Is Fallen Earth our answer to a Wild West MMO?

I grew up on Clint Eastwood movies. I grew up on Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings songs about cowboy career prevention. Gunsmoke, A Fistful of Dollars and anything else by Sergio Leone are what helped mold my appreciation for what we refer to as the American Wild West. Even in modern day, I find myself drawn to those settings that mimic the Wild West. Stephen King's Dark Tower series is one of my all-time favorites, and I fly my Browncoat flag high.

But this setting is not often the most popular in gaming culture. Sure, we have single-player games like GUN and Red Dead Revolver, but the massively multiplayer side is left primarily unexplored in that genre. Wild West Online is a recent example of an indie game set in that era, but its popularity is minimal, at best.

Enter Fallen Earth. This recently-released post-apocalyptic MMO has been hailed for its gritty environments, extensive crafting system and its unique implementation of skills and combat. The game is praised by many who try it more than a few hours, and its notoriety is spreading like... well, like a plague.
But to me, the game is much more than simply a post-apocalyptic MMO. With the freedom in the game to create a classless character exactly as you choose, the potential for immersion is deeper than many realize.

Roleplaying is a large part of Fallen Earth, as well. You have clans that are set up to be militaristic. You have those who play as Road Warrior-esque raiders and thugs. There are motorcycle gangs, car enthusiasts, saviors of pre-fall recorded music and you have the outlaws. You can literally play this game as mostly anything you want (yes, even sword-wielding warriors and magic-using sorcerers), but what interests me most is the capacity to play a true Wild West desperado.

So I thought I would take a bit of time to look at the many ways Fallen Earth can be played as a Wild West MMO.

Attire
You can safely ignore the 3-D glasses and golf clubs if you're looking to play Fallen Earth as a Wild West MMO. But your choices are certainly not limited when it comes to authentic attire. There are trenchcoat dusters, cowboy hats and snakeskin boots that come in various armor levels. The Traveler faction has a pretty sweet trenchcoat that you can get later in the game to keep that authentic look going throughout the higher levels.

Weapons
While melee is usually a smart choice for the thrifty Fallen Earth player who doesn't want to spend the time or money on ammunition, no true gunslinger would be complete without a pair of revolvers at his or her side. In Fallen Earth, you can craft your own six-shooters or go for the lever-action Marshal Dillon Winchester rifle if you'd like. There's even the classic saloon-clearing double-barrel shotgun available to put the finishing touches on any poker game. The ability to fire these weapons from your horse adds a whole new level to the authenticity, while alternating left and right mouse buttons for those dual pistols can help recreate your very own OK Corral scenario.

Faction choice
As I mentioned above, the Travelers offer a trenchcoat that would certainly help your Wild West character look the part, but you really have several choices when it comes to the factions you choose. The Vistas have the best rifles in the game, although a scoped military sniper rifle probably isn't what you're looking for. I would stay away from Techs, CHOTA and Lightbearers as what they have to offer is not going to be beneficial to the Wild West play style. But again, you can literally choose any faction you want in this game, and maintain your own play style without much of a disadvantage.

Stats and Skills
While there's no "right way" to make a character build in Fallen Earth, there are certainly more efficient uses of your precious Action Points. With a desperado, you're going to want to concentrate on improving your Dexterity, Perception, Coordination and Endurance stats. As far as skills go, Pistol, Rifle, Dodge and Athletics are your best bets there.

Crafting
If you're also looking to get into Fallen Earth's amazing crafting system, you'll want to add the Intelligence stat to your list of those to boost, as your tradeskills depend on both Intelligence and Perception to advance properly. With Action Points being as valuable as they are, you'll want to focus on a few crafting tradeskills with any character. As a Wild West character, you'll be looking at improving your Ballistics, Nature, Cooking and even a bit of Geology for good measure. All of these can be used without breaking the immersion factor too badly, with Ballistics and Nature being your two most important here.

Settings
Throughout all of Sector 1, you'll find a vast wasteland of good old fashioned Grand Canyon desert. Once you get into Sector 2, you'll find more grass, trees and plains. In Sector 3 though, you'll find yourself drifting further away from a Wild West setting with full forests and more advanced cities. I certainly wouldn't recommend spending your entire game time in Sector 1, but as of now, it's your most authentic backdrop. Some towns have buildings that can be used as believable Wild West locations. For example, New Flagstaff has a bar called Beauville's Tavern that is perfect as a saloon. You'll just need to ignore the pool tables.

What can the future bring to improve the Wild West feel?
Although a form of fast travel is not yet available in the game, the developers have been discussing the possibilities. One such solution mentioned on the forums is that of a stage coach, which would be ideal for that Wild West feel. Also, with Lee Hammock's recent talk of housing in the game's future, I can't imagine a more appropriate scenario than that of a land rush. In late 19th century America, land was literally given away in organized races. If the housing system in Fallen Earth will be available anywhere in the vast desert wasteland, I can see a land rush happening quite easily.

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So as you can see, it's entirely possible to play Fallen Earth as your very own solution to a Wild West MMO, while waiting patiently for someone to make one properly. The game isn't all about being post-apocalyptic in the traditional sense of the word. It's not the Fallout MMO, and it's not all about fighting super mutants or finding a water chip for your vault. Fallen Earth is a game about finding yourself in a crumbled society, without an overbearing government to watch over your every move. The trade-off is lawlessness and a constant fear of death looming around every corner. Just as the outlaw Josey Wales would have liked it.

This article was originally published on Massively.