Anybody in Fallen London?

Is anybody else playing Fallen London? If you are and you need somebody to send something to, you’re all welcome to do it to me.

Or just generally hook up on Facebook.

I tend to avoid facebook games like the plague that they usually are-- is Fallen London worthwhile?

I tried out Fallen London a while back, when it was called Echo Bazaar; I had to create a Twitter account to play. Perhaps it has an especially weak opening, but I couldn’t see the appeal at all. Then they came out with Night Circus (still available?), another game on essentially the same model but with the grindy elements removed. I was optimistic given that the grinding was random and seemingly completely pointless…but I didn’t get Night Circus at all either.

So, apologies for joining Joey in attempting to semihijack this thread, but I would love to see someone who did enjoy one or the other of these games explain what it was they liked about them. Did I not give them enough time to get interesting?

N.B.: This request is serious–I am not trolling.

I enjoyed Echo Bazaar a lot; Night Circus only for a few days.

I’m not sure what I could say to explain what I liked about EBZ. It’s a fun lightweight RPG with a good balance of short-term and long-term goals, a bit of tactical planning, and a steady stream of amusing flavor text. (Not “steady” as in “something new every click”, but as in “something new every day”.)

Night Circus lacked the goals and the planning, so it didn’t work for me.

I dropped EBZ when the turn model was changed; I can’t play it casually any more, so I don’t play it.

Before posting: Looks like zarf said what I wanted to say, but more concisely. I think I came in after the change in turn model, though.

I find Fallen London kind of amusing – mostly because of the writing and atmosphere rather than anything in the gameplay. But I can (and recently did) go a couple of months without opening it or missing it. It’s very much something I want to do for a few minutes of downtime. FWIW you don’t need Facebook or Twitter for it now.

I absolutely despised the Night Circus, though. For one thing, there was some kind of bug, programming error, poorly designed interface, or poor game design that prevented me from finishing the storyline I had started. For another, the lack of grinding manifests itself as lack of choices; you get a card, you play a card, or maybe you wait around to see if the card you need to make the more interesting option playable shows up before you have to discard it. There seemed to be no continuity between your actions (to the extent that sometimes you would get the same card twice in one session), and the writing was about as substantial as cotton candy; nice in small doses, but consume any amount of it and you realize there’s nothing there.

Coming to Fallen London after the Night Circus, there’s a lot I prefer about it:
There are usually choices you can make, not necessarily depending on your cards. You can exercise some agency in choosing to prefer one path rather than another.
There are a few different storylines that build from action to action. Many of them are little mini-things (which often involve pointless grinding – more about that in a bit).
The stat-grinding combined with the number of choices actually lets you attain a sense of progress, since you can do other things to increase your stats until you’re able to unlock a new storylet.
Combined with this all, it’s big. I think it needs to be big or you run out of stuff to do while you’re trying to unlock other stuff.
Perhaps most important, it occasionally gives you a bit of specifics instead of just saying “You have achieved a Hint of a Mystery” or “The end of the puppet show is chilling” the way The Night Circus does. I’m not entirely sure that I think any of these are actually going to have a narrative payoff, though some might (occasionally one gets me to

The grinding is a problem, though. Too often completing a little story requires you to do the same thing several times even if you’ve succeeded at it once, and the scope of the bigger story seems like it’ll take too long to complete. I’d rather the amount of time you have to spend on it be cut to something like a half to a tenth, because I don’t think it’s going to hold my interest long enough for me to see through the major storyline I’ve embarked on. Or there could be more intermediate-sized goals, as opposed to short-term ones and long-term ones. Maybe drawing things out is part of the freemium model.

This doesn’t sound very enthusiastic, does it? I think it’s a diversion and it’s fine if you treat it as such, but if it’s not your thing it isn’t. It might get more interesting to you if you give it some time, but I wouldn’t say you have a big hole in your life if you don’t.

I can imagine a game with roughly the same interface and flavor text, but a lot more tactical depth, a la Dominion or Ascension.

(But I’ve been saying that for six months now, and I have yet to design the damn thing. So.)

I wrote some about this here: … echoes.php

That was from some while back, so a lot of things about the game have changed (and I think neither Facebook nor Twitter is mandatory now, but I haven’t checked recently). YMMV, and grind isn’t my favorite either, but I really liked the writing and setting vision, and after some acclimatization it becomes a lot more possible to play the game in an intentional way, rather than just sort of wandering through being surprised by what cards turn up.

No, neither Facebook nor Twitter is mandatory now. (There are some actions that you can only take by social networking, but I wasn’t going to take those even if I did log in to my cat’s Twitter account.)

+1 :laughing:

First, it’s (mostly) unusually well-written for a game, to the point where the writing is frequently a reward in itself. (I am easily satisfied by awesome writing. To my tastes, if you get that just right, you can get away some pretty egregious shit, gameplay-wise. I acknowledge that not everybody need feel this way.)

