RIP Fallen Earth

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Just a man, a horse, and his frying pans

There was some sad news on Tuesday. Fallen Earth will be taken offline on October 2nd, 2019 following its 10th-anniversary event. Little Orbit cited low population and bad server performance as the main reasons to shut it down.

Fallen Earth is one of those free to play steam games that I always like to go back to every now and then. Earlier this year, I was getting back into it and playing it fairly often. It has a unique setting, decent combat, and a very in-depth crafting system.

The player population was in the 50s on any given night. While it made the game feel as empty as a post-apocalyptic world should be it didn’t give me much confidence in the longevity of the game. Eventually, I just didn’t want to put more time into it because I didn’t know how much longer it was going to be around. I kept an eye on Fallen Earth to see if there were any updates to the game over the year. While there was some developement it wasn’t a whole lot to inspire confidence.  

There is some hope though. While the game in its current form is being taken offline there are plans to continue working on a new version. It’s hard to say how this will play out. I’m giving it a 50% chance that Fallen Earth will return to us. I personally hope it does. Fallen Earth is such a unique game in the MMO space I think a fresh coat of paint and better server performance could do it some good. I also think reworking the free to play model would also help in the future. When your game has such a heavy focus on crafting, it’s frustrating when you can only craft 2 items at a time that take 15+ minutes without paying.

This month  I plan on revisiting Fallen Earth one more time. I’d like to see as much of the world as I can before the servers shut down. Road tripping seems like the best way to say farewell to the game.

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2 Frying Pans and a Horse.

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I got a text earlier this week from Greg that said “Hey remember Fallen Earth? I just downloaded it We should play.” Two things flashed through my mind, that game is still running? and isn’t that the game with the giant crafting system?

Well, it turns out Fallen Earth is more than just still around, it was recently bought by another developer and there’s been some talk about updating it. Like really updating it, rebuilding it even. So far Little Orbit has resurrected some holiday events and has plans to move the game to a new engine. You can check out their State of the Game post here  So I said why not I’ll download it, run around in it for a little bit and if nothing else it will give me something to blog about again.

By the end of the tutorial, you’re a clone armed to the teeth and thrown into a post-apocalypse world given a horse and told you’re on your own. I forgot how weird this game was and after a couple hours playing it, I thought it wasn’t for me. The stat/skill system in the game is not very intuitive and not well explained in the tutorial. I’m level 10 and I’m still not sure if how bad I’ve messed up my character already. You get AP to spend to level up skills or stats. Skills have a maximum value that can be raised by putting points into stats. But there’s a limited amount of points and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to focus on 1 or 2 skills to max out or if I can spread out a little.

This game is really locked down for free to play players. Like almost unplayable. Experience is decreased, harvesting speed is decreased, there’s a currency cap, and the biggest issue is you only get one crafting slot. You can only craft one item at a time and most items take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to craft. It makes the experience

But Greg insisted we play a little more, so I did. I also figured that if I was going to play this game I’d see what the cash shop was like. Turns out there are some subscription tiers that up crafting slots, experience gain, and harvesting speed and give you some other perks. For $4.99 it wasn’t going to break the bank. And suddenly the game became a lot more tolerable.

After playing a little longer some of the systems are starting to click. Crafting is fun, there’s no loot drops that I’ve seen so far, only materials for you to craft your own stuff. I’ve been giving myself little goals in the crafting so I can make the next piece of gear or my next weapon to go to the next zone. Let me tell you, those 20 extra crafting slots from the Premium subscription really help with crafting. I can set filters on the crafting list to only show recipes that I have the materials to craft and that will increase my crafting skill. At the end of a play session I just go through the list, fill up my crafting slots and when I come back I’ve leveled my crafts up a few points.

I decided to be different and go for the melee combat over the guns. I’m still trying to figure out how armor works, I die so often when I accidentally aggro tow or more mobs. But this game has some unique and weird melee weapons that I just couldn’t pass up. For a good 2 or 3 levels I was touting 2 frying pans. They made a fantastic clunking sound every time I hit something. They have since been replaced by the meat hooks. I’ve also crafted a 2X4 as my two-handed weapon. No one wants to fight the guy who only carries a giant slab of wood around. But if there’s a wardrobe slot for weapons, I’m definitely using the frying pans.

 

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The weapon descriptions are fantastic

 

So Fallen Earth is growing on me. I like the setting and the crafting feels meaningful at the moment. The low player base was kind of off-putting at first. Sometimes you can count by hand the number of players in the world. But the chat is surprisingly active and I have run into more low-level players questing than I would have thought. I can’t say that Fallen Earth will become one of my main games but I’m really interested in seeing what Little Orbit can do with it.