Posted in Fallen Earth

My top 10 Fallen Earth adventures

If you’re a more modern reader of Bio Break, then you might be completely ignorant that for a good long while, I had a big crush on Fallen Earth. I *loved* this post-apoc MMO in a way that went above and beyond most games. I loved its humor, setting, freedom, and focus on exploration. But I also drifted away, in part because of its fading prospects following a horrible free-to-play conversion and subsequent mishandling.

I had hope that new owner Little Orbit would be able to do something good with the game, especially considering that its staff seems to have come to really like it, but it’s a tall order to sort out the mess of Fallen Earth’s code and performance. They’re trying, bless them, but it’s not enough to keep the game going. So Little Orbit is shutting it down next month with the hope that they can create a revised version to relaunch down the road. If they do that, I vow I will be there on day one.

In the meanwhile, I thought this occasion and Fallen Earth’s 10th anniversary would be a good one to go back through 140 or so blog posts I’ve written and pull out some of my favorite adventures from the past.

1. Finding your place in the world: “That said, one of the more valid criticisms levied at Fallen Earth is that the starting experience is simply too wide, too inscrutable and too bewildering for some players.  You learn as you go, for sure, but the problem is that you can make a few regrettable errors at the start that you will kick yourself for later.”

2. My biggest fear in Fallen Earth: “Okay, now, normally my response to ants is a gentle amusement and wonder as to what these socially-minded insects can do, and a deep assurance that I’m able to crush half their tribe with one well-placed footstep if I’m of the mind to do so. But in Fallen Earth?  There’s simply nothing more terrifying in the wasteland than these six-legged terrors.”

3. Off the beaten path: “In Fallen Earth, I have fully surrendered to the Explorer gene.  I am about the worst leveler in the world — I think I’m poking around level 24, up from level 20 around Christmas — because whenever I start to do a quest, something catches my eye and I have to go see what it is.  Before I know it, I’m about six miles away from my horse and not caring whatsoever.”

4. Wasting time in the wastelands: “It’s small things, like being able to go in a majority of the structures — something most MMOs, strangely enough, deny to the player.  Or the funny voice quotes, or the fact that the game really isn’t about combat as it is a journey.”

5. An-ti-ci-pa-tion: “Fallen Earth.  I can’t seem to stop playing it.  It’s haunting my dreams, even. I think that after a year-plus in mostly fantasy worlds, it’s wonderfully freeing to be running around in a semi-contemporary environment (if one can include mutated chickens and ants in that statement), enjoying the lack of elves and exploding particle effects.”

6. One man’s junk is another man’s fortress: “The Junk Fortress is no small theme park funhouse; it’s actually a large, sprawling underground parking garage-turned-HQ for the Blade Dancers, a faction you end up fighting all across southern S1.  Mobs are in high density, and if you’re at-level, you should definitely bring friends.”

7. Adjusting to free-to-play: “Another change with the update is the addition of the wardrobe (cosmetic outfit) system.  Great to have it, but I was really let down to see that you have to buy, with reward points, each slot.  So free players aren’t going to have this, and even subscribers are going to need to purchase a few if they want the fluff.”

8. Gil and Rufus: “Fallen Earth NPCs are downright hilarious to observe, particularly since many of them have scripted conversations and actions that unfold if you stop to watch.”

9. A horse and a girl: “My recent return to the post-apocalyptic Grand Canyon of Fallen Earth has been slow-going but oddly satisfying.  I don’t craft in any other MMOs at the moment, but I can’t resist doing so in this game.  There’s something very compelling about constantly harvesting and queuing up recipes.”

10. It’s like riding a post-apocalyptic bike: “Back when I first started playing Fallen Earth, it took a long time before you were able to make and use guns (I think the default ranged weapon back then was a pathetic crossbow). Now the game dumps a wide selection of weapons in your inventory and lets you start shootouts the second you are able to craft ammo.”

One thought on “My top 10 Fallen Earth adventures

  1. Oh Fallen Earth. How i tried to really like you. I also still have interesting memories of it. I was there during the beta. Hardly an hour passed without reading on the global chat “I went through the desert on a horse with no name”. And i also remember how often other players contacted me for help. By pure chance, i created a character which had the first 4 letters the same as the head of community supports character. Which means that i said something on chat, people who just had a problem missidentified the name and contacted me for GM support.

    Unfortunately this also leads into the first big problem i had with the game. At the end of the beta i had over 700 bug reports on my name. All of them in the first zone and the first quarter of the second zone. I didn’t get further, due to frequent character resets. Many of those bug reports were smaller things, but there also was a number of gamebreakers in there. And they just did not get fixed. Then came life, the bugs in the first area still were there and unfixed. But I reached the second half of the second zone. Where few people ever made it during all the beta phases, due to all the character resets. And the bug ratio just skyrocketet.

    So really, all the bugs and issues after a certain point just drained all the fun out of the game. Before even looking at the crafting and inventory system. Either of them by itself could have been fine. Crafting was a bit basic. Not as creative as SWG, it was just “gather 5 of this and 10 of that, go to a station craft”. It basically was the cheap and simply system known from WoW and copied many time, but in this case with massive crafting times, based on RL time. So it wasn’t uncommon for a crafter to find that he ran out of ammo and creating new ammo requires several hours of crafting time. As the timer continued to run while not logged into the game, he queued his ammo production, logged off early and went to another game.

    The problem was further reinforced by the weight based inventory system. The crafter had to put his stats into intelligence and dexterity. Which pushed him into guns, while limiting melee capabilities and carrying capacity. As ammo also was heavy the crafter might even have created plenty of ammo in preparation. But he had to leave some at the bank, instead of taking it along.

    I very much remember when somebody asked for help on the Jailhouse mission. We went in there, four of us, all packing and ready to go. We knew the place was big, so we loaded up till our characters were moving at crawling speed. After like 15 minutes our characters speed was already getting better. Till we reached the destination in there, we already started sharing ammo. For the way out, we tried to clear our way with some low quality melee weapons. We all went to the cloning system in the end.

    That’s just one strong example, and crafters generally suffered from the weight system. Whatever you wanted to buily, you had to collect materials and carry them home. And due to the weight based inventory system, carrying home bigger ammounts of material really got complicated. The heavier you burdened your character, the slower you moved. To make things worse, the crafter had to spend points in crafting related stats. Which was not strenght. Which cut down on carrying capacity.

    A number of those problems could have been fixed easily. Faster crafting for ammo. Less ammo weight. Perhaps also looking at the Neocron example. Neocron had similar things, highly specialized crafters, weight based inventory. Yet groups were able to sustain themselves much better, as the crafter/recycler was able to turn junk into ammo in limited time without needing a crafting station.

    It was suggested even at that time. The developers stated that they would not do that. They wanted ammo capacity to matter, to force people to adjust and plan ahead. Unfortunately between many hours hours of crafting time, harsh limits to carrying capacity and ammo being heavy, the adjustment of most players pretty soon was “now log off and play something else”. And if a game repeatedly tells you that you should log off again in limited time, there are more welcoming games out there who then get their time to shine.

    So all in all, Fallen Earth had a great scenario and some really interesting ideas. But its high bug density and too much emphasis on offline play, pushing players to other games, just was a very bad combination. They made sure that the game never really had a chance. 😦

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