On Balance and Undershooting


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

1 to 50 of 192 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>

21 people marked this as a favorite.

With the latest releases, I believe it's become more and more apparent that Paizo's general philosophy with post-core content is to undershoot things. By undershooting, I mean aiming the balance point of new content at or slightly below the mildest options in the CRB. And well, it makes sense. Power creep is a problem that has plagued games forever, and an option that's too good is a lot more disruptive than an option that's too bad. These arguments have been thrown around many times, and honestly, they're not wrong.

But... I still think that has lead to an overall unsatisfying arrangement. What inspired me to make this post was some recent discussion about the APG errata and general disappointment with Witches not getting any changes despite their "meh" status. This is a feeling that has been bugging in the back of my mind for a lot longer than that, though.

It just seems like new content is so conservative in regards to power level that it's almost always worse than what already exists. New classes have worse base stats, more downsides and have to jump through more hoops in return for some gimmicky abilities. New archetypes are often way too costly for what they do, and sometimes straight up make your character worse (looking at you, Elementalist and Vampire). The few exceptions tend to be on the smaller scale and almost feel like happy little accidents, like a single spell or item in a whole book.

At first it made sense to me, but over time it's slowly making me less and less excited about new content. Of course I'm not asking for every new class to be a Bard and every new feat to be Divine Reflexes, but can't we do a little better than now?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
dmerceless wrote:

With the latest releases, I believe it's become more and more apparent that Paizo's general philosophy with post-core content is to undershoot things. By undershooting, I mean aiming the balance point of new content at or slightly below the mildest options in the CRB. And well, it makes sense. Power creep is a problem that has plagued games forever, and an option that's too good is a lot more disruptive than an option that's too bad. These arguments have been thrown around many times, and honestly, they're not wrong.

But... I still think that has lead to an overall unsatisfying arrangement. What inspired me to make this post was some recent discussion about the APG errata and general disappointment with Witches not getting any changes despite their "meh" status. This is a feeling that has been bugging in the back of my mind for a lot longer than that, though.

It just seems like new content is so conservative in regards to power level that it's almost always worse than what already exists. New classes have worse base stats, more downsides and have to jump through more hoops in return for some gimmicky abilities. New archetypes are often way too costly for what they do, and sometimes straight up make your character worse (looking at you, Elementalist and Vampire). The few exceptions tend to be on the smaller scale and almost feel like happy little accidents, like a single spell or item in a whole book.

At first it made sense to me, but over time it's slowly making me less and less excited about new content. Of course I'm not asking for every new class to be a Bard and every new feat to be Divine Reflexes, but can't we do a little better than now?

1000% agree.

Scarab Sages

I do agree that the most powerful character classes appeared in the CRB, although I like GMG and Book of the Dead for other reasons, and I do like the APG archetypes a lot.

I don't know if Paizi is being conservative on purpose (we'll see the Dark Archive classes soon), but I kind of get it? Having a few uninspiring options that people still play is better than options that are clearly better/easier to play without party optimization.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I understand and appreciate the capping of power levels.
I don't think new books should add any power, only more options, ones which allow for a broader spectrum of character/enemy concepts. Since more options leads to unforeseen interactions, I do think Paizo has to err on the leaner side, and again, I appreciate them recognizing this.
I'm not even sure I understand the alternative, wanting more power with every release. The power curves were set with the CRB, and I appreciate the classes & feats remain relevant, and the curves remain fundamental. And that's not even going into the bloat, difficulty for newbies, and variance in system mastery making it difficult for adventure designers from previous editions.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Castilliano wrote:

I understand and appreciate the capping of power levels.

I don't think new books should add any power, only more options, ones which allow for a broader spectrum of character/enemy concepts. Since more options leads to unforeseen interactions, I do think Paizo has to err on the leaner side, and again, I appreciate them recognizing this.
I'm not even sure I understand the alternative, wanting more power with every release. The power curves were set with the CRB, and I appreciate the classes & feats remain relevant, and the curves remain fundamental. And that's not even going into the bloat, difficulty for newbies, and variance in system mastery making it difficult for adventure designers from previous editions.

I don't disagree with any of that. Giving an upper cap, a power ceiling is good. What bothers me is how many of the newer options are close to or even lower than the floor established by Core. If 10 is the most powerful options in the CRB, like Bard, I don't think anything should be an 11, but I wish more of the new options were 7s or 8s with the occasional 9 or 10 instead of like now where it feels like most of them are a 4 or 5.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

How do elementalist and vampire make you worse?

