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Pathfinder 2E Taking20 -"I'm Quitting Pathfinder 2e Because of This Issue"


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BigZebra

Explorer
What it all boils down to, is that combat in PF2e basically is built upon the illusion of choice. Yes there are plenty of choice, but it is an illusion since all builds always end up doing the same thing every turn in combat because it is the optimal thing to do. So combat i PF2e is in spite of all the choices just as "samey" as it is in 5e. And if he has to choose between almost the same combat experience where one of the systems is very complex, and the other is not, he knows what to choose. And it aint PF2.
 


Justice and Rule

Adventurer
Taking20 -"I'm Quitting Pathfinder 2e Because of This Issue"
I was watching this video. And so I wanted to know the this forum fells or thinks about.
and are his statments correct ?

It’s a 20 minute video. Care to summarise?

Okay, first off should preface this with the fact that I'm not huge on Cody to begin with: I've come across his stuff before and his affect just kind of grates me in a way that's hard to describe. Apparently he's in marketing, and maybe that's the reason my Midwestern-brain is picking up subconsciously, but for whatever reason he just kind of doesn't do it for me, even in the 5E stuff he's done (and he's done some alright stuff; his "Deadliest Stuff at __ CR" list was pretty alright). I kind have to skip around because he likes to repeat over and over things without really adding much substance (Maybe that's why his list came off better: the structure forced him to keep things moving).

What he talks about is "illusion of choice", saying that the players have a great many options but no real choices because there is an "optimal path". I think he discusses how his druid always turns into a T-Rex for all the combat encounters as an example of someone who has a great many options, but feels there is only one choice. He discusses the idea that the feats you take create an optimal path by which doing other things is "suboptimal".

And to be honest, this whole thing comes off more as a player/GM stylistic thing than anything. Like, if you are building encounters where everyone does the same thing, then the obvious solution is to start redesigning your encounters to force them to do other things, as well as trying to push your players out of your comfort zone. If you have a druid who changes into the same thing every time, then switch things up so they don't: use flying enemies that a T-Rex can't reach, use a smaller area that a T-Rex can't fit, etc.

At the same time, maybe it's the players, too. Sometimes people fall into paths and ruts, and convince themselves that they only have one option. Players get lazy, disinterested, whatever. That's a point where I talk to a player, see what their problem is, and see what I can do to help. Maybe the player thought that turning into a T-Rex would be cool every time, but aren't tuned in to how to make that build actually work beyond just turning into one thing. Really, both these problem seem less "system-focused" and more "group-focused", but not knowing the people it's hard to actually diagnose because he's relying on evidence that is purely anecdotal rather than, say, really showing mechanically that there is an optimal path. That's not to say that there couldn't be an optimal path there, but it's hard to take the evidence he gives as a system problem rather than a personal one.

Though his brief hit on diplomatic crunch at the end really makes me just roll my eyes. :rolleyes:

Personally, I think this is a fairly well-reasoned and not obnoxious response (because man, some people are reacting stupidly to this whole thing).

 





Ed_Laprade

Adventurer
One point everyone has missed so far is that he says that the problem doesn't really get bad until around 10th level. So not that big of a deal if your normal games don't get much higher than that. (Disclaimer: I've never played Pathfinder, 1E or 2E.)
 

Justice and Rule

Adventurer
That’s another 15 minute video!

lol

Sorry, this was directed at other people, not just you. I take it you're not a podcast listener, because these sorts of videos are pretty easy to put on in the background while you do other things.

NoNat's counter is largely what I wrote: the idea that they "must" play "optimally" is something they force on themselves. The druid player has plenty of tools to pick, even within wildshape, but isn't really looking at them because it looks like they are trying to play for the most damage.

He describes a situation where his own party was fighting a gigantic spider, and instead of attacking he used a magic weapon to trip the spider and put it on the ground, while the thief (rather than attacking) used some immovable rods to lock it to the ground. As he says, that's "suboptimal" in that they aren't outputting the greatest amount of damage they could, they were creative and ended the encounter early.

The other part is that, if the players have no output for creativity, that's on the GM. Apparently Cody is playing Age of Ashes, there's the concession that maybe it's that adventure path, which was the first AP they did in the system and probably not as well-made as subsequent APs. But NoNat basically says what I did as well: it's on the GM to change things, even if it's an AP. If the thing is kind of dull, it's on you to spice things up and tweak things to work with your group.
 

Ringtail

World Traveller
If you have a druid who changes into the same thing every time, then switch things up so they don't: use flying enemies that a T-Rex can't reach, use a smaller area that a T-Rex can't fit, etc.
I thought of this too, but unfortunately it does not solve the problem. If the player picks a T-Rex because "its the best" simply designing encounters around it doesn't make it not the best. And the vast majority of encounters will still be okay for the T-Rex, with only a handful being otherwise.

