Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?

Those claiming 5E has many build choices clearly have never played previous editions.
Getting to pick a Background there, a subclass here, is not even close to the customization available in d20.
Backgrounds is a fluff choice with close to zero crunch.
The 5e backgrounds gives you a couple/few proficiencies - might be weapon, skill or tool - and a social perk of some sort. That's better than /some/ 2e Kits did (and not nearly as good as others, because, well, 2e Kits were wildly inconsistent, that way). And, it's more than 4e backgrounds (just a benefit with one skill, for the most part), if less than 4e Themes, and more than 3e backgrounds, on account of they didn't exist - which isn't fair, 3e Professional/Craft skills could step in and pass for backgrounds.

Most if not all subclasses added in supplements only reshuffle existing abilities and mechanics already offered by the PHB.
5e has been cautious about adding anything that can't be neatly ignored, yes.

Thing is, if PF2 does the same how can we NOT say Pathfinder 2 isn't Paizo's 4E?
4e did a /lot/ of things that the D&D fanbase nerdraged about: it balanced casters & martials, it presented clearer, more consistent rules that were less familiar to established players but easier for new players to jump in with, it emphasized out of combat challenges that engaged the whole party instead of turning on a single roll or spell from a specialist, it made DMing phone-it-in-easy with encounter guidelines that were easy to use and delivered more dependable challenge, it sidelined magic items as an only-moderately-important character build resource, it opened up concepts the game had never done or never done well through new classes, backgrounds, themes/PP/EDs, and virtually-unrestricted player-side re-skinning.

PF2 seems to have done a couple of those things, it's gotten the same XOMG! The WIzard's Been NERFED! reaction 4e did, initially, (even though the wizard remained the most versatile & sysetem-mastery-abuseable class even in 4e), so maybe it's tilted towards class balance relative to 3.5/PF1 or 5e. It has introduced some rules around skills that might make them more significant in & out of combat. ...and that's really about it.

The core issue is this: why on Earth did Paizo think the time was right for a game with ANY influences from 4E?
I think Paizo is looking at a very different market. In 2009, PF1 only had to pick up the real-D&D crown that WotC had thrown in the mud and trampled on, and it was guaranteed stunning financial success for a non-D&D game. In 2019, D&D is really-D&D again, and enjoying a resurgence in popularity not seen since the initial fad flopped, a full-bore come-back. It's choices were really to jump on that bandwagon and go back to making supplements for D&D, or strike out on their own with Golarion & PF... but, to do that, they'd have to actually make PF2 /a better game/ than PF1. Since PF1 is so much like 3.5, and since 4e was also a (largely successful) attempt to make a technically better game to follow 3.5, PF2 happens to have improved on PF1 in some of the same ways.


IMHO, jumping on the bandwagon would've been the better call. The history of the hobby is written on the bones of games that thought being better than D&D would mean success.
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
Then you don't know choices that bring crunch.

They can make up new Backgrounds all day long, and it changes absolutely nothing: you're just recombining existing choices.

No new crunch at all.
Dismissing them as crunch does not mean they are not crunch.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
That's better than /some/ 2e Kits did (and not nearly as good as others, because, well, 2e Kits were wildly inconsistent, that way). And, it's more than 4e backgrounds (just a benefit with one skill, for the most part),
4e did have a subset of backgrounds approximately on the same order as a feat ... Additionally you could pretty much give them the benefits of 3 generic ones instead of the Forgotten Realms or the other potent group and allow any just fine. (which is my preference though others might restrict to one or the other) - Themes really are basically super backgrounds of even greater scope with multi-classing swap outs which worked very very well.
 

Parmandur

Legend
4e did have a subset of backgrounds approximately on the same order as a feat ... Additionally you could pretty much give them the benefits of 3 generic ones instead of the Forgotten Realms or the other potent group and allow any just fine. (which is my preference though others might restrict to one or the other) - Themes really are basically super backgrounds of even greater scope with multi-classing swap outs which worked very very well.
4E Themes were pretty cool, that's something I'd like to see make a comeback in 5E (maybe replacing the ASI slots like Feats). PF2 does have Archetypes, which fill much of the same role, too.
 
