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Pathfinder 2E Is It Time for PF2 "Essentials"?

(I suspect it's because I'm not in the "incrowd" which means anything I post, even if it's the exact same thing that they agree with, will be automatically disagreed with by some, just a suspicion I've been getting over the past few months, seeing the trend of things. Only real infuriation is that while they may agree with the same item, some of the stuff that came from me is uncredited and not acknowledged that I was one of those who originally said an idea...though perhaps once again that is to avoid dislikes of because I'm not part of the "in crowd").

I'm fairly new here (relatively speaking) and I didn't feel like I got "in-crowded". I'll be honest, I haven't read your arguments (largely because I was just sort of done with this thread), but this is also the internet and when points get crossed up, people just start talking past each other. Apologies if you felt that way (even if I wasn't the one you were arguing with).
 

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transmission89

Adventurer
Most people read every third word of long posts to save time & effort. Leads to interesting results.
Or indeed put off by tone and structure of an argument. I’d happily read a long, well structured post supported with evidence and reasoned conclusions drawn from it ( Such as the one you posted the other day with your thorough analysis of market trends). Happily, even if perhaps disagreeing with aspects of a post or even the end conclusion.

Long rants with wild, speculative diversions with little to support it and hyperbolic conclusions, less so.
 

We have other ways inferring PF2’s popularity besides Roll20 numbers. Looking at Paizo’s forums, activity looks to be down substantially compared with five or six years ago. You see fewer reviews of adventure paths and other products. The adventure paths themselves, which are the calling-card of Paizo and their subscription bread-and-butter, don’t seem to be grabbing the market’s imagination. Official Pathfinder announcements and actual plays on Youtube get a few hundred views.

It seems pretty clear that the remarkable growth in the tabletop RPG market in recent years has been almost entirely in D&D, with a bit of spillover to second tier systems and indie RPGs. I doubt Paizo is close to collapse, but Pathfinder no longer stands apart in a second tier below D&D and above games like Call of Cthulhu and WFRP. There’s D&D and everything else, and PF2 now falls into the everything else camp.

It wasn’t crazy for Paizo to believe a rising tide lifts all boats, and that it could position itself on the shoulder of D&D as the advanced alternative to the most popular RPG in the world. But there just doesn’t seem to be a market in 2021 for highly crunchy tabletop RPGs built around optimization. The new customers who have flocked to the hobby are overwhelmingly looking for lighter, accessible systems.
 

We have other ways inferring PF2’s popularity besides Roll20 numbers. Looking at Paizo’s forums, activity looks to be down substantially compared with five or six years ago. You see fewer reviews of adventure paths and other products. The adventure paths themselves, which are the calling-card of Paizo and their subscription bread-and-butter, don’t seem to be grabbing the market’s imagination. Official Pathfinder announcements and actual plays on Youtube get a few hundred views.

I mean, Paizo's forum decreasing in traffic (I don't know how this is being measured, but let's take it) might well correlate with people moving to other platforms like Reddit (where the community is still growing). Paizo's Youtube has never gotten all that many views anyways: most of their videos even going back half a decade tended to be around 2K, with the biggest exceptions being the very first few videos regarding Pathfinder's first releases. And I dunno how much reviews actually relate to traffic.

Like, are there actual numbers to his or is it just feelings?

It seems pretty clear that the remarkable growth in the tabletop RPG market in recent years has been almost entirely in D&D, with a bit of spillover to second tier systems and indie RPGs. I doubt Paizo is close to collapse, but Pathfinder no longer stands apart in a second tier below D&D and above games like Call of Cthulhu and WFRP. There’s D&D and everything else, and PF2 now falls into the everything else camp.

It wasn’t crazy for Paizo to believe a rising tide lifts all boats, and that it could position itself on the shoulder of D&D as the advanced alternative to the most popular RPG in the world. But there just doesn’t seem to be a market in 2021 for highly crunchy tabletop RPGs built around optimization. The new customers who have flocked to the hobby are overwhelmingly looking for lighter, accessible systems.

