The Apocalypse Will Be Confusing

I really wanted to like Fallen Earth. After the untimely demise of Tabula Rasa I longed for an MMO that did not contain haughty elves or magic missiles.

With its FPS/RPG hybridization, classless skill-based character advancement system, and real-world post-apocalypse setting, I was highly anticipating the opportunity to create a female Mad Max and make a name for myself in Grand Canyon Province.

Things started out well enough for Mad Margaret as I navigated her through the tutorial section of the game; a story instance that has the player running for your life from a “secret underground facility” as a disembodied voice gives you instructions on basic game play and story elements. Fun, informative, and what I thought was a taste of things to come.

Boy, was I wrong. Upon completing the tutorial you are dumped out into the starter area of the game where things quickly become buggy, bland and downright perplexing. Although the game’s graphics aren’t terrible, they aren’t exactly awe-inspiring either. For whatever reason, the interface was small, fuzzy and hard to read, no matter how much I tweaked my graphics settings. And it also wasn’t particularly intuitive, as I struggled to figure out how to switch weapons or access my character’s stat sheet.

The worst part of it all was how amazingly complicated the character skill system was. Skill attributes, that could have been described in just a couple of brief sentences, instead had paragraphs of text that looked like they had been written by an astrobiologist! When I play an online game I want to have FUN. Not feel like I’m preparing for a math exam!

* Actual text taken from the game. If anyone can explain to me in SIMPLE TERMS what all of that actually means, I will review the MMO of their choice in an upcoming post.


15 Responses to “The Apocalypse Will Be Confusing”

  1. lupis42 says:

    Basically, it’s telling you that the stat/skill/whatever ranges from 11 to Int+Int+Int+Perception/2.
    So if you want to raise it, points put into intelligence are three times as effective as points put into perception. I don’t know the game, so I don’t know how helpful this is.

  2. Joshua says:

    Well, it appears you have an Intelligence score and a Perception score. Take 3/4 of the Int score. Take 1/4 of the Perception. Add them together, and that’s your ability to scavenge…Survival or Knowledge: Nature or whatever it’s called.

    E.g. if you had 16 Int and 12 Per, you’d add 12 (3/4 of 16) and 3 (1/4 of 12) to get 15 Survival. Double that and you get the maximum, 30 in the example. To get higher than 30, you need to increase Int or Per, or both. It looks like you never have less than an 11 in Survival, regardless of the other scores. At least that’s my guess.

  3. Patrick Walker says:

    I don’t mean to insult your intelligence, but I also don’t know exactly what you mean by simple, so I’ve prepared explanations at varying levels of competence.

    “Fairly intelligent”:
    Your resource gathering skill is calculated as (Intelligence*.75)+(Perception*.25). Your resource gathering skill cannot exceed 2*((Intelligence*.75)+(Perception*.25)). It cannot be below 11. (Or, it starts at 11. I wasn’t 100% sure on this.)

    “Smart enough”:
    Your resource gathering skill is 75% of your perception skill plus 25% of your intelligence. At most, it can be twice that number. It cannot go below 11. (Or, it starts at 11, I wasn’t 100% clear on this.)

    “I don’t understand percentages and fractions or any of that stuff”:
    Your resource gathering skill is magic. Just try to figure out what you can gather from with trial and error. If you need it to be better, add to your perception skill first and your intelligence skill last.

    “Magic is the work of Satan, are you a devil worshiper?”:

  4. Leslee says:

    Thank you lupis42, Joshua and Patrick. You all had great responses that make a LOT more sense than the mouse-over tool-tip provided in the game.

    Let me know if any of you have a particular MMO that you’d like me to roast… err… review.


  5. scragar says:

    I think a better way to phrase the tooltip would be something like:

    Base: 11
    maximum: 1.5 * intelligence + 0.5 * perception

    Or something, I dunno, I prefer seeing things written out like that rather than attempted to be explained in english when it’s more complicated than “damage is your attack minus your enemies defence”, the more multipliers and attributes you add the exponentially harder english explanations of such things becomes.

    Personally for an MMO I wouldn’t want such things explained in a tooltip, such things are better left short in game and explained in full detail in a manual or guide, tooltips should be short and to the point, give you what you need and if you need more info that’s what tutorials and manuals are for.

  6. Adam says:

    Base: 11
    Primary Stat: Intelligence. Secondary Stat: Perception.

    Everything you need to know. This is why game designers and coders should not also be UI designers.

  7. thegrinner says:

    @Adam: I dunno, I could deal with scragar’s style equation showing up if I hovered long enough. It’s kind of useful to know where things cap sometimes.

  8. Patrick Walker says:

    I’ll be slightly cruel and suggest runescape.
    I may lose “nerd-cred” for this or something, but if you give it a chance you might actually find it to be an enjoyable MMO. If anything, it at least has actual children acting like children instead of grown adults acting like children.

  9. Kim says:

    Margaret has a cute jacket.

  10. LexIcon says:

    Actually, since it says “based value” at the bottom I’m guessing that 11 is the result of 75% Intelligence + 25% Perception, which would make your maximum 22.

    It blows my mind that they would just give you the base value and then make you extrapolate backwards to find the maximum value. It’s like saying “Here’s my car, but the keys are beyond the Dark Forest and guarded by the Twin Flame Dragons at the River of Eternity. Go pick up your brother at the gym.”

    I am curious as to what the players are like in this game. Are they all asian math nerds or something?

    Also, please roast one of those Korean WoW knockoffs that are free to play. I always wondered what they were like.

  11. Leslee says:

    Ok, you guys asked for it.

    One Runescape and a Korean free-to-play roast/review coming up!

  12. Ross says:

    “Here’s my car, but the keys are beyond the Dark Forest and guarded by the Twin Flame Dragons at the River of Eternity. Go pick up your brother at the gym.”

    LexIcon, that was awesome.

  13. Joshua says:

    Well, the only MMOs I play are City of Heroes and Champions Online, so one of those would be interesting. I think I even still have a free trial key to Champs…

  14. Shamus says:

    I had the exact same experience with the game. I wanted to like it so much. Loved the concept, but could not comprehend their skill progression system. And it was boring. And looked dull, given the setting. (How hard do you have to work to make the GRAND CANYON look dull?)

    And I got lost.

    And my very first quest was bugged.


  15. Haters Gon' Hate says:

    @Patrick Walker: No. Just…just no. Runescape is by no stretch of the imagination a good game. It’s not enjoyable in any way, shape, or form. The entire game is a grindfest in which you can’t walk 5 feet without someone calling you a noob no matter your level. That added to the fact that the graphics are the worst I’ve seen since the NES, the quests are dumb, and the humor looks like it came out of a fifth-grader’s notebook and you have a huge pile of crap.
    Also, the only two classes that can do anything are mages and archers. Both of them own anyone who tries to use melee if the player using them is even slightly efficient with the class.

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