Designer comments on alchemist


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Recently there's been a lot of discussion about the alchemist on Reddit. I don't want to revisit or argue about the strength of the class here (as a quick search shows that's been done a lot already), but rather I want to ask if there have been any comments on the forums/twitter/twitch streams by the designers on the state of the alchemist. I would love to see some of their thoughts discussed in the same way that they had a stream about the playtest classes.

I'm interested because as I'm sure everyone knows the alchemist is a pretty divisive class and while it has many defenders it seems there are also many people that are unsatisfied with it. But it's hard to get a good sense of what people really think through online discussions since small numbers of people can so easily sway the conversation. Maybe Paizo has data? In any case, I think hearing what the designers' points of view on the topic are would be really interesting.

So does anyone have any links where this kind of discussion takes place? Or would any designers be willing to discuss it here? If not, I'd just like to point out that myself and I think many other people would be interested in hearing or reading some thoughts about the reaction to the class, what its power level is right now and whether that's hitting the right mark or whether the class is achieving the goals of satisfying that core fantasy of the kind of "sciencey" based character right now (or is that even the core fantasy of the class?). I'm sure there will be a lot of exciting stuff in the APG that can't be shared yet, but many of the concerns are about more fundamental aspects of the class and that's what I'd like to hear more about. Even just hearing whether there's been a decision on whether or not more errata changes to the class and class feats are coming would be really useful information.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I play an alchemist in an age of ashes campaign and I've DMed a plaguestone campaign with many NPCs focused around alchemical items. I think that if you spend too much time on reddit that it skews your perspective towards a bunch of theory crafting. Alchemists have great roleplaying opportunity, great crafting options, and great versatility. They won't ever be the best at anything you set out to do but my god if you need to do something in a pinch you've got an elixir for that. Wanna see in the dark better? We got a potion, put down the torch. Wanna be more resistant to disease? We got a potion. Sheild's busted up? Let me repair that. -2AC on a standard attack with shocking alchemical attack? Bombs away with bottled lightning, Yep we got that.

Alchemists fill a variety of needs from healing, damage, buffs, and debuffing.

I can't speak to mutagenist but i think Chiurgeons need some attention though with a minor clarification. I believe that if the crafting skill use for medicine feats were clarified to make every medicine feat available via crafting training/level then I think that would be the best way to proceed. I will homerule that it is as intended for an alchemist chiurgeon because I think it makes viable to be a chiurgeon healer for the party. I think there are some people running mutagenist tank successfully, but my knowledge is limited on that.

Overall I think the power level of the alchemist is above average, and the versatility is outstanding, but having a frost vial, a fire vial, and a quick alchemy action to make anything else you need for a fight doesn't play out well in the math.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I appreciate your reply, but what I'm really looking for is any comments from the designers or Paizo in general about the class like they did when they discussed the playtest classes on Twitch.

Personally, I've seen enough discussion between players like us and I'd like to hear what Paizo's views on the class are and I'd *really* like to know if they are planning any further errata to the class or if there's no changes like that planned for the foreseeable future.


I haven't seen any, but I wouldn't get your hopes up, game designers don't tend to talk about the bugbears of the editions they worked on.

I still remember some of the devs denying the existence caster material disparity late into first edition. But they still fixed it in this one.


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pachydermic wrote:

I appreciate your reply, but what I'm really looking for is any comments from the designers or Paizo in general about the class like they did when they discussed the playtest classes on Twitch.

Personally, I've seen enough discussion between players like us and I'd like to hear what Paizo's views on the class are and I'd *really* like to know if they are planning any further errata to the class or if there's no changes like that planned for the foreseeable future.

There are a lot of folks who come onto the forums asking for dev responses and nothing but dev responses, and it's generally not successful.

The devs are doing their work, I've gotten the impression that weighing in on this particular type of thing doesn't have a great "return" on doing so, there's no interesting discussion that might tempt them to comment, and some of this stuff is giving out previews for upcoming changes (probably before it's finalized).

You're also asking for existing commentary, which is fair! I'm afraid I don't know of any addressing this specifically.

