In this post, I will take a look at the new system and how it differs from the old one, now that I've had some time to think it over. I'm still not sure whether I like it better than the old system yet, but it's growing on me. There's a lot of stuff that I miss from the old system and a lot of stuff I'll never miss. Knockdown and stuns are two of those things. A lot of players were worried that the new combat system would take ages to tweak, but it seems like it's pretty close to the mark already. A few minor adjustments might be needed, but it's already close to a finished product from what I see. After the cut, I'll tell you why I think that.
The rezzes have been toned down quite a bit (especially since there are no more AoE rezzes), but the heals are incredibly potent. Melee is still brutal and deadly in the furball in this new system. But the furball isn't going anywhere in this system either, folks. Flow of combat has no clear winner, as both systems are very similar. Both systems have a pronounced furball effect, so there is no clear victor there, either. So far, the two systems are in a dead heat on the big points, but there are some major differences on the more subtle aspects.
PvE combat was easy before the 1.9 patch and still is. Before the health nerf (which lowered everyone's health considerably with the 1.9.2 patch), PvE combat was ridiculously easy. OK, maybe not ridiculously easy. There was a time when full dodge and a damage shield coupled with a tesla coat could be used to kill a camp of melee mobs while you were AFK. It's not quite that easy, but it's still a breeze. This is all assuming you have plenty of healing skills and mutations like First Aid and Empathy. If you don't have tons of heals, life will be rough for you in the new wasteland. All PvP and PvE builds should include First Aid. The buffs and regens are slower now, but the active heals are much better. These factors balance things out, and because of that, PvE hasn't changed much -- fewer HoTs (though I do like the stance-based regens) and more heals. PvE looks about the same overall for both systems.
The crazy movement speeds that were once possible are gone. And so are stuns and knockdowns, though some abilities can still be used to stun NPCs. I've always felt that stuns in an MMORPG of any kind were a bad mechanic that sucked the fun right out of the game. Some people swear by them as being a necessary evil, but I disagree. The new system is so much better without the stuns and (especially) knockdown. The clear winner in this category is the new system.
The skills and abilities are more streamlined now. There are fewer abilities per skill or mutation line, but each line is more specialized. Each has a theme, so to speak. Under the new system, Statistics no longer add to the minimums of a skill or mutation line. This has the effect of eliminating the "jack-of-all-trades" issue since the players have to pay for every AP put into a line (and the players were given 10 more AP per level to compensate for this). The old system had a lot of redundancy, but the new AP system would have all but eliminated it. I preferred the old skillsets, but I like the new AP expenditure system... I suppose I would have preferred a mix of the two. Call it a tie.
All in all, I have to admit, I like both systems. Given enough time, I'm sure that I'll get fully accustomed to the new one and completely forget about the old one. For the time being, I'm still having fun playing FE now that it's no longer healer-wars or stun-fest. I am still awaiting (not very) patiently for the economic overhaul and the territory control. So if you see me out in the wastelands, don't hesitate to say hello, and I'll try not to talk with my mouth full while I'm eating twice an hour.
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 email@example.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.