Tabula Rasa public test server over the last few days trying to score me some of that sweet "Charcoal Colored Armor Dye" being given away during Test Fest '08. I've also experienced some of the things that will be coming in the next patch (1.4), which I could blither on about... but why bother when the gang over at Ten Ten Hammer has already done the grunt work?
In their latest report from the front line entitled, Testing the Future, Tony "RadarX" Jones breaks down the slew of new goodies that will drop, including the the much heralded Hybrids. Since this particular topic has been talked to death already, I'll just add that I have in fact seen a few. They're ugly. But I can't wait to give them a whirl. They may be ugly, but they're new! Equally intriguing are all the other changes and tweaks to armor, ammo, attributes, shield extender, hacker skills and the oddly worded "Game balance has been adjusted to be slightly easier at all levels (higher character survivability) and significantly easier at higher levels."
Aside from the obvious game balance adjustment, which frankly I don't feel the game needs (at least at the lower levels I'm participating at), the biggest areas of concern for me are the "Three A's" (armor, ammo attributes). Last night while attempting to take over the Pravus Research Center with my level 15 Ranger (solo) I noticed a distinct change in armor absorption. The absorption rate seemed seriously degraded, but I didn't seem to die any quicker. This was likely due to the changes with a player's Attributes. Body, Mind, and Spirit will now provide bonuses! Body improves max absorption, Mind improves Logos damage, while Spirit gives a better chance to Critical Hit. Ammunition changes weren't immediately noticeable aside from being able to use standard canister ammo for my chain gun instead of just standard cartridge ammo.
All in all... good stuff. Read the whole report to get all the juicy details.