Second, it offers (offered?) a slowly developing mystery about the nature of its setting, about which you get progressively more clues, without (as is usually the case with this sort of thing) either totally telegraphing the answer, or stalling and obfuscating interminably. Speculating about what was going on with other players (in my case, a bunch of ifMUD people all started playing at about the same time) was a big part of the fun.

And third, it’s just a cool, rich kind of setting; very strong tone, very rich identity, a long way from Generic RPG Land. While Facebook-style games generally are kind of a desert in terms of content or distinctive vision, Fallen London is very content-rich.

The two big problems I had with it was that as you got towards medium-high levels, it became extremely grindy and repetitive; and secondly, its turn system is rationed in a highly obnoxious manner. (Alexis acknowledges that these are basically kind of sucky.)

There’s some very fine worldbuilding in Fallen London, of the type I enjoy most (“evocative worldbuilding” rather than “informative worldbuilding”). Layers and layers of imagination-tickling tidbits. Very much my speed.

It’s certainly a bit grindy. I find myself taking several turns in a row where I no longer read anything, because either I’ve done the same thing before, or because I only did it to boost a stat, anyway (oftentimes, you have an adventure [huzzah!] and you know this because there’s a single sentence telling you you’ve just had one [huzzah!]) … but there’s definitely a sense of defining a character through choices, and definitely a sense of (sandboxy) place.

My attempts to enjoy the Night Circus failed. I continue to play and enjoy Fallen London.

I used to play back when it was Echo Bazaar. I haven’t played since I got stuck in the Tomb Colonies with a Scandal of 20 (don’t ask). I tried grinding my way out, but it just didn’t seem worth it… nor did I want to pay for Fate to get my character out. So there he’ll stay. If I ever learn of expanded content for that area, I could be enticed to join again.

I quite enjoyed the writing, though, and aside from the repetitive grind (there are often many different choices of things to do if you’re not stuck in the Tomb Colonies, apparently) I’ll just second what everyone else has said about the writing and sense of personacraft being its major strengths.

The “stuck in X” penalties for going over a bad-quality limit are meant to be short-term. I don’t think I spent more than a day there in any instance (50 turns, I guess, in the old turn model). Usually less.

I started playing it around the time I created my Twitter account. To me it’s a pretty cool way to pass the time while eating a sandwich at work once in a while. I don’t care how slow I’m progressing. The “ruthless” or evil routes are usually the way I play, because to me it makes the story more interesting.

Okay I’ve started playing Fallen London and I’ve just freed a cat in a box, written an epic poem on a mushroom and failed to stop a lynchmob. I definitely dig this. The limited number of actions you can take is probably good for me as I tend to get absorbed into games I like for hours on end.

See, I found this got you both ways: at the point where it grabs your attention the most, you still can’t play at anything more than the rationed rate. So I ended up in this annoyingly ADD state of checking in on the game every half-hour or so, not able to make much progress but also highly distracted from doing anything else. (I got the same way with Bee during the brief time when it was rationed in a similar manner, but even with rationing it was finishable in a day or so. Echo Bazaar, not so much.) Rationed turns are okay, but slow-trickle rationed turns are among my most hated game mechanics ever.

Yeah, if it were a simple 40 turns per day I’d still be playing it.

When I read in this thread that you no longer needed Facebook or Twitter (which I don’t use) to play the game, I made an account and tried it. I’m not convinced yet. All the stories seem to be… well, not really stories. What I’ve seen of Fallen London so far consists of abstract plot elements chained together to form abstract mini-plots. There’s no concreteness. I have a relationship with an artist’s model; however, not with any particular artist’s model, but the with the abstract idea of an artist’s model. (Now that’s Platonic love for you!)

In Planescape: Torment, you at some point enter a maze that was made to resemble an “adventure” by a bunch of robots who don’t understand human stories. In this maze, you find things like “a clue” and “a reward” – the robots didn’t get that there is no such things as an abstract clue. What Torment did as light satire, Fallen London seems to do in perfect seriousness. At the end of a storyline I am rewarded by “30 whispered secrets”. But I don’t care about 30 whispered secrets that remain abstract instances of a type; I care about receiving one single concrete whispered secret, something that actually tells me about someone, something that would actually constitute an element of a story. In the same way I don’t care about receiving “relationship 3 with the urchins”, I care about interacting with one single urchin who I can get to know and have some kind of attachment to.

If anyone tried to convince you Fallen London is about story, they were just messing with you.

[Click Here to Have An Adventure!]
[You just had an adventure! It was awesome!]
[Oh, and now you have more wine!]

[Click Here to Have Another Adventure!] …

Fair enough, I don’t think the website claims that the game is about stories. But it certainly looks like a story game, and I’m not sure what else I should be getting out of it. There doesn’t seem to be any tactical aspect to the game, for instance, nor any sense of achievement to obtaining your goals.

But, as I said, I’ve been playing it for less than 48 hours, so all my statements ought to be read as questions. :wink: