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YMMV / Fallen London

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  • Awesome Music:
    • The same composers who wrote the soundtrack for Sunless Sea have composed an even beefier OST for the Fallen London mobile app. Behold!
    • “Veilgarden Last Call” perfectly encapsulates the chaos and thrill of night in a lively arts district and starts all the way at 11 for the strangeness of the city and Veilgarden itself with distorted female vocals, instruments sounding on the edge of broken, and a percussion section of not tap but Irish step dancers.
  • Broken Base:
    • The removal of the "Ah, si- er, Ma- er, yes" option for gender-neutral characters has caused some friction. Some really like the new options, finding the old one slightly distasteful, some would enjoy still having it around while they themselves pick something else, and some have gotten rather upset at its complete removal, finding it iconic of the game itself or just enjoying it in general. Probably as a response to this, the option was reinstated.
    • The revolutionary Calendar Council are contentious amongst lore-seasoned players. Some see them as crusaders for freedom giving the finger to the natural way of things in defiance of law-imposing tyrants; others see them as mad and hypocritical for trying to force their idea of freedom onto everyone without regard for casualties or even the consent of the soon-to-be 'liberated'.
      • By extension, the Liberation of Night. Namely, whether it is desirable for humanity, whether it is justified, whether it is worth the cost it would incur or what it even entails. There are few topics that provoke such instant, often heated and usually entrenched debates. Tellingly, many players are weary of the topic being brought up at all due to how quickly it could provoke arguments among players that veterans have taken part in or spectated time and time again.
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    • The Election events inspire lots of spirited debates on the forums about the candidates that become a little too contentious for some to such an extent that a separate forum had to be made for Election discussions because they were swamping all other discussion forums.
    • The new Favours/Renown system for faction connections. Some like how trading in Favours feels much more logical than reducing a Connected quality and gives players more incentive to care about their faction connections; others dislike how tedious and card-dependent grinding for Favours and Renown can be and how Renown only significantly impacts gameplay if you spend a long time grinding it up. Still others think that the Favours by themselves work well but that the Renown part is inferior to the old Connected quality. The conversions of players' Connected qualities to Renown being scaled to the entire playerbase's Connected averages has also created controversy; while high Renown is largely a Cosmetic Award apart from the 10, 25, and 40 Renown items and Failbetter told players well in advance which Connected qualities were set to be converted into Renown next, many still got upset when their triple-digit Connected levels didn't yield as high levels of Renown than they expected and wished that Failbetter had given more details about the conversion scaling. Some players have even left the game after the Connected qualities they spent years building up were replaced by minuscule amounts of Renown.
  • Colbert Bump:
    • A large spike in popularity came about after being mentioned on Extra Credits.
    • A second came after being recommended by Felicia Day on her Geek And Sundry "flogs".
  • "Common Knowledge": Characters with similar names are very often confused by players. The Empress and the Duchess are the most common example - they both come from royal families and both live in the Palace, but they're very different people. Other examples include the Gracious Widow (a mysterious and brutal crime boss) and the Soft-Hearted Widow (a kindly charity campaigner), and the Cheery Man (a rival crime boss) and the Cheery Gentleman (another name for the Manager of the Royal Bethlehem Hotel; since renamed the Merry Gentleman to avoid this sort of confusion.)
  • Complete Monster: While the Masters of the Bazaar are well known for their antipathy towards the people of London and for being amoral by human standards, most cannot truly be called evil. The same, though, cannot be said for Mr Veils, more commonly known to the citizens of London as the monstrous Vake. Presiding over the trade in cloth as his primary duty, Mr Veils spends his free time hunting victims for sport as the Vake. His modus operandi is to spike a drink known as Black Wings Absinthe with his blood and haunt the nightmares of his victims before hunting them down in the waking world. Particularly unlucky victims will consume a version spiked with prisoner's honey, thereby transporting them physically into the nightmare. In a pitch-black abyss, the Vake taunts and torment his victims before tearing them to pieces. Ultimately, his greatest evil was masterminding the betrayal of fellow Master Mr Candles. Mr Candles, who loved the Second City, was stabbed repeatedly by the other Masters and fed to Priest-Kings of what would soon become the Third City. Mr Veils delivered the final blow when he drowned Mr Candles in the tears of the Bazaar and dissolved him in purest sorrow, causing his vengeful disembodied spirit to become Mr Eaten. Down in the Neath where law itself breaks down, Mr Veils proves there will always be monsters in the deep darkness where the Earth hides its greatest shames.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: A common response among critics.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The Intrepid Deacon from the Exceptional Story For All the Saints unexpectedly became a player favorite/heartthrob due to his sweet personality, handsome portrait and compelling storyline.
  • Genius Bonus: Four of the Recurring Dreams can be said to correspond to the four Classical elements. The Fire Sermon is obviously fire, and Death By Water is obviously water. What the Thunder Said relates to the air and wind, while The Burial of the Dead talks a lot about the earth. Is Someone There? may even correspond to the fifth element, ether, since it seems to have a connection to the Mirror-Marches, a very strange and dreamlike world. This might also explain why A Game of Chess is classified under "Dreaming Strange Dreams" rather than "Recurring Dreams", since it doesn't seem to correspond to an element.
