Posted in Fallen Earth

Fallen Earth: Week One

raiderI’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”.

POSITIVES:

  • 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

NEGATIVES:

  • 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

14 thoughts on “Fallen Earth: Week One

  1. I have to say I am intrigued by the game. Plopped down the coin last night to give it a go. Beyond CO the wife and I’s other game was LOTRO. However we both talked and admitted we have not logged into LOTRO in a few weeks with the rampant CO playing and we’re both intrigued by Fallen Earth.

    So yea, now we’re in Fallen Earth and last night was our initial foray. It’s a lot to take in at once but it was not the frustrating kind of overwhelming feeling of EVE and we’re starting to get our head around things.

  2. @ Castamere – Just stick with it, it starts to gel after a couple days. Ask tons of questions, get advice from experienced players, and feel free to drop me a line (not that I know anything spectacular). Once you’re out of the tutorial, just work on quests, and start gathering/crafting as much as possible to skill that stuff up.

    @ Werit – I know, weird. I’m taking Monday off, since I am getting no free time this weekend, so maybe I’ll see you there.

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head on the pros and cons. I killed a mob last night, a Gully Dog raider to be exact, and he was framed by the setting sun in the background. It really blew me away. Having said that, combat and the complete lack of targeting is a a big change for me, especially as I am trying to work up to use a rifle as my primary skill. The weight issue in the inventory also takes a bit of getting used to. After spending an hour or so last night combing the hills for scrap wood and scrap copper, I started making roughly 800 crossbow bolts before I logged off for the night. When I woke up, they were all there (and I was down to about 30 in my inventory) so I unloaded them out of the crafting screen right into my inventory. Apparently, 800 crossbow bolts are fairly heavy, and it took me a couple of minutes to figure out why looting was suddenly an issue. The solution was to put the vast majority of the bolts on my horse. In any event, FE is detailed and immersive and I like it. I figure out a little something new every day. I just wish there was a convenience place to go look up where to find specific crafting materials.

  4. Finding things you need gets easier over time. Just make sure you make extensive use of the map marking tools to help remember where to find what you need. I really enjoy having to find the locations where crafting goods are and marking them on my map. It really adds to the immersion for me.

  5. Having come to a place now where I have some trust and confidence in Syp’s view of the MMO world, I’m going to drop the $$ and give this one a try.

    See you in the Fallen Earth!

  6. “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.”

    This. I can’t really explain it either, especially considering the first time I tried it in OB, I didn’t like it at all. But I’m completely hooked now. I only meant to get on for about 2 hours last night, but ended up playing for 4 hours before I knew what the time was. Can’t wait until I get into the faction stuff – just gotta find me a good guild now.

    Btw I’m Llokk Lockley in-game 🙂

  7. It’s got me too.

    IMHO, the big difference is that they’ve gone for realism and meaning over player convenience. Mounts not vanishing into your pocket, no respecs, weight restrictions, “counts as” crafting components, no “click autoattack and walk away”… It all comes together to take people back to days more like EQ (although hopefully not THAT painful 🙂 where you felt like what you did mattered. For all the insane obsession people put into WoW, none of it ever matters.

    I think that EVE provides this same feeling. A game which manages to do so without the brutal, jerk-attracting PvP of EVE should, I hope, do well.

  8. Well I would not buy it atm because it would disappointment me in one month because it is lacking in the endgame part.
    Fallen Earth is not a bad game per se and honestly if you compare it to games like crimecraft or champions online it’s much better.

    Big Plus Point is the sandbox world.
    The freedom to go where you want without running all the time into walls and loading screens.

    I did have no problem in beta to run 3 alts from sector 1 to sector 2 without doing the same quest over and over again like in some other games.

    Even in sector 2, if you chose other factions and stick only to 2 friendly ones you should only redo some neutral town quest.

    Tip don’t use the atv better use the parts to craft a motorcycle and for ammo make a alt. 😉

  9. Nice list. I was a bit unsure when I started out in beta, but its turned out to be a pretty good game so far that has me intrigued. Just wish I had more time recently to devote to it.

    btw, I understand why they’re placed where they are and I get what you mean, but for me, “big world”, “steep learning curve at first” and maybe even “slower paced game” are actually positives for me. 🙂

  10. I have to admit… I’m just coming out of the tutorial and am not feeling it yet…

    But I’ll give it some more time to hook me.

  11. @ Feljin – That’s why a lot of us say to not judge the game by the tutorial. It’s just not like the rest of the game at all, and I felt the same way. I am terrifically glad I pushed myself to keep on going, because it took that second day to “get” the game.

  12. I’ve been playing the game a little over a week now, not including open beta. I tried open beta, and never got into it, and actually really disliked it. Then they had a free trial come up recently, and I really wanted to give it another chance after the new patch which was supposed to help with the learning curve.

    The new tutorial helped a bit. And giving the new players a horse to start out with was nice. Still, I didn’t feel anything playing through the tutorial, but I gave it a little more time.

    I’m still not exactly sure when it happened. Some time in my first town it probably started, but it didn’t clinch me quite then.

    I started roaming the wastes, and seeing everything, and gathering new materials, and really digging into the crafting system, which I really LOVE. I think the roaming and crafting is when it really hit, actually.

    All that to say, I think this game is really wonderful, and it’s really been enjoyable. Even additve. But that’s tempered by the type of people that seem to be drawn to this game.

    I can already see the min/maxers crawling out of the woodwork, telling people how wrong they are doing whatever they’re doing (trying to have fun, mostly), and the insulting pvpers, telling everyone how horrible they are, and to come out to fight them, etc. I had to turn off Region chat their dialog was getting so bad in one area.

    Embry chat was getting bad for a while, as well. Insults, for whatever reason (I didn’t see how the argument started) were flying wild, and new and more people were dragged into it. I turned off chat there, too.

    So while I really love aspects of the game, I kinda think this game will attract more than its fair share of mean spirited people, and it will get dragged down. It’ll capture my attention for a while, though, and I hope to enjoy it for as long as I can.

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