Rather than try to review it being only level 14, I’d thought I’d give my impressions playing it for the second time. I originally played it a while back, sold on it by Syp from Bio Break, who was glowing about it. Back then, I thought the game was too quiet, with too many annoyances to keep subbed to, and I quit. This time?
Well, it’s not really changed much. They have streamlined some things. One of them is the after-tutorial when you emerge from lifenet. It’s three quick and simple quests that give you your horse and get you started. Unfortunately a side effect is that right outside the starter spawns you often have tons of weak mobs fighting it out with guards.
Ironically, crafting doesn’t seem to be simplified much. They changed dyes so you don’t need to make one of nine different ones for a specific armor recipe, but guns are just as annoying to make as ever. I managed to adapt better this time around by focusing on zip gun pistols over rifles, but had to stop making regular pistols because of both the number of parts you need for a basic one, and the harder problem of time. 80 rounds of light pistol ammo takes 10 minutes or so unbonused, so if you run out and need 240, that’s 30 minutes of waiting. Zip gun ammo on the other hand takes under 3 minutes.
They’ve included barebones templates to advise you where to put your AP in stats or skills for things like being a medic or crafter. They also have offered very limited respecs in the forms of injectors. You can buy 1-4, and each take off 5 AP. They cost chips, so it’s expensive and not that profitable though.
The world hasn’t changed much at all, or at least it feels like it. It’s still massive, and still the same poor graphics. It’s also cluttered in towns with a poor minimap that makes it hard to find needed services. This is a lot more important than it seems, since you constantly need to sell, craft, and upgrade your abilities. The massive nature really started to wear because of the game’s quest system.
FE loves to give you a lot of quests which you quickly outlevel. They often give you ones too which can be done in multiple cities, none of which that are close, and none are required. In Sector 1, there are way too many towns even given different starter ones. I could have easily gotten 15+ without going past Embry and rotating among the starter towns for quests. This leads to quest fatigue, especially when most become trivial. I haven’t even touched many towns or lairs: Embry’s Junk Fortress and Kingman’s Prison I have skipped, and I’ve bypassed whole towns. That will bite me in the ass once I get higher, because a lot of those quests give you bonus AP beyond leveling. So it’s a choice between grinding trivial quests for pure power gain, or skipping it and weakening yourself later. It’s not very good.
The quests are nicely written, with some nice touches like on-the-fly quest completion into the next step of a chain, and a choice of pure crafting missions for less combat inclined. They can be long though, and there is only so much variety. So despite this they tend to drag. This matters less because normal PvE is very easy. Only Master-class enemies so far can faceroll me. Anything under I can take.
This also highlights a weakness of the system. The most important stat I have seen in PvE is your health regeneration. By stacking buffs, you can get it high enough to passive tank a lot of enemies. A lot of the buffs and debuffs I have just aren’t required for normal play. A lot just seem to be for a PvP system: using stamina draining poisons and DOT’s, knockdowns and dazes this early just seem pointless, and I stand at point blank range nailing headshots while they miss. It might change later on though.
PvP? I tried the bloodsports instance. It’s a very large map, and well done, with nooks and crannys. However it’s like Champions: it;s tiered by level. Unlike Champions though, they don’t boost everyone to the highest tier, which means 11s can fight 20s. There are four modes. CTF, Deathmatch, Assault, and one other I forget. I tried Deathmatch, got facerolled. You get deathtoll points win or lose, but you use up any ammo or consummables doing it.
FE is more stable from when I tried it. There are less bugs, at least reported in help chat. The community is laid back and low-key, and Icarus listens to them. What’s a very nice touch is that they often put guild-sponsored events on the launcher page, which lets all players know about them. There are two newbie guilds, T.E.M.P.S and Carebears. There are also more people talking in clan and in help, but it’s still pretty quiet.
I’m still mixed about it. This is why it’s taken me a few days to write on it. It can be fun to see what’s over the hill, and if you are a packrat you will never stop hitting every resource node you see. FE is great with atmosphere, community, and small details that increase immersion, but the game I’m very mixed about. I think I’d be a lot happier if they dropped the buffs, made crafting and combat really basic, and just let us out in the world. The game is very complex, but I’m not sure it needs it. The complexity gets in the way.