I quite liked how both were handled, but admittedly, haven't done an indepth analysis of how they compare to existing options.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't have the same feeling. I feel that new classes are just harder to play than CRB ones and aimed to be efficient at higher levels. I consider the Magus to be the highest martial damage dealer, especially for the ranged version, Life Oracle is stronger than healing Cleric but way harder to play, the Summoner is a very strong skill monkey but once again it asks for a lot of system mastery, the Inventor is the best AoE martial (nearly the only one) and as such extremely strong at high level, the Swashbuckler is bad at low level but at very high level gets insanely crazy.

On the other hand CRB classes are immediately efficient but some of them tend to fade at high level, like the mighty Champion that ends very badly when 15ft. starts to be extremely close and save-based attacks become more dangerous than AC-based ones.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:

How do elementalist and vampire make you worse?

I quite liked how both were handled, but admittedly, haven't done an indepth analysis of how they compare to existing options.

Vampire adds weaknesses to your character without providing much/any power in return. Elementalist replaces your spell list with a more limited, inferior spell list, again, without any power in return.

When it comes to the meta, there's been very little change since the crb that I've seen.

1. Swash archetype giving bards one for all.
2. Sentinel giving everyone heavy armor and super bulwark.
3. Archer making dex fighter legendary at melee and ranged.

Even among casters, there's maybe only been 1 or 2 new spells printed that anyone cares about. I do kind of wish that something would have come out by now to add more variety at the top end of things.


SuperBidi wrote:

I don't have the same feeling. I feel that new classes are just harder to play than CRB ones and aimed to be efficient at higher levels. I consider the Magus to be the highest martial damage dealer, especially for the ranged version, Life Oracle is stronger than healing Cleric but way harder to play, the Summoner is a very strong skill monkey but once again it asks for a lot of system mastery, the Inventor is the best AoE martial (nearly the only one) and as such extremely strong at high level, the Swashbuckler is bad at low level but at very high level gets insanely crazy.

On the other hand CRB classes are immediately efficient but some of them tend to fade at high level, like the mighty Champion that ends very badly when 15ft. starts to be extremely close and save-based attacks become more dangerous than AC-based ones.

Life oracle heals more, but that doesn't make it better. Healing is best used to keep allies from going down or bringing them back up and divine font is way better for that since you can still use your normal spell slots for other things. Life oracle firmly goes into the overkill range. In general I think oracle is in a good spot, although a few of the mysteries could use a boost.

Champion is also the only "defender" class, which puts it in a bit of a weird spot, its got issues but it also doesn't really have competition.

In general I do think the classes are a bit weaker numerically, but for the most part the options they offer still make them a compelling choice. Inventor will often be -1 to hit over other martials, swashbuckler is taxed through keeping panache up, and investigator's "sneak attack" is arguably weaker but the classes make a good case for the slightly worse numbers.

Witch is the only class that doesn't make a great case for itself as it generally just seems worse than playing another caster of that tradition. Its a shame because imo Oracle nailed the whole weaker caster with powerful focus spells thing, but the witch ones don't do enough to make them competitive with other casters. Witch could probably be fixed with just additional feats/patrons/lessons though, so its not like alchemist that should probably just be rewritten. It doesn't help that familiars seem to be getting worse at every turn.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't really have that feeling. Of course, there have been some weaker options (and some downright useless spells), but a lot of options have turned out to be very good, and most are pretty balanced with everything else (sometimes harder to play, but able to be just as good as core classes, and better in a specific type of situation).

The oracle is hard to play, but much better than a divine sorcerer, imo. The magus looks really good. I'd take a Forensics investigator over a healing alchemist anytime. The gunslinger is a better ranged fighter if you can convince your GM to let you have good firearms. I'll admit the witch feels "meh" to me, but it does it in the same way wizard feels "meh", by being powerful, but having little really unique and useful stuff. The witch is just a little worse because it hasn't been given extra options and it really needs more lessons to allow more variety in builds.

I feel like they are targeting the middle of the pack in terms of strength of the Core, and that's fine to me. Not everything needs to be "the best". I'll admit they hit a little lower than middle (especially in playtests) more often than they reach higher, and I'd like to see them a little more confident at times, but it's not so much that I want to keep to core options.

