Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?

CapnZapp

Hero
Talk about thread drift...

To help the thread go back to the topic I'm interested in discussing (which is "why would Paizo ever want to make a game that in any way shape or form resembles the least successful edition of D&D???") here's the OP again :)

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?
PF2 is indeed a complete new game, and yes I can see how it will annoy both Pathfinder holdouts and 5E gamers curious to see if Paizo offers more.

The real head-scratcher is that it doesn't do everything in its power to stay away from 4E comparisons.

On the contrary - here are three areas we can identify resemblances:
1) layout and presentation
PF2 reads bone dry. It features walls of feats. (It actually sets an astonishingly high bar for basic understanding so I can definitely see quite a lot of newbies being scared off)

Why didn't Paizo understand that a class description should be self-contained, that is, everything about your Rogue or Barbarian should be explained right in the Class chapter? (With the exception of spells, I guess)

2) choice - impact or illusion
This is one of the biggest bugbears of 4E, and it unfortunately seems PF2 comes from the same design school.

Yes, you get a lot of choice as you build your character and as you level it up.

But most choices lack impact; they merely allow you to reach nominal levels of bonuses (like +4 for ability, +2 for trained, +1 for level giving +7 at first level. You can very well have worse bonuses, and use feats to "unlock" that +7 potential. But you cannot transcend the "invisible box": the best score of any character at any level is tightly reined in.)

Core fundamentals can't be changed at all: like your weapon, armor and save proficiencies.

There's no 3E/5E style multiclassing at all.

It seems you're asked to make a heck of a lot of choices that ultimately don't matter much at all, when it comes to making your character tread new ground, go in new directions.

3) magic items
Unfortunately I see a clear resemblance between 4E and PF2 magic items, in stark contrast to how items in both 3E and 5E are fun, atmospheric; items with real power.

In 4E I often found that even when I combined two items into one (giving it both powers) they regularly got ignored by the players, who was up to their ears trying to control all the little bonuses and effects.

A PF2 item can be a Bronze Bull Pendant that gives a measly +2 bonus to a single Shove action once. :cautious:
Not only that it can be used only once and is then consumed, the devs have the gall to
1) require you to prepare it well in advance (you must "affix" it to your armor)
2) put requirements on it (it doesn't work if you're not trained in Athletics)
3) its price in gold pieces is actually significant

So there you have it. A Talisman you must write down what it does, and then remember to affix (you can only have one Talisman affixed to your armor at any given time), and then remember to actually use. For what? A +10% chance of succeeding at one (1) Shove action, that moves an enemy back five feet(!) :eek:
 

Lucas Yew

Explorer
Personally, I think PF2 will never become a second 4E (commercially-wise) because of one reason; its crunch is completely OGL compliant (except Product Identity, of course).

As both 5E and PF2 gave up on my preferred level of granuality for Simulationist play (such as unequal Prof. bonus scaling for PCs and NPCs for 5E), which is my second point of consideration in picking RPGs to financially support and try out anyway, I backed off of 5E when it became clear that post-Core official 5E rules (like Xanathar's and SCAG) are super likely to never ever end up on the new SRD, violating my first and paramount point...

----

P.S. Just in case, my third point (which only matters in a class/archetype extant ruleset) is having all playable archetypes having a roughly equal amount of mechanical spotlight in a typical play; in other words, the closer to having LFQW solved the better...
 

