Wasteland Diaries: Triumphant return

I remember way back when the Fallen Earth team released Deadfall there were many people didn't partake because they were waiting for Sector 4. And Deadfall was a pretty major update. It was practically a sector unto itself, with the level cap raised by four. As far as content goes, it wasn't far behind Alpha County in terms of scale.

Yet for some reason, many players were holding off on re-subbing until the elusive Sector 4 raised its mythical head. Hopefully those players are willing to wait another week or two. Sector 4 is finally here, but I don't feel it's quite ready yet. It's not S4 itself, it's a slew of other things which I'll cover that later.

The important thing is if you decide to head into Alpha, be prepared. You might be a little rusty after all of this time away from the wasteland and in need a refresher course in the finer points of not taking a Kaibab dirtnap. If that's the case, don't sweat it, we all are still working out kinks due to the new combat system. But even if you are stumbling back into the game in the most ungainly of fashions, an ounce of prevention is still much better than a pound of cure. There are a few things you can do to help yourself thrive in the new sector. After the cut, I'll give you some advice that may or may not help you along your way. I'm hoping on the former.
First of all, you will probably die in Alpha County. At least you will until you get a handle on the new combat system. Once you master the healing available to you, you'll never die again in a PvE setting unless you over-aggro or try to solo a raid boss. For PvE (and PvP for that matter), the First Aid line is too potent to be ignored. You will have an insane amount of health to use as a buffer, keeping you out of the cloner. Simply healing through the damage output of your foes will be what keeps you alive now. Health regeneration is a shadow of its former self, so healing is a more active task, but also more effective. It's a little tougher in PvP because you have to target yourself while dancing around. More on that later.

Can't wait to get your hands on the new Interceptor Security Model? It's the latest model in that fine line of automobiles, this time with a pair of machine guns mounted on the hood. You might want to keep on waiting, however. Rumor has it that it only has two storage slots. Assuming you use only one of those slots for ammo, you'll be carrying either the gas or the repair kits on your person. If those machine guns hit like the ones in my combat buggy, you're going to need plenty of room for ammo. My suggestion is to wait for a fix (which is sure to come) before turning that key.

Speaking of Interceptors. Don't. Just leave it at the garage and use an organic mount or a dune buggy. I got stuck in the treacherous terrain once while on foot after I got my car stuck in a ravine. The road network is good there, but you are going to want to go cross-country on occasion. I guess if you don't mind sticking to the roads, you'll be okay, but I'm more partial to going over than around.

The rest of the new equipment is at least comparable to what we have now. The new weapons and armor aren't anything to write home about, stats-wise. But some of them are new models and not just re-skins. The models that were recycled are now dyeable. Even the guns and faction armor can be colored. The stats will probably get some love when the devs roll out the next phase of the equipment upgrades, much like they did in Deadfall with the hexweave and mesoprene armors. Unfortunately, the Death Toll armor is not receiving an upgrade any time soon, but it's arguably still the best armor available. The least they could have done was made it color-customizable. I'm sure everyone else is sick of the baby blue and blood spatter look like I am.

If you are returning to the game for PvP, you might find things have changed drastically. Luckily, the devs have provided us with a number of respec injectors. For PvP (and PvE), the First Aid skill line is a must, so Intelligence will be very beneficial. In fact, with Intelligence all ranged characters will be crafters by default. Guess how I leveled all my PvP toons to 55 so quickly? In their off-time they were crafting salvaged wires 20 at a time. With the XP injectors and the bunker bar rest buff, they were earning 1500 XP an hour while I was offline. The hardest part was getting all of their Science skills maxed out first.

Healing in PvP is the key to victory. I'm still messing it up and healing my enemies (or random team-mates that run in front of me) more often than I am myself. The potency of heals are much higher when healing others rather than yourself, which tends to drag group combat out considerably. Buffing up to over 1300 health (easily) doesn't help matters much either. My advice to you is to jump into Blood Sports and give it a go. The ammo is free, and there are people that actually do it for fun, so help them fill that queue and make their day.

If you've been away a really long time, you might need a really good refresher. Forumer Sally Smith has compiled a list of things a player that is new to Fallen Earth should know. It deserves a quick skim at least before jumping back into the hazards of the wasteland. Don't worry about how many AP you have, they are much easier to get now with the new random AP system. You certainly get them often enough after you get your first one. Still waiting for that too happen on two of my clones. There are also repeatable AP missions that you can run to nudge yourself closer to the AP cap.

Another major change that I feel you might need to know about are the consumables. I'm talking about all food, drinks, pills, and injectors. Everything that used to last an hour now lasts half as long, but they now persist through death. Why do clones need to eat every 30 minutes? It seems all LifeNet clones have a massive tapeworm that has a tiny collar and re-materializes along with them. It's one of the worst changes I've seen in a good long while and it just means extra grinding for me (and presumably everyone else) to continue using top-shelf consumables during PvP. At least the tent buffs are still good for an hour.

That about covers the important stuff. I don't want to give away too much about Sector 4 if you are one of those who have been waiting for over a year for it. In all likelihood, you were there on launch day (or technically the next day) waiting to rush in at the first opportunity. But if you haven't jumped back in to check it out, my suggestion is to wait a couple more weeks. Changes are undoubtedly coming and you may as well wait for the smoke to clear before heading into the fray. You've waited over a year, so a couple more weeks will be no sweat. Either way I'll see you soon!

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.