How much effect did D&D 4E have on the development of PF 2E anyway?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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I say it's still to early to count the data, even 4e lasted a while before they called quits. So until the grace period is over and they dont release massive changes to the core rules, then yes customers have deemed it an improvement; how big isn't really relevant.


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Temperans wrote:
I say it's still to early to count the data, even 4e lasted a while before they called quits. So until the grace period is over and they dont release massive changes to the core rules, then yes customers have deemed it an improvement; how big isn't really relevant.

Oh I was talking specifically about whether global trends in game design are improvements, not PF2 specific implementation of design.


MaxAstro wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
At least one person on these forums is convinced that 2e is a sneaky attempt by the designers of 4e to spring their terrible ideas upon us all again even if it means financial ruin for Paizo.
Please tell us who this person is! They’re even more extreme then me!

All I will say is that said person owes me an apology if PF2e is successful two years from now (and, to be fair, I owe them one if it is not).

As far as the rest of this thread... *taps keyboard macro* I agree with everything Deadmanwalking said.

:P

Have you agreed how you quantify “successful two years from now”

Because if it is:

- outselling 5E : then that was a bad bet for you to take
- still producing content : probably a bad bet for them to take as i assume they won’t give up that quickly

I am intrigued


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I think “number of Paizo staff” is a good coarse metric for the health of the company (from the outside).


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How many staff are there are the moment ?

*

Regarding one of the earlier posts about it being stupid to outright copy the system that PF1 grew as a reaction to - not only do I agree that this accurate and the reason that would not have explicitly happened it is also incredibly insulting to the developers that have put a lot of work initially and conducting and analysing a playtest to make this system


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Lanathar wrote:
How many staff are there are the moment ?

There’s various ways to count them (there used to be a webpage, but I think they’ve closed that down). I’d suggest the listing on the front page of AP145 vs the same listing in AP169.


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Cydeth wrote:


Of all things, it was the art that nearly drove me away from PF2. I figure I'll get the first few books, then make a decision.

I wonder if your dislike of the art comes from the playtest rulebook or the recently published blogs?

I, too, was put off by the playtest rulebook art by WR, it seemed to me like a downgrade compared to his own work on PF1. But then the art from the recent blog posts and last night's Bestiary leaks on Reddit is absolutely gorgeous as I've come to expect from Paizo and generally I like it better than the first PF1 hardcovers.

Disclaimer: I have no doubts that WR is actually a very skilled and talented artist, but some works just don't evoke a good response in me for some purely subjective reason.


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mildly annoyed Vidmaster7 wrote:
I always hate when people say How dare this company try to make money!?! We live in a capitalist society people that's how it works. If it bothers you that much do something to change it! At least they aren't polluting the oceans using child labor or semi-accidentally killing people.

Not killing people? Oh I don't know. I've heard stories about the Warehouse Raptors and aquatic, three-eyed monsters laying eggs in people's brains...

But yeah, "This company is just trying to make more money!" is kind of a silly complaint. Making money is the purpose of a company. If they don't make enough money, they'll go out of business and stop producing their products. But I think what people generally mean when they complain about a cash grab is that they think the focus has gone more towards extracting maximum money from the customers (often with trickery, excessive pricing, requiring multiple big ticket purchases to really make use of it or cutting corners and putting out substandard work), instead of focusing on the core of what the customer actually wants out of the product. This is of course at least partly subjective. But in that regard, yeah, PF2 is most certainly an attempt to make more money. In so much as PF1 isn't selling as well as it could, and flaws with the system are slowing potential growth and or losing customers, so a refreshed design might appeal to more customers. But no, even with my concerns about PF2 going in a direction that I might not want, I don't think it's a shameless cash grab. It's not dishonest, or exploitative. They are still giving away all the rules for free after all. It might be going in a different direction than I want (still to be determined), but that's not the same as not giving their customer base what they want. Lots of fans seem to like the way PF2 is going. Whether they outnumber those turned off by the transition to PF2 is to be determined. But everything seems to be a good-faith effort to make a good game.

I'm not as well versed in 4e as some are. But I'm not certain 4e was a cash grab in that regard either. I think it was more a mistake. A misreading of what the customers wanted, and an ill-fated gamble that they'd appeal to more new customers who'd more than make up for the ones they lost. It could also be argued that WotC were disrespectful of a large portion of their player-base by regarding them as expendable, and the insulting tone they publicly took towards those who didn't like the new direction.


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Yeah, to be clear, a cash grab is a real thing and it can be a problem.

