Repetition and 2e / "Taking20"s Break Up Letter


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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What is the communities thoughts on Jeremy's hot take here? How do your play experiences mirror, or contrast, from his? Link below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fyninGp92g&t=727s


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Complete opposite experience tbh. Playing three games a week, I’m seeing a huge diversity of character types, class progression and even turn-by-turn combat actions and variance.

To say a system (any system really) is not a system for 1st person narrative is honestly a ridiculous proposition. Also not sure why any content producer would feel the need to actively disassociate with a product in their genre, and not the first time for this guy (essentially wrote a breakup letter with roll20 as well)

It’s honestly just weird - I guess he’s just dropping flashy tag line for views.


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This dude just seriously sounds like he doesn't know what he's talking about. Worst part is he's probably got a rabid fanbase that will repeat his word as law.


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Don't care.

And I mean this in the most caring way possible, as in how might discussing a stranger's negative opinions aid my game, or the games of others? Sounds like he's leaving, having failed to find solutions to his problems. Am I meant to solve them for him? Is Paizo? How about for others with gripes? Can I learn more about theorycrafting from this?
And wouldn't repetition be a "you" issue more than a system one?

By hopping on the gripe wagon, one exacerbates the negativity, while contradicting said gripes still keeps discussion focused on the negative.
Not worth my time or mental energy to tackle for someone resolved enough against PF2 to post a video. He's moving on. Cool. Bye.

And I'm not only asking rhetorically, so if you have an answer, share it.
And instead of posting only the video, why not break down his points so we can see if the video's worth watching, if the topics personally interest us. Maybe they'd intrigue us in their uniqueness, and maybe they'd provoke eye-rolls from their inanity. No reason to bother exploring further because again, this is some stranger on YouTube.


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From the timestamp in the video the link showed, it's just a bunch of baseless statements with no actual play behind them. In fact, the only actual rules reference that was brought up is how a Diplomacy check for social encounters works. And to a point, I agree that it's tedious, but it's not like the game doesn't permit houseruling for home games or anything, or that NPCs might behave differently regardless of how long you converse with them if you provide certain statements to greatly sway their attitude towards you in an instant, as a good GM might do, even if the rules wouldn't work that way.

All I can say is that it sounds like another person butthurt about Society play because they think certain RAW sucks. In which case, that's a PFS issue, not a system issue.

Liberty's Edge

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You want my real take here? Dishonest and scummy.

He's not leaving PF2, he never even gave it a real shot, at least in terms of actual video coverage, he's made a total of 3 videos on the RPG in total in the time span that he's produced 70+ 5e videos even while he admits that Paizo has sent him copies of all the rules for him to preview and review. The guy didn't even BOTHER reviewing them either, he just kept the books and never made any content or commentary about the system.

He is making this video to try and justify why he won't be making any more Pathfinder RPG videos (Spoiler: The real reason is that he gets fewer views on them because there are fewer people who own/know about/play Pathfinder) and had to make up a bunch of phony criticisms to explain it in a way that doesn't sound like he's after ad revenue. Literally, none of his points were even close to bulletproof, very few of them even made sense, and worse yet the criticism he made about the system is objectively a FAR bigger problem in nearly all other modern/current RPG systems.

He is chasing the 5e money train and that can be seen by the fact that this is the only PF focused video he made this entire year. Hell, he even jams D&D or 5e in every title that's not about his personal life and slaps the 5e logo on every video.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I very much disagree, but also annoyed this sort of video was even made. It serves no purpose but to gripe on a system and will only turn some people away from pf2 that are looking to start playing and stumble on that video. His points are terrible, the only ones that have any sort of merritt can be applied to many many games, including 5e.

I suppose it bothers me because I firmly believe that 2e is a better system, but 5e has just snowballed because of celebrities, name recognition, and just way more content creators (which, as others have said, is likely the real reason he's sticking with 5e, because it gets him more views). There's no reason to call it out, especially if you actually like paizo, especially if they treat you well, and especially if you have a lot of followers.


