Part of the purpose of the AP cap was to alleviate the need for a wheel-flip. In some ways, the de-factionalization of mutations has helped in that department. The entire Fallen Earth skill and mutation system is undergoing a revamp, but the AP mechanics aren't going to change much. The AP cap will still be in place and will increase by 25 every level. And there will still be random AP and repeatable missions for AP. But is a wheel-flip still necessary? The short answer is yes and no, but I'll delve into that a bit more after the cut.
every AP mission and only AP missions.
If one is not concerned with getting to the level cap at level 50, the game is much more enjoyable. There will always be the type of player who will just move as quickly as he can to the endgame. And there will always be the type of player who does every single mission and checks out every corner of the map for the tiniest shreds of content. Most people fall somewhere in the middle. The more thorough player is likely to be closer to the AP cap once he reaches level 50. The player who rushes to level 50 won't be anywhere near the AP cap when he gets there.
One of the purposes of the random AP system was to reward people for playing the game their way. The AP could be awarded for scavenging a node, crafting something or even PvPing. There's really no telling what you get it for, because you actually receive it some random time later. In my experience, the random AP are way too infrequent. On my new clone, who's level 10 right now, I've only had one random AP. I'm guessing I got it from PvPing when I was level 5 (I went from 5 to 6 with only XP earned from PvP). It took a few weeks to do it, but I gained an entire level through only killing other players. The XP for PvPing is a nice addition to the game, but the rewards are a little low right now.
Exile (Camille) has gone as far as to start a project to determine how many AP she will have on her aptly named alt (Poly Nomial) at the end of a somewhat hurried journey through the game. The entire journey will be chronicled in her blog.
The 1.8 patch will be increasing the frequency of the random AP, but we do not yet know to what extent. In the meantime, there is an unlimited source of AP, provided you don't mind a bit of repetition. Now, I may feel the bite of the repetition a bit more than most people since I'm an altaholic and have four level 50s under the AP cap. But the road rallies are the easiest way to ensure you hit the cap, provided you put in the time to do it. Although they are all simply races (against the clock) through some of the more scenic and dangerous spots in the wasteland, there are a variety of routes to choose from. The rallies are great for those of us who would rather grind it out rather than wait for random AP to show during our regular play.
Speaking of regular play, the way the game (I would imagine) was meant to be played was for the player to finish the quests in one of the starter towns, then move on to the ATV quest line or the main quest line. The other starter towns could be safely ignored because by that time you would have out-leveled all of the content. If you want to hit the AP cap, you had better do every AP mission (not every mission -- just the ones that give AP) if you intend to hit the AP cap at level 50. In fact, you will need every single AP in Sector 1, so you might as well get them all while you are here.
omnibi. These, all three Sectors combined, award 24 AP. It's not any fun gathering up a bunch of books and making collections out of them, but it's a necessary evil. Just grab those Curious Debris nodes whenever you see them, and be sure to check the auction house for some of the harder-to-find titles (that I might be selling).
Part of the recent changes that were made to the game were to eliminate the need for a wheel-flip. The changes to mutations made the need to flip the wheel a thing of the past as far as mutations were concerned. But it's still not quite possible to hit the AP cap without the AP on the other side of the wheel unless, of course, you run a bunch of road rallies or are extremely lucky with the random AP. You will also miss out on a lot of AP if you are one of those "I'm-never-going-into-a-PvP-zone" people. There are a good deal of AP to be had in the various conflict towns, especially if you are hitting both halves of the wheel.
Hopefully, the frequency of the random AP will have been increased enough with 1.8 that we can do only one starter town, not flip the wheel and just do our thing up to level 50 and come somewhere close to the AP cap. Until next week, I'll be playing the game my way (and probably spending a lot of time on the PTS) and hoping for a random AP to fall on my head.
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 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.