The main focus of the patch is the combat re-vamp and the control points. The Armor Use skill and the Dodge skill have been redesigned, and the way that damage mitigation works is a bit different in version 1.7.1. The faction control points will give the clones a reason to fight, and the victorious faction will reap far-reaching rewards. I'll go into more detail about these tidbits and more after the break, so without any further ado, let's move on.
Armor Use used to determine the best armor you could wear and how effective it was when it was worn. But now it determines the amount of protection that you garner from whatever armor you wear. Other attributes determine which types of armor you are able to wear, such as player level and Strength. The mitigation cap has been lowered from 60% to 50%, and the cap can't be reached without temporary buffs. So what does this mean? Players take more damage from all sources. More on that later.
Dodge is a little less effective as Armor Use, which is a far cry from the current incarnation of Dodge. Dodge, when maxed out, will currently let you aggro an entire camp of mobs (that are your level) and lead them to a nice spot. Once you get there, you can proceed to pwn them one at a time while they fumble on every attempt to hit you. In version 1.7.1, Dodge isn't that awesome. In fact, its main purpose is to reduce the chance of your taking a critical hit. But it will be made better once the skills are redone later this year. What does all of this mean? Players will take even more damage from all sources, and the mobs will miss less often.
Other combat changes
Also glances have been removed. Sure, there's nothing more satisfying than a 300-point critical headshot. But there's nothing more monitor-punching annoying than a shotgun-blast-to-the-face for 6 damage. Sometimes getting hit with a glancing blow is enough to turn the tide of a PvP battle in your favor, but another player scored the hit, despite all of your bunny-hopping, just to have it taken away by a bad dice roll. Bye, glances. Don't call me; I'll call you. Also, the damage variance has been reduced to one quarter of what it was, so damage is more dependable and helps you determine better which buffs and debuffs are actually working.
So, with all of the players of Fallen Earth taking more damage, how is this a good thing? Well, PvP combat can take too long in many cases, due to the pathetic weapon damage. A few nights ago I fought someone in Los Alamos for 10 minutes. Neither one of us could damage the other more that we could heal. After a while, we gave up. In the new system, the longest fight I observed was easily under a minute. You would think that two people shooting guns at each other would be a situation that was resolved very quickly. In the very near future, it will be.
All of this extra damage that players are taking is bound to be a problem in the PvE side of the game, right? Not really. Fallen Earth's PvE (with a few exceptions) is pretty easy. There seems to be a huge rift in difficulty between normal mobs and veteran/boss/master mobs. But it appears to be a bug, and that's what test servers are for anyway. It looks like PvP has been improved, but PvE still has a few kinks that need to be worked out.
Faction control points
Faction control points are scattered throughout all three Sectors (Deadfall counts as part of Sector 3). Each one can be controlled by a particular faction. To control a point, you need to kill the guard first. The guard is a veteran mob but not too difficult to bring down. Once you have dispatched the guard, you use the flag, and it is converted to your faction's flag. The control point will now spawn guards from your faction and generate faction-specific supply nodes like the ones in the conflict towns.
I also found a Franklin's Rider at the garage in Los Alamos. He offers a quest that is essentially a road rally that starts in Deadfall and ends up in Sector 1. It sounds like an interesting mission, but I didn't have the time to run it (that's a long drive). But I'll be certain to try it out on the live server when the patch hits.
In the meantime, if you need to find me, I'll probably be on the PTS looking for bugs and new content. So, until next week, try not to eat any tainted meat.
Ed Marshall has been playing Fallen Earth since beta and leads the Outsiders clan. Wasteland Diaries is his weekly column that covers all aspects of Fallen Earth: PvE, RP and PvP. To contact Ed, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on the official forums as Casey Royer, or hunt him down in the wastelands as Nufan, Original, Death Incarnate, and Knuckles Mcsquee.