At the top of our “get more info” list during PAX East 2010 sat the post-apocalyptic MMORPG/FPS Fallen Earth. In recent dev diaries and state of the game posts we’ve heard mention of the upcoming patch versions 1.4 and 1.5 – with v1.4 increasing the level cap to 50 and v1.5 being the PVP patch. During our PAX East day two activities with the Fallen Earth dev team we got a sneak peek at what those patches will look like.
It’s been revealed that Deadfall is where all of the Shiva’s Favored have been hanging out. While you cannot align with them like the other factions, you do have the opportunity to befriend and work with them. When looking at Deadfall, the apparent difference – besides the obvious graphic improvements – is the change of architecture and environment. Shadows look much sharper and more dynamic and the level of detail in foliage far exceeds what we have previously seen in the game. Building architecture and design also varies from what we’ve previously seen in the game. The overall look and feel of the zone feels very refreshing.
According to Fallen Earth Associate Project Manager Dave Haydysch, with the latest technology we’ll see new sculpted terrain. So instead of going in, flattening an area, pulling it out and stretching an area to create a hill – the artist can now actually sculpt each piece of land however they want it. According to Dave Haydysch it completely changes the look and feel of the game. Previously the team used Speedtree heavily, but will be able to do much more of it themselves going forward. Patch v1.4 is where we will begin to see the benefits of that. The good news is it will affect the entire world, not just the new area. So for those of you in the earlier Sectors, these enhancements will change your look and feel of the game as well. At first glance it looks nothing like the Fallen Earth we currently play. Everything looks so detailed and just, better. “It’s a drastic change that everyone is going to see – it will be very apparent to everybody”, said Haydysch.
Included in patch v1.4 are also six new instances. Haydysch said we can expect to see a lot more of that type of content. On top of the new instances there’s also over 130 new missions to dive into while advancing your character up to the new level cap of 50. Additionally, patch v1.4 will contain all new crafting recipes, new armor and weapons, new consumables, and the introduction of the new Blight Wolf mount!
Now the Blight Wolf mount is insane! In my opinion, what makes this mount so special versus a dune buggy or interceptor is that it’s alive. For the first time we are seeing a mount that is a living creature. It growls, it scratches, it breathes, and it even bows down for you when you’re mounting up. There are also different variations of this mount that will be released to fit each of the cargo, combat, etc. classes of vehicles. Be sure to check out the audio posting of our patch v1.4/1.5 preview for exclusive Blight Wolf mount sound effects. While they could not reveal exactly how you will get the mount, it was said that they will come from the Shiva’s Favored in Deadfall.
Some of the best screenshots we have are from patch v1.5, the Bloodsports. Here you can get a better idea of what the team is going for by introducing instanced PVP to the game. The maps are absolutely in the vein of the FPS genre. There’s nothing in the maps that I’ve seen that reminds me of a fantasy game I’ve played. It’s much more reminiscent of a Call of Duty or Unreal Tournament game. According to Haydysch, Bloodsports, “answers a call from the community to help increase the PVP.” There are four instanced arena-types players can expect to see in v1.5. These are: Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Survival, and Assault. All four of the Bloodsport arena-types are global queued by the Bankers faction. The Bankers saw an opportunity to profit off of people’s deaths and they will certainly be cashing in big time.
When you first visit the Bankers to queue up for an arena they will ask for a sample of your DNA. They will then take your DNA sample and infuse it into various clones that they have captured and let you play through them. This eliminates the nasty death penalty effects you would receive if you used your own body. Possibly alleviating any degradation of armor and weapons as well.
Maps are very dynamic and at first glance, it seems there will be no complaints of melee chasing down ranged players. There are so many obstacles throughout the map creating line-of-sight labyrinth. There are plenty of elevated locations that are prime spots for sniping, but they are accessible by anyone, so don’t forget to look over your shoulder. Haydysch told us, “Everyone gets a fair shake”, when talking about the map designs in regards to balance. Plenty of obstacles are laying around to prevent speed-stacking. With multiple levels and vantage points for snipers that are just as easily accessed by melee, it’s sure to be interesting.
Another interesting concept is in the Capture the Flag arena. The development team did not want the flag to be a static item so they made it a weapon. While running with the flag you can use it to attack enemy players.
It should also be noted that you can queue up as a group or solo. But there was no mention of whether pre-made groups would only be pinned against other pre-mades, or if it is totally random and first come, first serve. My guess is the latter.
For size, the Capture the Flag and Assault arenas are 8 versus 8 teams with Deathmatch and Survival being 16-player free-for-alls.
CTF sports the standard three-captures wins while Deathmatch will be every man for himself and the player with the most kills takes all. Survival is quite the opposite. Survival is a match of who can stay alive the longest. Therefore, everyone is fighting to stay alive, which is an interesting dynamic. In an Assault arena, one team attacks while one team defends. When a goal is achieved by the attacking team the sides are switched. This continues until a team meets the point-limit.
Haydysch explained that players will be introduced to the Bloodsports at level five. Also, level five players can scuffle in the Bloodsports without the fear of being owned by much higher level players. There will be separate tiers for various level ranges assigned to keep things as balanced as possible.
Also coming with patch v1.5 are the Leaderboards. Players will get to brag and /flex to others and have the proof to back it up! While a lot of the Leaderboard details are still being ironed out, we were told that the team is looking at designing an overall player score as well as a player score in each of the four arena-types on the boards. This way, you could potentially dominate the Leaderboards for CTF, Assault, etc. if those are your favorites. But if you want to be the top clone on the overall boards, you’re probably gonna have to participate in all four Bloodsports. The Leaderboards are still in development and all details are subject to change but Haydysch told us they would run on a weekly basis. Haydysch also went on to say that the influences from such games as Modern Warfare 2 and Halo should be apparent.
In the new Deathtoll system, where Deathtoll acts as currency, there are merchants inside of the arenas as well as outside (which is a much safer place). New PVP weapons and armor will be available at these Banker merchants that can be purchased with Deathtoll.
For those of you who are fans of the announcer inside of the bunker bars, announcers will make an appearance in the arenas. The Bankers will be announcing such action as kills and random call outs of what is happening in the arena. The voice over has not been done yet however.
With the recent launch of a Public Test Server, players can expect to see this content hit the PTS before it goes live. Haydysch said, “We want to do a lot of testing on the PTS before we put it into the game.”
Overall, this sneak peek pushed my anticipation level over the top. There’s plenty that we didn’t see, but judging from the things we did, I’m eagerly awaiting v1.4 and 1.5.
Keep an eye out on LAGWAR.com and our newly launched forums for more articles, photos, videos, and audio from our PAX East 2010 coverage! If you missed the video of our hands on with the Fallen Earth iPhone app you can watch it here.