(By contrast, I've felt that Cryptic's offerings since City Of Heroes have been very much More Of The Same, while Fallen Earth feels like More Of The Same, But Making An Effort To Be Different. Hell, go play the ten day trial and you'll see what I mean.)
The end game, it seems, will be one of PvP and very serious crafting. There's already a huge trade and production system apparent within the game, with players able to make everything from ammunition to mounts to armour. Books are available for your characters to learn this stuff, and then there's the collection of a whole range of different trade items and consumables. I can't recall a game that poured so much different material into my inventory in the first few hours, and it only seems to proliferate from there.
I imagine this is going to be an absolute goldmine for the trade and resource-minded player. It's not pretty, or framed with a good UI, or adequately explained, but it does hold a lot of promise. Combat-focused characters can settle for crafting their character via mutations: potent mutagenic alterations to your character that can make them hideously powerful in combat.
All this would probably been superfluous without competent world-building, and there's plenty of that here. The various settlements that are scattered across the game world each have their own character, despite the overall tone of the game being post-apocalyptic drabness. Nor is the game without a sense of scale. As I mentioned, having a mount is a really significant boon to travel. Even the first sector of the game is huge, and getting about on foot is improbably time-consuming.
Something I should note, because it's a minor detail but kind of wonderful, is that mounts are persistent objects in the world. You'll probably want to leave your horse to graze at the edge of town or mission location when you are getting your business sorted, because that way he'll stay out of danger, and possibly even recoup stamina as he rests.
Probably the most important thing for new players, however, is that Fallen Earth is positively dripping in quests. You'll end up setting some objectives for yourself in terms of crafting and getting hold of mounts and armour, but nor will you be without something to do in the game world. For a small MMO that has just started its journey, Fallen Earth remarkably rich in things to do.
Fallen Earth wasn't in great shape when it launched late last year, but it's rapidly improving. The next two planned patches (1.4 and 1.5) are intended to expand on that, with a new region, new PvP objectives, and genuine support for clans (which is rudimentary at present, and one of the main things holding this game back.) All in all this is a bold project, and one that I feel like we've been waiting for. Expectation is a trickster, and I have to admit that expected far less than I got from Fallen Earth. For something so apocalyptic, it feels like it's got a bright future ahead of it.
7 / 10