As for changes… Alchemist did already get some changes, and presumably any more changes to existing/fundamental material would happen when that material goes in for a reprint (as is Paizo's usual approach).


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah I'd be pretty surprised if they responded to this post.

It's too bad that they haven't had any discussions about it so far though. I think it'd be really interesting.

Are you aware of any direct comments they made about the class (specifically the alchemist) during the original 2e playtest or where to find those?


Alchemist 2e playtest comments are probably not gonna be a ton of help, because a lot of those were addressing other issues- all the stuff that did get resolved, like Alchemist having bomb progression as a big chunk of class features, etc.

If you want more than that, though, I'm afraid it'll be Google and/or hunting through the devs' posts.


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Asking for dev reply is pretty much never going to work, but they do read the forums. There's plenty of evidence of that. It can feel like all the discussions are never heard which can definitely feel frustrating, but you just have to have patience unfortunately.

For a while I was getting really frustrated with a few questions in 2e that heavily impacted my character choice, questions that are yet to be cleared up. I'm still waiting for errata. A person can only be frustrated for so long though, and I eventually moved on to different ideas and kept having fun.

So I would vent or discuss alchemist all you want, and if the frustration gets to be too much, give up and play another class. It sucks, but you might find yourself having fun. The good thing about Pathfinder is that as more and more options come out, classes get more and more options, and the weaker ones get better. Just stick it out for a year or two and see where things are after that.

Liberty's Edge

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The designers generally make it a policy to not discuss things like this, especially if they're actually thinking of doing something about them. This is also why they very seldom discuss errata in advance.

Discussions like this can easily be twisted to make it seem like they promised things they didn't, or just generally to stir up bad feeling as people impute meaning that wasn't there. It's not good policy to discuss what is generally seen as a flaw in your game, except in the context of either why it's not a flaw because it's what you were going for, or in the context of an official and available solution.

From that perspective, I feel like the silence on Alchemist is really fairly telling. I suspect they know there are issues and are considering ways to address them. But discussing what those ways are prior to their official announcement? Probably not gonna happen.

Now, those ways may not be what you or I would prefer, and may only solve the problem from certain perspectives...which goes back to why discussing them is a bad idea for the designers, as if they said 'We know there's a problem, we're working on a fix.' and people get excited, but then it comes out and the 'fix' they came out with was not what some people were looking for, that leads those people to feel betrayed, and that's no good to anyone.

Liberty's Edge

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This may be a function of one year of play versus ten, but it feels like Paizo is less communicative about issues in this edition than it was issues in first edition. Of course I have no actual data to back that up.


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Luke Styer wrote:
This may be a function of one year of play versus ten, but it feels like Paizo is less communicative about issues in this edition than it was issues in first edition. Of course I have no actual data to back that up.

Doesn't matter if they're less communicative (which they aren't), but it matters that they've been doing a great job making changes and taking feedback. The playtests are a good example of this.

Around the time the devs were engaging in discussion as well as willing to make sweeping changes to the game, so much so that people even complained that the Playtest book wasn't worth it because of how much it changed, since people expected everything in the book was almost final and bound to have some minor adjustments. Couldn't be further from the truth. There were even some big mechanics entirely dropped such as Resonance and Signature skills.


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Lightning Raven wrote:
Luke Styer wrote:
This may be a function of one year of play versus ten, but it feels like Paizo is less communicative about issues in this edition than it was issues in first edition. Of course I have no actual data to back that up.
Doesn't matter if they're less communicative (which they aren't), but it matters that they've been doing a great job making changes and taking feedback. The playtests are a good example of this.

I want to echo this. I’ll take silent and effective any day. Besides, silence is less divisive.

They’ve built up a lot of good faith for me personally at this point in how they’ve responded to feedback.


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I feel I've read somewhere that a dev was saying they were more vocal in first edition, especially in the earlier days. I believe they said it was a mistake to be so vocal as it caused more problems than it solved, and so now they are a lot more reserved.


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Gaulin wrote:
I feel I've read somewhere that a dev was saying they were more vocal in first edition, especially in the earlier days. I believe they said it was a mistake to be so vocal as it caused more problems than it solved, and so now they are a lot more reserved.

