In Fallen Earth, patch day is always a happy day (for me, at least). But this most recent patch (1.7.4) brings in some sweeping changes. The changes that came with this patch were far-reaching enough to get us another full respec. I don't forsee myself using one yet, but they are nice to have. I actually still have my injectors that we got with the 1.4 patch. In fact, this patch changes so much that I spent the past couple of days preparing (in-game) for it. I haven't had time to even grab all of the new skills that all of my clones will now have available to them. An Enforcer rifleman with Fitness? Yes, among other things.

Everyone in Fallen Earth now has more health, but it gets taken away much faster. Combat seems more intuitive with reliable damage from weapons. Without glances and extreme damage variance, combat feels crisper and less clunky. It's going to take some getting used to. The PvE combat has changed the most. There is actually an element of danger involved when fighting mobs, especially large groups. I find myself actually using contingencies and heals during combat with NPCs. I never really had to before, but now the mobs rarely miss (rather than rarely hit). While I didn't get to see everything we got with this patch, I did get some hands-on PvP action (and broke a tradition that had lasted some 292 days in-game) under the new system. I'll give up more about that after the cut.

I didn't get an opportunity to check out the new Boneclaw on the live server. I tested it out on the PTS last week, but with four level 50 clones on live, it wouldn't have been very exciting for any of them. From what I understand, there is a new pet (a giant cockroach) that you can score there. So much to do and so little time. At some point, I guess I'll go down to Sector 1 and grab one of the little buggers.

One of my favorite spots to scavenge was (and I guess it still is) Park City. Park City used to have 10 Faction Control Points (FCPs). Now there are only three. Pre-patch we had super-dodge, which allowed us to never be hit by mobs. Now the FCP guards will hurt you. We had FCPs that took about six seconds to capture. Now they take five minutes. The guards used to drop killer loot, like common steel. They now drop nothing. The day before patch day, I captured all 10 FCPs and scavenged the faction nodes for hours, knowing that this cash cow was going away.

While I was running the 10-FCP circuit, I thought of something. I decided I was going to wrest control of Park City away from the Travelers. Park City had remained under the control of the Traveler faction for 292 days. Yes, the better part of a year. Some extremely bored players (mostly one guy) accumulated, over the span of a few weeks, over four million faction points for the town. The four million faction didn't matter much with the new decay feature on conflict towns. If any faction has over 300,000 faction points, it will lose 10% until it is no longer over.

This new mechanic allowed me to capture Park City for the CHOTA faction single-handedly. Now, I had the locations of the 10 FCPs from the old system. So when I ran the circuit, I found all three. I obviously captured them as I found them. Each FCP contributes 2500 faction points to the town every five minutes. That equates to 90,000 faction per hour. That is much more faction than I could ever hope to get in an hour by running missions, but I ran missions as well. After a few hours of defending my FCPs and running missions (and the traveler points decaying), the town belonged to the CHOTA. After 7006 hours of stagnation, the town had new masters.

Later that night a group of Enforcers took the town for their faction. I got there a bit too late to stop them, but I did show them the fast way to the cloner on a few occasions. Shortly after the Enforcers took control, Park City was back in the hands of the Travelers. I must admit I really am happy with the new open-world Death Toll rewards. I've been screaming for an increase in non-Blood Sports rewards, and we got them in spades. DT rewards are about five times higher now for PvP kills. Experience is also awarded in PvP. All my guys are level 50 now, so too little, too late there.

With the new AP cap per level in place, the developers are freed up to award AP in new and wondrous ways. They've stated that almost anything that will give you experience points can possibly give you AP. They've also stated that they aren't going to divulge the particular mechanics of the system. Supposedly, you get get them no matter how you play the game, be you PvPer or PvEer, crafter or scavenger. I haven't gotten a single AP yet from this system, and I flipped a conflict town all by myself. I guess we'll have to work for these AP.

With the defactionalization of skills and capstones, I'm left with a lot of hopping from town to town and buying books. So far I've only squared one of my clones away skill-wise, and I'm not looking forward to doing it a third time. But it's for the best. The character I did it for is much more fit for combat because of it. There is also a new factional reset in the game. It is only useable once, but it will set all of your factions to zero. It's not a faction respec but a quick fix for those who don't want to wait for a faction respec to switch sides.

There is still plenty for me to see, such as craftable storage and camps that persist for three hours. I really think I'm going to like the new, more dangerous apocalypse. Sure, the grenades have five-second fuses now, and trees stop bullets, not to mention that the teeth have been filed off of damage shields and the Tesla Coat has been neutered. But the wasteland is still an inhospitable place where you can wind up dead in seconds. It's the place I call home for a few hours a day, and I hope to see you there. Until next week, beware of knockdown: It can ruin your day.

Ed Marshall has been playing Fallen Earth since beta and leads the KAOS 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.
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