I feel like this is disagrees with stuff like ICv2, where there were only one stretch where Pathfinder wasn't second to D&D on the chart: when Starfinder released and when PF2 was announced. Since PF2 released, it's still in its second place position while everything beneath it shuffles up and down. Heck, even Cyberpunk didn't manage to top it even with its video game coming out.

Really glad that the Alien RPG seems to have some staying power. They need to give me my damn Colonial Marines Expansion PDF, though. I'm itching for it and it's well past the two weeks they said it'd be out in. ;)
 



Sure, but I have to wonder how much of that share is PF1, given that so many books are basically out-of-stock or non-mint on Paizo's own store. I'm not sure that could really prop up the sales at this point, but I could be wrong.

Who knows? P2 content outranks P1 content on Amazon, so my guess is the bulk of it is P2 now. FG and Roll20 both show P2 is about equally popular with P1 now, and since P1 players probably aren't buying new core rulebooks, that's a second suggestive piece of information.
 


Porridge

Explorer
I feel like this is disagrees with stuff like ICv2, where there were only one stretch where Pathfinder wasn't second to D&D on the chart: when Starfinder released and when PF2 was announced. Since PF2 released, it's still in its second place position while everything beneath it shuffles up and down. Heck, even Cyberpunk didn't manage to top it even with its video game coming out.

Here’s an interesting quote on this topic yesterday from a Paizo employee:

“Paizo never has and never will surpass D&D when WotC is actually trying. Even the window during which Pathfinder was the #1 RPG on icv2 happened during the timeframe where WotC had already announced 5E, was winding down 4E, and was in the middle of restructuring their distribution network to start doing direct distribution to Amazon.

PF2 reaching even a fraction of the sales of 5E can still be a wild, mind-blowing success because 5E has the benefit of 50 years of name recognition and a multi-billion-dollar division of the most powerful toy company in the world backing it. Paizo is still barely more than a mom & pop shop transitioning into its second generation of leadership, with less than a hundred employees and exactly one leased physical location that houses all of the offices, server room(s), and warehouse for the entire company.

A 3pp company might have 1 or 2 full-time employees (who still have day jobs) and an average product sale for a well-known 3pp company is equivalent to about 2% of the people who have registered organized play characters for PFS. WotC is as much larger in scope than Paizo as Paizo is larger than one of those 3pps. And just like how a 3pp can be successful with a tiny fraction of the sales that Paizo has, Paizo can be successful with a fraction of the sales that WotC has, because the size of the market is so large and the scope of the two are so different that any direct comparison misses the point.

D&D and MtG combined make more money than Transformers, Power Rangers, My Little Pony, and Monopoly combined, as was revealed in recent shake-ups following WotC's last earnings call. That's ridiculous. That means that 5E isn't just a juggernaut in the market, it is now the engine that generates the market that every other game exists within. And that's not unusual, D&D has long been the centerpiece of the TTRPG world and is really the thing that opened the door for everything that's come since.

PF2 has been consistently blowing past benchmarks established by PF1 and Starfinder, which themselves were record-setting product lines for Paizo. That's really the only metric of success that's truly relevant, and outselling every product line the company produced prior to it at unheard of speeds definitely checks that "success" box.”

(Link: paizo.com - Forums / Pathfinder Second Edition: General Discussion: Paizo/Pathfinder 2e and the Current Market)

Now this isn’t data, it’s just a comment by an employee (and not one who’s in charge of financials). But still, it’s interesting to hear how things look from someone “on the inside”, both with respect to their size and ambitions relative to D&D, and the comparison between PF1/SF and PF2 sales.
 

"PF2 has been consistently blowing past benchmarks established by PF1 and Starfinder, which themselves were record-setting product lines for Paizo. That's really the only metric of success that's truly relevant, and outselling every product line the company produced prior to it at unheard of speeds definitely checks that "success" box.”

This is the relevant part to me. Usually when this happens, only good things follow.
 