The thing is, they have to make something new, and when you already have the best possible to-hit (Fighter), the best possible buffing cantrips (Bard), the best possible multi-attacker (Ranger), the biggest amount of heal spells without drawback (Cleric) that you can get without breaking the game's math, it's difficult to hit that power without overstepping that niche or adding extra complications, because it needs to feel different. So new classes end up either being harder to play, being more versatile instead of specialized, or doing something weird and niche really well. Basically, all the most straight-forward, obviously good options were printed in the Core. Now, the good new content's strengths end up less obvious, which makes the bad options stand out more, but I think there is still a lot of good, cool stuff.

Liberty's Edge

8 people marked this as a favorite.

I for one welcome our power-crawl publishing overlords.

It's a far sight better than the disastrous power-creeping regimes of the past.

At this point, from what I can tell, the only major creep seems to be coming mostly from content from the Adventure Paths that are Uncommon and part of the backmatter of those books and even then, much of that seems to come in very minor steps up the ladder such as that one feat from the Sixth Pillar or the creation things like the Exquisite Sword Cane which are just mechanically superior to everything else in their category/level, but even those are only really better by mere inches rather than the feet or more of previous editions.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
dmerceless wrote:

With the latest releases, I believe it's become more and more apparent that Paizo's general philosophy with post-core content is to undershoot things. By undershooting, I mean aiming the balance point of new content at or slightly below the mildest options in the CRB. And well, it makes sense. Power creep is a problem that has plagued games forever, and an option that's too good is a lot more disruptive than an option that's too bad. These arguments have been thrown around many times, and honestly, they're not wrong.

But... I still think that has lead to an overall unsatisfying arrangement. What inspired me to make this post was some recent discussion about the APG errata and general disappointment with Witches not getting any changes despite their "meh" status. This is a feeling that has been bugging in the back of my mind for a lot longer than that, though.

It just seems like new content is so conservative in regards to power level that it's almost always worse than what already exists. New classes have worse base stats, more downsides and have to jump through more hoops in return for some gimmicky abilities. New archetypes are often way too costly for what they do, and sometimes straight up make your character worse (looking at you, Elementalist and Vampire). The few exceptions tend to be on the smaller scale and almost feel like happy little accidents, like a single spell or item in a whole book.

At first it made sense to me, but over time it's slowly making me less and less excited about new content. Of course I'm not asking for every new class to be a Bard and every new feat to be Divine Reflexes, but can't we do a little better than now?

Agreed. This is probably my biggest complaint with the PF2 system. Lots of new options just seem way too weak to be worth using, despite the cool flavor of them.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
JackieLane wrote:

I don't really have that feeling. Of course, there have been some weaker options (and some downright useless spells), but a lot of options have turned out to be very good, and most are pretty balanced with everything else (sometimes harder to play, but able to be just as good as core classes, and better in a specific type of situation).

The oracle is hard to play, but much better than a divine sorcerer, imo. The magus looks really good. I'd take a Forensics investigator over a healing alchemist anytime. The gunslinger is a better ranged fighter if you can convince your GM to let you have good firearms. I'll admit the witch feels "meh" to me, but it does it in the same way wizard feels "meh", by being powerful, but having little really unique and useful stuff. The witch is just a little worse because it hasn't been given extra options and it really needs more lessons to allow more variety in builds.

I feel like they are targeting the middle of the pack in terms of strength of the Core, and that's fine to me. Not everything needs to be "the best". I'll admit they hit a little lower than middle (especially in playtests) more often than they reach higher, and I'd like to see them a little more confident at times, but it's not so much that I want to keep to core options.

The thing is, they have to make something new, and when you already have the best possible to-hit (Fighter), the best possible buffing cantrips (Bard), the best possible multi-attacker (Ranger), the biggest amount of heal spells without drawback (Cleric) that you can get without breaking the game's math, it's difficult to hit that power without overstepping that niche or adding extra complications, because it needs to feel different. So new classes end up either being harder to play, being more versatile instead of specialized, or doing something weird and niche really well. Basically, all the most straight-forward, obviously good options were printed in the Core. Now, the good new content's strengths end up less obvious, which makes...

This more or less sums up my thoughts on the matter as well.


While there are certainly quite a few negative examples (Vampire is definitely one), they are definitely doing a good job overall by keeping to their balancing guidelines. The CRB is just the first expression we got of those guidelines and contains a lot of the more straightforward options, not the gold standard.

