Have Mount, Will Travel.

December 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Posted in General | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

In my return to the World that is Warcraft’s, I have yet to turn off, filter out, or generally destroy the public channels.

I’m not sure why, because I usually get rid of them in a fit of ragequit as soon as I possibly can. Maybe I am mellowing out now that I’m an old codger.

As it is, I’m quite enjoying watching them scroll by at high speed whilst furtling about in one or other of the cities. Many guilds are recruiting, especially the “military rp” ones, there are the usual knob references and gags, and every so often someone throws out a line that sets me off on a ponder.

One such line was the individual who was stating that there would be no point gaining Worgen rep, as they have no racial mount.

Replies were lost in the avalanche of guild adverts, but the ponder had started. So much so that I canvassed opinions during a quiet moment during an instance run.

It was agreed and accepted that worgen not riding but having an enhanced-speed running mode was perfectly fine due to their animalisric nature. Dog on a horse? Crazy!

Then someone mentioned Tauren, and their bigfatlizzids. And the fact that they’d had a similar running skill that didn’t make it past beta.  Something along the lines of “Plainsrunning”.

Hmm. Mixed messages from the Blizzard boys and girls there, but I can see the business case for having all the races at game launch have mounts, and diversifying later.

I can also see past the “magic”, and realise that any mount is just a glorified enhanced-speed running mode.

Yet for all that, I find I love mounts. Being an old Everquest kid, I remember when mounts didn’t exist in games. When Star Wars Galaxies introduced speeders it was an exciting time; suddenly travelling from one place to another wasn’t just faster, it was cool!

Warcraft introduced racial mounts, then mounts at the end of rep grinds, and as trez drops. Lord of the Rings Online has just joined in the money-maker already used by Warcraft and Everquest 2 by releasing an RMT only mount.

And Fallen Earth has animal mounts, mutant mounts, and build-your-own vehicle mounts. Including (adopts bad attempt at an Australian accent) *the last of the V8 interceptors*. It’s a veritable mountopia, it really is.

It’s also a lot easier to get mounts nowadays. There are Lower level requirements and they’re cheaper to buy; mounts used to be a luxury item. Soon they’ll be an inalienable right.

I like mounts. Not just the faster speed, but the mount itself.

After all, what’s not to like about riding a giant, angry-looking cat or dog?  Or that ultimate in pimped-out mounts, a drrrrragin?  Mounts are a bright, imaginative way of covering up  a way of just making a character move faster.  Or to fly.  Or whatever is required or permitted by the devs.

They’re also a nice way to distract me from the tedium of travelling any distance.  Having more than one lets me get vary what I see, and I can sometimes collect them when I feel like it.  They are, after all, another thing to aspire to.

Do I mind that Worgen don’t get a mount?  No, and neither do I worry that it’s a trend that will be taken up in other games.  And the only Worgen character I was intending to create would be a druid, and they’ve always had their own methods of propulsion anyway.

Given the choice, I’d let Worgen have a moped.  Mopeds are under-represented in MMOs.  I’d absolutely love it if Fallen Earth had one, too.

Cheers,
Hawley.

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Of Swords and Ploughshares

November 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I am more than aware I have been striding purposefully down the “Bah humbug!” path when it comes to Events in MMOs over the last however-long.

That’s “Events” with a capital “E” because I’m not just referring to the seasonal events beloved of so many (right-thinking) players, but also things like the Elemental Invasion in World of Warcraft, or the Trivia Nights and Motorcycle Rides in Fallen Earth.

At the same time I look at recent (well, for *me* they’re recent, they may well be old hat for you) changes in the way that Rogues work in World of Warcraft, and I find myself not particularly caring that the game has been “dumbed down” to use the terms favoured by detractors, or “improved” if you’re a developer who worked on that particular area.

In point of fact, I tend to find that I approve of most of the changes.

Let’s take poisons.  Nasty rogueses and their poisons.

Almost 6 years ago, a rogue had to go and buy potion bottles and herbs, and then sit there making potions.  It was a skill-based progression just like any other profession skills, and was the immersive option.  Then Blizzard decided it was a waste of time; a redundant skill, and an opportunity to stand there doing very little that was actually fun for a few minutes.  So whilst poisons were still level-based, they were sold as consumables by vendors.

