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Pathfinder 2E Taking20's Illusion of Choice - Breaking it Down


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kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
I’ve just started watching it, but the opening feels like a shifting of the goalposts by saying critics did not offer any kind of mechanics-based response to the first video. The original video said the problem happens in both PF2 and 5e, so it’s not clear how a discussion of PF2’s mechanics would be relevant. It could be a structural fault with D&D-likes, but it could also be something that happens with certain styles of play regardless of system.
 

willrali

Explorer
It's more of the same: he's unhappy that the system offers too few mechanically optimal paths, and in a game that requires optimal play--I personally disagree but I'll yield that point--that gets boring. I mean, sure, okay.

What baffles me is he's going all in on 5e to get less sameyness? Really? Or is it that he's only slightly sour on sameyness, but if he's getting sameyness then he wants less complexity?

Anyway, I'm McShruggin about this whole thing.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
I’m only about 10 minutes in, but he’s dialed in on combat rotations. I singled them out recently in another thread here. I wouldn’t call them an illusion of choice, but I don’t like the effect they have on combat either.

Some of the newer classes are more egregious than the ranger example. The swashbuckler is all about generating panache. The magus in the Secrets of Magic playtest needed a certain sequence of actions to set up Striking Spell. Monks flurry, barbarians rage, etc.

I think his reasoning for going with 5e is if the combat is going to be samey either way, why put up with the extra complexity of PF2? That’s understandable. I’m looking at switching away for similar (but different) reasons.
 

!DWolf

Explorer
I wasn’t going to post this because I have said it all before but:

Being a GM is like being a craftsman in that you have a set of tools which you use to build adventures/ sessions. There are a lot of different tools but one of the first ones that most D20 fantasy style GMs learn is the “monster leaps out of the brush/darkness, moves up, and melee attacks until dead” and it’s not necessarily a bad tool, it certainly has its uses, but it’s very common and almost every player knows exactly how to deal with it.

What is happening here is that Cody either has a very limited selection of tools such that he has to repeatedly rely on the same tool for every fight or when he read the AP he assumed that every encounter had to use his favorite/most familiar tool, ignored everything that contradicted that, and attempted to run the game using nothing but that tool – to predictably poor results.

Now I haven’t watched the second video (and I’m not going to since I have better things to spend my time and data on) but I’m betting he is going to bring up a couple encounter examples using his favorite tool and then try to illustrate how one combat routine is clearly ‘optimal’ (the sequence won’t actually be ‘optimal’ and have some flaws that people on the forums will point out if they haven’t lost interest already, but that’s beside the point). What he won’t do is bring out six different tools (say hit-and-fade, a deathtrap, combatants mixed with non-combatants, sentry removal/raid, the classic monster burst out of the brush, and attacking prepared defenses as examples) and give examples showing how the same sequence is optimal for all of them even though that would support his argument while a certain sequence being optimal in a certain situation will not (unless of course that is the only situation the players will ever encounter – which for a good GM it won’t be).

Because of the way pathfinder 2e works characters tend to get a broader range of actions as they progress. This makes it a fantastic system for GMs who like to mix up their tools as you will be less likely to find those “I’m completely useless in this situation” moments (which is incidentally why some GMs rely so heavily on the ‘monster burst out of … and melee attacks until dead’ tool because players almost always have an option they can use in that situation and the GMs feel bad when they create situations in which characters can do nothing).

BTW: if any of you do have the ‘optimal’ build/sequence/routine for all situations for a class please post it! I’m doing sanity checks on a bunch of boss battles and death traps and would love some ‘optimized’ test characters to balance them against.
 

MockingBird

Explorer
I feel like a lot of PF2e fans took his video the wrong way. Ive seen so many "response" videos. I never once got the feeling he was attacking PF2e but simply giving his own criticisms. His critics are fair in my opinion. Some people like complicated systems and some don't and that's okay.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
I wasn’t going to post this because I have said it all before but:

Being a GM is like being a craftsman in that you have a set of tools which you use to build adventures/ sessions. There are a lot of different tools but one of the first ones that most D20 fantasy style GMs learn is the “monster leaps out of the brush/darkness, moves up, and melee attacks until dead” and it’s not necessarily a bad tool, it certainly has its uses, but it’s very common and almost every player knows exactly how to deal with it.