4e did have a subset of backgrounds approximately on the same order as a feat ... Additionally you could pretty much give them the benefits of 3 generic ones instead of the Forgotten Realms or the other potent group and allow any just fine. (which is my preference though others might restrict to one or the other) - Themes really are basically super backgrounds of even greater scope with multi-classing swap outs which worked very very well.
The original FR backgrounds seemed excessive, and one or two were even demonstrably broken and Updated with extreme prejudice.
I'm not sure what you mean by the same order as a feat reference?

And, yes, Themes were like Backgrounds turned up from trivial to modestly important - really, 4e Backgrounds were like 5e backgrounds, but less so, and 4e Themes were like 5e backgrounds, but more so. And both were nominally optional, anyway (even PP/ED were nominally optional).

4E Themes were pretty cool, that's something I'd like to see make a comeback in 5E (maybe replacing the ASI slots like Feats). PF2 does have Archetypes, which fill much of the same role, too.
It'd be as simple as giving Backgrounds a few perks that are level gated. They could be Feats, or they could, like feats, take the place of an ASI, without actually invoking the feat rules, thus being useable w/o them.
 

Parmandur

Legend
The original FR backgrounds seemed excessive, and one or two were even demonstrably broken and Updated with extreme prejudice.
I'm not sure what you mean by the same order as a feat reference?

And, yes, Themes were like Backgrounds turned up from trivial to modestly important - really, 4e Backgrounds were like 5e backgrounds, but less so, and 4e Themes were like 5e backgrounds, but more so. And both were nominally optional, anyway (even PP/ED were nominally optional).

It'd be as simple as giving Backgrounds a few perks that are level gated. They could be Feats, or they could, like feats, take the place of an ASI, without actually invoking the feat rules, thus being useable w/o them.
Now that you mention it, the Guilds in Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica are that already: Backgrounds, with Tier based upgrades.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The original FR backgrounds seemed excessive, and one or two were even demonstrably broken and Updated with extreme prejudice.
I'm not sure what you mean by the same order as a feat reference?
Same order of potency... a feat provides anything from +3 (stackable) to a skill to 5/10/15 hitpoints (very like using a primary for hit points instead of a tertiary) and Scales of War is the other one with significant backgrounds it has a +3 to intimidation for Wandering Duellist - I consider those two sets of backgrounds on par with gaining a feat.
 

Eric V

Adventurer
IMHO, jumping on the bandwagon would've been the better call. The history of the hobby is written on the bones of games that thought being better than D&D would mean success.
As long as it doesn't tank the company, I'm glad they didn't. We already have one company producing a game to be popular; I'd rather they take their best shot at what they think the best play experience would be, even if it doesn't quite get there.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
As long as it doesn't tank the company, I'm glad they didn't. We already have one company producing a game to be popular; I'd rather they take their best shot at what they think the best play experience would be, even if it doesn't quite get there.
You act as if being popular and providing what one thinks the best play experience would be are mutually exclusive... they aren't.
 
You act as if being popular and providing what one thinks the best play experience would be are mutually exclusive... they aren't.
They needn't be. Depends on how close "what one thinks the best play experience" potentially might be is to what the market turns out to demand, at the moment.
If the market demands banging your head against a brick wall, and that's not your idea of a fine play experience, they're mutually exclusive. There's no accounting for taste.

...but...

As long as it doesn't tank the company, I'm glad they didn't. We already have one company producing a game to be popular; I'd rather they take their best shot at what they think the best play experience would be, even if it doesn't quite get there.
Jumping on the 5e bandwagon wouldn't be producing a game to be popular, it'd be producing supplements for a game that's already popular - and could even be producing said supplements /with the hope of providing the best play experience/ possible under that game.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Here's the thing - I do not think Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford designed a game to be popular. Fifth Edition is not a direct distillation of feedback and focus groups because that's a horrible way to design a game or do anything creative. I think like all creative professionals they designed something they wanted to play that they believed would be acceptable. Based on a lot of commentary I have seen from Mike Mearls I firmly believe this was always the game he wanted to play and hoped others would too. There's a fairly direct line between Essentials and Fifth Edition.
 

Eric V

Adventurer
Here's the thing - I do not think Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford designed a game to be popular. Fifth Edition is not a direct distillation of feedback and focus groups because that's a horrible way to design a game or do anything creative. I think like all creative professionals they designed something they wanted to play that they believed would be acceptable. Based on a lot of commentary I have seen from Mike Mearls I firmly believe this was always the game he wanted to play and hoped others would too. There's a fairly direct line between Essentials and Fifth Edition.
You're reading it differently from me, I guess. From the ideas in the test packets to what we have now, a lot of sway was given to feedback; they've said so themselves. There are even times where they have said they thought an idea was good but the feedback was negative so they nixed it.

