Fallen Earth

Sometimes I think I’d like to try more MMOs, but I’m not comfortable with the payments and subscriptions that would require, especially right at the beginning when I feel like I’ve spent enough buying the game, never mind paying again to actually use it..

I know that running servers costs money, but I can’t help but look at the sub money going out each month, imagine how much it adds up and think what else I could have spent it on.. and I also feel that once I’ve paid for my sub I really do have to play, otherwise that money is wasted.
So, I’d rather only subscribe to something I’m really going to put serious hours into..

Lucky that there are trials and betas, then 🙂

First up was Fallen Earth, which I tried out after hearing mixed comments about the game from friends.

Screenshot from the Fallen Earth website.

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where a virus and nuclear war has wiped out much of the population; the location used for the game is the Grand Canyon.  Radioactive storms and mutated animals prevent any contact with the outside world, and so a variety of different factions are vying for control of this area.  You can join any faction, and switch later if you wish.  Thumbs up for player choice 😉

Rather than choosing a class to begin with, you develop your character by assigning points to various skills or attributes, with points being gained as you level up.  You can choose a role, such as Melee or Rifleman, and then the system will suggest where you should place your points, but the choice is left up to the player.  I like being given the freedom, though without knowing which skills and attributes to improve, it’s possible to waste points, and unfortunately there is no way of re-assigning points.. a big problem if you decide later on that you’d rather play a different way.

There’s also a decent amount of character customisation with facial features, choice of hairstyle, colours, tattoos and piercings.. but not quite enough to make up for the dodgy underwear..
All the options for pants on females left jagged, painted on thong lines visible above the waistband!  Personally, I think if you can’t make something like this look good you really should just leave it out..  I’m guessing they wanted to go for sexy, but this just looked rough.  I’d also have liked the option to not have my underwear on display too 😉

Once you’ve set up your character you start off in the tutorial area, with points being explained as you go along, although I found some explanations seemed to come after I’d actually figured them out for myself.  The last part of the tutorial area was fun, though, with some combat, a vehicle, an explosion, and subsequent revival by the Lifenet team.

While all the customisation is a huge positive, I noticed some fairly large let-downs too, the first of which was the animations.  In particular, the running animation made it look like I was gliding across the floor rather than actually running.  While the animations in something like WoW are fairly simple, they don’t seem out of place with the style of the game – but when I’m in a realistic-looking world, I do expect more realistic-looking animations.

Another annoyance was the combat mode, which you have to enable to shoot or hit your target.  This didnt seem so bad until I realised that I couldn’t do any other action, such as looting, without first coming out of combat mode.  Once out in the wilds and getting jumped on it got really annoying as the first instinctive attempt to hit the mob failed; being attacked doesn’t enable combat mode, instead you have to stop and press the combat button first.. urgh.

More player choice came in the sheer number of available quests which seemed capable of having you go off in any direction at all.  For getting around, I was given a horse.  The starter horse was slow, but definitely useful as there was a lot of ground to cover.  I ended up losing my horse around town a few times, but if you leave the horse behind somewhere, you can  have it summoned back for a small fee.

Vehicle mounts were available through crafting.. though I didn’t get far enough into the game to see for myself.
I grabbed this from the wallpapers section of the site.. if I’d seen this earlier I might have been tempted to push on with the game as this might have been fun..

While player choice is often lacking, Fallen Earth went a bit crazy and gave us loads..
However, too much choice can be a bad thing.. especially when it’s not clear what you’re choosing.

The professions were presented all at once and before I’d really seen anything beyond the tutorial area, so I didn’t have any idea what might be a good choice.  I’d much rather have had them introduced to me one or two at a time, once I’d been out in the world and seen what was going on.

Worse than this though: I was shown how to collect what seemed like every item which may ever have a use in the game.

For me, the ability to collect everything is bad as it means I do collect it, and this just resulted in my bags getting full very quickly.  As almost every item I’d collected or looted was marked as a “tradeskill components”, I couldn’t tell which were useful or valuable, and which I should just vendor.

Hmm, either break my immersion in the game by reading a webpage, carry a massive pile of useless ‘useful’ stuff around, or sell the lot and ignore the trades completely?  Instead of marking all the items as “tradeskill components” it would have been much more useful to leave something in the description to indicate what it might be for.. icons for the relevant professions maybe.. or just leave that particular note off and save the hassle.

I didn’t get too far into the game.. partly put off by this, and partly because I got my hands on the Beta for another game which I’ll post about soon.

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