Thursday, February 11

Earth Eternal

Earth Eternal: Finally, a real MMO for your browser - well that's how it sells itself, I guess it's ignoring Runescape then? I would also add a ? at the end of that claim. If the fans are to be believed rather than the ubiquitous 'WoW killer' we have a 'Runescape killer' on our hands...

It's currently in open beta, however the cash shop is already open, rare even for a F2P title in OB, guess those development costs need to be regained pretty soon. So far though items in the cash shop don't look like they are necessary unless you want the upper hand or that fancy armour straight away. In comparison to the Runescape shop, your limitations so far seem to be less in EE if you choose not to use it.

Open Beta means it is plagued with a few rather game breaking problems; very long loading times (go make a cup of tea or read a book), low FPS regardless of video settings and plenty of lag. One of the strangest things I've seen in a game is that while assets are loading for NPCs and players, the game displays floating sparkling orbs, which I guess gives you at least something to target and lets you know danger is imminent.

The game can be played in a browser but you get better performance launching it as it's own app.

There are 22 anthropomorphic 'Races', there's a robot thrown in for good measure in case you don't want pointy eared and waggy tailed.

Customisation allows 3 different body types, 3 different faces and plenty of colour options, if you want a rainbow coloured mess you can have one. You are then given the option of 4 different armour designs for each starting armour part, no colour options for those though. Names are double barreled and the game will give you suggestions for both, you can choose to ignore those and create your own.

There are 4 classes to choose from, Mage, Knight, Druid and Rogue, each have their own skill trees, you can unlock or power up skills through using attribute points gained as you level (or bought from the cash shop), some skills also have a coin cost. The interesting thing is that you don't have to stick to your own skill trees, while some of the skills are locked to outside classes, some are also available to any, if you want to use Druid skills as a Mage you can, this could provide some interesting progression but as armour is limited to class, along with its associated stats then I doubt many will take advantage of this to its fullest. On top of the 4 main class trees there are 4 other trees to invest points in:

Travel: You have 2 unlocked skills at start, the ability to set your bind location and the ability to warp to it, further unlocks provide the ability to warp yourself, team members or other individuals to specific locations and there are skills to increase movement speed.

Weapons: Classes are locked to what type of weapon can be used, unlocked skills in this tree increase specific weapon damage.

Protection: Your initial armour skill is unlocked, further skills include removing buffs from opponents or removing debuffs from yourself or other players, getting further in to the tree increases overall protection from individual damage types.

Restoration: Provides heals, the ability to resurrect and increase healing effectiveness.

The Mage Skill Tree

It's an interesting system, a great deal of room for building a unique character, the limits of armour stats will keep choices limited for most players but at least the choice is there. Attribute points can be reset at any given time, the only loss you incur is the loss of any coin you spent on gaining skills, that gives you plenty of scope to experiment.

Graphics; the only fair thing to do is compare it to it's competitors which I guess would be Runescape and Sony's Freerealms, I haven't played Runescape so no comment on that, compared to Freerealms though I would say it lacks the smooth look achieved by that game, things like trees are more obviously made from blocks, there is more ground clutter if you play at max settings (once it loads) which does look nice. It's very cartoony, as you would expect from a game of this nature, overall it gels together nicely, it has day and night cycles, I found night to be much better looking. Don't expect any convincingly scary mobs, your first encounter will be against plants in their pots and you'll come across their big brothers later in your first instance.

Armour is as you would expect from a game whose polygon count and textures needs to be low, the looks are generally bad but the great thing is that if you find a piece you do like you can use an NPC to transfer the stats from one piece to another, something I've only seen in one true MMO, it's a nice touch, sadly there is no option to dye pieces.

Audio is sparse, music doesn't loop and the game is a bit too quiet. Animations aren't anything special and if you travel down any incline, no matter how shallow you will find yourself jumping down.

The UI is efficient, there is no real scaling of the chat window, even at its smallest setting it looks too big. The hot bars allow you to add a further eight, each of which can be moved anywhere you like and can be flipped. Each quest will show a marker on your compass pointing you in the right direction.

Inventory size is limited requiring frequent visits to an NPC to offload your goods, I received one upgrade as a quest reward and I understand further upgrades can be bought in game, to increase it to a reasonable size though I'm guessing the cash shop is the only way to go.