It's not like the CRB was all sunshine and happiness, just look at the alchemist or warpriest controversies. While you can argue the seriousness of those issues, they exist for a reason. It also doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of later options that are arguably stronger than their CRB equivalent - the Tyrant has the most consistently strong offense of all champions, the archer archetype grants Incredible Aim but straight better, the Sniper gunslinger and Starlit Span magus just straight one-shot a lot of fools at range (at least at lower levels) and so on.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
gesalt wrote:

When it comes to the meta, there's been very little change since the crb that I've seen.

1. Swash archetype giving bards one for all.
2. Sentinel giving everyone heavy armor and super bulwark.
3. Archer making dex fighter legendary at melee and ranged.

Even among casters, there's maybe only been 1 or 2 new spells printed that anyone cares about. I do kind of wish that something would have come out by now to add more variety at the top end of things.

At my lodge:

* I've seen 5-6 magi. The only one I haven't seen is a staff magus.
* I've seen several summoners.
* I've never seen a flickmace in play, let alone on a champion.
* One of the coolest/most effective martials I've seen is a gymnast wrestler.

When you talk about a 'meta,' do you realize that this isn't a massively multiplayer online game where we're all shifting towards some kind of massive power curve? There's a huge amount of space for build variety outside of some highly optimized circuit.

It makes me really sad to see your statements, especially about not using any of the new spells. While y'all are staring at the ceiling not moving much, you seem to have forgotten that the floor you're standing on is pretty sturdy and also not moving. There's a lot of space between the two you might not be noticing.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I agree with OP. I would also add that the unneeded specificity of a lot of later options bothers me - most if the options are uncommon or rare, has only very specific circumstances that they function (you have to be fighting a specific thing, be in a specific place, etc), or have other requirements tacked on (like soul forger, I don't want all the extra stuff, just let me summon a weapon)

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I think that, by and large, Paizo is doing an EXCELLENT job of keeping things balanced between the old classes and the new classes. Oh, I have nits to pick here and there but they're nits.

I think that the new classes are intentionally kept to a power level slightly lower than the STRONGEST of the CRB classes and this is fine with me. But I strongly disagree with the assertion that they're less than the mildest options in the CRB.

But mostly the new classes go in different directions and explore different character types. They make direct comparisons hard to make. All the classes sometimes shine and almost all are fun to play if you embrace the style of play the class expects. And they're all within sufficiently small differences in power that player decisions, pure luck, details of the campaign etc are almost certainly more important than the mechanics baked into the class itself.

Just look at all the discussions here of the form "A is broken in how weak/strong it is" followed by people disagreeing and thinking that A is just fine, if anything a little too strong/weak. Those are good evidence that things are pretty much balanced and its largely individual player preferences that are deciding which is "better".


Seems like the issue is that core classes are way too good compared with new ones and archetypes, rather than the second one being less powerful.

Maybe in the future they'll fix it by removing power to the crb ones, bring them more closer to either new classes and archetypes ( mostly cause ,even currently, you can obliterate enemies and go for powercreep even without FA variant rules, by minmaxing the most "op" classes/archetypes ).


6 people marked this as a favorite.

One thing to note is the psychology of addition vs. subtraction. As a rule, people dislike losses more than we appreciate gains; the emotion's stronger even when the net result's the same (like when dealing with prices/penalties/costs/etc.). Resetting the power level of a game mechanic lower provokes a "nerf!" that resonates (i.e. the current Corgi kerfuffle) while a similar boost gets a "that's cool" and we move on.
Which is all to say that it's in Paizo's best interests to come low and reset high. Look at how the odd oscillation that does hit a bit high and gets tweaked lower has such a negative impact. Heck, it's in our interests too, keeping our minds angled in positive directions, such are our brains.

--
Plus I agree with others above that for the most part new classes are more complex rather than weaker, requiring either more risk/reward (i.e. Swashbuckler) or investment/payoff (i.e. Magus) than the CRB classes.


I think one of the reasons that archetypes are not straight up power boosts most of the time (particularly thematic ones) is that there's a significant chance in a given game that they're going to end up being bolted to characters for free.

So I wouldn't read much into "vampire isn't a huge power boost". Honestly, "being a vampire" should pretty much suck. Vampires make it work, but it's not effortless.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The only one that I feel undershot power balance to a problematic degree is Witch, and even then the difference can fly under the radar for lots of groups.

The Witch also was created by someone who was leaving the company, had it lots of contentious discussion around it, and needed another design pass but didn't get it.

