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

zztong

Explorer
That PF2 keeps climbing and it remains number 2 on the sales chart seems to be an indicator that it's steadily climbing.
It does seem like a good indicator for games that are receiving active development and I'm not suggesting you're wrong. I would point out, however, that those of us in PF1 games cannot buy new PF1 products from Paizo because they aren't being made. One local DM kept his subscription to Paizo adventures but plans to convert anything he likes to PF1.

EDIT: I am kind of interested to see what happens with Hero Lab Online and their effort to expand it to cover PF1. As I understand it, there will be a small fee to extend any sources you already own in the OS-native version to the online version. There's some debate in our player bases as to if it is worth converting to the online version or just sticking with the OS-native software. Not everyone is interested in the online version. Some are really into the online version. Others are weighing the relative merits (access) to the demerits (continuing costs).
 

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kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
EDIT: I am kind of interested to see what happens with Hero Lab Online and their effort to expand it to cover PF1. As I understand it, there will be a small fee to extend any sources you already own in the OS-native version to the online version. There's some debate in our player bases as to if it is worth converting to the online version or just sticking with the OS-native software. Not everyone is interested in the online version. Some are really into the online version. Others are weighing the relative merits (access) to the demerits (continuing costs).
There’s no timeline on when Hero Lab Online will get classic content. They are way behind schedule delivering features because of poor architectural decisions made early in its development. The developer responsible is no longer with the company, and things have been getting better, but it still has a ways to go.

It’s worth noting if you use any homebrew or community content, that stuff is just not supported. You can put in custom stuff, but it’s basically just a text box where you type in the feat/feature description. You have to manually apply modifiers in the permanent adjustments section, and you are limited by what has been programmed for the available content (in terms of adjustments).
 

Jimmy Dick

Explorer
I've ran over 120 PF2 sessions in Pathfinder Society and it is a far better game than PF1 was, but that's from my perspective as a GM and player running primarily Pathfinder Society. Cody's video misses the mark by a wide margin. No RPG does what he wants. I thought the silliest part of his complaint was about the lack of roleplay. Sorry, but that's not the game system. That's the GM and the players. That's a huge red flag for Cody's opinion. If the only PF2 you have played in one AP, you really are not playing the whole game. I am not having these problems with Pathfinder Society 2e at all. We are constantly seeing new players come into the online community thanks to Covid and many of them are new to Pathfinder. My live play lodges were all expanding with new players right up until the pandemic hit. I have no idea what to expect when we finally can get back to live play unfortunately.

In the end, Cody's argument that there is an illusion of choice is just flat out wrong. It sounds a lot like what I heard from 1e players who had never played 2e at all. There are a lot of choices for all characters in PF2. There is no optimal build except the one you want to play. I will say, I've seen parties of players struggle with 2e because it is not 1e. They come into the session trying to play 1e and that is not what 2e is. It is a totally different set of game mechanics compared to the 1e play style. They are used to one round combats and that happens very rarely in 2e. Instead, players have to employ teamwork and think about their choices.

I call 2e combat "tactical chess." I need to use my three actions for each round the best way that not only emphasizes what I can do best, but also helps my teammates use their best skills for the particular situation. Sometimes that means doing things that are indirect means of defeating the enemy, not flat out damage. That means I have choices to make based on what my character can do. If I built a one trick pony of a character, then that's not the game's fault. That's my fault as a player for building a one-dimensional character. Fortunately, it is pretty difficult to build a one-dimensional character in this edition. More often than not, the player keeps trying to force the one thing they want to do with the character in most situations when that choice is not the best for the situation. Again, that's the player's fault, not the game's.
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
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.)

Pathfinder is easily the greatest RPG that I've never played because I can't find a group.
 

I want to point out that if I'm remembering correctly, pf2e came out shortly after that big controversy about roll 20, and that on the sub I mostly see people talking about other VTTs (probably a result of the lack of support) like Foundry (which I too use, since it has superior support for pf2e and you only buy it once) which you'll notice even in this thread, so it makes sense to me that it doesn't have much presence on roll 20. The sub poll also suggested more than half of the user-base were converts from 5e, which makes sense to me-- much of Pathfinder 1e's player base had previously converted to 5e anyway, and its the largest game.

In a very real sense, Pathfinder 2e fills a niche as a complex alternative to 5e for players introduced by 5e, something it needed its balance and relative streamlining to accomplish. We're seeing it grow in a fairly gradual way as individual tables have someone frustrated with 5e's limitations, and then convert the rest of their table, so it makes sense that its more gradual than say, 5e was-- the market its entering is different than when 5e came out, or when Pathfinder 1e came out. Instead, you have a market that's primarily playing a game that's still supported so if we compare it to a highway, rather than just merging onto the new game or taking the highway exit (which is what happened with 5e, largely) the 5e lane is still going, so groups are more gradually switching lanes than they might if books weren't coming out for it.