Now, they’re not even level-based.  They just scale the damage according to level.

In the midst of all this, the way that poisons worked changed as well.  They stopped having both a time limit and charges, and just had time-limits.

Sorted.  Big thumbs up from the slacker here.

Less work, less silly “wastage”, less carting around assorted crap in bags.

Of course, your opinion might well vary on whether or not this trend amongst games to step away from the minutae and towards an “enhanced” gaming feel is something you appreciate or not.

And it really depends on your opinion of what a “persistent world” should be.  Is it an actual world, where players can exist as a part of the world, or is it a playset, there to be a backdrop for the game?

Are MMOs about the world, or the game set in it?

I used to believe in the Persistent World Dream.  The fact that the technology couldn’t support it when I started playing MMOs didn’t mean that each successive generation of MMOs couldn’t and wouldn’t take us closer the dream.  But time has managed to savage that dream, with a succession of slings and arrows.

Not all of them are related to software developers, game publishers, and evil marketing men (okay, not all marketing men are evil.  One or two *must* be nice; it’s the law of averages at work).  I’m not the same geek I was even 3 years ago.  I have wife, job, and a lot less time to spend in front of a pc living the virtual life of an orc.

And if I want the virtual life of an orc, I can go to…  Second Life.  Whatever Second Life is doing at the moment; I never entertained Second Life as a gaming option because it isn’t a game in the way that I would see a game.  I am, at heart, still a gamer.  I like rules, and a win condition.  So I know it’s there, but I’ve no interest in the opportunities it offers.

I’ve also no need to play Offices and Accountants.  I get to live in a mundane world as part of normal existence.  I want adventure, I want crazy mad action, and I want huge piles of trez at the end of it.

Just without the requirement of getting shot, stabbed, stamped on, denied frequent access to tea, or any of the other really horrible things that happen to real people who go on adventures.

Events just seem to get in the way.  I was positively outraged at those elementals that decided to attack Stormwind as I was attempting to find the Shaman trainer with Shaman Herewerd.  I couldn’t have cared less about attacking elementals; I was trying to get Herewerd set up with talents, and they were *JUST IN THE WAY*.

My gaming time is quite often a snatched hour away from other hobbies, chores, or quality time with my lovely lady.  I log in with a game-plan of things I want to get done.  And anything that gets in the way of the shopping list I want to get done is bad and wrong, and shall be given the short shrift it deserves.

Don’t get me (too) wrong.  I enjoy logging on and pottering about in an MMO, but to me that pottering about isn’t about reinforcing my position in a world by doing mundane things.  It’s more about casually murdering a few monsties for their trez.

I want to miss out the boring stuff, the pointless and petty grind of such tasks as making poisons.  I want to get on and game:

I want swords, not ploughshares.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Quite busy

October 11, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Posted in General | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I’m “quite busy” at the moment.

In the same way that His Holiness the Pope is “quite Catholic”, bears “quite probably” go potty in the woods, and that the humble yet noble cup of tea is “quite good”.

Yeesh.  Work is crazy, weddings are crazy, and social life is crazy.  All in all, there’s little in the way of time for geeking, as I like to put it.

As a result, a couple of games have hit the to-come-back-to pile, most notable of which is World of Warcraft.  I’d een playing using time cards, as they’re ever so slightly cheaper than paying monthly, and just as controllable.  And there’s something quite fun about scratching the silvery stuff off, and seeing what I’ve won (Yay!  I won two months of World of Warcraft game time!).  No, I don’t do scratch cards.  I don’t handle the disappointment well.

I didn’t stop paying/playing because I’m cheap, I just don’t like paying for something I’m not using.  It makes poor fiscal sense, and I need every penny I can get.

And because I just wasn’t getting enough time in my day, I stopped playing, and so stopped paying.  It’s not like Azeroth is going to go away, get a facelift, and come back unrecognisable, is it?

Or is it…?

Either way, it’s not been much of an issue.  I am getting the odd pang, though, so I did go and get a new time card, ready for mid November when all the crazy-busy-now(!) has gone, and once again I actually have the time to sit, smell the roses, and enjoy life again.