For example, a major game company could fire a ton of staff and focus on using their prior successful franchises in low-effort spinoffs that have a high profit to cost ratio. The fans of the previous type of game that built up the franchise's reputation are very much left out in the cold even if the company makes a lot of money from the move.

4E didn't have the hallmarks of a low-effort attempt at making a new system. It seemed like Wizards were all in. They also made good faith, and pretty successful, attempts to fix it during its time.


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I think another big issue with D&D 4E was its unfriendliness to 3rd party support. They did not use the OGL (a big problem since they had no way to withdraw it from D&D 3E, thus leading to a variant game that everyone here should be familiar with) and you could not even customize their character builder once they made it online only -- I actually created campaign files for the character builder back when the character builder could run offline.


WatersLethe wrote:

Yeah, to be clear, a cash grab is a real thing and it can be a problem.

For example, a major game company could fire a ton of staff and focus on using their prior successful franchises in low-effort spinoffs that have a high profit to cost ratio. The fans of the previous type of game that built up the franchise's reputation are very much left out in the cold even if the company makes a lot of money from the move.

4E didn't have the hallmarks of a low-effort attempt at making a new system. It seemed like Wizards were all in. They also made good faith, and pretty successful, attempts to fix it during its time.

Forgive me is your example actually referring to something specific that has flown over my head?


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Lanathar wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Yeah, to be clear, a cash grab is a real thing and it can be a problem.

For example, a major game company could fire a ton of staff and focus on using their prior successful franchises in low-effort spinoffs that have a high profit to cost ratio. The fans of the previous type of game that built up the franchise's reputation are very much left out in the cold even if the company makes a lot of money from the move.

4E didn't have the hallmarks of a low-effort attempt at making a new system. It seemed like Wizards were all in. They also made good faith, and pretty successful, attempts to fix it during its time.

Forgive me is your example actually referring to something specific that has flown over my head?

Blizzard Games is a great example of this exact thing. They had a record year...then fired 800 people, have all but completely sold their souls to the Chinese market and laws, tanked Heroes of the Storm (which was my favorite MMO), started focusing heavily on the mobile market (including an outsourced-to-China "Diablo" game that's just a reskin of an existing game), and basically forgot who they used to be. The company's nearly as bad as EA now. Hearthstone has some of the greediest lootbox-style mechanics ever seen in a game. "Sense of pride and accomplishment" indeed.


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Lanathar wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Yeah, to be clear, a cash grab is a real thing and it can be a problem.

For example, a major game company could fire a ton of staff and focus on using their prior successful franchises in low-effort spinoffs that have a high profit to cost ratio. The fans of the previous type of game that built up the franchise's reputation are very much left out in the cold even if the company makes a lot of money from the move.

4E didn't have the hallmarks of a low-effort attempt at making a new system. It seemed like Wizards were all in. They also made good faith, and pretty successful, attempts to fix it during its time.

Forgive me is your example actually referring to something specific that has flown over my head?

Not a real example, no. It's based on the worst case scenario if Activision Blizzard decides to go all in on mobile games, and those mobile games follow the pay-to-win trend in that particular industry.

Silver Crusade

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Jesikah Morning's Dew wrote:
Blizzard Games is a great example of this exact thing.

Activision Blizzard, Blizzard Entertainment is a subsidiary of their's.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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CyberMephit wrote:
Cydeth wrote:


Of all things, it was the art that nearly drove me away from PF2. I figure I'll get the first few books, then make a decision.
I wonder if your dislike of the art comes from the playtest rulebook or the recently published blogs?

It wasn't the playtest art for me, as I commission a fair amount of art and sketches are always weird. What had me unhappy were the vast majority of new iconics. I only changed my mind when I saw art from the interior of the new Bestiary and Core Rules, but if the art starts veering back toward what I've seen for the new iconics, I'm going to drop PF2.


Cydeth wrote:
CyberMephit wrote:
Cydeth wrote:


Of all things, it was the art that nearly drove me away from PF2. I figure I'll get the first few books, then make a decision.
I wonder if your dislike of the art comes from the playtest rulebook or the recently published blogs?
It wasn't the playtest art for me, as I commission a fair amount of art and sketches are always weird. What had me unhappy were the vast majority of new iconics. I only changed my mind when I saw art from the interior of the new Bestiary and Core Rules, but if the art starts veering back toward what I've seen for the new iconics, I'm going to drop PF2.

New Iconics? I thought there was only one (Fumbrus)

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Crayon wrote:
New Iconics? I thought there was only one (Fumbrus)

I was specifically talking about the new iconic art. Merisiel and Lini being prime offenders, but almost all of them were changed for the worse from my perspective.


