Going Down…

…and I’m not writing this in an elevator.

The server’s been kinda funky all day and now it seems it’s become pretty much non-functional. It sucks, but at least I can get a post out.

It’s been a crazy week. Stuff’s been happening in RL, big stuff, time-consuming stuff, stuff that’s good for me professionally but not for having FE playtime. So, this going to be kind of a short post. Monday or Tuesday something big is going to happen in my RL career, and after that I may not have a lot of time for FE for the rest of the week. So while I’ve got a few minutes, let’s catch up a bit.

I’m level 24 now, and that’s pretty cool, ten levels past where I was before the F2P gates opened. I’ve now visited just about everywhere in Sector 2 at least once except for the conflict towns. I’ve been to The Gallows and gotten a few missions done there, but none of the others. I’m looking forward to dinging level 25 so I can do Blaine and Burnside, and hopefully some of the missions I still haven’t yet been able to beat like those in Aesterly. I bought myself a Commander’s Best Crafting Kit…what the heck, with the 100% refund sale they’re running right now it really doesn’t make any sense not to. Now, if they’d only let players buy premium time with G1 credits I’d be really happy.

Right now I’m finishing up some stuff in the Underfolk area outside of New Flagstaff, and then, who knows? I’m sure I’ll find something to do.

Interestingly, I think I may have been at least partially mistaken about the impact of the 8-hour crafting limit. It hasn’t really had much of an impact on me personally thus far, then again I also haven’t tried to make anything complex that really requires a lot of crafting time since it went into effect. I dunno I suppose we’ll see what happens when I decide it’s time to make myself a dune buggy or something.

Ok, that’s it for now. If you don’t see much from me next week, don’t worry. It’s a temporary thing. Work does, of course, have to take precedence over play, and that’s going to be the case a lot next week, especially the first few days.

Stay safe out there.

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Bonanza!

I did the run to Dieseltown and got my Mine Aluminum book, and on the way back discovered that when going somewhere for the first time, it’s best to do it during the daytime. When I reached Blaine I realized that the first time I’d been there, which had been in the dead of night, I hadn’t been able to see the full layout. The reason I’d died so quickly last time I was there was because I hadn’t realized that there’s really only one way to get into town, the gated entrance on the eastern side. The rest of it is fenced in and surrounded by a “moat” filled with various creatures which will quickly eat you if you try to cross it. I wasn’t able to see this setup clearly at night, but in daytime it was much easier to see the entire layout and so I was able to safely enter the town and finish the mission I had there.

After that it was back to New Flagstaff. I did a few things there, then discovered that I needed a few Simple Armor Repair Kits. These, the Fallen Earth Wiki told me, where available from two vendors within New Flagstaff, but neither vendor was where the wiki said they would be and none of the vendors which were there had the needed kits. So I was off again, this time headed south toward Devon.

The wiki had said the kits were available at vendors in not only Devon, but also in Barret Manor, which I realized was actually much closer to where I was when I checked my map as I headed south. So, when I reached Barret Manor I stopped there, found the right merchant and bought my kits, and then, as I toured around the town a bit, realized that there were plenty of fresh missions to do there, though not many vendors.

I ended up spending several hours in Barret Manor, which I realized is an excellent place to grind for chips if you need a cash infusion. In addition to a multitude of single-run missions and mission chains, there are several repeatable missions and scavenging areas which pay off fairly well, and I was able to about double my cash-on-hand while I was there. I’m quite sure it’s a place I’ll be revisiting in the future, especially since I still have a couple of unfinished missions there which require items which weren’t readily available in or around town.

Once I was done there, it was back to New Flagstaff for a bit and now I’m about to go…I don’t know…somewhere. I suppose I’ll figure it out when I log in.

*****

I’ve been thinking about joining a clan. I’ve been seeing members of The Drifters around (saw several in Barret Manor when I was there) and I like their philosophy of being a support clan for soloers. Right now, they’re the frontrunner in terms of which clan I may choose to join.

Early on, when I was still playing the first time around back in ’09, I was a member of The Saints. Great people in that clan, but it seems they’re now mainly PvP-focused and I’m not sure that’s the direction I want to go, at least not right now. I want to do a little more research on what’s available before I make a decision, but all things being (relatively) equal I expect I’ll be applying to The Drifters fairly soon.

Road Trip!