ikos

Villager
Where Paizo is astronomically ahead of Wizards is their willingness to go darker. Wizards made Hell goddamn sanitized.
I'm not certain today's Paizo content is all that "dark," especially when compared to that of yesteryear. APs containing themes of incest, cannablism, and various forms of abuse are no longer printed with the eagerness that they were at the company's inception. Every once in a while something slips by, but the content has been heavily curated for years now. The most obvious examples being their take on an "evil" campaign (which was just as Disney in scope) or their take on Hell in Hell's Rebels (which, despite the printed trigger warnings, likely disturbed very few with access to cable tv). Contrast either of these against Nicholas Logue or Richard Pett's work for the company when they were going full tilt "dark" and the difference is quite stark.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It is weird to me that PF2 has such similar weak points to 4E but without many of the things I loved about 4E: class equality; simple monster and encounter design; AEDU powers; rôles; epic destinies; reskinning and refluffing
Yeh its certainly possible to not pick the best parts (5e's optional rules that are akin to 4e elements are almost all misfires on what made things work in 4e).
That said... a paradigm where the magic items are not as significant as the one who wields them is very trope friendly and I like it. A very popular rule for many in 4e was the inherent bonuses rule which arguably made that more so.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Yes. My gut instinct is that 5e branded Paizo material would sell very well. Their APs run a lot better in 5e than in PF. Their typical potential customer rejected 4e for PF but then went to 5e. And newbies all want to play 5e. Paizo brand strength plus 5e system would be the strongest combo imo.
It would be strong, just like it was when Paizo was doing Dragon and Dungeon magazines and publishing modules for 3e as a major 3rd party. And also just like it was when WotC pulled the licenses and left them hanging on half-baked plans for 3pp licensing and support, threatening Paizo's existence.

The 5e environment may not be looking so dangerous, but they're understandably leery of getting tied too closely to IP they can't control or rely on.
 

dave2008

Legend
I doubt PF2e will be their 4e, I think the fan base that moved to them is more loyal now. Of course that sounds idiotic now that I’ve typed it!
 

Parmandur

Legend
It would be strong, just like it was when Paizo was doing Dragon and Dungeon magazines and publishing modules for 3e as a major 3rd party. And also just like it was when WotC pulled the licenses and left them hanging on half-baked plans for 3pp licensing and support, threatening Paizo's existence.

The 5e environment may not be looking so dangerous, but they're understandably leery of getting tied too closely to IP they can't control or rely on.
Um, the OGL is there for 5E. They wouldn't have to use WotC IP at all. They've already done just that for a decade.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Um, the OGL is there for 5E. They wouldn't have to use WotC IP at all. They've already done just that for a decade.
That literally is WotC IP - it's just WotC IP that they have reliable access to because WotC has willingly ceded most of their ability to gatekeep it.

But the other element of this is WotC's future plans. Paizo had the ability to continue to support 3.5 thanks to the OGL and SRD when WotC decided to shift gears and put out 4e. But thanks to licensing changes, they didn't have as much access to 4e and the IP wasn't necessarily reliably available and 3.5 was going out of print - hence the gamble that was Pathfinder. What happens if WotC changes direction again in the wake of 5e? Granted, that would be dumb, particularly after their 4e experience and lessons learned and the rollicking success of 5e. But, it's not like stupidity hasn't been a recurrent and pervasive thing in the late 2010s decade...
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
Talk about thread drift...

To help the thread go back to the topic I'm interested in discussing (which is "why would Paizo ever want to make a game that in any way shape or form resembles the least successful edition of D&D???") here's the OP again :)
The OP asked if PF2 is Paizo's 4e. After actually reading the OP and responses in the thread: TL;DR It's not.*

*...unless one applies an extraordinarily shallow, superficial comparison of the two systems for the purposes of pushing some other agenda or narrative. But such readings that claim that they are similar based on superficial things such as layout (a skin-deep comparison), choice (mostly out of context), and magic items (mostly going off feelings and vague impressions) should probably be dismissed.
 

dave2008

Legend
The OP asked if PF2 is Paizo's 4e. After actually reading the OP and responses in the thread: TL;DR It's not.*

*...unless one applies an extraordinarily shallow, superficial comparison of the two systems for the purposes of pushing some other agenda or narrative. But such readings that claim that they are similar based on superficial things such as layout (a skin-deep comparison), choice (mostly out of context), and magic items (mostly going off feelings and vague impressions) should probably be dismissed.
Been a bit since I read the OP, but I don’t think he/she was talking about game design. Instead it is the idea will PF2e fracture the PF1 base and the resultantibg financial ramifications from that
 

Parmandur

Legend
That literally is WotC IP - it's just WotC IP that they have reliable access to because WotC has willingly ceded most of their ability to gatekeep it.