While my group had its issues with PF2, they don't line up with what he said. It was so deadly because my players couldn't strategize that they never got the hang of their characters (despite reaching 9th level) due to frequent character death.
Guess he's entitled to his opinion. I doubt it will sway many people in either direction.


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I think the name of the Taking20 speaker is Cody.

I have been investigating a mystery in the forums for the last year. Many people complain about Total Party Kills in the PF2 adventure paths Age of Ashes and Extinction Curse. Those adventure paths are harder than the average PF1 adventure paths. Yet in contrast, my players regularly overcome 160-xp extreme-threat challenges, so now I throw 188-xp beyond-extreme challenges at them. I realized that my players have mastered PF2 tactics and those tactics are different.

Cody's players are still using the old-fashioned tactics of PF1 and Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 (I have not played D&D 5e, so I don't know its tactics). The repetition is part of the old tactics.

This is a minor flaw in Pathfinder 2nd Edition: it does not telegraph workable tactics. PF2 is less about optimization--the cause of the repetition--and more about situation awareness. The players need to choose and re-choose their tactics based on perceived weaknesses and strengths of the enemy. However, a character could simply hit every monster with his sword every action and never gin a clue that combat could be more interesting.

Cody said at minute 4:40, "There is an optimal set of actions that you need to do over and over and over again to perform well. For my swashbuckler player it's tumble through, panache, sneak attack, competent finisher over and over and over again. For the ranger it's hunt prey, hunted shot, throw in a third shot that usually misses. My druid player just this week, my druid player just this week asked me if they could go back and retcon some of their character abilities because they were getting bored just turning into dinosaurs and dragons to bite and claw things over and over again."

I have not seen a swashbuckler in action, and the 7th-level druid in my campaign turned into a dinosaur for the first time in last week's game session, so let me focus on the ranger. The ranger starts with Hunt Prey, a standard action cost for using ranger abilities. Then Hunted Shot, given two Strikes with a bow for only one action. Then, "hird shot that usually misses"--wait, wait, usually misses? This does not sound like an optimal set of actions. If the third shot misses more than 50% of the time, then the ranger should look into whether a different third action would be more useful. Furthermore, Hunt Prey is a typical first-round action but typically unnecessary on the 2nd round. So this ranger will have a different sequence of events during the second round, which breaks the claim of always using the same set of actions.

The 7th-level ranger in my campaign has a flurry edge, so her third Strike often hits. Or she would cast Shield, which she learned via her elvish Otherworldly Magic ancestry feat. Or she would Stride to a better location for combat. She can cast Ranger's Bramble instead of shooting. Or she could switch to her melee weapons for Twin Takedown. Too many of the other party members are best at range, so she has to step up for melee. She fights with variety.

Paizo tried well with its Bestiaries. I have heard praise for the variety of its monsters with characteristic attacks or weaknesses. Shouldn't those monsters inspire a variety of tactics? If a crocodile rushes out of the river in an aquatic ambush and grabs the ranger in its jaws, is the druid's best action to turn into a dinosaur? Maybe he should cast Speak with Animals and explain to the crocodile that the ranger is part of a herd (Intimidation check) as dangerous as elephants?

Sovereign Court

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Provocative title promising an interesting answer, but you first have to wade through several minutes of self-congratulation? Clickbait alert.

Most of the video is just proof by repeated assertion, emotional outbursts, and supporting claims which he then says he's not going to cover in this video. (But if this is his farewell letter, when is he going to?)

His real knowledge of what he's talking about shows through when he talks about how much he likes the Lost Legends [sic!] line.

Also, a druid complaining about always turning into a dinosaur having only the illusion of choice? Really? Nobody held a gun to your head and told you to turn into a T-Rex. If you want to just cast some of your 10 levels of spells, you can do that you know. And if you don't like wildshape anymore, retrain some feats. No need to beg the GM to "retcon".

Or the claim that nobody ever uses magic missile as a two-action spell? I guess that might be implementation-dependent; if you play on roll20 and you see an enemy with just a sliver left of health bar, 1-action finisher MMs aren't so unusual. And of course the example of a multi-action spell that he avoids: Heal, which does have 1, 2 and 3 action uses that all really happen.