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Bill Dunn wrote:
Insight wrote:
However, 4e did make a ton of money *and* also led to the even more successful 5e. I suspect if WotC could do it all over again the only major deviation they would make would be to apply some sort of sunset to the OGL (or alternate protections against giving rise to a direct competitor).

You say that 4e led to 5e as if it was all carefully planned, when we can be pretty sure that wasn’t the case. 5e is WotC’s response to 4e’s failure to maintain their 800 lb gorilla position in the industry and I think one of the reasons for its success is the veering away from the carefully structured and complex dance that is 4e into something simpler and more flexible.

And if WotC were able to do it all again, maybe they’d have a sunset clause in the OGL (though we’d all be the poorer for it), but I’m pretty sure they’d also jump right over 4e in order to land on 5e.

Peter Adkison, former CEO of WotC, has been quoted as saying that 4e sold very well. PHB1, 2, and 3 were all on best seller lists at higher spots for longer periods of time than any subsequent Pathfinder supplements (really one of the only metrics we have to compare). My 4e DDI subscription still indicates that there are over 70k unique subscriptions for the service (down from over 700,000 at its peak IIRC). Skipping 4e might have a butterfly effect that not only cost them the substantial 4e profits, but also kept them from creating the 5e they went on to create.

Besides, DeadManWalking provided a handful of problems (from his point of view) that curtailed 4e’s ultimate success. I’m sure that he’d agree that he could enumerate a similar or longer list for Pathfinder that explains why PF was not only not able to prevent to rise of 5e as dominating the industry and market share of new and old players alike, but why PF hasn’t even been able to maintain a spot in the top 5 of tabletop RPGs. Imagine a scenario (though admittedly unlikely) where PF2 actually eventually displaces 5e at the top; I doubt it would be the sentiment of Paizo that “they’d jump right over PF to land at PF2.”


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Cydeth wrote:
if the art starts veering back toward what I've seen for the new iconics, I'm going to drop PF2.

This is a completely alien perspective to me. I'd have an easier time understanding if it was the book layout or something, but not using a system because of the style of the character art in the book would simply never occur to me. I even use the Paizo art assets for my game (as digital tabletop tokens), but I can always look online for a different piece of art if I don't like the existing one (I do that sometimes, especially when there's a variant/leader monster or NPC). If I somehow ended up hating every piece of PF2 art, I'd just...not use it, and keep the system. Even if I couldn't stand even occasionally seeing the art, I'd just use the SRD or something. Hypothetically, if the books depicted a bunch of incredibly objectionable content (the kind of stuff that Paizo would say violates the Pathfinder baseline), I could see not wanting to see the book or even indirectly approve of its content by using it...but that's a pretty out-there scenario, and that's as close as I can get. For context, I couldn't have even told you the names of any of the iconics a couple of months ago, despite playing PF1 since launch and owning all of the PF1 rulebook line, and even now I only recognize the names because of the various videos and blogs since the playtest announcement. I'd still recognize them as the characters from the class section of the books, though.

Anyway, thanks for the interesting reminder that people have different requirements and priorities, and I hope PF2 ends up being a good fit for both of us.

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RicoTheBold wrote:
Cydeth wrote:
if the art starts veering back toward what I've seen for the new iconics, I'm going to drop PF2.
This is a completely alien perspective to me.

Let me try to put this in perspective, and I doubt I'll manage it.

Art inspires me. It helps get my imagination going (though I'm pretty good even without it), and it's something that I focus on. Poor art is massively destructive to my ability to enjoy a game, because it's detrimental to being able to immerse myself in it.

Something like the SRD is good for me when I'm using it to reference specific rules, but when building a character I wouldn't touch it. I use the rulebooks to flip around and see exactly how I want to go about building my vision, and my ideas spark off art which I see in the book, where art which I hate will stop me in my tracks.

Most of Paizo's art I've been fine with. The new iconic art was the first time since I'd started playing Pathfinder with Sins of the Saviors that I actively hated it.

But yes, I hope it's a good fit as well.


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RicoTheBold wrote:
Cydeth wrote:
if the art starts veering back toward what I've seen for the new iconics, I'm going to drop PF2.

