By Jason Gallienne (Jrgsubzero), OnRPG Journalist
Earth Eternal advertises itself as a real MMO for your browser. This is a bold statement because the best functioning in-depth 3D MMORPGs are always client-based, so far. With a fully browser based game, could they deliver the same kind of performance, similar graphics; could the depth of game-play even be compared? Earth Eternal claims not! Will they live up to these claims? Let’s see what they have to offer so far in the Beta version of their game.
No Humans Allowed
The races offered here are different than you normal MMORPG. I’m thankful for the absence of classic humans, elves and dwarves, just to see a change. Instead there are is a wide variety of animals to choose from. Basically you’ll play as furries. Among the total of twenty-two races there are a few that stand out: a robot, a treant, a cyclops, a demon, and even a troll. The overall setting of the game uses elements from Norse, Greek and Egyptian myths and takes place in a classical fantasy and fairy-tale environment.
The races are a cosmetic choice only and there are no differences in stats between them. You can customize the color of every part of your character’s body as well as three types of faces and height. When it comes to naming your character you’re forced to use the first and last name system. Either you come up with a full name for your character (rather pleasant because it’s so uncommon) or if you don’t have any inspiration for the moment, you can use the name generator to come up with fitting names.
After you’re finished with creating your character’s name and looks you have a choice between four classes: Knight, Rogue, Mage, and Druid. Every class is what they appear to be except for Druid, which is more of a hunter/spell caster hybrid. Now, here is where the game becomes a bit different. Every class charges up points when they use certain skills and they can release those charges in a variety of ways, depending on the finishing skill used. These are separated into magic charges and physical charges. Instead of mana or rage, you have will and might. These aren’t normal bars like you’re used to, instead you have ten Will and Might. Most spells take between 1 and 5 and stats can modify how fast they recharge. So even if you’re a mage, it’s a good idea to get some might using skills incase you run out of will. You will not be distributing stat points on level ups either, it’s automatic. The only points you can spend are skill points.
Another unique feature would be that classes can dip into other classes’ skills. Each class has their own primary abilities and next to that they have skills every class can acquire. For example, if I’m a warrior I can learn how to cast flame spear from the mage’s skills. On top of that, everyone can learn healing spells. Did I mention that skill resets are free? So there’s plenty of fun to have mixing and matching what skills you want!
Fiddling around with talents and skills
This is technically a browser based game but you will still be downloading and installing things onto your computer. The game can indeed also be played in a client.
Now, about the game-play. This is your basic quest and grind game. You will be progressing through areas via the quests you’re given but sadly you cannot go back to the areas you’ve already completed. I’m used to this when it comes to newbie islands but not being able to go back to the level 1-10 place really bites. Alongside the normal quests every outpost/city has bounty boards. These bounty boards offer quests to kill 10 of a certain monster and they offer tokens and experience upon completion. These tokens can be exchanged for decent equipment and the quests are repeatable until you out-level them. The map and mini-map tell you where your quest objectives are and is really convenient. Everything is placed well and easy enough to find.
A problem I have with leveling and the skill system is the pacing. The skills are divided into tiers with are unlocked as you level. At level 6 you get skill points and you get access to Tier 2 skills. After that you get 2 skill points per level. Now here is the problem: you can’t level up your Tier 2 skills until Tier 3, which is at the far off level 20. So you’ll be stuck with Rank 2 Tier 1 skills and Rank 1 Tier 2 skills until level 20. I was expecting to level up my skills every level!
Something interesting in Earth Eternal is a game mechanic called heroism. Each time you defeat a monster the bar in the middle fills up. When it becomes full you get more luck and with more luck you get better drops. It goes down when you die but you can spend money to be resurrected with some heroism still intact.
There are no trade-skills but you can craft items at NPC trainers with materials you find off of monsters. There are also armor refashioners that let you take the stats from one item and the looks of another and combine the two! No longer will you have to choose between stats and looks, which really improves the sense of immersion into a role-playing universe!
Overall, the graphics are mediocre. Nothing is exceptional but nothing is terrible either. To put it into a larger context: for a browser game the graphics are really impressive and the details looks good. But for a 3D MMORPG some of the features still look very simple. Some of the monsters are imaginative just like the races you can play in the game. This originality redeems some of the generic feeling you may initially experience. Feel free to look at the screenshots and make your own decision on if you like them or not.
Whispers in the woods
The sounds are okay and everything seems to fit well. Music doesn’t pop up in most places but when it does it’s pleasant for the most part.
I will first address the biggest problem here: the performance. For a game of this visual quality it should not have such a low frames-per-second count. It starts out OK, around 30 frames per second. But then you get into the level 11-20 territory and suddenly I’m facing 8-20 FPS. The first main town, Camelot, brings me down to 5-8 FPS. This is when the town is devoid of players too. My computer is no push-over either so believe me when I say it’s the game’s fault. I also fell through the bridge that leads into Camelot once, so it all seems to nearly work. Nearly, but not quite.
Some other minor details are the loading times. These times are awful and you sometimes load in the middle of traveling somewhere. This game gave me my first experience of being killed by a loading screen. You also can’t remap any keys.
The good news is they seem to be releasing fixes at a steady pace but some of these things should have been smoothed out before Open Beta.
The game is completely free-to-play with an optional cash shop. Upon inspection, it has your usual exp boosts, powerful potions, and overall perks. But what might disturb some is the charms and stat-up potions. For a somewhat steep price of $30 ($10 for 30 days and even less for 24 hours) you can purchase an item that permanently increases a stat by 15%. You can also have multiple ones equipped. There are also potions that increase health points and defense by a set amount for a limited period.
Now, I have no personal problems with this as there is no PVP yet. But there are talks of a CTF type PVP coming soon and with those items in-game it would cause some major balance issues. Some players, perhaps even most, are repelled by games that are “pay-to-win”.
Some say this will be off-set by offers you can complete for free credits. If you’ve never done these types of things before: they can be difficult, frustrating, and usually require a credit card or personal information to complete. There are also talks that you might be able to buy and sell credits for in-game currency. Whether this will help non-buyers or only make buyers more powerful will be seen if and when it is implemented.
Overall, this is your run of the mill MMORPG. For a browser game it looks pretty good, but it may not attract people used to high-end graphical performances. We’ll have to see what it’s like when the game is fully populated. It has a few twists thrown here and there but nothing exceptional. This game has potential to be a better game and we’ll have to wait and see where it goes from here.
– A F2P MMORPG that you can play in your browser.
– As with all games that first tart out, you have a friendly community.
– A slightly unique skill system.
– Beta bugs
– Performance problems
– Cash shop has stat boosts.