The game has some interesting mechanics, as melee characters have a miss chance, mage types have a spell failure chance, it's no big deal as nothing is lost from a failed spell, it just increases combat time and means the foe has a chance to get more hits in . There is a stat called 'heroism' that fills up as you defeat foes, the higher your heroism is the more 'lucky' you become, that luck means higher XP and better loot from mobs, it's a mechanic that encourages you to grind and grind you will need to do. Quests are the usual kill ten rats and fed ex types but to level effectively you will need to kill more mobs than the required kill count, I've only played a few hours and to get through to level 7 via quests I had to grind more mobs than needed in order to be successful, of course that grinding means better loot. There are 'Bulletin Board' repeatable quests that offer a choice of rewards, the first will enable you to get a full set of very good armour if you repeat it enough times.

There are dungeons and instances which are locked to just you or your team, the first is a solo instance, the game informs you of the mechanics for instances when you first spawn in, the games description is 'Step up spawner', meaning you have to kill a certain amount of the lower level mobs to start spawning the next tier, in the first instance it just meant clearing the trash to spawn the boss. The boss will drop a token to spend in the chest that spawns on it's defeat, you then choose what to spend that token on, instances are repeatable so going back to get the other goodies is possible.

The game does contain crafting but as far as I can tell resource gathering is only from mob drops, recipes can be bought from vendors and some may drop from mobs (not 100% on that one), crafting takes place at a vendor, there doesn't seem to be any 'luck' chance or any way to create improvements, so recipes give you exactly what they say on the tin.

Is it a true MMO in a browser? Hard to say with such limited time play, it has some classic MMO attributes, a persistent world with instancing and meaningful stat progression, in comparison to Freerealms then yes it's closer to a classic MMO experience. There needs to be some serious optimisation development for me to spend any quality time investigating it further but I do think it has potential for a lot of fun for a wide range of players. My first small look leads me to think the developers have a potential winner on their hands.


  1. Sorry about all the gaps, copy and pasting from Open Officce throws in HTML tags and at this point I dont have the patience to go through the code.

  2. Actually it's not Open Office who messes up but the blogspot software adding <P>'s for each linebreak and/or adding additional <BR>'s where they're not necessary. You'd get the same issue typing in Notepad even.

    Great review Geek. I'm surprised you lasted as long as you did though. It sounds like all the things I don't want from an Oriental MMO and all the things I don't want from a Browser Based MMO. It's odd really, Oriental MMO's scream grind, Browser MMO screams casual (to me then) but then again some of the biggest "MMO's" are browser based ones. Don't think this will be one of them by the looks of it.

    Really good review though. Saves me the time of considering trying it out :-)

  3. I think the depth of character customisation will appeal to a lot of players but I predict the majority will stick to cookie cutter builds found via forums.

    This is only based on a few hours, I do intend to go back when it's been optimised, I'm intrigued to see how it progresses.

    I've just put myself through the torture of setting up the Mortal Online beta client, got as far as creating a character and entering the world, I doubt you will hear much from me on that game, my PC time is severely restricted (trapped nerve in my neck) and theres one hell of a learning curve, it's a massive step back in user friendliness but as a beta whore I feel obliged to take a further look..

  4. Great post, Geek! Not my game though. I think my demands on MMOs are prety high these days. They have to be close to what I want or I'll not play them. LOTRO apparently didn't even cut it. So I will be better off not even starting this up.

    And where do you even find time to try out this game? I thought you were busy in Hybornia.

  5. Hyboria hasn't seen much of me these past few weeks, my time at the keyboard has to be short, Hyboria would tempt me to linger far too long than is good for me.

    I had my 3rd Physio appt this week today, I actually came away much more optimistic that the feeling of a very long rusty nail being hammered into my shoulder very slowly , pins and needles down my left arm and the muscles spasms across my back and neck could soon pass...sleep has not been a friend of mine of late, did I say it was painful ? (awaits the sympathy messages ), being a geek has it's dangers, let this be a warning to you young uns!

  6. Damn!
    After my last post I realized that even though I was feeling very sympathetic for your pains, I'd not said so and was just logging on to correct that mistae. Now you'd gone and begged for the sympathy message and that makes my commiseration feel hollow and shallow.