This is a completely alien perspective to me. I'd have an easier time understanding if it was the book layout or something, but not using a system because of the style of the character art in the book would simply never occur to me. I even use the Paizo art assets for my game (as digital tabletop tokens), but I can always look online for a different piece of art if I don't like the existing one (I do that sometimes, especially when there's a variant/leader monster or NPC). If I somehow ended up hating every piece of PF2 art, I'd just...not use it, and keep the system. Even if I couldn't stand even occasionally seeing the art, I'd just use the SRD or something. Hypothetically, if the books depicted a bunch of incredibly objectionable content (the kind of stuff that Paizo would say violates the Pathfinder baseline), I could see not wanting to see the book or even indirectly approve of its content by using it...but that's a pretty out-there scenario, and that's as close as I can get. For context, I couldn't have even told you the names of any of the iconics a couple of months ago, despite playing PF1 since launch and owning all of the PF1 rulebook line, and even now I only recognize the names because of the various videos and blogs since the playtest announcement. I'd still recognize them as the characters from the class section of the books, though.

Anyway, thanks for the interesting reminder that people have different requirements and priorities, and I hope PF2 ends up being a good fit for both of us.

While it won't stop me from using the system, it certainly reduces the number of hardcovers I'll buy. I find WAR's art and Paizo hardcovers some of the ugliest in my collection. All IMO of course.

Liberty's Edge

Insight wrote:
Besides, DeadManWalking provided a handful of problems (from his point of view) that curtailed 4e’s ultimate success. I’m sure that he’d agree that he could enumerate a similar or longer list for Pathfinder that explains why PF was not only not able to prevent to rise of 5e as dominating the industry and market share of new and old players alike, but why PF hasn’t even been able to maintain a spot in the top 5 of tabletop RPGs.

A fair portion of Paizo's general inability to outsell D&D books in general is just brand recognition. D&D has achieved a saturation in the public consciousness that I'm not sure Pathfinder ever can, and certainly hasn't. That matters quite a bit.

But yes, I could also list a number of mechanical flaws with PF1 that are not conducive to it getting into that second place spot (most notably, PF1 is full of arcane and inconsistent between subsystems math implementations...it's a more complex game than it needs to be to tell the stories it's designed to tell).

Insight wrote:
Imagine a scenario (though admittedly unlikely) where PF2 actually eventually displaces 5e at the top; I doubt it would be the sentiment of Paizo that “they’d jump right over PF to land at PF2.”

Yeah, each edition builds on the one before it. Almost definitionally. It's very clear indeed to me just looking at it that a lot of 5E's presentation choices are a direct response to the problems with 4E's presentation I went into above, just for example.

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Shisumo wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
Focus powers are encounter powers
I've seen this comparison made before, but I don't especially agree with it. How easy was it in 4e to use an encounter power twice in the same encounter? Because it doesn't look like it's going to be difficult at all to use the same Focus power twice or even three times in the same encounter in PF2.

The design of focus spells eventually kind of backed into being similar to encounter powers. There wasn't an intent to fill an encounter power "slot," but the two rules strike at a similar theme: How do you reinforce the core aspects of your character repeatedly. The distinction for me is that we made Focus Points work that way to reinforce the core theme of your specific character (being a fey sorcerer or a transmuter) rather than the more generic expression of your class that became typical in 4E.

In general, there's a lot of crossing over of ideas from 4E, but very carefully. Stephen and I both worked on 4E a *lot*, and each had our loves and hates of that system. We had tools for solving some of the same 3.5 problems, and could pick or choose which ones worked well. The main stuff we wanted to pull over were the big successes, like monster creation and more movement.

Would love to go into more detail at some point, but that's probably a seminar or stream down the line. :)


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Big fan, Logan, especially of the PHB 3. I found that the later 4e design really was its best stuff, although obviously those people that were highly turned off at the beginning wouldn’t have made it that far. Although I’ve consistently said that I find PF2 to emulate those things I love the most about 4th edition, I’ve never said that PF2 “copies” it (it is clearly its own system). However, I do believe that fans of 4th edition (and there are many, despite what some on the Paizo forums might believe) would be very attracted to this system if the word gets out to them.


Insight wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
Insight wrote:
However, 4e did make a ton of money *and* also led to the even more successful 5e. I suspect if WotC could do it all over again the only major deviation they would make would be to apply some sort of sunset to the OGL (or alternate protections against giving rise to a direct competitor).

You say that 4e led to 5e as if it was all carefully planned, when we can be pretty sure that wasn’t the case. 5e is WotC’s response to 4e’s failure to maintain their 800 lb gorilla position in the industry and I think one of the reasons for its success is the veering away from the carefully structured and complex dance that is 4e into something simpler and more flexible.