What is happening here is that Cody either has a very limited selection of tools such that he has to repeatedly rely on the same tool for every fight or when he read the AP he assumed that every encounter had to use his favorite/most familiar tool, ignored everything that contradicted that, and attempted to run the game using nothing but that tool – to predictably poor results.

Now I haven’t watched the second video (and I’m not going to since I have better things to spend my time and data on) but I’m betting he is going to bring up a couple encounter examples using his favorite tool and then try to illustrate how one combat routine is clearly ‘optimal’ (the sequence won’t actually be ‘optimal’ and have some flaws that people on the forums will point out if they haven’t lost interest already, but that’s beside the point). What he won’t do is bring out six different tools (say hit-and-fade, a deathtrap, combatants mixed with non-combatants, sentry removal/raid, the classic monster burst out of the brush, and attacking prepared defenses as examples) and give examples showing how the same sequence is optimal for all of them even though that would support his argument while a certain sequence being optimal in a certain situation will not (unless of course that is the only situation the players will ever encounter – which for a good GM it won’t be).

Because of the way pathfinder 2e works characters tend to get a broader range of actions as they progress. This makes it a fantastic system for GMs who like to mix up their tools as you will be less likely to find those “I’m completely useless in this situation” moments (which is incidentally why some GMs rely so heavily on the ‘monster burst out of … and melee attacks until dead’ tool because players almost always have an option they can use in that situation and the GMs feel bad when they create situations in which characters can do nothing).

BTW: if any of you do have the ‘optimal’ build/sequence/routine for all situations for a class please post it! I’m doing sanity checks on a bunch of boss battles and death traps and would love some ‘optimized’ test characters to balance them against.
The second video is worth watching. He addresses the points you make regarding the kinds of encounters he’s doing, and clarifies what he means by “optimal”. He says he’s not talking about maximizing DPR or min-maxing in general. He’s talking about how classes are designed to encourage you to take a certain sequence of actions, and how those tend to be the right thing to do in most situations.

The example he gives is the ranger. A ranger at the start of almost any combat wants to Hunt Prey. It sets up all your other ranger-y things. After that, you attack. A flurry ranger will make tons of Strikes because that is what a flurry ranger is designed to do. A bow ranger will Hunt Prey and do bow stuff. If you took the gravity weapon focus spell in the APG, you’ll do that but then you’ll Hunt Prey. Other classes are the same way. A swashbuckler wants to generate panache before buckling swashes. Investigators will Devise a Stratagem. It’s just their idiom.

He also includes a 5e example. Your ranger in 5e is basically going to do the same thing. Though it has a few more options due to the way PF2 combat is designed generally, he doesn’t really hold that against PF2. You could probably construct a similar example between PF2 and 3e. I don’t know, but you might even be able to get AD&D into the mix. It’s just a natural issue with systems that give classes obvious things to do, which is that players will tend to do the obvious thing (because it’s obvious).

So if everything is basically the same between systems, why the issue? Skill actions. Skill actions impose a lot of cognitive load on the GM. There’s a lot to internalize. I’ve complained about them quite a bit here lately in our complexity thread. Cody’s point is he doesn’t want to run that way. He doesn’t want skills broken down into little actions with various degrees of success. He says he could just not use them, but then he can also just use a system that doesn’t work that way in the first place, which is apparently what he’s inclined to do.

To be honest, that’s more or less my reasoning for pitching my group on OSE. Looking at how we actually play, and what I want out of a GMing experience, I could run PF2 and make it work, or I could run a system that better matches our style and what I want out of a system. I just need to convince them it’s not as lethal as they think it is (and if that fails, we’ll likely switch to 5e instead of sticking with PF2).
 

