Earthrise Review — Impressions: Part 3
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this review series, we covered some of the creative innovations and technical failings of Earthrise. Crafting plays a big role in this MMORPG, because the economy is player-based: there are no NPC vendors, and monsters primarily drop crafting materials. To obtain anything beyond the free gear given by NPCs, you need to trade for it, or make it yourself.
Earthrise (PC [Reviewed])
Developer: Masthead Studios
Publisher: Masthead Studios
Release Date: February 04, 2011
Earthrise’s crafting system is complex: difficult to learn, but a potential selling point for many players. However, as fun as crafting could be, collecting the materials is a time-intensive process, during which you could be killed, looted, and forced to start from scratch–not to mention locating the proper crafting station.
If complaints about lag are the most common comments in chat, questions about the locations of NPCs or cities are the runners-up. Earthrise provides no quest markers, encouraging players to explore on their own. In principle, this is a good idea: exploring the world of Enterra is an adventurous experience. But it is a time-consuming experience with no tangible reward–that hour spent heading to the next city puts you an hour behind in earning your next skill.
The game boasts dozens of skill options, which allow for tremendous replay value and diversity in character builds, but there is a distinct paucity of low-level options. You spend your first hours–or even days–without any skills at all.
Earthrise touts itself as a sandbox game, but its lack of content reduces your options to killing players, killing monsters, crafting, and exploring. There is no reward for exploring (other than being killed and looted), killing monsters is slow and repetitive, and crafting only becomes a viable option when you’re either high-level or have friends to protect you.
To describe Earthrise in one word: niche. An MMORPG in the niche sci-fi genre, tailored for the hardcore gamer niche, and ideal for the clan niche.
Earthrise feels like a game designed with a huge playerbase in mind, with armies of clans waging wars over cities, crafting stations, and resources. It’s amazing when a playerbase takes over the politics of the game, runs the economy, and adds a level of depth and dynamicity that can’t be programmed in. But you need to draw in a huge playerbase before this can happen.
Many will say that most MMORPGs have bad launches, that you have to tough it out until the issues are resolved. Have we grown so complacent as gamers that we should accept this?
Verdict? If you’re a casual gamer, Earthrise isn’t for you. If you’re hardcore, wait a few months for the bugs to be ironed out and for an economy to be established. If the stars align, Earthrise may be a hit by then.
- Art direction
- Crafting system
- Skill system
- Lack of content
- Slow progress
- Server performance and bugs
- Repetitive gameplay