling triggering that old dopamine hit.

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HidaOWin wrote:
Then it caught on in streaming and exploded. Take away streaming and people would be asking about 6th ed right about now.

Who would ask? All the new people who came into the hobby and who really don't care what edition are they playing, how are the other editions, which one is superior, what are the merits of magic missile hitting automatically as an expression of Respect and Honour for True Traditions and Staying True by Real Fans as opposed to 4th ed's PHB magic missile requiring a roll to hit and thus NOT RESPECTING THE FEELINGS OF ACTUALLY TRUE FANS *cries, hyperventilates*


dirtypool wrote:

It’s a little reductive to say that the games success is almost exclusively due to streaming campaigns and people enjoying it as a spectator. That fails to take into account the PHB sales (pure spectators don’t go out and buy as many copies as have been sold.) It also fails to take into account the groundswell of new players in forums across the internet.

I’d be cautious to be so dismissive of what is happening with 5e. You don’t have to be a fan of it personally to see that it is bringing new players to the hobby in a way that the 20 year old 3.0/3.5/PF1 didn’t.

Handwaving all of that away and attributing the majority of its success to Critical Roll and Geek & Sundry kind of just sounds like sour grapes.

I did absolutely not want to dismiss 5Es success only to streaming. I think it's a strong system.

It was more a comment of "These are different times now".

With streaming and social media more wide ranging than in 2000, one successful stream can bring a huge influx of new players. But it depends on the game wether those players stay or realize that the game is crap and leave.
And with 5E those new players seem to have fun.

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Gorbacz wrote:
HidaOWin wrote:
Then it caught on in streaming and exploded. Take away streaming and people would be asking about 6th ed right about now.
Who would ask? All the new people who came into the hobby and who really don't care what edition are they playing, how are the other editions, which one is superior, what are the merits of magic missile hitting automatically as an expression of Respect and Honour for True Traditions and Staying True by Real Fans as opposed to 4th ed's PHB magic missile requiring a roll to hit and thus NOT RESPECTING THE FEELINGS OF ACTUALLY TRUE FANS *cries, hyperventilates*

Without streaming making 5e super popular, they never would have done the books they are currently doing. Look at its release schedule, what other RPG in history has had its release schedule massively accelerate 3 years after release? Usually its front loaded or consistent.

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What streaming did was show people how fun the game is. Because face it kids, RPGs are still largely a socially unacceptable hobby. It's not cars, sports, music or heck, even cooking. It's not a hobby seen as appropriate for an adult person.

You won't mention it at a family gathering if you're 25+, because people will think that you're immature. I won't. I'm a lawyer and an academic, married and independent financially, in my late 30s. People expect me to obsess about cars, watch socc...football and listen to soft jazz while drinking Scotch. They won't understand that I don't care about cars or sports, I listen to dark ambient and play a game of pretending to be an elf who plunders dungeons and fights advanced toad demons.

But that's changing, because three things happened. First, speculative fiction went mainstream. LotR and Harry Potter fired the first shots, but both were "for kids" in the public eye. Then came the Game of Thrones and flipped the table, showing adult-oriented fantasy that found wide appeal. With that, the Millennials, the people who grew up watching Transformers and anime, got their first big paychecks and reached the age where nostalgia kicks in. Cue my Transformers t-shirts and coffee mugs.

Second, board games went mainstream. Thanks to the likes of Catan, Carcassone and Ticket to Ride, board games are now a mostly socially acceptable pastime, even among non-gaming adults. You can walk into a board game cafe in a big city and see adult people duke it out in Azul while their kids play some Dobble. RPGs are adjacent to board games, so they benefit from that shift as well.

Third, Critical Role happened and showed that RPGs are not only about sad man-children poring over a grid with minis in one guy's basement, as the society viewed RPGs before. CR showed that it's about imagination, playing out the character, building jointly a narrative (notice that CR is a bit off towards the narrativist spectrum of RPGing as apposed to gamist-simulationist default of 3ed D&D). People have seen Matt Mercer and his crew have damn good fun and want to have the same fun, too.

