It’s been a while since I last visited the post-apocalyptic Grand Canyon wastelands and a lot has happened since May. The most important change was Fallen Earth’s transition from a P2P model to a F2P one under supervision of Gamersfirst in October (Patch 2.0). As a F2P player you have access to pretty much all of the game’s features and content, if at a somewhat reduced efficiency (such as reduced crafting speed and experience gain among other things). In case you decide to go for a regular subscription, you can choose between three different models: Survivalist, Wastelander and Commander. For more details on the available subscription models and the free membership, I highly recommend that you check out this detailed chart.
From what I have experienced, the (one and only) server was a bit unstable after the transition with unplanned downtimes happening during prime time for a couple of days in a row and quite a few hefty lag spikes. Things seem to be getting better now, however, and thanks to the considerable influx of new players, places that seemed to be rather deserted when the game was still P2P are now bustling with life.
Factions as a whole seem to play a less important role than they used to. All mutations are available to all players now, regardless of their chosen faction. This makes the choice of a faction a lot easier (it is based solely on cosmetics and agendas now) but critics will argue that the entire system was dumbed down to make it more accessible to new/inexperienced players. With the decreased importance of factions also came the removal of the so-called capstone abilities to allow for more flexibility when building your character. As with various mutation lines, these abilities were granted exclusively by a specific faction and thus influenced players heavily when choosing their allies for the rest of the game.
As you can see, some of the game’s core features were altered rather significantly, possibly to make Fallen Earth appeal to a broader audience after its transition to the current F2P model. Some of these changes were criticized vehemently by the original player base and these critics seem to have good and valid points when defending the old systems that were in place a couple of months ago. Is the game still enjoyable? Hell, yes! Even though its graphics look rather dated now, Fallen Earth is an awful lot of fun. By the way, this is one of the things that made me revisit the game after five months of absence:
Fallen Earth remains to be one of the top picks when it comes to MMOs with a post-apocalyptic setting. The learning curve can be rather steep for beginners but the time investment is well worth it. Sector 1 is quite crowded at the moment, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem to get a group going if you so wish. Just give it a try, you won’t regret it!
First off, I would like to mention that I never really enjoyed faction systems in the other MMOs I’ve played. In most cases, good standing with a certain faction was a mere necessity to get a specific item or some other reward, and with it came an almost unbearable amount of reputation grinding.
Fallen Earth does have factions, too, and there are item rewards associated with them, but somehow the whole faction system that really starts in Sector 2 is way more enjoyable to me than expected. It might be due to the fact that there are basically three factions you side with (your main faction plus its two allies) and that raising your reputation with your main faction positively influences the other two.
Having understood the basics of factions of Fallen Earth it was quite obvious to me that the anarchistic Children of the Apocalypse (CHOTA) would be my faction of choice, its two allies being the communist Vistas and the savvy Travelers:
Since the current character build I’m working towards with my melee/crafter toon includes the Empathic and Telekinesis mutation lines, I did some research on their availability. Earlier, they seemed to have been exclusive to the Lightbearers but apparently this was changed in a patch and the basics for each mutation line are freely available to members of any faction now. That was the good news… Now here comes the bad part: With the basic knowledge detached from the factions you still need to learn the different mutation skills. And guess what! These skills are still more or less restricted to the various factions. For a CHOTA seeking Empathic skills that means that there are hard times ahead since the Lightbearers are their enemies.
I’m afraid I had to find this out the hard way. If you are a Mutagenics crafter or have friends in other factions, things are not that bad, however. Just spin the faction wheel enough to get access to that faction merchant of your choice – obviously by killing members of his archenemy or enemy faction – and grab the books you need. As I said, I had to find this out the hard way after I had already sided with the CHOTA/Vistas/Travelers. Still, I found the whole experience quite enjoyable because the consequences of my actions were clearly visible. In the process of getting to friendly terms with the Lightbearers (to rob them of their precious crafting stuff) my reputation with the Travelers suffered quite a bit. By running some missions for the CHOTA and by killing a couple of them pathetic Lightbearers after their precious knowledge was in my possession, this could be easily corrected though.
Factions in Fallen Earth are an enjoyable experience to me so far. Depending on your build, your initial choices might require quite a bit of strategical thinking. So plan ahead, think about what you want to end up with and start working towards it!