But your first consideration should be what type of character you want to play. You will want one that suits your playstyle, but isn't completely gimped. My goal with this post will be to help make sure you have a plan before you start your build. Even though you can probably just assign AP at random and still make a viable (at least for PvE) build, you probably want your character to be the best that he or she can be, right? Now, I am not a character-building expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I have some experience with it. After the cut, I'll give you the tools and knowledge you need to build a solid PvE or PvP character. You will need to make the tough decisions yourself.
There are two things you should do before dumping AP into your character in the game. The first thing you should do is use the Fallen Earth Character Planner. This utility, which was created by community members Kodan, Psychic and Toecutter, is indispensable. The second thing you should do is mess around on the Public Test Server. You will be able to try all of this stuff out and respec as often as you like. If you aren't sure what you want to do, experiment a little before you decide.
Crafter or not?
Your first decision should be whether or not the character will be a crafter. A single character in Fallen Earth can master every craft, so most people roll a dedicated crafter alt. If you absolutely must have only one character, that character should be a crafter. Crafting is a large part of the Fallen Earth experience and should be a necessary part of at least one of your builds. Making your character a crafter is a simple matter: just max out your Intelligence and Perception. Tradeskills are raised through use and these two stats will move the tradeskill cap to its highest level.
Choose your weapon
There are three types of weapons in Fallen Earth: melee weapons, rifles and pistols. All three weapon types are solid choices for PvE, but for PvP it's a little more complex. Let's look at PvE first. The mobs in Fallen Earth (as in nearly every MMO) aren't the brightest bunch and are very easy to pick off with a rifle at any range. Dual pistols cut them to ribbons with a quickness. And melee weapons clobber them readily without using any ammunition. All three types of weapons are a lot of fun to employ and are effective in the PvE realm. If you are a thrifty wastelander, you may want to employ melee weapons for their low cost. If you have decided to make a crafter, your Perception is already maxed, and it is one of the attributes used to determine your Rifle and Pistol skills. On the other hand, if you use melee weapons, you will have to improve your Strength, allowing you to carry more weight; this will also grant you more health and stamina. It all boils down to your personal playstyle, and which weapons you prefer to use. You will start out with a few weapons of each type. Try them all before you decide.
PvP is a different ball game, because combat against another player is far less predictable. Players, unlike the mobs, move in a manner that makes them harder to hit. They do unexpected things and are a lot tougher to outwit. They also tend to maximize their builds and specialize in one or two things rather than trying to be a jack-of-all-trades. Making a hybrid weapon-user is ill-advised by most PvP veterans, as you should use AP to maximize only one weapon. Picking your weapon type should define the rest of your build, so this is probably your most important decision.
Always max out Dodge. No matter what. Armor Use is not a substitute. If you must skimp on one of the two defensive skills, choose Armor Use.
Which faction suits you?
Choosing a faction seems like it would be a fairly straightforward endeavor, but I could write an entire article on choosing factions (and I just might one day). The six factions all have a preferred weapon type, but don't let this fool you; in some instances it is better to choose a faction that doesn't specialize in your chosen weapon. The faction weapon preferences are as follows:
So it would seem that Lightbearer would be a good choice for a melee-weapon user. It's not a bad choice, but Lightbearers actually make terrific riflemen. The reason is their allied (or so-called shoulder) factions. A Lightbearer can be allied to both the Enforcers and the Vistas which are both rifle-centric factions. This will give you access to all of the rifle skills. If you don't intend to min-max your build, don't be afraid to go crazy (I've seen quite a few C.H.O.T.A. riflemen lately) or select a faction whose ideals are like your own. Your faction choice will also determine which mutation lines will be available to you.
Lightbearers: Empathy, Telepathy and Telekinesis
Vistas: Primal and Sonic Influence
C.H.O.T.A.: Enhancement, Primal, Thermal Control and Patho-transmission
Travelers: Sonic Influence and Telepathy
Techs: Enhancement, Nano-manipulation and Thermal Control
For more on mutations, check out this post.
Flipping the wheel
If you find you can't decide on which mutations you like best, fear not. You can "flip the wheel." Flipping the wheel is an arduous process if done wrong, and a boring grind if done properly. Sure, it's not necessary to do this, but it does give you a good advantage over those who do not do it. First of all, it will unlock every mutation line. It will also give you a good deal of AP (especially if you flip Sectors 2 and 3). I won't go into detail about wheel-flipping in this post, because it would be an article unto itself.
Which skills would you like?
Each skill is an amalgamation of two Attributes. Willpower is important for mutations but not for any skills. The skills are broken down as follows:
Armor Use: 75% Endurance and 25% Coordination
Athletics: 50% Endurance and 50% Coordination
Dodge: 50% Coordination and 50% Perception
First Aid: 75% Intelligence and 25% Perception
Group Tactics: 75% Charisma and 25% Perception
Melee: 50% Strength and 50% Coordination
Pistol: 50% Dexterity and 50% Perception
Rifle: 50% Dexterity and 50% Perception
Social: 75% Charisma and 25% Perception
Tradeskills: 75% Intelligence and 25% Perception
Athletics will improve your stealth, Stamina regeneration and movement speed. Stealth is an opposed check which pits your Athletics skill against your opponent's Perception. I'm not sure about the specific formulae, but higher is better, and being in a crouched or prone stance helps. First Aid improves your Health regeneration rate, and determines the effectiveness of your medical abilities. Some Medicine consumables even have a First Aid requirement to use. Group Tactics has a versatile mix of abilities which are (obviously) best used to support a group. And the Social skill has a variety of buffs and debuffs, as well as improves your buying and selling rate with the NPC merchants.
A Capstone is a special skill or ability that can be learned when certain qualifications are met. Some builds rely heavily on incorporating Capstones into them. You should look carefully at all of these before deciding on your faction, as they are faction-specific. More information about Capstones can be found on the Character Planner interface.
Here are some build templates for you to check out on The Awakened Order's Wiki page. It is probably best not to use the build templates in the game... which is where I'm headed myself. See you next week!