But the other element of this is WotC's future plans. Paizo had the ability to continue to support 3.5 thanks to the OGL and SRD when WotC decided to shift gears and put out 4e. But thanks to licensing changes, they didn't have as much access to 4e and the IP wasn't necessarily reliably available and 3.5 was going out of print - hence the gamble that was Pathfinder. What happens if WotC changes direction again in the wake of 5e? Granted, that would be dumb, particularly after their 4e experience and lessons learned and the rollicking success of 5e. But, it's not like stupidity hasn't been a recurrent and pervasive thing in the late 2010s decade...
....?

The same thing they did in 2008?

You realize that 5E is open game content, right?
 

BryonD

Adventurer
I think it is worth pointing out that at this stage of 4E it was considered a massive success. "New York Times Bestseller" etc etc. Yes, there was the split base issue before the release even happened. But the tone, early on, was not "gee, is this bad?" but rather "see, we told you so". And even as Essentials and other revitalization efforts were rolled out (many months later) there was still a steadfast base that did not agree that anything was failing.

So, first, I think you need to ignore both extremes in terms of personal opinion. The middle is a resounding "meh" at best. Not nearly the same place as 4E stood early on.

And if you consider that less than ten weeks in there is a serious question as to how PF2E compares to the 20/20 hindsight on 4E , then you will find that quite telling in its own right.
 

darjr

I crit!
So here is what I think will happen, and what I think Paizo will actually do.

PF2 has sold really well and continues to sell well, Paizo will hunker down if they have too and work on thier con, GenCon, and PFS. PF2 will slow burn and because it looks to be a good game, with hard work, it’ll gain in popularity as people play it and the initial inertia against it bleeds off.

I think key to this is live streams, especially if they can get one of the big online games to give it a swing, especially if it’s Critical Role.

They did give Matt Mercer a deluxe copy signed by a great many cool people.

I think this will happen even if they had planned for better sales or worse sales. Just the details and how much pain it’ll take to get there will differ.

I also think it’s possible because there IS a continuous low level buzz about the game and I see new people picking it up.

but what do I know?
 
Talk about thread drift...
To help the thread go back to the topic I'm interested in discussing (which is "why would Paizo ever want to make a game that in any way shape or form resembles the least successful edition of D&D???") here's the OP again
Y'know, it's funny, that's exactly what the OP /isn't/ asking. Rather, he was more curious about Paizo's intent, and the fanbase's reaction.
Mercurious said:
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?
That is, would the marketing and fan acceptance (unreasoning nerdrage, edition warring) for PF2 be analogous to 4e, not whether the PF2 might superficially or mechanically resemble 4e in content.

Afterall, the market has changed, and PF2 does not have the option of being More Authentically D&D than the current ed of D&D, because, let's face it, 5e is hella authentic.

The reaction to PF2 has been similar to 4e in a few instances: There's the reactionary horror at the prospect of casters being taken down any pegs at all, no matter how they may mesh with the new system, for instance. But nothing's yet risen to the level of systematic edition warring we saw so quickly with 4e.

So, TL/DR: No.
 

dave2008

Legend
So here is what I think will happen, and what I think Paizo will actually do.

PF2 has sold really well and continues to sell well, Paizo will hunker down if they have too and work on thier con, GenCon, and PFS. PF2 will slow burn and because it looks to be a good game, with hard work, it’ll gain in popularity as people play it and the initial inertia against it bleeds off.

I think key to this is live streams, especially if they can get one of the big online games to give it a swing, especially if it’s Critical Role.

They did give Matt Mercer a deluxe copy signed by a great many cool people.

I think this will happen even if they had planned for better sales or worse sales. Just the details and how much pain it’ll take to get there will differ.

I also think it’s possible because there IS a continuous low level buzz about the game and I see new people picking it up.

but what do I know?
Not sure where you are, but the buzz I am getting is on line (and in particular this forum). I am having a hell of time finding anyone locally who will play
 

darjr

I crit!
Local convention has a Paizo guest coming. Several tables at some stores. And friends posting about thier games.

I know the local stuff is really anecdotal but the online buzz counts too.
 

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