    I do hope you're getting through it allright. I've been having the worst cold of my life (so far) this week and am currently intensely familiar with the side-aches that come from involuntary mucle spasms, alos known as sneezing fits. While these are of course nowhere near as painful as what you're going through, at least your nose isn't a dripping faucet :-)

    I hope this tribulation passes soon for you my friend. Especially as your encouraging words combined with convalescence induced boredom had me revisit to Hyborea and bring Nethra (Nether after being ambushed by a forced name change due to server emrges and no backout option to give me time to come up with something better) up to Ymnir's pass level. More on that later though.

    Get well soon y friend, our thoughts are with you even if/when we fail to properly express that in words.

  7. Yes, I feel like a crappy friend indeed now. Why didn't I say or ask something earlier? So sorry to hear the horrible pains you are going through. My little tooth ache is nothing compared to that. How do you get through the day if sitting behind the computer too long is killing you? Hanging on the sofa and watching endless repeats of Holly Oaks and Friends? Oh noes! I am only making it worse now, aren't I? Please let me know if there is anything we can do to help. Posting more nonsense here on Yammob maybe? Shipping some great books or movies your way? Don't suffer alone!

  8. Thanks for the kind words from both of you! Getting through the day relies on slouching in some weird positions running through my DVD collection, taking advantage of my flatmates lovefilm subscription and watching streaming content on Iplayer.

    I can highly recommend 'Let the right one in' if you fancy a somewhat different vampire flick and haven't seen it already and I can highly recommend that you don't watch the truly abysmal remake of 'The day the earth stood still', a rarity in that I found no saving graces.

    As usual after physio the pain got worse last night and I could kill for some sleep but surprisingly this morning I have yet to take any pain killers (which is a big difference from 12 a day) and am getting around quite nicely, even going in to work for a few hours today, feeling good but conscious I shouldn't be doing this.

    Lani looking forward to see how you feel about your latest AoC experience.

    Thnx again guys for the kind words! it all helps :)

  9. P.S. I was feeling very sorry for myself when I posted last night, one of those 'me me me' moments, I didn't intend for either of you to feel bad for not commenting on my brief mention of the trapped nerve, I should apologise to you both for the demanding of attention.

  10. HAHAHA! Don't be silly, Geek! I am very glad you went a bit 'me me me'. Life is sometimes flying by to fast and if you don't shout out we're not even knowing what is happening to the people we care about.

    'Let the right one in' is wonderful! I really love the whole atmosphere the movie is covered in. But it is not for everybody. Apparently. I tried to watch it again a week or two ago with my other half. But she got bored with it after 15 minutes and we watched 'Under Siege 2', which I won't recommend to you :)

    But maybe you should check out this post and this post for some more movie ideas.

  11. I was already feeling bad before that post Geek, so you don't get the XP for that joy-kill. My conscience is quite capable of making me feel miserable without you :-)

    Besides, if there's a time for that kind of need and a person who deserves that attention, you fit the bill on both counts.

    My suggestions, Threesome (I always recommend that anytime) and more recently the Riverworld miniseries. Hmmm, can you mail me your shipment address, I just remembered a certain mini-series I gifted Phe with that you might also enjoy and it's at fire sale on Amazon

  12. Now how did I miss those movie lists ? there are a lot listed there that make it in to my memorable movies, there are also a few I haven't seen.

    'Let the right one in' definitely won't appeal to all, I find my taste for gritty realism in other movies has that effect too (Once were warriors is great). I once recommended The Mechanic to a couple of friends, despite my brief outline they chose to watch it as a Sunday afternoon treat, why they would think that 'a mans descent in to madness' makes for light entertainment I don't know? I found them both looking numb on the couch and not grateful for my recommendation, then again from a big fan of Ken Loach they should have known better. 'Ladybird Ladybird' and 'Raining Stones' made within a year of each other are both must sees by Ken Loach IMHO.

    Lani are they books? I'm still ashamed to say I haven't read a book in over 10yrs, I have recently visited a couple of book stores with every intent on buying something but they never have the first of the series that appeal so I always come away empty handed.

  13. Threesome and Riverworld are both action motion productions. Though Riverworld is actually based upon a series of novels. Don't worry Geek, if I'd recommend you a book it'd be something brilliant but lightly digestible like a Terry Pratchet Discworld novel.

    Threesome is actually viewable through Youtube in its entire here