Fallen Earth

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Fallen Earth
Fallen Earth box art
Developer(s) Reloaded Productions (formerly Icarus Studios, Fallen Earth)
Publisher(s) K2 Network
Engine Icarus Platform
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X[1]
Release date(s) September 22, 2009
Genre(s) Massively multiplayer online role playing
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Distribution Download

Fallen Earth is a free-to-play MMO developed by Reloaded Productions (formerly by North Carolina-based Icarus Studios and Fallen Earth).[2] The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland located around the American Grand Canyon. Fallen Earth's gameplay features FPS/RPG hybridization, first-person/third person views, hundreds of items, including improvised equipment and weapons, a variety of functional vehicles, a real-time, in-depth crafting system (which includes vehicles), various skills and abilities, factions and tactical PvP, all existing within 1000 square kilometers of usable terrain based on real-world topographical maps of the area.

The game was released on September 22, 2009 with pre-orders from Direct2Drive, Steam and the official website granting early access from September 9, 2009.[3][4]

On June 15, 2011, it was announced that GamersFirst had purchased the intellectual property of the game and that the game would be going "free to play." On August 1, the transition was implemented.[5]

On July 30, 2011 the Icarus accounts were merged with GamersFirst accounts, a process which had been scheduled for August 1. Players now log into the game using GamersFirst details rather than their old Icarus account details. At this point, the game was still subscription based; new GamersFirst players were automatically put into 14 day free trials.[6] The game went "Free to Play" on 13 October 2011.[7]

Plot[edit]

The Fallen Earth story begins in the 21st Century, when the first in a series of natural disasters hits the United States. As Americans struggle to recover, an investment tycoon named Brenhauer buys a controlling stake in a mega-corporation named GlobalTech. By 2051, he moves his headquarters to the Grand Canyon Province, where GlobalTech eventually creates a self-sufficient economic and military mini-state. Meanwhile, in India and Pakistan, the Shiva virus, named for the dance-like convulsions that it caused in its victims, appears among the human populace. As the infection starts to spread, countries accuse each other of engineering the virus. Political paranoia turn to open aggression and nuclear conflict. The nuclear conflict combined with the virus devastates the planet. Less than one percent of Earth's population survived the Fall, and the Hoover Dam Garrison and Grand Canyon Province are the only known outposts of human civilization.

Outside the protective confines of the Hoover Dam Garrison, the player will encounter ruins of the old world, genetically altered creatures, strange technology, and six warring factions. Some factions seek to rebuild the old world, others wish to build a new one in their own image, and some simply desire chaos and anarchy.

Gameplay[edit]

The game world of Fallen Earth is based on a real-world topographical map of the Grand Canyon. The world map covers more than 1000 square kilometres of usable terrain.[8] The environment is zoneless and set in sectors which can be advanced through at the players own pace, each of which continues the story-arc of the game. Parts of the map will be unreachable at release, but will be gradually opened as more content is developed.

The game supports PhysX[9] and Vivox, Inc.'s in-game voice communication technology.[10]

Features[edit]

Among its features are first-person and third-person views, classless system, Player-versus-Player combat, mounted combat, crafting, noise-based stealth system (there is no invisibility skill, the stealth skill reduces noise) and a heavily moderated global help channel. As part of its development toward player-owned-houses, the construction skill has as of Dec/19/12 player-owned farms. Farms can be set in "empty" areas of the game [11] and are not instanced.

Character creation[edit]

Fallen Earth offers customizable features, including: clothing, facial features, skin tones, hairstyles and colors, age, body and facial hair, body art (tattoos and piercings), height, and makeup. Also after this process you may add points to your character to build strength and other skills.

Character development[edit]

Fallen Earth does not have a fixed class system. It utilizes skill-based character development with a strong emphasis on flexibility and player preference. The game features active skills—trade-skills as well as mutation-based skills—which can be increased through Advancement Points or skill usage. Advancement Points (APs) are earned alongside level experience, and aside from increasing skill points, can also be used to boost Attributes. Originally there was no opportunity to undo any selections you make as there was no "re-spec" system in place so if you make a mistake or decide you do not like your selections you needed to start a new character from scratch in order to fix it.[12]

However, there was a system that allowed you to select a general archetype (Medic, Melee, Rifleman, etc.) and the system would provide you with guidelines on how to mold your character to that type. This was not a rigid system, if you selected one pre-made archetype you could still train in any skill. This feature was removed after the game went free-to-play.

