Sunday, November 21, 2010

How the Fallen Earth respec saved my fears of playing badly

There was never a doubt that Icarus Studios has done a bang up job supporting their MMO but there was a doubt for me each time I log in. My doubt stems from the fact that the game is so open world I have no clue where to begin. Mostly the problem I have is the issue of whether or not to spend the coveted AP that I earn through questing. I am starting over again for the third time as I attempt to grasp the game and each time I am stuck with the issue of what I want to do. I do not feel in Fallen Earth that crafting and leveling go well together. I feel like if I want to be a crafter I will most certainly suck at everything else I try to do. This is in sharp contrast to excellent crafting titles like Everquest 2 or Vanguard. In those games you are not PUNISHED for crafting by sucking at combat, or vice versa. Early on in Fallen Earth I feel that any points I spend AP wise must be allocated toward combat or I will not be able to survive.

Most of the people I talk to have regretted AP expenditures at max level and are gimp in one way or another and there are NO respecs in the game. Part of me wants to wait until they add some system like that into the title before I start to play earnestly because despite all my research and the handy in game templates they have I still read that certain things will ruin your character. All of this is a tad bit overwhelming and has prevented me from approaching the game as a happy go lucky player. That is exactly what I was until I started listening to the podcasts and reading the forums, at which time I freaked out and became afraid to spend one single AP.

In Fallen Earth, for those that have not played, AP's are king. Every stat begins at 11 and increases by level in addition to points gained through Advancement Points. Since certain stats effect combat and crafting putting the AP's into the wrong areas as you level can be killer. There used to be no way to respec so depending on what you want to do you were a little locked in. AP's are gained through quests and such so it is possible at higher levels to have hit up all the quests you can and suddenly run out of AP's to spend.

Now in my opinion since you are a "clone" there should be some respec option involving erasing your memory and allowing you to respend AP's. This feature has now been added. This flies against the grain of a lot of the game's purists as they want it hardcore and I understand that. However, even UO and later EQ2 had some sort of way to fix mistakes. With the documentation and guides about Fallen Earth split all over the place even research makes it difficult to pinpoint how to play or which way to go. Also I refuse to use cookie cutter builds like World of Warcraft. I also do not want to pick some flavor of the month combat spec. What I want to do is play the game free form and not worry that my early mistakes will ruin my character in the end. Even in Everquest 1 if I needed more AA's I can turn off XP and go grind to get more points. In Fallen Earth you really have to watch what you spend.

I think that all this worry stopped my initial fun factor I was having in the game as a bright eyed and bushy tailed player that was just having fun and spending points where I thought it would be cool (rifle, crafting both at once etc etc). Now I log in with a fear that I have to pick a path and stick to it and thus the game becomes a lot less fun for me. Luckily they added this free respec option and that has eased my fears a little.

Thoughts from Fallen Earth experts?