Hi my name is Chris and I am MMO addicted. I have played most of the big MMOs from EverQuest to Starwars The Old Republic, spending the most time with World of Warcraft. As a lover of these types of games I try and stay current with the upcoming MMOs. So at this past PAX East I was surprised to see TERA, a forth coming MMO from En Masse and Bluehole studio I had never heard of. Intrigued after seeing it, I started looking into it more. This past weekend was the open beta for TERA. After an incredibly long patch update, I was ready to jump feet first into this stunning new world.
With 7 races and 8 classes to chose from, I was kind of overwhelmed with what choice to make for my first romp into this world. Having a thing for elves and range DPS being my comfort zone in most MMOs I went with a High Elf Archer. It was after choosing my race and class that TERA deviated from most games I’ve played. I was greeted with a customization menu, allowing me to choose stuff like my face, hair color the usual stuff but the difference is a small option TERA has called “fine detail”. This is an option seen in most RPGs but not in very many MMOs, it allows the player to change the facial structure of their character. This is a nice addition to the MMO genre allowing more freedom of customization to each character.
After spending some time getting my character just right I was ready to enter the world of TERA. The beta had me start out in a prologue that teaches the basic controls of the game. While it wasn’t long, I was ready to get to the actual game and play. When I finally arrived at Dawn Island (the starting area) I was really able to see what the game had to offer. The interface and quest system is set up like most traditional MMOs, with the exception that abilities are mapped to both the left and right mouse buttons. To interact with NPCs or the environment (do things like pick up loot) the player must press the “F” key (default). This took a little getting used to, countless times I walked up to an NPC to turn in a quest, and dodged away from them because I pressed the wrong key.
While in beta I was able to level my character up to 21 which wasn’t level cap for the beta but close enough for me. The Archer’s abilities allowed me to keep my distance while taking down enemies quickly. At level 20 I was introduced to the glyph system, TERA’s version of a talent tree. Each character gets 10 points upon reaching level 20 and then 1 point each level after that. When you have enough “Glyph Points” you head to a main city and visit your class’s glyph vendor to purchase them. Each glyph cost a set amount of points, which fluctuate depending on their ability. I chose to go with a glyph that allowed me to move at full speed while charging one of my main abilities. This glyph proved extremely useful when taking on higher level groups of enemies.
My biggest problem with TERA is the interface isn’t very user friendly. There is no quick command to log out, to do so you need to press “esc” go to the system setting, chose log out, and wait for your character to log. This process could be streamlined like most other MMOs with a simple slash command. The other thing that is overly complicated is grouping with other players. To group you need to right click the character and invite them to group, but to leave it is a lot more difficult. The quick command is “/quit” to leave a group, which confused me for the longest time. Also, if you don’t leave your party when you log, you can be in a party with a player who isn’t even online. Monster models are recycled constantly, I can’t tell you how many of the deer creatures from the starting are I had to kill as I got higher in level. With the only thing differentiating them from the lower level ones being their names. This got kind of annoying and seemed like the developers didn’t care enough to even add a pallet swap. While there were some problems, TERA still seems to be a great game.
I’ve played my fair share of MMOs in my time, and TERA feels like nothing I have experienced before. The focus on movement and character position is welcomed in a genre that seems to have stopped all innovation since World of Warcraft. The visuals in TERA are better then anything ever seen in an MMO before, running off the Unreal engine it looks spectacular. While I don’t know if TERA can dethrone the MMO power house that is WoW, I know that I am hooked and can’t wait for it’s full release on May 1.