10 Reasons To Check Out Fallen Earth

FactionRelationships4-smallI still don’t know what compelled me to dive into yet another MMO — this brings my concurrent MMO games up to 4, for those counting at home — and I had a bit of buyer’s regret the other morning when I realized that Fallen Earth wasn’t exactly cakewalk.  I felt way in over my head, swimming in a sea of unanswered questions, desperate for a life preserver of direction to be tossed to me.  I thought, for sure, this wasn’t the best idea, but I’ll give it a few good days’ worth of play to make sure.

So glad I did.  SO glad.

I’m not going to go overboard (stop with the ocean metaphors already, Syp!) by saying this is the BEST. GAME. EVER., but it is the truth that I’ve gotten so sucked into FE that the hours have flown (sailed?) by.  It might be rough around the edges, complex and more sandbox-y than theme park-y, but it’s also addicting, compelling and different, and those are three wonderful qualities of a MMO.  Questions have been either figured out or answered by helpful players (there’s a “new advice” chat channel where Q&As are non-stop), and I’ve gone from being a clueless wanderer in the post-apocalyptic desert to a weekend warrior with a headwrap, duster jacket, and a really nasty iron poker that I proudly built from scratch.

As Fallen Earth launches later today after the new patch, I wanted to share some of my reasons, and my fellow clannies’ reasons, just what makes Fallen Earth tick for us.

1. The Setting

Fallen Earth is just about as close to a Fallout MMO as you’re likely to see for some time, and while it certainly shares traits with its big brother, it’s its own setting as well.  The post-apocalyptic world of FE is refreshingly different than most other MMOs out there, a blend of recognizable artifacts of the 20th and 21st centuries and an Old West spirit. It’s a bleak world in many ways, but also an alive one full of weirdness and wonder.

2. Crafting

If you love crafting in MMOs, then Fallen Earth is your personal nirvana.  If you haven’t loved crafting in MMOs, Fallen Earth might just win you over anyway, as it has me.  Scavenging for raw materials is an ongoing activity in a fallen world, and it just seems right to use all of this junk to make usable items, since it’s not like a big corporation somewhere is manufacturing guns and ammo.  Fallen Earth proclaims that 95% of usable/equippable items can be player-made, and usually anything crafted is better than what you’ll find on a dead corpse.  It’s amazing how broad and deep the crafting system goes, and I give the game huge thumbs up for being able to queue up crafting jobs that your character works on even as you’re running around fighting — or are offline.

3. Exploration

At first, your desire is to stay close to your starter town and not go very far, but sooner or later you’ll wander off the path enough just out of sheer curiosity of what that structure is, or where this might take you.  Fallen Earth is simply a huge, huge game, and one could easily get lost (in a good way!) traversing the landscape and poking around for hidden treasure.  Last night, we had a group of clannies who discovered an old mine that was full of zombies, and dedicated themselves to clearing the infestation.  Wasn’t part of a quest or anything, it was just there.

4. Character Progression Freedom

Fallen Earth’s “classless” system is a tad confusing at first — and I say “classless” because you level up attributes and skills separately, but there are still primary roles you can build toward — but I’m totally digging games where I’m not being held by the hand, but given the choice of how I want to develop.  Even though there are levels in FE, you get AP (advancement points) far more often, for doing everything from quests to scavenging to crafting to combat, and can spend those on the fly to beef up your dude or dudette.

5. Easter Eggs

I’m not in the spoiler business, but I will concede that Fallen Earth is absolutely rife with little bits of easter egg details, rewarding those who poke around and observe closely.  You will see pop culture references to just about everything imaginable, and it’s always a little giddy thrill of delight when one is discovered.

6. Choice of Starter Town

I went into Fallen Earth practically cold, and wasn’t expecting the game to give me a choice of a starter town after the tutorial based on my field of interest.  There are six starter towns, two that have a crafting emphasis, two for combat, and two for support (although all of the towns include a mix of these features).  I chose a crafting starter town to get a lot of free recipes from quest rewards, but will eventually be working my way through all of the towns to see what there is to see.

7. Combat

Combat in FE is that pseudo-real time clickie action that I’m familiar with in, say, DDO.  Stats run under the hood, but you just aim at a bad guy and swing or shoot away.  At first, I found that having to switch to aiming mode each and every combat session a bit awkward, but I adjusted, and once I discovered that you had a ton of potential action bar moves and buffs to use (you have to manually put them on your hotbar), combat really opened up.  One of the things I love is having up to 8 weapons available for use at any one time, giving you the option to switch on the fly if you want to go from a ranged weapon to a melee item, and so on.