I decided to go for it. I killed the ten Shiva’s Favored the mission I’d already taken had called for, and then…nothing. No difference, no faction rating change, nothing. So I took the mission to kill Human League members, did that one and…same thing, nothing, no change whatsoever. My faction rating with both groups is still zero. Good to know for the future, I guess.

After that, it was back to doing missions in and around New Flagstaff. I took one that sent me down to Last Stop. I got the first part done, but the second part is still a bit too tough for me to handle on my own, so I put it aside for now. I managed to finish one from a Banker that had me getting cash registers from Aesterly, but another mission in that town which has me taking down a guy named Devereau is still just a bit too much for me right now. I’ve come very close, had him down to about half his HP but died before I could finish him off a few times, so I’ve decided to wait on that one a bit too.

I’ve now taken one that has me heading up to Blaine to speak to someone, so that’s going to be today’s first mission, and I’m going to combine that with a ride out to Dieseltown to get a Mine Aluminum book. I’ve got the Geology skill I need, and that’s the closest place to get it. On my last ride into Kaibab Forest I was able to make it past there without any problem, so I’ll take care of that after I stop in Blaine.

After that, I dunno, I’ll probably stop by that newspaper box in New Flagstaff and get a new mission. It’s Saturday and I don’t have anything going on, so I expect I’ll have plenty of  time for FE…assuming the servers stay up.

*****

I’ve been experiencing something weird since the servers stabilized, an effect I’ll call “hitching”. It’s not really rubberbanding, though I’ve had a bit of that too now and then. Sometimes in certain areas, like just as I approach New Flagstaff or within the city itself, the screen will suddenly freeze and then unfreeze a few seconds later and I’ll be a bit further along from where I was. Usually this isn’t a big deal, but every so often I’ll find myself unfreezing right in front of a wall or other obstacle and I’ll have to make a sudden turn to avoid crashing into it. At least three times now I’ve unfrozen so close to an obstacle that I couldn’t avoid it and crashed head-on into it, requiring me to repair my motorcycle. Once I unfroze right into the middle of a mob of prairie chickens and had to seriously make a run for it, barely avoiding death.

I hope they get this worked out soon because it’s really a pain in the ass.

Choices

So, I’m now in New Flagstaff. When I finished up in Sunshine Corners, I took a mission from the local Franklin’s Riders rep which took me up here. On the way, I stumbled into a mob of Vistas which sent me to the Haven Lifenet pod and I added that one to my fast travel list. Once I finished the Franklin’s Riders mission, I went looking for more work.

It was then that I noticed that my revolvers needed repair. I discovered that I didn’t have a high enough quality Ballistics Repair Kit, so I tried building some level 2 kits but that didn’t help either. Logically, I assumed that I needed a level 3 kit, but also saw that right now I currently don’t have anywhere near the skill to build one myself. As I soon found, however, logic doesn’t always rule the day in this game.

I thought I was going to have to take a trip deep into Sector 3 in order to get my kits, but then I discovered something I hadn’t realized when trying to operate solely by logic: There’s also a Simple Ballistics Repair Kit, which will repair any guns level 50 or lower. I’d probably have figured this out sooner of it had been named something else. I mean does it really make sense to have two different level repair kits called Basic and Simple? Wouldn’t calling one Advanced or something similar have made far more sense and been much less confusing? One thing that certainly wasn’t simple (or basic, for that matter) was figuring out which kit to use to repair my level 35 revolvers. It wasn’t until I went back to the local Firearms merchant and took a closer look at the Simple kit that I realized I could use it to repair my guns without having to take a long trip in Sector 3.

With my guns now repaired, I took a mission that sent me to the Underworks. I was able to complete that one and the one after it in the same quest chain, but the one after that requires a higher medical skill than I currently have so I’ll have to wait on that for a while.

Afterward, I found myself in an interesting situation. I took a mission from a Human League rep that sent me off to kill some Shiva’s Favored, but when I got to their camp I noticed that they weren’t attacking. Checking, I saw that my faction rating with them was zero, totally neutral, as is my rating with the Human League. There’s also a mission available here, which I discovered is to go back to where I got the first mission and kill some Human League members. I know that no matter which one I choose, I’m going to gain faction with one and lose faction with the other.