A re-spec system has been added. You can buy items from certain Mutagen Merchants with in-game currency which will allow you to re-spec 5 AP (a max AP character has 1960) per consumable. You can also buy full re-spec items from the cash shop.

Combat[edit]

Combat in Fallen Earth is generally in a first-person shooter format. The camera can be moved to alternate between third and first person modes. Players will need to manually keep their targets in a targeting reticle to actually hit them in combat. Skills can be used to influence combat in different ways, but again, enemies must still be manually targeted. There is no "target locking" as in other MMOs.

There are three main methods of dealing damage in the game. These are broken down by weapon's effective ranges. Rifles, pistols, and melee are the primary weapon types. Rifles specialize in long distance damage, but are capable of using some short distance weaponry. Pistols are considered the most balanced of the weapon types, able to do damage at medium to short range. Melee is the short range up close damage.[13] There are also mutations which the player can view as the "magic" of the game, but this is designed to augment your weapon, or support, but not as a replacement for a weapon (many of the mutation skills are pre-set and activate with the next normal hit the player lands).[14]

Furthermore, the balance between the three weapon types is facilitated in various ways. As an example, rifles come with a severe melee-defense debuff. Thus allow melee to quickly dispatch a rifleman once they get up close.

Equipment[edit]

Fallen Earth has thousands of items as well as equipment and accessories of varying strength for players to craft and equip in up to 22 separate equipment slots. Equipment varies in stats as well as weight, while heavier equipment generally has higher defensive properties, it increases noise while moving - alerting enemies more easily.

Weapons[edit]

Fallen Earth allows its players to carry as many as 6 active weapons which will be a part of your character's appearance (visible to yourself but not other players.) Screenshots, videos, and subsequent newsletters have revealed a small list of weapons to appear in Fallen Earth such as a baseball bat and rocket propelled grenades.

Vehicles[edit]

Fallen Earth features a range of vehicles, from small, fast motorcycles with little carrying capacity to a heavy duty Tornado jeep-style vehicle with a large carrying capacity. Each of the available vehicles differs in speed, fuel type and efficiency, ability to scale different terrain, cargo and storage capacity, armor, weaponry and whether you can shoot handheld weapons from the mount. Characters can own up to 5 vehicles, which are acquired through research and crafting (up to 3 weeks non-stop in some cases).[15][16]

Factions[edit]

Players start out neutral in Fallen Earth and can remain neutral or choose to align themselves with a particular faction. Aligning with a faction will give characters a head start in skills and equipment that the faction specializes in (e.g. they will have easier access to learning certain skills). There are also a number of NPC factions that players can build alignment with. Helping or disrupting factions will affect the player's relationships with them. Killing faction members can also influence your faction alignment.

The alignments of the 6 main factions can be arranged into a "wheel". Each faction has 2 allies, 2 enemy and 1 arch-enemy faction, with the arch-enemy being the faction on the opposite side of the wheel.[17]

Primary factions also have a number of sub-groups that hold to various motives and differences in ideology. While some of these sub-factions are known, many are secretive and will only reveal their existence to those they trust. Characters can become members of a sub-faction and gain special titles, abilities and equipment. Some sub-factions are mutually exclusive, but not all are.[18]

Factions are: Tech, Traveler, Children of the Apocalypse, Vista, Light bearers, and Enforcers.

Development[edit]

System requirements
Minimum Recommended
Windows
Operating system Windows or Mac Os X
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz or
Athlon 64X2 2.4 GHz
Intel Core 2 Quad 2.40 GHz or equivalent
Memory 2 GB for XP,
3 GB for Vista
3 GB for XP,
4 GB for Vista
Hard drive 10 GB
Graphics hardware nVidia GeForce 6600 or
ATI Radeon X1300,

256 MB Video Ram
nVidia GeForce 8800GTS or
ATI Radeon 3870,

512 MB Video Ram
Network Internet connection required

After a number of years in the making, Fallen Earth developers announced in a June 2008 press release that the game had reached feature-complete status.[19] In October 2008, the Fallen Earth website reported that the game had reached content-complete status.[20] The first wave of Alpha tests began in August 2008, and closed Beta testing began in February 2009.[21]

As part of a promotional campaign, Fallen Earth announced a National Tour on their website in February 2009.[22] They planned to sponsor IGDA meetings, and participating in events across the United States, doing public demonstrations promoting the game and taking part in question-and-answer sessions with the audience.

On March 10, 2010, Icarus Studios announced the beta release of Fallen Earth for the Mac OS X platform. The Mac OS X version of Fallen Earth uses Wine technology and requires an Intel-based Mac system with a discrete graphics processor.[1]

Fallen Earth was acquired by Reloaded Productions in June, 2011.

