Friday, May 11, 2012

Once Bitten : Fallen Earth

Who can say what made me decide patch up Fallen Earth after all this time. The recent flurry of publicity all came later.   It's pushing a year since Gamers First refitted it for Free to Play and beyond a couple of quick pop-ins I've scarcely thought about the post-apocalyptic sandbox-lite at all. Then on a whim a few days ago I dug out the launcher and stepped back into New Flagstaff.

It always seems to be sunset when I wake up in Fallen Earth. Night and day cycles are long here. Day's bright, night's dark and sunset is orange. Really orange. Skyshrine orange. Once my eyes adjusted to the glare, everything looked a lot better than I remembered. Often  does coming back to an MMO after a long break. I can think of several reasons for that, not least a new monitor and graphics card but developers do have this odd urge to keep tweaking the graphics up and there's been a little of that, definitely. Whatever, a wasteland never looked prettier.

Oh no, not you again
Mounts in Fallen Earth live in the world. There's no packing them away in your haversack. "How do I put my horse away?" is a question I must have heard in the help channel a dozen times an hour when the game was new and bless me if I didn't just hear it again twice in five minutes. It's not my place to poke fun, though - I know my horse doesn't go in my pack but do I know where my horse is?

Tastes best roasted in its shell. Allegedly.
See, I had a horse, but I haven't seen him for nearly a year. Or fed him. If this was a real sandbox, he'd be a bleached pile of bones by now. Then someone would have stolen the bones. He must be dead.

Nope! He was right where I left him! And even in the middle of a bunch of horses all standing around outside New Flagstaff's open-air bank looking pretty much the same, I knew which one was mine! I really did. I looked at them all, said to myself "That's him over there", moseyed over, mounted up and rode away. That's the true, unbreakable bond between a cowboy and his horse, that is!

I'll bend your flamin' ariel pal!
Yes, they say Fallen Earth is a post-apocalyptic MMO but we all know it's at least half a Western. It's like the Wild Bunch meets Westworld. With chickens. I like to think of my character there as a cross between Ian Hunter and Clint Eastwood, although I'm not sure Clint beat bandits to death with a sledgehammer and I'm almost certain Ian Hunter never did.

So I rode out of town. With the sun going down I cast a long shadow. Anyone would in that hat. I was ready for trouble. Alright, I was looking for trouble and I found some, too. More than I could handle, since it turned out I couldn't remember how to fight. I tried everything - left click, right click, double-click, A for Attack. All the obvious options.

Know what it is? Middle mouse button.

My complacent horse watched me take three long, embarrassing jogs up the cracked highway towards Post 23 before I worked that out. He wouldn't have been so complacent if it was ants not bandits chasing me. Ants eat horses. Takes them a while, too. Remember that next time you give me that horse laugh, Old Glue.

So now I know how to swing a baseball bat, I'm safely holed up in the Enforcer stronghold at Post 23 and I even fed my horse. I always wanted to make it to Sector 3. It's too late for Monkeytown but I'd still like to see some real trees. Have horse, will travel.

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