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Fuzzy Animal Madness! A First Look at Earth Eternal

Updated Thu, Jan 21, 2010 by mattlow

Earth Eternal, created by Sparkplay Media, is an up and coming browser-based free-to-play MMOG hoping to win over gamers with its unique style and animal-themed races. How well does Earth Eternal stack up against other MMOGs? To answer that question, Ten Ton Hammer examined various aspects of the game such as graphics, gameplay, and combat. We’ll also look at microtransactions in Earth Eternal, a core component in any free-to-play. Let’s get on with the review!

Graphics
The graphics in Earth Eternal are darn good for a free-to-play game! Despite the browser-based platform, the frame rate is very smooth. Compared to subscriber-based MMOGs, the graphics in Earth Eternal are a little dated, but not horribly so. The world as shown is colorfully lush and generally detailed.

The main thing a player may need to get used to in this game is the “cute factor.” This is not a gritty, hard-core setting. You play one of 22 races, all of them animal. (Yes, you’ll be a cute fuzzy animal, whether you like it or not.) The enemies in the game range from other biped animals to quirky mixes, such as the Quackatrice, a mixture of duck and cockatrice. If you like blood flying across the screen and hearing the dying echoes of the fallen, then this game is not for you.

Gameplay
The gameplay in Earth Eternal is solid. If you’ve played other MMOGs, especially World of Warcraft, then you’ll be used to the controls in the game. The UI is the industry standard, with a chat window in the lower left, a mini map in the upper right, quests listed on the right side, and your action bar on the bottom. Movement is the standard WASD.

Your character is chosen from one of 22 different races. Each race has the same stats, so all that really matters is what kind of animal you want to be. There are 4 different classes: knight, rogue, mage, and druid. One appealing feature of the game is that you can take skills from other classes as you level up. Naturally, if you do so, you won’t be maximized in your own class, but it is nice to be a knight and be able to heal yourself.

As you travel, various creatures will give you missions. You can track 4 missions at a time, and you can choose which 4 to track (the maximum number of missions you can carry now is 15). There are also bounty boards, which will give you missions to kill a certain number of creatures in an area. Completing bounty missions will give you tokens with which you can purchase better equipment. I haven’t encountered any mission gaps while playing, unlike some other free-to-play MMOGs. I was able to level quite easily just by completing missions, without resorting to endless grinding. However, there are quite a few missions of “kill x of something” in the game.

Combat
Combat is just like most other MMOGs. There is an auto-attack, and you can activate special abilities. Each character has a different pool to use for combat and spells. Most abilities require a certain number of points from a specific pool (Might or Will). The activation of certain abilities creates a “charge,” which is shown next to your character portrait. When you have a certain number of “charges,” you can then use an “execute” ability, which is a more powerful. It works just like using building rage or combo points in WoW. Overall, combat is fairly fluid and works well.

Lore
Sparkplay Media has created a huge amount of back story for the game. In fact, you can download a 140 page .pdf file from their website if you want to fully learn the lore of the world of Earth Eternal. A quick synopsis would be that the game is set in the Age of Beasts, which is in the future after the end of mankind. In the distant past, the animal races, called Beasts, were created by the Earthmother, Gaia, who has protected them throughout time. The many beast races formed a pact of cooperation and peace, which was blessed by the Earthmother and this pact was put into the very blood of the beasts themselves. Time passed and the beasts faced many foes such as the Undead and the Primals. Eventually this pact was broken by some Dog Soldiers who slew one of their own. For this treachery, the Dog Soldiers were cursed to become mankind. As the race of man rose in power, the Earthmother shielded her beast children by putting them into the Groves, areas outside of reality where they would be safe from mankind. Eventually, mankind destroyed itself and the beasts returned to the Earth, starting the Age of Beasts in which the game is set.

Microtransactions
Like any free-to-play game, Earth Eternal includes microtransactions. You can buy a multitude of items from the game store, such as potions (healing, speed), weapons, armor, extra bags for increased inventory, and so on. You start the game with a decent amount of credits to get you used to buying stuff. You can get additional credits in three ways. First, you can buy credits outright. If you don’t want to spend real money, then you can take surveys or accept a product offer to earn credits. Lastly, you can purchase credits with in-game currency by buying credits from another player. All in all, the microtransaction system in place for Earth Eternal is flexible. Most store items can be acquired within the game, but you’ll spend a good amount of time doing so.

Flaws
There are a few flaws in the game, but that’s to be expected for a game still in beta. The first problem is that there is no keybinding as of now. You have to use the default keys already in place. It would be nice if you were able to assign keys, but hopefully that’ll change in the future.

Another potential flaw in the game, at least for those interested in PvP, is that there is none. According to their website, Sparkplay hopes to implement PvP some time this year, but they aren’t offering any specific time frame. So, for now, Earth Eternal is strictly PvE. The lack of PvP isn’t a game destroyer, but it will limit the number of people interested in the game.

Overall, my impression of Earth Eternal is that it is an extremely solid game for what it is, a free-to-play, browser-based MMOG. It lacks some of the bells and whistles of subscriber-based games, but that’s to be expected. Remember that the game is still in beta, so it currently lacks some features that may be implemented later. It has good 3D graphics, solid gameplay, and an interesting world. It’s not a game that I’ll play on a daily basis, but one that I’ll come back to from time to time. I’ve enjoyed my adventures in Earth Eternal, and so will you.

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Players of Earth Eternal got some grim news last year when Sparkplay Media layed off its staff following economic hardships in A

Official Announcements
Tue, Apr 12, 2011
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Sparkplay Media ran into a bit of funding trouble not too long ago with its MMOG, Earth Eternal.

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Tue, Sep 14, 2010
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Economic hardships have hit every industry in the country and the gaming industry is not immune.

Official Announcements
Mon, Aug 09, 2010
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Earth Eternal character models have received a makeover with the game's latest update.

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Thu, Jul 08, 2010
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