It’s only been two days since TERA official launched, but really, the game’s been live for almost two weeks (when the unofficial open beta head-start began). Since then, I’ve managed to level my Popori Archer all the way to level 27, allowing me to get a better feel for the game than I did during the closed beta phase.
To begin with, I went with the Popori race, which is sort of like an Ewok, but cuter. Not because I enjoy being a two foot tall cuddly bear, but because TERA‘s all about action combat. My idea was to pick the race that was the smallest, so my hit-boxes would be smaller, making me harder to hit.
Once I customized my character, I was off to the Island of Dawn, which is the starting area for all characters. This entire island is an intro to the game, and sadly, there wasn’t anything noteworthy that I saw. Once I reached the main city of Velika, the fun finally began.
I’m sure you’re already familiar with TERA‘s action combat system, but what you might not have heard about is its combo system. TERA features a nifty new combat system that allows you to instantly follow up an ability move with the next one in the chain. These chains are completely customizable so players can pair up any moves they want, although some abilities do give bonuses when they follow another ability, so that’s something to take into consideration.
Abilities are purchased from trainers, and are also further customizable through Glyphs, which provide additional bonuses, when a player hits level 20. It’s sort of like a skill tree, except instead of a tree and points, you’re adding Glyphs to your skills from a store. It adds another layer of complexity for classes, by allowing them to specialize their skills however they want. Players can also remove Glyphs and replace them with others if they want to change up tactics depending on the task at hand.
The whole system is a bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll love the amount of customization TERA gives you. Unless, of course, you hate min/maxing, then you might find the whole system overbearing.
Crafting is pretty standard and comparable to most other MMORPGs out there. You buy a pattern, which allows you to create an item, and tells you what materials you need. You gather those materials, and craft the item at a bench. There’s a bit more to it, such as enchanting and runes, but I haven’t really dabbled into that just yet.
Getting to the action and questing, this is where TERA really shines… and falls apart. I’ll start with the bad first.
TERA has the grindiest quests you will ever see in a MMORPG. It’s basically the same thing over and over: go out and kill X amount of this. I’d say up to this point, at least 90% of the quests I got are these types of quests. Every once in a while, you’ll get a cool little “help defend this” type of quest, which are instanced for solo play, and quite fun.
While the majority of quests are boring, once you get into the 20′s, you’ll start to be sent out to hunt BAMs, which are really fun to take down. Also at this level, you’ll be able to start doing group dungeons. At the correct level, you’ll need a minimum of three people to take one down, but you’re better off finding 4 or 5, as they can take a long time with just three.
Combat is where TERA shines. If it had a standard tab targeting system, I can guarantee you that I would have already quit the game. Luckily for En Masse, it doesn’t, and I’m having a blast. While most quests up to this point are pretty dull, they do get tougher and you need to watch your pulls. Even with generic mobs if you’re soloing it’s possible to get overwhelmed.
Up to this point, I’ve only done one five-man dungeon so far ,and it’s what you would expect from any other game.
Moving on to the PvP, I haven’t really participated much in it, other than killing a few outlaws when I see them. My guild is currently in a guild vs guild war, however I’ve yet to spot any enemy players. Our last war was a bit of a dud, as neither guild got enough kills to claim victory. I think with the game just launching, everyone is concentrating on PvE to level up, and not so much on PvP. There are also no battlegrounds, so PvE is the only way to level-up right now.
Overall, I’m surprised I’m enjoying the game as much as I am considering how awful the quests are, but that’s just a testament to how fun the action combat system is. Then again, I could just be under that “new mmorpg” spell that seems to make every new MMO game better than it actually is. It wore off pretty quick with SWTOR so we’ll see how well TERA holds up, and I’ll report back with a full TERA review in a few weeks.