That’s my day 2, not the game’s day 2. Thursday we were out and about and I didn’t get a chance to play. But last night I played for 5-6 straight hours, which for me is a huge block of time. I rarely play an MMO for more than an hour straight.
I’m happy to say I didn’t experience a single crash, lag was vastly reduced (though there is still work to be done there) and spawn rates of resources and mobs seemed to be ratcheted up (or maybe folks had just moved on from the starter area).
I’m still learning, still finding my way. My character has made it to level 4. Part of the reason for his slow growth is my spending so much time crafting and learning how to do things, but part of it also seems to be a generally slower leveling pace in Fallen Earth than we’ve become used to. And this is no loot-fest. So far I’ve found a head-wrap thing, a pair of moccasins, a t-shirt and a wood plank that acts as a 2-handed club. That’s the total of dropped, usable loot so far. Mind you I’ve crafted some better items.
Crafting feels like so big a part of the game that I wonder what it’s like to play as a non-crafter. Between harvesting things, fiddling with recipes, and doing crafting-oriented quests I’d wager 70% of my play time last night was devoted to crafting. Luckily I enjoy crafting. The system here is unusual because crafting takes time. If you’ve played EVE Online, crafting here works like skill leveling there. It takes real time and you can log off and crafting will continue. At low levels most stuff is really fast, but one item I made took 10 minutes of real time (I’m told there are items that can take weeks). You can speed that up a bit by standing at a crafting station, which makes for these weird tableaus of characters standing stock still around a station for long periods of time. If you’re not in a hurry, you just start the crafting and go about your business. As you run around hunting things or doing fetch and carry quests, the crafting happens automagically in your pack. I imagine my character working on his ‘project’ during times he stops for a rest or to wait for an enemy patrol to pass by.
I still love the feeling of South Burg, the starter area I’m in. The music is right out of a western and at times the game will look like an Old West MMO. Then you’ll turn and see the sun setting behind the shattered remains of an elevated highway (see below) or an ATV will ride past, or you’ll run into a huge mutated bug. Then you remember where you are.
It’s a rich role-play environment for me. A lot of players have done a great job with their names (though it bugs me, as it always does, that “The Older Gamers” guild is here with their guild tag — it always breaks immersion for me). Most other guilds have fitting names for the setting: Soldiers of Fortune, Old Timers Guild, Rangers of the Fall…that sort of thing. Pretty small percentage of out-of-setting names, but given the world there’s a lot of leeway.
(When I say role-play, I mean my style of role-play which is probably not yours. Some day I’ll do a post on this. But I mean I ‘fall into’ the game and start thinking internally in terms of being the character, not playing a game. When a game really grabs me in this role-play way, I’ll completely forget the real world is around me. It’s being “in the zone” or “feeling Flow” or whatever you want to call it, only doing it as my character. That to me is what role-play in an MMO is all about. Your definition most certainly is very different and I understand that.)
The reticle-based combat is taking some getting used to. It isn’t as slick as the same sort of combat was in Tabula Rasa. Middle mouse button puts you into targeting mode. Buttons fire/attack. Ctrl+# switches weapons. But at the end of a battle you have to switch out of targeting mode to loot (or I haven’t found the way to do it while keeping the reticle up). It’s easy to forget to do that and shoot a round into the ground, which matters since ammo is something finite that you have to buy or make. It’s hard to hit someone right in front of you with a crossbow (my weapon of choice for now until I can get my hands on a rifle) and I’m conflicted about that. Part of me thinks that’s realistic since its a fairly unwieldy weapon and any enemy would certainly circle around you preventing you from bringing it to bear (which is what they do in game). But part of me things it’d be easy to jam the point of the bolt into a bad guy’s belly and pull the trigger.
Happy thoughts. Anyway, I do think the combat could use some on-going refinement and polish. Switching from targeting mode to non-targeting mode doesn’t feel quite as crisp as it should to me. But it gets the job done, for now.
Anyway, I need to go. I have to mine some copper in order to make myself a second zip gun, and the early scavenger catches the worm, as they say.
I still think most modern MMO players would be somewhat horrified if they tried Fallen Earth, but there seems to be a decent sized community of pre-order players in-game. (There’s only 1 server: Icarus Studios clearly knows they’re building a niche MMO.) I’m hoping there’ll be enough of a population to keep the devs in beans and bacon (or canned dogfood and green milk, to keep the terminology in-game) so they can continue to grow the game. I’d love to see housing added. In such a crafting-heavy game, being able to set up a lean-to surrounded my trip-wires and such just seems a natural fit.