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“Fallen Earth: Recommended Resources” or “Steam’s Sultry Seduction”

August 13, 2012 2 comments

I gave in to my need for some MMO indulgence, and Steam’s incessant need to flash me with the free-to-play titles that they feature, a list that is expanding at a fairly respectable pace. So I installed Fallen Earth, I played the tutorial and I got into the first town. And then nothing made sense! There are so many buttons, so many menu items, interface windows and sub-systems that I felt thoroughly overwhelmed. I was even given like 10 new skills without warning or explanation, apparently they are temporary and will go away when I level up with my real abilities, but the whole thing is a little daunting.

So here is my question. For those of you who play Fallen Earth, what resource sites would you recommend? I am a big believer in doing background research and using third-party tools/information to help craft my player experience. Help a brother out?!

Categories: Fallen Earth

“A Question About Fallen Earth” or “Image of the Day: Under-boobs”

October 4, 2011 18 comments

Any European players playing Fallen Earth (now or when it launched F2P?) What server will you be on? Let’s team up, because I am definitely playing it post October 12.

And enjoy the digital side and under-boobs. It’s a plague, I tell you!

Categories: F2P, Fallen Earth

“Fallen Earth – Rising Fate” or “Altern8 Keys”

June 18, 2010 Leave a comment

As if fate itself read my post from yesterday, I came across a press release from Altern8 claiming they had 50 product keys with 50 days of playtime for 50 individuals. You register for their website here, answer a question here (hint: it’s a post-apocalyptic MMORPG), and you are entered in the contest.

Hopefully I will be one of the lucky few, and then join in with the rest of the blogging community in toughing out the post-nuclear American wastelands.

Categories: Fallen Earth

“Failing At Fallen Earth” or “I Wish I Had A Bigger Post-Apocalyptic E-Peen”

June 17, 2010 4 comments

I am looking forward to Fallen Earth.

Yes I know this title is already out, and I have already given it a shot, swayed by Syp’s endless ranting of how incredibly the game world was. The post-apocalyptic setting is one that has always held a special place in my heart. This is why I have a natural interest in games like the iconic Fallout series, and movies like The Road or the Book of Eli (to name two recent examples).

The reason I stopped playing Fallen Earth after the initial 14-day trial period, in all honesty, was two-fold.

First, graphical glitches. My Fallen Earth game crashed all too often, especially in the tutorial part when you are learning the ropes and trying to get your beatings. There were texture issues, and polygons seemed to undergo nuclear fission and disperse across my screen in stringy patterns. I tried upgrading my video drivers, reading up on forums, but after a few days to trying to rectify the problem, I gave up.

Second, Fallen Earth was too tough for me. I used to be a very hardcore player back in the day, raiding 5-6 times a week, butting my head against C’Thun tentacles with 39 other comrades trying to overcome seemingly impossible odds. But I am no longer a college student with a bunch of free time on my hands. I work a job that I am truly passionate about, where I feel I make a real difference and that I actually enjoy. I am also in a serious relationship that has started its inevitable march towards matrimony. And I have a very active and involved social life.

Long story short, I don’t have nearly as much time as i did back in the day, which forces me to play casual. This is part of the reason why Fallen Earth didn’t appeal to me. The game does almost zero hand-holding. It is the wasteland, you are one of the few survivors, you either get with the program and learn the ropes as needed or you tumble over and wither away in the wind. I felt like Fallen Earth was too much of a time commitment to properly wrap my head around all the complex intricacies, and I simply did not feel like I could spare that time.

That being said, a lot of fellow bloggers have started writing about Fallen Earth recently. And the post-apocalyptic bug has reared its radiation-mutated head again. I am twitching to try out another trial and see if I can make some headway this time. Perhaps I will ask Werit or Syp or Fool’s Age for their help with it this time around.

Categories: Fallen Earth

“Post-apocalyptic Parallels” or “Developmental Discretion”

October 20, 2009 1 comment

Fallen Earth and Earthrise are both set in a post-apocalyptic, dystopic future. Both games are being developed by indie studios (Icarus Studios and Masthead Studios respectively) with limited prior experience. Both titles have terra firma in their name and something to do with rise or fall. I think I have made my point regarding the obvious similarities.

If Fallen Earth was a person, Syp over at Bio Break would have been served a restraining order for obsessive interest. Fortunately Syp has the ability to maintain a balanced perspective, and despite his unhealthy indulgence in the game, he can objectively point out its flaws. I am myself a sucker for post-apocalyptic settings, and drool over the concept like a 3-year old does over candy. However, the steep learning curve in Fallen Earth and its unforgiving ambiance estranged me more than I would have liked. The apprehension with the game’s requirement for hitting the ground running has grown to the point that even Syp’s endless barrage of praise and in-game experiences can’t get me to try it again.

222222That being said, the post-apocalyptic setting is still very much my Achilles’ Heel. I have a feeling Earthrise will be to me what Fallen Earth is to Syp. The game looks vibrant, colorful and full of flavor. It also seems a little less… oh what’s the word… dreary than Fallen Earth. What excites me most about Earthrise is that it is shaping up to be a true player-driven sandbox experience. This could include territorial control, player espionage, and corporate warfare. For anyone who is familiar with the GHAC fiasco in EvE Online, this implies a completely open-world philosophy where player actions will have far-reaching and powerful repercussions instead of pre-determined outcomes. That’s pretty damn cool!

Masthead Studios is already well underway in its quest to incorporate player impact on the game world as early as the development stages. Their has been a lot of focus recently on incorporating player feedback and preferences into literally every facet of the game.

In the beginning of this month, the developers sought opinions and feedback on player-killing and how this activity should be rewarded. Most recently, they have asked players to chip in on the creation of alts, as this MMO-feature could have a fairly significant impact on player espionage and player specialization outside of the ‘main’ character’.

