We want to continue our tradition of revisiting games after launch, and this time it's Fallen Earth's turn. So we're going to spend the first half of the article discussing the facts, and what the community has to say about the last month's changes to the game, and the second half will be spent giving my own impressions of what I've experienced in the first month. Follow along, won't you?
Fallen Earth had a fairly smooth launch, considering what many other MMOs go through on that crazy first day. There was some delay, some lag issues, etc. -- but for a game with one server and absolutely crowded starter cities, it really wasn't bad. What did curse the game initially were the technical issues that carried on for a few weeks. Rubberbanding enemies, crippling lag in cities, buggy quests, falling through strange holes in the environment -- these are all problems that are not uncommon for a game's first few weeks, but it served as a make-it-or-break-it time for new players. In this current climate of new MMOs, you can easily head back to an old favorite if the new shiny isn't shiny enough.
On top of this, many players wish they could even experience those in-game bugs, because they found themselves unable to even enter the game. The launcher had some issues, and the remedy was always "restart". Again, many new players didn't even want to deal with that.
But here's the thing: Fallen Earth has some dedicated fans. It's a polarizing game, where you either hate it for those technical issues, or you love it because of what it is deep down inside. The players who found that they can't stand the jump animation or the way their character's face looks are usually met with cries of "Go back to WoW". Even the forums have their own first response team of fanboys, ready to sound the alarm and gather the troops when there's a new thread entitled "This game sux, and here's why lol". But if you think this is unique to Fallen Earth, go check out Age of Conan's forums. Or Warhammer's. Or most other MMOs that have ever had detractors, ever. The fans are dedicated for a reason: they genuinely enjoy this game.
While the game did suffer through some problems those first few weeks, it's the hardcore fans that really spread the word about this game. So through that word-of-mouth, the game began to catch the attention of some popular and respected MMO bloggers like Syp at BioBreak, Darren of Common Sense Gamer and Keen of Keen & Graev's Gaming Blog. Their own genuine take on how they can't believe they're actually enjoying the game hit home for many of their readers. That's just how a good game becomes successful. Not through wacky trailers (although Fallen Earth had their share), or shouting pitch-men -- especially when you're an independent game studio and you don't have an endless advertising budget. It's those people who needed something completely different, and actually meant it this time.
Updates and improvements
So here we are a week after the largest post-launch patch has released, and we're enjoying the new changes. The launcher works on the first try (mostly), the Prairie Chicken you're trying to thwap with your Wood Board is actually standing in front of you and not rubberbanding 30 feet away once you engage combat, and you can run through major cities without much (server side) lag. The Fallen Earth team is listening to the complaints and they're working on getting these issues fixed as quickly as they can. On top of that, they're still working hard to reward those high-level players who have been able to work past the bugs by already talking about new content.
At the pace in which this team is fixing problems, I would imagine most of these initial bugs that still linger will be but a memory in a few weeks or so. When you compare how the game was when many players first saw it (open beta) with how it is now, the scale of improvements is quite overwhelming. Sure, it doesn't run like a game that's been around for years, but that's because it hasn't been around for years. The important thing here to remember is a) Every other MMO has had these launch day problems (or worse) and b) They're an indie team doing their best to compete with the big boys. I'd say they're doing quite well.