But I did get a time card, and it is currently sat looking at me, with the huge kitten eyes that say; “Pweeeeease!  Allow me to fulfill my maximum potential!  Don’t leave me languishing on the shelf, looking like a really rubbish DVD film!”

So what if a couple of weeks will end up wasted.  Game now, cry later!

After all, if I took all the unused game time that I’ve paid for through recurring monthly subscriptions, I’d have… a lot.  So what’s another week or two?  Probably less than mere drops in the ocean.

It does make me pine for a subscription-based model where I’m just paying for hours, rather than lunar periods.  Paying for an hour, and getting an hour’s game, that’s fine.  Pay for a month, and sometimes I begrudge all that “wasted” time.  You know, the going to work;  the sleeping; the bathing.

Yet I suppose it’s economy of scale.  Pay for a month, get a month.  Pay for an hour, and suddenly I don’t want to waste a few minutes of my time doing anything other than playing.  After all, if it takes me 3 minutes to make a brew, that’s an enter twentieth of my game time gone and wasted!

Do not make me choose between you and tea, Senior Game.  You will lose.

I digress.  Back to the time card.

I’m quite monogameous at the moment; Fallen Earth has the right blend of gameplay styles  that mean I can log on for 20 minutes or 3 hours, and get something meaningful done however long I’m on for.  And because it gives good solo action (oo-er, missus!) I can also get called away from the keyboard without screwing up anyone else’s hobby, so that’s a bonus too.  Seeing as I only have the time to do one game justice, Fallen Earth wins.

World of Warcraft has those qualities, but that’s largely the levelling part of the game, and the last thing I want to do is level, when a whole new levelling experience (sounds quite posh when I put it that way) will be available with the release of Cataclysm.

And while it might feel like years away to the average Warcraft gamer, for me the time should fly by, just like the last year has flown by.  Normal time resumes in mid November, so maybe I should just put that time card to one side, where it’s supposed to be, and wait.

Yeesh.  Waiting is wruuuuuubbish!

Cheers,
Hawley.

What Wol did next

June 11, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I have reached the threshold in Fallen Earth.

Wol is now at the point in level 15 where he’s very close to level 16.  And from questing, he’s more or less exhausted the starting towns to the south of Sector 1.  This means heading out of the starting towns of the south, and into the more dangerous towns of the North.  This is the start of the journey to Sector 2.

What surprises me is the amount of time it’s taken to get this far.  According to most games, Wol is still a babe in arms.  Most games can see me get a character to level 15 in a couple of sessions, yet Wol has been going for weeks.

Pondering why, I’ve come to the following conclusion;

There’s a lot to do.

More definition required?  Okay, seeing as you asked nicely.

Hoovering up everything you find takes dedication.  It also takes time.  Find a good spot with a lot of node spawns, and it takes time to pick them all up.  Especially if it’s a fast spawning area, and you go for a couple of circuits.

Add in a few mobs that are suicidally desperate to give you all of their trez and xp, and a quick farming stop off whilst travelling can turn into a half hour orgy of combat, gathering and looting.  Of course, you should add an extra 15 minutes if the local mob is HERMIT CRABS!

Then there’s the questing.  Whilst it has some Quest Hub A leads to Quest Hub B sensibilities, there have also been some wonderful little quest hubs scattered in the wilderness between settlements.  They’re just sat there, and the ones I’ve found have been quirky and fun.  I’ve mentioned the gun-toting CHOTA offshoot before, but I’ve also encountered a settlement on a bridge that’s owned by the Goat family.  They’re having trouble fending off the predations of a group of Gully Dogs raiders, lead by The Troll.  Yes, I got to be all gruff.

These little quest areas, with four or five quests and a shop reward taking the time to explore an area, or check out something that looks interesting against the skyline.

I’ve also been crafting, and spending the time to hoover up everything I can has really helped.  I have both Sector and Barter Vaults constantly filled, and quite often I just vendor the commonly found components such as Tainted Meat and Tainted Water, as I have full stacks in the banks just in case.

That hoovering has meant that I’ve been able to work on all of the crafting types, with the exception of the scarily expensive Mutagenics (well, it is in Sector 1, so it can wait) and Construction, which is of less use to the up and coming clone.

