About ten minutes after I published my post last night, Hurricane Irene cut the power here for about 12 hours. Within about half-an hour after it came back, I was in-game. I’ve only got a few free days and dammit, I’m gonna get my (no) money’s worth!
It took several tries, a new air rifle, and help from a fellow player doing the same mission, but I finally got the Lonnie Parker mission done and built my ATV. It’s my first motorized vehicle in the game and I must say I’m having a bunch of fun with it, even though it really sucks down the gas. Seems it uses about twice the fuel of a horse, but gas is cheap enough that I don’t expect that to be too much of a problem.
Right now, I’m heading north toward the Trumbull area to take care of a mission up there, then I expect I’ll spend some time cruising around Sector 1 getting some more missions done that I had left over from a year and a half ago. After that, I dunno, we’ll see how much I can get done in the free time I have remaining before I have to put the game aside until November.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly I’ve gotten back in FE with so little actual playtime. I can really lose myself in this game, in a way that’s only comparable to Eve. Needless to say, I can’t help making comparisons. As I’ve written before, what killed Eve for me as a player wasn’t really the game itself, it was the timing of events and the location of the majority of the hardcore players. I just can’t reorganize my life to be able to game on a European schedule, and Eve is the kind of game that you reach a point in where you just can’t solo anymore. Perhaps I’ll reach that point in FE as well someday, but right now that time seems pretty far off, and even if I do, it’s a US-based game and I doubt playing in group situations will be as much of an issue for me as it was in Eve. I’m still discovering new and interesting things in this game, and I find myself wishing that GamersFirst would push up the transition date so I could keep going.
One thing in particular I like about FE is that the PvP areas are clearly marked and distinct. That is, if you’re not in the mood for PvP or you just think you’re not ready for it yet (that would be me), you can easily avoid it. Not so in Eve where a major part of the game after a certain point is PvP. I love PvP, and I’m sure I’ll be getting into it in the future, but right now I think I’m better off upgrading attributes by fighting NPCs until I get to a level where I’m comfortable. I just hit level 15 last night and I’m not sure I’m ready for that just yet.
I also like that FE, at least at this level, is mainly mission/quest based. Even though I do enjoy wandering the wasteland, I like having something to do. In Eve, once you get to a certain level it’s pretty much up to you and your fellow players as to what comes next. Not to say that that kind of gameplay isn’t enjoyable too, but it’s also nice to have options. Sometimes, I just want to pop in for a while, work on a mission, and then pop right back out. FE lets me do that, Eve doesn’t…at least, not without traveling a very long way and playing missions which are well below my character’s “level” (in quotes because Eve doesn’t have levels in the way FE and many other MMO’s do).
Another thing I like about FE is the crafting. I’ve found that I especially enjoy MMOs that involve crafting, and FE’s crafting is among the best in any MMO I know of. You really get a sense of accomplishment when you finish a project and the rewards are worthwhile. One thing I fervently hope GamersFirst doesn’t do to this game when it goes free-to-play is destroy the value of that crafting by making it pay-to-win. I’ve seen this happen in too many free-to-play games, where you can shortcut around or even supersede the results of lots of hard work by simply plunking down a few bucks. Such a system cannot help but unbalance the game and make it less fun for those without the monetary resources to invest in paid uber-gear. Nothing wrong with being able to buy comparable or even custom-designed gear for real money, but if the stats of that paid gear give a real advantage to the user above what a player can craft for themselves then it’s a recipe for disaster, frustration, and probably the eventual demise of the game.
The reason I bring this up is because I’ve seen this at play to a certain extent in APB, also owned by GamersFirst, which I’ve played a bit, where you can buy uber-weapons for real money. To be fair, I haven’t played APB enough to be able to say with certainty that those weapons unbalance the game, but it seems like they have something new every week for that game which is superior to the weapons one can acquire for free. I think it’s absolutely fine to have special designs and other cosmetic enhancements as well as superior experience gain exclusively available to those who are willing and able to pay for them, but once you fuck with the balance and basic fairness of the game you’re asking for trouble. I enjoy this game too much to want to see that happen. Crimecraft, which I also play, seems to have struck close to the right balance in this, and I hope FE will as well. There are plenty of ways to make money on a free-to-play game without fucking up what makes people want to play it in the first place.
Ok, that’s enough blather for tonight. I’m gonna jump in-game for a bit, then it’s beddy-bye time. Stay safe out there.