On Balance and Undershooting


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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WatersLethe wrote:

There's two big issues being discussed that should be firmly separated. There's "balance" from a system view and from a player and class comparison view.

The PF2 system really cares when a class's power overshoots the target maximum. That's the kind of thing that leads an edition to an early grave, foments community discussions about bloat and power gaming, and makes early content less and less relevant for later content. A designer would rather undershoot than overshoot.

Players don't care so much about the system health since they're not in position to experience the downstream effects of some options being overtuned here and there. What players care about is that when they compare two classes they feel on par. That means they are less tolerant of undershooting power balance because they feel that potentially overshooting isn't as big a risk as a designer and there should be more head room. Essentially they want X +/- Y whereas designers see it more as X +0/-2Y. Fundamental difference in tolerance expectations.

The bitter pill players need to swallow is that designing for System balance is more important, and the system has already closed the gap between classes FAR MORE than previous editions, and hyper focusing on getting classes perfectly balanced is never a good idea. You're going to have to get used to the differences between classes currently present continuing to exist or you're going to drive Paizo down the Blizzard path of tuning down to +/-2%, at the expense of originality, increasing development costs, and never pleasing everyone because the target will just be shifted to +/-1%.

The goal shouldn't be to make all new classes tightly balanced with existing ones, it should be to make sure they don't break the game and are fun to play. Even the weakest classes have plenty of players who love them, so they are at least partial successes. Increasing their appeal to others can come after, and that may include offering numerical buffs, but those shouldn't be a goal in their own right.

These are super important points to understand, and they're easier to understand if people widely understood that Paizo's best selling book is the CRB, even as new flashy books with their new flashy classes and rules and options are released.

Like it or not, Paizo is a for-profit company and they're protecting their best selling book by making sure you can always pick up a CRB and be competitive.

Grand Archive

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...?

From my point of view, an optimizer/power gamer, in my building process, I seem to avoid swashbuckler, alchemist, and witch (though I often use witch dedication). I also avoid inventor and gunslinger, but that is because I wish to play a fantasy game, not a steampunk game.

I am happy with my wizard, oracle, monk, sorcerer, fighter, cleric, investigator, and summoner. All contribute solidly, and very few are straightforward versions of their class.

The idea that the non-CRB classes are worse is really odd to me.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Personally, I just avoid Alchemist, as far as I'm concerned everything else in the game is in a tight pack of viability, with different positions in the pack, but close enough for it not to matter, and in differing positions in that pack situationally-- I'm playing a very effective Witch right now (Life Boost is such a great tool), and played a blasting Wizard previously.


The-Magic-Sword wrote:
I Ate Your Dice wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:

Also on the point of balance and the perception that paizo is being too harsh on it.

I say good for them and that that is preferable.

Don't forget the that base rules are that, the base rules. They must be as tightly balanced as possible because then they create the meat and bones of the system to allow us, as GM's, to extrapolate from there and adjust/adapt/homebrew stuff.

Despite pf2e being excellent, I still have 10-15 house rules per game, and I change them as we game.

I allow tumble through as part of a stride, I made disarm a non MAP, I allow diagonal flanking, I allow hero points reroll on damage rolls, I allow bandoliers to give you 1 free action draw from an item in there once per round to favor using consumables. This and much more.

But I'm happy my tweeks aren't part of the core, I'm not sure if they're balanced! I like that the base rules are common ground to allow us to grow from there.

Aside from fixing gross imbalances, I'm not sure I can agree with the balance first mindset. I can see why it would be prevalent on these forums but game balance has never had a large impact on a system's sales or its lasting appeal. I think this large focus on balance and the added

workload it creates is likely a bad thing for PF2 in the long run as it will be hard to write new and exciting classes, feats, and spells for such a constrained system.

If this was pushing strong sales it could make sense but I don't think PF2 is really selling to the wider market on the strength of its balance. Especially when D&D 5e is still selling well with its 'meh, good enough' levels of balance.

I think it might be a selling point, it is frequently brought up on reddit by people who are transitioning over from 5e which is itself a frequent occurrence-- and it was the feedback I got just the other night as a GM for Beginner Box day from a group of long time PF1e players, that they felt like it was way better balanced and they enjoyed...

The main market of 5e IMO is formed by 2 factors:

1º - The name Dungeon & Dragons is too strong in RPG market and there are an enormous ecosystem around it.
2º - The system is very friendly to player who want's just pick and play character. Those people that are new or don't want to thing too much about the character they do "let me see what we have to choose...hum... oh there's a mage class and an elf race! I like mages and I like elfs I will pick these".

IMO these 2 things is the majority base of D&D marketshare. Over time many of theses players start to want to immerse more and more in the system and there's when they start to see the unbalances, inconsistencies and the customization chains that's binds their choices. And are in this point when they beging to notice and complain where someone in the party says "hey there are this game named Pathfinder 2e, he appear to be way more balanced and customized than D&D, why don't we try it next?". With exception from those come from 1e that came because it's a new edition of PF mostly players I know that came from D&D arrive in 2e because of this. As pointed by The-magic-sword about what Stephen Glicker said "there are 'Pathfinder People' who don't know they're Pathfinder people in the DND community" and when they arrive they tend to like the 2e (me and my friends experience with PF2 was like that).

That's means that 2E is perfect? No, but it's fit better for those people who seeks a system more customizable and balanced than 5E.

Again pointing my point of view. Unless there's no choice due enter in an already formed table that I cannot suggest the system. I don't have any intention to back to 5E or PF1 or 3.5 once I played 2E. I started to disgust of play a game with limited action types, exploitable critical system, full of useless or too situational skills, unbalanced classes and so on. I have my own complains about 2E like the lack of love for divine tradition and the missing of a strong full glass cannon caster completely focused in explode his opponents and nothing more, an excessive number of racial feats that are useless, uninteresting or unbalance (the racial feats remembers me a lot the old 3.5 feats in this point, some very good ones dispersed in a full bloat of lesser feats) and many others little weak points yet is FAR way better than come back to D&D.