You also get ridiculous arguments such as "feats are bad, they're so bad, really so awful.. people take feats that synergize together and then other people call them powergamers and then they use the feats they took a lot!" Seriously?

When you filter away the baseless claims and distill all the repeated assertions, the core argument really is "we only have the illusion of choice because we end up always doing the same thing because it's the best". And yet, he also complains about TPKing. Sure, in an adventure that can be hard, but if he was so right about making only the right choices, how come it went so bad for them?


Ascalaphus wrote:

the core argument really is "we only have the illusion of choice because we end up always doing the same thing because it's the best". And yet, he also complains about TPKing. Sure, in an adventure that can be hard, but if he was so right about making only the right choices, how come it went so bad for them?

Captain Picard wrote:
It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.

I keep a close eye on difficulty discussions on the forums regarding P2, because I still have a lot of concerns about it, especially in the context of trying to transition players over from P1 where you can pick a thing to succeed at and then proceed to never fail at doing the thing.

So, if the video is correct, that the party determined what their most efficient use of actions was and repeated those ad nauseum and still failed. There are several places for that failure.

1)In their determination of what was efficient, but we can hardly blame people new to the system for not being adept finding intricacies

2)The repetition of strategies even in the face of failure or nonstandard circumstances. This does seem to be a player problem. I strive to be a hands off GM, but even still, you have to say something when the party just repeats the same actions expecting different results.

3) Maybe the dice just hate these particular players specifically and so they operated at a lower threshold than expected. This is unfortunate, but also something not the fault of the system that can sour people on it regardless.

I see no reason to question's anyone's sincerity, but there is a lot of information missing to make any kind of judgement on how universal the problem is. What we do know is that this guy, with those players, had some issues that lead to not having a good time. I mean, that happens.


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Kasoh wrote:
I see no reason to question's anyone's sincerity, but there is a lot of information missing to make any kind of judgement on how universal the problem is. What we do know is that this guy, with those players, had some issues that lead to not having a good time. I mean, that happens.

It can happen, yes. But knowing how and why that happened is more important than it simply happening, so that the system can be adjusted to suit their needs, and also to determine if it's a player issue or a system issue. Especially if he is stating that it is indeed a system issue. Monsters too tough or not behaving right? Tone them down a bit, or play them more to the creature's habits. Characters too bland? Suggest some options in combat to spice things up, or emphasize RP so that Bolf the Fighter is a different character than Rolf the Fighter. Maybe Bolf is a jerk of a fighter and plays dirty. Maybe Rolf is a straight and narrow kind of guy.

Point here is that there really isn't enough data points (or even real play evidence) for him to come to the conclusion that PF2 is a bad system to warrant being bashed compared to the obvious household D&D 5E that his videos keep praising as if they're the successor. Even the guy who had TPKs every combat in the playtest was more of an honest person than this one, who's just a 5E suck-up.


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Clickbait video, clickbait thread.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Random nobody stops playing PF2.

Why is this even noteworthy?


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I'm categorically not interested in watching videos that make arguments. If you have a point to make, do it in text.


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Vlorax wrote:

Random nobody stops playing PF2.

Why is this even noteworthy?

The guy has 255,000 subscribers on YouTube. That's a big audience that is going to hear his criticism (fair or not) of this game system. A previous video he released 7 months ago in which he listed reasons to prefer PF2 to 5e got 261,000 views.

So it's a big deal, and a bigger impact on potential fans of the hobby than anything you or I say on these forums.

Like it or not YouTubers and live-streamers are vitally important to the hobby. I think 5e's success can be largely attributed to them.

Paizo would be wise to listen to the feedback. Not saying they should change the game, but producing content that can show exciting gameplay in these formats might win back some critics and reach new fans.


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We already know that they aren't actually doing optimal routines from the fact that their swashbuckler was using tumble through every round. You know, the backup panache generator that doesn't inherently create advantage like the style-specific one you're generally supposed to use...


