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Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?

I'm not really sure if this belongs in the Pathfinder or D&D forums, so put it here in General as it touches upon a variety of topics and is more meta than system-specific.

I don't know a lot of details about Pathfinder 2 and haven't been following whatever discussions might have happened over the year, but upon doing a cursory browse, I'm reminded of what happened with 4E. Like 4E, P2 seems to be annoying traditionalists; like 4E, the big danger is that rather than having the intended effect of unifying and adding to the fan-base, it will only fraction it (e.g. of 10 P1 players, 4 stay with P1, 4 go with P2, and 2 go to 5E or elsewhere out of frustration).

I mean, what exactly is Paizo hoping for? Are they hoping that 2nd edition is a huge success, that the majority of 1st edition players migrate over and they begin a fresh edition cycle?

I'm honestly trying to understand. I have no horse in the race - I don't play Pathfinder, although buy the occasional setting book (and am intrigued by the "Lost Omens" world guides line and will check that out). Nor am I a traditionalist or think that game companies should just re-hash the old. From what I've seen of P2 (mostly just scanning the playtest book at Barnes & Noble), I like the vibe of it more than P1. It just seems like a head-scratcher to me, that they would diverge substantially from 1st edition considering that the whole impetus behind Pathfinder in the first place was to keep 3.5 alive and well. From what I've read, P2 does more than clean up P1...it seems like a significantly different new edition.

I mean, it almost seems like Paizo saw their base diminishing with the surging popularity of 5E and realized that they had to take a risk. Maybe they're accepting a smaller base, but are going all in on something newish rather than just the diminishing returns of "P1.1" and more of the same type of books.

Anyone have any insight into the thoughts behind Pathfinder 2? Is it Paizo's 4E?
 

Jacob Lewis

Explorer
Its all part of an elaborate scheme to make Pathfinder 3rd Edition the ultimate comeback edition that will fix everything. Its the only way to ensure loyalty from any fanbase. You take away what they love, try to pass it off as something completely new and different, then quickly turn around and go back to the original formula. People love that crap! See Coke/New Coke/Classic Coke for more details.
 

Aldarc

Explorer
I mean, what exactly is Paizo hoping for? Are they hoping that 2nd edition is a huge success, that the majority of 1st edition players migrate over and they begin a fresh edition cycle?
I don't think Paizo is under any delusions about catching lightning in a bottle twice, especially given the success of 5e. I suspect they are hoping that 2nd edition is a sustainable success while also being something fresh and new that they themselves enjoy playing with and designing for. They will probably hope that they get the majority of their playerbase from PF1, maybe some new players who are dissatisfied with 5e, and possibly some new players who are new to TTRPGs. Pathfinder 1 was a stopgap measure to prevent Paizo from going-under that turned into a huge success. Pathfinder 2 is more about Paizo going forward.

From what I've seen of P2 (mostly just scanning the playtest book at Barnes & Noble), I like the vibe of it more than P1. It just seems like a head-scratcher to me, that they would diverge substantially from 1st edition considering that the whole impetus behind Pathfinder in the first place was to keep 3.5 alive and well. From what I've read, P2 does more than clean up P1...it seems like a significantly different new edition.
Sure, but over a decade, Paizo kept adding to and patching up the 3.5e system. There was an increased bloat of options (e.g., classes, archetypes, feats, etc.). There was some unelegant design decisions that they were not happy about (e.g., CMB/CMD). Jason Bulmahn flat out calls CMB/CMD - which he himself designed, by the way - "bad design."

But when you look PF2 and compare it to PF1, you can see how one is congruent with the other. PF2 represents a desire to build (mostly) from the ground-up their system into a more cohesive system. They wanted to make alchemy a valid branch. They wanted to streamline actions and the math. They wanted to better integrate three subsystems that were performing similar functions: e.g., multiclassing, archetypes, prestige classes. A lot of class and racial abilities (and subrace features) have been turned into feats. They wanted to reduce the complexity of the action economy. But at the same time, they still wanted to preserve the deep player customization options that Pathfinder was famous for.

You will undoubtedly hear dissatisfaction with some PF1 diehards, but from what I can tell, a lot of news and playtest reports surrounding PF2 has been positive. The new three-action economy, for example, has received tremendous praise. A lot of people have reported that it plays quicker than PF1 at similar levels. A number of groups reported that it's easier to run than PF1 while still giving easy-to-make monsters cool things to do.

I mean, it almost seems like Paizo saw their base diminishing with the surging popularity of 5E and realized that they had to take a risk. Maybe they're accepting a smaller base, but are going all in on something newish rather than just the diminishing returns of "P1.1" and more of the same type of books.
It's likely a confluence of factors: players migrating to 5e,* growing dissatisfaction from both players AND Paizo with the rules/option/book bloat, and Paizo wanting to evolve the game. I think that this last point often gets understated. When you listen to comments from Paizo, many reflect (independently) that they are not the same company as they were in 2008-2009. They LOVE Pathfinder, but I think that many wanted to improve on its design. Many wanted to tinker and play with something new. Many employees wanted to expand it beyond a 3.5E with a new coat of paint and some replacement parts. So this is really one of the first times where we see Paizo getting to say "This is the system that we built!"

* Some just wanted to play D&D but were dissatisfied with 4e, so Pathfinder was the best popular alternative. So 5e was "good enough" for people to return back to D&D.

Anyone have any insight into the thoughts behind Pathfinder 2? Is it Paizo's 4E?
It looks more like a jump from 3e to a more complex 5e with some awareness of 4e's strengths.
 
