Okay folks, been a while but I have had my ass handed to me by the RL demons lately, and have been more busy looking for a job than playing FE.
Still don’t have a job (anyone need a bookseller/geek?) but am long overdue for a round-up of all things Fallen Earth – so here goes!
The PTS has had 2 content pushes over the past few weeks, the first saw the second iteration of the mooted combat changes being introduced, and the unveiling of Progress Towns (yay!), and the second let us port our way into Alpha County (Sector 4!!! Past that danged wall!!! – You can probably tell I was excited).
So first things first.
The combat changes… oh there were some surprises here. No longer do skills auto-level by a point every odd level, they now require you to use AP to increase ‘em, or they will be essentially useless.
In order to compensate for this, the set AP earnings per level are increasing from 20 to 30, the spend-cap per level is increasing to 35, which means that at level 50 you’ll have a max amount of 1785 AP spendable. Ok, that took some deep calming breaths for me to swallow – but it makes sense, no more freebie low level-skills. You build your character completely from scratch and completely as you want to.
There are now a dozen skill lines, and ten mutation lines (not including Alpha mutation) for you to spend AP on – and their caps depend on stat investment (the stats haven’t changed, but some of their influences have). You can also start spending AP on mutations straight out the gate at level 1. Going by my own reaction, and that of some of my clannies (classic: “I think I need a beer now” from Reilley) the initial reaction to a respec under the new system is: “Aw, Jaysus!” (that was me, obviously), but tinkering about with it pays off. On live Camille has 4 filled hotbars and keybinds that require all sorts of keyboard gymnastics. I respecced on the PTS and reduced down to 2 (incompletely filled) bars, making life a lot more streamlined. I think I used about 4 of the respec injectors on the PTS before coming up with a build that I was happy with, but I am happy with it. Camille now has hella healing powers, and is capable of dishing out damage just fine despite having only put points into one mutation line (Empathy – for the heals). Talking to clannies, it would seem they needed about the same amount of injectors to come up with builds they were happy with (varying wildly in emphasis, damage heavy, mut heavy, heal heavy etc.) – but after initial wibbles they were (mostly) happy too.
The system on the PTS still needs fleshing out, the logic behind some lines can be grokked fine, but the available skills (hello Illumination, I dislike you) seem lacking somehow. There’s also the “Heavy Weapons” skill line that is a mite, er, nebulous (see, I can do polite, honest), and some of the Telekenesis skills (for example) are irritiating in their click-on, click off (or keybind-on keybind-off) -ness. At this point I can see what the dev team want to do, and I’m at the point where I figure they should just push it to live with a bushel of free respecs and free skill training (for a limited period) and just tell us all to live with it. I say this because they have stated frequently in the past that S4 was designed around the new system, and if waiting for another go-round on combat means waiting for S4, I say screw it. I can live with it. Yes, people will freak, but people will freak anyway whenever the new system drops. Better to have it drop with the sweetener of entry into S4 and wodges of new content.
I levelled up a new character to level 10 on the PTS (Presto Nooblet – my imagination in naming is lacking these days) to have a look-see at how the early experience would be altered by access to mutations and the new wider pool of places to mis-spend AP (let’s be honest here, we all stuffed up on AP allocation somewhere on out first character, didn’t we?) and the cost of training skills etc. Presto did very well indeed with his training mutations, but the wheels fell off at level ten when they all vanished from his hotbar. As an experienced player I went “Oh dear, best find a trainer, stat!”, and luckily, I was in Embry and out of combat when I dinged 10 on him. Trouble was, I had sod all chips to spend on training anything. The training mutations were so useful I’d had no call to spend AP or chips on training anything else. Ooops. I had spent chips on food and drink (buffs!) and crafting mats (I had a lazy when it came to scavving on a temporary character) and had all of 11 blue chips to improve him with at level 10. Given that I was aiming for the new player experience (no sending chips from an alt), I was broke and skill-free once I broke the level ten barrier. Ouch. I also discovered that some missions required an AP investment to be able to take (the system still assuming you would have x points in int (for example) by level y) some of these may need a look-see. One plus for new players is the ratcheting up of random AP earned, which will make hitting the endgame spend cap a nicer experience.