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It's hard to not doubt somebody's sincerity when they blatantly misrepresent things they claim and express authority over. Sorry, but this character clearly doesn't understand the game he claims to. To say druids lack versatility in pathfinder 2e is dishonest at worst and makes you a complete buffoon at best.


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Harles wrote:
Vlorax wrote:

Random nobody stops playing PF2.

Why is this even noteworthy?

The guy has 255,000 subscribers on YouTube. That's a big audience that is going to hear his criticism (fair or not) of this game system. A previous video he released 7 months ago in which he listed reasons to prefer PF2 to 5e got 261,000 views.

So it's a big deal, and a bigger impact on potential fans of the hobby than anything you or I say on these forums.

Like it or not YouTubers and live-streamers are vitally important to the hobby. I think 5e's success can be largely attributed to them.

Paizo would be wise to listen to the feedback. Not saying they should change the game, but producing content that can show exciting gameplay in these formats might win back some critics and reach new fans.

Paizo is aware of the video. Aaron in Paizo's Marketing and Media posted a comment:

Paizo's comment in I'm Quitting Pathfinder 2e Because of This Issue wrote:
Hi Cody! Aaron in Marketing and Media here. Rather than send you an email, I think transparency might be valuable. Thanks for your feedback, as always. Just so everyone knows, this constructive criticism does not mean you are "off the list." Pathfinder Second Editon was designed with a core that could be expanded and developed for years. With the Bestiary 3 releasing early next year, it will complete what the designers consider to be the "core rulebooks" of Pathfinder. Future hardcovers will be expanding and developing that core. So THAT is when it will get even more interesting. Will the Secrets of Magic and other unannounced books open up new options that you and your players will find engaging? Or will the mechanical core frustrate you? Do our designers have counterpoints to your points? I propose that those are questions worth exploring when the time comes. Peace, joy, love, and hope to you and yours in these challenging times. Thanks, Shanks

I myself subscribe to four YouTube channels about becoming a better GM. Taking20 is not one of them, but Cody is a good orator so I do watch an occasional Taking20 video when it comes up in my feed. As swoosh pointed out, Cody likes clickbait titles.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

2 Pathfinder videos in 26 months, and one of those was a D&D comparison. He wasn't playing PF2e. He got clicks. And he got people talking about him. No publicity is bad publicity, they say.

If he's sincere, hey, more power to him. But I do question whether his sincerity is more genuine, or the desire for publicity.

Verdant Wheel

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A classic power gamer. He did not understood pf2.

Grand Archive

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I don't question his sincerity as much because the core of his complaints are complaints that I have seen in many places on these forums.

I rarely agree with Castilliano, we have the same thoughts here. A lot of the aforementioned complaints are due to a lack of system mastery and, most of all, the players' build choices. Did you build your character to turn into a dinosaur and maul things? Are you now complaining that that is all you do? Really? If you want a character that has more options....then build it that way...?

To be clear, (and I am sure that many people are tired of hearing about my characters again) I have built a healing cleric. That is what they do. That is all that they do. They are very good at it. I have zero issues with how 2 dimensional this character is in combat...because I know that is how I built it. To contrast, this alias rarely does the same thing two round in a row. Soon (at level 9) my full plate wearing wizard that wields a staff of divination (soon to be longsword) is going to dedicate into cleric and, on top of everything else he can currently do, will replace his staff of div for a greater staff of healing. He will have a good AC, decent HP, wield a +1 striking lonsword, cast spells as a standard wizard, and be able to do decent healing.

PF2 has options, it doesn't feel right to blame the system when one cannot find them (or does not look for them).


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I was subscribed to him but rarely watched his videos. Occasionally something interesting would turn up. I am no longer subscribed though. If he wants to complain about all classes doing the same thing he’s barking up the wrong tree. Eldritch Blast sorlocks and Oath of Vengeance Paladins and various great weapon/ranged combatants who rely on their shtick are far more common in 5e than they are in 2e. Anyway sad about the negative views ofc but he wasn’t really a fan anyway so not much to care about.


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What do I like about PF2 that makes me keep playing?

1. 3 action system.