And if WotC were able to do it all again, maybe they’d have a sunset clause in the OGL (though we’d all be the poorer for it), but I’m pretty sure they’d also jump right over 4e in order to land on 5e.

Peter Adkison, former CEO of WotC, has been quoted as saying that 4e sold very well. PHB1, 2, and 3 were all on best seller lists at higher spots for longer periods of time than any subsequent Pathfinder supplements (really one of the only metrics we have to compare). My 4e DDI subscription still indicates that there are over 70k unique subscriptions for the service (down from over 700,000 at its peak IIRC). Skipping 4e might have a butterfly effect that not only cost them the substantial 4e profits, but also kept them from creating the 5e they went on to create.

Besides, DeadManWalking provided a handful of problems (from his point of view) that curtailed 4e’s ultimate success. I’m sure that he’d agree that he could enumerate a similar or longer list for Pathfinder that explains why PF was not only not able to prevent to rise of 5e as dominating the industry and market share of new and old players alike, but why PF hasn’t even been able to maintain a spot in the top 5 of tabletop RPGs. Imagine a scenario (though admittedly unlikely) where PF2 actually eventually displaces 5e at the top; I...

I didn’t realise it hasn’t been in the top 5 for a while. Incidentally what ones have been in the other 4 places in recent times? I guess a Star Wars one of some description ? I am not really close to the general tabletop scene ...


I'm gonna have to see the actual numbers before I believe that Pathfinder has dropped that low. Campaigns for anything that isn't 5e or Pathfinder seem to still be very rare.


Logan Bonner wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Kasoh wrote:
Focus powers are encounter powers
I've seen this comparison made before, but I don't especially agree with it. How easy was it in 4e to use an encounter power twice in the same encounter? Because it doesn't look like it's going to be difficult at all to use the same Focus power twice or even three times in the same encounter in PF2.

The design of focus spells eventually kind of backed into being similar to encounter powers. There wasn't an intent to fill an encounter power "slot," but the two rules strike at a similar theme: How do you reinforce the core aspects of your character repeatedly. The distinction for me is that we made Focus Points work that way to reinforce the core theme of your specific character (being a fey sorcerer or a transmuter) rather than the more generic expression of your class that became typical in 4E.

In general, there's a lot of crossing over of ideas from 4E, but very carefully. Stephen and I both worked on 4E a *lot*, and each had our loves and hates of that system. We had tools for solving some of the same 3.5 problems, and could pick or choose which ones worked well. The main stuff we wanted to pull over were the big successes, like monster creation and more movement.

Would love to go into more detail at some point, but that's probably a seminar or stream down the line. :)

Great insight! Thank you Logan. I do see a fair bit of 4E in PF2, but only the good stuff, and the implementation feels more seamless and less gamey. Like you say, Focus Powers is a much more satisfying and flavourful mechanic than Encounter Powers, even though they're functionally the same thing.

Unfortunately, I feel like your post will be mis-used as ammunition by the PF2-is-a-4E-clone-and-I-hate-it crowd, but c'est la vie.


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As of the March 2019 ICv2 report, covering the prior fall (https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/42620/top-5-roleplaying-games-fall- 2018):

1. D&D
2. Legend of the Five Rings
3. Star Wars
4. Starfinder
5. Vampire

I wouldn’t be surprised if PF2 debuts at number 1 for this Fall, but it’ll be at least #2 for sure. We’ll also be able to see the Core Rulebook ranking on Amazon, which will be an indicator, but obviously a good chunk of sales come from Paizo’s store, which wouldn’t be included.


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Insight wrote:

As of the March 2019 ICv2 report, covering the prior fall (https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/42620/top-5-roleplaying-games-fall- 2018):

1. D&D
2. Legend of the Five Rings
3. Star Wars
4. Starfinder
5. Vampire

I wouldn’t be surprised if PF2 debuts at number 1 for this Fall, but it’ll be at least #2 for sure. We’ll also be able to see the Core Rulebook ranking on Amazon, which will be an indicator, but obviously a good chunk of sales come from Paizo’s store, which wouldn’t be included.

I really would like to see better numbers. Not just a ranking, but how separated the games are. Is that D&D all by itself with the others clustered together well below it, which is my suspicion or are the others close to the top?

How much did PF have to drop to get below the others? Did it drop or did something else rise?

My suspicion, especially given that SF is still there, is that anticipation of PF2 is suppressing people buying into PF1 - why buy an end of life system? If the drop happened along with the playtest announcement and publicity, that would be an indicator.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If Legend of the Five Rings is even within visual distance of D&D I will be surprised. D&D is a household name, while only roleplaying enthusiasts have head of Lo5R. If Lo5R is beating Pathfinder, I don't see Pathfinder being anywhere near D&D.