And yes, I shall be deleting and re-rolling Poly Nomial once that system goes live – seeing the new system in action made ploughing ahead with her on live feel sort of redundant. So instead I’m going to reroll and take her from zero to cap with the new systems in place.
Progress Towns are heaps of fun though – everyone get your construction skill up and start hoarding wood, water and whatnot on live nao! Essentially, you clear mobs from one of the towns (Progress, Stronghold or Citadel) and then buy books that train you in constructing buildings (mission hut, vaults, a saloon (thanks AFFA!), defensive bunkers (with guards!) and resource-y buildings like water pumps) or weaponry (tame hydra weeds, landmines). Build enough stuff and you’ll not only generate resource nodes (cleverly tailored in their loot tables to further building materials) but you’ll attract the attention of mobs and precipitate a raid on the town. These NPC raids are a lot of fun, waves of mobs and a boss to take out. For a capped player Citadel is the most fun, as long as you don’t overdo the guard bunkers (can there be a cap on the numbers of these we’re allowed please?) there is an actual element of danger that adds to the shootapalooza good times. The buildings are specific for each town, so you can’t place a Citadel building in Stronghold, so it’ll pay players to ensure they collect them all, and participate in each of them. The reward for the progress town missions comes in the form of “Defense tokens”, a new form of currency that allows you to buy unique items from Progress Town vendors. So make sure you build the mission hut (to take and hand in missions) and the vendor hut (so you can buy things).
*cracks knuckles and pauses for dramatic effect*
Now, Alpha County. Sector 4. The mythical place behind the tantalising and lethal Grainway Wall.
It looks great (I have been frapsing, but have had no editing time recently – I’ll link to someone else’s first impressions vid instead: clicky! Kudos to Wariwulf for a very nice job there). That video (click it and watch it, I’ll wait) gives a great general overview of the feel of the zone, with those hideously twisted suppurating trees deforming both the landscape (forget driving, the roads are lethal) and the buildings they’ve twined themselves into. The PTS is giving nothing away in terms of mobs, we just have had the art and music to skip around in, but since they’re both stellar (I kid you not, the music is spinechilling), mooching about in there is actually a lot of fun. The magic PTS bus-stops don’t take you everywhere, and exploration off their route pays dividends. I have found my new favourite place in FE and it is Abbadon, the Judges’ Headquarters. Undoubtedly it will be even more creepy with mobs etc. in it, but as you can tell from the pic below, Camille is already quite attached to the place:
Having a long memory, I recall reading some stuff about the backstory of the Judges quite some time ago and if you look here you might get some idea of why this place is firing up my imagination. I didn’t see an Ark, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Dollars to doughnuts the mythology of the Judges may have shifted from that long-ago piece, but I really hope it hasn’t shifted too much.
The PvP zone in Alpha is cleverly structured (it’s called Blockade, and with good reason) and will have faction-specific lifenet pods as another gentle nudge from the devs towards faction specific PvP.
Now before my typing fingers get tired – to the mystery.
Check out this post from PixiStix on the official forums:
Attention Survivors! With all that junk collecting, scrap hoarding and prairie chicken fighting it’s hard to keep up with the latest buzz around the wasteland.
The Fallen Earth team has a MAJOR announcement during the scheduled maintenance set for next Tuesday, May 31. We’re giving ya’ll a chance to sit down with Senior Game Designer Marie “Aro Sei” Croall as she discusses the State of the Game and plans beyond.
You don’t wanna miss this!
All survivors are invited and encouraged to join in the live audio stream and chat! So that all wastelanders may participate, we’ll be holding two separate podcasts—join us at 3 p.m. EDT or 8 p.m. EDT on Tuesday.
Visit http://www.ustream.tv/channel/fallen-earth-community to listen and participate in the chat, or for those of you wastelanders that are more vocally inclined, use the Ventrilo channel information provided below to interact with Marie during the show:
We’ll see ya then!
(original message here.)
What could it mean?
Speculation is rampant on the forums, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.