But overall, the game seems pretty healthy and sustainable, short of Hasbro killing 5e somehow, I don't think anyone reasonably thought truly 'dethroning' 5e was on the table-- its got all the players its introduced or brought back to the game, its got incredible brand recognition, it has critical role on-boarding even more people. But I do think that claiming a meaty chunk of 5e's audience is still on the table, and it seems like its definitely happening over time.

One preconception I see is the idea that Pathfinder 2e should even want the players it probably won't get, whereas I think that to some extent, games should have an awareness that they're functionally selecting their audience. Some people might happily declare that the problem with 2e is that there are too many options and they'd rather improvise things-- but that sounds awful to me, I want a nice well designed process to help me do things-- that process should be streamlined, but it should exist. Some people assert that the game should be easy enough that encounter balance shouldn't function (to facilitate flexibility), but again that's not what I'm looking for (I think the flexibility works fine.)

So for me, I don't think any single person having a problem with the system is actually an indictment of it, its ok for the game to not be for you, if its for others of us. Which is why I would say the problem with Taking20's statements is that they're mostly just false-- you have more than the illusion of choice, your choices literally result in greater or lesser success and differing specialties. Combat is meatier, but my group mostly fights severe encounters and extreme encounters, and rarely even risks a single death so its not as if its actually too hard (and you have many sliders to adjust that, although I notice people seem resistant to using them). Turns seem to vary a lot, although you can certainly develop routines if you like.
 

MockingBird

Explorer
Also keep in mind he made a 5e vs PF2e video and he gave the win to PF2e. I feel his complaints are legitimate. I tried to like it but it was just too busy. He did give the game a fair shot. Its his opinion after all.
 

dave2008

Legend
I thought the silliest part of his complaint was about the lack of roleplay. Sorry, but that's not the game system. That's the GM and the players. That's a huge red flag for Cody's opinion. .
I just want to point out that this was a complaint / comment that many made about 4e as well. It was equally wrong, but a lot of people believed it / felt that way and didn't play / stick with 4e because of it.
 


dave2008

Legend
You make a conclusion without evidence and then when presented with evidence to the contrary just dismiss it as "data"? Where else should we derive our information?
The Roll20 data actually supports @Zardnaar 's claim. Yes it is trending the right direction, but the trend is very gradual and right now PF1 as a much larger online presence than PF2 (in Roll20 at least). Now, that is a "thing," but not necessarily a bad thing, For example, 4e had a much larger online presence than 3e initially; however, it trended the wrong way and was eventually replaced.
 

dave2008

Legend
The only thing that doesn’t work is intentionally deoptimizing your character. We had an alchemist who took no armor, having an AC at 13 at 1st level. He got multi-critted by a 3rd level gray ooze. If you don’t do that, you’ll be fine even if you’re not the very best like no one ever was.
That is my fear a bit as I've never been interested in optimizing. I could easily unintentionally deoptimize. I don't want to be the person who brings the part down because I am not optimized and not interested / familiar with game tactics
 

Gammadoodler

Adventurer
The Roll20 data actually supports @Zardnaar 's claim. Yes it is trending the right direction, but the trend is very gradual and right now PF1 as a much larger online presence than PF2 (in Roll20 at least). Now, that is a "thing," but not necessarily a bad thing, For example, 4e had a much larger online presence than 3e initially; however, it trended the wrong way and was eventually replaced.
Perhaps, but as had been pointed out elsewhere, the Roll20 PF2 player experience is terrrrrrible. It's about where 5e was 5 years ago in terms of build, but with a waaaay more complex ruleset to deal with..I can only imagine it for the DM.

The implementation on Foundry is so much better I feel embarrassed for Roll20.
 


Zsong

Explorer
It’s kinda cool to polymorph into a T-Rex. Sounds like fun to me. It’s nothing I would get upset about. But maybe that’s a sign that they need to create more monsters of that challenge rating to maybe spice things up a bit.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I just want to point out that this was a complaint / comment that many made about 4e as well. It was equally wrong, but a lot of people believed it / felt that way and didn't play / stick with 4e because of it.
I played 4E. It did not work for us because in order to be fun, combat needed to be challenging. Only very large and long combats fulfil this criteria. We like to play making good moves, not just making quick moves just to get on with it. Everything about 4E rewards tactical play, group cooperation and exact play.