Retreater

Legend
Cody isn't wrong. (It's his opinion, after all. How could he be?) My experience with PF2 was sort of a straw breaking the camel's back moment for me. For the time being, I'm moving to OSR games (or stripped down 5e for those who must play that).
I just don't have the mental bandwidth for the discussions that arise from PF. The game focuses so much on the system that the mechanics are always in the way of the action. Those mechanics, to me, do not offer a better experience or more enjoyable game, though it requires significantly more prep time, fiddling with math, and slower resolution in and out of combat.
I'm not saying any PF2 fans are wrong - it's just not for me right now.
 

I feel like a lot of PF2e fans took his video the wrong way. Ive seen so many "response" videos. I never once got the feeling he was attacking PF2e but simply giving his own criticisms. His critics are fair in my opinion. Some people like complicated systems and some don't and that's okay.

I mean, when he made his diplomacy shot, I feel like that came across as rather untrue. But that's just me.

The second video is worth watching. He addresses the points you make regarding the kinds of encounters he’s doing, and clarifies what he means by “optimal”. He says he’s not talking about maximizing DPR or min-maxing in general. He’s talking about how classes are designed to encourage you to take a certain sequence of actions, and how those tend to be the right thing to do in most situations.

The example he gives is the ranger. A ranger at the start of almost any combat wants to Hunt Prey. It sets up all your other ranger-y things. After that, you attack. A flurry ranger will make tons of Strikes because that is what a flurry ranger is designed to do. A bow ranger will Hunt Prey and do bow stuff. If you took the gravity weapon focus spell in the APG, you’ll do that but then you’ll Hunt Prey. Other classes are the same way. A swashbuckler wants to generate panache before buckling swashes. Investigators will Devise a Stratagem. It’s just their idiom.

He also includes a 5e example. Your ranger in 5e is basically going to do the same thing. Though it has a few more options due to the way PF2 combat is designed generally, he doesn’t really hold that against PF2. You could probably construct a similar example between PF2 and 3e. I don’t know, but you might even be able to get AD&D into the mix. It’s just a natural issue with systems that give classes obvious things to do, which is that players will tend to do the obvious thing (because it’s obvious).

Ah God, you got me to watch this, or at least move through it quickly. And I'm going to disagree hard here, because his example really isn't that great

First off, the grapple/trip stuff is egregious. In PF2, you don't need to grapple the dude on the second one because it's unnecessary for the situation: he's already flat-footed and at a penalty to attack. Trip him and hit him: you'll have a MAP, but if you have an agile weapon it'll be only a -2 to hit with being flatfooted. Grappling isn't necessary.

"But he'll get up and make all that hard work useless compared to a regular attack!"

Then let him. No matter the turn order, the Fighter will get his attacks in, because in getting up he'll trigger an Attack of Opportunity. That means the fighter will get to whap him at least once, and he's way more likely to hit than the Ranger. If the order of initiative is for the Fighter next, you've also increased his critical range, which is even better! Dude probably has Runes of Striking on his sword and will completely annihilate that thing with more of a critical chance.

Meanwhile the 5E play isn't bad, but it's way more situational: you don't have to grapple necessarily (if you can get in an attack in 5E, you take the attack), but it's much more likely to need to because (unless the fighter has the Sentinel feat) if the wight is up next he doesn't trigger an AoO on standing. And that's the thing: it's got a lot more risk with less upside than PF2: while you are less likely to get hit, advantage on attacks means less because, well, Wights only have an AC of 14. You're not getting a huge expanded critical range, you're just getting a second chance at a possible critical. That's fine... but it's kind of lame.

Also worth noting, you have to be at 5th level to do that with the 5E character because otherwise they could only do one of those anyways, and grapple is basically close to useless on its own (and I say this as a guy who plays a 5E 6 Shadow Monk/1 Rogue Dragonborn submission artist).

