I've mentioned it before on a few occasions, but I think Wolcen has a real possibility of competing with the big 2 ARPGs when it finally comes out. It has pretty much everything that POE and Diablo have, but adds an actually unique skill/power system that is unlike anything I have ever played before. It's all a matter of how much innovation the market really wants, versus how much they will play simply to continue to expand a well known universe.

While that latter is perfectly understandable, I will definitely play D4 and POE expansion, there is a lot to love about the Wolcen model..

While much has changed during development of Wolcen, the root combat system remains a balance between magic and martial combat that is rather unique.

Magic in this game functions much like magic in other ARPGs, with "Willpower" taking the role of "Mana". It differs slightly because you can burn "willpower" casting spells faster than it drains, allowing you to build a willpower deficit that persists and has to clear before you can start regaining willpower. There are items that will actually decrease the rate at which you lose "willpower" while casting which, as a result, increase how large that deficit can build before you officially run out of willpower.

That deficit doesn't necessarily mean you have to start chugging potions, though. Draining willpower builds a secondary "casting" resource called "rage", and rage transfers over time back to willpower. But while you have rage you can start using special martial skills (melee, missile weapons, etc.) that allow you to keep pressing the attack. Moreover, if you run enough of a Willpower deficit, that deficit can keep fueling your rage as the deficit clears.

The system allows for a lot of tinkering with skills and timing to create your own combo attacks, and "rage" potions will allow the more martial-minded to open with martial attacks if they want. Quite frankly I think they missed a great opportunity... just rename the different potent levels of rage potion to "beer", "wine" and "whiskey".

Essentially you can make whatever class you want in the game with the right mix of skills.

Skills themselves gain levels, and earn skill points to spend on them to buy skill improvements that range from basic to substantial, adding another layer of variability.

As an example, I am playing a ranged mage who swaps between electrical attacks and ranged martial attacks with a pistol. Granted, I would rather martial attacks be more weapon dependent, as in ranged attacks the weirdness is most apparent. You need a ranged weapon to, for instance, fire a barrage.. but whether you have a pistol or bow equipped the animation is a bow and arrows. Likewise, my primary martial attack is placing turrets which seems weird to require a bow or pistol.

But, the quirks aside, this game has everything you might want in a new ARPG property. Color coded gear drops, huge variability in character customization, difficult and multi-phased boss fights... and so on.

I mean, it may be a beta-only function, but you can fully change your character from a magic-focused character to a sword-and-board character with a respec if you find some really good melee gear. Just reassign your stats and skill points and level a few new skills and you are up and running. In late game, when you have a boatload of various skills already leveled you can alter, say, half of your combo to match a great new weapon you want to try, like using a pistol as your martial weapon rather than a pistol.

Also, as of writing this the game is still in early Beta with only Act 1 available. The full game, at this pace, should be out just before POE/D4 hit the market.