It all sounds very interesting, and incorporating player feedback goes a long way to show the developers are well in-tune with what the players want. This may shape up to be the penultimate, accessible player-driven experience that only EvE Online has been able to realize yet.

“Halloween Horrors” or “Nothing Rhymes With Orange”

October 17, 2009 2 comments

halloween-horrors-or-nothing-rhymes-with-orangeHalloween is fast approaching. In the U.S., if you are a kid, it is a time for tricks and treats. If you are a young woman, it is a time to dress up in the sluttiest outfits imaginable and go wild. If you are a young man, you are glad for the young women.

Being an MMO-player gives Halloween a different flavor altogether. It is the time of the year when you inevitably engage in digital activities and events designed around October 31st. These activities may range from fluff achievements, titles or items to complete encounters, epic lewt, and complex new threads of a unique scenario etched into the fabric of the existing lore framework. Let’s take a look at some of the upcoming Halloween events in some of the most popular MMOs. And yes, we will continue my obsession with the number seven in this list as well.

Fallen Earth – Days of the Dead – October 23 onwards

George Romero would be proud. If you can look past the extremely creative event title, indie-hit Fallen Earth plans to use throngs of the wandering undead to melt your faces. The developers have chosen not to blatantly incorporate Halloween-related elements to the game play. Instead, they came up with a cool side-story, weaved the threads into the existing world, and created an event that would allow players to fight off an emergent zombie menace.  The zombies are clones that, in a manner of speaking, ‘went bad’, and now carry nanites that may be harmful to humans or other cloning facilities.

I’m sold.

There is nothing I enjoy more than a developer’s ability to use a real-world event and give it the game’s own special flavor, without breaking the lore. That was until I realized that one of the consumable items you obtain during the event is the “Pumpkin of Extraordinary Merit”. Well, at least the overarching concept is fresh and engaging.

Runes of Magic – Halloween Bundle – October 16 to November 1

Herein lies the problem with mircotransactions. While it sounds like a good idea to only pay for what you may be playing/interested in, seasons like Halloween are largely neglected. The only thought given to any semblance of an in-game connection is buried in another microtransaction. Runes of Magic offers a Halloween Bundle, filled with fluff and largely decorative items. As far as I can tell, there are no in-game events or encounters specific to Halloween. A part of me wants to commend them for not jumping on the seemingly inevitable themed-content band wagon, but they did put up a post about microtransaction-based Halloween items. And that, somehow, is much worse.

Age of Conan – Night of Lost Souls – Unknown

While Fallen Earth does a decent job of masking the event in the lore and giving it the game’s own personal flavor, Age of Conan goes a step further and creates a well-constructed mythology around the events of their seasonal content. Here is a short excerpt:

“As the day slowly but inevitably gives way to the longer nights as the year wanes, there is a time when the thin veil between the night as we know it and the true darkness of the worlds beyond the realm of mortal men is pulled back.”

Players will have three new quests, two solo and one group, and several in-game items to acquire. Most significantly, the game promises to take you to familiar places transformed by the recent taint of the Lost Souls. Sign me up!

halloween-horrors-or-nothing-rhymes-with-orange2Warhammer Online – Daemon Moon Rising – October 23 to November 2

There may be a pattern here, I just can’t seem to put my finger on it. Could it be… zombies? Originality, this season in MMOs, seems to have taken a back-seat to convenience. With Left 4 Dead rallying the masses around the zombie extermination cause, America’s obsession with blasting the undead has grown to unhealthy proportions. I suppose it’s only natural that literally every MMO in-game event is related to zombies. In Warhammer, there is a public quest requiring the Daemon’s Cradle, a major PvP scenario in the Highpass Cemetary, and of course, a ton of Halloween masks.

Champions Online – Blood Moon – October 27 onwards

The superhero simulator will see its first content release with Blood Moon. The content patch will introduce – you might want to sit down here because the shock may be too much – zombies! What’s the twist? The souls of the superheroes (the game’s versions of Batman, Superman etc.) have been trapped by the undying Takophanes. What sets this game apart from the crowd is that aside from new items, encounters and gameplay mechanics, the patch will also introduce a brand new Celestial power set.

Oh and there are werewolves.

Aion – Harvest Revel – October 25 to October 31

There is an eclipse. It brings out zombies. End of story.

World of Warcraft – Hallow’s End – October 18 to November 1

Making no attempts to mask the season with significant lore underpinnings, or simply releasing demonic armies for players to fight against, World of Warcraft will again feature Hallow’s End this year. Masks, brooms that double as flying mounts of all varieties, stat-boosting candy, and magical transformation wands are just some of the fluff ietms you will have access to. In addition, the event will see the return of the Headless Horseman, his dancing pumpkins, and another chance to score some of the 87 bajillion trinkets he carries.

Hallow’s Originality” or “Lore Whore”

Seasonal events are a great way to connect with your player base in a novel and interesting fashion. For MMOs that have been out for several years, seasonal events can also create a sense of  familiarity over the course of time, but it also runs the risk of being monotonous year after year. Regardless of your level of comfort, these events do allow players to break away from their daily grinds in the game.

The real juxtaposition, for me, lies between the level of realism in every aspect of MMOs, and the amount of fun said content can be. On any day of the week (and twice on Sunday), I will take lore-saturated, well crafted in-game experiences over events that have a blatant connection to the season at hand. For instance, I am very excited about Age of Conan’s Night of the Lost Souls, but Hallow’s End will be a boring, repetitive and shallow experience. I mean “Hallow’s End”. They didn’t even try with that one!

What are your feelings on seasonal events? Is realism more important to you, or does something else float your boat entirely?