One of the axiomatic truths of the Dungeons & Dragons “edition wars” is that 3.5/Pathfinder is the “system mastery” edition. Between the Open Gaming License opening the system to third party content and Wizards of the Coast’s business strategy around monthly releases of splatbooks, the 3rd and 3.5 Editions of the game quickly bloated with options for classes, prestige classes, feats, and spells. Paizo Publishing’s Pathfinder rebooted D&D 3.5 and fixed a number of issues with the system, particularly the resulting class imbalance, but it still embraced the variety of character options.
Yesterday, Paizo announced its new organized play campaign, Pathfinder Society Core Campaign. Amongst other differences from the existing Pathfinder Society campaign, this campaign will limit the character options to the Pathfinder Core Book and two small, free supplements. Paizo cites that one of the shortcomings of its existing Pathfinder Society campaign is “new players being overwhelmed or overshadowed by over-optimized characters.”
Catering to new players? Over-optimized? Don’t look now, but there’s a battle a-brewin’ between Wizards and Paizo.