And about name weight of D&D I think that also there's a way that Paizo can do to attract more people. They need to call other game developers to do things to 2E. For example, when the Iron Kingdoms: Requiem kickstart begins last year the Paizo could have contacted they and said "hey I help you with your project but in exchange I want you also make a PF2 version too" because the more 3rd party things were made for PF more relevance the Pathfinder name will receive. The 1e received this benefits a lot due to the 3.5 compatibility is so closer that you could play a 3.5 game with 1e material without problems. The 2E needs something like this to grow and they started to do this with BattleZoo but we need more way more projects like this to 2E receive more relevancy in the TRPG market. The D&D don't need to do this due their name but Pathfinder need to activaly search for partners if they want to gain relevance.

Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
From my point of view, an optimizer/power gamer, in my building process, I seem to avoid swashbuckler, alchemist, and witch (though I often use witch dedication). I also avoid inventor and gunslinger, but that is because I wish to play a fantasy game, not a steampunk game.

I played and GMed alchemists and is way better than it's appear. The bombs effectiveness and versatile are very good and the persistence damage combos after APG and the number of available bombs after second print improved the class a lot. So I no more include it in this avoidable class list. But this is valid only for bomber alchemist the other research fields are just bad due many mechanical limitations (chirurgeon is just a mobile drugstore, mutagenist lacks of better mutagens and toxicologist is too much affected by the lack of good attack proficiency).

I agree with the witch and I never played with a swashbuckler because every time I consider to play with it I end choosing the rogue instead due the versatility.


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From my point of view, the fact that the biggest selling point is "look we are more balanced" instead of "look at how many cool characters you can make" is part of the issue. Pathfinder has always been a system of giving players and GMs countless options, and the game sold its action economy as being "very flexible". But in actual play the whole feels a lot stiffer.

While I understand that "balance" is a huge selling point for some players, the game needs something else beyond "this is more balanced" to really stand out as its own thing. Right now its under the shadow of PF1 (even as that system got fully discontinued) while also being under the shadow of 5e (trying to lure any player that start to feel annoyed at 5e).


Squiggit wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Simplify this type of stuff to make the classes easier to play.

Don't really agree. The fighter's right over there if you want a class that just hits things.

Classes with more involved mechanics are cool. The problem is some of the classes have too many failure points or destroy their action economy, not the underlying concepts themselves.

Plus none of the classes are really that complicated to begin with, you're always pretty much running on the same engine.

I disgree Deriven as well. You voluntarily take the complexity on when you choose to play a complex class. So select the right build for what you are prepared to do.

I'm playing a Summoner now with a brand new GM to PF2 and new to Foundry. The GM has just has his first session of gaming so he is trusting me on what actions I can do with the Summoner. Its just too soon for him to be across it all, but so far it works OK.

From my point of view its going fine. My main problem I have as the Summoner (this is level 11 Ruby Phoenix) is that I have so many options and so few actions to do them in. Amusing because as a Summoner I have more actions that anyone else.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
If players do not like the systems of the post-CRB classes, they should just choose to play the straightforward CRB classes.

I mean, if someone really wants to play a Summoner but finds their underlying mechanics frustrating, I don't see how telling them to play a Fighter or Wizard is somehow helpful.

Watery Soup wrote:
Like it or not, Paizo is a for-profit company and they're protecting their best selling book by making sure you can always pick up a CRB and be competitive.

This suggestion really misrepresents what was bad about 1e's balance. First edition monks weren't suddenly amazing in core only games and adding hardcovers didn't obsolete Wizards, Clerics, Druids, or Bards.

1e's most egregious problems were systemic and existed in the CRB (or really, before the CRB since PF imported a lot of 3.5's baggage).


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YuriP wrote:

For me the balance is one of selling points of 2E over D&D that helps me to keep playing it. Maybe not all players care about this but this is a market niche where's D&D always failed to achieve. The other differential where's 2E attacks is about customization. Even with all complaints about "I cannot do my character just like I want without risk to turning it less efficient" yet your have way more customization capacity than any D&D edition without abandoning the class+race selection concept and turning the system in a GURPS' like game.

In D&D the maximum you can do is choose a race, class, subclass and if you want trade some stats for some feats. In the end is less customizable than 3.5 and far less than pathfinder and far way less than PF2.

D&D 5e plays things very safe and has built its market on making D&D easy. It's the mobile game of the market in that a lot of people play it a little and some people play it a lot and buy all the books. It's not a high bar to clear to be better than 5e in terms of character customization.

Of course, I don't think you have more customization in PF2 than you had in PF1 or 3.x, but the customization you have is easier to use and has less risk of being overly powerful or completely worthless. If you use the full scope of what the older systems had to offer and are willing to play the occasional low-tier builds only campaign you find that the system can do a lot but asks a lot of both the players and GMs to make it work. This is obviously worse for organized play and pick-up games but can work well with a tight-knit group of players.

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The-Magic-Sword wrote:

I think it might be a selling point, it is frequently brought up on reddit by people who are transitioning over from 5e which is itself a frequent occurrence-- and it was the feedback I got just the other night as a GM for Beginner Box day from a group of long time PF1e players, that they felt like it was way better balanced and they enjoyed that it was more authentically difficult when it was supposed to be. Meanwhile the dndnext sub is consistently getting upset over the lack of balance in that game. I recently went 150 positive karma on a post there discussing how pf2e fixes a major frustration they have there with martials and casters-- the problem itself being major enough that it topped the sub with a whopping 1.8k net karma, which is a significant number of people.

The 'wider market' for 5e is hard to identify, especially when you factor in the people that buy the core book, play a few sessions and then move on with their lives entirely. When it comes up it often feels like people are trying to invoke the 'silent majority' that happens to agree with them, whereas I suspect that impression of 5e's wider market is based on the massive wave of new players that it brought to the table, who aren't actually evergreen, some of them have quite a bit of experience now and are developing frustrations with the system-- in that sense I would say the system's strength is that the problems it has are 'backloaded' you don't start to notice until you play for a while, or start hanging out in the community, which makes it perfect for getting people into the system, and developing a sunk cost to exiting it once they start to notice that the walls are cracked under the paint.

