I may have mentioned it once or twice before, but I love the post-apocalypse genre. If I could survive Armageddon, then I would love to. I’d miss certain things, of course, like family members, the internet and clear drinkable water. I think that the amount of movies, games and books on the subject that I’ve consumed over the years would prepare me well for survival.
However, nothing has prepared me for the volume of tradeskill items you have to lug around in Fallen Earth; I don’t remember people carrying around bags full of crap in Mad Max, Salute of the Jugger or Hardware. OK, maybe in Hardware, but some of the salvaged junk turned out to be a deadly murder-bot, so you see my point...actually I lost track of my point.
Back to Fallen Earth. My bank vault in the game has been bursting with items I’ve been hoarding so I decided it was time for a spring cleaning. First thing I did was to order my stuff by volume, everything I had the most of was moved back in to my inventory for the purpose of turning it all into something more useful. I queued up a load of recipes then ventured forth in search of adventure. Miles away from town, I encountered a snag with the crafting system. I had crafted a few cans of flat beer, when I hit my weight capacity and couldn’t make any more. I’m not sure how this is possible. I seem to have summoned matter from nowhere and ended up with items that weigh more than the ingredients used to make them. With a heavy heart and backpack, I headed back to Mumford to sell my junk, muttering to myself about how I should have put a few APs into my strength stat.
Mumford gave me a taste of Fallen Earth’s instancing. One of the last missions I performed in there required me to kill 15 deputies. I entered the building where they were skulking about and a help window popped up informing me that I was in an instance. If I hadn’t been told, I would never have known. I dispatched the deputies – there were exactly 15 of them, what a coincidence! On the way out of the instance, I did get a bit of jerkiness, but nothing game breaking.
I felt a bit bad about shooting all those lawmen. I also wondered if 15 deputies is worth more than shooting one sheriff. Probably not. Sheriffs that I’ve seen on TV are usually pretty tough, so Bob Marley has more to boast about than I do.
After finishing up the missions in Mumford I decided to abandon my plan of sweeping through all the starter towns to eke out all the APs from missions. Leveling had been slow; I had advanced only 2 levels and gained a meagre handful of bonus APs. I’m sure that once I reach the level cap, the extra few points won’t make a lot of difference, and even if they do, I can always come back then.
Before leaving, I decided to buy the tradeskill books I didn’t yet have. Holding out for the last few as quest rewards was going to be too time consuming and I really wanted to get ahead and build more exciting gear. I also made a start on my mutagenics skill. Mutagenics is what would be called magic in another game, but this is Fallen Earth so we have mutant powers instead. I went for Patch 2, an upgrade to the level 1 ability I already had. It’s a handy healing mutation which you are able to cast – I mean use – in combat. I had become good at dying so I thought this might come in handy.
Deciding where to go next was a bit of a no-brainer. I had quite a few missions in my journal sending me to Embry Crossroads and I can take a hint. If the game wanted me to head to that town so badly, there must be something worth doing.
One of the first NPCs I encountered in Embry was the Blood Sports Registrar. From level five players are eligible to enter the Blood Sports matches. Of course, I didn’t want to dive straight in at level five; that would be suicide. No, I waited until I was a mighty level eight before entering the arena and laying down some smack. I entered the queue for a capture the flag match, and after a brief wait I was in.
I’m fairly sure that capture the flag needs no explanation to anyone. Even my grandmother could tell you the difference between CTF and team deathmatch. Teams in Fallen Earth are divided up into the old faithful red and blue. I was on the red team. My teammates were pretty easy to spot as they were all shaded red. Not just a little bit of detail here and there, but their whole bodies were washed in crimson. Picking out your targets in a melee brawl just became a whole lot easier. I know that this isn’t a new idea, but there are still games that don’t make things this easy for you, many games leave me leaning in and squinting at my monitor to make out friend from foe. Having somebody’s name appear in red over their head just won’t cut it in my book.
Even with this easy mode turned on, I can’t say I excelled in the world of violent sports. I’ve never stripped my character naked so I don’t know if he has a fully rendered backside or not, but if he does, he had it well and truly kicked and handed back to him. The score ended up at 3-0 and not in our favour. After the dust had settled and soaked up a couple of pints of my blood, the game awarded me some Deathtoll points, the PvP scoring system. I was given 20 points for being on the losing side – I’m guessing that this isn’t a lot if it’s the award for not even getting within spitting distance of the enemy’s flag. I was also given 5 points for my personal performance. Ouch! If 20 is what we get for being totally trampled, then 5 points is a pretty damning critique of my effectiveness on the battlefield. It’s almost like a pat on the head and an “Oh well, at least you turned up”.
I suppose I can only get better, right?
I decided not to engage in any more arenas until at least level nine, when pwnage would surely ensue.
After I popped back into Embry Crossroads, I found the Deathtoll vendor. Foolishly excited at the prospect of spending my hard won points, I stopped to make my purchases. The cheapest thing for sale only cost 20 points, which would leave me with some change. The only drawback was that the only items for such a small amount were ammo clips. I bought one just for the hell of it. I can always spend a month getting creamed in the arena to save up for a gun to load it in.
I spent rest of the day finishing up the missions in Embry Crossroads. This was pretty uneventful except for one snag. Remember when I killed the 15 deputies? This later came back to bite me as during an Embry mission, the sheriff and a deputy ambushed me. I came out of that fight better off than my attackers. Hope nobody holds this against me in the future.
However on the plus side the score stands at:
Bob Marley: 1 sheriff and 0 deputies
Me: 1 Sheriff and 15 deputies
How you interpret those scores depends on how loosely you define the term “winner”.