8. Personality and Humor

Near the starter town that I’m at, Midway, there’s a cult of technology worshippers called the Found, who have shrines devoted to cell phones, and are led by a matronly type known as Mother Board.  Their single-minded adulation of all things tech provides a lot of snarky little NPC comments, and I had a couple good chuckles as I went through their base.  This is pretty much standard for a lot of the areas, as black humor and oddball goofiness pervade the post-apocalyptic atmosphere, and I really wasn’t expecting to be so entertained by it.  Hey, when a game has giant mutant hermit crabs who use rubbermaid trash cans for shells, it’s won me over in part already.

9. Make Your Own Content

While Fallen Earth isn’t a true sandbox — there is a definite sense of zone progression and loads of quests — it carries on in the sandbox style nonetheless.  And that means that you are not bound to either grinding mobs or running quests, but free to explore, or craft, or choose whatever goal you’d like for that evening’s play session.  That sense of openness is a bit daunting, but also liberating.  As a friend put it, you might decide that tonight, your goal is to obtain a horse for a mount.  So you’ll want to get the requisite crafting skills, gather up enough money and odd parts, and then put yourself to work crafting it together.  Nobody gives you that for a quest — it’s just self-made, and more satisfying for it.

10. Factions

Fallen Earth has six factions, each of whom offer a different emphasis, benefits, allies and enemies.  It’s all presented with a nifty Trivial Pursuit wheel, where your faction “slice” has two allied factions (on either side), one arch-enemy (directly across), and two enemy factions.  I haven’t gotten into working toward any of the factions yet, although I’m thinking Tech for my guy (pistols and nifty nano-technology).  But this is deep PvE stuff, right here, a faction system that isn’t just grinding out a long bar until a vender opens up for you, but a faction system that changes how the world reacts to you, for better or worse.


23 thoughts on “10 Reasons To Check Out Fallen Earth

  1. Sleepysam September 22, 2009 / 8:23 am

    You seem pretty excited. It will be interesting to see if FE dominates your attention going forward.

  2. pitrelli September 22, 2009 / 9:14 am

    Hmm I dont even have enough time to fit in champions never mind adding a third mmo. Still you have made it sound interesting so I may just have to dig up some info on it.

  3. Regis September 22, 2009 / 9:22 am

    “As a friend put it, you might decide that tonight, your goal is to obtain a horse for a mount. So you’ll want to get the requisite crafting skills, gather up enough money and odd parts, and then put yourself to work crafting it together.”

    You can craft a horse? o.O

    But really, it sounds interesting. I love Fallout so I will probably check this MMO out.

  4. Scott September 22, 2009 / 9:26 am

    As a friend put it, you might decide that tonight, your goal is to obtain a horse for a mount. So you’ll want to get the requisite crafting skills, gather up enough money and odd parts, and then put yourself to work crafting it together. Nobody gives you that for a quest — it’s just self-made, and more satisfying for it.

    But is the information regarding exactly which crafting skills, etc. readily available in the game itself or is going out of the game and Googling or forum searches required?

    Or at least, is there an in-game browser? I get really tired of info being so hidden that I have to leave the game to get it. That was one thing a decade ago, but that time has passed for me.

  5. Atnor September 22, 2009 / 9:37 am

    Yeah, after playing in both betas, I find myself looking more forward to playing FE over Aion. Not the result I was expecting, but a pleasant surprise. 🙂

    Really like your list. Especially agree with “large world” and “good crafting”. Coming off Vanguard, those are two things I have been missing in some of these new games. I do miss the mini-game system VG had for crafting, but the real-time thing makes up for it just a bit…

    Everything I read about FE really concentrates on the crafting system, which i really like, but I’m still wondering how the “end game” higher level stuff is. Is it more PvP oriented? Raid/gear oriented? I’m still gonna play it a lot I think, but I’m curious about what I’m exploring and building towards…

  6. Ganabul September 22, 2009 / 9:47 am

    Syp often seems excited 🙂

  7. Syp September 22, 2009 / 10:01 am

    @ Ganabul – I am often excited. Right now I’m having more fun in MMORPGs since probably 2005 or 2006. There’s just so much GOOD stuff out there that I’m happy I don’t have to settle for anything mediocre (now, with wings!).

    @ Atnor – Pretty much our whole clan said something to the effect of “I wasn’t really following this game or expecting anything, and then it just bowled us over.” Which is awesome word of mouth praise. I have no idea what the end game is like, but I am certain that both PvP and PvE stuff factor in.

    @ Scott – I didn’t have to look up anything outside of the game for the horse, I just went to the horse trainer, purchased the first set of recipes, then went about gathering items up for them. Fairly simple. But I think there’s a lot of room for informational improvement, because I’ve had to ask a lot and hunt around a lot figuring things out.

    @ Regis – You really just “train” a horse, but it’s in the crafting panel. There are lots of varieties and upgrades of horses, as well as ATVs, dune buggies, cars, etc.