Reception[edit]

Fallen Earth earned the runner-up spot for Best New MMO of 2009 by Beckett Massive Online Gamer. The award was announced on March 11, 2010[23] The game also won the Best Online-Only Game of 2009 award by Game Industry News.[24]

Fallen Earth has been criticised by reviewers for low-quality animation[25] and numerous bugs.[26][27]

Corporate restructuring[edit]

On April 5, 2010, the Fallen Earth team announced that Lee Hammock was leaving Fallen Earth to work as story designer on a new MMO title, Gargantuan.[28] On April 30, 2010, Chief Executive Officer of Icarus Studios, Inc., James Hettinger, announced a restructure of the company resources and staffing, effective immediately.[29] Among these changes was the promotion of Fallen Earth writer/content developer Wes Platt to Director of Content Development.[30]

On May 4, 2010, Fallen Earth, LLC, announced a new distribution partnership with Interactive Gaming Software (IGS),[31] a subsidiary of Atari USA.

On June 16, 2011, it was announced that Fallen Earth's development would be taken over by Reloaded Productions and GamersFirst.[32]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Icarus Studios Launches Macintosh Compatible MMO Platform". Fallen Earth, LLC. 2010-10-03. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Icarus Platform Interview with Chris Gardner". WarCry Network. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  3. ^ "Fallen Earth Forums: Announcements: Launch Date Moved to Sept. 22, Early Access Sept. 9". Fallen Earth, LLC. 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  4. ^ "Fallen Earth on Steam". Fallen Earth, LLC. 2009-09-18. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  5. ^ "Massively: GamersFirst announces acquisition of Fallen Earth with new F2P business model". AOL, Inc. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  6. ^ "Fallen Earth - Free Trial". GamersFirst. 2011-08-03. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  7. ^ "Fallen Earth: Free2Play". Fallen Earth Development Blog. 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  8. ^ "Fallen Earth Press Release: Retail Launch". Games Press. 2009-07-21. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  9. ^ "Featured PhysX Titles". Nvidia. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  10. ^ "Press Release: Vivox Gives Voice to the Battle for Fallen Earth". Fallen Earth, LLC. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  11. ^ http://www.gamersfirst.com/fallenearth/?q=news&nid=561
  12. ^ "Fallen Earth: Interview with Lee Hammock". MMORPG.com. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  13. ^ "Combat". Fallen Earth. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  14. ^ http://www.gamersfirst.com/fallenearth/?q=skills-and-abilities
  15. ^ "New Vehicles". Fallen Earth, LLC. 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  16. ^ Alec Masters (AKA Lee Hammock) (2008-07-22). "Developer response in thread: New Vehicles in Fallen Earth Discussion". Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  17. ^ "Question of the Week: Feb 21, 2007 - How will factions be handled?". Fallen Earth Developers. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  18. ^ Fallen Earth Developers. "Question of the Week: August 29, 2007 - FE QotW Omnibus". Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  19. ^ "Fallen Earth Press Releases". Fallen Earth, LLC. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  20. ^ "Fallen Earth hits content complete development goal". Fallen Earth, LLC. 2008-10-02. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  21. ^ "Fallen Earth Enters Closed Beta Testing". Fallen Earth, LLC. 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2009-02-11. 
  22. ^ "Fallen Earth MMO Launches National Tour at North Carolina IGDA Meeting". Fallen Earth, LLC. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  23. ^ http://www.massiveonlinegamer.com/news/special-features/518-2009-readers-choice-award-winners
  24. ^ http://www.gameindustry.com/goty/winners.asp
  25. ^ http://www.ign.com/articles/2009/10/21/fallen-earth-review
  26. ^ http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/fallen-earth-welcome-to-apocalypse-review/1900-6244720/
  27. ^ PC Gamer UK Overstretched on launch, Fallen Earth is broken in too many places. Wait a while and the ambitious world could be impressive. [Dec 2009, p.84]
  28. ^ http://forums.fallenearth.com/fallenearth/showthread.php?t=36213
  29. ^ http://forums.fallenearth.com/fallenearth/showthread.php?t=37356
  30. ^ Reahard, Jef (2010-05-23). "Fallen Earth promotes new leads to fill Hammock's shoes". Massively. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  31. ^ http://forums.fallenearth.com/fallenearth/showthread.php?p=495282#post495282
  32. ^ http://massively.joystiq.com/2011/06/15/gamersfirst-announces-acquisition-of-fallen-earth-with-new-f2p-b/

External links[edit]