Pathfinder 2E biggest issue with PF2 playtest

evilbob

Explorer
We all have our quibbles and pet peeves: there's another thread for that. "This class lost this" or "this mechanic is dumb" or even "this is really confusing" are all important, but solvable / houserule-able issues. Even the second-biggest issue in my mind - which is that the entire playtest was poorly designed* - is disappointing, and it will negatively color the overall impression of the new rules, but you can always try your own stories and characters.

The elephant in the room, in my opinion, is that the entire concept of changing Pathfinder is an anathema to many (most?) of the people who play Pathfinder. The demographic of people who play PF is generally, by definition, people who didn't want to change. They flocked to 3.75 to avoid 4.0, and if they're still here it's because they didn't like 5.0 enough to switch as well.

The group I tried the playtest with all decided to quit and never play again after 3 battles. (Character creation - 2.5 hrs, intro and 3 battles - 2.5 hrs, so 5 hrs total.) No offense to them, but I felt like they didn't give it that much of a fair shake because they didn't want to learn new rules all over again. They didn't like being confused. They didn't like not knowing what they were doing. They were annoyed at all the things that made it hard to play: difficult, complex concepts that were poorly or only half explained. I felt like nothing in the playtest was any more complex on an individual level than anything in original Pathfinder (once you actually understood it, which was impossible for some concepts), but because it was so complex and different than what they were used to, it was rejected. I just don't know if they would have been happy with any major overhaul, because there's no way you can take a game as incredibly complex as PF - which they like because they've basically been playing some variation of 3.0 for 18 years - and make complex changes and still make them happy. (And yes, I just used the word "complex" like 10 times for a reason.) Change is something they don't enjoy, and so I don't know that Paizo ever really had much of a chance. (And I'm not even talking about all the slaughtered sacred cows that were grumbled about during the game - which was always going to be an issue anyway.)


*I mean, maybe it was possible: but this playtest wasted its one chance to make a good impression. The rulebook and the first adventure should have been proof-read by someone who had never played the game before and had no one else from Paizo around to explain anything: they would have learned a LOT. As it was, the playtest seemed designed to test all sorts of niche rules and corner cases so the devs could get an idea of how they played out on a big scale (poison, invisibility, stealth rules, difficult encounters to learn about dying, etc.). This was a colossal mistake. They should have had several easy, straightforward battles to ease everyone into the rules. Trying to understand how poison works while also understanding how healing and medicine and casting and attacking and dying and then not dying worked was completely overwhelming. (Not to mention one long-time pet peeve of PF maps: no space. All their maps need to be 2x as big, maybe 3x. We spent most of the game stuck in a line in 5' corridors, fighting mobs one at a time, which was also awful.) They should have treated everyone like a beginner, because we all are. Instead we were thrown into the deep end and now we don't want to waste our time on a confusing mess anymore.
 

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evilbob

Explorer
Maybe someone at Paizo is confused about what open betas are: contrary to their name, they are not actually a chance to test the product (other than stress testing IT infrastructure - which, their IT infrastructure also failed during this event). They are PR events. They are marketing. This is your chance to make a great impression on your influencers so they will go out and evangelize your product. "Understanding if something is confusing" is NOT what you want to test on your influencers; that's what closed betas are for. You pay people (or get NDA volunteers) to get that information - not crowdsource it. By open beta, you're really just satiating the early adopters' need to have it NOW, and then you make a few tweaks and release. Who knows, maybe they thought that was what they were doing: in that case, their closed beta failed them, or maybe they didn't take its lessons to heart.
 

Arakasius

First Post
Pathfinder Beta ten years ago was like this too. Plenty of things that didn’t make the final product. Obviously the internet has changed over the last ten years and there is a possibility that people will forever be turned off by playtest rules that don’t make the final product. That being said I think your points about complexity are a bit overblown. PF2 is much simpler across the board than PF1. In combat it’s pretty close to being as simple as 5e. Its a different game and yes they can improve wordings in some rule, but it’s actuslly a very simple game to run and adjudicate.

