Well, the combat changes are on the test server now and this is all I have to say about that:
Seriously, I don't mind that it has taken a while to get to this point with the combat changes as it is a very far-reaching revamp.
It does bother me that the combat changes and the expansion are going to be lumped together in players' minds. You know people are going to say, "This expansion sucks! My buffs are nerfed!" And that's really a combat change complaint rather than an expansion complaint. Also, figuring out how to play your character with the combat changes would have given people something to do in the current lull between Splitpaw and DoF.
That said, SOE may as well take the time to get it right.
You can find an overview of the changes here and some updates here. But understand that virtually every spell or combat art you have will be changed in some way.Try to remember the changes on Test are just that, a test. I'm sure they will undergo some serious tweaking before they go live. So try to keep an open mind. As Moorgard stated here, these changes are a work in progress, especially for fighters or priests.
Now, there is an entire forum devoted to the combat changes. But I've found that the best information can be located in the forums for each subclass. In every subclass forum someone has started a thread related to the combat changes and I appreciate all those who contributed valuable information. Some of these threads are more informative than others.
The official forums have been somewhat well behaved but that isn't saying much. Here's two tips on good forums posting:
1. If the forum says don't post in this forum unless you've actually tested the changes then don't start your post with "I've never actually tested these changes but..."
2. Don't threaten to leave. It's a tired maneuver and sounds childish. It is more likely that your complaints will be heard if you just state them clearly and without drama.
You can read a few more forum no-no's in this thread on the Aggro Forums started by Anskiere. I'm not telling you not to rip gameplay changes you are unhappy with - I do it all the time. I'm just telling you to do it more effectively.
At this point in time I am not going to get into how these changes effect every individual subclass. I will say this: remember the big picture. Let me give you an example: I've heard members of every subclass say "OMG this buff takes 3 concentration slots now! SOE nerfed me to the max!" Now take a step back. If this change was made to every class in the game, it is not a swipe and your individual subclass.
And if you are testing the changes and find them harder to fight with, remember it may be because they are unfamiliar. It is going to take some getting used to. I can do my wizard's usual spell cycle without even looking at the screen. But with these changes it is, of course, going to take some relearning. There may be spell combinations and gameplay techniques you have not discovered yet which will make combat much easier. That's not to say combat will not be harder, because it probably will be.
And, hopefully, the changes will end up succeeding in making classes more diverse and combat more interesting. You can read the rationale behind the changes here.
We'll have to wait and see if those goals are accomplished and if EQII is more fun to play. Feel free to post your comments or concerns either here or in this thread started by Constance on the Aggro Forums. I am going to try to consolidate a class-by-class summary and post it for you as the changes get closer to going to live.