2. Balance. It is so easy to run with minimal preparation and still be challenging.

3. Lots of character variety.

What are some things I think Paizo seriously needs to rethink and simplify?

1. Crafting: This system is overly complicated for next to no benefit. Crafting needs simplification and it needs to show a clear benefit.

2. Get rid of many of these small useless rules that don't do anything but create unnecessary rules lawyering like Interact actions for going from one to two hands or one interact action for drawing two weapons for a two-weapon fighter. Or other little rules here and there like if a spell doesn't list the saving throw, then it doesn't do double damage. Or how many hands to use Battle Medicine. It bogs the game down unnecessarily.

It's not fun to have to know too many rules to run the game. PF2 could use a simplification pass.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

What do I like about PF2 that makes me keep playing?

1. 3 action system.

2. Balance. It is so easy to run with minimal preparation and still be challenging.

3. Lots of character variety.

What are some things I think Paizo seriously needs to rethink and simplify?

1. Crafting: This system is overly complicated for next to no benefit. Crafting needs simplification and it needs to show a clear benefit.

2. Get rid of many of these small useless rules that don't do anything but create unnecessary rules lawyering like Interact actions for going from one to two hands or one interact action for drawing two weapons for a two-weapon fighter. Or other little rules here and there like if a spell doesn't list the saving throw, then it doesn't do double damage. Or how many hands to use Battle Medicine. It bogs the game down unnecessarily.

It's not fun to have to know too many rules to run the game. PF2 could use a simplification pass.

I agree that crafting is unnecessarily complicated and not even GOOD. it's honestly the closest thing I would call to a trap skill in this game. I also think things like spending an action on holding something with one hand sucks. And potions in general don't feel great to use in combat due to the action economy of it.


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I don't get how he complains that the combats feel stale if he is a fan of 5e, which is literal chipping away at bags of hit points.
I have my own criticisms of the game, but not having character options or dynamic things to do in combat aren't complaints I've heard from anyone else who has played the game.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

You could change the action economy up a bit, but I feel like you'd have to find a way to buff standalone one handed weapons too if you did that, since right now that's the big advantage that whole style of combat has over two handers/sword and board/twf.

Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
I don't question his sincerity as much because the core of his complaints are complaints that I have seen in many places on these forums.

To an extent, but some of the complaints feel out of place because they're at odds with each other.

Like complaining about optimized combat routines that make it so you have no variety while also complaining about parts of those same routines being clearly suboptimal. That's contradictory on its face. As others have said, the complaint also feels a little odd coming from a long time proponent of 5e, where combat routines are static by design. That's not throwing shade either, I quite enjoy 5e and have played a lot of it (even if I'm a little upset at how Tasha's turned out and it's put me off the system a bit recently).


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I'm categorically not interested in watching videos that make arguments. If you have a point to make, do it in text.

But maybe the comments section has a nuanced, rational discussion of pertinent topics! Better click on the link to make sure!


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I watched Cody's videos for a while, and I don't totally agree with the people of the community who thinks he is just making staff. I found Cody a quite reasonable voice, but I do agree that this video is a low point for him, which comes from unawerness to the changes in gameplay, not in mechanics, and mostly because the format of this video - clickbait, which largely hurls opinions and damages a company' prodact.

Further, and it is a larger problem, it keeps the status-qua: D&D, or any other big system which sells the most (I know Pathfinder is a one), that prevents other game systems - usually not less good, sometimes better for a diffrent play style - from growing, hurting creators and players.

Edit: before people will react to this comment, I want to say: there is always going to be a larger game with more players, but currently the mainstream isn't open to other games. I live in a country where the term TTRPG means to other people just "D&D".


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"Illusion of choice" is a wild thing to say from a guy that likes 5e. Like, seriously, every time I have tried to do something a little outside the norm in 5e, the character was useless and died. There is no choice except for the scant options that are provided for you.


I've stopped watching when he spoke about Magic Missile. 1-action Magic Missile is a massive spell, one of the highest damage dealing spell in the game.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

A lot of criticism of PF2 that I see likes to focus on how some things feel always usable and others are situational, and because they are situational, they should be avoided as options. With some ancestry and class feats, I can understand that inclination, but with things like spells, items, consumables, and actions choices, that line of logic seems like it would lead inevitably to disappointment.