Back in the day on this forum you could witness posters literally demand explanations of design decisions from devs that had popped on to try and answer a question or two, then posters start arguing with and attacking the dev with intensity to the degree of that I recall someone saying things along the lines of 'you should be fired'.

And some devs, being human as we all are, reacted in ways that made the situation worse.

It was definitely a rough time for the staff and the moderators.


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The other day, I asked Jason Buhlman on Twitter when the devs were going to clarify a couple of the issues that seemed to be causing some confusion on these boards (shield scaling and how many hands Battle Medicine requires). Jason was kind enough to reply, "Noted, we will take a look." I believe the devs do pay attention to what is being discussed here and are pretty proactive (perhaps often behind the scenes) in trying to address problematic issues. In any case, I was impressed that the lead game designer responded to my inquiry.


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Yeah, for all that I sometimes wish developers of RPGs would weigh in on things more often, it almost always turns into outright fights with other people, and its hard to see how that goes anywhere good.

Scarab Sages

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When I started a thread criticizing the playtest witch, Mark Seifter popped in when I misquoted something he said on a podcast. Embarrassing for me, but it shows the devs pay attention to the forums.

I think he, Michael Sayre, and James Jacobs are the most active forum-posters.

Liberty's Edge

Lightning Raven wrote:


Doesn't matter if they're less communicative (which they aren't), but it matters that they've been doing a great job making changes and taking feedback. The playtests are a good example of this.

I’d say playtests aren’t an example of this at all because playtest materials aren’t yet actually part of the game, and so are wholly separate from what is being discussed.


The devs are about on the forums it's rair but I have seen them provide some great clarifications.

I admire there work immensely but there is nothing they could say in a quick forum post on the subject of the alchemist that would be constructive.

I imagine at some point we might get some feat patches for alchemist but thats bound to be later in the 2e cycle.

It must be frustrating for the devs to have the one ugly duckling class when all of the other class are rightly recognised as elegant design. So I can't imagine the alchemist won't get some tlc at some point.


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Technotrooper wrote:
The other day, I asked Jason Buhlman on Twitter when the devs were going to clarify a couple of the issues that seemed to be causing some confusion on these boards (shield scaling and how many hands Battle Medicine requires). Jason was kind enough to reply, "Noted, we will take a look." I believe the devs do pay attention to what is being discussed here and are pretty proactive (perhaps often behind the scenes) in trying to address problematic issues. In any case, I was impressed that the lead game designer responded to my inquiry.

Jason Buhlman strikes me as the kind of person who would rather wait a bit and get a response correct, rather than shoot off the hip and make promises about issues he isn't sure are resolved or addressed in a reasonable way.

I've certainly criticized Paizo's lack of a quick response to various threads, and openly wish that they would implement a system for making quick rulings to address the fan bases issues until an official errata is finished. But at the same time I can understand and respect their decision to wait and get it right.

Even the responses we do get tend to be about things that I suspect have already been discussed at length. Mark Seifter's various responses are a good example: He speaks seldomly, but when he does it is with confidence.


Unfortunately every experience tells a game company to... just not engage. Not in topics like this one, or the shield issue, or the demoralize issue, or any other power level related issue.

They can only lose by engaging, never win. Better then to either silently suffer the rigamarole, and just hope complaints eventually die down (compare WotC's handling of the Beastmaster Ranger)... or silently say nothing until more material is available (new subclasses, errata etc) and then avoid confirming if it was the complaints that triggered the change.

Any PR representative will tell you that you should focus 100% of your energies on positive discussion. Not just because that makes your company more cash, but because of the aforementioned "you cannot win" truism.

And yes, that can be intensely frustrating for fans who genuinely want to help, and see the game become better.


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Umm, the OP wasn't asking for a dev response to their post... They were asking about links to previous dev comments about alchemists. No one here seems to actually be commenting on that.

In response, to my knowledge, there's been no discussion about the current state of alchemist. The last I can remember was before the first errata came out when, I believe, they acknowledged that there were some problems with alchemists either when or before they released the errata. I don't have a link to that particular video, does someone else?