Shadow Lodge

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thejeff wrote:

My suspicion, especially given that SF is still there, is that anticipation of PF2 is suppressing people buying into PF1 - why buy an end of life system? If the drop happened along with the playtest announcement and publicity, that would be an indicator.

Bingo. PFRPG dropping in the charts after 2nd Ed was announced is a natural trend, for two reasons:

* Why invest in a system that is 100% going to sunset in the next year?
* If you really want to play PFRPGv1 even though it will sunset soon, why pay full price when the used market will be flooded with discounted copies at the time 2e ships?

To say that v2 is going to fail because v1 isn't selling well in the period after v2 was announced is not taking anything about how humans work as a species into account.


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Oh it is definitely 5e at the top with a chasm between it and the others and has been since release. The 5e PHB reached top 3 status on Amazon’s book chart (overall books, not just gaming books) and is still number 65 overall, so even in 2019 it has many, many multiples of sales of any “competitors” (5e supplements such as Xanathar’s and Waterdeep: Dragon Heist similarly perform well in the overall book category).

Pathfinder was number 3 as recently as Spring of 2018, prior to the Playtest, so the announcement of the Playtest probably did have a large effect on PF’s fall off the list. However, Paizo did release a number of PF products during 2018, so the decline was not simply due to a curtailed release schedule. Probably, Paizo anticipated an eventual decline and started working on PF2 ahead of the curve, so to speak. Looks like PF 2 will be just in time for them jump back into it, at least for a little while (depending on reception).

Incidentally, Paizo does have an interesting (especially in hindsight) thread in the D&D 4e and Beyond subforum, started prior to 5e’s release, where Pathfinder fans posit “How many quarters will D&D 5e be ahead of Pathfinder on the ICv2 charts, if any?” It seems most of the wagers were for 1 quarter (getting the release bump, so to speak, with Pathfinder RPG theoretically taking back the top slot the following quarter)...


If the rankings are for individual books, I also suspect part of the reason PF1e is not in the top 5 is because all the books it has available. As far as I know, none of the mentioned top 5 have a lot of books to buy from (compared to PF1e).

The end of life thing is also probably a factor. People rarely go for something that is ending, unless they plan to later resell at a profit to collectors (or nostalgia).


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Temperans wrote:

If the rankings are for individual books, I also suspect part of the reason PF1e is not in the top 5 is because all the books it has available. As far as I know, none of the mentioned top 5 have a lot of books to buy from (compared to PF1e).

The end of life thing is also probably a factor. People rarely go for something that is ending, unless they plan to later resell at a profit to collectors (or nostalgia).

Actually, for the ICv2 rankings, it is the combined sale (during that quarter) of products for the brand, including prior releases. This is part of the reason D&D 4e was able to stay near the top of the charts at the end of the run, despite releasing zero products for the last several quarters. It would seem that brands with more individual products would be boosted by this method, not curtailed. Similarly, I suspect that 5e could skip several quarters of releases and still be #1 in sales, just by virtue of continued sales of the PHB alone.


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ICv2 is the best we have, but it’s an estimate.

It’s also worth noting that it’s an estimate of the overall market, so they’ve taken a stab at estimating private channels (like Paizo.com purchases and sales through bookstores, target, etcetera which aren’t sourced through the same distributors as hobby sales). It’s not them adding up numbers from a reliable source, it’s them interviewing people, looking up some numbers and guessing at others.

It’s the best, public estimate but it’s likely a pretty terrible one.


The Raven Black wrote:
I feel that 4e original sin was not listening to its customers base and force-feeding them what the devs decided was best for the game.

To be honest, I think it was the opposite. Or at least, listening to the wrong customers.

During 3.5e, a lot of new mechanics were introduced. You had what were effectively at-will attacks via Reserve feats (as long as you have a Foo spell available, you can do Bar at will), you had cool martial abilities that were essentially per-encounter in Tome of Battle, you had what were effectively Encounter spells for the Binder in Tome of Magic, you had the simplified monster format and the Delve encounter format, you had easy between-encounter healing, and so on. All of these things were well received by a vocal online fan-base, so when they made 4e they doubled down on those. But, as it turned out, the people who enjoyed those elements were to a large degree not representative of the fan-base as a whole, and other changes they made did not work out so well, so the whole thing flopped (for certain values of flop).

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Staffan Johansson wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I feel that 4e original sin was not listening to its customers base and force-feeding them what the devs decided was best for the game.