But the problem here is that it's just very... bland whiteboxing. The Ranger is optimized for archery... well, okay, what are his skill feats? Does he have anything else to look at? Like, you can actually do things with other skills in combat for, and ignoring that part of PF2 kind of misses the point: there's a whole bunch of extra stuff you can do (stuff which adds crunch, but it's there). With the 5E ranger, well... there's just not much more there. There's just not much more off the page for that character.

So if everything is basically the same between systems, why the issue? Skill actions. Skill actions impose a lot of cognitive load on the GM. There’s a lot to internalize. I’ve complained about them quite a bit here lately in our complexity thread. Cody’s point is he doesn’t want to run that way. He doesn’t want skills broken down into little actions with various degrees of success. He says he could just not use them, but then he can also just use a system that doesn’t work that way in the first place, which is apparently what he’s inclined to do.

To be honest, that’s more or less my reasoning for pitching my group on OSE. Looking at how we actually play, and what I want out of a GMing experience, I could run PF2 and make it work, or I could run a system that better matches our style and what I want out of a system. I just need to convince them it’s not as lethal as they think it is (and if that fails, we’ll likely switch to 5e instead of sticking with PF2).

Cody isn't wrong. (It's his opinion, after all. How could he be?) My experience with PF2 was sort of a straw breaking the camel's back moment for me. For the time being, I'm moving to OSR games (or stripped down 5e for those who must play that).
I just don't have the mental bandwidth for the discussions that arise from PF. The game focuses so much on the system that the mechanics are always in the way of the action. Those mechanics, to me, do not offer a better experience or more enjoyable game, though it requires significantly more prep time, fiddling with math, and slower resolution in and out of combat.
I'm not saying any PF2 fans are wrong - it's just not for me right now.

If this were the argument he made from the beginning (and in less of a kind of dickish comment from the first one), I'd honestly care less. I didn't really care about the Puffin one (except maybe for the "calculating your to-hit thing", which was kind of eye-rolly), but if was just "I want a more freeform game and I honestly don't get much out of it", I wouldn't have anything to say about it. But that's not how he made it out to be.
 

Benjamin Olson

Adventurer
What baffles me is he's going all in on 5e to get less sameyness? Really? Or is it that he's only slightly sour on sameyness, but if he's getting sameyness then he wants less complexity?

As I mentioned on the other thread about this, the guy runs what is, primarily, a 5e youtube channel and does it as an income stream. He is not realistically going to escape 5e, as talking 5e while maintaining fairly strong system mastry is what butters his bread. Pathfinder 2, for him, is going to be held to a different standard as it is a game he has a lot more leeway to choose to engage with or not based on taste and which he hasn't already invested so much time in.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I think his reasoning for going with 5e is if the combat is going to be samey either way, why put up with the extra complexity of PF2? That’s understandable.

That's what it comes off as to me. And even though PF2e fans say that you can make characters with many options in combat: 1} players can easily walk into "samey" combat characters and 2) I aint a fan of putting more work on a GM to keep thinking up stuff to spice up combat all the time.

So if players aren't going to be nudged into widening their character's combat options and the GM isn't going to picking up the slack, I can get someone taking a personal preference to nudge themselve in the direction of one system or another. Same thing as someone going from 5e to PF2e because it has options to widen characters in combat and put more focus/power on party comp.
 

That's what it comes off as to me. And even though PF2e fans say that you can make characters with many options in combat: 1} players can easily walk into "samey" combat characters and 2) I aint a fan of putting more work on a GM to keep thinking up stuff to spice up combat all the time.

So if players aren't going to be nudged into widening their character's combat options and the GM isn't going to picking up the slack, I can get someone taking a personal preference to nudge themselve in the direction of one system or another. Same thing as someone going from 5e to PF2e because it has options to widen characters in combat and put more focus/power on party comp.

So... In trying to come up with more accurate ideas of a generic PF2 character I went to the iconics (Harsk and Valeros) to get an idea of what you can do. And honestly, they are way more non-optimized than I expected.

