So a few days ago Massively did a masseev offer of free keys for Fallen Earth — initially one lot of 500 keys and when those vanished faster than a capybara in piranha country, they did another 500. I was lucky enough to snag a couple, one for me and one for the spousal unit; and so, almost a year and a half after our initial visit to post-Shiva virus Grand Canyon country, we went back for a visit. You can’t beat a free game and a free 30-day subscription, so EQ2 is likely to be on the sidelines for a few weeks.
Fallen Earth is very different, and yet it hasn’t changed a bit. It still looks and feels like the Fallen Earth we knew in beta, but it’s stable (yay!) and much, much prettier.
(Ignore the jaggies, I haven’t figure out how to make anti-aliasing work yet. It’s untickable in the options and my changing it in the .ini file doesn’t seem to have done anything. There must be a trick to it.)
For those who don’t know anything about Fallen Earth, it’s the Wild West meets Hobo Chic meets Mad Max meets any movie with mutants and mad scientists in. It’s set in the Grand Canyon a century or so in the future, after most of the planet has been ravaged by a virus that either kills people or turns them into various kinds of weird. Underneath the veneer of post-apocalyptic “we’re just trying to rebuild” normality you’ll see buggy-eyed creeper things that try to eat you, slavering zombie things that try to eat you, mad coyotes/rats/scorpions that try to eat you… and so on.
Being the confirmed — and unrepentant — altoholic that I am, I’ve already got 3 characters. The fighty one is Ysharros; she hasn’t really done anything yet. Then I’ve got a crafty one to play with Mort — Eloise Solclaim (a nod to my Asheron’s Call roots) — and another crafty one to play alone — Altair Jones (a nod to CJ Cherryh’s Merovingen books). The screenie below shows Ysharros; I was initially going to take out the UI bits but actually it gives a pretty good idea of what the UI looks like, so there it is.
Ysh is riding the “Old Nag” you get very early on if you do the extended tutorial, and it’s worth doing just for that reason. That said, being the craftaholics we are, Altair is already in the process of making Improved Riding Horses so within the next few hours we should have a couple of those that the alts are going to get to fight over. Old Nags are all well and good but they’re about as fuel efficient as a 1966 Cadillac.
Fighting in FE is a little awkward for someone like me. You have to get into fighting-mode (by hitting a key) and then you have a targeting circle on your screen and that’s what you use to aim at stuff, whether it’s from a distance or — like me — with a lead pipe from so close you can smell their carrion breath. I’m not so comfortable with that kind of FPS type fighting, but on the other hand it does allow for targeted hits and I guess I’m as excitable as the next person when it works. (Head shot! take that Blade Dancer bitch!)
Most of the combat I’ve engaged in has been small-fry stuff, but the occasional tougher fight has reminded me that shit can go pear-shaped really quickly in post-apoc fights. And even then it’s fun — just before she got ripped to shreds by a bunch of aggro mine creepers, Eloise yelled “Oh fuck!”, which had me laughing so hard I died sooner than I should have from not being able to run properly.
The crafting is… interesting. There’s no actual process where you sit at a crafting station and mash buttons, as in EQ2. Stuff takes a varying amount of time to make (from a few seconds to hours) and once selected it gets put into a production queue and just counts down till it’s ready. I think you can queue up something like 20 items. Production continues regardless of what you’re doing, whether you’re offline or on, and in that sense it reminds me of running factories in SWG or manufacturing orders in EVE, except that it’s based out of your inventory and not a hangar.
The newbie experience has been streamlined, though I was interested to see that South Burbs (one of the crafter starting spots) hasn’t really changed all that much in 18 months. It’s much more polished and much less buggy, but I remembered a lot of the NPCs and many of the quests as we were going through them.
So far it’s been a lot of fun. Whether we’ll sub at the end of the 30 days remains to be seen, but you’ll all be the first to know.