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Earth and Beyond (PS)

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Genre: Adventures & Role-playing

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      04.01.2004 01:25
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      **** PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS GAME IS BEING CLOSED BY EA IN SEPTEMBER 2004******* So where do i start, i have been playing this game since the Beta testing stage back in 2002 and i am still addicted. Earth & Beyond is a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), which basically means that you will be playing alongside other people from around the world as well as against the computer. Now if you are a child of the eighties, you will probably remember the famous game 'Elite' where you traded, fought and upgraded your way to greatness. Well if you were a fan of this, then you will fall straight into swing of the game, but even if you have not heard of 'Elite' before you will feel just as comfotable. Basically the game is set in space, far into the future where the human race has long since split and taken to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. You will be joining a thriving galaxy full of traders, warriors, explorers, pirates and monsters. How you play the game is entirely up to you as is how you develop your character, you can either be a reclusive explorer or a team player. First of all, as with all games of this kind, you will need to sign up for an account. At the moment the UK cost is £9.99/month, but you will get your first 30 days free when you buy the game. I got my copy from DVD Box Office for about £30. The only draw back for some will be that you will need a credit card to subscribe, so if you are under 18 or just don't like credit, you will not be able to play. Getting Started Once you have signed up for an account, you can sign into the game and get started. First of all you will have to create a character to play in the game of which you have three races and six professions to choose from. The races that are available are; Terrans - Decendents of the original Earth inhabitants, they are naturally inclined towards trading and building and are adept
      negotiators. Professions are; Terran Tradesman - Pre traders and builders with comba t support skills. They have the widest range of building skills and are able to support thier comrades by recharging shields and patching hulls during combat. Terran Warrior - Mix of Trader / Warrior with the emphasis on warrior. Capable of hacking their enemies weapons and systems, as well as rallying their comrades to improve their offensive and defensive capabilities The Progen - Genetically engineered descendants of the original Mars colonists and seekers of physical and mental perfection. They are a warrior race known for their fierce fighting capabilities. Professions are; Progen Warrior - Pure warrior, bread and trained solely to fight, they have the ability to invert their shields to create a dealy weapon and even self destruct to take their enemies with them. Progen Sentinel - Mixed explorer / warrior capable of mining and jumpstarting disabled ships. They can even gravity link their enemies to slow them down and stop them escaping or menace them to scare them away. The Jenquai - Descendants of the first deep space explorers, they are a generally passive race with an almost religious passion for seeking knowledge and exploring the farthest reaches of space. Professions are; Jenquai Explorer - Pure explorers, capable of mining for minerals, jumpstarting disbled comrades. They are weak in combat, but can travel undetected with their cloaking ability Jenquai Defender - Mix of explorer and warrior, know for hit and run tactics by using their cloaking abilities to get close to enemies before striking. Can also summon enemies away from groups from a distance. Once you have chosen your base character (you can have up to five on one account by the way), you move on to customizing your character. First off, you will need to select the look of your character itself, or avatar as it is sometime known. This
      is the character that people will see when they target your ship or when you are walking around in side stations. You have more or less total control over the look of your persona, from the basic male/female to smaller things like height, weight, skin tone, clothing style, clothing colour, hair, facial hair, headsets, glasses and even tattoos. Once you have chosen your in game look, you will need to choose a ship and customize it. Depending on the race/profession you have chosen you will be given a base look to your ship, which you can then customise with three different wing/hull styles. Once you have chosen the overall look to your ship, you can then change the paintjob and even give it some decals and a name. Once you have created your character, the only thing left is to choose a name and select a server to play on. There are currently four servers to play the game on, each being independant from the other, so if you create a character on one server it stays there for good (although they are currently working on a way of moving from one to the other). The reason i make a point of this is that if you have friends that are already playing the game, it is worth asking which server they are on before choosing, otherwise you will have to create another character if you get it wrong. As for choosing a name, the game is over 2 years old now (including the Beta testing stage), so a lot of the popular or common names will be taken so you will probably have to be a little creative. Offensive names will not be accepted and if mispelt to bypass the system and noticed later will get your character erased, so please avoid using anything that may be considered so. Other than that, all they ask is that you try and keep it to two words (no spaces are allowed anyway). If the name you want is not available, either try another server (taking note of the last paragraph) or just try a different spelling until you get what you are after. Playing