    • All five titles are also a Shout-Out to "The Waste Land".
    • Another one for Fridge Brilliance and recurring dreams; Almost all of the initial dream cards are autofire (which is to say that you can choose whether you activate the card or not, but you have no control on what happens afterwards). However, as you progress higher above the dream levels, you get the opportunity to have more control over your dream. Initially it's just normal cards (which differs from autofire in that you have some idea of what you're getting into), but then you get choices, you have additional options if you've fulfilled other dreams to a certain extent; essentially, the more you dream, the more control you gain over your dreams!
    • If you can get to the Iron Republic - a terrifying place where the laws of nature change constantly and sometimes at the behest of protestors - you might read The Day Numbers Stopped Working, in which the already scrambled, deranged notes your character writes stop making sense entirely. They do include the line "Vinum inquit si non placet mutabo." Which is Latin, a quote from the Satyricon - a work of fiction written two thousand years ago. It means "'Wine,' he said, 'If it does not please, I will change'", and is said by someone who had gone from slavery to something like a king.
    • There are two kinds of mushroom wine found in the "Infernal" category instead of the usual "Wines:" Amanita Sherry and Muscaria Brandy. Amanita muscaria is a well-known species of poisonous mushroom, which is why only devils can drink wine derived from them safely.
    • In one zailor storylet you are ambushed by the the ship "Israelite" owned by the Circumcellion Brotherhood, who seek "both plunder and martyr" and wield clubs. This is a reference to a real early sect of Christianity who revered martyrs and would attack travelers in order to die. They used clubs called "Israelites" based on a perceived prohibition against bladed weapons in John 18:11: "Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
  • Good Bad Bugs: The bit of code preventing players without an Exceptional Friend subscription from entering the House of Chimes occasionally fires in other locations, resulting in humorous errors like this one.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Probably a coincidence, but two of the three sisters on Hunter's Keep are named Lucina (or Lucy for short) and Cynthia. Those are also the names of two characters from Fire Emblem Awakening, and what's more, it's very likely for them to be sisters, too.
    • That's because the sisters are actually (take note: serious spoilers ahead for those who want to figure this out on their own) three faces of the Moon Goddess: Cynthia, Lucina and Phoebe.
  • Memetic Mutation: Some players have taken to using the game's syntax for stat changes ("[Stat] is increasing..." or "A twist in your tale! You are now [something]" after the main body of text) to flavor posts or phrases.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Someone is coming.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Most ventures have an alternate branch at the end that grants better rewards, but is riskier, and completely resets your progress quality if you fail, regardless of how high it is. Keep in mind that it usually takes 20+ actions just to get the challenge rating to "modest", and that the rewards are rarely worth 20+ actions in the first place. Oh, and did we mention that it's entirely luck-based?
    • Mercifully, this has been toned down in a recent update, to the relief of many.
    • Making Waves and Notability prior to the New Years 2014 update (which made them much more forgiving). They both decreased in real time, requiring a frantic rush just to break even most of the timenote . Both were largely increased by rarely-drawn opportunity cards, and gaining the latter required massive grinding of the formernote . It wasn't uncommon to grind for a week to get a point or two of Notability only to have all or most of your progress wiped out the next day. A few players even complained that Seeking the Name was more rewarding than pursuing Notability; at least you got some flavor text for your trouble.
    • Nightmares. Unless you're lucky enough to have a very high Touched By Fingerwork rating, or at least one Memory of Light, which sends you to a far gentler area, hitting 8 in Nightmares puts you in an area where all you can do is lose stat points and grind down Nightmares. (To put it in perspective, dying gives you a chance to increase a useful knowledge.) And once you finally get out, your Dreams take such a massive hit that they're usually reset; before an update, they'd just reset outright. Nightmares increase constantly - many, many storylets hit you with Nightmares, and many actions that raise another Injury meter just so happen to add a few points of Nightmares on top of it. The only easy way to reduce this meter that doesn't cost Fate or require aid from other players is laudanum - and that gives you Wounds in repayment, as well as an irritating addiction once you become a Person of Some Importance.
    • On the topic of malices, Unaccountably Peckish not only has horrendous subtext, but it can also land you with non-discardable opportunity cards that can royally mess you up along the lines of gaining four(!) stacks of wounds and losing several levels of your four abilities at a time. This is also the only Menace which gains a point from Time's weekly visit. If you're unfortunate enough to gain some stacks, getting yourself some food-related events to lose the stacks with as little harm as possible is top priority. Considering the condition's connection to Seeking the Name, it certainly makes sense how god awful it is.
  • That One Level: Polythreme, mostly because almost everything there uses the above-mentioned luck mechanic. Want to spend 11 actions on a promenade and end up with little more than 20 scraps of silk for your trouble because the Random Number God wasn't on your side? Polythreme's your place. Worse still, by a certain point in the game, this becomes a required area for almost all story progression. This point is, not coincidentally, a common point at which players abandon the game entirely.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • The second murder case at the University requires at least twenty actions per stage to grind your Investigation up to 9, and has about twenty stages to completion. Failing an attempt raises your nightmares and some storylets can reduce your progress (and they have very steep Watchful checks, so most players can't hope for more than 70%), and of course each stage ends with a storylet that resets your progress completely if you fail. And unlike most detective quests, zero attempt is made to integrate the Investigation grinding into the story. This quest can take literally weeks to complete.
