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OK, I've posted on the official forums, without much luck, so I thought I would try here:
I can't seem to build an effective character; the only real choices in the beginning are weapons and faction, and faction (theoretically?) does not matter, so I've been playing with different weapons.
So far, my measure of success is whether or not I can make it to the police station without dying. In general, weapons with decent AoE don't have the dps to kill stuff before it kills me, single target weapons leave me vulnerable to groups, and healing is some kind of sick joke.
In any case, actually making it to the police station is something of a victory, but past that is about impossible; I got up to 5 SP with a chaos/fist build by sneaking around and following other players, but I can't figure out why they get to kill stuff and I don't.