Sunday, April 18

Apocalypse redux

I've been playing Fallen Earth for a week now and so far it's been a solidly fun experience.
Which is not to say the game doesn't have its flaws, but at least the clunky controls are slowly growing on me, especially after mapping the camera toggle key to a more convenient location.

This makes switching between melee and ranged combat a lot easier. Ranged really does need FPS mode for those all important head shots and for melee I at least prefer third party view. A view that's also a lot better at keeping track of where your party members are. I kept losing sight of them when in snipermode. The compass/map thingy usually isn't much help with that. Switching between 1st/3rd person perspective is very improtant, as is rapid switching between Aim and Mouse mode. In fact the game is a lot like Syncaine's favourite PvP game in some respects. Inventory management isn't quite as heinous as in that game though, and experience/levelling works a bit less like Morrowwind than that game.

The first time round when I tried the game during Beta, my L40 clone accidentally ended up outside the tutorial dam in the real game and was instantly lost and that was the end of my interest. (I did report the bug and it's no longer possible now)

The second time around I had real trouble with both the gathering and crafting systems. Mostly that it was anything but transparent for a beginner what he/she should do. I think it was trying fruitlessly to find leather skins for an afternoon, not knowing that the pile of reptile skins I had would work as well which sucked the fun out of it for me the last time. I also felt the game was just a little to drab and brown that time round. It's still drab and brown, but with the graphics updates it looks a lot better, and that's from someone just coming of a Mass Effect 2 gloriousness overdose. Like with CoX stills (screenshots) don't quite doe the graphics engine justice. Things need to move.

But back to crafting.
This time round I'm loving the crafting system with a vengeance. As reported before it's mostly a matter of finding the right ingredients for your recipes then waiting for the crafting countdown has expired and presto! You're done. The good thing about it is you can walk even run around while crafting, though you take a hit in the time it takes you to craft an item while away from proper facilities. This seems to range between 40 and 60% and may differ based upon the complexity of the item. Net result, I've hidden in dark nooks of mines to smelt some more copper bullets for my modified zip-gun because I'd run out. Yesterday afternoon for example, I was trying to find some Alpha DNA in an old mine where a cloning facility had gone haywire, spewing out ugly zombies rather than useful workforce clones like myself. The Mission required me to do several steps inside a room in order to shut down said facility, while under constant attack from the emerging zombies. Needless to say they can be very distracting and while the mission plots of Fallen Earth shine, their system of using inventory items on in-world mission targets needs work. I was there along with some other clone who'd gone in for the same reason and neither of us could find the fusebox to destroy. Eventually my ammo ran out and his blade hat already eaten his last repair kit so we aborted for the night. Actually, the Zombies overwhelmed us and we woke up in the cloning facility down the road.

Something else I noticed, most noticable with armorcrafting, is that the best way to keep your crafting skills at a useful level for your exploring is to essentially make nearly every item in your recipe list once. You get three times more XP for creating the first version of any given item than all consecutive ones. With armor crafting this means you get to look different about twice a day. Gathering the materials for the next, usually slightly better statted hacket, pants or shoes/boots keeps you busy and gaining experience. More or less the exact opposite of the darkening sackcloth till 70 approach of Age of Conan. Even when sometimes it's just a different colour texture thrown over the same dimensional mesh, it looks different and makes you look different from the orther clones, I mean drones, err players around you.

The same goes for melee weapons, ballistics, (both of which come in one-handed/dual wielding and two-handed varieties) and medicine, mutagenics, cosntruction e.t.c. In fact you can just do nothing but gather kit and craft it. Selling it can sometimes be a pain as the auction system is one area that could use more work. But you can play this game and have fun without ever picking up a quest or mission. Some are useful even for the hard-core self-sufficient crafter as some people will help you gain cheap access to recipes which can be quite expensive at times.

It's also quite possible to take the Questing/combat oriented route though. Each place has a sleuth of quest givers ranging from "kill 10 more of the bastards you had to fight through to get into town" which tend to be repeatable and quick pick me ups for a gatherer like me who'll be amongst said basterds to mine veins and search through trash. Each town or city has its own little main story line which you usually can follow as a quest-line and there's a couple of global organisations like the Franklins (the postmen) and the Bankers (vault managers) for whom you can do chores. These also serve as a good means of getting people to move around as inevitably they end up giving you a warning or some ledgers to bring to another town.

In short it's a good mix of pure snad-box and (old skool) quest driven gameplay.
I say old-skool because some of that clunkiness here and there which I mentioned harken back to nostalgic days of EverQuest, Anarchy Online and more recently Vanguard - Saga of Heroes more than the Third Gen games like WOW, WAR, AOC, CHO, STO and other acronymic titles.

Enough talking, there's surviving and dumpsterdiving to do.


  1. Some weapon combo advice from a one-week-guru:

    I like melee combat: Either 2-H or DW melee weapons and use a crossbow for Ranged. It's slow reloading so you usually don't get more than one shot of, but it's the highest damage per shot, though not in DPS but you'll want to switch to your choppers immediately anyway.

    I like ranged combat: Rigle with a two-hander for close encounters. You don't want to waste time switching to two melee weapons if the 2x4 or kendo-blade will do. When shotguns become available they're also a good close encounter option I believe.

    I like to spend half my time crafting bullets and or am too much a fan of John Woo to use anything but two pistols: Have fun crafting those bullets. If you just use the pistols, even in melee you'll run out of them 4 times as fast. Your choice.

  2. Woot! You have seen the light!

  3. Lani is back with a vengeance !

    A good read, made me want to go hit that subscription page.

    My problem was always with the dingy looking world but those screens make the game seem much more 'alive'.