If the game provides you ways to not just succeed but excel in specific kinds of encounters, but rather than figure out how to do so, you always choose to just make the same choices as always, then the game should be presenting you with incredibly difficult encounters, because your approach to solving them is making them difficult. If your approach to solving an encounter will make no difference on its difficulty, then the game you are playing is static and predictable. Enjoyable for some, but not really going to win over a lot of folks who specifically turn to roleplaying games for the opportunity to think outside the box and creatively problem solve.


SuperBidi wrote:
I've stopped watching when he spoke about Magic Missile. 1-action Magic Missile is a massive spell, one of the highest damage dealing spell in the game.

I would like a mechanic in the game where casting a 1-action version took up fewer spell slots. Or maybe you cast Magic Missile and it can be sustained for 3 rounds, sending a single dart each round it's sustained. Same thing with Heal.

I never saw a single Missile cast in my year-long campaign.

Liberty's Edge

Is it experience from playing the game or a digest of criticisms of PF2 found on the internet?


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Harles wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
I've stopped watching when he spoke about Magic Missile. 1-action Magic Missile is a massive spell, one of the highest damage dealing spell in the game.

I would like a mechanic in the game where casting a 1-action version took up fewer spell slots. Or maybe you cast Magic Missile and it can be sustained for 3 rounds, sending a single dart each round it's sustained. Same thing with Heal.

I never saw a single Missile cast in my year-long campaign.

1-action Magic Missile is awesome but... First, you need quite some levels as you won't use your highest level slots on 1-action spells as you'd burn through them too quickly. Also, you need Dangerous Sorcery to make it shine. With it, it deals as much expected damage than a martial second attack, which is awesome at range and for a third action.

It's these kind of spells that ask for quite some system mastery to be used. On the hand of a good player, it's awesome. But many players struggle with their spell slots and as such will disregard such spell.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

His arguments lack substance. I've heard many complaints about PF2 (some of which I've made) that I can understand the logic behind. The problems Cody describes just don't make sense unless you've only played one game of PF2 without really trying to dig into it.

Honestly wondering if the COVID-stress brain-drain might be to blame. Sounds a lot like a group that is low on creative thinking energy and hungering for a comfort system they know well, like 5e.

Sovereign Court

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Quit giving this guy attention, he makes clickbait videos with no substance. (Remember this is the same prick that complained about reverse racism on Roll20 when they started to branch out with more diverse content creators). Yall are giving him what he wanted controversy, which brings him more views etc.

He aint #!$@. Move on. Lol


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Jib916 wrote:
Quit giving this guy attention, he makes clickbait videos with no substance. (Remember this is the same prick that complained about reverse racism on Roll20 when they started to branch out with more diverse content creators). Yall are giving him what he wanted controversy, which brings him more views etc.

As far as I know that story is a little bit more complicated than that.


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The Nonat1s YouTube channel has posted a response to Taking20's quitting video: A Response to @Taking20 Regarding Pathfinder 2e. Nonat, as he calls himself, mostly agrees with the opinion of this thread. He also has a nice story from one of his roleplaying games. But the best part is he discuss the Optimization Problem in an intelligent way that covers all roleplaying games.

For this discussion Nonat simplifies optimization down to maximum damage. In his RPG story he tells how the players took a creative opportunity to cripple the attacks of massive-hit-point monster to be able to destroy it safely rather than dealing maximum damage to destroy it quickly.

Nonat mention that some tables view maximized damage as the signature of a good gamer. He calls it toxic. I myself facepalm at that attitude because it is mathematically flawed. Damage optimization yields 10% more damage than more versatile damage builds. 10% can matter in a battle with a narrow margin of victory, but those are the extreme-threat challenges. That 10% advantage is unnecessary in lesser challenges, especially with the 10-minute post-combat recovery methods common in PF2. And more powerful than 10% more damage in all battles is the versatility to take advantage of enemy weaknesses to lock them down or deal double damage.