So if their goal is to come in under or equal to the power of the original classes, without going too far under, their track record is *pretty* good. I would say they should stay the course and come back for the ones that people are disappointed in with Class Archetypes.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

I’ve definitely been a little bummed at the power level of post-CRB classes. I’m crossing my fingers that the final Psychic feels good, but the playtest version was pretty painful.


I think they're going to fix perceptions of the Witch by publishing the Psychic.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Xenocrat wrote:
I think they're going to fix perceptions of the Witch by publishing the Psychic.

I don't understand what this means.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The only classes I feel are underbalanced are Witch and Alchemist (the latter, at least, the ways people want to play it are underpowered). If anything, I've thought more frequently that Fighter and Bard are a little overpowered rather than classes like Summoner or Magus are underpowered.

Quick Edit: To clarify, I'm only talking about fully released classes. Post-CRB playtest classes have almost universally been underpowered.


13 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The post-CRB classes aren't all that bad in the end.

But there is a definite conservatism to the design that leaves them feeling worse or more cumbersome than they need to. There's a lot of jumping through extra hoops, or spending feats for things that feel necessary for the class to work, or little fiddly rules that work to the class' detriment. Usually without any clear benefit on the other side of things.

Paizo's really afraid of power creep, but I think in the process they underestimate to some extent how disappointing it can be, especially for players less entrenched in the system, to just get repeatedly told "no you can't do that" or "sorry it doesn't work that way" because the class they want to play was designed to be safe first.

I remember threads about some of these classes when they were new and often the defense of them boiled down to "It's not that bad" or "manage your expectations"

That's valid advice, but "slow down and don't get too excited" is a bad way to hype a product to someone.

keftiu wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
I think they're going to fix perceptions of the Witch by publishing the Psychic.
I don't understand what this means.

It means they think the psychic will be so bad that you look at the Witch in a more favorable light afterwards.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Xenocrat wrote:
I think they're going to fix perceptions of the Witch by publishing the Psychic.

Oh, how I have missed the good-natured sarcasm of this kind in recent days.


Ganigumo wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:

I don't have the same feeling. I feel that new classes are just harder to play than CRB ones and aimed to be efficient at higher levels. I consider the Magus to be the highest martial damage dealer, especially for the ranged version, Life Oracle is stronger than healing Cleric but way harder to play, the Summoner is a very strong skill monkey but once again it asks for a lot of system mastery, the Inventor is the best AoE martial (nearly the only one) and as such extremely strong at high level, the Swashbuckler is bad at low level but at very high level gets insanely crazy.

On the other hand CRB classes are immediately efficient but some of them tend to fade at high level, like the mighty Champion that ends very badly when 15ft. starts to be extremely close and save-based attacks become more dangerous than AC-based ones.

Life oracle heals more, but that doesn't make it better. Healing is best used to keep allies from going down or bringing them back up and divine font is way better for that since you can still use your normal spell slots for other things. Life oracle firmly goes into the overkill range. In general I think oracle is in a good spot, although a few of the mysteries could use a boost.

Higher survivability, better focus spells, easier access to spells outside their tradition and spontaneous casting. On top of that, in terms of healing, they are extremely close.

The Life Oracle is a clear improvement over the Healing Font Cloistered Cleric, but it is definitely harder to play.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Squiggit wrote:

Paizo's really afraid of power creep, but I think in the process they underestimate to some extent how disappointing it can be, especially for players less entrenched in the system, to just get repeatedly told "no you can't do that" or "sorry it doesn't work that way" because the class they want to play was designed to be safe first.

I remember threads about some of these classes when they were new and often the defense of them boiled down to "It's not that bad" or "manage your expectations"

That's valid advice, but "slow down and don't get too excited" is a bad way to hype a product to someone.

I think this sums up another side of it I didn't exactly know how to go about really well, thank you. This is the main reason my group slowly drifted away from playing post-core classes. It's not an absurd immediate feeling of "damn this is awful" like 5e's Way of the Four Elements Monk. It's more of slow steady doses of "meh" and "underwhelming" that stack up until you start asking yourself why bother when you can have better results with half the work. I think this especially goes for the less hardcore mechanical players (though the optimizers in the group do tend to prefer core classes as well since you can put effort into making them even better instead of working hard to turn below average into alright).


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Salamileg wrote:

The only classes I feel are underbalanced are Witch and Alchemist (the latter, at least, the ways people want to play it are underpowered). If anything, I've thought more frequently that Fighter and Bard are a little overpowered rather than classes like Summoner or Magus are underpowered.