  8. Monis September 22, 2009 / 10:22 am

    Sounds really interesting Syp. I’m loving CO a lot though now, not playing a whole whole lot, but that’s mainly because college is being mean and taking a bat to my free time. But that’s why I’m liking CO, it doesn’t really matter if I can’t play a lot. Anyway, back to Fallen Earth. Looks really interesting, but does it require a good amount of time in each play session to really get anything out of it? I usually find myself with maybe 2 or 3 nights a week where I find myself with enough time to play an MMO, is that enough to progress and have fun in this game? I have a 6 month sub for CO, so I CAN sub to Fallen Earth, just wondering if I should lol.

  9. Ysharros September 22, 2009 / 10:40 am

    Damn you, I can feel myself getting sucked in. My SuperPower this year is “Refuse MMO lure”!

    As far as that goes, blogs are my kryptonite. 😐

  10. Syp September 22, 2009 / 10:53 am

    @ Monis – I’m pretty much in the same boat as you, with the pre-paid 6 month Champions thing. Honestly, what I like is that I have options for two different styles of PvE play. Champions is all about instant gratification and ease; Fallen Earth is about long-term goals and making steps along the way. I don’t think you have to play FE for any major amount of time before feeling as though you’ve accomplished something, since many quests are short, crafting is ever-present, as is scavenging and exploring. It IS nice that you can set up the crafting queue to work even when you’re offline, so you’re getting something done in the game even if you can’t log on.

  11. Taint September 22, 2009 / 11:03 am

    I love Champions and I am going to play it for a long time to come, but I hit the 30-32 mark on my main and stalled out due to lack of quests. I became a little frustrated with grinding, so I wandered over to the FE website, pre-ordered, got in the game last weekend, and loved every minute of it. Its been awesome – I know nothing about anything about FE, and I have just figured it out as I have played. I think I made some mistakes in the attribute department, but it clearly has not stopped progression. I am dying to get to a point where I can buy, equip, and/or craft a rifle. FE has far exceeded my expectations.

  12. thecoke September 22, 2009 / 11:17 am

    This game reminds me of the old PnP game Twilight 2000

  13. moxie September 22, 2009 / 11:23 am

    So… just so I’m clear, is crafting a major focus of the game? Are you able to level thru crafting? Would it be feasible to primarily be a crafter at the expense of PvE (or do minimal PvE)? Or is crafting still a means to an ends (being prepared for raiding/instances)?

    Of course most MMOs you are a combatant first, crafter second, and usually then just to supplement your chosen class and (if you’re lucky) make a little cash on the side. It would be nice to see a game where both crafting and combat have their place, perhaps good crafters would be weaker in combat, but be stronger in other skills that were desirable to have around.

  14. Syp September 22, 2009 / 11:38 am

    @ Moxie – You can and do get experience from salvaging and crafting, which is cool, but you don’t HAVE to craft. But yes, it is a major part of the game. I don’t think you can solely level up just through it, because it’s interconnected with exploring and fighting to get resources. I do think you can be a primary crafter, since there are several builds to help support that.

  15. Syp September 22, 2009 / 11:39 am

    @ Taint – See, what you said is exactly what I and others have experienced. And happy surprises are good surprises!

  16. Rog September 22, 2009 / 11:53 am

    With all of the good reception, Fallen Earth is definitely on my try-down-the-road list. I’m gonna wait out a bit tho and hopefully it’ll be nicely robust by the time I get around to it.

    If I split MMOs right now, my gf and guildmates would probably drop me down a dark deep hole.

    I hope Fallen Earth does well in the meantime tho. I’m tempted to shell for the box just to support them and open it later.

  17. Stogrim September 22, 2009 / 12:35 pm

    FE is an explorers paradise. Originally I was not interested in this game, but i broke down and bought it on Friday. Since then I have not logged into LOTRO or CO. The game has a slower pace, but takes a lot more thought and planning.

    So far I am enjoying, the process of crafting in real-time and planning my character development (no respecs for mispent points). For some insane reason I enjoy the persistent mount that will not go into your pocket and having to decide which scrap to keep and which to vendor do to weight/space restrictions.

    I can’t wait to see how the faction system works out. Still deciding between Vistas or Enforcers. My stat choices will probably decide which faction I choose.

  18. moxie September 22, 2009 / 1:02 pm

    Sounds interesting. I can’t take on another MMO right now, but I’ll keep an eye out for any free trials in the future. 😉

  19. Victor Stillwater September 22, 2009 / 7:10 pm

    Since I don’t have the means with which to purchase this, I hope you don’t mind if I live vicariously through your adventures. 🙂

  20. Victor Stillwater September 22, 2009 / 7:12 pm

    Hey Syp… I’m not sure, but I think my replies are being caught by the spam filter. Having this issue with multiple blogs I comment on, I think.

    Anyway, great write-up. Hope to live vicariously through you!

  21. Monis September 23, 2009 / 12:32 am

    I caved, bought the client, downloading now.

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