Right now, I’m still in the Shiva’s Favored camp but I haven’t killed anyone yet. I suppose I could take the Human League mission and then kill the Shiva’s Favored, but I know I’d probably have a pretty hard time collecting my reward for killing Human Leaguers later on if I did that.

So what am I going to do? I don’t know yet, but you know that once I do make a decision and carry it out, I’ll tell you all about the results right here.

Til next time, stay safe out there.

Going Deeper

Once again, I’ve discovered yet another example of just how example of just how much I still don’t know about this game. After doing some missions in Fracture, I decided to head over to Picus Ridge to do some stuff for the Techs. As I discovered when I arrived, if you do too much work for one allied faction, you risk pissing off your other (former) allies. As I approached Picus Ridge, the guards started shooting, much to my surprise. When I checked my faction wheel I noticed that my faction rating with the CHOTA was over double what it was with the Techs, which had turned from green to red. Not a good thing, but also something I’ll deal with a little later. Right now, I’m doing other things.

I went back down to Sector 1 to re-enable fast travel at Watchtower. That’s a very useful station for me and I want to have it available. Since I was in the area anyway, I decided to check out Trailer Park for the first time and add that pod to my fast travel list as well, leaving only Spider Hill as the sole Sector 1 fast travel location I haven’t enabled yet. I did a few minor missions while I was there and at the local gas station I took a rally mission which took me back into Sector 2 to Sunshine Corners.

Since was there anyway, I decided to do some missions up there and that’s where I am now. I’m planning to head over to Thorne’s Bluff when I’m done in Sunshine Corners to add that pod to my fast travel list and then I expect I’ll hit some more neutral Sector 2 towns.

*****

I rode my Spiked Chopper for while when I first got it, but I got a pretty rude awakening when I was killed doing a mission and had to tow it back to the gas station near the pod I materialized at. The cost of the tow was literally 100 times what it would have cost for my self-crafted motorcycle and 200 times what it would have cost for my ATV. Sure it’s a higher class vehicle but still…100 times the price? Seems a bit much to me. As a result, I’ve now parked that beast and will save it for combat situations as I just don’t have the chips to pay to have the thing towed every time I get killed. It’s back to my standard motorcycle for just getting around.

*****

In my previous post I said that it seemed that Fallen Earth’s servers had stabilized. Perhaps I spoke a bit too soon. It’s still a question every time I attempt to log on whether or not I’ll actually be able to. Nevertheless, something happened the other day which reminded me of one of the reason why I enjoy playing Fallen Earth that really doesn’t have anything to do with the actual game itself.

Last night around 7:30 eastern Fallen Earth forum community manager Tiggs posted a lengthy description of all the work and long hours put in by the Fallen Earth tech team to fix the problems and get the servers back up. It reminded me of one of the reasons I was attracted to this game back at the beginning outside of the game itself. Simply put, the people making this game actually give a shit. That is, unlike in so many other games there’s a real feeling of community on this forum, not the kind of often adversarial relationships so many dev teams seem to have with their game’s players.

For me, this matters, though obviously not as much as the game itself. When I was playing Crimecraft, it seemed to me that the dev team was far more interested in protecting the company which created and owns the game from any negative opinions expressed by the players than in actually addressing valid concerns and making the experience as positive as possible. Their attitude seems to be that since Crimecraft is a free-to-play game, the players had no right to complain if things weren’t working properly.

I was involved in creating a group blog for Crimecraft in part as a way for players to express themselves in a forum away from the extremely restricted and heavily moderated official forums. Because we allowed a former player to post a negative, dissenting opinion about the way he was treated and eventually banned from the game (which, I might add, as Editor-In-Chief I challenged him on certain aspects of in the comments because I felt he was being unfair to the company), our blog, Sunrise City Times, was banned from being promoted on the official forums by the community manager there, solely because he didn’t like what this player had to say and that we were letting him say it on our blog.

After a little while, I’d decided I’d just had enough and even though I did enjoy the game, I logged in less and less until I lost a character I’d invested a lot of time and effort in creating, apparently due to some sort of server glitch. Once that happened, I pretty much just stopped logging into Crimecraft altogether. Soon afterward, I got an email from Fallen Earth inviting me back for 7 free days…and, well, you can read the rest of that story right here on this blog in the posts preceding this one.