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Mathmuse wrote:
Nonat mention that some tables view maximized damage as the signature of a good gamer. He calls it toxic. I myself facepalm at that attitude because it is mathematically flawed. Damage optimization yields 10% more damage than more versatile damage builds. 10% can matter in a battle with a narrow margin of victory, but those are the extreme-threat challenges. That 10% advantage is unnecessary in lesser challenges, especially with the 10-minute post-combat recovery methods common in PF2. And more powerful than 10% more damage in all battles is the versatility to take advantage of enemy weaknesses to lock them down or deal double damage.

I think what he means is that if you view the signature of a good gamer as the "doing the most damage" then, in some cases, not optimizing damage can be frowned upon. That is where the toxicity can come into play.


TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Nonat mention that some tables view maximized damage as the signature of a good gamer. He calls it toxic. I myself facepalm at that attitude because it is mathematically flawed. Damage optimization yields 10% more damage than more versatile damage builds. 10% can matter in a battle with a narrow margin of victory, but those are the extreme-threat challenges. That 10% advantage is unnecessary in lesser challenges, especially with the 10-minute post-combat recovery methods common in PF2. And more powerful than 10% more damage in all battles is the versatility to take advantage of enemy weaknesses to lock them down or deal double damage.
I think what he means is that if you view the signature of a good gamer as the "doing the most damage" then, in some cases, not optimizing damage can be frowned upon. That is where the toxicity can come into play.

Yes, I had cut corners on my description.


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Wow, you guys are really big mad over this?


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Zero the Nothing wrote:
Wow, you guys are really big mad over this?

Not mad. Bewildered.

How did Cody and his players misunderstand Pathfinder 2nd Edition so badly? Do other gaming tables make the same mistake? Could I give simple advice that will help other gamers avoid this mistake? (The people here in the Paizo forums, even the newbies asking for basic advice, are experts compared to some people I advise about PF2 and RPGs in general in Facebook and Quora.)


I think it is important to understand that he has a point even if you don't totally agree with it. Personally I don't think he even really understands the problem. It is not an experience that is unique to pathfinder and is generally tied to the process of learning and figuring out a system with min/max gameplay in mind. In essence I think the problem at his table is an example of the min/max trap. So what is the min/max trap?

The min/max trap is the player who gets pleasure in min/maxing their character but once that process is over they lose interest.

What happens for a min/max player is that they spend a lot of time learning the rules and trying to find out how they work. This is actually a fun experience for them as they learn and figure things out and discover synergies or optimal paths. They finally get to a point where their major min/max decisions have been made and their character is built the way they intended. At this point there is a bit of a let down. There are no more hurdles for them to really overcome so they get bored.

The act of playing the game in these scenarios can be fun to an extent but not necessarily. Especially after awhile. There is nothing left to learn or look forward to.

So in retrospect you have a game with a mountain of complexity (choices) to wade through which provides entertainment but once that happens that experience is over. The primary value of the complexity is no longer present but the cost of that complexity still is and that cost is mostly felt by pushing out the attention placed on the other aspects of the experience.

In the end the bigger the rush the player gets from figuring out their character the harder the fall once it is over.

This is a major reason why other aspects of the game are really important outside of the act of optimization.

Personally I find optimization a lot of fun but I have gone through this process dozens of times over the years across various games. I have had a lot of fun with games only to find myself losing interest and hitting a wall.


Mathmuse wrote:
Zero the Nothing wrote:
Wow, you guys are really big mad over this?

Not mad. Bewildered.

How did Cody and his players misunderstand Pathfinder 2nd Edition so badly? Do other gaming tables make the same mistake? Could I give simple advice that will help other gamers avoid this mistake? (The people here in the Paizo forums, even the newbies asking for basic advice, are experts compared to some people I advise about PF2 and RPGs in general in Facebook and Quora.)

For myself, as a newbie who's not especially good at PF, I'm at least here to try to learn and have an open mind. I'm not here to find flaws in the system, bash it, or attempt to convince others to convert to other systems.

