Wasteland Diaries: PvE like a boss

I have slain a rat
Fallen Earth PvE can be anywhere from laughably easy to downright frustrating. I guess that's a good thing since you get a gamut of difficulty levels, but much of the leveling span leans toward the easy end of the scale. I tend to get bored with PvE combat fairly quickly in MMOs (not just Fallen Earth). Other people love to struggle against the environment. Some even refuse to do anything remotely akin to PvP. I'll only throw the term "carebear" at those who think all PvPers are maladjusted psychopaths. I'm not talking about them; I'm talking about regular hardcore PvEers: players who would rather play against the NPCs than against other players.

Many of my posts center around PvP. If I didn't PvP (and since I'm not a big roleplayer), I doubt I would still be playing Fallen Earth. That's just what I spend most of my time doing in the wastelands. So I tend to write a lot about it. But all PvPers have to PvE. PvE has its own set of challenges for the player. Granted, these challenges are quite static, and once you find a way to overcome them, you are done. But they are challenges nonetheless, and knowledge is power as much in PvE as it is in PvP. In this post I will give you some tips and tricks that might help you get through that next tough mission. Much of this stuff is common sense, but it may not occur to you until it's too late. So click past the cut and let's get started.

I brake for scav nodes
Probably the most important decision you will make will be that of weapon choice. As far as PvE is concerned, all three weapon types (melee, rifle and pistol) are all very useful. Rifles have excellent range and a wide variety of weapon types and skills. When you are fighting mobs alone, you are going to want to pull single mobs out of the crowd to kill them. Rifles are the best tool for doing this. Even if you are a melee-specced clone, you'll probably want to carry around a rifle on one of your back slots for this purpose. Sure, you can pull mobs with Provoke, but it has a limited range of only 20 meters. Ammunition can get relatively expensive, but the cost of ammo in Fallen Earth is quite low, so it isn't a major factor.

Sniper rifles and crossbows hit very hard per shot, as do shotguns, but they have low DPS. Still, these weapons are very effective despite the low DPS, especially if you use them with the Bullseye skill. With a critical headshot, you can floor most mobs of your level easily in one shot. If you have Precision too, you can alternate Precise Hit with Bullseye for massive damage output. This will kill your stamina reserves quite quickly and should be used with care or as a last resort. Most of the best rifles also have scopes, which not only allow greater accuracy at range but also act as a spyglass of sorts for viewing distant objects. In addition to doing major damage per shot, shotguns are very easy to score hits with. They use the same circle reticle as melee weapons, so their DPS (although low) is very dependable. Rifles also have Agonizing Wound, which is a very handy ranged snare.

Pistols are the best in the DPS department -- if you dual-wield them, of course, and since the off-hand penalty is almost negligible, you should always do so. Pistols also come with a fire-based DoT and a pretty decent stance. Some pistols have a range that rivals that of most rifles, but the highest tier pistols are all short-ranged. Ammo for pistols is pretty cheap, but you will go through thousands of rounds very fast. And Pistols have high DPS, but it is due more to a high rate of fire than heavy damage; they excel at dropping mobs quickly if you can stay on target, but they use lots of ammo and have a shorter range than rifles.

New clone
Melee is very good in the DPS department as well. Melee weapons are easy to hit with and do respectable amounts of damage. Their major drawback is that you have to close with your enemy to employ them. Charging into a crowd of mobs is the wrong way. The right way is to pull the mobs out one at a time and beat them up piecemeal. Provoke is one of the skills you can use to pull mobs out if you have a firearms-aversion. But I find that a slung rifle comes in handy for a melee clone to get a mob's attention at a better distance. One nice advantage to melee is that no ammo is required. This means you can carry more stuff and don't have to buy or craft ammo. Melee also comes with a skill called Charge. Charge is better used in running away from danger rather than at it, and when combined with Dash (Escape Artist) and a Smoke Sphere (consumable), it can get you away from danger very quickly.

I would be doing every PvEer a disservice if I didn't tell you all about Disrupt. Disrupt is a virtually useless waste of gamma in PvP, but this ability is a fight-winner in PvE. It's a prepared attack mutation that must be applied to a target via a weapon strike. It lowers the saves and defenses of a target that fails its mind save. This is not very useful at all against PCs. But against NPCs, it stuns them for a couple of seconds and is unresistable. It has a 15-second cooldown, so use it as often as you can. In fact, spam it; your gamma reserves can handle it.

Don't forget that if you sit or lie down, your regeneration rates will increase considerably. If your stamina, health or gamma are low and there is no obvious danger nearby, take a rest. Regen rates are lower now than they were in the old system, and using one of these stances will get you back into the action quicker. It is not advisable to nap during combat, however.

Always remember to heal, heal, heal. Survivability is more important than offense. Also remember that cross-healing is always more effective than self-healing, so if you are in a group, heal others when possible. First Aid offers Stanch Wound, which is probably the best heal. But make sure you stop attacking until it is cast, or else it will cancel. You can cast it while moving, though, so healing while retreating is possible. Also, remember to keep stocked-up on the appropriate bandages, as they are required to use the ability. There is nothing worse than dying because you forgot to go shopping.

Boneclaw watering hole
There are also the Empathy heals. Benevolence heals a lot of damage, but you must stop moving and attacking to fire it off. This shouldn't be too hard in PvE combat since dodging around won't help against the NPCs. Preservation is a short HoT that can be applied while you're moving and attacking, so it's a good mid-combat self-heal. Its health-to-gamma ratio is leaves much to be desired, though. The Nano-manipulation heals are mainly for healing others, so they're useless when you are on your own, but they're an invaluable tool for a dedicated healer on a team.

Carrying consumable medical items for emergency healing is also a good idea. Always have something like a medigraft or some healing drugs to use in an emergency. These items can be used while you're moving and attacking and can keep you up long enough to get the job done. Also, no matter how expensive it seems, always run a food and drink buff and a consumable item like pain killers or adrenaline shots. Even if you are just using food you looted from humanoid mobs or cheap food you bought from a local vendor, every little bit helps.

Consider doing all group content with a group. Those encounters are designed for a group of players who can heal and rez each other. Tackling content like that by yourself will most likely go badly. Also, don't forget: You are a clone. There is hardly any death penalty in Fallen Earth. Take dying lightly; it's not a big deal. In fact, sometimes I die on purpose, if the nearest cloner is closer to where I want to be. Think of it as free fast-travel. But the idea of this short guide was to help you die less often, and hopefully it will help. So try not to die too much out there in the wastelands (LifeNet meatpaste is expensive), and I'll catch you here next week.

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.