It’s not even been that expensive to keep crafting, as questing has meant that money has just rolled in.  Wol isn’t rich by any stretch of the imagination, but neither have I ever had to do without.  Cashflow is good, and I’m well equipped seeing as I’ve crafted everything myself.

I also have a choice of mounts, thanks to that crafting.  This is particularly useful, as Sector 1 is big.  No, bigger than that.  It feels like the largest starter zone I’ve ever played in, and I’m also taking into account the fact that the extended tutorial gives out a horse mount.

Currently I have two mounts.  I have a horse for general questing because it has excellent inventory space, fuel economy and stamina, and I have a motorbike for travelling between towns because they’re cool and they go like the clappers.

Having said that, it’s not about rushing from one place to the next, taking the fastest route through the game.  The ‘bike is to take me quickly when I want to, not because I feel I have to.

It’s down to the immersion.  I like the immersion factor in the game.  Now don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to live there.  At all.  I like the world we live in.  It may have its flaws, but it’s got things like beds, and ceilings connected to walls, and showers.  It also has a comfortingly low ratio of mutants to regular people.

But I don’t feel like I have to rush through the game, to get to the fun bit at the end.  It’s all fun, and that even includes the farming bits.  I feel like I can farm as much as I want to, and then move onto something that’s more fun.

Oh, I’m more than aware that there isn’t much of an end-game as we know it, but seeing as I’m levelling whilst smelling the roses, it doesn’t matter so much right now.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Shonky

June 10, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Posted in General | 4 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

I got the Fallen Earth Mobile Companion yesterday, from the Android Market.

But before we go any further down this particular rabbit hole, a few words about this particular white rabbit:

I’m not a professional reviewer.  I am not unbiased, and I don’t especially wish to attain that particular state of grace.  Take what I have written with a pinch of salt, and feel free to make up your own mind.  I shall be honest about what I feel about the software.  You shouldn’t take it as gospel acclamation.

Furthermore, my phone is a G1.  It is a year and a half old, and there are much faster Android smartphones out there.  It is on the T-Mobile network, which has some “issues” when it comes to 3G coverage and connection.  It has a notoriously bad battery, and I know how to drain the battery in about an hour by using a combination of multiple apps and using the aforementioned 3G.

Having said all that, I love my G1.  It keeps me sane, during the bad times.

But enough preamble; onwards to the could-have-been-a-review-if-I-was-all-professional-about-this-stuff.

The overriding thought I have about the Fallen Earth Mobile Companion is that it’s launch proves it to be very much *of* the MMO genre.

Yes, you guessed it; it’s been released way too early, and could do with a good few months to iron out the bugs and add a decent sheen of polish to it.

There are connection issues, random bugs, not all of it works properly, and the interface isn’t that responsive.

Connection is vital in this app.  It’s only a scant few megabytes in size, which means it’s constantly accessing the game servers for information requested.  If it loses connection, it times out and throws a connection error out.  It can take a long time to bring up a screen, and there’s no sort of progress bar, just an hourglass icon.  And because of all that connecting and reconnecting, it doesn’t so much as eat my battery power as inhale it.  Be warned.

Then there are the bugs.  It’s not showing me all the crafting recipes I have, by a long shot.  It seems to have decided to show me a random selection of recipe groups.  And I mean random.  According to the Science tab, I only know the Dye, Weakness Gas, Refine Adhesive and Gunpowder recipe groups.  Huwah?  The crafting queue is quite happily showing me make Motorcycles, but according to the Fallen Earth Mobile Companion, I don’t have the first clue in how to make them.  The same goes for the other Crafting skills.  It makes no sense.

It also has a habit of locking up.  If I’m looking at what’s for sale on the auction house, and touch an entry to see more details about it, the app locks.  Deader than a doornail, and I have to go drop out of the app and go back in it to sort it out.  This is actually a change from earlier, when I could bring up item details.

Quite often, I need to press an icon two or three times to get it to operate.  Maybe that’s my phone, but I’ve not had a problem with slow or unresponsive apps before.

There are other polish issues.  The auction house will show me what’s for sale, but not how many items in a stack if the item is stackable.  And there’s no way I’m going to gamble my chips away by effectively bidding blind.