I'm inclined to agree with something Stephen Glicker said in a Roll for Combat stream, there are 'Pathfinder People' who don't know they're Pathfinder people in the DND community, basically people who need their rules to be precise and balanced (say, they need one class to mostly keep up with another class to think of it as viable) and right now you're seeing a lot of friction from them in the 5e community that is to PF2e's benefit, since it caters to that niche. I don't think its the only camp though, I think you also have some of the lighter, fuzzier people getting frustrated with how crunchy 5e is, and how much time is spent on combat and learning combat rules-- and those people are probably going to gradually move over to Story Now and other movements that prefer lite systems. Out of the remaining people, a solid chunk seem to be developing more of a low power, gritty, OSR bent as well, although I don't think that crowd has self-realized to the same extent.

Of course, the people that come to PF2 from other systems will come over for PF2's balance. That's PF2's entire thing.

The issue with that is the system's balance won't appeal to people who haven't already played another system. You aren't going to woo over a new player by telling them that PF2 has finally fixed the caster versus martial divide and made high-level play a lot more enjoyable. You will woo them over by telling them about the awesome moments your character had against Chebilax the Putrescent, Lord of all that Decays, and PF2's system works against any given character having been the decisive factor in a level +3 encounter.

There's also the fact that PF2 won't catch everybody who leaves D&D behind and that being the cleanup crew to another more popular system isn't the way to sustainability or a lead in market share. Paizo does a fairly bad job of advertising and getting brand recognition, they don't tend to innovate by bringing new technology into the gaming space, and they're terrible at errata and fixing issues players have with their game. For every good thing PF2 does, Paizo seems to fire two bullets into their feet.


Temperans wrote:

From my point of view, the fact that the biggest selling point is "look we are more balanced" instead of "look at how many cool characters you can make" is part of the issue. Pathfinder has always been a system of giving players and GMs countless options, and the game sold its action economy as being "very flexible". But in actual play the whole feels a lot stiffer.

While I understand that "balance" is a huge selling point for some players, the game needs something else beyond "this is more balanced" to really stand out as its own thing. Right now its under the shadow of PF1 (even as that system got fully discontinued) while also being under the shadow of 5e (trying to lure any player that start to feel annoyed at 5e).

The situation from 1e and from 2e is way different in marketshare.

In the PF1 the Paizo was surfing in the rejection and license restrictions of D&D 4E. This made them basically a sole player that was creating and improving the available options in 3.5 that wasn't receving anymore updates.

Now in PF2 Paizo have to face a new challenge. He is competing against successful D&D edition that no more has license restrictions and with a lot of class and subclass options (there are at last 120 subclasses options and 42 races) without count multiclasses combinations and there's nothing preventing they to do more. So now is harder to Paizo now to focus just in give more character options than before.

That's why Paizo changed his focus to allow gives more options to personalize your builds inside same class without break the balance. And balance is an important thing because could be way easier to them just reckless add more and more class and creative options ignoring the restrictions but if they did this they would just be known as "that publisher who tried to compete with D&D 5E just adding many unbalanced classes and options that mostly players have to take care to avoid select the good ones in middle of many that are subpar" it's a thing that any homebrew creator could do. If they done this, probably will already had a complete flop.

They noticed they need to do more than give more options so they also focused in give more balance than competition.


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Squiggit wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Simplify this type of stuff to make the classes easier to play.

Don't really agree. The fighter's right over there if you want a class that just hits things.

Classes with more involved mechanics are cool. The problem is some of the classes have too many failure points or destroy their action economy, not the underlying concepts themselves.

Plus none of the classes are really that complicated to begin with, you're always pretty much running on the same engine.

The number of rolls needs to be reduced. When you're making a bunch of rolls to hit, combined with skill rolls, damage rolls, can I use my ability rolls, and too many roles while having to figure out how something works, it's not fun as a DM or a player.

That's the problem with a lot of these classes.

The should simplified, streamlined, reduced failure points due to too many rolls. Call it what you want, it's mechanics with too many rolls, too many parts to remember, and too many rules to remember to make them work.

This isn't about the fighter just hitting things, it's about being able to play your class without your nose in the book or a player having to remember a ton little bitty rules to make it all work.


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Gortle wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Simplify this type of stuff to make the classes easier to play.

Don't really agree. The fighter's right over there if you want a class that just hits things.

Classes with more involved mechanics are cool. The problem is some of the classes have too many failure points or destroy their action economy, not the underlying concepts themselves.

Plus none of the classes are really that complicated to begin with, you're always pretty much running on the same engine.

I disgree Deriven as well. You voluntarily take the complexity on when you choose to play a complex class. So select the right build for what you are prepared to do.

I'm playing a Summoner now with a brand new GM to PF2 and new to Foundry. The GM has just has his first session of gaming so he is trusting me on what actions I can do with the Summoner. Its just too soon for him to be across it all, but so far it works OK.

From my point of view its going fine. My main problem I have as the Summoner (this is level 11 Ruby Phoenix) is that I have so many options and so few actions to do them in. Amusing because as a Summoner I have more actions that anyone else.

I have already run the summoner. You are weaker than other classes with occasional nova ability maybe twice a day depending on the saves of the opponent and what spell you took.

Your class is not on par with other classes that have a streamlined play style that leads to superior performance in almost every area than the summoner.

I thought this was a discussion of actual power and capability. I'm telling you and everyone else the main problem with the power level difference between these classes is how they play. This is all very provable and easy to see when DMing.

The CRB classes and the ones I mention have a very straightforward, easy to use play style that the player controls. That is why they perform better in play doing damage and their schtick than classes that require too much rolling, complicated action sequences, have too many abilities requiring activation to make them work like the damage augmenting ability of the summoner to make it do equal damage to a martial, and the like.

I don't care about subjective ideas in this thread like do people enjoy the summoner. I care only about objective measurable numeric performance in a variety of situations which I have spent time studying during DM and play. The reason some of these classes underperform is a small list:

1. Bad action economy abilities to do the same or still less damage than an equivalent class like the summoner.

2. Too many failure mechanics like panache rolls needed for a swashbuckler to perform well.

3. Bad feat choices like the witch or wizard which don't provide much of a bang for the buck for the feat investment.

4. Exploitable mechanics like the single hit point pool of the summoner creating two points of attacks and innate disadvantage on saves or a the barbarian getting knocked unconscious easily at low level which makes them tough out of the gate.

It's all very easy to see. It's typical of these games as it occurred in PF1 and D&D and 5E where certain classes are well designed for combat and perform superior to classes where certain design choices throttle down performance and make the class an underperformer.

