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Mad Max Meets Tabula Rasa
The debut trailer for Fallen Earth came onto the scene during E3 in a big way; basically it let gamers know that this was not going to be an elf-loving, mage blasting, spell-casting medieval MMORPG. In fact, the debut trailer went so far as to say that Fallen Earth “ain’t your daddy’s MMO".
So what makes Fallen Earth an MMO that’s different from the rest? Well, primarily it’s not set within the fantasy medieval universe that most online RPGS are known for using as their base themes. Instead, Fallen Earth is a science-fiction, futuristic, post-apocalyptic MMORPG adventure that delves players into a world inhabited by mutants, monsters and other unsightly beasts.
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What is Fallen Earth?
Fallen Earth might best be described as a mix between Mad Max, Starship Troopers and the now-defunct Tabula Rasa. The setting is centered throughout the Western landmark of the Grand Canyon, where the game’s story-arc takes prime focus. After nuclear fallout and lots of war, the only safe places for people to live are around the Hoover Dam area and the Grand Canyon, which has been occupied by the mega-corporation, GlobalTech. Because as we all know, what would any futuristic, post-apocalyptic game be like without a mega-corporation sitting at the center of world chaos? A boring wasteland.
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Choosing Sides Becomes Fun Again
The game will see players venturing about in zoneless areas with a massive 7,000 square-kilometer playfield to be interacted with. Outside of the initial safe-zones are six warring factions, each with their own agendas, beliefs, look, vehicles and weapons. The factions include Enforcers, Children of the Apocalypse, Vistas, Techs, Lightbearers and Travelers. Like any good MMORPG, Fallen Earth will allow players to join either of the various factions for progressing the story or to simply have a place in which to yield one’s allegiance.
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Six Different Factions
The faction concept is rather interesting and takes a bit from the Funcom playbook of Anarchy Online, insofar that there are rivalries, allies and branching stories attached to each faction. The six factions each have their own arch-nemesis, two allies and sub-groups within the clan that sometimes have their own agendas. Now this particular feature isn’t entirely original, but the fact that each group designates itself to the advancement of certain skills, weapons, armor, vehicles, science and items, makes the subtext of a faction controlling more or less of the game world will ultimately dictate a lot of how other players will engage each other, form alliances, and will even decide which technologies will control the major play areas.
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Dude, Where's My Car?
Apart from the diplomatic aspects of Fallen Earth there are the elements that truly saturate it as a game that surpasses the typical MMO formula: the combat and vehicles. Much like 2K Games’ upcoming punk-wasteland themed RPG-shooter, Borderlands, Fallen Earth will focus more-so on real-time action rather than auto-targeting and repeated mouse-clicking. The game will sport intense fast-paced combat that can play out either in a first-person view or third-person over-the-shoulder view. Regardless, the game will not be turn-based nor will it force players into strategic, timed point-and-click confrontations...it will all be in real time.
To further compliment the whole end-of-the-world theme present in Fallen Earth will be the iconic implementation of Mad Max-esque vehicles. At first it seemed as if these were going to be standard-fare forms of transportation, such as those featured in World of Warcraft, Mabinogi or Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, but Icarus made it clear that the vehicles in Fallen Earth will play a pretty big role in the actual gameplay. Players will be able to own up to five different customizable forms of transport and the vehicle selection will range from motorcycles and dune buggies to super-charged muscle cars and horses! What makes vehicles extremely important in this game is that there is a weight limit for what characters can carry, so looting will require players to keep excess items in their automobile or mobile transport.
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The vehicles extend their functionality beyond transport and carrying items. Believe it or not vehicles can be upgraded, crafted, improved and leveled via the research functionality on Fallen Earth. In this regard players can even use their vehicle to fire weapons, increase storage space or make better use of fuel efficiency. And yes, the game makes use of fuel just like in the real life; you must pay a hefty price for it. So if you’re a budget-conscious game-player, it might be best to stick with the economic-friendly horse.
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Refreshing The Arms Race
Another highlight for Fallen Earth is the weapon crafting mechanic. To separate itself from other MMORPGs this game has opted to include only three categories of weapons: melee, small arms and long-range rifles. There is a huge variety of weapons within each category, including player-created weapons. To add diversity to the line-up, players can craft and customize a variety of weapons using items that can be scavenged from around the game world. Of course, for players who aren’t keen on relying on crafting for new and more powerful equipment, many weapons can easily be purchased from other players or NPCs.
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Player vs. Player
PVP has also undergone some serious changes from the likes of its MMO brethren. No longer will attacks and defenses be left entirely up to the mechanics of the left mouse button and a bunch of invisible, calculated “roll dice". While the hit/miss roll dice will still play a very important role in the combat…the combat itself will be completely determined by player precision and the quality of the weapons at the player’s disposal. Like any other first or third-person shooter, Fallen Earth will see combatants moving around in real-time using a target reticule and the old-school “shoot when they’re in sight" mechanic. The only thing roll dice will determine is the to-hit ratio (i.e., and this will be based on weapon grade and player rank) and the damage-taken ratio (i.e., which is again based on weapon grade and player rank).
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To mix up the combat and add a sense of variety to the gameplay, there are skills that can be learned and mastered that will help buff characters during encounters. In some cases these skills actually allow for players to become more active in various combat scenarios – such as acquiring a skill that allows players to use a pistol whip if an enemy gets too close or butting a bad guy on the head with a rifle to stun him, which pretty much works as a debuff. As players level-up they will acquire more conventional attacks and skills that might otherwise be a common standard in some third-person action games. Nevertheless, the skills aren’t traditional buffs or attacks but it all just further plays into the game’s goal of differentiating itself from the MMO herd.
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Playing a Healer
If one thing has stayed the same, in the way that the game is played, it would probably be with the healing mechanics, which are mostly reliant on first-aid packs and players who can learn healing skills to either revive or resurrect dying or dead players. According to Icarus, non-healers can actually craft healing devices to supplement for not having a healer around. How these devices will work wasn’t fully revealed but at least it’s good to know that if a player gets injured they don’t always have to wait for a medic to arrive on the scene to get a little treatment.
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Currently in Beta
Right now the game is still undergoing closed beta. Fallen Earth is planned to make its MMORPG-changing, public debut later this year for PC. The game is also expected to retain its Mature rating, thanks in good part to its graphic violence, strong language and visual depictions of gore. More information about the game can be learned by visiting the Official Website.