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Fallen Earth: A Front Row Seat to the Apocalypse Pt. 2

Posted Mon, May 04, 2009 by Sardu

Prarie Chicken

At the core of MMO gameplay there needs to be a compelling central conflict to ultimately drive the notion of a living, breathing virtual world forward. Let’s face it, were conflict not a key component to the continual growth of the industry we’d all be playing World of Fluffy Bunnies: Age of Redundancy. In many cases the central conflict will simply boil down to a means of generating an atmosphere of competition; in others conflict serves as a backdrop in which grand stories can be told both by developers and players alike.

Weaving those two concepts together can be a difficult task. A good example is the continuing trend in which console shooters draw a distinct line between story (single-player campaigns) and competition (multiplayer modes) even in an age when online connectivity is the norm. Some of the most successful MMOs to date have even taken a similar approach, though there still remains a near deafening roar from the keyboards of forum posters who emphatically “request” a content rich MMO that offers a robust, meaningful PvP system that takes place within a compelling PvE framework. While attempts have been made along those lines, the tendency is for one aspect of gameplay (PvP or PvE) to take center stage.

These were some of the concepts I had swirling around in my (cybernetically enhanced) brain a few weeks ago that remained with me as I made my way to Cary, N.C., to pay a visit to the Fallen Earth development team at Icarus Studios late last month. Throughout the gameplay demo and studio tour, we discussed numerous aspects of the game that will no doubt set it apart from an ever growing sci-fi market. Last week I touched upon various aspects of character advancement, including a brief look at the mutation system, but I was perhaps most interested in learning more about PvP and how large a role the 6 factions in Fallen Earth will play in the title’s central conflict.

Speaking with Project Manager Colin Dwan as his demo character sped around the desert landscapes of Grand Canyon Province on an impressively agile motorcycle, I posed the following Ten Ton Question: Could Fallen Earth be described as a PvE MMO with a compelling PvP system, or is it a PvP game set within an interesting PvE framework? The answer Colin provided was excellent in its simplicity; “Both.”

In Fallen Earth, it’s entirely possible for players to continue their advancement without ever being forced to participate in the PvP aspects of the game. In other words, while PvP is certainly a major aspect of gameplay and players will be encouraged to participate, there’s a massive amount of PvE content for players to explore. The goal here seems to be crafting an MMO in which both aspects are woven together in such a way that the lines begin to blur, the central conflict ultimately revolving around both NPC and PC forces in equal measure, resulting in an epic struggle that’s not mutually exclusive.


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