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Overview

Fantasy Earth Zero (FEZ) is a Free to Play MMOARPG (Massively Mulitplayer Online Action Role Playing Game) developed and published for retail stores by Square Enix. The game client can also be downloaded, and is currently available for play in Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.  
 
The North American version of Fantasy Earth Zero went live on May 18, 2010, and it's service was discontinued on March 21, 2011 .

History of Fantasy Earth Zero

PlayOnline

Fantasy Earth Zero was originally released as Fantasy Earth: The Ring of Dominion in Japan on February 23, 2006, and was part of Square Enix's PlayOnline service along with Final Fantasy XI, Tetra Master, and other titles.  Being on PlayOnline, the game was subscription based (1300 yen per month), and also offered the services connected to PlayOnline (service wide friend lists, e-mail, etc.). 

Unfortunately, the low subscriptions to Fantasy Earth were not meeting the expectations of Square Enix, so in early August they announced that service of the game would be discontinued through PlayOnline, and that the game would be licensed out to Japanese online gaming company GamePot. 

The final day of service for Fantasy Earth: The Ring of Dominion was October 31, 2006.

GamePot

When GamePot took over Fantasy Earth, a few aspects of the original game were changed. The subscription model was scrapped and players could now create characters and play for free. In light of this, the title of the game was adjusted to Fantasy Earth Zero, with the Zero emphasizing the fees required to play. Subscribers of the original Fantasy Earth were encouraged to join the reinvisioning of the game by being offered exclusive items only available to them.

Service of Fantasy Earth Zero began on November 2nd, 2006.

Multinational Licensing

Fantasy Earth Zero has seen it's availability grow since becoming available through licensing. GamePot and Hangame both currently offer the game in Japan (though Hangame runs the game on a separate GamePot server), Gamaina offers the game to players in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and Square Enix's PlayOnline China offers the game for mainland China.

Going full circle, Square Enix offered Fantasy Earth Zero through SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS in Japan (although the game is played on GamePot servers), although this service was discontinued on June 1, 2010, and all MEMBERS player accounts were transferred over to linked GamePot accounts.
 
GamePot USA announced they would be licensing the game for release in North America, and the game went live on May 18, 2010, over four years since the original release for PlayOnline in Japan.

IP blocks prevent any players from outside the areas where the game is registered from playing, with the exception of the Hong Kong (Chinese) version. 
 
On February 3, 2011, Gamepot USA announced that service of FEZ in North America would be coming to an end as of March 21, 2011.  The reason is due to lack of user interest, poor reception from, dodgy server optimization, and extremely low server population.
 

Reception

Fantasy Earth Zero has been extremely well received in Asia. In Japan, the game has had well over 500,000 unique users who have paid for some kind of content throughout the lifespan of the title, and due to player counts, there are eight servers available. In China and Taiwan, the game has also achieved much success.  
 
Unfortunately, the North American version has not done quite as well. Due to a combination of factors such as the games late release (Original release: 2006 - NA Release: 2010), lack of a full feature set like those found in other versions, no IP blocks on areas outside of the United States and Canada which results in lagging players, and poor server optimization, the game roughly averaged 200-300 online players a day on the one available server.

Story

The story of Fantasy Earth Zero takes place in the world of Melpharia, and involves 5 nations battling for control over the central continent of Ecetia. Those five nations are:
  • King Hunkel of Netzawar
    Netzawar - A monarchy imbeded within a resource filled mountainside, manufacturing and mining led a economic boom for Netzawar. The kingdom is currently headed by the humble, yet cursed, King Hunkel.
  • Yelsord - Formed from a small fishing village, the kingdom of Iselord grew immensely as the wise King Neiass built upon the rich fishing market, and transformed it into a land of research of high alchemy and magic.
  • Hordaine - Led by the General Queen Hordaine, this peaceful kingdom had been ravaged by many years of civil war. It's current peaceful state is barely that.
  • Gevrandia - The Empire of Gevrandia is led by the Emperor Lyle C'Velda Geburand. The empire is in the midst of a war with the country of Cesedria, who declared their independence from Gervrandia.
  • Cesedria - The youngest country in Melpharia, Cesedria is founded by the current Sage Queen Tifaris. Although still going through some instabilities as the nation gains it's footing, Tiffarith hopes a time of peace will soon fall upon her country.

Job Classes and Customization

There are five unique job classes to choose from:
Warrior
  • Warrior - The strongest class in terms of attack power. Can equip heavier armor and shields, and wields swords and two-handed weapons.
  • Scout - A class that uses stealth to make the most damage. Equips lighter armor, and wields bows and arrows, and also daggers.
  • Sorcerer - The magic casting class of the game, Sorcerers can cast wide ranging damage spells as well as spells that limit character movement. They equip robe-like armor and wield magical staves.
    • Fencer - Light and nimble, Fencer's use their superior agility to attack foes quickly, and even counter attacks.
  • Cestus - A powerful, hand-to-hand class. In exchange for the high power, only very light armors can be equipped, making them vulnerable to distant magic attacks.

Players can customize their characters their liking through the game's Skill Tree function. You earn a certain number of skill points per level, and you then assign those points to certain abilities. With this you could have it to where your Warrior's two-handed weapon skills are maxed out, while not adjusting anything to one-handed weapons.  Certain abilities/spells unlock as you upgrade available abilities/spells, so in ways you must plan out your upgrade path if there is something you wish to obtain further down the line.

Battles

Map of the central continent, Ecetia.

Players of Fantasy Earth Zero build their characters through battles. Players can battle monsters in areas where no clash of nations is taking place, and earn experience point and gold. This method is best used for players up to level 10.  Beyond level 10 it is recommended to take part in the player versus player battle zones, known in FEZ as Kingdom vs Kingdom (K v K).

