Fallen Earth is a first person shooter MMO set in a post apocalyptic world. I had completely missed this game and searching our forum, I only found a single thread about it when it was in early Beta and the game did not spark any interest back then.
I decided to give the trial a go since I had nothing else to do and because I had just thought about playing a bit of STALKER so I was really in the mood for some radiation poisoning.
First impressions were not so good. The controls felt a little jerky and many of the controls were not setup in the standard way I was used to. The graphics did not feel really awesome and the UI looked a bit old and simple, although functional.
If this would have been a standard generic fantasy MMO, I would have shut it down about now because it did not uphold the standards we are used to from new AAA fantasy MMO titles, this felt much more in the same ballpark as Age of Conan or Darkfall - meaning not polished enough and lacking in some art departments.
However, this game was something totally new, so many things are different that a well seasoned MMO veteran like myself have to re-learn even many of the basics.
I decided to give the game a few more hours and finished the tutorial which ended in a very nice cinematic that breathed new hope into me.
When the cinematics were done I changed around in my key mappings and enabled "auto first-person" so that my view switches into first person mode when in combat mode (when you draw your weapon/gun) which made the game feel much more like an FPS instead of clunky console port. It should be noted that I HATE playing shooter games in third person, but I always, always play MMOs in third person due to the visual advantage of the battlefield and ones surroundings. So, immersion or tactical advantage I went with the immersion and haven't looked back.
The game is based heavily into crafting and self sufficiency, something that falls well in line with the post-apocalyptic setting. If I had known this before trying the game, I would most likely not even installed the trial, since I hate crafting and picking flowers and skinning bunnies. I want to fight and I want to fight in a group with friends against other people.
So, here I was, all alone in a crafting game I bit the sour apple and started mining a little bit of copper to replenish my ammunition.
Little did I know, that this simple first step into Fallen Earths crafting system would suck me in completely. Everything you do in the game strengthens your character, there is constanly carrots everywhere - skin that damn rabbit, pick that flower, mine that copper and everything can almost directly be put into use in one of the 10 different crafting disciplines and after 10 minutes, I had made myself a new weapon to use in my survival of the harsh world that nuclear power created.
As you join the game, you automatically join a help channel, which is filled with newbies and other helpful veterans as well as in-game GMs that moderate and help out with tips and tricks. Having most recently played Heroes of Newerth, it was amazing to see people being helpful and really going out of their way to answer questions, no matter how silly they were. Generally when I start a new game, I disable all global chats and hide in the safety of our guildchat, but after 50 hours played, I still have the help chat enabled and read it frequently for tips and to ask for helpful advice. Very strange with polite people in an MMO, haven't seen that since like, 2000 in EverQuest where only old really nerdy people played. Also interesting to see the GMs (reminds me of the EQ guide system) talk to the players directly instead of only through some CSR system. I usually don't care much about customer support, since I have given up hope about that a long time ago, but it was still really nice to see. It as also refreshing to see every 10 minutes there was a new player that joined the game and asked the same questions everyone else before him had asked - me, I get annoyed, but the helpful veterans and GMs just keep answering them with a smile, feeling all altruistic. Yuck, can't they act properly and be old, jaded arrogant sods like me?
The game is complicated but not hard, there is tons of information to process, but you can do so at your own pace, there is no rush and you never feel like a powerless newbie, just a survivor among the rest.
You can tell that the game did not have a 100 million dollar budget, but you can also tell that they have not really tried to overreach. Sure, there are a few things I would have wished to be more polished, but as I keep playing, I forget about them, get used to them and then just explore and marvel at how fresh an MMO can feel, even after my 11 years as an MMO gamer.
After the past few years of WOW clones and wannabees, this felt really really good and definitely gave me a little hope in the genre again.
Fallen Earth is definitely not a mainstream tripple A title, but it's a very interesting game with many new takes on MMO design and those constantly appearing carrots and character progressions that just keep coming, may it be a pair of new shoes, a new glove you crafted, or just those skill points that keep ticking in, it just draws me in with the most basic of game principles.