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To the Reader: The information in this article was originally published on April 30, 2010; however, the game and/or service described herein will no longer be available in North America as of March 24, 2011. Bright Hub regrets any inconvenience this may cause.
As I started toward the garrison on my way to my first objectives, I had to stop and drop a few venomous spiders -- five of them, to be exact. Yet I just stayed there for a few minutes, dropping a bunch more to get some gold to start myself off financially in this place. Once I reached the garrison I received a welcome notice from Emporer Lyle and began my training quests. Once I was on my way to deliver a note deep into the forest to a professor of sorts, I had to deal with even more spiders, a gathering of harpies, and some mischievous flying troublemakers that look like they could pass for faerie folk in Zelda games, except these pixies are dangerous rather than helpful... and that was just the beginning.
No, I didn't just time warp to some middle-age time and begin fighting for somebody's honor. This is how you start your path to defending one of five continents -- and taking control of various parts of others --in the world of Fantasy Earth Zero.
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Free-to-Play for "the Final Fantasy Set"
What attracted me to check out Fantasy Earth Zero -- like it did for the Nexon games I am familiar with -- is the similar business model between the former mention and GamepotUSA, which is providing the hosting for this game of fantasy MMO and Risk-like conquest blends mixed with clever twists on the combined concepts. What also helps is the fact that this game is backed by the same folks behind the top-quality Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy RPG powerhouses, the latter of which has a couple of MMO experiences of its own. Yet this time, Square Enix is taking a shot at the free-to-play market with Fantasy Earth Zero, making this one seem as if it could pass as free-to-play for "the Final Fantasy set".
Back to the introduction first, though: after fighting through much of the opposition, I came across a large crystal sticking out of the ground. These yellowish extrusions, called T-crystals, are the means to go from one section of the forest to another -- and you will have to do the same to climb a mountain not too long afterward. You could just pick which letter you wish to deliver before another if you want, but the guard captain giving you the delivery jobs certainly has his recommendations. As for the T-crystals, you have to fulfill some conditions before you can use them to go to the next area; in this case, you have to drop at least four monsters by the time you get to the crystal. This requirement is constant throughout the introductory quests, so that you do not get too much variation that could result in confusion.
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Choose your Class
In fact, the only way in which the introductory quests will throw a wrench into the mechanics is once you get to the mountain climb, which I began once I completed the forest job and made my delivery -- at which time I received a few pointers regarding the game's skill system. What this basically entails is that unlike some other free-to-play titles I have played before, Fantasy Earth Zero mixes in a split between two weapon types, except in the case of sorcerers who only get one -- so if consistency is important to you, making the right class sellection for your character (for the record, the other two class types are your warrior and scout types) is one of the most important decisions you can make.
This is especially true when it comes to power over others: like when choosing between rocks, paper, and scissors, each class has its strengths and weaknesses against other classes. In the order of the class types I mentioned, sorcerers are can beat a warrior easily, warriors can beat the s--- out of scouts, while scouts can open some good whoopa-- on sorcerers. Likewise, things are not as easy in the counter-clockwise direction so a scout has a rather tough fight ahead of himself when facing off against a warrior and so forth.
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Fight for the Kingdom
Once you get toward the top of the mountain, you really have to fight to protect yourself. First you have to deal with some giant spiders just to activate the last T-crystal before the summit, then you have to face off against a bunch of murderous Griffons just to rescue the second professor from a tough fate. This part wiped me out quite a bit until I was finally done: in fact, the very last one of these beasts that I dropped prior to finishing my second delivery job took me down at the same time. Once that was done it was on to the conquest battlefield training, which I am still working on. The point of these battles is to deal with the opposition while placing towering obelisks across the area to flood the battlefield with enough energy to put the fix on the opposing base while simultaneously expanding your controlled territory to place them closer and closer to the enemy base.
Fantasy Earth Zero is currently in open beta and can be accessed via the official site at fez.gamepotusa.com.