For example, Harsk has Crossbow Ace, but he also has Flurry as his Hunter's Edge. Those don't synergize, but they help him be able to do what he wants at range and up close: He can hit with the crossbow at range, then drop it and quickdraw his axe to murder stuff up close. And he's actually kind of amazing at the whole "Trip/Attack" thing: A wight only has a Reflex DC of 16. His Athletics Bonus is +13. Even if you decrease it by a skill rank and tone his strength down to 16, he'd still be at +10 for Athletics, which means that stuff like Tripping is actually really strong.

(I honestly kind of want to do a follow up on the options if it were Harsk with a bow, tbh, because I think it'd be interesting.)

Meanwhile, Valeros is kind of a grab-bag generalist: Aggressive BLock, Double Slice, Powerful Shove, and Reactive Shield, along with the infamous COMBAT CLIMBER, Powerful Leap, and Toughness. Also Assurance (Athletics), which Harsk also had. But you have some shove stuff along with a dual-weapon attack for a dude who isn't outfitted with a second weapon in his equipment (though you can see the dagger in his portrait). So Valeros is similarly versatile: He can push around most opponents, can wield a shield and even use two weapons as needed. He can also Reactive Shield as necessary if he wants to get a little bit more out of his action economy.

Like, neither are meticulously optimized, and it's interesting that they are the iconics in that sense.

Edit: I just realized that Harsk and Valeros, in having Assurance, can literally shove these guys to the ground with no risk of failure. Huh.
 
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I have a bias because I am a PF2 GM but I love the system. Combat in any system can get boring if the GM doesn't let players use creative actions but it is by no means a illusion of choice system. The fact that classes can have a somewhat locked in set of action is prevalent in almost all RPGs. I think once PF2 gets some more options books you will see the classes having alot more options in the action economy. I like the crunch and 5e is way too simple for my group but I totally understand why some people want simplified combat. His one comment on a diplomacy action called " Make an Impression" really irked me because I think Paizo is going the right direction by tying in some actions to relevant skills and having them make an actual effect mathwise on the system. When my players spend some time talking to a NPC and roll this check to improve relations with them it not only makes their Charisma based skill useful but gives them an option that is gratifying for them and gives some of the more non-combat things like Charisma based skills relevant. I've never had a player just say " I want to roll a Diplomacy check to make an impression", it always ties in to an actual RP scenario where they've talked to an NPC. I respect Cody's opinion but I strongly disagree with almost all of the points he makes. To each their own though, best of luck to him. The major thing is that this is a game and the point of the game should always be to have fun.
 

!DWolf

Explorer
Let me clarify my argument:

Suppose that instead of a monster that runs up to melee and attacks it instead flies up, attacks (and gets to move the target on a critical success), and then flys away. And the entire battlefield is difficult terrain with lots of obstacles that block line of effect and it ends each turn behind one. And In that difficult terrain are hidden monsters attached to hazards that won’t attack unless you trigger the hazard (spiders with webs the spiders have greater cover unless they attack). Is the optimal action for the ranger and swashbuckler the same in this situation?

Or suppose that a room is filling with water, two portcullis have sealed the exits, and shadows are below the water tearing off the characters shadows to multiply in number. Is the optimal action for the ranger and swashbuckler the same in that situation?

Or suppose you are sneaking up on an enemy camp to assassinate the general. You need to take out a series of pickets as sneakily as possible. Are optimal actions for that situation the exact same as in the previous ones or are you tempted to take other actions (such as readying a bow shot or using the sneak action?)

Now suppose you got to the general, killed him but alerted the camp. At the beginning of each round the gm rolls a d6 and adds the round number and that’s how many enemy soldiers show up. Are the same optimal actions valid in this case as well?
I have hundreds of these scenarios. Is there an optimal turn routine that you can use in literally all of them? The majority of them? Because I haven’t found one. Sure the bow ranger wants to hunt prey and fire their bow, the swashbuckler wants to gain panache and use finishers, the melee fighter wants to make melee attacks, and the sorcerer wants to cast spells. But the repetitive ‘optimal’ techniques are not the product of the classes but of the GM throwing the same situation at the characters over and over and the players adapting their characters and play styles to that. Variety is the spice of life and all that.
(Note that I am not arguing with you Kenada this is a wordy restatement of my opinion on ‘optimal’ routines)