Zapp wrote:
compare WotC's handling of the Beastmaster Ranger)

Tell people you're looking into ways to fix the class.

Then later tell people in an offhand comment on twitter that the class is fine and they should stop talking about it.
Then print two or three different updates to the class.

That response?


swoosh wrote:
Zapp wrote:
compare WotC's handling of the Beastmaster Ranger)

Tell people you're looking into ways to fix the class.

Then later tell people in an offhand comment on twitter that the class is fine and they should stop talking about it.
Then print two or three different updates to the class.

That response?

To be balanced they never actually printed the replacement rangers its all UA.

Though UA shows another perk of Paizo over Wizards when Paizo release play-test material it is actually playable and gm's are happy to touch it with a 10ft pole.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
tivadar27 wrote:

Umm, the OP wasn't asking for a dev response to their post... They were asking about links to previous dev comments about alchemists. No one here seems to actually be commenting on that.

In response, to my knowledge, there's been no discussion about the current state of alchemist. The last I can remember was before the first errata came out when, I believe, they acknowledged that there were some problems with alchemists either when or before they released the errata. I don't have a link to that particular video, does someone else?

I just rewatched that part of the errata stream. They acknowledged there was a problem with the mutagenist since its features actually didn't do anything, but they didn't allude to any other issues with the class - at least not in that part of the video.

They DID reiterate that they are definitely listening. Of course that's good, but I just wish I knew whether or not more changes are planned for the class. I get why they don't communicate things before they're done (just look at what happened to those No Man's Sky guys), but I am anxious for some clarity on this issue in particular.


It was stated that there was supposed to be a second round of CRB errata on the way back in December. That was before the dread plague though.

Unless you want to read through all the posts from the developers every few days there's been no information about errata. No official release of information about when that errata is going to be out or what it contains. I'm not even sure any more alchemist changes are going to be in it. The lack of any information has been very frustrating. A once a week post on the blog saying "hey, here's what we're working on this week" would be great. "Here's the ability or skill we're looking into this week" would be even better. Trello boards for software development come to mind. Yeah, the community will discuss it to death and might get hot tempered but that's what rules, mods and bans are for.

I check the blog every other day, and read through those "here's what we're streaming" posts and am disappointed every time I see nothing on anything that might make my favorite class not the pale shadow of what it was in PF1.

I personally have given up on my alchemist, PF2, and PFS in general. The whole reason I liked it was a chance to get out of my work from home job and go see people and have fun. The alchemist, for the most part, hasn't really been fun. Yeah, it had moments and eventually it might be but why should my character not feel fun for the first 6 levels? Why doesn't it get the cool choice of class feats instead of boring stat boosts (I'm looking at you, Far Lobber).

The alchemist was a new class to begin with and had a bunch of changes between play test and release. I don't think it got enough testing between play test and release. I'm hoping it'll see some love soon but I'm not going to hold my breath.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber
Aricks wrote:
Yeah, the community will discuss it to death and might get hot tempered but that's what rules, mods and bans are for.

At Paizo, no one's job description includes "take angry abuse from customers".

It's far better to have people post in a civil environment than to clean up the boards after-the-fact when the anger and abuse get out of hand.

I think it's a sign of corporate sanity that Paizo boards aren't used for verbal harassment and anger directed at staff.

Scarab Sages

Aricks wrote:
I personally have given up on my alchemist, PF2, and PFS in general.

What does PFS have to do with it?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Aricks wrote:

It was stated that there was supposed to be a second round of CRB errata on the way back in December. That was before the dread plague though.

Unless you want to read through all the posts from the developers every few days there's been no information about errata. No official release of information about when that errata is going to be out or what it contains. I'm not even sure any more alchemist changes are going to be in it. The lack of any information has been very frustrating. A once a week post on the blog saying "hey, here's what we're working on this week" would be great. "Here's the ability or skill we're looking into this week" would be even better. Trello boards for software development come to mind. Yeah, the community will discuss it to death and might get hot tempered but that's what rules, mods and bans are for.