Quick Edit: To clarify, I'm only talking about fully released classes. Post-CRB playtest classes have almost universally been underpowered.

While I think alchemist is undertuned as well, the big issue with alchemist is that its poorly designed. It breaks common design principals that pf2 uses constantly. I'd rather see them streamlined and stay undertuned than to be strong with the current design.

Witch's design is fine, its just lacking in power and there are plenty of ways to adjust that. New patrons with stronger hex cantrips/granted spells and/or new lessons with stronger hexes/granted spells would do it.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Post-CRB classes generally seem to have a very restrictive action economy, which makes playing them very repetitive and very vulnerable to disruption. All that to do less than a fighter swinging a sword.

Also, I notice they tend to REALLY favor going ranged. Classes that add lots of damage independent of weapon die and it works ranged or melee, why be melee?

Best examples are Magus and Investigator. Really zero benefits to being in melee, ranged is just flat out superior.

The post-CRB classes are almost always weaker than the non-alchmeist core classes, and harder to play. So.. why? This is a very common complaint among the people I talk to.

I mean if you are just smashing through PFS content or something it doesn't really matter but it absolutely shows up in tough fights. I would love to see Paizo be willing to go back and give some power boosts where needed. Don't make the classes better than core but make them competitive.

Melee Investigator, Melee Magus, Most Oracles, Witch, etc all need some love.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

If there was a common understanding way back then was that the Alchemist would only get better and more interesting with new releases.

Well. I'm still waiting. Aside from the "happy accidents", there has been a drought of interesting and unique alchemical items, specially when you consider that the bulk of said items are just improved versions that only scale the math and increase its duration most of the time.


When you don't really care about the high level feats what the point when you can use an archetype? This is even more the case when a specific archetype can often give you exactly what you want on a better chassis.

I understand low level feats being safe. But it feels like high level feats should be made to be more exciting than what post-CRB currently have.


SuperBidi wrote:


Higher survivability, better focus spells, easier access to spells outside their tradition and spontaneous casting. On top of that, in terms of healing, they are extremely close.
The Life Oracle is a clear improvement over the Healing Font Cloistered Cleric, but it is definitely harder to play.

My point about life oracle isn't that their healing is similar, but that Life oracle overspecializes in healing. The amount of healing it gets is overkill. In most situations all you need is to keep an ally going or bring them back into the fight you don't need to fully heal them or keep them topped off at all times.

If you want to be the best at healing, or only do healing, I agree life oracle is what you want, but healing font clerics are generally enough to get the job done without specializing in healing.

I'm not sure I'd agree with life oracle having better access to spells from other lists though, clerics get "divine access" at level 1 essentially, the only difference being its heavily tied to a clerics RP, while oracle is tied to its mystery, costs a feat, and isn't available until 4th level, so they both have their limitations. The extra cantrip is sometimes really nice but in life oracle's case its stabilize.

I actually really like oracle in general, the dynamic of the curse with some of the best focus spells in the game is really fun, I just think life oracle is overkill.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
keftiu wrote:

I think the standard that I’ve been using is the Ranger’s Hunt Prey, which is uncomplicated: Hunt Prey is one action, and you get your associates bonuses until they’re dead or you re-target. Contrast that with the hoops a Swashbuckler, Magus, or Gunslinger is jumping through to utilize the core of their class.

Post-CRB classes have to do more work to get to the core baseline, and that feels bad at the table.

Agreed, and their core baseline is then often lower. So, lots more hoops for a worse result is just feels bad.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I think the standard that I’ve been using is the Ranger’s Hunt Prey, which is uncomplicated: Hunt Prey is one action, and you get your associated bonuses until they’re dead or you re-target. Contrast that with the hoops a Swashbuckler, Magus, or Gunslinger is jumping through to utilize the core of their class.

Post-CRB classes have to do more work to get to the core baseline, and that feels bad at the table.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Lightning Raven wrote:
If there was a common understanding way back then was that the Alchemist would only get better and more interesting with new releases.

This isn't really an alchemist only issue, unfortunately. So far Paizo has seemed very reluctant to release class-facing options since the APG. Like in the year and a half since it was released, the Investigator has gotten a single new class feat and it's a capstone.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

As a precaution against power creep, I get it. As long as the classes function and have a role to fill, I'm happy.