Not only that, but when I slide out the G1 keyboard, the view remains staunchly portrait.  Even when using the chat function, and I’m typing away on aforementioned keyboard, the app refuses to change its pro-portrait stance.

Call me some freaky freaky-face, but I like being able to type on the hardware keyboard without it appearing at 90degrees on screen.  Never mind the typing window inextricably occupying half the screen, whilst the software keyboard occupies the rest of the screen.

Why?  It makes no sense.  It’s nice to see what chat I’m responding to, never mind being able to respond in good time if new chat arrives whilst I’m typing.

Oh, and sometimes it’s nice to work in widescreen.

Those are the major gripes.  There are a good few minor gripes, but I can live with those.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though.

The Comms function works nicely, apart from the polish issues.  I think the Friends pane works better at telling you who’s online better than the actual game does, and whilst the only community channel available is Clan, that’s fine by me.  Chat works in good time, and has even informed me when chat is occurring whilst I’m on another part of the app.

The Character screens are quite well realised.  Showing character stats could be better realised, but inventory and equipment screens are nicely done.

The maps are nice, and quite well realised on the small screen.  Not much use, but pretty nonetheless.

The crafting queue is useful.  It’s quite surprisingly nice to see how close something is to being finished when logged out.

Do I think I wasted my money?

Possibly.  At the very least I handed it over way too soon.  Or I have the wrong phone or OS; maybe it works perfectly on the iPhone, and it’s only shonky on Android.  Or the G1.

But shonky it is, and I really hope they’ll get their act sorted out, and improve and update this app as often as Fallen Earth LLC have improved and updated Fallen Earth itself.

If they do, then “Mobile Companions” could well be the next big thing to happen to MMOs.  Because as a proof of concept, the Fallen Earth Mobile Companion shows that this kind of thing will work.  AFK Interactive now need to show that it will work *well*.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Massively Mobile?

June 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

The Fallen Earth Mobile Companion has been unveiled.  I first saw it on the splash screen when logging into Fallen Earth last night, and I saw that Dickie has a nice post about it on Rainbow MMO.

It’s a cross-platform mobile app designed to allow players of Fallen Earth limited access to the game when on the move.  Chat channels, auction house, crafting queue, that sort of thing.  It’s been made by Icarus, Fallen Earth LLC, and AFK Interactive.

I checked out AFK Interactive’s website, and they’re stating it’s part of their M4 Platform, where M4 is short for “Massively Multiplayer Mobile Monetization”.  It’s a skinnable/customisable app, which they would like to see used for a variety of differing MMOs.

I’m not sure how you feel about that little word “Monetization” sat there on the end, but it sets off alarm bells for me.  I’m not sure I wish to be monetised through my mobile.  It sounds vaguely of ladies of ill repute and worse legality leaving business cards in ‘phone boxes to me.

However, sensitivities towards RMT aside, I’m going to give it a go.  It’s $1.99, which is less than the price of a pint, and as far as I can see it’s a one-off payment.  If it was a subscription that would be something else entirely, but I don’t mind giving a cut of 2 bucks to the people behind a game that I particularly enjoy.

Is it going to be a must-have?  I’m not so sure about that.

It gives an advantage to those players who enjoy playing the auction house, those who send a lot of in-game mail, and those who are particularly chatty, that’s for sure.  After that, it’s hard to say; the advertising blurb just says, and I quote; “and more!”

Cheers,
Hawley.

My Favourite Monstie

May 31, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Posted in General | 2 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

Running ‘round killing stuff is a staple part of most MMOs.  Whether it’s as part of a quest, part of self-defence whilst travelling from Point A to Point B, or just for fun and profit, there are plenty of monsties around.

Sometimes a monster manages to elevate itself above the commons, to rise up from the morass, to stand out and shout towards the very heavens; “I am here, and I am special”.  Well, it does for me anyway.

In the original Everquest, it was lions.  Just as I’m settled into the long, long wait for mana and health to replenish, up pops a lion (from out of nowhere) and bites me.  It’s thoroughly grey to me, and hitting it once is enough to start it running for cover, but not enough to kill it.  So the dratted thing runs off, is really annoying to chase down, and when it feels brave enough (usually when it has just enough health for me to not one-shot it) it comes back and bites me again.  Of course, I could just pop a spell in it’s fat ares, but of course that just uses up some mana that I’m trying to replenish.