To be honest, I think it was the opposite. Or at least, listening to the wrong customers.

During 3.5e, a lot of new mechanics were introduced. You had what were effectively at-will attacks via Reserve feats (as long as you have a Foo spell available, you can do Bar at will), you had cool martial abilities that were essentially per-encounter in Tome of Battle, you had what were effectively Encounter spells for the Binder in Tome of Magic, you had the simplified monster format and the Delve encounter format, you had easy between-encounter healing, and so on. All of these things were well received by a vocal online fan-base, so when they made 4e they doubled down on those. But, as it turned out, the people who enjoyed those elements were to a large degree not representative of the fan-base as a whole, and other changes they made did not work out so well, so the whole thing flopped (for certain values of flop).

You may be reading too much into it. 4e was developed when World of Warcraft was at its height, with hundreds of millions of dollars a month being pumped into Activision/Blizzard's bank accounts. If you compare 4e to what WoW was at the time, there's a lot of similarity. My nephew and his friends were in high school at the time and big WoW players, and they found jumping into 4e super simple, as if it were made specifically for them. I won't say that this is exactly what Hasbro told WotC what they wanted them to do (this is during the post-honeymoon phase of Hasbro owning them, when they were putting their thumb down on everything WotC was doing trying to squeeze every cent out of the deal that they could), but the evidence sure points that way.


(So if that theory holds true, the fault lies in Hasbro not letting WotC build 4e properly, trying to catch up to the MMO trend. Much like companies were trying to catch the MOBA trend, and lately the Battle Royale trend?)


Illrigger wrote:
You may be reading too much into it. 4e was developed when World of Warcraft was at its height, with hundreds of millions of dollars a month being pumped into Activision/Blizzard's bank accounts. If you compare 4e to what WoW was at the time, there's a lot of similarity.

That's a part of it too. But I think the biggest thing that inspired Wizards about World of Warcraft was "Subscription money". Instead of (or in addition to) people buying books and then being done, they wanted people to pay recurring costs. Once someone has subscribed to your service, they have to make an active choice to stop giving you money. This is very different from Wizards having to persuade you to buy the next book.


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I always got the impression that 4E was after the WoW market. Or at least trying to pull back people who played DND from WoW

Right down to specifically labelling the same party roles as WoW in the core book. It really stuck out

And obviously most pre existing players didn’t need to be swayed with a WoW inspired game. They wanted an evolution of 3.5


I wonder what would had happen if they had named/marketed it as "WoW trpg" instead, kind of the reverse of Pathfinder: Kingmaker crpg. What do you all think?


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They did 3e better than Wizards.

Now they will do 4e better than Wizards.

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Staffan Johansson wrote:
Illrigger wrote:
You may be reading too much into it. 4e was developed when World of Warcraft was at its height, with hundreds of millions of dollars a month being pumped into Activision/Blizzard's bank accounts. If you compare 4e to what WoW was at the time, there's a lot of similarity.
That's a part of it too. But I think the biggest thing that inspired Wizards about World of Warcraft was "Subscription money". Instead of (or in addition to) people buying books and then being done, they wanted people to pay recurring costs. Once someone has subscribed to your service, they have to make an active choice to stop giving you money. This is very different from Wizards having to persuade you to buy the next book.

Yeah, definitely. I remember the various sub models they pushed and then abandoned for 4e. They could never figure out how to get books you bought into their system so you could use them with the sub, which made the sub useless shortly after it came out. Not the most well-planned thing ever done in the game industry, let's just leave it at that.


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Illrigger wrote:


Yeah, definitely. I remember the various sub models they pushed and then abandoned for 4e. They could never figure out how to get books you bought into their system so you could use them with the sub, which made the sub useless shortly after it came out. Not the most well-planned thing ever done in the game industry, let's just leave it at that.

It was also supposed to tie in to an online playing tool, kind of like Roll20. But a murder-suicide pretty much crippled efforts to get that up and running.

WotC tabletop tragedy


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Turns out it’s pretty hard for a book publisher to get into digital content delivery. I’m still waiting on Pathfinder Game Space and Pathfinder Online (as a Kickstarter backer, even). ;) Nevertheless, I still have my 4e DDI subscription, and I’m still suitably impressed by it. As for the WoW/MMO push, don’t forget the heavy marketing through Penny Arcade as well, which I’m sure also contributed to millions of sales (DDI got relatively close to a million subscribers, so the book sales *must* have been a multiple of the digital content). If PF2 “flops” as badly as 4e, Paizo will be a happy company indeed.

