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 Would Paizo Make a Better Steward for Our Hobby?

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Tequila Sunrise
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PostSubject: Would Paizo Make a Better Steward for Our Hobby?   Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:13 pm

When discussing the industry, it's fun to think about things that will never happen, like "What if Paizo owned D&D"?

Assuming that Paizo wrote a ruleset that you personally loved (a refined 4e, for example)...

...It's an appealing thought. Paizo seems to be a much better company than WotC, in every way I can think of. It doesn't have annual Xmas layoffs, it doesn't suck at PR, and I even heard that they keep boxes of kittens in the office for anyone who's having a bad day. ;)If Paizo was in charge of D&D (or PF, whatever), maybe we'd have another edition that broke the decade mark. Maybe we'd have less unwanted rules bloat, and more adventure and setting support instead. (Let's also assume that Paizo is supporting your favorite setting.)

But then again, who's to say that Paizo wouldn't become the next WotC after increasing its revenue stream and seeing the future generation of management? Like how VH1 became the next MTV, after going from MVs to reality garbage just like MTV did. When I see things like that happen, I have to suspect that there's an insidious underlying cause for the pattern. Who's to say that as a big company, there aren't underlying reasons for WotC's behavior other than bad decision-making and callousness?

EDIT: For the purpose of this thought experiment, feel free to interchange Paizo with your favorite non-WotC game company.

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PostSubject: Re: Would Paizo Make a Better Steward for Our Hobby?   Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:07 pm

Not sure how others would respond but for my blood they exhibit insufficient creativity in system design arenas and lack of willingness to experiment. Ie this element "Assuming that Paizo wrote a ruleset that you personally loved (a refined 4e, for example)..." seems contrary to their mindset.

I think WOTC has exhibited poor behavior towards there own employees if nothing more... but in terms of key elements "for the industry" I am less certain.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: Would Paizo Make a Better Steward for Our Hobby?   Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:45 pm

Garthanos wrote:
Not sure how others would respond but for my blood they exhibit insufficient creativity in system design arenas and lack of willingness to experiment.  Ie this element "Assuming that Paizo wrote a ruleset that you personally loved (a refined 4e, for example)..."  seems contrary to their mindset.
Feel free to swap out JJ and his team for your design dream team. Or assume that the Paizo guys had a sudden change of heart, and now care about all 4e goals.

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PostSubject: Re: Would Paizo Make a Better Steward for Our Hobby?   Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:03 pm

For all the praises met by Paizo's Pathfinder, the most innovation I've seen so far with the system is... well, not much come to think of it. You can summarize Pathfinder as "the most popular homebrewed D&D 3.5E system in the market", where it stealthily incorporated various game elements of D&D 4E into the D&D 3.5E framework, but otherwise you still have the game-breaking classes, the "suck-now/awesome-later or awesome-now/suck-later" design of the Linear Fighters/Quadratic Wizards, and the various imbalances and SUPER SYSTEM MASTERY intricacies -- that persist even in D&D 4E (albeit to a less obscene degree IMHO) -- of D&D 3.5E... and that's in spite of the modifications Paizo has made to the system.

But frankly, given the volatility of the D&D brand and the expectations of the fans of D&D 4E specifically, I'm not exactly sure if anyone is able to live up to the task of handling the D&D 4E franchise.
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PostSubject: Re: Would Paizo Make a Better Steward for Our Hobby?   Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:45 am

4e fans expectations? respecting the design of 4e, and continued creative exploration of the game guided by both it's philosophy and goals. Way too extremist never happen.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: Would Paizo Make a Better Steward for Our Hobby?   Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:12 am

What Paizo does right is what WotC does right. Awesome looking books with tons of top quality fantasy illustration, layout, and design. Plus a minis line. And monthly maps and adventures via subscription. They did make 3e a bit better, rules-wise too.

If they published a Pathfinder 2; a.k.a. 4.7e, with the same level of product polish and the same 'if it ain't broke, don't change it' attitude they applied to 3.5 (and its fans)...I'd be into it.

What I'd hope they'd do, is another idea...That they could get right. (And they have the benefit of hindsight.)
just off the top of my head:

-Publish 'Pathfinder 2' MMs like the monster vaults, but with a hard cover book as well as the nice tokens. Include monster-making/modifying rules.
-Publish the 3 PHBs as one, fat book. Edit out feat bloat. And probably a lot of magic items.
-Publish a similarly large fat book as a DMG. Organize the book by the 3 tiers. Condense all sorts of environment effects, magic items, traps, dungeon dressings, skill challenge stuff, etc. from all their varied 4e sources into it. This DMG also needs to aid in translating existing 4e WotC material to work with PF2's (slightly) changed ruleset. Definitely include the Dark Sun campaign guide's inherent bonus system. Also, have an appendix that's about the minor drafting skills you should know if you plan on making your own maps and interesting combat battle grids (TTRPG books have been leaving this out lately).
-Publish a book to work their campaign setting, and its uniqueness, into 4e's rules.
-Publish better power source books. (ie: Primal Power didn't add to the PHB3 primal class or race stuff.)
-Keep going with a line of minis and monthly maps, adventures, errata, etc.
-I'd love to see a card game that uses 4e rules as its basis...Like what Paizo has already done with pathfinder...
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PostSubject: Re: Would Paizo Make a Better Steward for Our Hobby?   Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:29 am

Personally I like Paizo as a company but I felt like Pathfinder was a lazy attempt to capture a distraught audience. Which, of course, worked.

Though I really don't think it's WotC's fault we are getting rushed games and never seeing any real improvement in grey areas. I honestly think it's because Hasbro. Hasbro has never really dealt with these types of games. RPGs aren't like Monopoly or Mr. Potato Head, there isn't a fresh new batch of kids to sell them to every year. RPGs fill a small niche in the hobbyist community. And unlike the people who buy the latest and greatest toy, RPG players typically have to be won over from their favored system which makes the potential profit even harder to earn at times. And since new editions and new Core Rulebooks bring in the most money (because they are the core of the game), Hasbro feels like when they are lacking in sales its time to make a new one. Because, face it, core books are the bread and butter, supplements don't typically sell terrifically (though some do). But, again, it's more than manufacturing some new toy that's exactly the same as the previous one. They must create a product the already small audience will be interested in. Which when Hasbro is pushing for a new product like they are the designers have to rush. Which means less play testing, less player input, and more gaps in the rules.

At least that's the way I see it.

(Sorry if this seems rushed/sloppy)

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PostSubject: Re: Would Paizo Make a Better Steward for Our Hobby?   Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:01 am

I don't think Paizo would be the best people to come in and save the day. They playtested the Core Rulebook and yet still had Day Zero errata they needed to produce (Paladin). Their original material (Gunslinger, Summoner) are broken as all buggery or underpowered significantly (Inquisitors are apparently really hard to build right), and they produce feat taxes (Barbarian's are essentially dead if they don't take Raging Vitality).

Basically all the problems I have with WotC (rules bloat, power creep, unbalanced material, not fixing the right stuff and/or introducing feat taxes) Paizo does. To start with there wasn't too much. However as time goes on they are creating more and more unbalanced material. When I played Pathfinder I did so with people who enjoyed optimising (they'd find the most broken stuff, ban it and then use something a bit less powerful), and they agree that Paizo is slipping in terms of quality. They're banning more and more material.

That said. "Better than WotC" is such a low bar that technically they could have all these flaws and also still be better. I do enjoy the adventures they produce and the fluff for their setting.
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