So they're pouring into the hobby. This has consequences. The hobby will become gradually more and more socially acceptable and free from all its stigmas. There will be a new breed of gamers - more casual, less rules-oriented, playing theatre of mind and not caring about FAQs, erratas, edition wars, caster-martial disparities, Ashiel and Frank Trollman. 5e is a game that's perfectly suited to their needs. PF1? Not at all.

Those people don't want to have to consult the 106-page Complete Guide to Vigilante in order to know how to build their character, they expect the game to present them with a manageable array of viable choices on each level. 5e mostly gives them that, except a) the amount of choices is on a low side, likely because WotC erred a bit too far on the safe side when it comes to PC customization and b) WotC doesn't do setting/adventure support nearly as good as Paizo does. These are the two areas where PF2 has a chance to draw those new people in. PF1 won't appeal to them in the slightest, and it was bleeding playerbase long before PF2 was announced, so there' that.

Of course, the above leads to backlash which we could see in full during the Playtest. A small but vocal part of "old" playerbase will resist the change, decrying it as dumbing down their beloved hobby in order to let filthy casuals in. These backlashers are, ironically, after preserving the status quo of pnp RPGs as a closed, socially unaccepted hobby, because in their eyes they're the creme de la creme of that tiny, closed group, well above "stupid people who don't do math and don't care to read 4500 feats while making their character".

As it was with every hobby going mainstream, the backlashers are doomed, but that won't stop them from going on about how their True Feelings Weren't Honoured by a Company That Swore to Do Right By Them. We just gotta grit our teeth through this.


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Gorbacz wrote:
4th ed's PHB magic missile requiring a roll to hit and thus NOT RESPECTING THE FEELINGS OF ACTUALLY TRUE FANS *cries, hyperventilates*

Hold up. Was that true? Magic Missile requiring a roll to hit is unironically dog-dookie.


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HidaOWin wrote:
3rd edition D&D actually brought a ton of new gamers in and the d20 glut was a real force in early 2000s. Now that eventually crashed but Pathfinder dominated the late 2000s/early 2010s for a reason and that was appealing to that large demographic. However 5th ed hasn't crashed yet, so going after the 5e player base seems premature.

I worked in the industry during the launch of 3.5 and the D20 glut. 3.5 was a pretty solid revolution at the time for D&D that really created a lot of buzz. However there is a good reason for the d20 glut that came after it and that was the predatory nature of what was happening in the industry at the time. Most of D&Ds competition that wasn't d20 based was being bought out and shelved or if you were a small publisher the distributors all but demanded you put out a d20 based product or you would be hard pressed to get distribution.

A good bit of why I became a loyal Paizo fan and customer was because of what I saw happen to a lot of friends and games I loved. Its a business after all but not a fun time to have been in business. Paizo was one of the few that succeeded at sticking it to the man so to speak and survive the 3.5 gaming apocalypse lol.

D&D is just hard ingrained in RP culture. If you grew up playing RPGs in the late 60s - 70s like I did then you cut your teeth on it. It's always going to hold a special place in the market because its the Tolkien of RPGs so to speak, they did it first, best and really set the stage for what was to come next. 4E I think suffered not only from bad design decisions but from PR backlash of that 3.5 break that left a bad taste in a lot of the customer bases mouth. 5E seems like a solid product though and im glad to see some diversity in rules systems returning to the RPG landscape. The everything must be 3.5 era sucked from the perspective of a small publisher or a fan of unique rules systems.


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HidaOWin wrote:
3rd edition D&D actually brought a ton of new gamers in and the d20 glut was a real force in early 2000s.

Not nearly as many as 5e currently has. The industry as a whole grew 40% beyond its largest known scale because of 5e.

Quote:
Now that eventually crashed but Pathfinder dominated the late 2000s/early 2010s for a reason and that was appealing to that large demographic.

1. Sales compressed in the mid to late 2000's but not anywhere near enough to call it a "crash" and not anywhere near enough that you can imply that the 2000's boom was bigger than the 5e boom.

