Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why you should be playing Fallen Earth and not WoW

Today I am doing something a little different, a guest post!  Youngblood, of 16bit Radio, wants to talk a bit about why you should play Fallen Earth and not WoW.  Can't say I disagree with him, these are some great reasons to try out Fallen Earth.  Enjoy!

So, since I had a little fun earlier writing about  why players should choose Everquest 2 over World of Warcraft, I thought I would do the same with the post-apocalyptic indie MMORPG, Fallen Earth. But let's do things differently this time. Instead of a comparison/contrast painted as prose, let's make this real simple. Here are my top 10 reasons (in reverse order) why you should be playing Fallen Earth and not WoW.

#10 — The flashlight. In the wasteland, the nights can be quite long. Whether it's the long stretches of desert or the darkness of underground labs and echoes of civilization, a player's flashlight becomes their best friend. All players are equipped with a standard flashlight (just press the F key), and while it isn't anything that you are going to be able to use to spot wildlife from 50 yards away, it is a little something that makes traveling through the wasteland a little easier. The torch is a staple of the RPG genre and Fallen Earth has brought it back.

#9 — Developers/GMs. It's hard to find another game where the developers are as much a part of the community as the players. Frequent contests and invitations for the players to interact with the developers is a rarity in the games industry. Mythic is great, but it speaks well for the small development team at Icarus Studios to be just as involved in their community, given their size. Also, what other game do GMs have such a visible presence. They are always there in the chat channels to lend a hand and keep order with the players.

#8 — Skill-based leveling. One way that Fallen Earth helps to conceal the MMO grind, is by awarding constant attribute points (AP) to players through each level. Whereas other games you have to wait until you ding to get your skill points, Fallen Earth awards them throughout the level, helping to mask the need to level, level, level. Also, players can earn extra AP by doing quests, exploring, harvesting and crafting.

#7 — Waypoints. One of the neatest aspects of Fallen Earth's map system is the fact that you can a ton of waypoints on your minimap. They are easy to toggle on and off and become great additions to traveling the wasteland. Trust me, the wasteland is big and landmarks are scarce. You're going to need some guidance.

#6 — No elves! Aren't you tired of elves, orks and the same cliche fantasy landscapes that we've been playing through since we were kids? I'm not going to say Fallen Earth's design is better, but at least it's different. Abandoned railroads filled with raiders, desolate towns overrun with radioactive creatures, underground labs now inhabited by crazy mutants and haywire artificial intelligence all make up some of the landscape of the wasteland. Seriously, ditch the elves. I mean come on, does your mommy still tuck you into bed and read a story at night?

#5 — Mounts. What? You mean my mounts just don't appear and disappear in a puff of smoke, like I'm David Copperfield on a farewell tour? What do you mean I have to feed my horse and fuel my vehicle? I have to heal my horse and repair my vehicle, too. Wait, my horse can be killed and my vehicle destroyed in PvP? And who needs mounts that actually act as an additional backpack for storage? I'd much rather just have my mounts magically disappear into my backpack.

#4 — Factions. Fallen Earth features a robust faction system, where players can choose sides between six organizations. Each organization has their enemy factions, as well as allies. This allows players in a particular faction to go into a conflict town and overtake it, thus making it a base of operations for their chosen organization. Also, players are free at any time to leave their current faction and join another. And then there's always the ronin, who decide to not align themselves with any faction.

#3 — Cause and effect of choice. This game is hard. There's no respecs. There's no "oops" button. You don't buy back things if you sold them. That pre-school, participation trophy crap is for all the other "triple A" games that got that way by not holding players accountable for their actions. What's the you say? "But, Tim, games aren't supposed to be hard. Everything should be written in crayon and the developers should understand that I can't make a choice and stick with it." Go back to WoW, you wuss. This is the wasteland and it will eat you alive with all of that Nancy bull. Sorry, kid, we're playing war, not laser tag.

#2 — Crafting. Gone are the random loot tables. You want that high level weapon or armor, then go craft it. Unlike other games that like to see their players step onto the dungeon progression treadmill, Fallen Earth allows players to craft nearly almost everything in the game. Where else can you pick up a couple of dull lawnmower blades and dual wield them? Or how about the ability to put down your bloody hockey stick to start shooting enemies with a paintball gun, using pellets for ammo? In Fallen Earth, if you want it, then you can craft it. Crafting is also real-time, so if you want that sweet Interceptor, prepare to be crafting for a couple of weeks. Thankfully, you can still explore and kill while you craft in the background.

#1 — Boom, headshot! You mean there's more to combat strategy than just jumping and strafing around the enemy? Please, take your auto-target system and cram it. Welcome to Fallen Earth. Here, we're skill-based, and I mean player skill, not stats. You want a headshot, then line it up and swing your bat or pull the trigger. This game doesn't just give you the biggest hit because a modifier on your boots says so, you have to do it yourself. Either step up to the plate or step into my sights. Either way, I'm getting a shot off.

Now, when it comes to MMOs, I've played them all, so I'm aware of the many faults of Fallen Earth. Yes, there are triple A titles out there that are more polished and more intuitive than Fallen Earth. But that's not the point. There is something to playing a game that is rough around the edges and seeing the many things that it offers, worlds above what your triple A title has.

Basically, it comes down to feeling safe. You feel safe with your Blizzards, your Turbines, your Sonys and your Mythics. You know that they don't challenge players and force them to make decisions that will impact their character's progression and growth. Safety is nice and warm, but it also clouds perspective.

Now, get off your ass and see if you've got the sands to survive in the wasteland. Here's 10-free days, what more do you want? I bet you don't even have the balls to play for that long.


Do you want to do a guest post?  If so, just drop me an e-mail and we'll talk :)