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Temperans wrote:
I wonder what would had happen if they had named/marketed it as "WoW trpg" instead, kind of the reverse of Pathfinder: Kingmaker crpg. What do you all think?

Well, assuming they had the rights to do it, it probably would have flopped. Even though it was a little late, there was a tabletop RPG version of Everquest using D20 that crashed and burned. They had some cool enhancements to smooth out 3.5's edges as well, but the dollars didn't come.

This was the MMO golden age, and MMO players were spending all their time actually playing MMOs at that point (I know my wife was plenty pissed at me more than once), and they weren't overly interested in doing a different version of what they were already spending many, many hours a week doing on their PCs. It's likely why the expected flood of new players that they built 4e specifically to capture never arrived - those people were all too busy to care.


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A World of Warcraft d20 game has already been done:

World Of Warcraft The Roleplaying Game (d20 3.5) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1588467813/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Da7lDb4GYXZYP


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Illrigger wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
Illrigger wrote:
You may be reading too much into it. 4e was developed when World of Warcraft was at its height, with hundreds of millions of dollars a month being pumped into Activision/Blizzard's bank accounts. If you compare 4e to what WoW was at the time, there's a lot of similarity.
That's a part of it too. But I think the biggest thing that inspired Wizards about World of Warcraft was "Subscription money". Instead of (or in addition to) people buying books and then being done, they wanted people to pay recurring costs. Once someone has subscribed to your service, they have to make an active choice to stop giving you money. This is very different from Wizards having to persuade you to buy the next book.
Yeah, definitely. I remember the various sub models they pushed and then abandoned for 4e. They could never figure out how to get books you bought into their system so you could use them with the sub, which made the sub useless shortly after it came out. Not the most well-planned thing ever done in the game industry, let's just leave it at that.

The way DDI worked at launch was amazing.

The problem was they set it up so you could sub for a month then leave for a year or so and come back to get a year's content for a few bucks. In fixing that pricing error, they over-reacted and moved it all online.

Functionally, though, I don't think anyone has matched the initial DDI tools in terms of integration of new books and errata.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Functionally, though, I don't think anyone has matched the initial DDI tools in terms of integration of new books and errata.

Actually... as much as I like DDI, D&D Beyond for 5e is even better. The way the hyperlinking and pop-ups work not only between and within game elements, but also in their adventures (to jump quickly between art, maps, statblocks, and adventure text flawlessly and seamlessly, not to mention the blogs and articles and home brew tools). The big downside is the incredible cost, far more than DDI ever was.

This train of thought now has me wondering... as value added as these types of tools were for 4e and 5e, their application in Pathfinder 2e would be a dream. Imagine reading an AP volume and being able to pull up in line stat blocks, have condition rules pop-ups in spell descriptions, make notes on the maps, reference the adventure text DCs against your PCs skill bonuses (as their characters would obviously have been built for your campaign file using the integrated PF2 character builder... character creation would be a breeze to search and cross reference what will no doubt be hundreds of backgrounds, Feats, spells, etc).


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Insight wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Functionally, though, I don't think anyone has matched the initial DDI tools in terms of integration of new books and errata.

Actually... as much as I like DDI, D&D Beyond for 5e is even better. The way the hyperlinking and pop-ups work not only between and within game elements, but also in their adventures (to jump quickly between art, maps, statblocks, and adventure text flawlessly and seamlessly, not to mention the blogs and articles and home brew tools). The big downside is the incredible cost, far more than DDI ever was.

This train of thought now has me wondering... as value added as these types of tools were for 4e and 5e, their application in Pathfinder 2e would be a dream. Imagine reading an AP volume and being able to pull up in line stat blocks, have condition rules pop-ups in spell descriptions, make notes on the maps, reference the adventure text DCs against your PCs skill bonuses (as their characters would obviously have been built for your campaign file using the integrated PF2 character builder... character creation would be a breeze to search and cross reference what will no doubt be hundreds of backgrounds, Feats, spells, etc).

Let me immediately call myself out as absolutely unqualified to express the bolded opinion. :p

I rarely use digital tools (can't bear them, to be honest). So what would I know? DDI (as initially launched) was awesome - levelling up monsters was a breeze, creating custom monsters was intuitive and from what I saw, the character generation stuff was pretty nifty too.

I wouldn't really know what other options are out there - particularly now. However, I do think that the initial release was pretty good (in contrast to Illrigger's comment about never being able to figure out how to incorporate new releases - it worked fine early on, in my view).

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