The first round of melee changes went in a little while ago. Disciplines for pure melees (WAR, ROG, MNK) were split into 4 separate timers, partially unlinking them. Hybrids got theirs split into 2 timers, but then they only get 2 high level disciplines.
Some of the less useful disciplines got revamped, like Thunderkick now enhances all kicks for 60 seconds instead of just a single kick.
SOE also introduced the Endurance bar to replace the mostly defunct Stamina bar.
And Warriors got their new taunt skill-spells put in.
At first glance, I was happy I got my disciplines unlinked, but I was worried about the Endurance. However, after playing with them a while, I’m able to juggle 3 of my current discipline – Innerflame, Whirlwind, and Ashenhand – without to much trouble. I don’t sit, and I’m regularly full endurance when its time to use one (except the rare cases when the differing timers line up and I have 2 ready to go at once). Each discipline uses from 50% to 80% of my endurance, but so far that’s no trouble.
On the test server they are still playing around with the rest of the new combat system. The original on test was pure twitch gaming. During a fight, an “opening” would appear, in EQ that was a time bar on a window that said “Offensive Opening” or something like that. Lasted approximately 6 seconds. Or rather, 1 tic. In EQ a tic is 6 seconds, or rather, it is at most 6 seconds. Some of the openings flashed by in under a second. While the opening is counting down, you are supposed to push a button for the skill you want to use, expending endurance for the effect. Some of the skills were quite nice. Rogues got a form of snare, monks got a form of root, extra damage, stuns, attack and armor class debuffs… it was looking quite cool, except for the Whack-a-mole! style gaming they introduced. You had to sit and stare at the screen, and when the opening came, pray you caught the beginning of a tic so that your brain had time to fire off a message to your finger to push the button.
There is still hope though… SOE withheld releasing the new skills in order to make them less twitchy.
In addition to those combat skills, monks will be getting a form of limited use Lull. Should make pulling interesting. But the best of all is, after being successfully feigned for 2 minutes, a message will indicate that the player has been removed from all hate lists. No more /q’ing out of the game! Woot!
So, the end result is.. it looks like they are listening. Pure melees, who were too simple to be balanced, are being made more complex, and several long standing annoyances in the game are finally being handled.