I’ve played a lot of MMOs this year. Like, a lot. LOTRO, WoW, Champions, WAR, DDO, Guild Wars, City of Heroes… quite a few. And through it all, and the flexibility of just moving on to a different game when I start to feel burned out, I’ve been having one of the best years of my MMO career. Sure, I haven’t max leveled anything, but I have sorted my playtime between what is enjoyable and what is not, and as a result, I don’t feel as though I’m wasting my time as I might have done in the past.
But through all of these games, none has gotten under my skin and hooked me in that familiar, addictive, just-one-more-hour way that Fallen Earth has. I can’t explain it. It’s obviously a niche title, rough in many spots, an acquired taste, and vastly overshadowed by all of the other big titles getting press lately… but this game has captured my imagination, and I can’t help it. I didn’t have the best first day in it, since I believe Fallen Earth doesn’t impress right off the bat, but having plowed the better part of a week through the opening town and surrounding area, I’m finding so much to like about this game that it overcomes any of its shortcomings. I don’t want to gush too much, because I know how it is when you first get excited and involved with a game, but this… this has won my subscription dollars for the time being, and I’m curious to see how long it might go.
It could very well by my lifelong love for post-apocalyptic settings in video games, ranging way back to Wasteland in the 80’s and Fallout in the 90’s and 2000’s. Someone recently said that Fallen Earth feels a LOT like Star Wars Galaxies pre-NGE, and even though I never touched SWG, I can see what they’re saying. It’s not just a MMO that’s about combat, although that’s a part of it — it gives equal weight to crafting and exploration. My goals are widespread; instead of just focusing on leveling up, I’m focused on attaining wealth, scouting the land for crafting items, building up to things I really want to use and wear, and seeing what’s over that next hill. I just feel immersed in this world. Instead of the complex crafting and numerous goals pushing me away, they give me something to work toward and feel proud of when I achieve them.
The makers of the game have said that they hope Fallen Earth will mimic EVE Online’s success — a small start, growth due to word-of-mouth, and gradual recognition as a solid title. Here’s hoping, because this is a genuinely neat virtual world that I want to visit for some time to come.
If you’re in the game, drop me a line — I’m playing “Syp”.
- Decent tutorial, including an ending cutscene
- Voice-over for several NPC quest-givers
- Lots of character model options, including tattoos, piercings and scary eyeballs
- You see what weapons you’re carrying, as they hang off your toon (up to 8 of them!)
- World looks better than I expected, especially sunsets/rises
- Crafting is interesting, particularly being able to queue it up and do it on the go
- Small thing, but I really liked the hotbar icons — clean, attractive
- Funny sense of humor, particularly with mobs (“prairie chickens”)
- Great fun exploring the world – cool setting, as close as you’re going to get to a Fallout MMO for quite some time
- Very soothing, atmospheric music (like The Stand miniseries)
- Not a lot of noticeable instancing — world is connected well
- Helpful new player chat — with GM moderation!
- Choices of starting towns depending on your interest (crafting, fighting, support)
- The setting of the Grand Canyon gives the game natural boundaries that doesn’t feel contrived.
- One server, easy to find friends
- Your gear looks great on you, and you can even open/close jackets and move other items of clothing around
- Deep faction system that affects the world around you
- Passionate, friendly and very motivated dev team
- Inevitable Fallout comparisons (especially with the naming similarities), which Fallen Earth will usually fall short of
- Ugly toons – uncanny valley perhaps
- Beginning towns and maps are cluttered and confusing
- Pretty bad FPS in towns (10-15 was usual for me)
- Combat takes some getting used to
- Players tend to be pretty selfish and greedy when it comes to stealing nodes and mobs from each other
- Get stuck on terrain a lot, particularly in towns — hard to navigate over/around
- Quest text is small and easy to skip, making the stories easy to skip
- Big world means that it takes time to get places, especially to hook up to friends, and there’s no instant port back to town (unless you die)
- Some rubberbanding on enemy mobs
- Bit of a steep learning curve at first
- It’s a slower-paced game, which might be frustrating to those who demand instant action and result