Fallen Earth: QotW#42: Vista Mutations, Getting into Beta, Faction Issues & Economy

| 24 Jan 2008 04:00

Lead Designer Lee Hammock shared this week Fallen Earth's development progress, in addition to clarifying several questions concerning Beta admission, crafting, faction economy and more:

This week we've been working on some retooling and redesign objectives, trying to get more fun into the game. It's the sort of stuff that happens throughout the game design process; you constantly work on fine-tuning how combat works, how mutations/special attacks work, how items are balanced, etc. We're spending a good part of the week looking at these portions of the game and trying to find a way to make them better.

We're also working on Park City, St. Sebastians (the Lightbearer town in Kaibab Forest), Papermill, and Brigg's Point. We're pretty close to wrapping up Kaibab Forest, after which we've got a round of dedicated bug fixing for all the bugs our QA guys have been finding, and then we're giving the Plateau another round of loving before moving on to the Grainway.

This week I figured I'd go over some concerns people had brought up recently concerning past questions rather than do a set of new ones.

1. Vistas Not Being Big on Mutations
I said a few weeks back that Vistas weren't real big on mutations, and while they're not BIG on mutations, they're not small on them either. Three factions are good at three mutation paths (Lightbearers, Techs, CHOTA), two are good at two mutation paths (Vistas, Travelers), and one is good at one mutation path (Enforcers). So while the Vistas are not great at mutations, they aren't the worst, either. Vistas are good at mutation paths that boost their abilities and Stealth.

2. Getting into Beta
I made a comment about some folks, those who had done something big for the game, getting into beta before someone else. I did not mean to set off any sort of concern about post count or anything like that, or fears that new people would never get in, etc. The people I am speaking off getting into beta are like six or ten people, and out of hundreds and later thousands of beta testers, that's really a tiny drop in the bucket. So no one should be worried about getting up their post count or some such to get into beta. The primary decision criteria is what kind of systems people have; we need new systems, old systems, and just plain weird systems to make sure it runs on everything. The most important parts of beta testing are making sure the game runs correctly under all conditions and making it fun; everything else is secondary to those concerns.

3. Factions and What They're Good At
Some folks have been concerned about having to be a Lightbearer to be a healer, or having to be an Enforcer to use guns. Anyone can do anything, it just requires a little more effort to be a CHOTA healer or a Lightbearer gunslinger. Anyone can learn any skill, but each faction has trainers for its specialty skills before factions that do not have those specialty skills, so other factions could learn those skills by trying to get to allied faction towns, neutral NPCs, PCs using the teaching skill, etc. So people shouldn't feel that they can never branch outside the stereotype of their faction. Within the game lore there are butt-kicking Techs, gun-toting CHOTA, and science-studying Vistas, it's just they're not the typical members of their faction.

4. Economy
The other day I said that creatures drop the same items player make, so a Crude Sword you find on a critter is the same as the Crude Sword a crafter can make. What I did NOT say is that everything a crafter can make also drops off creatures. It doesn't. Crafters can make lots of stuff that will never, or very rarely at best, drop off of creatures. Sure, a Crude Sword may drop off of creatures and be something crafters can make, but the really high-quality Crude Sword called a Jagged Blade only comers from crafters. In Fallen Earth the crafter, not the item farmer, is king.

And to close out, an actual question:

5. My question concerns faction points and changing factions. For example, as a Vista who plans on being friendly with the LB's, would I come in from the field one day and turn in a bunch of LB quests and "accidently" become a LB from doing one too many quests for them? Also, if I raise my LB rep to the point where I go negative with the Chota (which I assume is possible), would they attack me based on rep alone or would being a Vista keep me safe?

Each faction has its own rating and members of the factions react to you only based on your rating with them, so to be hostile to a CHOTA you have to have a negative CHOTA rating, not just a positive Enforcer, Tech, or Lightbearer rating. If you do Vista missions you gain Vista faction points and half as many CHOTA and Lightbearer faction points. If you then go do Lightbearer missions you get Lightbearer faction points along with half as much Enforcer and Vista faction points, but you would lose CHOTA faction points, and if you did enough the CHOTA would turn hostile to you even though your Vista faction was still very high because your CHOTA rating would be negative.

Effectively there are two primary strategies when dealing with factions
1)Focus on two factions. If you do all the available missions for two allied factions, such as Vistas and Lightbearers, you'll have really high ratings with both factions but every other faction will be hostile pretty quickly. So if you're a Lightbearer who spends all of his spare time helping the Vistas, the Enforcers won't like you much.
2)Focus on one faction and get the allied ones as a bonus. If you focus on doing missions for one faction and a roughly equal number of missions for its allied factions, you can be friendly with three factions. Only one of your ratings (your primary faction) will be really high, but while the other two won't be as high, at least they won't be negative.

Faction rating rewards for kills are also based on these numbers, so the more your faction hates a given character, the more faction points you get for killing them. This means you can get faction points with factions you hate by killing their enemies, but it will mess up any existing factions you are friendly with.

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