Earthrise Review — Impressions: Part 2
As discussed in Part 1 of this 3-part series, Earthrise is an MMORPG with a strong focus on crafting and player-versus-player (PvP) combat. After a (not so) brief tutorial, you find yourself on Exodus Island, where the game shows its true colors.
Maybe it’s because Newbie Island is the most densely populated area in Earthrise’s world of Enterra. Maybe the servers weren’t ready for a sudden influx of connections. Maybe latent bugs emerged that were dormant in the beta. Whatever the case, Exodus Island is suitably named: it saw the exodus of aggravated gamers wanting their money back.
Earthrise (PC [Reviewed])
Developer: Masthead Studios
Publisher: Masthead Studios
Release Date: February 04, 2011
While my experience on Exodus Island during the beta was smooth, this newbie-zone, post-launch, was a disaster. On average, pings ranged from 300ms to 1500ms–dangerously high for a game with no auto-targeting feature. Not a minute would go by without someone complaining about lag in the chat window. Completing the first quest was an exercise in frustration: in half an hour, I killed two enemies and died three times.
Though the lag settles down once you venture into the more sparsely populated regions of Enterra–and you can actually start enjoying yourself–not everyone is willing to suffer through these issues when other games can be enjoyed from the get-go.
When the lag isn’t preventing you from completing a quest, your fellow players are. While the global chat is full of helpful people, Enterra is a world of bullies waiting to kick down your sandcastle. Players will wait for you to be injured before shooting you in the back, or travel in teams to hunt down lone travelers. Ironically, lag works in favor of the victim in this case, who has a chance of running away by virtue of the difficulty in hitting a moving target while compensating for half a second of lag.
You can either embrace the cutthroat, full-loot, constant-paranoia approach to PvP, or accept that Earthrise isn’t for you. Players who are looking for a game that allows them to quest in peace without worrying about player killers or having their loot stolen should stick to the mainstream MMO titles on the market.
Combat versus monsters is without nuance and far too repetitive for the amount of time spent on this activity–and because you need to kill monsters to get crafting materials, money, and skill points, you’ll be spending most of your time killing monsters. The AI can muster up no tactic more complex than “move in a straight line and attack,” and each enemy boils down to either a melee attacker or a ranged attacker wearing a different skin.
Read on to Part 3, where we cover crafting, exploring, and closing thoughts.