These classes could use some streamlining to improve their performance which they'll likely never get which will relegate them to being played by those willing to perform at a lower level because they enjoy the class concept or play with people who derive pleasure from doing some other clever seemingly necessary thing other than kill monsters.

I know in an optimizer group, classes without exploitable mechanics within the players control not requiring random 50/50 success roles or spending extra actions giving the illusion of additional action economy perform better and are more attractive to my players.


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Last post as I'm back to playing this super fun PF kingmaker video game.

You want to balance the classes, you'll have to fix them yourself. Analyze why they are not performing as well as CRB classes that perform well, then fix them accordingly. That is what I did. I believe it is the only way it will get done.

My focus was on combat performance over all else as there are a 1000 ways to do noncombat stuff and no one is ending a campaign because you didn't roleplay correctly during your downtime party at the Grand Ball.

So focusing on combat performance between classes given the low healing requirements for PF2 and the strong focus on tactical combat should be your focus on balance.

Have fun, all.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
I don't care about subjective ideas in this thread like do people enjoy the summoner. I care only about objective measurable numeric performance in a variety of situations which I have spent time studying during DM and play.

Chuckle.

Well at this point I have to say you are out of touch with the reality of the gaming industry. We play fantasy games for the flavour.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
The reason some of these classes underperform is a small list

You have made big unrealistic assumptions to get down to these. The classes aren't always that simple to compare. Yes I do agree that some have some obvious problems. Swashbuckler needs a little bump, Witch fails some very obvious like for like comparisons to Wizard/Bard/Druid. The others seem OK. But there is no doubt that a large portion of the feats are poor value.

Grand Archive

Deriven Firelion wrote:
I don't care about subjective ideas in this thread like do people enjoy the summoner. I care only about objective measurable numeric performance in a variety of situations which I have spent time studying during DM and play.

I agree. Subjective assessments aren't really worth discussing because everyone is right about their subjective assessments.

My wizard regularly performs at the top, or near the top, of every combat in the areas of DPS, damage mitigation, and battlefield control. The only thing he doesn't do amazingly is healing. Even then though, he has a greater staff of healing. So he's not terrible at it.

For a vast majority of the classes in this game, the limitation to character effectiveness is the player, not the game mechanics.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't actually see any math by anyone in this thread, at all-- which makes sense, the statistical analysis necessary to get useful output is kind of annoying, at least talking to some of my friends who have attempted to make tools to answer particular questions in python and excel. We were actually just discussing this tonight, lol.

Liberty's Edge

Squiggit wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
If players do not like the systems of the post-CRB classes, they should just choose to play the straightforward CRB classes.

I mean, if someone really wants to play a Summoner but finds their underlying mechanics frustrating, I don't see how telling them to play a Fighter or Wizard is somehow helpful.

Sorcerer (or even Bard) with reflavored Beastmaster dedication ?

Conjuring Wizard with Beastmaster dedication ?

Or is the minion system already frustrating ?

I have seen Summoners in play and it did not seem that frustrating to the player.


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I Ate Your Dice wrote:
You aren't going to woo over a new player by telling them that PF2 has finally fixed the caster versus martial divide and made high-level play a lot more enjoyable.

You woo over a new player by telling them you are running PF2 so it's PF2 or find a new GM.

And GMs love PF2 because it's balanced, because the promise of getting up to 20 is more than a promise, and because they save work when playing PF2 once they took the time to learn the rules.

Get the GMs, you'll get the players. And GMs are very rarely beginners.

Liberty's Edge

PF2 is very definitely a GM-facing game. It was actually one of the big selling points when they launched the whole of it. Funny that it is now taken for granted.

Liberty's Edge

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Deriven Firelion wrote:
I don't care about subjective ideas in this thread like do people enjoy the summoner. I care only about objective measurable numeric performance in a variety of situations which I have spent time studying during DM and play.

You cannot assess fun this way, though. And fun is the only indicator of whether a game is successful or not.


Deriven Firelion wrote:


So focusing on combat performance between classes given the low healing requirements for PF2 and the strong focus on tactical combat should be your focus on balance.

I don't feel the way you do, as I happened to witness that healings are instead required.

Ofc a party might exploit it by min maxing, taking battle medicine with all characters, taking lay on hand on all characters, everybody champions and so on, but in the end it's just bad for them.

Encounters will result being trivial rather than challenging, and it will all end up to a dps ladder.

It's true that some classes are more combat oriented than others, like the fighter, but expecting paizo will look for balance just looking at min maxed characters and well optimized tactical scenarios would be meaningless.

A fighter class, as well as the bard class, for example, may get some adjustments, but talking about the fighter, you have to give them something in exchange ( the bard, on the other hand, has already everything, so a nerf wouldn't required a trade off).


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HumbleGamer wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:


So focusing on combat performance between classes given the low healing requirements for PF2 and the strong focus on tactical combat should be your focus on balance.

Ofc a party might exploit it by min maxing, taking battle medicine with all characters, taking lay on hand on all characters, everybody champions and so on, but in the end it's just bad for them.

Encounters will result being trivial rather than challenging, and it will all end up to a dps ladder.

Deriven was speaking of out of combat healing. During combat, healing is important. But everyone taking Battle Medicine and Lay on Hands won't make encounters trivial. Some of them will be, others will be a quick TPK. Not all the game is about damage and healing, sometimes you have to deal with the unexpected during a combat and it has to be done through other means.

One of my groups discovered that Aquatic Ambush + Swallow Whole is a killer when it hits a low AC low Athletics Cleric. And in that case, no one cares about your amount of healing, you need to get the Cleric back (considering that martials are in general unable to follow an aquatic monster running away with a prey in its belly).

Being able to deal with special circumstances will save you from time to time. Trying to optimize a party to trivialize the most standard fights is not a proper way to survive through an entire campaign if you don't also have versatile characters to deal with the unexpected.


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For clarity's sake if anything, here's my opinion on where each of the post-core classes currently stand, based on playing them, playing with people using them in the group and/or running games to them:

Witch: The Witch is still a full caster, which makes them at least decent if played well, but they compare too poorly to other casters. If you look at their chassis and base abilities, they're basically a Familiar Attunement Wizard that trades one slot/level plus one extra top level slot for a mediocre Hex Cantrip and slightly better focus spells. Not a good trade. Choosing lists is a neat quirk but doesn't increase the class's overall power in any way.

