Wasteland Diaries: Weapons

Those that say "violence never solves anything" have never been thrust into a post-apocalyptic future. Violence solves just about everything in Fallen Earth. And the cornerstone of violence, since man threw the first stone or hit his surly neighbor with a stick, has been weapons. Killing and incapacitating others is a lot of hard work, so leave it to mankind to devise a more efficient method. In Fallen Earth, weapons range from everyday household items and tools, all the way up to military-grade engines of destruction.

One of the tough decisions you will need to make in Fallen Earth will not be whether or not to use weapons. It will be to decide which weapons you will use. Weapons in Fallen Earth are divided into three main categories, those being melee, pistols and rifles. While it is possible to specialize in all three types of weapons, it is ill-advised. You would be better served to specialize in one type of weapon and use any additional AP to boost other skills and mutation lines. After the cut, I will discuss the ins-and-outs of each weapon style for PvP and PvE to ease your decision-making process.
Weapon skills cost AP. The requisite attributes that determine your weapon skills' caps require even more AP. You do not want to start dumping AP into a weapon skill only to find out you don't like using that weapon type, or to find out that the particular weapon doesn't suit your play-style. The purpose of this post is to familiarize you with the three weapon types and, if you are a new player, to help you choose the right weapon.

Melee weapons

Melee weapons have a few clear advantages and disadvantages. They don't need ammunition, so you don't have to stop wailing to reload. Not to mention ammo is expensive and very finite. Melee weapons are the most economical choice, and are a good option for the crafter/scavenger. The AP you put in strength will also bolster your health and carrying capacity. Melee weapons also dish out considerable damage when dual-wielded or when using a two-handed weapon. They also deal a variety of damage (slashing, crushing and piercing), rather than just one type, like ranged weapons (ballistic).

The main drawback to using melee weapons is the range. You have to be close to your opponent to use them. Being close to your opponent allows you to use your close-range abilities (and, ugh, stuns) while attacking, but your opponent will be doing the same thing. Being a melee fighter will often force you to close the gap to your opponent while under fire. You will have to move erratically and use your environment to your advantage in order to reach your enemy relatively intact. It is often a good idea to carry a ranged weapon to draw mobs out of large groups (or use a skill like Infuriate), rather than charge in and take on a bunch at a time.

Melee is a good choice for PvP as well. Melee weapons are very easy to aim with, and hitting a moving target with one is quite simple, especially given the range. The PvPers choice will then be: dual-wield or two-hander? Both are viable, but when faced with damage shields, the obvious choice is a slow, hard-hitting weapon rather than two speedy light-damage weapons. Damage-per-second (DPS) is slightly higher when dual-wielding, but when faced with a damage shield, it's suicide to not switch to a two-hander. The bane of all melee PvPers is the damage shield. Each time the person wearing the shield is struck by a melee attack, it will damage the attacker. There are also items like the Tesla Coat which can add more insult and injury for the poor melee-fighter.

Pistols are a versatile weapon class. They bridge the gap between melee and rifle. There is quite an assortment of different pistols: from long-ranged, slow-firing and hard-hitting to short-ranged bullet-hoses. Pistols even have a sawed-off shotgun, how's that for variety? The range on pistols varies greatly and some rival those of rifles. Pistols can deliver immense amounts of damage due to the fact that they can be dual-wielded. Two pistols can throw a lot of lead down-range, but they can also burn through your ammo supply really fast.

Submachine guns aren't very useful considering they aren't much more powerful than pistols, nor is their range much better. They can sometimes come in handy when you need to conserve ammo or shoot a little farther. In PvP, submachine guns are virtually useless, and pistols are mostly used at very close range to be effective. The reticules on both pistols and submachine guns can flare up badly when moving and firing quickly, hindering long-ranged accuracy.

Rifles make the PvE game a bit too easy. You can kick back on a grassy knoll and pick off all but the toughest of mobs with any rifle. But, the rifles don't stack up as well in PvP. Rifles are the supposed to be the long-ranged kings, but most riflemen use shotguns at close range. Rifles can be deadly at long range, but only if the correct abilities are flawlessly employed and the shooter never misses. This can be a difficult task, considering the cursor gets as big as a house when moving and firing. Yeah, most riflemen opt to go close range and land all of those killer abilities the easy way. Hitting with a shotgun is essentially like using a ranged melee weapon.

Most rifles have scopes, which aid in hitting targets at long range. But with massive cursor flare due to recoil and movement, sometimes it's easier to just run up and blast away with a shotgun. Rifle users also have access to the rocket launcher, the longest-ranged area-of-effect weapon in the game. While not the most effective weapon in the game, it is one of the most fun to use in PvP or PvE. Though it does have it's uses and can be devastating if there are multiple rocketeers or a chokepoint.

Other weapons

There are other ways to damage your enemies, but none of them are tied to any particular skill. Such items as poisons, grenades and electric generators all have a place in my arsenal for those tough fights. Unfortunately, grenades use the same slot as my handy-dandy army knives, so I usually don't have them when I need them. These "other" weapons are a great way to add additional DPS when you need it. Many skills and mutations also deal damage, too. Usually the one that is left standing at the end of a fight in Fallen Earth is the one that uses his weapon to its greatest potential. But just as importantly, the one that uses his skills and mutations to augment his weapon damage.

The new combat system currently being tested puts heavier emphasis on weapon damage, but using your skills and mutations properly is still the key to PvP or PvE victory. You should always try out each type of weapon before spending any AP just to get the feel for it. The most important factor for choosing a weapon in Fallen Earth is that the weapon "feels" right for you. I have a level 50 of all three types, but I find myself mostly using my rifleman. To each his own. Until next week, if you see me in the wasteland at a mailbox, please resist the urge to shoot me in the back.

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 edward@massively.com, find him on the official forums as Casey Royer, or hunt him down in the wastelands as Nufan, Original, Death Incarnate, and Knuckles Mcsquee.
This article was originally published on Massively.