Now to gush about pf2e:

I have found pf2e to be one of the easiest and fastest fantasy systems to construct a wide variety of scenarios in. In pf1 I have to fight the mechanics hard to have both an interesting scenario and something all the players can participate in. I never even tried to gm 5e because after playing it I realized that I would have to do all of the lifting. Eclipse Phase and Mage: the Awakening were fantastic for mysteries but I had to prep ten to twenty hours each session due to the power of the characters (an Eclipse Phase character starts as an immortal SEAL team member who is also an expert racecar driver and free runner with four phds; Mages are basically gods). Shadowrun 2e and 3e were alright but it’s fairly hard to come up with novel runs after a while and the heavy planning emphasis... I’m going to stop before I list out the flaws with shadowrun as much as I still love the older editions. The thing is with pathfinder 2e is the system provides support (as in a mechanical foundation) for a wide variety of challenges. To further my earlier analogy: pf2e lets me easily build a massive toolbox of techniques and scenarios and because there is no ‘optimum’ routine that works for every tool, I can keep my players engaged and interested by switching the tools used to build each encounter. And because of the way builds work in pf2e, with them generally building out instead of up, players get to have characters that can effectively engage in a wide variety of scenarios (a major problem I have with pf1).

P.S. I downloaded the audio and listened to it. Don’t. It’s basically him feeling attacked and trying to prove himself right in his opinions by white rooming to show that dnd 5e is objectively the superior game. I basically predicted what he would do exactly: he gives four different monsters in three different environments (a chimera in a mountain pass, mimic in a room, ghouls and ghast somewhere, and some wights that he goes into detail with) and then proceeded to say that the ranger will take the same action in all the situations (maybe with movement) because the system encourages it. But here’s the thing: He hasn’t presented four different scenarios, he’s presented four different variations of one scenario - straight up combat where the monster appears and attacks until dead and hoped that no one noticed this. Now these can be changed to different scenarios. For example: there is high wind in the mountain interfering with ranged attacks, the terrain is difficult so the PCs are slower, and the chimera instead of just attacking performs a fighting retreat after an initial strafe. That is it attacks then uses its superior mobility to retreat to a totally protected location which is over some obstacles and maybe even some hazards like scree or a rickety bridge and it repeats this as necessary until it is sure it can get the kill. But notice that as soon as you actually change the scenario the rangers ‘optimal’ action stops being so optimal (or ‘obvious’ since he’s trying to walk back a little).
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The fact that classes can have a somewhat locked in set of action is prevalent in almost all RPGs. I think once PF2 gets some more options books you will see the classes having alot more options in the action economy.

It wont.
The key issue game like Pathfinder, D&D, and other games of the style is that they usually focus on a single combat action and build on top of it in one direction. Pathfinder allows you to bridge into multiple direction at once but it doesn't force you to nor encourage you to. And you don't have to be a genius to think giving your bow guy more bow stuff might be a good idea. I don't even count that as powergaming. And that's how the game can get samey by pure accident. And a lot of games hide it with resource management involving itself in the decision making.

This is unlike something like Pokemon. Pokemon hints to kids that their water pokemon shouldn't have all water attacks The system encourages little kids to branch out or have back up plans. Sure your water attack is the strongest but there is the ice attack that will get use often and other aspects one might care about.

If you allow people to overspecialize and not really be punished for it, they will overspecialize and eventually hit critical mass.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
Let me clarify my argument:

Suppose that instead of a monster that runs up to melee and attacks it instead flies up, attacks (and gets to move the target on a critical success), and then flys away. And the entire battlefield is difficult terrain with lots of obstacles that block line of effect and it ends each turn behind one. And In that difficult terrain are hidden monsters attached to hazards that won’t attack unless you trigger the hazard (spiders with webs the spiders have greater cover unless they attack). Is the optimal action for the ranger and swashbuckler the same in this situation?