    • Each of the best three lodgings in the game can be upgraded even further at the cost of one extremely rare and valuable item. Naturally, all three of these items require a ridiculous amount of grinding, but out of all of them, the Impossible Theorem, required to upgrade to a Suite at the Royal Bethlehem Hotel is maddeningly and punishingly random. The only one way to acquire one is as follows: Acquire 49 Searing Enigmas. Monetarily speaking, this is just as expensive as the Airag similarly required to upgrade the Bazaar Premises to a Spire Emporium. The Airag can be acquired at a stable exchange rate through an opportunity card. One for every five of the next lowest item. Searing Enigmas require 25 of the lower tier, and you may only obtain between one and six from the process unless your Watchful is ridiculously high (and even then, it only helps a little bit). Once you have your enigmas, you have to take an even harder Watchful challenge. Succeed, you lose the enigmas, gain the Theorem. Happy ending. Fail, you lose one Enigma, 100 echoes' cash, and die. Have fun with that! Fortunately, you can upgrade these lodgings for much cheaper prices during Neathmas...although the Brass Embassy upgrade does require you to sell your soul.
    • Acquiring a ship also falls into this category if you want either of the two best ships that improve your qualities. Want a cool Zubmarine? You'll need to get 20 Whirring Contraptions, an item that requires a minimum of 34 actions to obtain one of, which means that you'll need at least 680 total actions to get 20 of them, i.e. over 113 hours of real-life time. And you also need 7 Bejewelled Lenses that each require a Magnificent Diamond to craft that normally can only be obtained by cashing in the maximum number of Criminal favours on a certain card (which is entirely dependent on whether or not the card RNG is merciful to you) or by sheer dumb luck in expeditions. Want a Majestic Pleasure Yacht? You'll need to bet a number of expensive items on an "odds strongly against you" Luck challenge and a very likely failure loses you one-fifth of your stake, including a Comprehensive Bribe that's only slightly easier to make than a Bejewelled Lens.]
    • Seeking Mr. Eaten's Name. Or, a sidequest composed of more Schmuck Bait buttons than years you'll live in real life, will take longer time you'll reasonably be expected to play the game, and will take more resources than you're expected to get in the game, period. The entire thing is one big "do not do this" sidequest, and will do nothing to you but frustrate you and drive you to probable insanity. Then again, that's kind of the point.
    • The Heart's Desire ambition has a section where you're required to enter the Royal Bethlehem Hotel, which can only be entered with maximizing your Nightmares stat, or going in through the House of Mirrors in the carnival. Once there, your objective is to find the manager, which is a Luck-Based Mission, as the only way to build the "Seeking the Manager" quality is through cards from your Opportunity deck, which will lower your Nightmares more often than not. Getting rid of all your nightmares boots you out of the hotel and resets your "Seeking the Manager" progress, and sets any progress made in your Recurring Dreams stats to zero. Going for the Stormy-Eyed attribute? Tough luck. Other ambitions do have spots where one must enter one of the other Failure states (such as going to prison for Bag a Legend), but the State of Some Confusion needed to enter the Royal Bethlehem is objectively the worst of these.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The Favor System. First and foremost, grinding to strengthen connections is rendered ten times as time-consuming, as you require rare opportunity cards and long quests to farm Favors (consumable, one-time assistance), which require an increasingly excessive shopping list and a full stack of favors to trade for Renown (which is used to get rare equipment, access to some one-paragraph storylets, and NOTHING else). Second, simple trades of goods require precious favors, which turned a simple dip in connections into an expensive barrier between third (.5 echo), fourth (2.5 echo), and fifth (12.5) tier items. Third, detrimential, undiscardable opportunity cards may pop up and stay in your deck until you agree to sacrifice one entire collection of favors(these were formerly discardable).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The stories and narrative in this game are absolutely fascinating, but an unforgivable amount of grinding is required to reach them. When you finally do reach the end, it can often be underwhelming for all the effort you had to put in. To add insult to injury, some of the storylines (such as the Ambitions) are unfinished as of writing.
  • Ugly Cute: The Rubbery Men.
  • The Woobie:
    • The poor Albino Rat.
    • Not to mention the "helpless trust" on the face of the Salt Weasel.
    • The Last Constable (named as such because she's the only one to not fall into the Masters' pockets one way or another after London fell) is on a one-woman crusade against crime in the city, and her main target (who she is forced to flee from for an indeterminate amount of time) happens to also be the most ruthless crime boss in the city... And her father.
  • Woobie Species: The Rubbery Men are a species of squid-humanoids who can't speak common tongues. They're disrespected by most and hated by some, and regularly get rocks thrown at them. On their opportunity card, the player character has the option to be cruel and kill one, and very few Rubbery-oriented stories end happily for them.


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