I took it upon myself this week to log into the Fallen Earth Public Test Server and check out some Blood Sports. I was not disappointed. It was reminiscent of Quake 2 Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. Regretfully, there is no BFG or rocket-jumping, yet. I didn't get a chance to play Survival. All in all, I think it will be a great success, as there is nothing to lose and rewards to be had for simply participating. I think it will re-invent the "casual PvPer", which has all but vanished from Fallen Earth because of the steep learning curve. But, there is room for improvement. It is very convenient to queue yourself up for a match anywhere in the world, and jump right into the action. But on the test server it can be tough to get enough people in the proper level range to trigger a match. It shouldn't be a problem when Blood Sports goes live on May 7th, given the population on the live server versus the population on the test server. The 1.4 patch will undoubtedly breathe life into Fallen Earth PvP. There are several reasons why I think this and after the break I will explain.
About Blood Sports
Deathmatch was utter chaos. Although it was fun, there wasn't much of a point to it. Capture the Flag, however, was great. The fact that there was something to fight for rather than the for the sake of fighting was, for me, a first in Fallen Earth. I spent some of my time hanging back and sniping with my sniper rifle, and some of the time rushing the flag with my assault rifle. The only thing I didn't like about CTF was the red and blue washed coloring of our uniforms. Although it was very, very easy to distinguish friend from foe, it looked bad. It's something I could get used to eventually, so it isn't a major problem. Overall, I am impressed with what I was able to see so far.
Thankfully, dying in Blood Sports is more akin to a twitch shooter than an MMO. It's a very minor inconvenience. You retain all of your buffs, even consumables through death, and none of your equipment gets damaged. There is, aside from respawning in a random location, literally no penalty for dying. You gain Death Toll for scoring kills or causing damage to other players, and lose none for dying. You will even receive Death Toll by simply participating. This is a far cry from the Death Toll mechanics that we are used to. You really don't risk losing anything, and you can get exclusive equipment from the Death Toll merchants. Even the most adamant of carebears will want to check out Blood Sports.
The buff-stacking nightmare is over
Each effect has a specific category that it belongs to. Only one effect from each category may be active at any given time. Higher level effects will overwrite lower level effects. Here are the available effect channels:
This may seem like a lot of possible buffs, but in practice, many of them will be short term or not used very often. You will no longer need to run around with three rows of buffs in your effect bar anymore. Stances are now on a 24 hour timer and persist through death. And almost all of the long term buffs are good for a full hour now. I find myself going into combat with only six or seven active buffs. You will, thankfully, also not have to spend gobs of chips on consumables just to keep up in the medicinal arms race. Skills and Mutations haven't just been made less stackable, some of them have been completely rewritten. For more information on what to expect, check out these patch notes. The combat system is less convoluted now, and more approachable to the casual gamer. This should bring in players that were apprehensive about PvP because it just seemed too complex.
Combat is fast and furious
People die quickly now. Rifles are now an effective weapon. The days of PvP looking more like a moshpit and less like a pitched battle are over. It is no longer necessary to triple-team a buff-stacking juggernaut and bring them down with a hail of hundreds of bullets. Combat is now brutal and decisive. Some people may not like these new, short fights where cover and concealment actually come into play, but to me, it just feels more immersive. I have to say I love the new style of PvP. It seems more intuitive and I think new players will grasp it more readily now.
The effect on PvE is similar. The PvE content in Fallen Earth is notoriously easy. This patch will push things in the right direction by making the content more challenging. People don't tend to group up as often as they should, and more challenging content will mean less soloing. The fragility of the players will encourage them to seek safety in numbers, and people will interact more. As it stands, the wastelands can be a pretty lonely place. Once again, I thing the new combat mechanics will improve the game.
There will be some restructuring in the way Attributes are applied to Skills. The following changes will take effect in the upcoming patch:
- Armor Use will be based off of 75% Endurance and 25% Coordination.
- Dodge will be based off of 50% Coordination and 50% Perception.
- Melee will be based off of 50% Strength and 50% Coordination
- Rifle will be based off of 50% Dexterity and 50% Perception.
- Pistol will be based off of 50% Dexterity and 50% Perception.
- Reflexes save will become derived from 75% Dexterity and 25% Perception.
Mainly, any melee build that neglects Perception will be heavily handicapped by the increased weight of Perception on the Dodge skill. Reflex saves will also be innately high in ranged characters, now. The other changes won't affect a great many builds. But, with changes as sweeping as the changes coming in the 1.4 patch, you almost need a full respec for everyone. The developers will be granting us all just that. Every character created before the patch goes live will receive a Pristine Recombinant Injector in the mail. This item, when used, triggers the respec. You will retain all of your Knowledges, Recipes and Tradeskills, but if you lower any of the Attributes of Skills below the level required to use them, you will be unable to use them.
So, if you have left Fallen Earth and were waiting for the developers to do something about the lack of PvP. I think they have done it. Do yourself a favor and come back. There will be PvP, and it will be fun. See you on May 7th.