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Fantasy Earth Zero is a free-to-play MMORPG/strategy/third person shooter game that focuses on large scale PVP battles (50vs50) developed by Fenix Soft. Despite being published by Square Enix and bearing a very similar name, it has absolutely nothing to do with Final Fantasy. Square Enix screwed up big time during its few months of running the game and it was nearly done for until Gamepot bought it over. Since then it enjoyed a fair amount of success in Japan. There are also servers in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In 2010 it finally arrived for the USA. However, it has been announced that the USA version will be shutting down in March.
“Nation War” is the main attraction of the game. Each battle is basically a MMORTS where every player is a unit. Whichever side drained of their “morale” first loses. To decrease the enemy’s morale, you build structures to capture territory, and kill enemy soldiers. You need crystals to build structures, which have to be harvested on the field. Crystals can also be use to create summons, which may kill soldiers really fast or demolish structures really fast, but there are also summons that kill other summons….
The PVE element of the game is limited to early level grinding, farming gold to buy consumables and, for some players, farming rare-drop equipment. Killing monsters for EXP become less efficient past level 20 and this is the point where most players start participating in nation wars. At the end of a nation war, EXP and rings, another form of currency, are awarded base on performance.
Currently the English version of the game comes with 3 classes. Later patches added Fencer and Cestus for a total of 5 classes.
- 1. Warrior – Well armed and armored Melee combatant. Deal good damage with skills that use a polearm or a BFS, or they can take sword and board that improve defense and allows you to set up kills with Shield-Bash.
- 2. Sorcerer – Can hurt you with fire that comes with armor-piercing burns, zap you while overlooking a cliff with lightning spell that ignore height, or freeze you in place with the power of ice.
- 3. Scout – Lightly armored skirmishers that may use a bow or a gun. You may also go Knife Nut by sneaking into enemy and cause disruption with a huge array of debuffs. Can use stealth.
- 4. Fencer – Expert with the pointy thing, very swift and also very hard-hitting at times. Specialize in engaging other foot soldier (while doing jack shit to anything else). Has a counterattack skill.
- 5. Cestus – Monks who fight with a giant pair of cestus. Specialize in dealing with buildings, either to destroy the enemy’s or to heal your own.
This game is remarkable among MMO Gs that it uses twitch-based aiming. The level of character does not usually matter. While higher level players do get equipment with higher stats, it is not impossible to knock one-third of HP off a character 10 levels above you in one blow, given the right matchup, and all the status effects are just as potent. Besides, lower level players can still participate in logistics efforts. The emphasis on skills and tactics is what fans love most about this game.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: While you can eventually use top-class gears buy-able with in-game currency at max level, gears with same attributes are sold for real-life money always have a lower level requirement. The most powerful enchants can only be bought with real-life money.
- It's mostly averted. The faction shop that randomly changes every week if nation managed to complete 12 "Capture and Hold" missions, has gear that has much lower lvl requirement, needs only in-game money, and, statwise, is on par with gear from cash shop. And cash shop enchants will provide only a slight edge in battle.
- Crippling Overspecialization: The summons. Knight deals good damage against other summons, but can barely scratch anything else. Titans have a cannon attack that can demolish buildings very fast, but deal almost non-existent damage otherwise.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The game's soundtrack is provided by game music god Hitoshi Sakimoto. (Coincidentally, the lead character designer is George Kamitani.)
- Damage Is Fire: or rather smoke in this case.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: The game start with having only 3 class: Warrior, Sorcerer and Scout. Subverted with the addition of Fencer and Cestus.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: The three skill trees for sorcerer, recently subverted with the Gravity spell.
- Genre Busting: Most of the game is typical MMO stuff, but the main heart of the game is basically 100-man PvP RTS/Tower Defense.
- No Export for You: Finally averted in 2010, four years after its first release in Japan.
- Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Warriors have damage bonus to Scouts, same for Scouts to Sorcerers and Sorcerers to Warriors.
- Shoot the Medic First: Averted. The developers KNOW this would happen so they simply omit the healer class, forcing everyone to rely on foods and pots.
- Useless Useful Stealth: it is very difficult to decide whether the “hiding” skill of scout is useless or not. While it does turn the user invisible to enemy, if enemy’s crosshair happens to come across your invisible character model, a target circle is still shown. Moreover, your footsteps can still be heard, although usually it is drown out in a crowd. The fact that these are the only ways to actually detect a hiding scout short of carpet bombing somewhat helped. Curiously, you cannot hear footsteps of characters behind you as they’re “not in your screen”. In the end it usually come down to the scout’s maneuvering ability and his enemy’s scanning skill.
- You Require More Vespene Gas: Crystals is required for buildings and summons. You harvest crystals by crouching next to a big crystal.