Fallen Earth Column: Visiting the Wasteland

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It all began in the year 2020 with the founding of GlobalTech. They came and rose, never realizing that their foundations would save us from the very end of times. In 2054 The Fall began with the release of the Shiva Virus. No one was safe and fear was at a red-line. Nuclear war would be soon to follow wiping out whole nations and creating radioactive clouds to scourge the earth. After the holocaust, we survivors emerged from the GlobalTech's Grand Canyon vaults to find the world a painting of despair. The unlucky creatures left out mostly died but some of them were horribly changed: mutants, zombies, man-eating plants, and horribly changed beasts roam the wilds. All that was left to us was to rebuild and take back what was ours.

Welcome to Fallen Earth, as close to Fallout Online as we're likely to get anytime soon.

I first came to Fallen Earth when it launched in September of 2009. Back then the game still charged a subscription fee, but it challenged conventions and was quickly relegated to a niche. The game floundered, too unique to support itself, and in late 2011 finally went F2P. A lot has changed since then but the core remains the same: Fallen Earth is one of the most unique MMORPGs out there, offering the genre's best take on first-person-shooting and one of the most robust crafting systems this side of Star Wars Galaxies. The game also features a freeform character progression letting you specialize each clone. Let's make no bones about it, if you like Fallout, sandparks, or just want something new, this game is for you.

I decided to start fresh to see what had changed. The character creation tool is as robust as ever with no limitations. Fallen Earth uses a lottery system, cosmetics, and boosters to drive its business model, so don't expect pay-gating here. Rather than go with the outlandish spikes or a mohawk, I went low key, but you can go full Mad Max if you're so inclined.

The game features an excellent tutorial which goes something like this: you're a clone who awakens at the end of The Fall in a Hoover Dam under attack. The facility head is something of a mad doctor and would rather self-destruct the building than let the assailants win, so it's up to you to escape. The tutorial outfits you with a couple of weapons and introduces the basics of gameplay. After mounting an ATV for a harrowing, mid-explosion escape, you choose a starter town. There are three to choose from, each with a particular focus (crafting, support, combat). I chose Clinton, the support town, because I'd never been.

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