The truth is that in the end it’s always going to be the game itself which determines whether that game is a success or a failure, but another truth is that while a quality dev team which really does care about its players can’t make most players keep playing a lousy game, it most certainly can make a player base that does enjoy a great game even more fiercely loyal to it and inspired to find ways to promote and celebrate it, such as, for example, writing a blog about it.

Players certainly were frustrated about the repeated server crashes and other issues just after the free-to-play launch and frankly, they had a right to be. Many had waited a long time to play and they were anxious to get to it. In my opinion, some players were over-the-top nasty and disparaging in their complaints, but one of the most frequent concerns was something I felt had great credibility, a lack of communication between the dev team and the players about what was going on and when it would be resolved.

As time went on, I noticed an increase in the number of posts from devs letting players know that they were working on the issues and estimated server uptimes when they were available, capped off at the end of the worst of it by Tiggs’ long post. That post was an inspired and brilliant move by Tiggs because it not only let players know just how hard the devs were working to set things right, but also had the much-needed effect of turning a rather cranky and annoyed group of players into appreciative and positive loyalists. In short, Fallen Earth’s community manager turned what could have been a major problem and massive player outrage into a reason to come together and knit into an even tighter-knit gaming community that shared a feeling that we’re all in this together as lovers of this game. You just can’t ask for better than that.

Now that things seem to have calmed down, the servers (currently) seem to have stabilized, and players are back doing what we love best, playing the game, it’s my hope that the Fallen Earth and G1 devs will take a cue from this experience and keep the community well-informed when there’s a need. As a writer myself, I know that it probably took Tiggs quite a while to write that post, time that she probably could and should have spent doing other things. And yet, there’s probably not one single thing the dev team could have done at that moment that would have been more effective to chase away the black clouds of negativity and frustration that were filling the forum. I hope this is an indicator of what we’ll see going forward, because if it is I think it’ll pay off quite nicely in terms of player loyalty and support.

As someone with a fair share of experience as a community manager myself, I can say wholeheartedly that this, my friends, is the way it should be done. Nice job, folks.

Seeing The Forest For The Trees

So today, for my first decent length session with Fallen Earth since the magic account fairy left me back in early September, I decided to take a ride into Sector 3 and check out Kaibab Forest.

Soon after I entered Sector 3, I knew I wasn’t going to be staying long. For one thing, everything there needed a higher scavenging skill than I currently have so about the only thing I could do there was buy gas and look at the scenery. I made it as far as Banker’s Hole before I decided to turn around and head back to Sector 2. On the way back I stopped in Blaine, or at least I tried to anyway. About the only thing that excursion got me was a quick trip to the local Lifenet pod, where I was able to add it to my fast travel destinations. Interestingly, I noticed that I’ve apparently lost Watchtower and a few destinations I’d added before the game went free-to-play so I guess I’ll be making another trip back into Sector 1 sometime soon.

I headed back southward toward Credit Bend and Fracture, did few missions in and around Fracture while carefully keeping an eye on my faction levels as I want to remain primarily a Traveler. I’m currently finishing up one more Fracture mission and then it’s off to Picus Ridge to do some stuff for the Techs, where my faction rating is much lower.

I tried going to The Gallows to do the first conflict town mission but quickly discovered that I’m really just not ready for PvP yet, so I quickly put that to the side for now. I’ll try again once I’ve gained a few more levels and upped some more skills and attributes. And hey, I even set up some Heavy Rifle Ammo to craft. Of course, that was pretty easy this time as I had the foresight to make some Heavy Gunpowder back in September. What I still don’t know is how easy that’s going to be once my supply runs out and I have to start doing it completely from scratch again.

Anyway, it’s getting late so I think I’m going to jump back in-game for a while before I hit the sack.

More soon.

And So It Begins

After a couple days of unstable and overloaded servers, the free-to-play iteration of Fallen Earth seems to have stabilized and it’s now time to begin to exploring it in earnest. So far I really haven’t noticed much of a difference, but that’s probably for two reasons: First, because the last couple of days have been pretty busy for me and I just haven’t had the time to put in more than about an hour total during the times when the servers have been up. I plan on remedying that over the next few days.

I finally got my code for the Spiked Chopper last night and did get a chance to ride around on it and do a couple of short missions before I had to log off. Today will be pretty busy in RL too, but I know what I’m gonna be doing this weekend.

Oooooooo-yeahhhhh……

More soon.