Or suppose that a room is filling with water, two portcullis have sealed the exits, and shadows are below the water tearing off the characters shadows to multiply in number. Is the optimal action for the ranger and swashbuckler the same in that situation?

Or suppose you are sneaking up on an enemy camp to assassinate the general. You need to take out a series of pickets as sneakily as possible. Are optimal actions for that situation the exact same as in the previous ones or are you tempted to take other actions (such as readying a bow shot or using the sneak action?)

Now suppose you got to the general, killed him but alerted the camp. At the beginning of each round the gm rolls a d6 and adds the round number and that’s how many enemy soldiers show up. Are the same optimal actions valid in this case as well?
I have hundreds of these scenarios. Is there an optimal turn routine that you can use in literally all of them? The majority of them? Because I haven’t found one. Sure the bow ranger wants to hunt prey and fire their bow, the swashbuckler wants to gain panache and use finishers, the melee fighter wants to make melee attacks, and the sorcerer wants to cast spells. But the repetitive ‘optimal’ techniques are not the product of the classes but of the GM throwing the same situation at the characters over and over and the players adapting their characters and play styles to that. Variety is the spice of life and all that.
(Note that I am not arguing with you Kenada this is a wordy restatement of my opinion on ‘optimal’ routines)
No worries. Based on my understanding of the video’s argument, I’d say the answer is “yes”. However, it’s using an idiosyncratic definition of “optimal”. It’s not talking about maximizing performance or tactics. It’s just that classes have a characteristic thing they do, which is more or less D&D in a nutshell.

P.S. I downloaded the audio and listened to it. Don’t. It’s basically him feeling attacked and trying to prove himself right in his opinions by white rooming to show that dnd 5e is objectively the superior game. I basically predicted what he would do exactly: he gives four different monsters in three different environments (a chimera in a mountain pass, mimic in a room, ghouls and ghast somewhere, and some wights that he goes into detail with) and then proceeded to say that the ranger will take the same action in all the situations (maybe with movement) because the system encourages it. But here’s the thing: He hasn’t presented four different scenarios, he’s presented four different variations of one scenario - straight up combat where the monster appears and attacks until dead and hoped that no one noticed this. Now these can be changed to different scenarios. For example: there is high wind in the mountain interfering with ranged attacks, the terrain is difficult so the PCs are slower, and the chimera instead of just attacking performs a fighting retreat after an initial strafe. That is it attacks then uses its superior mobility to retreat to a totally protected location which is over some obstacles and maybe even some hazards like scree or a rickety bridge and it repeats this as necessary until it is sure it can get the kill. But notice that as soon as you actually change the scenario the rangers ‘optimal’ action stops being so optimal (or ‘obvious’ since he’s trying to walk back a little).
The examples were a bit skewed, but they felt like a red herring. I’m not going to take the bait and nitpick them. Cody bounced off PF2 for other reasons, and he didn’t feel like combat did enough to differentiate PF2 from other games for him. Okay. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

@kenada

I'm not completely disagreeing with you, since some classes are definitely built to have go-to rotations (e.g. ranger wants to designate a target because Hunter's Edge and other riders) and I can see how that might feel like a constraint in some ways (worth noting the ranger won't do it every turn, unless they're always preying on something that dies the same round). But I have a few points to make on it, they aren't against you, but your post from earlier is a useful springboard.

1. Some of this comes down to a very interesting bit of design philosophy, which is that its the role of class in these class-based but otherwise customization heavy, granular games. In what ways should all (most? class archetypes are coming eventually I guess) members of a class be similar to each other from a game play perspective? One of the standout elements of when I saw Hunt Prey in the first place, was that to me, it really strongly conveyed this idea of rewarding the player for designating a single target and then taking it down-- Hunter's Edge bonuses are all really strong so the player is dissuaded from casually switching targets. In my mind this, I-have-my-target flavor makes rangers stand out in game play from Rogues and Fighters built to seem like Rangers.

