During the past couple of weeks, I haven't been playing Fallen Earth too much. I have been waiting for some changes to come along. I found the new combat system to be a bit too slow-paced and dull. It was very centered around healing. He who healed the best generally won the fights. I prefer a system in which he who deals the most damage is more likely to win. There are, of course, other tactical considerations involved in both types of combat, but the overall feel was just plain wrong in the healer-centric combat system.
I'm happy to report that some changes have been made to the system. There are still a few things I don't like about the 1.9 patch, but 1.9.2 fixed almost all of these issues. I won't say it was a perfect patch, but it was very close. There are still some minor issues I'd like to see addressed, but these are probably conscious design choices that are working as intended. In this post, I'd like to cover what has changed, why it's so great, and what we will see in the coming months. The urge to log into Fallen Earth is coming back to me, and it is all due to this new patch. After the cut, I'll explain why.
The biggest change to combat came in the form of a health reduction. While this has an effect on both PvE and PvP, it would appear to have made PvE much more difficult since the players will die sooner. I would agree with that if it were the only combat-related change that was instituted, but it wasn't. Having less health speeds up the pace of both PvP and PvE combat, but what further sped up PvP combat and what made PvE a little more bearable was the fact that damage was increased considerably. This wasn't a simple change, either. Damage was increased through a large number of subtle changes rather than one giant, overt damage bonus.
Armor debuffs were made more potent, and the amount of bonus damage applied for a critical hit was increased. The ratio between Power and Precision and the weapon skills was changed from 75/25 to 90/10. While this doesn't result in more damage, it does put more emphasis on these skill lines. This change has a bigger effect on Power (most people thought of Power as a useless skill) since it adds raw damage to attacks; it has a smaller effect on Precision, which gets most of its bonus damage from critical hits. The chance to score a critical hit (and that critical hit's chance to be harder-hitting) was also increased. I am guessing that the devs raised the critical hit chance cap, which was pretty easy to reach, according to a dev. Damage variance was also tweaked. There is no more variance toward the negative end of the scale. Any damage variance will always be positive now, increasing damage slightly again.
PvE was made a little bit easier with a reduction in NPC defenses across the board. This change is mainly with low- to mid-level NPCs. I guess it's assumed that the higher-level folks have a handle on what they are doing and can take just about anything the game throws at them. Take a look at Citadel, the progress town in Deadfall -- it's usually a slaughter for the poor NPCs. This has also been addressed, and the Citadel attackers have been made more dangerous. When there is a raid full of level-capped clones with the best equipment available, not much can roll over them. I guess it's happened once or twice, but in the dozen or so attacks I've been in, I never even came close to going down. The progress towns now also have a universal crafting facility, so these towns have more functionality than most of the established towns in the Grand Canyon Province.
A few other minor changes were made. Stamina will now regenerate faster while you're moving while gamma will regenerate slower. I guess the team found a happy medium because stamina was certainly too slow and gamma regeneration was unaffected by movement. More XP will be awarded for PvP. This is something I've been clamoring about for a long time, but I'm glad the devs finally did it. Now if they would just give PvPers a means to make chips. Yes, I know Death Toll is a form of currency, but you can't buy the best consumables with DT. And with consumables lasting only half as long, PvP is even more costly. Hopefully sometime in the future, this will be dealt with. But until then, every PvPer will have to endure the PvE-grind for chips.
There is some new gear available too. The weapons that were introduced with Alpha County have been given volatile upgrades. It's the same system that the team introduced with Terminal Woods, and the weapons require an ultra-rare component to be slightly better. The new weapons look much more appealing when posed next to the new Kinetic Hammers. The "godhammers" finally got what they deserved, and now meleers are looking at other options. They were 165 weapons and were better than the 195s. But now it's done and we can move on. There is also an auctioneer camp for those times when you really need a home away from home. Maybe the devs gave us this camp because they forgot to put an auctioneer in Blockade (hint, hint).
The new fast-travel system opens up a bunch of new travel points, but they first have to be unlocked by the general populace. The pods need a stockpile of various raw materials before they're up and running. It's up to you clones to get the pods into a functional state again. Once that's done, we can fast-travel at will to any pod that is unlocked. There is no more timer to keep you from traveling, as long as you have the chips. Towing vehicles still adds to your travel expenses, so it might be wise to have a mount in each sector at the very least.
In the next two months we will be seeing some cool additions to the FE world. Hopefully I'll keep myself busy enough with what I still have yet to do with the current content (and there's always PvP and crafting). Factional territory control! Really, for resource income? That's what the team is saying. An economic overhaul is also on the way. We may get a true player-driven economy yet. And the new World Event system, which we don't have much information on yet, will include grand-scale PvE events in which the clones will band together against a greater evil. Until we get all this neat new stuff, I'll be enjoying the wasteland again and everything this presumably unplanned patch has changed. Maybe I'll see you out in the wasteland -- until then, watch your health bar and keep one finger on those heal keys.
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.