I still hate those lions.  With a passion that few will understand.  Annoying, niggly gits.

In Lord of the Rings Online, it’s goblins.  It’s as if someone tattooed All Goblins Must Be Pwned on the monitor when I’m playing.  They way they move, the things they say, the way they look; everything just makes me want to destroy them.  And yes, I will go out of my way to kill them.  And then /dance over their digital corpses.

Now there is a new candidate in the Hawley MMO Hall of Infamy; the Hermit Crab.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it even a crab?

Fallen Earth has some weird squacky monsties, such as the various types of mutants and giant insects.  But right now, in Sector 1, the Hermit Crib is the winner.

Just look at it.  That’s a big nasty lobster/crab thing, using an old crt monitor or a bin as a shell.  And my geography is a little weak; how far is the Grand Canyon from any large body of water?

Never mind.  They just look wonderful.  There’s a wonderful sense of humour and imagination involved in the way they look, which makes me giggle whenever they’re near.

Of course, whenever they’re near, they’re attacking me.  They have an aggro-range that’s roughly the size of a Sector, so if they can see you, then they’re scuttling towards you in Attack Pattern CLAAAAW!  They also like the taste of horse; my horse has inadvertently ended up tanking for me when the Hermit Crab equivalent of a Spar Gang (I’m afraid you have to be English to get that reference completely.  Sorry) descends on me (from a few game miles away).

And then there’s the loot that you can harvest from them.  Crab Meat is only to be expected, but then there’s a cornucopia of scrap metals, as well as the generic animal possibilities of Tainted Meat and Weak Biochemicals.  They’re just wonderfully random to harvest, as if they’re the Kinder Egg of monsties.

Just without the chocolate.

It's going for the face

I love Hermit Crabs.  They make me smile, even when they’re attempting to eat my face.  Or my horse’s face.  They hit Fabulous on the Hawley Scale of Fabulousness; they’re a sign of a well-developed sense of humour and imagination amongst the creators of the game, as well as a willingness to do something a little wackier than most.  And the best thing about them is that their inclusion in the game world doesn’t seem forced.  They seem to belong as part of the natural flora and fauna of the game world.

Lovely.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Changing Clans

May 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Posted in General | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

Ysharros is now the boss of me.

Well, in Fallen Earth she’s the clan boss of me, if just to clarify matters.

This is a new development, as I had previously been a member of T.E.M.P.S.  I’ll now start just calling them TEMPS, seeing as putting in all those full stops is really annoying, and I’ll be talking about TEMPS a bit in this post.  See?  Did it again.  TEMPS!

Silliness aside, I was a member of TEMPS for a good few weeks.  I’d been recruited as a part of a mass blind invite, and I would ordinarily have declined on principle, but one of the things I’d wanted to do as part of the Wol Project was to experience things I wouldn’t ordinarily do, and clicking “Join” would be something I wouldn’t ordinarily do.

TEMPS is a great initiative.  They’re a clan that is designed to help new players over that steep learning curve that Fallen Earth has; their clan name is short for To Ensure More Players Stay.  And good luck to them; it’s a worthy cause, and one that is good for both the community and the game.

If you’re trying out the game, give them a look.  It can really help.

But now I’m in the South Burb Trading Co, and Ysharros is the boss.  Which means that the buck stops with her, she gets to make all the decisions, and that I’ve devolved all responsibility to her.

That’s a good thing, she tells me…

Cheers,
Hawley.

The Wol Project: The Grand Choosing

May 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

The time is drawing close, closer, closest, and I find myself pondering what decisions I shall make at the time of The Grand Choosing.

I think it’s quite safe to say that The Wol Project has been an unparalleled success.  I feel a lot more comfortable playing Fallen Earth, and as a result Wol’s progress has happened without me even intending it to.  I seem to have a lot more APs, a lot more options, and even levelling my crafting has been easier.  It’s pretty safe to say that Wol is now my character of choice for post apocalyptic gaming goodness.

