In response to my Fallen Earth – First Impressions write-up fellow OTGer Zoyd asked the excellent question, “Is the game well populated at this point, or do you feel like you’re all alone most of the time?” In a normal bout of verbosity I probably answered his question in far more detail than he expected. Here’s that answer which was originally posted on the OTG site.
That question is hard to answer. Let me tackle it in several different ways.
1: Are there OTGers on an active most times?
Yes. Unknown and Wandering are on quite a bit (CL and CO though I forget which is which) and several other regulars seem to be on 24/7 (Pa, I’m looking at you). It is rare to log in and not have someone to chat to on /clan.
2: Do you see those members frequently?
No. Fallen Earth has no fast travel and with travel times between towns measured in several-to-tens of minutes at a time it is rare to have OTG members in the same location at the same time. Currently there are 3 sectors (note, sectors are conceptual and not synonymous with zones in the traditional sense; the landmass is continuous and there are no loading screens) and from what I’ve heard it can take 2+ hours to get from the depths of Sector 3 back to the lowbie areas in Sector 1.
3: Does the area feel populated?
Yes. There is local chat and regional chat. However regional chat is not sector wide. In Sector 1 alone there are dozens of regions. So there’s always someone to chat to. Also when you get into the towns they often have a good amount of players in them.
4: Do you see lots of players out and about?
No. Because Fallen Earth’s landmass is so vast the population density of the player base feels like it conforms to the formula of gravitational pull. IE, population falls off as a function of distance from the towns, squared. Fancy way of saying, ride 2-3 minutes out from town (and mission locations) and most often you are alone and will remain so for quite a while.
Now, 2 and 4 might give you the impression that, as an MMO, the game is not working. But in the setting of the game, it works. This is a post-apocalyptic setting where the majority of the human population of the planet is dead, deformed, mutated, or zombified. Think of all the great post-apocalyptic movies and you often have the lone hero or maybe, at most, 2-3 protagonists roughing it and often not seeing anyone else for hours, if not days or weeks, at a time.
The population of Fallen Earth replicates that feel perfectly. I think it is part of why I don’t lose my sense of immersion when I’m either in town or out in the wilds. It just fits. Consider regional chat like CB radios where you’re talking to people within 3-8 miles of you and /clan as short-wave radio where you talk with distant people on a narrow frequency and the communication falls into place as well. When I run into a fellow OTGer in town it is a treat. We often talk shop, compare gear, hang out for a bit, swap some gear, maybe knock out a mission or two and then off we go.
It just isn’t for everyone, especially if they have become accustomed to and are longing for fast travel so as to group up quickly and often with their guild mates. It’s not bad, just, different and in context of the game, refreshing