Not necessarily saying I agree with the opinions in the video, but I don't think this really solves the problem at hand, but sort of skirts the issue. Instead of being "Always T-Rex" it becomes "Always, T-Rex and if not, Owlbear." (Or whatever)
 

kenada

Hero
Supporter
I watched the first video but not the second. I think it’s a fair criticism in the sense that he’s saying stuff that aligns with what I’ve been seeing in the discussion here. There’s a group of players for whom PF2 ought to be perfect, but it’s not actually not all that great for them. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: PF2 seems better-suited towards old-school style games than 3e-style games with tons of combat.

The video goes on and on about optimal play as if that is the most important thing at the table. PF2 does put a premium on tactics, but I don’t think it’s tuned that tightly. You can’t play dumb, but playing to your strengths should be enough. He keeps going on and on about optimal play and optimal tactics, but that’s a self-inflicted problem. What does he expect from an RPG? If you’re just setting up fights for PCs to defeat, you’re going to fall into a rut sooner or later.

Though his brief hit on diplomatic crunch at the end really makes me just roll my eyes. :rolleyes:
It struck me as a red herring to distract from the combat-heavy focus of the rest of the video. If they’re talking in character, then obviously they’re roleplaying, right?

Reading between the lines, I’m guessing they separate “RP” and “encounters” instead of running everything together (roleplaying all the time). Let the players go wild in exploration mode, creating advantages and messing up encounters. I think they’ll find things less boring then.

Yeah. I'd much rather read transcripts, but I suspect those aren't so easily monetized.
There were four ads in a twenty minute video. Four! 😒
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
lol

Sorry, this was directed at other people, not just you. I take it you're not a podcast listener, because these sorts of videos are pretty easy to put on in the background while you do other things.
I’m a podcaster. But I don’t insert podcast episodes into conversations! They’re different mediums. :D

Anyway, that’s by the by. I’ll leave you guys to it.
 

Justice and Rule

Adventurer
I thought of this too, but unfortunately it does not solve the problem. If the player picks a T-Rex because "its the best" simply designing encounters around it doesn't make it not the best. And the vast majority of encounters will still be okay for the T-Rex, with only a handful being otherwise.

Not necessarily saying I agree with the opinions in the video, but I don't think this really solves the problem at hand, but sort of skirts the issue. Instead of being "Always T-Rex" it becomes "Always, T-Rex and if not, Owlbear." (Or whatever)

This is true, but also it's on Cody to put that actual argument in his video. Just saying "that's what the player does" and saying it's "optimal" doesn't really prove anything, it just tells us what they think. Looking at Dinosaur Form, I don't think that necessarily plays out (though I do have a few arguments with some of the damage choices; Deinonychus should really have slashing damage for the claw ;)).

I watched the first video but not the second. I think it’s a fair criticism in the sense that he’s saying stuff that aligns with what I’ve been seeing in the discussion here. There’s a group of players for whom PF2 ought to be perfect, but it’s not actually not all that great for them. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: PF2 seems better-suited towards old-school style games than 3e-style games with tons of combat.

The video goes on and on about optimal play as if that is the most important thing at the table. PF2 does put a premium on tactics, but I don’t think it’s tuned that tightly. You can’t play dumb, but playing to your strengths should be enough. He keeps going on and on about optimal play and optimal tactics, but that’s a self-inflicted problem. What does he expect from an RPG? If you’re just setting up fights for PCs to defeat, you’re going to fall into a rut sooner or later.

Yeah, if you love crunching DPS numbers, PF2 can look deceptively good for you, but you're also probably not going to get much in the way of play variance. Then again, if you are playing for max DPS, you probably shouldn't care anyways.

The fun part of PF2 is that combat has a lot of interesting and defined options, and that you can play around with it a bit. Trying to find the ultimate route misses the point of the system, and does kind of make 5E a better choice: it's more limited, but if you are only concerned with optimal play, then that shouldn't matter.

It struck me as a red herring to distract from the combat-heavy focus of the rest of the video. If they’re talking in character, then obviously they’re roleplaying, right?

Reading between the lines, I’m guessing they separate “RP” and “encounters” instead of running everything together (roleplaying all the time). Let the players go wild in exploration mode, creating advantages and messing up encounters. I think they’ll find things less boring then.

Yeah, the rules are the arbitration system of success and failure, not a substitute for actually playing. You roleplay a discussion, and when you have a conflict of some sort, you roll the dice. You don't replace the former with the latter.