Liberty's Edge

Stangler wrote:

I think it is important to understand that he has a point even if you don't totally agree with it. Personally I don't think he even really understands the problem. It is not an experience that is unique to pathfinder and is generally tied to the process of learning and figuring out a system with min/max gameplay in mind. In essence I think the problem at his table is an example of the min/max trap. So what is the min/max trap?

The min/max trap is the player who gets pleasure in min/maxing their character but once that process is over they lose interest.

What happens for a min/max player is that they spend a lot of time learning the rules and trying to find out how they work. This is actually a fun experience for them as they learn and figure things out and discover synergies or optimal paths. They finally get to a point where their major min/max decisions have been made and their character is built the way they intended. At this point there is a bit of a let down. There are no more hurdles for them to really overcome so they get bored.

The act of playing the game in these scenarios can be fun to an extent but not necessarily. Especially after awhile. There is nothing left to learn or look forward to.

So in retrospect you have a game with a mountain of complexity (choices) to wade through which provides entertainment but once that happens that experience is over. The primary value of the complexity is no longer present but the cost of that complexity still is and that cost is mostly felt by pushing out the attention placed on the other aspects of the experience.

In the end the bigger the rush the player gets from figuring out their character the harder the fall once it is over.

This is a major reason why other aspects of the game are really important outside of the act of optimization.

Personally I find optimization a lot of fun but I have gone through this process dozens of times over the years across various games. I have had a lot of fun with games only to find myself losing...

Retraining or even a GM generous on rebuilding would be an excellent way to sustain interest as the minmaxer integrates the lessons learned from play (successes and failures) to make their character even more adapted / efficient.


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The min-max trap being more or less the subject of the video is why it's weird the complaint is being aimed at PF2, a game which basically puts most player power in mid-battle choices, and why people are focusing on how to get players to notice (and recognize the importance of) the mid-battle choices the game offers.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Alfa/Polaris wrote:
The min-max trap being more or less the subject of the video is why it's weird the complaint is being aimed at PF2, a game which basically puts most player power in mid-battle choices, and why people are focusing on how to get players to notice (and recognize the importance of) the mid-battle choices the game offers.

Yeah. Optimization actually isn't that hard in this game (18 in your to hit stat, dex up to the dex cap of your armor, bam) but tactics are what really make or break a party.


If I was really cynical I might think someone might make a "here's why x is bad" video with a bunch of weak arguments in it, in order to set up the "some really cool people reached out to me, so now I know why x is good actually" video.


Alfa/Polaris wrote:
The min-max trap being more or less the subject of the video is why it's weird the complaint is being aimed at PF2, a game which basically puts most player power in mid-battle choices, and why people are focusing on how to get players to notice (and recognize the importance of) the mid-battle choices the game offers.

The min/max trap and mid combat choices are not mutually exclusive ideas. The mid combat choices can certainly help but the player is still suffering from the hangover of feeling their character building is done. The more they enjoyed that the more they will feel the loss of it, ergo the trap.

I think this issue is likely being aimed at PF2 because the core rulebook is 600 pages long. Are some players not able to fully really appreciate and focused on that mid battle complexity of PF2 or are they already worn down by the 600 pages they just shifted through? Does the DM know that this is the heart of the game and designing encounters around it? Why or why not?

One of the themes of the video is the clear feeling that the choices presented were simple illusions. From a game design pov it is actually very hard to create choices that are not illusions and there is a tendency to design things one piece at a time which leads to excessive and counterproductive complexity.

I think one of the ways TTRPGs really can evolve is establishing a better understanding of what the game is. D&D 5e is really designed so that people can jump in and play but the higher levels are often ignored because the game loses momentum.

There is also a domino effect with decisions so this tends to upfront that joy of min/max learning because players feel they need to plan out their character for 20 levels.

I will also add that I went back and watched this guys other videos on PF2 and he was clearly a fan early on. I would imagine that he is experiencing a bit of a rollercoaster effect with the highs of learning the game and then the lows of hitting a wall and will likely bounce back in a little bit with his appreciation of the game.

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