DAZ characters have many materials for the skin: face, torso, arms, legs, lips, nails etc. If we want to edit the materials once they have been imported into Blender we hence have to make the same changes in many places, which is inconvenient and error-prone. Until now, there have been two tools that facilitate editing multiple materials: the material editor and UDIM materials. However, both approaches have significant drawbacks.
The material editor has a clumsy interface, and is limited to changing existing parameters. It cannot change the topology of the node trees, e.g. by adding or removing nodes or editing links.
UDIM materials renames textures and saves them locally, and you must make sure that the UVs lie in the right tile (wrong for G81F arms and legs). Moreover, there is a problem with the bump distance, which depends on the pixel density and the mesh area covered by the texture in Iray. Hence the bump distance in Blender is different for the various skin materials. To keep the correct values, UDIM materials with different bump values must remain different, which defeats the purpose of editing all of them at once.
Some time ago Aszrael suggested a better approach: replace most of the node tree with a single node group, and only keep the textures. This node group is called a combo group and the materials that use it combo materials. We can then edit the combo group in a single place, and all combo materials are changed consistently.
Combo materials are easier to use and more powerful than the old material editor. The latter is therefore deprecated and will probably be removed in the future, perhaps by the eventual release of version 1.6.2. The only drawback with making combo materials is that they are destructive; once converted to combo materials there is no going back. It can therefore be a good idea to backup the original materials, e.g. with the Make Palette tool.