Squiggit wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:
If there was a common understanding way back then was that the Alchemist would only get better and more interesting with new releases.
This isn't really an alchemist only issue, unfortunately. So far Paizo has seemed very reluctant to release class-facing options since the APG. Like in the year and a half since it was released, the Investigator has gotten a single new class feat and it's a capstone.

To give them some credit, there's a new Oracle Mystery coming in Dark Archive, and they also get some love in Book of the Dead with Feats.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
aobst128 wrote:
As a precaution against power creep, I get it. As long as the classes function and have a role to fill, I'm happy.

The issue is when their "role" can be filled by a stronger, easier to play core class.

I think a lot of us were hoping Paizo had been conservative but the long awaited APG errata would give a few well needed buffs, indicating they were willing to boost them up to match the core classes. But no.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I think the weakness of the apg classes are a little overstated. I think they have strong identities and fun mechanics. That's enough reason for people to pick them. The witch is probably the odd one out just because of basic lesson though.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm still astonished that the APG errata didn't give swashbuckler auto scaling skill training in anything, when it's a class that requires 2 maxed skills.

I agree with the topic of OP. With the exception of Summoner, basically everything is so under par it's not funny. Running an AP with an inventor and a magus as the strikers had a startlingly low damage output.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Grankless wrote:

I'm still astonished that the APG errata didn't give swashbuckler auto scaling skill training in anything, when it's a class that requires 2 maxed skills.

I agree with the topic of OP. With the exception of Summoner, basically everything is so under par it's not funny. Running an AP with an inventor and a magus as the strikers had a startlingly low damage output.

It really goes to show you that no perception of the game is absolute. I'm in an AP (EC) with an inventor striker and they routinely out damage the swashbuckler and champion frontliners. Has very much been the MVP in several combats and most of us are overwhelmingly in favor of the class (the build set up isn't even optimal either).

Though I do agree (as that swashbuckler) some auto scaling on acrobatics would be nice. If tumble through is my reliable options (like an inventor's crafting) it should auto scale like it.


The inventor solved the problem swashbuckler has with auto scaling an essential skill. It is weird they didn't take a second look at that.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think the degree matters a lot here. While nothing released since has come close to the peaks of options like Dirge of Doom, I think that’s fine. Some options in the CRB are over-tuned, in my opinion. Staying under those is fine - it means the game is avoiding power creep. Lots of stuff post-release has landed on that mark, in my opinion.

I think both Secrets of Magic classes and both Guns and Gears classes are in the sweet spot of being close enough in power to the CRB classes to not feel outshined, while having enough unique tricks to make them shine in their moment. The whiteroom math also suggests that it isn’t just perception - the two full martials in G&G compare well to your base classes on DPR*.

The APG classes are bit further behind. I think Witch, Swashbuckler, and Investigator stack up pretty poorly against their closest counterparts, both in-play and on-paper. They have some unique mechanics and a good theme, but playing one does feel like you’re giving up effectiveness for fun - something I don’t feel applies to the other 4 new classes.

Oracle, I think, is between the two categories by Mystery. Some feel mechanically good, some others need a lot of help (Lore).

*I will put a caveat on Gunslinger that two-handed and dual-wield range builds seem good, but the Ways seem to be misaligned with what equipment and feats were printed. Single-hand pistol, sword-and-pistol, and ranged-in-melee seem worse, but I haven’t looked too hard into it.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
NotDavis wrote:

I think the degree matters a lot here. While nothing released since has come close to the peaks of options like Dirge of Doom, I think that’s fine. Some options in the CRB are over-tuned, in my opinion. Staying under those is fine - it means the game is avoiding power creep. Lots of stuff post-release has landed on that mark, in my opinion.

I think both Secrets of Magic classes and both Guns and Gears classes are in the sweet spot of being close enough in power to the CRB classes to not feel outshined, while having enough unique tricks to make them shine in their moment. The whiteroom math also suggests that it isn’t just perception - the two full martials in G&G compare well to your base classes on DPR*.

The APG classes are bit further behind. I think Witch, Swashbuckler, and Investigator stack up pretty poorly against their closest counterparts, both in-play and on-paper. They have some unique mechanics and a good theme, but playing one does feel like you’re giving up effectiveness for fun - something I don’t feel applies to the other 4 new classes.

Oracle, I think, is between the two categories by Mystery. Some feel mechanically good, some others need a lot of help (Lore).

