I don't play Pathfinder RPG, but I'm a proponent of Paizo, and a supporter of their pre-painted miniatures line. I've been purchasing a case of each of Paizo's pre-painted miniatures sets since they were first released.
By my calculation, only 70-75% of Paizo's pre-painted miniatures will see play at my table: many Pathfinder pre-painted miniatures are entirely unsuitable for my games, being too specific to Paizo's adventure paths. A few other miniatures have been re-purposed to represent similar, non-Pathfinder creatures. To wit, my personal suitability evaluation of each set:
Heroes + Monsters: 31/41 = 76%
Rise Runelords: 48/65 = 74%
Shattered Star: 43/55 = 78%
Skulls + Shackles 39/55 = 71%
Legends Golarion 40/55 = 73%
Wrath Righteous 41/55 = 75%
Nevertheless, the variety of figures in each Pathfinder set has, heretofore, been sufficiently broad to ensure I get very few figures I don't want, while getting more figures that I do want.
That changed during mid-reveal of their newest, Reign of Winter set. See an excerpt of Paizo's announcement, below:
"Number of Figures Per Set
Starting with Reign of Winter, Pathfinder Battles sets will go [from 54] to 44 figures plus the Gargantuan case incentive figure. This reduction in number of figures per set is designed to help WizKids get its costs in line, and also comes with the added benefit of providing more common and uncommon figures to folks who buy their miniatures by the case (something a lot of customers have been asking for). The number of figures in a case, brick, or booster does not change, just the composition of the set in terms of total sculpts.
A case should still contain a full set (as always in the case of a collated product we can't guarantee this, but it's certainly the goal). Below is the model rarity breakdown for a case:
28 large uncommons,
4 large rares.
Here is the figure breakdown for the Reign of Winter set:
7 common (Small),
6 common (Medium),
11 uncommon (Medium),
8 uncommon (Large),
8 rare (Medium), and
4 rare (Large).
The total number of figures per case and the overall price of the case will not change. The specific figure size breakdowns will differ slightly from set to set, but the model rarity breakdown should be stable from release to release."
This reduction, in the number of unique figures, results in 5 fewer rare miniatures, 3 fewer uncommons, and 2 fewer commons, with a corresponding increase in the number of duplicate common and uncommon figures.
I see this reduction as both a bad business decision and a poorly timed one. Wizards of the Coast and Wizkids have already announced the introduction of a new line of Dungeons and Dragons miniatures, slated for a summer 2014 release. Fooling around with Paizo's miniatures format so close to the entry of Wizards of the Coast into the pre-painted miniatures market seems defensive and suggests financial trouble at Paizo. And if Paizo really wants to satisfy customer demands for more commons, they should be costing them properly on their website, since they do offer individual miniatures for sale on-line.
So I don't buy Paizo's spin that customers are asking for more commons and uncommons in case-lots. And suggesting that customer demand is reason for this change is too much. If Paizo's margins are getting squeezed, they should be raising their wholesale prices to on-line retailers (who are undercutting Paizo's website prices) or raising retail prices, not reducing the quality and quantity of their miniatures line.
With Reign of Winter, this will be the first time, since the launch of the Paizo pre-painted miniatures line (and may not be the last) that I take a pass on purchasing a complete case, or any individual miniatures for that matter.
Here's hoping that Paizo reconsiders their decision and provides a better quality product with future releases.