2.Pathfinder came out at the tail end of 2009 and sold very well, but didn't "dominate" until 2011 - so it in no way dominated the late 2000s. What it did was provide an alternative for those that didn't want to change to 4e and a longer shelf life for those who found 4e lacking.

Quote:
However 5th ed hasn't crashed yet, so going after the 5e playerbase seems premature.

If all Pathfinder is going to do is bat cleanup on pissed off or underserved D&D fans, then Paizo should cut off the lights now - because waiting to pick up crashed out 5e players is a business model that sustains nothing. There is an influx of people to the industry because of 5e, they've been actively playing and buying games now for FIVE YEARS. It's not premature to start thinking of them as potential customers. It's also not premature to start thinking of those players as your peers in this hobby.

Quote:
The reason I link the rise of 5e to streaming is that the initial 5e launch was tepid with a very small publishing schedule and a greatly reduced team

No the reason you link the rise of 5e to streaming is so that you can gatekeep and dismiss 5e players as not the same kind of players as us. It's "premature to go after that market" of players who "watch games rather than play themselves." You go out of your way in two posts to use as much language as possible to define them as vastly different than us and therefore immaterial to the discussion of how a new edition of this game should reach out to new players. T'hey're not playing a good game they're just playing "the streaming game" so 5e isn't actually doing anything right and PF2 should just ignore them completely and give me an even crunchier PF1 experience.' It's dismissive and counterproductive.

Quote:
(they had to delay a book nearly a year because a staff member got jury duty).

They had to delay a conversion guide for older edition materials because the rights and approvals person clearing the licenses for TSR and 3PP published materials was on a several months long jury. The adventure books were coming out on schedule, it was selling well it was not "tepid" nor was it a "low key edition to keep things ticking over." It was the 40th Anniversary Edition of D&D and it was hyped to hell, built up over the length of the DNDNow Playtest and claiming otherwise is disingenuous.

Quote:
Take away streaming and people would be asking about 6th ed right about now.

You can't armchair quarterback something like that. Could be without the streaming the whole industry would have compressed to near nothing. Could be without the streaming the big thing would have been Fantasy Flight's GeneSys. Could be without Pathfinder halving the playerbase by putting 3.75 on the market WoTC would have reexamined 4E sooner and created a version of 5E that only appealed to entrenched fans and the whole industry could be dead today. Coulda, shoulda, woulda's aren't reality.

None of which changes the current need for cleaner entry point to Pathfinder for new players.


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Wow.

You know a discussion is serious business when our resident Bag of Devouring posts a serious, multi-paragraph post that's barely snarky at all. Gorbacz, I didn't know you had it in you. :P

Good post and good points, by the way.


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WatersLethe wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
4th ed's PHB magic missile requiring a roll to hit and thus NOT RESPECTING THE FEELINGS OF ACTUALLY TRUE FANS *cries, hyperventilates*
Hold up. Was that true? Magic Missile requiring a roll to hit is unironically dog-dookie.

It was true for a while, but then a rules update came out and changed it back...while also nerfing the damage it did. All in all, a mistake.

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A few thoughts:

-I think people make a bit too much out of Pathfinder temporarily outselling D&D. It was a good indicator that Pathfinder was a huge success, but probably just as big an indicator that D&D was not in a healthy state.

-I suspect that Pathfinder can thrive even if it never sees sales like D&D currently has.

-That said, I and almost nobody else has the knowledge to judge how successful these games are. Very little data is made public. The stuff we do have access to, like ICV2 rankings, are based on anecdotal information and don't factor in direct sale channels. Amazon rankings are notoriously unreliable when trying to gauge actual sales. We can assume that 5th edition D&D is a huge hit because it made enough of a sales impact to get mention during Hasbro board meetings, and we can assume that 1st edition Pathfinder was a big hit based on how Paizo grew and branched out in the years following its release. But for the most part, we're in the dark due to the way the industry works.