Investigator: I don't think the mechanics on Devise a Stratagem were completely thought-out with the little time they had post-playtest. The action economy deficit plus the awkwardness of target switching on a low roll makes melee Investigator the most underperforming martial in the game. Ranged is better, but still a solid meh, unless you use the exactly one good combat build the class has with Eldritch Archer and Enchanting Arrow.

Swashbuckler: The class I really wanted to love but can't no matter how hard I try. They have way too many failure points for a low-ish return, fewer build choices due to locked-in skills with no extra increases, and are too MAD if you want to do decent damage early. Bleeding Finisher at least improves the effort-to-return ratio but that's 8 levels in, a third of the game is immune to it and depending on a single feat for performance is generally not a good sign.

Oracle: Okay this one is weird. Oracle lives and dies by their subclass. Life is very tanky for a caster and has insane burst healing. Cosmos heals for less but is even tankier and makes enemy archers cry. No complaints about these two. Most of the rest I find meh and generally worse than Cleric or Divine Sorcerer. Lore and Ancestors are really bad.

Magus: I find Magus similar to some of the others in that they have a lot of failure points, but unlike Swashbuckler for example, the failure points of Magus are more dependant on player skill and how your GM plays monsters, and they can be very strong if everything goes your way. They're melee, squishy and extremely vulnerable to action economy debuffs and disruption. If you play like a god, your GM doesn't use a lot of martially-inclined enemies with AoO, and they're kind enough to not focus you down the first time you explode someone with Spellstrike, the class can be quite powerful, but that's a big if. I don't think it's healthy for a class to have this high of a requirement floor. Unless you play Starlit Span, then ignore everything I said, laser arrow goes brrr.

Summoner: The Summoner is... good? I mean they're a bit harder to play than average but not overly so, and I find their upsides like action economy and versatility are actually worth the downsides. Good job on this one Paizo.

Gunslinger: Gunslinger is very good at their job, they just chose the wrong job. What I mean by that is, the class succeeds at using guns well, but guns themselves are weapons of questionable power. Anything with Reload, really. I'll say though, Gunslinger has a weird niche they can fill very well. Fake Out is one of the most overpowered and abuseable martial feats in the game. If you combine that with the likes of Raconteur's Reload and firearm crit spec, they make for an oddly good offensive support. I'd risk saying when most people think of Gunslinger, they think more "shooty shooty kill things" and less "I buff people really well" though.

Inventor: A smarter but considerably worse Barbarian. They have a similar loop of "activate buff turn 1 and smack", but do less damage unless you keep retrying Overdrive (or hit the jackpot turn 1 crit) and are a lot squishier (1 AC is not worth -4 HP per level). Sure they have a 1/fight AoE, but so does Dragon Barb, and the Innovation is cute but very minor until the level 15 one. Also, Intelligence is the least supported stat in the game, and I'm not sure who thought it was a good idea to make a martial class that can't key their to-hit stat, thus being at -1 to hit but only half the time. The inconsistency really gets me.


SuperBidi wrote:
HumbleGamer wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:


So focusing on combat performance between classes given the low healing requirements for PF2 and the strong focus on tactical combat should be your focus on balance.

Ofc a party might exploit it by min maxing, taking battle medicine with all characters, taking lay on hand on all characters, everybody champions and so on, but in the end it's just bad for them.

Encounters will result being trivial rather than challenging, and it will all end up to a dps ladder.

Deriven was speaking of out of combat healing. During combat, healing is important. But everyone taking Battle Medicine and Lay on Hands won't make encounters trivial. Some of them will be, others will be a quick TPK. Not all the game is about damage and healing, sometimes you have to deal with the unexpected during a combat and it has to be done through other means.

One of my groups discovered that Aquatic Ambush + Swallow Whole is a killer when it hits a low AC low Athletics Cleric. And in that case, no one cares about your amount of healing, you need to get the Cleric back (considering that martials are in general unable to follow an aquatic monster running away with a prey in its belly).

Being able to deal with special circumstances will save you from time to time. Trying to optimize a party to trivialize the most standard fights is not a proper way to survive through an entire campaign if you don't also have versatile characters to deal with the unexpected.

Being able to rely on multiple sources of healing or, if the party has some character able to benefit from it, damaging stuff coming from focus spells ( I just mentioned healings before because they have no DC) simplifies every single encounter.

Like a magus exploiting cleric domains, a caster taking the sorcerer dragons breath, a summoner spamming eidolon's wrath, etc...

Same goes with bm and, for example, the medic archetype.

We can of course debate whether a similar approach bring every challenging encounter down to trivial or moderate, for what it counts, but that's it.

What matters, and what I was trying to just underline, is that a similar approach simplifies every encounter.

Saying that exploiting bm, as well as focus spells, would not provide a huge advantage is, unfortunately, not true ( or I guess we are playing a different game).

Obviously the same can be easily noted by taking only fighters as combatants, bards as support / healers, and so on.

Knowing that some classes and builds are faceroll, it's also up to the players not to push it too far, unless the whole group is doing this.

Ps: exposing specific encounters ( like the swallow whole) mean really not much, since they are not the standard, and can happen depends the situation, the DM, and several stuff.

So yes, they can happen, although it would be an exception.


SuperBidi wrote:

One of my groups discovered that Aquatic Ambush + Swallow Whole is a killer when it hits a low AC low Athletics Cleric. And in that case, no one cares about your amount of healing, you need to get the Cleric back (considering that martials are in general unable to follow an aquatic monster running away with a prey in its belly).

Being able to deal with special circumstances will save you from time to time. Trying to optimize a party to trivialize the most standard fights is not a proper way to survive through an entire campaign if you don't also have versatile characters to deal with the unexpected.