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Morrus

Administrator
Staff member
I mean, what exactly is Paizo hoping for? Are they hoping that 2nd edition is a huge success, that the majority of 1st edition players migrate over and they begin a fresh edition cycle?
What else would they be hoping for? That it fails?
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
I'm not really sure if this belongs in the Pathfinder or D&D forums, so put it here in General as it touches upon a variety of topics and is more meta than system-specific.

...

Is it Paizo's 4E?
This belongs in the pure, unadultered, AWESOME forums.

Ima get my asbestos suit and my popcorn ready, because I can't imagine a better firestarter. ;)
 
I’m not a rabid Pathfinder fan, but I did play it at cons. However, I can say I’m not moving onto 2e; I just don’t have enough of an attachment to the game to justify the room in my brain to learn a new system. And honestly, the design decisions seem even more fiddly, moving it far out of my tolerance for such.

I do think Paizo painted themselves into a corner with this – Pathfinder, being based on 3e, was essentially almost 20 years old in its design theory. Add the rampant bloat to that and it was definitely feeling long-in-the-tooth.

As for whether it’s Paizo’s 4e, I think that proof will be in how long it lasts, and yes, all joking aside, what Pathfinder 3e looks like.

Its all part of an elaborate scheme to make Pathfinder 3rd Edition the ultimate comeback edition that will fix everything.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Oh, wait ...

Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's attempt to de-Snyder PF?

I want the Snyder cut of PF2!
 

Mallus

Hero
It's like you're juggling brightly-colored balls filled with nitroglycerin, [MENTION=6799753]lowkey13[/MENTION].
 
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billd91

Earl of Cornbread
Its all part of an elaborate scheme to make Pathfinder 3rd Edition the ultimate comeback edition that will fix everything. Its the only way to ensure loyalty from any fanbase. You take away what they love, try to pass it off as something completely new and different, then quickly turn around and go back to the original formula. People love that crap! See Coke/New Coke/Classic Coke for more details.
Yeah, no. It was also never Coke's intent either.
 

Mallus

Hero
Is Pathfinder 2 the 2016 Ghostbusters Reboot, or is the original Pathfinder more of a colonialist narrative, like the original Star Wars trilogy?
Glad I edited my original post. TNT is far too stable. And whatever happened to the strikethrough tag??
 

LordEntrails

Explorer
Also as an outside observer I've wondered the same as the OP. One other aspect that is implied in this discussion but not stated, Is it known that PF1 is no longer sustainable? Was their an evolve or die mandate?

I mean it has seemed like for a long time PF just kept publishing more options, more adventures, more content; and that was their model. Did they simply run out of topics/content or did they find that they were no longer attracting new players or...?
 

billd91

Earl of Cornbread
I mean, it almost seems like Paizo saw their base diminishing with the surging popularity of 5E and realized that they had to take a risk. Maybe they're accepting a smaller base, but are going all in on something newish rather than just the diminishing returns of "P1.1" and more of the same type of books.

Anyone have any insight into the thoughts behind Pathfinder 2? Is it Paizo's 4E?
In some ways, yes. PF2 does incorporate some 4e-isms like the increases in attacks/defenses moving in a constant rate as the PCs level AND those being matched by monster/NPC attacks/defenses. The treadmill. And that is one of the things that bothers me about PF2 considering I very much prefer 5e's bounded accuracy model.

And it is definitely going to rub some players with deep stacks of materials the wrong way. And it's definitely not being released at the heights of opportunity like 3e, 5e, and PF1 all were and all benefited from. So yeah, kind of like 4e.

On the other hand, they had a 10 year run based on a rule system that was already 9 years old when they released it. It's showing a lot of age, and not in a good way. There's stuff cobbled on it all over the place - some really fiddly stuff that could really stand a clean-up. Plus, their market for rule supplements was pretty thoroughly saturated. If they're going to try to sustain a game system and keep the lights on, they've got to do something to refresh it every once in a while. While every 5 years may be too rapid (going by the market's reactions to WotC's history), 10 years certainly doesn't feel like it was a rush or a hustle.

There seem to be some pretty good things going for it - I like most of the action economy changes. But there are also quite a few things I didn't like in the play test. So I'll check it out - in PDF form at least so I can get by spending $14.99 rather than $59.99. And if it works for me, we may shift over from PF1. It's too soon to tell. I have a hard time imagining it will be as successful as PF1, but we'll see if it finds a sustainable niche. I'd like it to do so because I like Paizo's stuff in general and I'd like to see them maintain a spot at the table.
 
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Arilyn

Explorer
It's not all that difficult to understand. PF1 is getting old, and is based off an even older system. Most RPGs go through more than one edition. Players almost always grumble and complain. And yes, it is often a risk, but Paizo has proven that they usually make sound decisions, and when things get rough, they weather the storm. We'll have to wait and see how PF2 does in the wild. I think it's a safe bet it will sell like hot cakes at Gen Con. If it falters after that, hopefully, Paizo will be able to pivot back to first edition and regroup.

Off topic, but the new PF card game edition is awesome. More money flying out of my wallet.😁
 

Nilbog

Explorer
I'm looking forward to PF2. My group primarily plays 5e, and while we love the system, there is a yearning for more crunch, so we've been looking at trying new systems. I swore off both PF1 and 3e, as I found them incredibly time consuming and frustrating to DM for, and while we like 4e, none of our group currently has a subscription to the online char generator and with the amount of options, char gen is a nightmare without it.

I'm really hoping (and from what I read in the playtest) the PF2 could land in the sweet spot, or be the closest system to it, for our group.

So maybe Paizo think that as well as lot of people who want to move from PF1, there are also a few people out there who want to try something different from 5e, and what with 5e drawing a lot of new players it may be time to dip their toes?
 

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