Because they have a new business goal with D&D (to be evergreen like Monopoly, Risk, etc.) they approached it differently...and they succeeded, without a doubt. The success is because they paid attention to what was popular and what wasn't. I don't see how that's a particularly controversial statement, tbh.
 

Eric V

Adventurer
Jumping on the 5e bandwagon wouldn't be producing a game to be popular, it'd be producing supplements for a game that's already popular - and could even be producing said supplements /with the hope of providing the best play experience/ possible under that game.
Yeah, I guess...but the designers may not have wanted to handcuff themselves that way if they felt the actual product of 5e wasn't as good as their own stuff.
 
Yeah, I guess...but the designers may not have wanted to handcuff themselves that way if they felt the actual product of 5e wasn't as good as their own stuff.
As good (or better) doesn't necessarily sell like as popular.

PF2 is very likely, by some valid criteria or for some set of preferences, a better game than 5e. Possibly much better. Heck, I might end up playing PF2 in preference to 5e, if given the chance (of course, I've felt that way about Savage Worlds before I finally tried it, and about 13A though the chance rarely presents itself).
But the 5e bandwagon is getting a lot more money thrown at it. Jumping on wouldn't've been a bad business idea for Paizo, given that their rep would have given them a strong position producing adventures & supplements.
 
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Here's the thing - I do not think Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford designed a game to be popular. Fifth Edition is not a direct distillation of feedback and focus groups because that's a horrible way to design a game or do anything creative.
They sure painted it as a direct distillation of feedback. I agree it's not, or not just that. But popular, at least in the sense of broadly acceptable, was clearly a prime goal.

And it's not like anyone wants to produce a product that no one buys. Well, anyone actually running a company for profit.

I think like all creative professionals they designed something they wanted to play that they believed would be acceptable. Based on a lot of commentary I have seen from Mike Mearls I firmly believe this was always the game he wanted to play and hoped others would too. There's a fairly direct line between Essentials and Fifth Edition.
Essentials was also very much a response to 'feedback.' (If more of the ear-splitting screech sort.)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
You're reading it differently from me, I guess. From the ideas in the test packets to what we have now, a lot of sway was given to feedback; they've said so themselves.
The questions always seemed targetted to get the results they were after to me. At least in the first few till I got tired of it pretty fast being obvious that 4e fans were not actually welcome or their target audience. This is indeed pretty subjective we can suppose but I see it more like Campbell
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I think the idea that an independent publishing house could survive or even thrive off of becoming a third party publisher for another company's game is not necessarily a valid assumption to make. Fifth Edition makes Wizard of the Coast a lot of money. However, unless Matt Mercer or Matthew Colville are attached it has not proven to make anyone else a lot of money. Being #2 in the market, even if it remains a distant #2 provides Paizo with a good chunk of revenue.

Would they really be selling more books or get more prominent shelving space if they were selling source books and adventures for Fifth Edition?

Would they have to plan their release cycle around Fifth Edition? Paizo is already planning well into 2021.

If they start selling really well what does Wizards do to respond? What happens if there is an edition change?

I think the only way this would ever work is some sort of exclusive deal to make D&D branded products and given their history Paizo is loathe to attach themselves to anyone else's ship. They had to scramble and drastically change their business model because of decisions made by Wizards of the Coast before. Being independent to formulate business plans and steer their own ship might be worth it even if revenue is not as strong as it could be (I do not think that is the case anyway).
 

Parmandur

Legend
Here's the thing - I do not think Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford designed a game to be popular. Fifth Edition is not a direct distillation of feedback and focus groups because that's a horrible way to design a game or do anything creative. I think like all creative professionals they designed something they wanted to play that they believed would be acceptable. Based on a lot of commentary I have seen from Mike Mearls I firmly believe this was always the game he wanted to play and hoped others would too. There's a fairly direct line between Essentials and Fifth Edition.
Thing is, Mearls has detailed what he would do differently if he had his way rather than following through with making what people wanted (making the game a dice-pooling system, for instance). They really did go out of their way to figure out what the public wanted, and designed for it. To this day, surveys have veto power over new material, which is why there was no mass combat system published until Ghosts of Saltmarsh.
 

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