*I will put a caveat on Gunslinger that two-handed and dual-wield range builds seem good, but the Ways seem to be misaligned with what equipment and feats were printed. Single-hand pistol, sword-and-pistol, and ranged-in-melee seem worse, but I haven’t looked too hard into it.

My understanding (I could be wrong forgive me) is that melee inventor has pretty poor damage in a fragile package. I think ranged inventor is better off (once again, post core classes REALLY want to be ranged)

Gunslinger seems like more of a support/damage than pure dpr.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I really don't understand why people expect errata to bring a redesign of classes. An errata is concerned with correcting egregious mistakes, usually of the Too good to be true variety, and sometimes with giving needed clarifications. Redesign is completely out of an errata's purview.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Issues with Oracle:

1: Chassis

Clerics have their own unique slow reflex save progression that's 2 levels slower than anybody else. Oracles are 2 levels behind even the Cleric.

They have slow fort progression, not becoming expert until level 11.

They have slow perception, not hitting expert until level 11.

They are only proficient in light armor and share the worst progression, hitting expert at 13 with no further gains.

The Battle Oracle improves this by adding medium and heavy armor but does not improve any of the level scaling leaving them as the worst heavy armor wearer and tied for the worst medium with warpriest and druid.

Oracle doesn't become expert in weapons until level 11. Even as an Oracle of War, Not even getting the slow Warpriest/Alchemist progression of expert at level 7.

2: Class Feats

There are only 31 common Oracle class feats.

For contrast there are 68 Cleric class feats and 58 Sorcerer Feats

Divine Access feels pretty necessary to help fix the spell-list problem (See next point).

3: Divine List

The divine spell list is almost certainty the weakest of the 4 lists. The Cleric makes up for this with multiple bonus max level slots. The Oracle doesn't get that. Also niche condition removal spells feel a lot better on a prepared caster than on a spontaneous one.

4: Focus Points, Curses, and adventure flow.

Oracles start with 2 focus and can easily get a 3rd with many of their limited feat options giving another.

The problem with using them (for Oracle Focus Spells) is that at the beginning of the day you've got 2 focus points and no curse.

Situation 1:

You use both focus points in the first encounter, your curse goes to medium. You refocus it down to Minor and have 1 point and 1 curse level to play with for the rest of the day. This is okay.

Situation 2: You only use 1 focus point on the first encounter. Since your curse doesn't drop below minor until the next day, you've got 2 focus points available but if you use both you become overwhelmed and can't cast any more revelation spells that day. This is not okay.

So if you want to actually make use of your multiple focus points without taking an archetype you either have to spend them both on your first encounter, or know that when you do you're locking them out for the rest of the day.

Of course once you take a feat that gives you a 3rd point you can only use that point if you use all 3 focus points on the first encounter of the day that you use focus points and lock yourself out for the rest of the day.

<snark>Good thing there aren't many Oracle feats to encourage you to look elsewhere/ Of course Divine Access and an Archetype likely compete for the level 2 feat slot.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ganigumo wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:


Higher survivability, better focus spells, easier access to spells outside their tradition and spontaneous casting. On top of that, in terms of healing, they are extremely close.
The Life Oracle is a clear improvement over the Healing Font Cloistered Cleric, but it is definitely harder to play.
My point about life oracle isn't that their healing is similar, but that Life oracle overspecializes in healing.

I don't get it, because it's the exact opposite. Outside Healing Font, the Cleric is just a prepared divine caster with meh focus spells and nearly no access to out-of-tradition spells (you get your deities spells, but it's rare to have good deity's spells as you already need to check a lot of boxes between font, alignment and domains).

The Oracle is a spontaneous caster with strong Focus Spells and honorable access to out-of-tradition spells.

As such the Cleric is the super specialized healer and that's why I consider the Life Oracle to be a superior choice: When you don't need healing, the Cleric is nearly a sitting duck (you last hardly more than 2 fights with your spell list) when the Life Oracle is not just about healing and is an ok offensive caster when it doesn't have to heal.


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
I really don't understand why people expect errata to bring a redesign of classes. An errata is concerned with correcting egregious mistakes, usually of the Too good to be true variety, and sometimes with giving needed clarifications. Redesign is completely out of an errata's purview.

I mean, Paizo's already used errata to update and fundamentally alter certain features so far. Who knows if they'll do that in the future, but it's not that weird for some people to look for or expect that.

1 to 50 of 192 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / General Discussion / On Balance and Undershooting All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.