One of Fallen Earth's strongest selling points for me is its rather involved crafting system that, get this, is actually useful. There are ten different paths of crafting to choose from, and players can pursue as many or as few as they would like. I am not normally known by my gaming friends as a crafter; mainly because I find that my time can be spent better elsewhere in whatever game it is I am playing. However in Fallen Earth, where horses need to be mended, motorcycles need fuel, and my boomsticks need their bullets, becoming one with my inner tradesman is inherently useful and rewarding. What's more is that you can establish a crafting queue that will continue to progress even when you are not online, and WoW veterans will be pleased to know that they won't have to spend countless resources on useless throwaway items just to get to the good stuff.
I was unable at the time of this review to experience the town-control PvP-driven elder game of Fallen Earth, but during your time spent in the game's first sector you'll learn about the six factions in the game before choosing one as your own. Rather than simply dividing the factions by good and bad intentions, each one follows a basic ideology such as science, nature, order and chaos. The system works sort of like a color wheel, in that your two neighbors are considered allies, while the faction directly across from your own and the two next to it are enemies and will mark you as kill-on-sight. As I found a little later than I wished, your stats also gauge your ability to use faction-specific gear so I would take a little time to research each faction before making your decision.
Combat in Fallen Earth is an interesting bag of great ideas and somewhat sloppy execution. The system handles attacks with a first-person shooter interface, but whether or not your hit and how much damage you cause is assigned to the invisible dice rolls of RPGs we've long been acquainted with. Perhaps it's just preference, but I prefer my shooters to work like shooters and not assigned my ability to kill things arbitrarily to the roll of a dice. However without this system in place, what would stats be for? I see the system's merit, and I understand its place in Fallen Earth, but I guess I just get cranky when I know I'm hovering over my opponents head at close range and yet I still miss or do minimal damage. On the plus side, combat is a refreshing change from what many MMO gamers may be used to, and there is plenty of room for customization here as well. Players who prefer to melee should not be deterred from doing so, because guns don't always beat out a well swung baseball bat or hammer.
Mutations are the developers' own version of post-apocalyptic magic, and can really pack a wallop as well. And thanks to the game's classless system you can feel free to experiment at will so long as you know the consequences of dipping into too many honey pots could mean gimping your character.
In the end, I find myself surprisingly optimistic about this little-game-that-could. It is frayed around the edges. Its visuals are not up to snuff with other recent games in the genre, its polish is lacking (though getting better with each patch), and it can be an extremely daunting venture for a new player to become acquainted with the world. But while it may turn away some within minutes, for those players who stay to gain a grasp on the world and its foibles, I have no doubt they'll find a diamond in the rough. For years vocal gamers have been clamoring for something new and different, or something that recaptured some of the "world" feeling older MMOs used to carry. Fallen Earth is that something, and is definitely worth a look for anyone in search of someplace new to hang their gaming hat.