Of course, there is a price for that continued progress, and that is: The Grand Choosing.  Well, it’s what I think of as The Grand Choosing.  For anyone else, it could be Tuesday evening.  Any particular Tuesday evening, at that.  Or even a Wednesday.

Because The Grand Choosing is that moment where that big choice is made: What will this character *do*.

Most games don’t have this moment during gameplay.  They have it during character creation.  In choosing a character class, we choose what our character will wear, will wield, and what their role will be in the game world.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing.  Having a specialised, defined role from the beginning means never having to wonder if you’re playing a “broken” character.  And by “broken”, I mean not able to do much after all the levelling’s done but die a lot.

Fallen Earth is not like the other kids, in this and many other ways.

Fallen Earth allows a scary amount of customisation, with many attractive options.  Yet the finer details are annoyingly vague, and there is a constant fear of creating some sort of Frankenstein’s monster of a character; one so fractured and broken it’s as if someone forgot to put in the stitches.

Well, that’s my fear.  There are so many cool things I’d like Wol to be able to do that I have to sit down, get out a character creater thingy such as Globaltech Atlas’ one here, and figure a few things out.  It also helps that Wol has a respec device; having a safety net, even a one-use safety net, makes me feel much better about spending APs.

Anyhoo…

The First Test of The Grand Choosing is The Lovely Brew. I never, ever make an important decision without the soothing, calming, and smarts-boosting effects of a lovely cup of tea.  Empires might rise and fall, but I won’t do anything without a large mug of the steaming brown stuff in my hand.  No, wait, that didn’t sound right.  Moving swiftly on:

The Second Test of The Grand Choosing is Choice Of Weapon. There are three main combat styles; Melee, Pistols and Rifles.

I’m sure I’m not alone in being drawn to the bangsticks.  They’re not something seen in many MMOs, never mind being used to such an extent.  Rifles are long-range, but I’m clumsy and random and pistols are better for mid-range and close-combat.  Melee suffers from the fact that most of my MMO characters have wielded some form of hurty-stick, regardless of whether the combat was fps or MMO-standard.

I think it’s going to be Pistols, with a touch of Melee for when I feel like getting out my 2by4 (or whatever’s replaced it).  If I start pining for rifles there are sub-machine guns, and even sawed of shotguns that use pistol skill.

The Third Test of The Grand Choosing is Everything Else.
By “Everything Else” I mean what, other than combat, do I want my character to be able to *do*.  Crafting, to a large degree, is free in that you don’t need to put APs into it.

Mutagenics, on the other hand, requires APs but doesn’t particularly feature until Sector 2, and whilst I am reliably informed that I could go there at level 15, I’m also reliably informed that going there before squeezing all the starter towns for all of their AP Quest goodness is purest folly.  That might well take me until level 20-something, so I can wait to learn more.

Medicine and First Aid is highly attractive, as ever.  I’ve always been aware of my own abilities and limitations in First Person Shooter gaming; I’m not twitchy enough to excel at the combat, but I am smart enough to figure out how I can be, at the very least, an effective speed-bump in someone else’s killing spree.

But a support role such as healing means I can help the combat monkeys do their thing.

The Fourth Test of The Grand Choosing is The Winnowing.
This is where I realise that I don’t have the points for everything that I want Wol to be able to do, and start cutting out some things.  Maybe I’m not going to be great at wielding a 2by4, so that I can be more dangerous with a pistol.  Maybe the only mutagenics I’ll have will be healing stuff, so I can use that to bolster my Medicine and First Aid skills.

It goes without saying that The Winnowing is the nasty part of The Grand Choosing.

So, I’m looking at creating a pistol-toting crafting field medic with the potential for a bit of brain-burning and a 2by4 for when it all goes wrong.

Heheh.  I love Fallen Earth…

Cheers,
Hawley.

Njub Admissions

May 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Posted in General | 4 Comments
Tags: , ,

Wotcha everyone,

Crafting is a big part of Fallen Earth, and it’s filled with lovely gaming goo.  It’s not a vital part of the game, as there are plenty of ways to get weapons and gear, and from other players is just one of them.

