The world of multiplayer online games are filled with Elves, Gnomes and other fantasy creatures, but you won’t find so much as a hobbit in Fallen Earth. Fallen Earth is a post apocalyptic game set in and around the Grand Canyon in 2155. The world as we know it is gone, a victim of a world wide plague and nuclear war. Humanity is on the brink of destruction and its last remnants have carved out a home in the wastelands of the Grand Canyon. The last humans share this territory with mutated versions of familiar animals and humans. You, the player, are a clone, part of a plan to ensure the survival of the human race.
Besides the non fantasy setting one of the biggest changes between Fallen Earth and traditional MMORGS is the combat system. Fallen Earth uses a system similar to a first person shooter. No auto attack or target locks, this is aim and fire, even when using melee weapons. Head shoots do up to double damage, while glancing blows do a fraction of it. Weapons in Fallen Earth fall into three classes rifle, pistol and melee. Rifles are deadly from range but impose a defense penalty at close quarters. Melee weapons are deadly in close but offer a very short range of attack. Pistols offer less range than a rifle, less speed than a melee but without the defense penalties. Weapons in all three classes vary from primitive to high tech modern ones.
Players start the Fallen Earth with simple clothing as armor and weapons as primitive as a wooden board and lead pipe. At higher levels, depending on the choices you make with skill points, you might be decked out in high tech Kevlar and carrying a mini gun. The game is classless and any character can use any weapon or armor if the skills are distributed right. There are a limited number of skill points which force players to make choices. Go down one limited skill set completely for a weapons master or spread them among all skills to be a jack of all trades, master of none.
The crafting system in Fallen Earth is complex but not as tedious as in many games. All crafting is done in real time and can be done in the background while the player engages in other activites. Load your crafting que and you can even craft while off line. Almost any item you can use in Fallen Earth can be player crafted. This includes everything from weapons to mounts. As your skill level increases you can construct more advanced items. Once your skill level is high enough to attempt a recipe, the combine is no fail. This makes crafting much less tedious and expsnsive which is good because money is scare in Fallen Earth.
Players in Fallen Earth also have a choice of mounts each with strengths and weaknesses. Players can have up to five different mounts and can choose from horses, ATVs, motorcycles and automobiles. Like almost everything else in game these can all be crafted by players. All mounts require fuel either feed for horses or gasoline for vehicles and some allow various forms of combat while mounted.
Most crafting resources in Fallen Earth come from resource nodes that spawn across the world. Mobs do drop loot but not coin and usually not finished items. There is no random loot table, mobs drop items they are likely to possess. Human mobs drop a wider varity of items and have a higher likely hood to drop a finished product. Don’t expect a crossbow to drop from a wolf but you might loot one from a bandit’s corpse.
A lot of the fun in Fallen Earth is the atmosphere. Having the most powerful weapon around is one thing but how cool is it to go into combat swinging a lawn mower blade with an axe strapped to your back? A broadsword and full plate might rock out in WoW, but a cowboy hat, dark shades, leather pants and a katana strike a powerful pose. Dyes alow you to customize your clothing and a new patch will allow more customization including painting your vehicles.
While there is no magic in Fallen Earth, players do have access to mutations which act similar to spells in other games. Mutations allow players to heal and augment their combat and defense skills.
Plaver vs. player is allowed in certain areas and soon players will be allowed to flag themselves for pen world PvP. There is a faction system which allows for factional PvP conflist in later levels. In Fallen Earth there are six factrions represented on a wheel with each faction opposed to the faction directly across from it on ther wheel. A faction is allied to the two adjoining factions and hostile to the two factions ajoining its enemy. Gaining or losing faction with any group affects your standing with all groups in some way. It is not required to choose a factrion but some elements and items in Fallen Earth will only be available to faction players.
The world of Fallen Earth is huge and you may find yourself traveling all day without seeing another player. This adds to the immersion of the game and makes the wastelands feel all too real. It does make it a little harder to find players to group with. It also makes the chance that a passing good Samaritan will save you when you get in over your head scarce. There does seem to be a decent population in the beginning areas, which is good for the survival of the Fallen Earth. Advance out of sector one and the factional elements make it important to find a guild or at least make friends to play with. Random players are unlikely to group with you unless you are with an allied faction as faction hits in Fallen Earth can be very hard.
Fallen Earth is a relatively new game and still has some bugs. If it lasts it could be an awesome game but is there enough content at higher levels to sustain a population? Once the latest and best modern weapons are available to the player where does the game go? Most MMORPGS just add bigger and more powerful loot, but this isn’t possible if Fallen Earth retains it’s reality based weapons and armor. For long term succes they must find a way to add content on a horizontal instead of vertical way. More challenging content instead of just more powerful. In Everquest the developers added more powerful mobs, dropping ever more powerful gear, to equip players for the next wave of more powerful mobs. It is easy to simply add stats to a sword or shield, but how far can you improve on an AK-47?
For now though Fallen Earth is worth playing just for the coolness factor. Set in a world we all know, with weapons we can all recognize, it is an awesome time killer. Fallen Earth can be downloaded or bought at retailers such as Wal-Mart and Game stop and free trial memberships are available. If you are a dedicated WoW player it might be a bit of a culture shock but you won’t regret giving it a try.