-To bring this back to the +1/level thing, I think it's probably important in terms of keeping the fiction of the setting consistent. D&D didn't really have the problem switching to bounded accuracy because it routinely blew up the multiverse with each edition change so they could effectively rewrite the laws of physics. If Pathfinder wants to keep a consistent feel between editions, making it so an assembled goblin clan could conceivably pose a threat to a runelord might not be the best way to do it.

-I do hope that bounded accuracy gets introduced as an optional rule at some point, because I'd love to fiddle with it. But I think it was a good idea not to make it a core assumption because, among other things, I don't think being "almost like D&D but not really" would make the system as appealing.

-All of this is from a perspective far removed from the sales side of RPGs, so I might be off-base on any number of these assumptions.


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Charlie Brooks wrote:
-I do hope that bounded accuracy gets introduced as an optional rule at some point, because I'd love to fiddle with it. But I think it was a good idea not to make it a core assumption because, among other things, I don't think being "almost like D&D but not really" would make the system as appealing.

One of the things that seems very likely to make it into PF2 is that since the mathematical underpinnings of the system are barely obfuscated, it makes it very easy to change things to make the game how you like it.

Like "Level" appears in only one place in the math- in the proficiency modifer. So if you wanted to change it to .5xlevel or 8xLevel for a particular game feel, it's obvious how to do that.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
-I do hope that bounded accuracy gets introduced as an optional rule at some point, because I'd love to fiddle with it. But I think it was a good idea not to make it a core assumption because, among other things, I don't think being "almost like D&D but not really" would make the system as appealing.

One of the things that seems very likely to make it into PF2 is that since the mathematical underpinnings of the system are barely obfuscated, it makes it very easy to change things to make the game how you like it.

Like "Level" appears in only one place in the math- in the proficiency modifer. So if you wanted to change it to .5xlevel or 8xLevel for a particular game feel, it's obvious how to do that.

Obvious how to do it. Not nearly so obvious what the consequences are and how the balance changes.


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thejeff wrote:
Obvious how to do it. Not nearly so obvious what the consequences are and how the balance changes.

It should be pretty safe to do this though, since everything with a proficiency modifier is opposed by something else with one (Attack vs. AC, Skill v. Skill DC, Spell DC vs. Saves, etc.).

So the only thing that will happen with slower progression is "a wider range of levels are appropriate threats" whereas with faster progression you would have a narrower range.

Like you could add 100,000,000xLevel and it would be fine provided you only fight antagonists of your own level (anything higher would kill you instantly, and anything lower would be no threat.)

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Just for clarities sake as I've been accused of trying to gatekeep RPGs and hating newbies, I don't care a bit who plays what game, let anyone play any game they like.

What I don't want is for any game to cargo cult 5Es design decisions in the hope it'll lead to a vastly bigger audience because I don't think it will and I don't think 5E is a terribly good RPG. 5E was the right game at the right time, but then so was Settlers of Catan which helped launch the boardgame revolution which has thankfully steadily increased the quality of boardgames to the point that Settlers is a very mediocre game in comparison to more recent offerings.

Basically I don't want retrograde steps and copying the current big game only works if you can outdo the current big game in prominence. I'd also like RPG design to keep advancing and improving.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Obvious how to do it. Not nearly so obvious what the consequences are and how the balance changes.

It should be pretty safe to do this though, since everything with a proficiency modifier is opposed by something else with one (Attack vs. AC, Skill v. Skill DC, Spell DC vs. Saves, etc.).

So the only thing that will happen with slower progression is "a wider range of levels are appropriate threats" whereas with faster progression you would have a narrower range.

Like you could add 100,000,000xLevel and it would be fine provided you only fight antagonists of your own level (anything higher would kill you instantly, and anything lower would be no threat.)

Right. As long as the levels are the same, it doesn't matter. But how much does it adjust when you're fighting things outside of your level.

How many creatures 5 levels lower than you are a good match without + Level? If a APL+3 enemy is a serious challenge with +Level, how many do you need without it? Does it scale up smoothly or do you start hitting enemies with abilities you can't cope with that you could beat just on the pure numbers?

You're mucking around with game balance and it's not that simple.

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