Easier combats, in contrast, still takes a lot of time to play out even when the outcome is totally obvious. We quickly learned to skip those, since just making the moves with no thrill or challenge felt like a waste of time. But this lead to a much worse problem: We found there was not enough time left in the session when having a combat of this type. The combat itself was very fun, but in the end the experience felt much more like a tactical skirmish boardgame with vestigial roleplay squeezed in.

This is the source for calling 4E a board game lacking roleplay. Saying that isn't wrong, even though it is a simplification.

The lesson is: it's no use creating fun and engaging combats if they can't be resolved quickly enough.

In contrast PF2 manages to provide also-very-fun combats but in a much quicker package. It dares make wilder swings, meaning that even fights you are exceedingly likely to win can still feel exciting (because of a stray critical messing up your plans).

So, no, the claim that "many" made claims that were "wrong" isn't true. I clearly see why 4E failed as a commercial product, even though it featured fantastically engaging skirmishes.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
That is my fear a bit as I've never been interested in optimizing. I could easily unintentionally deoptimize. I don't want to be the person who brings the part down because I am not optimized and not interested / familiar with game tactics
Alchemists got light armor at the time, and now they can also wear medium armor. Shields don’t require (or have) proficiency, so anyone can Raise a Shield. The only classes that should start that low are casters without armor proficiency, which usually have some other way to boost their AC.

There’s a middle ground between deoptimized and optimized. That middle ground is pretty broad, and characters in it are fine. If you don’t minimize your primary stat, at least use the equipment you bought in the class kit, and do the obvious things your class was designed to do; you should be fine.

We’re doing a one-shot this weekend where a bunch of the pre-gens only have 17 in their primary stat and took backgrounds for reasons other than synergy with their primary role. I think they will be fine, but I’ll post about it since we’re doing Winter’s Daughter (converted from OSE), and someone had asked I post my experience with it (though that was when I was planning to run it in OSE).
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
I’m not sure about the relative sizes of PF2 and Roll20, so you could instead feel embarassed for PF2. 😃
PF2 (other than the sheet) is paid content. That’s the really galling part of roll20’s support. You pay nearly full price for the books, and you can’t even drag and drop (most of?) the content into the character sheet from the compendium. The compendium itself is also just unformatted HTML. It’s an incredibly low effort product.
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
I'll also add that he is a big 5e D&D youtuber who approaches his channel very much as an important income stream and although he goes on at the beginning about all his good will for Paizo, he nevertheless has a bias towards sticking to the game system where the videos generate the most views. He may have frustrations with the system from it just not helping to promote his channel as much as he would like.
Has anyone responded yet in defense of Cody that he just had to run Age of Ashes as written because (reasons)? That’s what usually comes next in this discourse. It’s an effectively unassailable (self-inflicted) position — because anything one could do to address the problem is out of bounds. It also infantilizes the GM, who is just helpless to do anything to make the game actually fun for everyone.

After that comes something something PF2 something 5e, though Cody kind of already went there at the end.

I mean, that is one take on the video. You can dismiss what he says by suggesting nefarious intent or adding assumptions he never makes.

Or you could consider that he and the other people who have strongly criticized PF2, who often come from different gaming backgrounds and have different approaches to the game, are acting in good faith and have legitimate issues with the game.

It might also be better to do so without making snide comments against posters who have responded to this comment section.
 

dave2008

Legend
So, no, the claim that "many" made claims that were "wrong" isn't true. I clearly see why 4E failed as a commercial product, even though it featured fantastically engaging skirmishes.
While I agree with most of your analysis, I think it is absolutely wrong that many claimed you could not roleplay in 4e. I'm not sure how you could dispute that (of course I couldn't understand it when people said it on the WotC boards as well). In case you misunderstood, that is what I was claiming was wrong, not anything to do with combats.
 

dave2008

Legend
Alchemists got light armor at the time, and now they can also wear medium armor. Shields don’t require (or have) proficiency, so anyone can Raise a Shield. The only classes that should start that low are casters without armor proficiency, which usually have some other way to boost their AC.

There’s a middle ground between deoptimized and optimized. That middle ground is pretty broad, and characters in it are fine. If you don’t minimize your primary stat, at least use the equipment you bought in the class kit, and do the obvious things your class was designed to do; you should be fine.

We’re doing a one-shot this weekend where a bunch of the pre-gens only have 17 in their primary stat and took backgrounds for reasons other than synergy with their primary role. I think they will be fine, but I’ll post about it since we’re doing Winter’s Daughter (converted from OSE), and someone had asked I post my experience with it (though that was when I was planning to run it in OSE).
I believe you, unfortunately that does nothing to mitigate me concerns. I just need to give it a try when this pandemic thing is mostly over.
 


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