Spoiler:
That's the apl+1 or +2 enemy with the auto flat-foot ambush, +22 attack modifier, DC30 escape and 40 swim speed from AoA book 2 right? Hate to break it to you, but almost nobody is dodging that or escaping from it. +22 vs flat-footed AC will hit a level 8 champion on a 5 so everyone else is getting grabbed on a 2 or 3. A max dex expert reflex character has a reflex DC of 27 I believe so you get swallowed on a 7 with everyone else being out of luck. The DC30 escape needs a character to roll something like a 15 on their skill check assuming expert, +4 ability and a +1 item. At least you can match it's speed with longstrider wands, fleet and a way to fly or swim. Really, the only characters with a prayer of surviving are high str martials with a striking weapon that might manage to hit the rupture threshold, or casters who cast freedom of movement on themselves after being swallowed.

gesalt wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:

One of my groups discovered that Aquatic Ambush + Swallow Whole is a killer when it hits a low AC low Athletics Cleric. And in that case, no one cares about your amount of healing, you need to get the Cleric back (considering that martials are in general unable to follow an aquatic monster running away with a prey in its belly).

Being able to deal with special circumstances will save you from time to time. Trying to optimize a party to trivialize the most standard fights is not a proper way to survive through an entire campaign if you don't also have versatile characters to deal with the unexpected.

** spoiler omitted **

Nope, another AP with another encounter.

But it's quite a classical one, obviously.
I also agree that it's a killing type of encounter. The kind of encounters where you really need to shine.

HumbleGamer wrote:
We can of course debate whether a similar approach bring every challenging encounter down to trivial or moderate, for what it counts, but that's it.

That's the point we won't agree on.

Also, from the way you speak about it, it looks like you are playing with Free Archetypes, because getting proper Focus Spells + Medic Dedication (the only way to make Battle Medicine worth it) is a bit hard without Free Archetypes.
Now, if you are speaking of Free Archetypes, then I have no point of view on the matter, I don't play with it and don't intend to play with it. But indubitably, using it to optimize your build makes encounters easier, I know there are ways to exploit it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
dmerceless wrote:


Magus: I find Magus similar to some of the others in that they have a lot of failure points, but unlike Swashbuckler for example, the failure points of Magus are more dependant on player skill and how your GM plays monsters, and they can be very strong if everything goes your way. They're melee, squishy and extremely vulnerable to action economy debuffs and disruption. If you play like a god, your GM doesn't use a lot of martially-inclined enemies with AoO, and they're kind enough to not focus you down the first time you explode someone with Spellstrike, the class can be quite powerful, but that's a big if. I don't think it's healthy for a class to have this high of a requirement floor. Unless you play Starlit Span, then ignore everything I said, laser arrow goes brrr.

Starlit Span aside, Staff and 2 handed magus get the advantage of easily using reach weapons, which helps a bit with all their innate problems. IMO Magus also has the weird property of being one of the classes that gets affected the most by Free Archetype (if not the most). A Twisting Tree Magus with Lunging spellstrike and FA works completely different than one without FA.


dmerceless wrote:

For clarity's sake if anything, here's my opinion on where each of the post-core classes currently stand, based on playing them, playing with people using them in the group and/or running games to them:

Witch: The Witch is still a full caster, which makes them at least decent if played well, but they compare too poorly to other casters. If you look at their chassis and base abilities, they're basically a Familiar Attunement Wizard that trades one slot/level plus one extra top level slot for a mediocre Hex Cantrip and slightly better focus spells. Not a good trade. Choosing lists is a neat quirk but doesn't increase the class's overall power in any way.

Investigator: I don't think the mechanics on Devise a Stratagem were completely thought-out with the little time they had post-playtest. The action economy deficit plus the awkwardness of target switching on a low roll makes melee Investigator the most underperforming martial in the game. Ranged is better, but still a solid meh, unless you use the exactly one good combat build the class has with Eldritch Archer and Enchanting Arrow.

Swashbuckler: The class I really wanted to love but can't no matter how hard I try. They have way too many failure points for a low-ish return, fewer build choices due to locked-in skills with no extra increases, and are too MAD if you want to do decent damage early. Bleeding Finisher at least improves the effort-to-return ratio but that's 8 levels in, a third of the game is immune to it and depending on a single feat for performance is generally not a good sign.

Oracle: Okay this one is weird. Oracle lives and dies by their subclass. Life is very tanky for a caster and has insane burst healing. Cosmos heals for less but is even tankier and makes enemy archers cry. No complaints about these two. Most of the rest I find meh and generally worse than Cleric or Divine Sorcerer. Lore and Ancestors are really bad.

Magus: I find Magus similar to some of the others in that they have a lot of...

I agree with your opinion about witch, they still a full caster and as one can do good things using spell so play with one could still be fun yet mechanically it's a weakened version of familiar wizard.

I like investigator as an alternative to rogue if you don't want to play melee and specially if you do a MCD with alchemist due it's high INT and Devise a Stratagem combines pretty well with bombs gameplay.

I also agree about Oracle but I also add Battle Oracle as a better option to warpriest.

I agree with Magus and Summoner, they are good just a bit harder to play.

And you perfectly describes what gunslinger are.


SuperBidi wrote:
gesalt wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:

One of my groups discovered that Aquatic Ambush + Swallow Whole is a killer when it hits a low AC low Athletics Cleric. And in that case, no one cares about your amount of healing, you need to get the Cleric back (considering that martials are in general unable to follow an aquatic monster running away with a prey in its belly).

Being able to deal with special circumstances will save you from time to time. Trying to optimize a party to trivialize the most standard fights is not a proper way to survive through an entire campaign if you don't also have versatile characters to deal with the unexpected.

** spoiler omitted **

Nope, another AP with another encounter.

But it's quite a classical one, obviously.
I also agree that it's a killing type of encounter. The kind of encounters where you really need to shine.

HumbleGamer wrote:
We can of course debate whether a similar approach bring every challenging encounter down to trivial or moderate, for what it counts, but that's it.

That's the point we won't agree on.

Also, from the way you speak about it, it looks like you are playing with Free Archetypes, because getting proper Focus Spells + Medic Dedication (the only way to make Battle Medicine worth it) is a bit hard without Free Archetypes.
Now, if you are speaking of Free Archetypes, then I have no point of view on the matter, I don't play with it and don't intend to play with it. But indubitably, using it to optimize your build makes encounters easier, I know there are ways to exploit it.

I was just listing alternatives.

Any character can easily go for the medic dedication ( 1 class feat and 2 skill feats and you are done), as well as getting the blessed one dedication.

