While the developers can't dream up every permutation people will create using their system since players can really learn anything if they want to, the party dynamics in Fallen Earth are going to be substantially different than the standard MMO trinity of “tank/DPS/healer” or the “tank/DPS/healer/buffer/debuffer/pet guy” range, as you prefer. The main reason for this is the lack of classes and the ability for players to multi task. Since Fallen Earth is a classless system, players can develop whatever skills they want, and players earn enough APs to develop several areas of expertise to their utmost. For example, say you wanted to play a bad ass tank melee character. You could max out your Melee, Dodge, Evade, and Armor Use (which would also require maxing out your Strength, Endurance, Perception, Dexterity, and Coordination), giving you the maximum amount of damage absorption in the game, and still have enough to max out Group Tactics, First Aid, or a mutation path or two. Alternately you could play a medic sniper and max out First Aid, Evade, Dodge, and Rifle (maxing out Dexterity, Perception, Coordination, and Intelligence) and still have points left over to boost up your Armor Use or develop Athletics to let you better move around in a fight. Players have enough APs to choose and master a specialty and then master a few other things to add more depth to their abilities. No one will be stuck just being “Rifle Guy” or “First Aid Guy” but will instead be able to fill a number of roles. Tradeskills do not cost APs aside from the fact that you have to max out your Perception and Intelligence to reach the highest tradeskill levels, but those two attributes are also used in numerous other skills as well, so they're not an AP drain.
As is human nature, most people will probably gravitate towards something they find particularly interesting and identify themselves as being that. For example, most players who like playing healers will probably call themselves medics or healers or such even though they have also maxed out Rifle and Group Tactics. There will always be players who want to be the biggest damage sponges in the game, and they can certainly make those characters, but unless they just like having a big chunk of unspent APs on their attributes window they'll probably know several other things as well. This also allows for drastically different characters even though they share some skills, such as the difference between a sniper medic who stays back and clears out an area before healing his friends or a tank medic who has enough armor and damage mitigation that he runs into the middle of a fire fight to rescue his comrades.
Players will best succeed with a variety of skills in their group; if all you have are Rifle using players you'll have a real bad day when something sneaks up on you and gets into melee range. You'll probably want someone in your group who can heal, someone for melee combat, someone for ranged combat, someone with Group Tactics, a few mutations for those odd situations, etc. While none of these are strictly required, most players will be able to fill multiple roles. Your Group Tactics and Rifle guy may be one and the same.
In PvP combat the ability for players to fulfill multiple roles becomes even more important. Instead of having a single medic that must be protected because of his relative weakness, several players may have the medical skills necessary to keep the team going. If your primary Group Tactics guy is taken down and not revived more than likely someone else can fill in. Selecting a team of players for PvP is going to largely be about having redundant skills and covering all the bases, not getting all the best damage dealers.
Aside from character building, Fallen Earth is built on the assumption that every character can fight on some level. With all the APs players will have, the developers figure most people will invest some of them on combat skills even if they aren't playing a combat machine, and thus will be able to inflict decent amounts of damage. The game is built to encourage teams of players to move together, laying down covering fire, flanking, etc., as opposed to one guy standing in front of his group and taking on all comers. While Fallen Earth has some aggro management abilities, there are not many of them.
In general the developers haved designed their encounters with the idea that “more is better,” so usually instead of having big boss critters there will be lots of smaller mobs. While Fallen Earth has its share of big mobs like the earthwalker, most of its creatures are more reasonable in size so it throws them at the players in groups as opposed to one at a time. Combat in Fallen Earth is not designed to be a one-on-one “pull, fight, repeat” process but more of a running battle with multiple opponents, especially later in the game. There's a reason Fallen Earth has a type of mission that is unofficially known as the “Oh Sh!t” mission, since that's the normal response when you suddenly see ten raiders crest a dune and come running down at you.
In instances and other scripted events, instead of just hitting players with bigger and bigger bad guys Fallen Earth is creating more tactical objectives, such as one squad of players distracting a group of guards while a second group tries to sneak into a base to sabotage it with a third group fighting off reinforcements from another base.
Group content is generally balanced around teams of size 4-6 since getting 8 people together can be tough. There are a few large-scale raid encounters, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Groups are intended primarily for keeping track of your allies while taking a conflict town or similar PvP activity.
- ↑ Question of the Week: June 26 2008 - Crafter Inventory, Types of Guns, Drinks, Gun/Melee Stuns, Group Size. Fallen Earth.com. Retrieved on 2008-09-11.
- Question of the Week: June 6, 2007 - Where's the party? Let's discuss party dynamics. Fallen Earth.com. Retrieved on 2007-07-19.