I check the blog every other day, and read through those "here's what we're streaming" posts and am disappointed every time I see nothing on anything that might make my favorite class not the pale shadow of what it was in PF1.

I personally have given up on my alchemist, PF2, and PFS in general. The whole reason I liked it was a chance to get out of my work from home job and go see people and have fun. The alchemist, for the most part, hasn't really been fun. Yeah, it had moments and eventually it might be but why should my character not feel fun for the first 6 levels? Why doesn't it get the cool choice of class feats instead of boring stat boosts (I'm looking at you, Far Lobber).

The alchemist was a new class to begin with and had a bunch of changes between play test and release. I don't think it got enough testing between play test and release. I'm hoping it'll see some love soon but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Pretty much everything in this post tells me that if the devs were to extend to you the hand of steady updates and dialogue on the state of your favourite class, sooner or later you'd bite that hand off and vomit it back at them.

Which is why they aren't doing this kind of stuff anymore.

Sovereign Court

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pachydermic wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:

Umm, the OP wasn't asking for a dev response to their post... They were asking about links to previous dev comments about alchemists. No one here seems to actually be commenting on that.

In response, to my knowledge, there's been no discussion about the current state of alchemist. The last I can remember was before the first errata came out when, I believe, they acknowledged that there were some problems with alchemists either when or before they released the errata. I don't have a link to that particular video, does someone else?

I just rewatched that part of the errata stream. They acknowledged there was a problem with the mutagenist since its features actually didn't do anything, but they didn't allude to any other issues with the class - at least not in that part of the video.

They DID reiterate that they are definitely listening. Of course that's good, but I just wish I knew whether or not more changes are planned for the class. I get why they don't communicate things before they're done (just look at what happened to those No Man's Sky guys), but I am anxious for some clarity on this issue in particular.

I think your best bet is to pick one (or possibly 2) of the house-ruled fan creations that attempt to fix the Alchemist. My own house rules document began with my Alchemist fixes, and I know there are several other fan created versions that make big changes too.

If/when Paizo adds more errata you can then decide if you like their changes better, or you want to stick with what you are currently using (and maybe even combine the official changes and your own, that's what I did when the official errata came out and I didn't feel they went far enough).


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NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Aricks wrote:
I personally have given up on my alchemist, PF2, and PFS in general.

What does PFS have to do with it?

Just giving context, I really like PFS in general and the folks I've played with are great, but it also means something like house rules can't really help.

I agree that paizo shouldn't have hateful things directed at their staff, and this should be a place where people can discuss things in a civil way. I think a moderated forum with clear rules can be great for this. I also think that people should be able to talk about their concerns and experiences and not have them written off as baseless complaining.

I'm of the opinion that regular information provided to your community is more helpful than not, and gave some examples of what I'd like to see. Personal attacks on what might happen in the future aren't useful to anybody.


swoosh wrote:
Zapp wrote:
compare WotC's handling of the Beastmaster Ranger)

Tell people you're looking into ways to fix the class.

Then later tell people in an offhand comment on twitter that the class is fine and they should stop talking about it.
Then print two or three different updates to the class.

That response?

;-)


Technotrooper wrote:
The other day, I asked Jason Buhlman on Twitter when the devs were going to clarify a couple of the issues that seemed to be causing some confusion on these boards (shield scaling and how many hands Battle Medicine requires). Jason was kind enough to reply, "Noted, we will take a look." I believe the devs do pay attention to what is being discussed here and are pretty proactive (perhaps often behind the scenes) in trying to address problematic issues. In any case, I was impressed that the lead game designer responded to my inquiry.

Thank you very much.

That's great news!


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I miss Pathfinder Fridays so much


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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
WatersLethe wrote:
I miss Pathfinder Fridays so much

I really do as well. Pathfinder Fridays allowed for pretty direct communication in that more official setting which allowed them to talk about more issues directly which I obviously really appreciated.

I think this whole working from home thing will be going on at least one and a half more months (best case scenario) and maybe even through the end of the year (not even the worst case scenario), so I hope that they find a way to bring that back sooner rather than later.

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