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Fallen Earth – Not Your Kids MMO

I have to start by saying that I’ve been in a MMO funk lately. I’ve played WoW since its launch, dabbled with many others; Lord of the Rings Online, Runes of Magic, Eve Online, Anarchy Online, Aion, Rift and others that I’ve already forgotten.  None of these have captured my attention or had me running home every day to login for my evening MMO fix like WoW did in its early days.  Unfortunately WoW has become, in my opinion, just too easy mode and dumbed-down for me to stay interested any longer.  I am anxiously awaiting the release of the Star Wars MMO and The Secret World, but neither have announced release dates.  So what can I do until then to get my MMO fix?  Fallen Earth from Reloaded Productions (formally by Icarus Studios LLC and Fallen Earth LLC) has not only satisfied my craving, it may very well be my next “WoW”.

Fallen Earth is set in post-apocalyptic Arizona, using real-world topographical maps of 1000 square kilometers of terrain near the Grand Canyon. The story begins  in the 21st Century, when the first in a series of natural disasters hits the United States. As Americans struggle to recover, an investment tycoon named Brenhauer buys a controlling stake in a mega-corporation named GlobalTech. By 2051, he moves his headquarters to the Grand Canyon Province, where GlobalTech eventually creates a self-sufficient economic and military mini-state. Meanwhile, in India and Pakistan, the Shiva virus, named for the dance-like convulsions that it caused in its victims, appears among the human populace. As the infection starts to spread, countries accuse each other of engineering the virus. Political paranoia turn to open aggression and nuclear conflict. The nuclear conflict combined with the virus devastates the planet. Less than one percent of Earth’s population survived the Fall, and the Hoover Dam Garrison and Grand Canyon Province are the only known outposts of human civilization.

Source: wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallen_Earth

 

Fallen Earth Character Creation Screen

Like all MMOs, the game begins with character creation.  Nothing amazing here: facial features, hairstyles and color, skin color, body and facial hair, arm and leg tattoos, facial tattoos and piercings, and makeup.  Finishing it all up by picking a name, which can be a first and last name if you want, before entering into the game world.

Following character creation you are taken through a short tutorial that introduces you to not only the controls but also a bit of character history.  Fallen Earth does not have a fixed class system and no cookie cutter build sheets for you to utilize to produce your L33T DPS Huntard!  Character development is skill-based with emphasis on flexibility.  Like traditional RPGs you have your stats (Str, Int, Dex, etc) that affect your trade-skills as well as mutation-based skills.  Throughout the leveling process players are awarded “Advancement Points (APs) which can be used to increase skill points or boost attributes.  For those that need a bit of guidance, there is the possibility to select a general character type (Melee, Crafter, Healer, Rifleman, etc) which then provides details for how to best allocate your points.

Combat is not the typical WoW “Tab-Target”, start your spell rotation, loot and repeat.  Fallen Earth combat is done primarily in first-person shooter fashion with the mouse becoming your weapon targeting and using the left or right mouse clicks to perform your attack blows.  If you have a scope on your weapon you can right-click to get the target in your sites before popping off a head-shot.  As the target charges you and gets within melee range you can “Control-#” (depending on the weapon slots you’re using)  to switch to your melee weapon and finish taking care of business.  You also have your mutations, defensive maneuvers and postures to bring more tactful solutions to combat scenarios instead of an all out button smasher approach.

For me where this game really shines is the crafting system.  Not because its so innovative or earth shattering.  It shines because it makes sense.  You’re in a world that is rebuilding after an apocolypse, people have to survive and to do that they have to learn to provide for themselves.  I wasn’t a big crafter in WoW, actually I would almost say I hated it.  In Fallen Earth I spend most of my time crafting; trying to gather chemicals to make various medicines and bandages, scrounging for materials to build ATVs, guns and my toon’s cool new duds.  There is no instance for me to run a few times to get the standard “blues” or epics.

Since the game is still very new to me I can’t yet comment or offer a review of “end game” content, factions and PVP.  I’m sure many readers just let out a big sigh of disgust with thoughts of “WTF, what the hell is the point of this review then?!”.  If this was any other game I think I’d have the same reaction but for some reason, while in the world of Fallen Earth, I just don’t care.  I am enjoying the play experience so much, the wondrous post apocalyptic world surrounding me, that I haven’t even thought about the end game.  I didn’t even know the level cap until reading the wiki while researching for this article!   Thats pretty much how I felt back in the day when I first started playing vanilla WoW, I was just enjoying a new innovative game.

I’m so glad I revisited this game since its come such a long way.  Having recently been taken over by GamersFirst, it is planned to become a hybrid Free2Play game later this year which will hopefully bring new life to the game.  I’m paying to play and plan to keep on that way even after the change over simply because I enjoy it so much and want to show my support for the game.  According to the developer’s blog, the price of subscription will drop to around $10 for those choosing to subscribe as apposed to the limited free2play path.

I should mention in closing that I took part in the first closed beta testing of this game back in February 2009, but I didn’t realize the potential of the game at the time.  It was still pretty rough around the edges and the starting area, as I remember it, wasn’t too user friendly.  I have to admit I also felt the cost of the game and monthly subscription fees were too high compared to the other games available at that moment.  The current version of Fallen Earth is definitely not the one I played in beta, this game has evolved and deserves a good look from MMO players seeking something new.

So find the Mad Max in you, put on your leather and jump in your interceptor… The wastelands of the Grand Canyon are waiting for you!

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