I’ve been struggling over the last month or so, trying to define the ways I enjoy playing Fallen Earth and I’ve not had much luck. Maybe if I just start hitting the small points, a bigger picture will form.
I first started playing and everything was confusing. Somehow I found I enjoyed this. After all, I am a clone that just woke up and realized what is happening in the world around me. Things would be confusing. Soon I escaped from the Hoover Damn and joined the outside world.
There were a lot of quests to do but I kind of felt tired of questing so I went in to town to see if I could learn more about crafting. It didn’t take long before I was questing anyway in order to learn how to craft. It seemed more interesting as the rewards were often crafting skill books which allowed me to craft more items.
I learned quite early on that pretty much anything you need can be acquired in one of 3 ways: craft it, buy it, or gather it (harvesting or hunting). This opens up a lot of doors for playing how you want to. If you like to craft, make it. If you are in a hurry, buy it. If you want some adventure, go out and find it.
The form of currency used is poker chips which I get a kick out of. Kind of makes sense really. I earned enough chips just from harvesting around town and selling the goods in order to purchase an untrained horse which I then trained with a crafting skill. Level 2 and I have transportation, thank you very much.
In many games I learn about a large carrot that I decide to work for and then I get it and start to lose some interest. One of those large carrots for me is a mount. Having this out of the way so soon had me worried. What else would hold my interest? It was not long before I decided to cancel my account before the free time ended.
Over the next week or so, I keep sitting at my computer only to find my largest desire was to go back into Fallen Earth for some reason. I figured I better follow my wish and reactivate the account. Back in I went.
At this point I should mention how nice it is to be in a clan of helpful folks. I’m still connected in with the Casualties Guild and we had a few folks interested in Fallen Earth so I joined up with them to officially start the clan. This opens up the wonderful feature of a shared clan bank vault.
Most of my clanmates have left me in the dust but that is ok with me. I found myself enjoying the slower pace of exploration. I feel very connected with the setting. It’s a wasteland and we are all struggling to get by. I enjoy that aspect of the game so being alone just feels right.
I’ve been able to use the hand-me-downs from my clanmates and that has been really nice. I was able to equip myself up with some nice armor and weapons. By armor I mean rubber boots, brown cargo pants, t-shirt, camo jacket, goggles and a motorcycle helmet. By weapons I mean baseball bats, box cutters, carving knives, a samurai sword, paintball guns and finally an actual pistol.
I have learned how to make my own bullets so that was a big project for me. I spent some time gathering the ingredients for gun powder. After I made several batches of this, I was able to make the bullets with the gun powder and using some scrap metals. Crafting occurs in real time, but you can craft while you do anything else, including logging out. This is great for me as I can kick off a dozen sets of bullets and then log off and go to bed. When I next decide to play, the bullets are long since finished.
This brings up another thing I have enjoyed. You get XP for doing almost anything in Fallen Earth. Crafting, hunting, harvesting, etc. It all adds to your level. You get what is called “Action Points” for doing things. These points can then be spent on whatever you want to. Raise your pistols skill, armor use, or raise one of your attributes (or do all three). Your choice.
I think the biggest thing pulling me into the game is the sense of a “real world” that I get. I get on my horse and ride off into the wilderness. Come across a camp of bandits and decide I want to fight them because I can see there are a lot of scrap piles for me to dig through. Now I need to find a safe space to leave my horse, because it is attackable as well and it does not disappear into my backpack. This helps to feel more real.
I can then approach the bandit camp. Now I decide what to do. Should I start off with some ranged attacks with my pistol and then switch to my samurai sword when they close in? Should I just try to sneak in a harvest the scrap piles without them seeing me? I think the wide range of choices really appeals to me.
Eventually the camp is wiped clean and I have full packs (my horse also has a pack which I can fill up too) and head back to town. My first stop is always the bank vault to drop off any crafting goods I may want to use later. Then I sell anything that has no real use (which is not usually much). It is not unusual to also find an NPC in town that wanted me to take down the bandit boss and return with his hat to prove I did so. I already had the hat so that is an easy quest.
I enjoy heading off looking for interesting things. I’ve found an old theme park with a roller coaster. An open pit mine filled with ores to mine. Underground caves filled with strange creatures. Giant rabbits. I’m told there is a city filled with gorillas somewhere nearby. Even the quests feel different. The writing is enjoyable and I actually find myself wanting to help these folks.
I really think there is so much put in this game to help pull you into that setting that it really appeals to me. There is no zoning that I’ve encountered. There is no fast travel (yet). If I want to go check out a town on my map, it is an adventure. It’s strange because some of these same things I used to complain about. Over time, I guess I have found out that sometimes I really enjoy taking a game at a slower pace. I’m in no rush to get to some sort of end game. I’m truly enjoying the ride. Nothing so far has made me feel like I’m grinding towards some goal. Just surviving in the post-apocalypse seems enjoyment enough.
Before I go, I should probably mention some of the things that bother me. Hmm. I got nothing. Sorry.
Wait, I think I have one. The skill system is kind of strange. I would like to have my pistol skill raise when I use it, but instead I must spend Action Points to raise it. I’m a pretty big fan of the “use a skill, gain some skill” design. This seems like it would be a good game to use that system. Also, some of the animations are a little off. Oh and combat is not real exciting so far but it’s different enough that I like it. My character actually swears when she gets hit. Fun.