As for Pathfinder and change, well people can play PF1 for howeve long they want, just like people still play 1e, 2e, 3e and 4e. Pathfinder 1 financially for Paizo is a dead game. Starfinder already well outsells it and catering to 3.5 holdouts like your party isn’t going to keep them making money.
 

evilbob

Explorer
...catering to 3.5 holdouts like your party isn’t going to keep them making money.
You're 100% right - I didn't mean to imply that PF2 shouldn't happen! The game needs to change, they need to move forward, the company can't make money otherwise. I am just openly speculating if it is possible to change when your target market doesn't want to change. I'm saying that in my opinion, if PF2 fails, it won't be because they didn't come up with just the right rules set: it will be because it was never going to succeed.
 

Kobold Boots

Banned
Banned
Meh were it me..

- Support PF2 with lots of products every year. Add a page at the back of any product (and no more, you're not doing yourself any favors by making everything fully backwards compatible) for those that want to do PF1 back work.

- Do one new project for PF1 every year for the next few and be realistic about telling folks when PF1 products will stop publishing. In every new product take about 10 pages to explain how to bring it up to speed with PF2.

- Last, and this is important. One full conversion book on how to take PF1 to PF2. Make it as big as it needs to be because you only have to do it once and support it with youtube. Honestly this book is where you're going to get your reprint copy for the one new PF1 product 10 pager.

Done. Much easier to type that it is to do, but if you want all of your market share you're going to need to drag the masses with you as many may be in the mindset of "not gonna change"

Worked for you once. Now you gotta pay the rules debt you took advantage of back in the day.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
The elephant in the room, in my opinion, is that the entire concept of changing Pathfinder is an anathema to many (most?) of the people who play Pathfinder. The demographic of people who play PF is generally, by definition, people who didn't want to change. They flocked to 3.75 to avoid 4.0, and if they're still here it's because they didn't like 5.0 enough to switch as well.

I don't think not wanting change is necessarily true or the only inference that can be made about the PF-playing population. I think it's reasonably clear they didn't like the changes inherent in 4e. That doesn't mean they are resistant to all change or resistant to substantial changes after playing through another 10 years with the 3e system. Nor does it mean that they didn't like 5e. There are quite a few of us who like both PF and 5e and play both on a regular basis. What I and players like me didn't like was the 4e rule set.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
The group I tried the playtest with all decided to quit and never play again after 3 battles. (Character creation - 2.5 hrs, intro and 3 battles - 2.5 hrs, so 5 hrs total.) No offense to them, but I felt like they didn't give it that much of a fair shake because they didn't want to learn new rules all over again. They didn't like being confused. They didn't like not knowing what they were doing. They were annoyed at all the things that made it hard to play: difficult, complex concepts that were poorly or only half explained. I felt like nothing in the playtest was any more complex on an individual level than anything in original Pathfinder (once you actually understood it, which was impossible for some concepts), but because it was so complex and different than what they were used to, it was rejected. I just don't know if they would have been happy with any major overhaul, because there's no way you can take a game as incredibly complex as PF - which they like because they've basically been playing some variation of 3.0 for 18 years - and make complex changes and still make them happy. (And yes, I just used the word "complex" like 10 times for a reason.) Change is something they don't enjoy, and so I don't know that Paizo ever really had much of a chance.

I think the most important questions are:

Do your players still like PF1 a lot as-is?
Does your group have a lot of house rules to alter or restrict the current PF1 rules?
Has there been frequent burn-out over current campaigns and restarts, or any expressed desire to swap temporarily to different game systems?

If the answers above are "yes", "no", and "no" respectively, then PF2 might not be right for them. For our group, it's been a slow 5-year downhill slide from being absolutely in love with the PF1 rules, to having 6 and 7 pages of house rule adjustments, frequently ending campaigns after about 10th level, and outright banning certain classes, feats, spells and even entire option books at the table. For about the first 6 or 7 years, the majority of the group was in love and had no desire to change to anything else; but every since about two years ago, there has been obvious discontent in our group expressed enough to discuss hopping systems or at the least taking a scalpel to the options. Even paring back to core rules only didn't help, because the math imbalance inherent between classes and builds in the 3.x rules that gets stronger and stronger after about 10th level is still very evident.

