Limits are no longer in the system. They were there to limit how many successes. From my experience, this means a lot less paperwork and is a welcome change.
Combat is easier. Accuracy and recoil and all is now just an attack stat, so there's less modifiers to track.
Magic has been tweaked in minor ways. Matrix is vastly simplified and you don't need to mark things as much. There's not much gear, but in previous editions most gear was in splat books.
The basic stats are all the same. Edge use has been expanded a lot. You now start a session with edge points equal to your stat, and can gain and lose them in a bunch of ways.
In 5e edge was only regained on GM fiat, so it ran out a lot. There's lots of mechanics like gear, spells, social situations, there's lots of ways to gain edge. This makes for more dynamic play, but adds a bit of book keeping as enemies can gain edge as well.
You can also spend them in a bunch of ways. 1 point to reroll a die, 2 to get an extra +1 to a die or +3 to initiative, 3 to get an extra success or heal a box of stun damage, 4 to add your edge score to your roll, heal a physical damage box or reroll all failed dice on a test, 5 to make a target's 2s count as 1s for glitching and add special effects. There's also a bunch of other more specialized ways to spend them listed like doing an inspiring speech.
This mostly replaced the situational modifiers of 5e.
In 5e there was a fairly slow mark system where you had to put marks on everything you wanted to alter. That's gone. You now have Outsider/User/Admin access, various ways to reach each. They've replaced datajacks with cyberjacks which give you your Matrix Firewall and Data Processing scores and a Matrix Initiative boost and your cyberdeck gives you the Attack and Sleaze attributes.
Illegal actions raise your overwatch score, and when you hit 40 you get dumped out (as before) and your cyberdeck is bricked (which is new).
Mostly the same. A bit light in content, but all the old standards are still there, and there's minimal change.
Armor is heavily nerfed, and no longer reduces damage.
Magic is no longer limited, and no longer needs forces to be declared. You can instead augment the spell in various ways at extra drain risk. Spell casting mostly otherwise works the same as before.
You have a few more nice bonuses. You can sustain 3 spells from the start with no penalties, increase attribute is now one spell and the attribute is chosen at random.
Adept critical strikes are heavily buffed from previous editions.
Role, backstory and your motivations are now key things you start off making. There are four major roles they suggest.
- Arcane Specialist. Summoning spirits and tossing spells. Shaman,
mages, summoners and adepts are under this.
- Technology Specialist. You use technology in fancy ways. Riggers,
deckers and technomancers.
- Face. You talk to people.
- Street Samurai. You kill people without magic.
Once past that, you do the priority system as before. There are a few tweaks.
When you select your metatype you get special attributes which can be placed in resonance, magic or edge, or the stats a metatype has which are special. This replaces the increased bases metatypes got in 5e. Certain races can no longer choose some priorities, but otherwise attribute selection is the same.
Skills have been massively tweaked. There are no longer skill groups, the skill list has been made smaller. There are no longer skill group points in 6e. This makes for an easier and faster character creation, but lower customization.
Worth noting, athletics covers a lot of ground, from attacking to defense to mobility. Some skills are very broad.
Knowledge skills no longer have ranks, but allow you to roll on special topics of knowledge. Language skills have levels to represent your fluency.
Magic and resonance priorities have been nerfed at A priority from 6 to 4 magic points, but you get 2 extra spells or resonance forms.
Combat is a bit faster, due to the condensations made above. You gain a major action like attacking and a number of minor actions equal to 1+ initiative. 4 minor actions can be traded for a major action, 5 minor actions is the max.
You compare your weapon's attack rating to the target's armor rating to see if you get extra edge. Then you roll weapon skill + attribute vs Reaction + Intuition check. Any hits over what is needed for success are added to the damage, which they can roll body to resist, and then the damage is added to the damage track. The end result is similar to earlier editions, but the attack is substantially simplified.
Riggers, notably, have fairly bad mechanics, and have been nerfed hard.
Melee fighting got nerfed hard, and Strength doesn't add to Melee DV.
Have a set of house rules by your side as your character create. With time the community has worked out lots of little changes. and it's worth considering this if you want to fix glaring issues, or want a character build not well supported by 6e.
Suggested by V2Blast, here's a conversion guide to help you converting old characters.