What do you consider to be the best and worst things about Starfinder and what would you like to see added to the game to improve it?
My worst is space combat. It's just a slog. I also think the mechanics of a lot of the class abilities and feats are very underwhelming.
The best things is the cool classes and aliens and the wildly creative setting. I also love how it connects to Pathfinder and Golarion.
I think expanding even more on spellcasting and crafting would add a lot to the game, and the space combat needs a complete rework IMO.
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Good : Staminia system means no one is stuck as a healer. The setting and adventures are a blast.
Bad: Starship combat. The pilot has all the choice. The gunners have all of the effect.
A lot of classes have a fair bit of show don't tell for being good at the things they're supposed to be good at. The mechanics mechanics don't let them mechanic particularly well. They have remote hack and.. thats about it. I don't think the operative having a slightly higher bonus in someones area of expertise if other peoples areas of expertise amounted to more than a slow growing skill focus.
There are a LOT of weak lackluster, or overly situational abilities. The vanguard and evolutionist both make a big deal about gathering EP.. but when it comes time to actually USE them theres nothing to spend them on. I just don't CARE about my EP on a vanguard, since doing extra d4s is worse that just taking a full attack. On an evolutionist the drawnbacks are so bad i don't WANT EP.
Tripple attack is almost always worse than trick attacking. The operative is very boring in combat.
The envoy wasn't done past 8th level. Kinda bad at the start, but inexcusable at this point.
A lot of the problem seems to be trying to evaluate an ability in a vacuum instead of part of a whole or without its opportunity cost.
A number of abilities emulate cheap technological equipment (out of combat healing for example, enhancement bonuses to speed are obviated by cheap cybernetics),
Starship combat abilities don't seem to take "just but someone else on another gun" as the bottom baseline of their usefulness.
The biohacker barely has a reason to level past the level 1 dip. It doesn't have nearly enough functional mad science built into it.
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No contest, for me: Starfinder's best quality is the incredible sci fantasy setting, second only to the wide breadth of character species. The games promised "that Cantina Feel," and it delivered - and keeps delivering, book after book, with more crazy species to play! Like, in what other setting can you easily plot - at level one! - an adventure for a psychic bear, a dwarf and their drone, and a four-armed desert giant to investigate a penrose sphere while their Awakened AI pilot keeps the spaceship's engine running!
(I'm not including it because it's not a system-specific thing, but also - love, love, love, the SF Org Play shared world. The living campaign stuff where players get to interact so much with the ongoing stories and canon worlds makes me happy.)
The worst part (imo) isn't even a Starfinder problem - it's that Starfinder lives in the shadow of PF2E. It suffers from the reduced page count and fewer releases of being "the second game" that Paizo supports, and people are so quick to chicken-little and say "lol dead game" or "ooooh [literally any brand decision] is a sign the game is winding down so they can release a second edition!!1!" Even with all of the buzz and attention Paizo is getting from ORC and the dragon game's gaffes, it seems like everyone is just checking out PF2E, and ignoring this bonkers crazy gem with psychic cuttlefish and roly-poly-nosies :D
(Ah, maybe that's not fair; I have noticed a definite uptick in SF interest, albeit not to the extent people are talking about PF2. Maybe a rising tide raises all boats, in this case.)
|Totally Not Gorbacz|
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Best: Setting, stamina mechanic, setting, funky playable alien species
Worst: Spaceship combat and a ruleset that's something of a weird half-step between PF1 and PF2 while having simultaneously the worst parts of PF1 (Ivory Tower game design, skill system, narrow class design) while not having the best parts of PF2 (action economy, auto-scaling cantrips, skill system).
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Wide availability of races/species/ancestries for the game. People have mentioned the Cantina feel, which Starfinder definitely delivered. I think the familiarity with P1 and the ease of making races contributed well to this wonderful flavor for the game. These races could range from ones that are mostly just flavored humanoids, to truly alien species, with true mechanical differences, and so many of them could easily be made into playable choices.
People mention Stamina, and I liked it for quick refresh healing. What I didn't necessarily care for was the degree to which things that could heal couldn't do 'anything' to help stamina. That seemed unnecessary prohibition. (either making extra healing allow stamina restoration as long as HP was healed, or have extra HP healing provide 1/2 the extra restore stamina, so using HP healing to boost stamina would be inefficient, but not prohibited) There is some concern about resolve points needing to be kept to keep alive, as well as drive class abilities. But overall Stamina was a nice concept.
Love the entwining of magic and technology.
Also, having the somewhat loose tie into the past world of Golarion was a bonus as well. Easy to image it as an extension of the Pathfinder universe those of us familiar with it know.
I appreciated that they tried to give everyone in the party something to do in Space Combat was a definite plus. Actual result in the end was not delivering as balanced a distribution of fun from what exactly it seemed they they were intending however. (but I did want to point out the attempt as a plus)
I actually liked that character level impacted damage for weapons you were good at. It seemed a viable part of contributing extra damage at higher levels.
Archetype rules: an interesting attempt, and I loved and appreciated that they tried to make universal archetypes, but what they made had way too many issues, and seems like it needs to have some rules to allow lost class abilities to be bought back with feats as many abilities are really way too weak, and never capable of being able to replace some core abilities that your core class allowed to be swapped out was too damaging. In the end I think it could easily simply be replace with something akin to the Second Edition Pathfinder archetypes system.
Spaceship combat being a bit clunky. I read through it several times and realized several pieces didn't play the way I thought they did. I don't know how much of that was my fault, and how much of it was the rules fault. But even if it was my fault a part of it falls on the rules. I know I'm not the only person who found the starship rules frustrating. Starship building rules seemed to stretch acceptable disbelief with implied sense that expansion bays don't change in size in larger vessels. For instance the # of bays for a vessel don't seem to increase enough between size category changes to believe they are intended to be the same size as implied, for me. Which impacted the feel for the spacecraft rules for me a bit.
The Economy aspects where you only get 10% return on sold/upgrading items was/is frustrating. It makes being able to use what has specifically arbitrarily dropped becoming a key factor in character efficiency. If you need, or want to use something specific you have to sell what you got and buy what you want and doing so you take a significant hit to power.
While I _loved_ the _variety_ weapons that Starfinder had, especially including the variety of damage types, dice arrays, and various critical effects tied to them. I also understand peoples concern of the treadmill feel, or concern over gaps in some specific families in weapons potentially making one feel inefficient at doing damage (again compounded by potential issue with sellback/trade-in values of equipment needing upgrades)