Another option it's for a character to get ( given the right alignment and stats) the champion dedication, in order to get both reaction and lay on hand.

Classes like the magus, or an eldritch archer, may consider get the cleric dedication ( alignment and stats required) to unlock a focus spell by lvl 4, in order to be way more competitive during combat encounters.

There's also aoe blasting stuff from sorcerer and summoner ( if you share the same spellcasting DC).

Just choices.

Obviously, you might take more than one and with FA, as you pointed out, you'll be able to do it quickly

But even one option on every single party member would be gamechanging.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
Ranger can be ok, but you have like its playstyle because it's kind of a locked in playstyle.

This one is weird to me ecause as far as I can see, Ranger is one fo the classes with the least internal uniformity. I've not played one, I admit, but it looks like where you put your feats has a huge impact on your playstyle, and many of the options are pretty viable. Am I missing something?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Ranger can be ok, but you have like its playstyle because it's kind of a locked in playstyle.
This one is weird to me ecause as far as I can see, Ranger is one fo the classes with the least internal uniformity. I've not played one, I admit, but it looks like where you put your feats has a huge impact on your playstyle, and many of the options are pretty viable. Am I missing something?

You are missing the Flurry Ranger.

The Flurry Ranger explained for a computer:

Weapon at hand? No: Draw.
Enemy at reach? No: Stride.
Prey? No: Hunt Prey.
Have used Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot? No: Use Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot.
Repeat
Strike
While (an action remaining)
End turn.


SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Ranger can be ok, but you have like its playstyle because it's kind of a locked in playstyle.
This one is weird to me ecause as far as I can see, Ranger is one fo the classes with the least internal uniformity. I've not played one, I admit, but it looks like where you put your feats has a huge impact on your playstyle, and many of the options are pretty viable. Am I missing something?

You are missing the Flurry Ranger.

The Flurry Ranger explained for a computer:

Weapon at hand? No: Draw.
Enemy at reach? No: Stride.
Prey? No: Hunt Prey.
Have used Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot? No: Use Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot.
Repeat
Strike
While (an action remaining)
End turn.

It gets spicier at 8 with Warden's Boon.

And then looses the spice at 14 with Shared Prey.


SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Ranger can be ok, but you have like its playstyle because it's kind of a locked in playstyle.
This one is weird to me ecause as far as I can see, Ranger is one fo the classes with the least internal uniformity. I've not played one, I admit, but it looks like where you put your feats has a huge impact on your playstyle, and many of the options are pretty viable. Am I missing something?

You are missing the Flurry Ranger.

The Flurry Ranger explained for a computer:

Weapon at hand? No: Draw.
Enemy at reach? No: Stride.
Prey? No: Hunt Prey.
Have used Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot? No: Use Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot.
Repeat
Strike
While (an action remaining)
End turn.

Okay, understood... but that's not the only Ranger, right?


SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Ranger can be ok, but you have like its playstyle because it's kind of a locked in playstyle.
This one is weird to me ecause as far as I can see, Ranger is one fo the classes with the least internal uniformity. I've not played one, I admit, but it looks like where you put your feats has a huge impact on your playstyle, and many of the options are pretty viable. Am I missing something?

You are missing the Flurry Ranger.

The Flurry Ranger explained for a computer:

I'd say the Gravity Weapon/Bear Companion/ Precision ranger is the most locked-in playstyle. All about that one big hit.

Flurry rangers have some of the action flexibility of the monk after the first round of combat and a MAP benefit that can encourage combat maneuvers more than some other martials. Blender flurry rangers are mostly a meme.

My favorite ranger for flexibility is outwit monster hunter, though. Build for intimidation and carry a bunch of bombs to trigger weaknesses/ apply conditions. Maybe pick up Trick Magic item, too. You can make a powerful support character to set up your allies.


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Sanityfaerie wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Ranger can be ok, but you have like its playstyle because it's kind of a locked in playstyle.
This one is weird to me ecause as far as I can see, Ranger is one fo the classes with the least internal uniformity. I've not played one, I admit, but it looks like where you put your feats has a huge impact on your playstyle, and many of the options are pretty viable. Am I missing something?

You are missing the Flurry Ranger.

The Flurry Ranger explained for a computer:

Weapon at hand? No: Draw.
Enemy at reach? No: Stride.
Prey? No: Hunt Prey.
Have used Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot? No: Use Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot.
Repeat
Strike
While (an action remaining)
End turn.

Okay, understood... but that's not the only Ranger, right?

Not at all, but it's a very popular one. I can't tell you the proportion of each Edge, but I'd not be surprised if Flurry was the dominant one.


Sanityfaerie wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Ranger can be ok, but you have like its playstyle because it's kind of a locked in playstyle.
This one is weird to me ecause as far as I can see, Ranger is one fo the classes with the least internal uniformity. I've not played one, I admit, but it looks like where you put your feats has a huge impact on your playstyle, and many of the options are pretty viable. Am I missing something?

You are missing the Flurry Ranger.

The Flurry Ranger explained for a computer:

Weapon at hand? No: Draw.
Enemy at reach? No: Stride.
Prey? No: Hunt Prey.
Have used Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot? No: Use Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot.
Repeat
Strike
While (an action remaining)
End turn.

Okay, understood... but that's not the only Ranger, right?

Unless agile weapon fighter, in addition to flurry ranger, I wouldn't expend all my actions on attacks.

-10, as well as -8 assuming an agile weapon is not so appealing... But if we are talking about a fighter or flurry ranger, expending all actions on attacks might do the trick.


HumbleGamer wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Ranger can be ok, but you have like its playstyle because it's kind of a locked in playstyle.
This one is weird to me ecause as far as I can see, Ranger is one fo the classes with the least internal uniformity. I've not played one, I admit, but it looks like where you put your feats has a huge impact on your playstyle, and many of the options are pretty viable. Am I missing something?

You are missing the Flurry Ranger.

The Flurry Ranger explained for a computer:

Weapon at hand? No: Draw.
Enemy at reach? No: Stride.
Prey? No: Hunt Prey.
Have used Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot? No: Use Twin Takedown/Hunted Shot.
Repeat
Strike
While (an action remaining)
End turn.

Okay, understood... but that's not the only Ranger, right?

Unless agile weapon fighter, in addition to flurry ranger, I wouldn't expend all my actions on attacks.