From there, you still have lots of choices in combat with your other actions, and until that target dies, your action economy is free to do whatever with, occasionally that means switching every turn, other times it means never switching it after the first turn of a five round combat. You also customize the benefits you get for doing so. Pathfinder 2e generally threads this needle well, certain elements are very constrained by class identity, while most other things are super free to do differently from members of other classes.

The strength of Hunt Prey's flavor (and mechanics, hunter's edge is stroooong) is a big part of why I'm using it in a shadow dancing ninja build-- its so perfect to have this moment where I pick an enemy to die, move in, and unload on them.

2. Its actually kind of funny he chose ranger, when most classes don't have the same constraint of "I want to use this one action every turn" Rogues certainly don't, Fighter's certainly don't, Barbarians kinda do with Rage, but in addition to ways to game it (wounded rage was my barbarian's favorite), they chiefly only do that once per combat, Champions don't (but you'll use your reaction all the time.) Spellcasters do, but their variety is in the spellcasting itself, not in the cast a spell action. Swashbucklers have something similar, but again, there are ways to game it, and multiple ways to gain panache.

3. I've found archetypes, and build paths, mess with this a lot by giving actions your class doesn't normally have access to, though it may or may not change the impact of your class mechanics.
 

kenada

Adventurer
Supporter
@kenada

I'm not completely disagreeing with you, since some classes are definitely built to have go-to rotations (e.g. ranger wants to designate a target because Hunter's Edge and other riders) and I can see how that might feel like a constraint in some ways (worth noting the ranger won't do it every turn, unless they're always preying on something that dies the same round). But I have a few points to make on it, they aren't against you, but your post from earlier is a useful springboard.
No worries. While we’re probably switching to another system, “classes doing class things” isn’t an issue I have with PF2.

2. Its actually kind of funny he chose ranger, when most classes don't have the same constraint of "I want to use this one action every turn" Rogues certainly don't, Fighter's certainly don't, Barbarians kinda do with Rage, but in addition to ways to game it (wounded rage was my barbarian's favorite), they chiefly only do that once per combat, Champions don't (but you'll use your reaction all the time.) Spellcasters do, but their variety is in the spellcasting itself, not in the cast a spell action. Swashbucklers have something similar, but again, there are ways to game it, and multiple ways to gain panache.
I assume he chose ranger because the PF2 and 5e rangers have similar set ups. Given that you neither Hunt Prey not Hunter’s Mark every round (usually), he probably should have looked at more than just one round of combat. Moreover, he should have still used Hunt Prey even in a melee situation.

However, I still think all the theorycrafting is beside the point. I can’t imagine if the issues with combat disappeared that the other crunch problem will go away. It’s a fine rationalization I suppose.
 
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Rockyroad

Explorer
For perspective I am a 5e player and have no PF2 experience so take this with a grain of salt. The take away message I got from his video was that because of PF2 crunchiness and very robust feat system, this tends to player characters being over specialized which leads to characters being one trick ponies in combat whereas in 5e because it's less crunchy mechanically with less character customization, characters tend not to be as specialized which leads to more viable options in combat. Plus if both systems are kind of repetitive in combat, might as well go with the less complex system.
 

For perspective I am a 5e player and have no PF2 experience so take this with a grain of salt. The take away message I got from his video was that because of PF2 crunchiness and very robust feat system, this tends to player characters being over specialized which leads to characters being one trick ponies in combat whereas in 5e because it's less crunchy mechanically with less character customization, characters tend not to be as specialized which leads to more viable options in combat. Plus if both systems are kind of repetitive in combat, might as well go with the less complex system.
That's kinda the jist of it but I hate how this video gives the absolute worst examples and uses only basic combats with nothing else other than standard combatants. I respect his opinion but most PF2 people will disagree and have actual factual evidence to back up why he's wrong about certain things. TTRPG's are always going to have somewhat blander combat for people who play alot of videogames and are used to weapons and characters having dozens of modifiers.
 

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