There were four ads in a twenty minute video. Four! 😒

In fairness, as I understand it YouTube has been more aggressive in pushing ads on people. Not sure how much is their fault. :cautious:
 

Rune

Once A Fool
Saw that video (the one in the OP) the other day. Or whenever. Time has no meaning anymore.

My thoughts at the time were: “Yeah, but isn’t that the price you pay for a system that prioritizes character customization (especially if it incentivizes combat optimization)? I mean, optimized characters are specialists, after all. That means their optimized routine is going to be repetitive. Because of course it is!”

Now, of course, these kinds of things can be accounted for by an experienced GM. But that doesn’t mean that working against a system’s inherent biases isn’t a lot of extra effort for the GM that might be spent in other ways.

But those are just my impressions. I don’t have any experience with Pathfinder 2. Those who have and like it surely have good reasons.
 


Retreater

Legend
Yeah, there is (unsurprisingly) some indignation about this video on the PF2 messageboards at Paizo. I don't completely disagree with his assessment. There is little wiggle room for suboptimization of every character action in the Age of Ashes Adventure Path (which he and I both have GMed). It's deadly (my group averaged 3 TPKs in around 9 sessions). It was so frustrating my group rage quit upon completing the second book in the AP. (I've documented our experiences in other threads here.)
My personal opinion is that Age of Ashes was a bad way to kick off PF2. Based on what I ran, what I've read from others, and Taking20's video, I have to describe it as a catastrophic failure of design to promote a new system, akin to the terrible 4E inaugural adventure "Keep on the Shadowfell" - which I believe is a contributing factor to the lack of success seen by 4E.
Had PF2 launched with a solid starting adventure and easy entry point, like the 5e Starter Set (and by all reports the 1.5 years too late Beginner Box for PF2), we'd likely be having a different conversation. Can it get back those who tried a "real campaign" with it, only to give up because of poor adventure design?
PF2 completely stumbled out of the gate with a bad Adventure Path. Then Paizo apologized for the theme of their most recent Adventure Path (which my group wouldn't play even when the issues with Age of Ashes became apparent). In the past month, they've found the need to print errata'ed 600+ page rulebooks and release affordable paperback editions. Now a pretty major voice on YouTube (who previously championed their system) - at least in the small circle of gaming content - has lambasted the system.
Pathfinder 2 is in trouble. Their upcoming AP has to knock it out of the park, or I don't know if PF2 will have enough interest to warrant discussing this time next year.
 

Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
Saw that video (the one in the OP) the other day. Or whenever. Time has no meaning anymore.

My thoughts at the time were: “Yeah, but isn’t that the price you pay for a system that prioritizes character customization (especially if it incentivizes combat optimization)? I mean, optimized characters are specialists, after all. That means their optimized routine is going to be repetitive. Because of course it is!”

Now, of course, these kinds of things can be accounted for by an experienced GM. But that doesn’t mean that working against a system’s inherent biases isn’t a lot of extra effort for the GM that might be spent in other ways.

But those are just my impressions. I don’t have any experience with Pathfinder 2. Those who have and like it surely have good reasons.
I can certify from personal experience that I can still make interesting but suboptimal characters in Pathfinder 2E.

Anyway, on that video, I was primarily amused that he used exactly, almost verbatim, the same complaint I made about PF1E, and then took a classic edition war tactic re: diplomacy, of "Well but I SUPPOSE some gamers don't like to roleplay so this system will work for them." Yeesh! Where have I heard that one before?!?!!?
 

Porridge

Explorer
Taking20 -"I'm Quitting Pathfinder 2e Because of This Issue"
I was watching this video. And so I wanted to know the this forum fells or thinks about.
and are his statments correct ?

I haven’t watched the video, so I can only comment on the example cited above. But claims like the Druid turning into a T-Rex every fight because it’s “optimal” really makes me doubt the speaker’s system mastery.

For one, the Druid is a 10th level caster, and you can’t cast spells while wild shaped. So transforming into a T-Rex at the start of every fight means you’re ignoring your most powerful class feature.

For another, if you’re just transforming into a T-Rex every fight, you’re mechanically equivalent to an under-leveled fighter with some utility casting for out of combat. If that’s what you want to do, playing a fighter with a casting multiclass would be much more effective.

Just to be clear, it’s not that investing into wild shaping is a trap option. It’s not - it’s a solid plan B in almost any situation, and occasionally (when facing an enemy where flying is really useful, say, or facing an enemy with a weakness to a kind of damage one of your forms can inflict) it can be a solid plan A too. But an optimal wild shape Druid will be one that uses their incredible flexibility to figure out how to best approach each combat. First you consider your spells, and whether a well placed battlefield control, AOE attack, buff or debuff would really work well in this scenario. Second, if none of the spell options are a good fit, consider what form would best work in this scenario, against these opponents.
 
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