      the Game You are now ready to enter the Earth & Beyond universe. By default you will be dropp ed into a training sector with no other ships around and be given the basic game instructions by your class leader. This initial training can be bypassed by unticking it on the name/galaxy (server) selection screen for any future characters that you create. The basic instructions will teach you how to move your ship around by thrusting, using your navigation screen and how to warp from point to point. You will also be shown how to interact with objects and how to equip items like weapons and use them. On top of this, you will also be shown how to communicate with other users in the game, which is a very valuable way of gaining information. Once you have completed the basic training, you will be taken to your starting sector to start your first missions and gain skills. It is very much worth following the instructions from the characters in the starting sector, as it will give you a sound base to playing the game and you cannot gain some of your valuable skills without completing the missions they give you. As you perform certain actions you will gain 'Experience' or 'XP' points, which are broken down into three catagories, Combat, Exploration & Trade. You gain point in each catagory for the following reasons; Combat - Defeating enemies (or frindly targets if you wish) that are within your combat sweet spot. For example, if you have a combat level of 30 and you kill an enemy that only has a combat level of 15, you will not get any XP, but if you kill an enemy of the same level (30) you will gain 1000 XP points. As you kill greater targets, you will gain more XP (1200 in the case of a level higher), but as you get lower you will get less (850 for a level lower). Exploration - You will get exploration experience for finding new locations (each navigation point can only be discovered once), learning new
      recipes/schematics (i.e items to build) and prospecting rescources (mining ores). Trade - Trading i tems to other players, manufacturing items, selling looted treasure / mined rescources or simply running profitable trade routes (buying from one station and selling for a profit at another). Various - You can complete missions from mission terminals in the stations for various rewards Once your experience bar reaches 100% (or just over actually), you will gain levels in that particular area. This has two main effects, the first being it will give you skill points to spend on improving your various skills and the second being that it will unlock extra skill levels. With each level you gain, you will need a greater number of experience points to gain the next, driving you on to greater challenges. So, what this basically means is that you will gain level very quickly to start with, but it will get harder and harder as you move on. As mentioned before, you will be given skill points as you gain XP levels, which starts out at 1 point for each level gained. As you get higher you will need more skill points to raise your skills, so once you reach L20 in any one XP bar you will be given two skill points per level and then three for each level over 40. The maximum level that can be attained at the moment is L150, which is L50 for each XP bar. As mentioned a few times before, you will be given skill points for gaining experience, which will need to be spent on your various skills. Everyone has the basic skills which will be things like 'Engine Tech', 'Shield Tech', 'Reactor Tech' and 'Device Tech'. These skills decide on the level of that particular item that you can use at the time, and as the skills are improved you will be able to use more powerful and varied items. On top of these basic skills, each race/class will have it's own unique skills on which to build, like a Terran Warrior is the only cl
      ass that can hack enemies or the Jenquai Explorer is the only class that can create wormholes to travel. How you apportion your skill points between your skills will ultimately decide they type of character you develop into. As you upgrade your skills they will become more powerful, so at level one of 'Hacking' you will only have the ability to hack an enemies systems, then at the next level their weapons before moving on to be able to hack both at the same time etc.. Also as the skill level increases, the effect and chance the skill will be effective will increase as well. You may find some skills more useful than others and it is well worth asking in game which skills are more useful for the character you have chosen as there will be hundreds of players that have been there and done it before you. One of the most effective ways of gaining experience is to take on missions. Missions are given in one of three ways, either by your class leader or other NPC's (non player charcters), at mission terminals in the stations or by way of 'Push Missions' (missions given whilst flying about in space via a communication). Some missions will be as simple as flying to a place and picking up an item and taking it back to someone for a small reward, others can be epic in proportion and may result in larger rewards or special rewards such as a specific device or weapon only available to your race/class. A good example of this is your ship/rank upgrades at certain levels (L30, L50, L75, L100, L130, L150), where your ships hull will be improved and your rank within your class increased. Combat This is one of the key features of the game and can be done in a number of ways. One thing i will mention from the off is that there is no PVP (Player vs Player) combat in this game as such, so there is no risk of jumping into the game and being blown away by some selfish high level player. There are Arena's in which you can play