-10, as well as -8 assuming an agile weapon is not so appealing... But if we are talking about a fighter or flurry ranger, expending all actions on attacks might do the trick.

Also Rangers get auto crit specialisation with everything (which isn't shared by all martial classes) so with haste, a flurry ranger can attack 5 times in 1 round with an optimal placement (which happens sometimes). This favors crit fishing and rewards good crit weapons like deadly fatal and critical fusion weapons, as well as good crit specialisation options such as brawling hammer club flail and unarmed.

Overall its a very effective build that never has the ''what do I do with my third action ''dilemna because your 5th attack has the same MAP as an agile weapon on its second attack.

My flurry ranger player's main gripe with it is that enemies tend to die before she's done with them.


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SuperBidi wrote:
I Ate Your Dice wrote:
You aren't going to woo over a new player by telling them that PF2 has finally fixed the caster versus martial divide and made high-level play a lot more enjoyable.

You woo over a new player by telling them you are running PF2 so it's PF2 or find a new GM.

And GMs love PF2 because it's balanced, because the promise of getting up to 20 is more than a promise, and because they save work when playing PF2 once they took the time to learn the rules.

Get the GMs, you'll get the players. And GMs are very rarely beginners.

As a GM, the balance of the system hasn't convinced me to force PF2 on my table, we're all friends so we talk about which systems we're looking to play. There's always some level of compromise in those discussions but those are forgotten once characters are written and dice start rolling. I don't GM for internet randos and don't play PFS or other PUG-type games.

I guess that if I did I could insist on PF2 but I suspect my tables would fill quicker if I was willing to run 5e and disallow the worst exploits and that level of balance is good enough for me. Given that I GMed for 3.x and PF1 tables, also with a close group of friends, I find the crying about 5e's imbalances a little overblown.


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AlastarOG wrote:

Also Rangers get auto crit specialisation with everything (which isn't shared by all martial classes) so with haste, a flurry ranger can attack 5 times in 1 round with an optimal placement (which happens sometimes). This favors crit fishing and rewards good crit weapons like deadly fatal and critical fusion weapons, as well as good crit specialisation options such as brawling hammer club flail and unarmed.

Overall its a very effective build that never has the ''what do I do with my third action ''dilemna because your 5th attack has the same MAP as an agile weapon on its second attack.

My flurry ranger player's main gripe with it is that enemies tend to die before she's done with them.

...and once they get to level 18, their three actions plus haste can turn into seven attacks. Of course, that requires that you start the round adjacent and also have marked the target, so pulling it off perfectly isn't necessarily common, but....


Sanityfaerie wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:

Also Rangers get auto crit specialisation with everything (which isn't shared by all martial classes) so with haste, a flurry ranger can attack 5 times in 1 round with an optimal placement (which happens sometimes). This favors crit fishing and rewards good crit weapons like deadly fatal and critical fusion weapons, as well as good crit specialisation options such as brawling hammer club flail and unarmed.

Overall its a very effective build that never has the ''what do I do with my third action ''dilemna because your 5th attack has the same MAP as an agile weapon on its second attack.

My flurry ranger player's main gripe with it is that enemies tend to die before she's done with them.

...and once they get to level 18, their three actions plus haste can turn into seven attacks. Of course, that requires that you start the round adjacent and also have marked the target, so pulling it off perfectly isn't necessarily common, but....

A high level flurry ranger given the opportunity to set up is terrifying. One of the best partners for a warrior bard, in my opinion. Even if they rarely get to see the payoff, the threat of what they can do will force intelligent enemies to spend actions to play around them and avoid it. That's a different sort of battlefield control, but no less effective.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
YuriP wrote:
Now in PF2 Paizo have to face a new challenge. He is competing against successful D&D edition that no more has license restrictions and with a lot of class and subclass options (there are at last 120 subclasses options and 42 races) without count multiclasses combinations and there's nothing preventing they to do more. So now is harder to Paizo now to focus just in give more character options than before.

PF2 wins hands down. We're what, only two years in? And PF2 has approximately 136 class and archetype options and 45 ancestries.

If you take into account that you can mix and match many of those modular components simultaneously (such as with archetypes and versatile ancestries), the number of possible combinations quickly becomes positively, absurdly, dizzying.

What's more, nearly every one one of those options are worth playing. None of them are "dead weight" or "useless" from a mechanical balance standpoint. Even the least popular choices are still capable of pulling their weight easily.


Kkkkk PF2 Wins! And I agree too! kkkkk

But I'm not really comparing what system have more options I just showing that PF1 was basically facing an already dead opponent while PF2 is facing an opponent that is still fighting. This makes the things harder and Paizo knows that, they know that now they have to do more if they want win again.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
My focus was on combat performance over all else as there are a 1000 ways to do noncombat stuff and no one is ending a campaign because you didn't roleplay correctly during your downtime party at the Grand Ball.

I react to that idea way too late (good game, Deriven), but I highly disagree about the lack of impact of the Grand Ball.

Out of combat performance has a direct impact on combat. Out of combat challenges are very often rewarded with loot and xp, information about the combats you'll have to deal with, etc...

On top of that, it's highly GM dependent. I personally love riddles and puzzles, but I'm fully aware not everyone does. My dungeons are filled with them but none are blocking for the adventure. Behind these riddles, I generally give a massive piece of loot, a level +2/+3 one (to encourage my players to engage with my puzzles because I love them!!!). So, sure, you can ignore my riddles entirely and focus only on combat. But if you solve them, you get bonuses for the combat that should entirely offset the advantage of having a combat focused party (anyone with a Striking weapon beats a Fighter without one).

Also, TPK and death are not the only unpleasant experiences you can expect. Failing a mission because you have been unable to get information about the assassin before the murder happens is not funny either. If it happens too often, you won't feel like heroes.

And the difficulty of the adventure can be tailored (very easily) by the GM, and actually is, because I don't know 2 GMs who will handle the same combat the same way with the same difficulty.

In my opinion, you can't just balance classes for their in-combat efficiency. A class like the Investigator, with a massive out of combat focus, can't just be put at the Fighter level of combat efficiency without creating another form of imbalance. Balancing is a complex process, and the perfect balance for someone is not the perfect balance for someone else.

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