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Wasteland Diaries: New direction


The state of the game announcement for Fallen Earth was a bit vague, but it did contain some good news. It seems the game, now under new management, is headed in a new direction. Does new mean good? All outward indications say yes. I have never been accused of being overly optimistic, but I like where Fallen Earth is headed. Most of the big news is still over the horizon, and the combat changes are the first order of business.

With new management comes new direction. It's nice to know what that direction might be. Of the three who were let go, I have nothing negative to say about any of them. Marie Croall has taken the reins at Fallen Earth, LLC and seems to have a clear plan. That's not to say there wasn't a clear plan before, but we are finally getting definitive answers on huge questions that we have been demanding responses on for quite a while. More details await you after the cut.

Progress towns are still on the table, which is good news, to say the least. We still don't have a timetable on them, but they are still in the works. There isn't much PvE endgame material right now, so hopefully, progress towns are a high-priority system. Marie expressed a major interest in adding both PvP- and PvE-style territory control systems to the game in the recent Massively podcast interview.

Sector 4. Yes, the team has uttered the name. It was mentioned in the SotG, and it will still be released in counties. There have been no hard dates announced yet. But we do know we will not see the first county (Alpha County) until the major changes involving combat, factions, skills and mutations are ironed out. Once the county is released we'll get our level cap raised another five and get all the perks that come with that: such as skills, recipes and gear.

One of my favorite new additions to Fallen Earth is the ability to add two more character slots now available over at the Fallen Earth store. Sure they're 30 bucks each, but they're well worth it when you consider the cumulative cost of a second account. Those players who feel the overwhelming urge to have a character of each faction can now attain that goal with a single account.

The last iteration of the dodge skill on the Public Test Server (PTS) was not received well by PvPers or the PvE crowd. The next round of combat testing will involve another change to the way dodge works and its overall effectiveness. While dodge used to be the skill that made you invulnerable in PvE and really-hard-to-kill in PvP, a lot of its effectiveness has been taken away. Perhaps, maybe too much of its effectiveness has been taken. Until a happy medium is found, the next combat change phase involving skills and mutations is queued and waiting.

The tutorial has been improved again, even though the last round of changes were pretty subtle (at least to me). I guess I'll have to run through it again when I get that fifth character slot.

The omni-clan and wheel-flipping debates have come to a head recently as well. Marie has stated that skills and mutations will be de-factionalized (that's my made-up nonsense word, not hers). One of the purposes of the wheel flip (unlocking all of the mutations) will be eliminated with this bold move. And the other reason for flipping (bonus AP) will be eliminated with the inevitable AP cap-per-level. The wheel-flip will still be something you can do to switch factions, but it won't be something you have to do to keep up.

While this won't eliminate the appeal of omni-clans, especially for purely social omni-clans, it will greatly reduce the appeal of having a PvP clan that is omni. At one time, we were led to believe that omni-clans' days were numbered, but Marie is more accepting of them: "We never want to eliminate a valid play style and sometimes that means taking more time to make sure they fit better in the world."

An AP cap is something that most of us were expecting and prepared for. We also now know that we will be able to earn bonus AP in other ways (rather than just through missions). This will eliminate the Sector 1 AP grind which has you out-leveling the content. Back when I was a new clone, I wanted to get to Sector 2 and start mingling with the factions and try out mutations. But I didn't get there as soon as I would have liked because I was searching out all of those elusive bonus AP. It seems we will be able to earn AP through crafting and even PvP, allowing us to progress through the game within our chosen playstyles. Win!

There are also plans for high-level group content and a world boss system. Not much has been said about this stuff, but it is something to tide over the PvE-raid crowd while the rest of us PvP, RP and craft (or whatever it is that you do). The team will also be introducing a new mission type to the game next month called a rally. It is essentially a road-race against the clock with checkpoints. While it only sounds mildly interesting in and of itself, I'm sure the route will take the racers through some of the more inhospitable parts of the wastelands (PvP zones are likely shortcuts).

The latest graphics improvements look great. And the new ragdoll system (although it is an overall improvement) eliminates the ultra-floppy, crazy-bouncing corpses. I will miss the extreme bouncing corpses on steep cliff-sides, but it was kind of ridiculous, and a less silly apocalypse is a better apocalypse.

There are a lot more cool things coming our way -- specifically, customizable armor, and less specifically, player-driven systems. It's good to see that the Fallen Earth dev team is still in good hands. Its members know that dynamic content is what keeps people playing the game. The best content in the game is usually player-created. If we are given the tools we need to create that content, then the devs have succeeded in creating a true sandbox.

Unless I first see you in the soon-to-be sandbox, I'll see you here next week.

Ed Marshall has been playing Fallen Earth since beta and leads the Outsiders 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, find him on the official forums as Casey Royer, or hunt him down in the wastelands as Nufan, Original, Death Incarnate, and Knuckles Mcsquee.

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