      against other players but this is done between consenting players. There are various MOB's (Monsters or Beasts) varying from basic CL1 bugs or drones to Uber monsters that require several groups of people to kill. MOBS are split into two distinctive groups, either 'Organic' or 'Ships', with the main difference being that 'Organic' MOB's do not have hulls, only 'Shields' where as 'Ships' have both and are generally tougher at any given level. Combat is real time and is initiate by either attacking a MOB or by them being aggrevated by your proximity. MOBS will have various ranges of detection, generally getting farther as the levels get higher, with your chance of being detected depending on how your ship is equipped and how high it's 'signiture' is. Depending on your class and weapon type you can either fight at close range (usually for beam users) or run away firing missiles at a distance (called kiting). Your fighting style will be determined by your class and weapon types. You can also activate skills like hacking or activate certain devices that you may be carrying to give you an advantage over your opponent. One thing to remember though is that your enemy also has chance to power up their own skills against you which will vary from MOB to MOB. Another feature of combat in the game is that some MOBS may be resistant to certain types of attack, so you may have to change your strategy against some enemies. There are three different types of weapons, which are Beams, Missile Launchers and Projectile Launchers split into five types Explosive, Energy, Chemical, Plasma & EMP. Let me split these down for you; Beams - Short range attack, only one attack type, but don't require ammo Projectiles - Medium - long range attack, multiple attack types possible, require ammo Missile Launchers - Long range attack, multiple attack types possible, requires amm
      o To clarify, if you buy a missile or projectile launcher, depending what type it is you may be able to load diffe rent types of ammo, so you may be able to use both plasma and explosive ammo types although only one type can be loaded into one launcher at a time. Beams on the other hand can only be whatever type of attack they are, so you will either buy an energy beam or a plasma beam and you can only use that attack type for that beam. each attack type has a different effect; Explosive - One shot hit, it hits the target and does 'x' amount of damage and that is it Energy (beams) - Like explosive, hits for 'x' amount of damage and that is it Chemical - Affects MOBS with hulls, hits for 'x' amount of damage and then gives several smaller hits as it 'eats' away at the hull. Does not affect shields EMP - Drains energy from the target, one hit for 'x' amount of power drain and can stop MOB's from using their abilities. Has no affect against shields or hulls Plasma - Hits for cumulative damage, so hits for 'x' amount and then continues to 'eat' away at the shields and hull for a short time. As mentioned earlier, most MOB's are affected by all weapons, but you will come across some that are resistant to certain attacks, so it is worth keeping your options open when buying weapons. You can go into combat solo against most MOB's, but there are advantages to grouping with other players. You can group with up to five other people, with each person that joins adding bonus 'Buffs' to the rest of the group, for example if an explorer joins the group, everyone will regenerate energy faster allowing more power for weapons and devices. Not only that, but if everyone is around the same level, there are bonuses added to the XP that you gain for each kill. The further apart that people are combat level wise, the less you will receive
      for each kill, which stops people from power levelling their characters too quickly. One of the nice things with this g ame compared to others that i have played is that you do not actually lose experience, levels or equipment when you are disbaled, but you are instead given an 'XP Debt.' Depending on your level, you will be given 'x' amount of debt that has to be worked off. From that point forward, until the debt is paid off you will only gain half the normal XP as the other half goes to paying the debt. You may also suffer some damage to your items so they lose quality and may suffer some loss in the effectiveness of their abilities. Overall Well, i have only just started to touch on the amount of content in this game and there is plenty more to explore when you are playing, like mining and refining ores for builders to build components that go into the items that you buy. Vendors, trading, epic encounters, player chats, player guilds to join, align with different factions, alien invasions and much, much more. The graphics are spectacular with great flare effects when turning towards and away from suns, different effects and sound for each and every MOB and weapon. Even simple effects like smelly gases escaping from your hold when you are carrying rubbish to be dumped into a planets atmosphere to burn away (you have to see it). Minimum specs for installation are; OS: Windows XP / ME / 2000(PS2) / 98 (not NT or 95) Internet: 56k or faster CPU: 500Mhz or faster PIII or AMD (1Ghz + i would recommend) Ram: 128Mb (256Mb+ i would recommend) CD: 4x or faster HD: 2Gb+ free for install Video: 32Mb+ directx 8.1 complatible card Sound: Directx 8.1 compatible card If you go to the main EA site at; http://www.earthandbeyond.ea.com/home/index_expert.jsp you can download the demo and play for five days for free, after which time you will either need
      to buy the full retail version or buy a buddy code (for about $15) which will allow you to continue playing without purchasing the CD 's (only drawback being if you need to reload it for any reason). There is also a thriving and growing community, with the main site for forum's etc. being E&B Portal at; http://64.191.107.5/index.php As i say, if you are unsure just drop in and down load the demo (Broadband only really as it is 1.2Gb) and give it a try, you could well become addicted just like me. ******PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS GAME IS BEING CLOSED BY EA IN SEPTEMBER 2004*****

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