Wasteland Diaries: Glad to be back

It's been a couple of weeks since I was able to visit the Fallen Earth wastelands. My absence wasn't by choice. But now that I'm connected to the internet once again, I can stop wasting my time away playing Minecraft (actually I enjoyed every minute of that!). I also played a little Mount & Blade in between huge construction projects. Still, it's good to be back in my favorite (though not quite so sandboxy) world. And what a glorious time to come back.

I came back to Fallen Earth to find a good deal of new content. Unfortunately, the level cap was not raised to ago along with that new content, but it's still new stuff, and that's what matters. To be honest, I had already seen some of it on the PTS, but not everything. One thing I enjoyed about the new stuff is that it's fairly difficult. I died more times than I'm willing to admit. There's enough content to keep a casual player busy for a while, but just like any other PvE content, it will be chewed up and spit out by the PvE crowd and leave everyone asking for more. Hopefully, it will be enough to keep us all interested until the unveiling of Sector 4. After the cut, I'll tell you a little about what I've seen in Terminal Woods.

I was relieved to see the dev team go ahead with the patch without the new combat system. Apparently it's not ready for prime-time, and from what I've seen on the PTS, the devs chose wisely. There have been some minor tweaks to the current combat system. For one, the speed-stacking issue has been addressed. Speed bonuses are now additive rather than multiplicative, and a few of the speed buffs have been lowered considerably. Also, you must now get out of your vehicle to repair or refuel it. This has changed the combat dynamics in PvP, especially in the area of scouting and recon.

I have been making a transition away from the Tech faction and have decided to gravitate all my clones toward the CHOTA side of the wheel. It's a more war-like faction and suits my playstyle much better. So I'd like to take the time to say farewell to the Tech faction, and I'll see you guys on the battlefields. The Tech faction just seemed to be more PvE-oriented than I cared for -- the faction as a whole, not the people in Exile, who have been great. The CHOTA seem to be a little more PvP-focused, so it was just a matter of moving our small PvP squad a couple of notches over on the wheel.

I actually went into Office Park the other day and killed a couple of scavengers. They claimed that I breached some sort of etiquette by killing them. To be honest, I was shocked. So I rezzed them and wandered away, scratching my head. Since when did Office Park become a place where people set aside their differences and played nice? Yes, everyone needs the circuits to get faction reputation, but shouldn't we deny it to our enemies? I have a feeling that some things are going to change in and around Office Park soon. When a Fallen Earth PvP zone becomes a hug-fest, something is either wrong with the game or with the community.

The new PvP zone in Terminal Woods is a work in progress. So far, it merely consists of the huge HQ-type building in the middle of Post 23, plopped down in the middle of a densely wooded area. While this is a good starting point, it will need some kind of hook to draw players in. FCPs will help, but there will need to be something more. The scavenge nodes drop large stacks of materials, but that alone isn't going to bring people in. FCPs will only provide a small boost to weapon skill for the controlling faction, plus an XP boost. An XP boost will be of no use to the players in Terminal Woods, who will likely be max level. To the FE devs: Please put something worth fighting for in there so we have something to do until S4 is ready!

The new mob AI in Terminal Woods is a huge improvement over the old AI, at least judging from what I've seen in the Ranger Station missions. The White Crow that you face on your way to the top of the mountain seem to fight in a more realistic manner. In fact, everyone on our 4-man team remarked at how tactically deep the mission seemed. We all had a blast, and we walked away with a decent (although spaceman-looking) helmet for our troubles. I have three other level 50s that I can run through that quest, and I'm actually looking forward to doing it again.

The panther boss used to be a real nuisance in Terminal Woods; he'd follow you for a while. I believe the devs have reined him in a little bit, but he will still chase you down and kill you. Three of us managed to bring down the Panther. Luckily, he accosted us near the cloner, so we simply zerged him from the LifeNet pods. Poor Panther. He got us back later when one of our guys ran out of gas while the Panther was chasing him, and it patiently stood by his car, awaiting a belly full of clone meat. If you see the Panther in TW, it's probably already too late.

I'll likely be spending the next few weeks scavenging the more randomly placed and seemingly more fluid nodes. Now that the "Great Grendel Slaughter" is over, I might find my way into a few teams tackling the scavenger bosses or killing wolves and bears to make armor I'll never wear out of their hides. All-in-all, there is still plenty for me to do in TW, but I'm still looking forward to what the team will do with the new PvP zone. Because PvE is simply a temporary diversion for me in the wasteland, I'm looking for some huge factional warfare over meaningful objectives, and I think someday I'll find it. I'll see you here next week, or in Sector 4, whichever comes first.

Ed Marshall has been playing Fallen Earth since beta and leads the KAOS clan. Wasteland Diaries is his weekly column that covers all aspects of Fallen Earth: PvE, RP and PvP. To contact Ed, send an email to edward@massively.com, find him on the official forums as Casey Royer, or hunt him down in the wastelands as Nufan, Original, Death Incarnate, and Knuckles Mcsquee.

This article was originally published on Massively.