Then along came the playtest and, rules tweaks aside, the group is so far drinking the new Kool-Aid flavor with gusto. But all of this is predicated on our group wanting more than what 5e gives, but still having a bit of system fatigue with the full PF1 experience.

Perhaps the majority of the group are still happy with it, and have no desire to change?
 

The elephant in the room, in my opinion, is that the entire concept of changing Pathfinder is an anathema to many (most?) of the people who play Pathfinder. The demographic of people who play PF is generally, by definition, people who didn't want to change. They flocked to 3.75 to avoid 4.0, and if they're still here it's because they didn't like 5.0 enough to switch as well.
That doesn't mean they aren't willing to buy a 3.9 Edition, or something. Not liking 4E or 5E, and thinking that 3.75 is the best option available, does not necessarily mean that the audience is averse to change. It could just mean that they specifically didn't like 4E or 5E.

The really weird thing is the degree to which Paizo seems to be basing the new edition on 4E, which they already know that their audience hates. You'd think that they would try and innovate closer to the mechanics they already had established.
 

BryonD

Hero
I think the most important questions are:

Do your players still like PF1 a lot as-is?
Does your group have a lot of house rules to alter or restrict the current PF1 rules?
Has there been frequent burn-out over current campaigns and restarts, or any expressed desire to swap temporarily to different game systems?

If the answers above are "yes", "no", and "no" respectively, then PF2 might not be right for them. For our group, it's been a slow 5-year downhill slide from being absolutely in love with the PF1 rules, to having 6 and 7 pages of house rule adjustments, frequently ending campaigns after about 10th level, and outright banning certain classes, feats, spells and even entire option books at the table. For about the first 6 or 7 years, the majority of the group was in love and had no desire to change to anything else; but every since about two years ago, there has been obvious discontent in our group expressed enough to discuss hopping systems or at the least taking a scalpel to the options. Even paring back to core rules only didn't help, because the math imbalance inherent between classes and builds in the 3.x rules that gets stronger and stronger after about 10th level is still very evident.

Then along came the playtest and, rules tweaks aside, the group is so far drinking the new Kool-Aid flavor with gusto. But all of this is predicated on our group wanting more than what 5e gives, but still having a bit of system fatigue with the full PF1 experience.

Perhaps the majority of the group are still happy with it, and have no desire to change?

How about yes / yes / no

I really do believe there is a large space between opposed to leaving 1E and opposed to leaving *the spirit of 1E".

I'm way onboard with moving on. It really isn't 6 or 7 years, overall it is truly going on 18 years.
I've got a fair number of houserules to optimize the system to my preference. But, in my case these are not things which evolved over time. These are almost entirely houserules that I've had since the start (I use the old 3E style regeneration, just as an example) and I have other rules that I have discovered through conversations with others that I liked the moment I heard them. But nothing that is propping up the game.

But, I'll also own the phrase I frequently use "the game doesn't stop you from breaking it". So it may be true that some of the things you have houseruled along the way I've just been sidelining all along. The game WILL break unless you choose to not break it.

So I very much accept all that.

But, ultimately, there are lots of games I can play. What is the BEST one? Being new add points. It may seem petty, but I confess to that. Being "in support" is also a bonus.
But after playing 5E for 18 months (and enjoying it), it became clear to me that I had been enjoying PF more, so I switched back.

Will 2E be "the best" option for my fun? Not in the current form. (Despite quite a few really great elements within it)

I guess the TL;DR version of this is: You can be completely open and ready to change, but still not find the current draft of 2E to be a better alternative. 5E would be higher in my case......
 

zztong

Explorer
Meh were it me..

- Support PF2 with lots of products every year. Add a page at the back of any product (and no more, you're not doing yourself any favors by making everything fully backwards compatible) for those that want to do PF1 back work.

Or, for each adventure published, release the PF1 and PF2 encounter stats as PDFs one the web. This way PF1 and PF2 buy the modules for the adventure to get the plot and maps.

The alternative is to walk away from any PF1 sales. On the other hand, some PF1 sales will convert to PF2 sales. The ultimate question is "how many?"
 

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