JmanTheDM

Explorer
and an equally relevant follow-on comment:
"
Neither of these assertions actually have much backing them up, and they're probably wrong. PF1 at its height didn't sell as many books per print run as PF2 does now. And you can look at the company dynamics as well- The design team is bigger than it's ever been, with 4 designers plus a director of game design. A far cry from the days of three designers including Bulmahn. The customer service department has almost doubled in size since the release of PF2. The editing department has almost doubled in size since the release of PF2. The organized play team has added 2 new members since the ramp-up to PF2 began and has retained those positions through multiple promotions and shifts in the department.

So if you're talking about popularity as a percentage of all TTRPG players everywhere in the year 2015, then yeah, PF2 isn't as popular as PF1 by that metric. But if you're talking about things like sales metrics, media engagement, actual number of consumers, etc. then PF2 is very much more popular than PF1. The difference is that PF2 is in a robust and healthy gaming market while PF1 was stepping into a split market that was abandoned and reworked just a few years in, with little competition and no big movers and shakers making significant plays beyond Paizo themselves.

"But I'm on Facebook and Reddit and it doesn't get nearly as many posts as PF1 does" you might say. Turns out, there's a reason for that. It's not that PF2 is less popular by number of players, it's that a small handful of "PF1 Forever!" gamers are so toxicly obnoxious that new people join the communities and then immediately leave to find more hospitable climes. So even as PF1 is dying off, it seems stronger to the people who are most invested in it because the shrinking communities become more and more insular and devolve into echo chambers that don't get exposed to what's happening in the broader world of games and Pathfinder in particular."

while certainly possibly all of this is just marketing, because, you know. Paizo didn't attend gencon and origins in 2020, which is obviously a sign of a failing company :), this seems just a reasonable explanation as any and worth taking seriously.

Cheers,

J.
 



kenada

Legend
Supporter
Indeed. All the errata has reduced my CRB to a coffee table art book. Does anyone know if the pocket version includes all the errata in the printing?
The second printing includes most of the errata (a few things got missed apparently). I expect the pocket edition also reflects the errata, but I have no idea whether it actually does.
 

Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
Indeed. All the errata has reduced my CRB to a coffee table art book. Does anyone know if the pocket version includes all the errata in the printing?
The Pocket Edition of the Core Rules is the 2nd printing and has the first round of errata in it, yes.

PF2E does not need an Essentials edition. That was a fairly unique scenario with 4E which was a hard fix for a system that uniquely commanded it.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
The Pocket Edition of the Core Rules is the 2nd printing and has the first round of errata in it, yes.

PF2E does not need an Essentials edition. That was a fairly unique scenario with 4E which was a hard fix for a system that uniquely commanded it.
Wait. Only the first round? So it doesn’t include the second lot (with the changes to how items are held on the person etc)?
 

Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
Wait. Only the first round? So it doesn’t include the second lot (with the changes to how items are held on the person etc)?
My understanding is it has all errata through around October/November of last year as it was reprinted and released mid December. I am not sure where the stuff you refer to falls in to the mix, but if that was a change made after December then its probably not in there.

This link might help: paizo.com - Pathfinder Core Rulebook has a link to errata from 1st printing which is now in the 2nd printing, and a link for new errata for the 2nd printing, which I am pretty sure is all new stuff identified following the 2nd printing. I am pretty sure the items held thing is in 2nd printing but you can take a look. I gotta be honest, I don't even know what that one is as it apparently hasn't been identified by my group at the v-table yet.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
My understanding is it has all errata through around October/November of last year as it was reprinted and released mid December. I am not sure where the stuff you refer to falls in to the mix, but if that was a change made after December then its probably not in there.

This link might help: paizo.com - Pathfinder Core Rulebook has a link to errata from 1st printing which is now in the 2nd printing, and a link for new errata for the 2nd printing, which I am pretty sure is all new stuff identified following the 2nd printing. I am pretty sure the items held thing is in 2nd printing but you can take a look. I gotta be honest, I don't even know what that one is as it apparently hasn't been identified by my group at the v-table yet.
Their second round of errata annoys me because it’s just presented in FAQ format whereas the first round was in a lovely formatted PDF.
 

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