Kingdom vs. Kingdom

Players take part in 50v50 battles in a clash to gain influence in an area for their kingdom. There are many things that come together during these battles which can help you turn the tide of battle.Crystals are an integral part of battle for players. By collecting power from the crystals, players can build structures like arrow towers, giant walls known as Bulwarks, or even morph into summons who can help you change the tide of battle.

Summons

 
Knight
Summoning Cost
30 Crystals
Summoned From
Castle / Keep
  Extremely mobile, the Knight is the best defense for leading attackers into enemy territory.  While melee attacks from normal players do very little damage to Knights, other Knights and summons can inflict major damage.

Giant
Summoning Cost
30 Crystals
Summoned From
War Craft
  
 Although very slow, Giants have very high damage output.  Their cannons allow for long range attacks, and are very effective against both players, and enemy structures.

 
Wraith
Summoning Cost
50 Crystals
Summoned From
Gate of Hades
 
Wraiths are very effective against enemy infantry, and can also put out an area of effect Blind attack, which nearly cripples enemies.

 
Chimera
Summoning Cost
40 Crystals + Chimera Blood Key Item
Summoned From
Castle / Keep
 The summon with by far the most attacks. Can attack both infantry and other summons effectively. The Chimera's HP depletes slowly on it's own.

 
Dragon
Summoning Cost
1 Dragon Soul
Summoned From
None (Summoned randomly from a fallen summon, and only when enemy forces are between 0.5 - 0.8)
 The only airborne summon, Dragons rain fire upon all enemies, and can also end a battle instantly, by attacking the opposing forces Castle / Keep.

 
Chariot
Summoning Cost
20 Crystals
Summoned From
Castle / Keep
 The newest summon in Fantasy Earth Zero, Chariots are very quick moving units, which allow 5 infantry untils to be transported along with it.
 
  • Obelisks - The most important structure at the start of any battle.  Obelisks will claim any land within it's range under your kingdom's control.  This is key, as the more land you lay claim to, the quicker the enemy Castle/Keep will be depleted of it's defenses, which is the key to victory.
  • Rewards in KvK - Players are rewarded for their efforts in battle with experience points and rings. The higher your level, and the more you contribute, the more of these you will receive.

The Colosseum

 The Colosseum is a great place to face off against your friends or stand toe-to-toe with Melpharia scariest monsters. Play a variety of game modes in the Colosseum to earn battle points which can be traded for new weapons and more. 
 
The Colosseum has two game modes:
  • Team Deathmatch - No castle or keeps to worry about, this is just a straight-up 7v7 team deathmatch, where the first team to get 10 kills, or the most kills within the 10 minute time limit is the winner.
  • Challenge of Rhom - You and up to 2 others fight waves of some of the hardest foes in the game for a chance to fight the Devil Prince Salamander.

Items

Players gain items either from fallen enemies, or through shops in their home country.

Gold Item Shops

Items obtainable by gold are considered standard equipment, and are usually the lowest quality items available at that level.

Ring Item Shops

Items gained through ring acquisition are generally much better quality than those obtained with gold. Defense and Attack stats are higher, and curative food and drink recover more HP and Power.

Arbs

Arbs are a currency that is obtained by using real money. By using your credit card, WebMoney, or Net Cash, you can get some of the best items in the game. The Attack and Defense ratings are the best available for the level of the equipment, and food and drink recover large amounts of HP and Power.  Also with arbs, you can participate in the mini-games available through the in-game casino.

System Requirements

  Microsoft Windows XP
  Required Recommended
CPU Pentium4 3GHz or higher
Core2Duo E4300 or higher
Core2Duo E6300 or higher
Memory 1GB or higher 2GB or higher
Graphic Card nVIDIA:
GeForce6600 series or higher
ATI:
RadeonX700 series or higher
nVIDIA:
GeForce7600GT series or higher
ATI:
RadeonX800 series or higher
* Need drivers compatible with DirectX 8.1
HDD space 5GB or more
OS Microsoft WindowsXP
* XP Server, XP 64bit version not supported.
Network speed ADSL 1.5Mbps or faster FTTH 50Mbps or faster
Microsoft Windows Vista
  Required Recommended
CPU Pentium4 3GHz or higher
Core2Duo E4300 or higher
Core2Duo E6300 or higher
Memory 2GB or higher 3GB or higher
Graphic Card nVIDIA:
GeForce6600 series or higher
ATI:
RadeonX700 series or higher
nVIDIA:
GeForce7600GT series or higher
ATI:
RadeonX800 series or higher
* Need drivers compatible with DirectX 9.0c
HDD space 5GB or more
OS Microsoft Windows Vista
* 64-bit version will required ‘DirectX 9.0c Redistributable’
Network speed ADSL 1.5Mbps or faster FTTH 50Mbps or faster
Microsoft Windows 7
  Required Recommended
CPU Pentium4 3GHz or higher
Core2Duo E4300 or higher
Core2Duo E6300 or higher
Memory 2GB or higher 3GB or higher
Graphic Card nVIDIA:
GeForce6600 series or higher
ATI:
RadeonX700 series or higher
nVIDIA:
GeForce7600GT series or higher
ATI:
RadeonX800 series or higher
* Need drivers compatible with DirectX 9.0c
HDD space 5GB or more
OS Microsoft Windows 7
* 64-bit version will required ‘DirectX 9.0c Redistributable’.
Network speed ADSL 1.5Mbps or faster FTTH 50Mbps or faster
 

Official Web Site 

http://www.fezero.jp - Japan

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