You won’t even be “missing out” if you choose not to craft, but for me it is loads of fun.  As with all things Fallen Earth, there’s quite a learning curve, and it’s taken me a while to start to get to grips with the some of the finer points of the crafting system.

Anyhoo…

Njub Admission Number 1:

Sometimes I’m such a njub it hurts.  Real, physical pain.  It could be angina; I bet I hit most of the criteria for that demographic.  Hmm.  Less hypochondriac rambling, more embarrassing admission.

I was always short of Ragged Leather.  So many armourcrafting recipes need leather that it hurts.  Yet I just couldn’t get that much Ragged Leather.  Even when I went off farming leathery-looking animals, I kept getting some weird animal skin drops.  Ragged Coyote Leather is a prime example of the NOT RAGGED LEATHER that I’d get.

Yet I could never find which recipes  such things as Ragged Coyote Leather were used for, despite them being described as tradeskill ingredients.

That’s because I seem to have had a huyuuuge blind spot that just didn’t see the phrase: Also Counts As in the item description.  So I was putting stacks of Ragged Coyote Leather in the bank, and not realising that it could, of course, be used as Ragged Leather.

I sigh.  *Head-desk*

Learn from my lesson; read the whole of an item’s description, and don’t just grumble about it not being what you need it to be before throwing it in the bank.  Also Counts As is now my friend.

Njub Admission Number 2:

Start off questing, not crafting.  Honestly, do some quests.  Quite a number of starter quests have crafting books as rewards, and even though quite a few of them are quite cheap, there’s still quite a few of them, and the cost does add up.

Getting the missions done will also net you some cash, but more importantly will take you out into the wilds, and in the wilds are lots and lots of resource nodes.  Farming whilst questing can net you a surprisingly large crafting stash, as well as helping to locate (and then waypoint) some great farming spots.

If you decide to immediately jump into crafting, then you’ll actually find it harder starting off, than if you take your time and get a few quests done.  Never mind losing out on cash and AP rewards from quests.

When I started Hawley I went a little quest-blind.  With Wol I made sure I got quests done, and life has been a lot, lot easier.

Njub Admission Number 3:

Scrap Fasteners.  They were the bane of my crafting life.  The little suckers are prevalent in so many recipes, and so many are used that you’ll never find enough.  And seeing as they’re a third of a blue chip each, they’ll bankrupt you whilst you’re making your first pistol.

I’d looked through the wares of various crafting vendors, and even asked around to see if there was a crafting book that would make scrap fasteners, but no-one seemed to know.  I obviously gave up too easily.

Lifenet Podcast number 7 came to my rescue.  In their crafting special, they talked about the use of Refine X books, and it was as if the heavens parted, and the sun came out again.

Refine Fasteners cost me almost 12 blue chips (which is a lot to a starting character), but it’s worth its weight in purest green.  I also got Refine Adhesive, as Weak Adhesive is also used a lot.  I’ll also be looking out for the other Refine books, because they allow the creation of many of the annoying to scavenge/never have enough crafting ingredients.  They’re comparatively expensive for new characters, but they’re an investment, and one you won’t regret if you’re going to be crafting a lot.

It takes 15 minutes to make a Scrap Fastener.  Weak Adhesive takes a similar time, which seems strange seeing as it takes less time to make more complex items.  But they take easily- and plentifully-found base ingredients, so what I do is set off a batch just before logging off.

Right now, I’m the only crafter I know with a surplus of Scrap Fasteners.  I’m trying not to be too smug about it, seeing as I’m aware of the scary amount of cash I’ve spent on Scrap Fasteners in the past.

Njub Admission Number 4:

If you’re going to be doing any serious crafting then you’ll be crafting the upgrade books, and that means you’ll be needing pens.

DON’T BUY PENS.

There’s a book called Craft Pen.  Buy it.  Make pens.  They’re stupid expensive, especially considering the fact that the book costs less than the price of two pens.
They don’t even have nasty ingredients, and they stack nicely in the bank for when you need them.

I bought pens.  Then felt stupid.

I’m not really a Pro Tip sort of person.  But I’m more than willing to share my mistakes with the intarnets, so that you, dear reader, don’t have to share my njubness.

Have fun in the GC.

Cheers,
Hawley.

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