Wasteland Diaries: Lone wolf

Edward Marshall
E. Marshall|09.03.10

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Wasteland Diaries: Lone wolf
An MMO is a massively multiplayer online game. So what would attract a lone-wolf type to something that is massively multiplayer? You would think this would drive someone who enjoys his solitude away. This is simply not the case, as every MMORPG has lone-wolf players. If that MMO happens to be Fallen Earth, with its post-apocalyptic setting, it might seem to attract individualistic survivalist types who strive to be self-sufficient. I have never played an MMO in which so many people were withdrawn, introverted, and downright antisocial.

Well, it is the apocalypse, and there are times when I just want to be left alone to kill in silence. I am a bit of a lone wolf, myself. But many times, trying to get a group together can be like pulling teeth... from a drunken throwback's maw. Sure, people aren't bound to be as friendly in a ravaged, unlawful world like the one we call home in Fallen Earth, but sometimes the wasteland can be a very lonely place. I enjoy doing my own thing as much as anyone else, and in many cases I don't want to stop what I'm doing to help other players, but I tend to. And I'm almost always glad I did. After the cut, I'll take a look at the pros and cons of being a lone wolf.
Probably the most well-known post-apocalyptic character is Mad Max. Max was the epitome of a loner and was exactly the kind of character that typifies the average Fallen Earth player. Naturally, you will want to be as self-sufficient as you can, but there will come times when you will need the help of others to make your tasks either easier, or even possible. Most of the early missions in Fallen Earth can be easily soloed, especially if you try to do every single mission in every single starter town. You will soon out-level all of the content.

Much of the early content in Sector 1, especially in the starter towns, is very easy and can usually be done without having to group up at all. You can move forward at your own pace, and you won't need to wait for anyone to travel several kilometers just to meet up with you. As you progress through the game, there are more group missions, and by the time you get to Deadfall, you may need some help on a good portion of them. The developers have stated that they will be focusing on creating group content more than ever.

In a game that allows players to become jacks-of-all-trades, there are not as many reasons to rely on other people for much of anything. Most people have a dedicated crafter alt who is always crafting ammo, new gear, and consumables. The main character does all the scavenging and harvesting and simply mails all the stuff to the crafter. Doing so ensures you have a specialized combat character who is supplied with everything he or she needs. It doesn't make for very needy players. But regardless of how self-sufficient one can be in Fallen Earth, there are always those who have to have their hands held all the time. The latter type don't usually last to the end. But those who are unchallenged by the game don't stay forever either.

Many people refuse to ask for help because they would rather go it alone, or they don't want to wait for someone else. These are all valid reasons, especially if the likelihood of success without help is good. I would say I did about 80% of the group missions by myself simply because I wanted to do them quickly and didn't want to bother anyone. I certainly didn't want to wait for someone to travel to the location. I would only ever ask for help if I couldn't do it after a few tries. Whenever I did group up for a mission, I did so only because other players asked for my help.

Even though I am bit of a lone wolf myself, I always wound up in a clan. I didn't set out to join any clans, but I was eventually invited to join them, and finally I accepted. In one of the clans, the leader left the game and handed me the reins. I have never formed a clan, but I lead one today -- it was never my goal, but it is what it is. I urge every lone-wolf player to join a clan regardless of how isolated he would like to be. Being in a clan definitely has its perks. Of course, so does not being in a clan.

Being in a clan is nice when you need something that you simply cannot find or craft (or afford, for that matter). In many cases, a clanmate will simply give you the item and ask for nothing in return. Oftentimes, members of your clan will a have a shared pool of knowledge about character builds, game mechanics, and rare material locations. Some of the more well-established clans have vast amounts of information that they don't mind sharing with their members. It sure beats asking a question in region chat and getting flamed, getting wrong answers, or getting no answer at all, just the sound of the crickets. Asking a really stupid question among friends is much easier than blasting it over the region chat channel.

A clan can be a life-saver if you happen to need a certain mutagenic injector or a specific skill book. Just have one of your clannies COD it to you, and save that long trek (even with fast travel) to Sector 1. People will regularly give away old equipment to their clanmates rather than sell it. At least that's the way it's been in every clan I've been a member of. In many cases, they will give you food, ammo, and other consumables when you run out, especially if they are counting on your firepower in a team. Among the greatest reasons to join a clan are events. Many clans hold regular events and contests for their members and others. I can't think of too many draw-backs to clanning up. Unless if you are truly clinically antisocial, I can't think of any reason why a lone wolf wouldn't be at home in a clan.

What is the point of all this rambling? Well, I think that, although you can be a lone wolf player, you won't get as much out of the game if you don't interact with others. Be a lone wolf. But join a clan and help those in need. Communicate with other players and take the time to travel to them. The game is so much better when you team up against the hazards, even though in most cases you can handle it alone. I kept to myself for my first few days in the wasteland, but now I'm less of a lone wolf and more of a people-person. If you see me in the wasteland, don't hesitate to ask for some help. I may be a lone wolf, but I wasn't raised by wolves.
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