It’s been a few weeks since the Fallen Earth community had to deal with its latest round of layoffs. Former State of the Game pen Dave “Archangel” Haydysch was one of the three let go, leaving the job to Marie “Aro Sei” Croall, whom we spoke with at PAX. The first topic of her new face-of-the-company career involves Sector 4, and where the hell it is.
It turns out that the development of Sector 4 was put on the back burner for the much-discussed combat revamp and balance tweaks that have filled the last few patches. Those changes being completed – testing to commence this week – Sector 4 is again returning to the spotlight. The new sector will add another 5 levels to the level cap, and deliver new recipes, gear and consumables.
In the immediate future, players will see a laundry list of changes heading to the PTS, then the live servers:
Physical combat changes. The devs are specifically looking for feedback on damage and the mitigation of it.
Dodge mitigation being retuned, again.
NPC range, reload and weapon damage tweaks.
Faction skills and Mutations to be tested after combat is fine tuned.
New lighting and terrain changes incoming. I love how the game gets prettier each six months or so.
Further improvements to the tutorial, including tooltip changes, extended combat and a more streamlined delivery.
Black Friday celebration – FREE AMMO for Blood Sports participants. To those that don’t play Fallen Earth, ammo consumption/creation is a huge drain on resources.
Should all of this go according to plans, December will be marked with just as many changes to completely different aspects of the MMOFPS. During the holiday season the developers are going to focus on “different high-end group content/world boss mechanics, improvements to the serendipity system, new recipes and encounter areas as well as continuing to work on balancing Progress Towns.”
Oh, and let’s not forget the wonderful community events. Fallen Earth will be home to “several in-game contests as well as introducing our Rally mission series and giving out presents” during the season of giving.
Game developers sure know how to stir up a community. All a company has to do to get its already excitable fanbase to froth at the mouth, come out at weird hours and basically act rabid, is to announce major changes to combat. Even if the changes are meant to correct combat issues like responsiveness and consistency, as in the case of Fallen Earth, the general population will be shocked into rage or unbreakable silence at hearing the news.
iTZKooPA brought up the hot button issue as part of his PAX Prime 2010 powwow with Marie Croall, Senior Game Design for Fallen Earth. She revealed that the combat changes began back in the Blood Sports patch, although unannounced. Icarus will start to drastically alter combat as we know it in patch v1.7. In this video, Croall and iTZKooPA also discuss the just-started anniversary festivities, further character customization, Progress Towns, the just released Premium Mobile Application and more.
It’s taken the company a few weeks, but Fallen Earth finally has a replacement in line for the departing Lee Hammock. My main gripe of Fallen Earth’s most recent State of the Game address was that the company didn’t layout any restructuring plans. It was just a goodbye, brush-it-under-the-table, nothing-to-see-here mention. Now players can finally rest easy knowing that someone (actually, it seems like two people) will replace the Lead Game Designer.
Fallen Earth announced not one, but four position changes for the development stuff. All of which come from within the company and have been a part of it for at least three years. Basically, they know the game as well as anyone.
Wes Platt – Director of Content Development
Marie Croall – Senior Game Designer (closest replacement for Hammock)
Greg Roth – Senior Systems Designer
Josh Peery – Content Team Lead (the backup)
Marie and Wes will be available for a little one-on-many dev chat next Tuesday, April 29, at 3:00 PM EST via Twitter.
During the creation of this very post I received an e-mail from Fallen Earth with more exciting news. The Blood Sports patch, v1.4 which we previewed during PAX East, will be going live on May 7. It’ll include four PvP areas, 500+ achievements, the Clan Wars system, a huge new sub-sector called Deadfall and the Blight Wolf Mount.
Check out the preview for the full details on Patch v1.4.