TERA Review: What Could Have Been The Next Big Thing

If I had to quickly describe TERA to someone, I’d say it was a grindy, standard MMORPG with great combat, unbelievable graphics and lots of potential, but since I’m writing a full review, I’ll dive in deeper.

Let’s start off with what I mean as a ‘standard MMORPG’. TERA has all the features you’d fine in any MMORPG today, linear questing system, so-so character creation, decent crafting and skill systems and or course a story-line. Nothing here is terrible, but nothing stands out. As far as story goes, even though I’m in my mid 40’s I still couldn’t tell you what’s happening, nor do I care.

Instead of talking about all the standard features, none of which make or break the game, I’ll talk about the features that do. However, before I begin, I want to say how impressed I am with En Masse for not only launching an extremely polished game, but a game that’s filled with features that many recent MMO games, months after release, still don’t’ have; a fully functional auction house, group/dungeon finder, fully customizable UI, customizable gear (dyes) and world events. Kudos to En Masse for pushing the bar with a fleshed out set of launch features.

I’ll begin with what TERA does right and that’s combat. En Masse advertised the hell out of its combat system and for good reason; it’s extremely fun and addictive. While there are other games out there that feature action combat, I’ve experienced none that are as good as TERA’s system. It’s a completely different way of playing when skill is the predominant factor instead of number crunching as with tab-targeting. Having had to go back to tab-targeting, even Guild Wars 2’s hybrid system during the beta weekends was painful. Going forward, tab-targeting for me is a deal-breaker for any new MMORPG after GW2 as I already pre-ordered it.

As I said, TERA’s questing system is extremely grinding and consists mainly of “kill x of this monster”, but it’s PvE systems isn’t all bad. BAMs and dungeons are a blast and since TERA already has a group/dungeon finder, finding groups to join is quick and easy…most of the time. Taking down BAMs, especially solo, were some of my favorite moments in TERA as En Masse seems to get it just right by making them difficult enough so you have to be on your toes, but not so hard that you’ll constantly die and get frustrated.

While dungeons for the most part contain the same types of grindy quests as the rest of the game, because you’re in such close quarters, you really have to be careful with pulls, especially if you were soloing. For me, the increased difficulty of soloing made them more enjoyable as some were extremely challenging and you know how much I enjoy a challenge.

TERA, even though it’s only a month and a half old, has already had massive invasion events where monsters lay siege to cities as players try to repel the attack for rewards. This is especially fun on PvP servers where not only are players fighting off the invading monsters, but other guilds they’re at war with. Some guilds would roll up in huge numbers to decimate another guilds PvE’ing during the invasion. Some nice scripted events intertwine with a bit of PvP chaos always makes for a fun time.

PvP of course is a big part of TERA and features open PvP, if you happen to join that type of server. However, on all servers guilds can declare war on other guilds and battle it out for bragging rights and points. Currently TERA’s open PvP system needs some updating as there are absolutely no incentives to kill anyone other than wanting to. Guild vs Guild also needs some added incentives. While wins and loses are recorded, the rewards are a bit lacking right now, much better than the open PvP system, but still not quite there. It’ll be exciting to see what En Masse does with this in the long term.

TERA also held its first political elections recently. Our guild leader ran, but we came in a distant 8th or something like that. While the political system sounds great, at this stage of the game, it’s almost irrelevant. The Vanarch (winner of the election) really doesn’t have much power to do anything other than open/close shops and change tax rates. The guilds that controls the territories needs to grind a lot of points just to keep shops open, so the Vanarch isn’t even making money when time is considered. I’d like to see En Masse introduce more powers for the Vanarch and some how incorporate PvP incentives against the ruling guilds, perhaps by adding control structure within the territories that can be taken over.

It’s sad to see a game like TERA lose out because of its absolutely horribly questing system, when it could have been the next big MMORPG, in my opinion. It’s combat system is near perfect, it’s graphics are absolutely gorgeous and it seems to be on track to turn into a great PvP game with integrated political system. BAM’s are an absolute blast to take down and dungeons, while pretty standard when compared to other MMORPG, are great fun.

En Masse’s great folly and the eventual downfall of TERA will be blamed on its questing system, which is the worst I’ve seen in a long time, possibly of all-time. My suggestion to En Masse is to rip the entire questing system out and leave only the story-line quests, dungeon quests and BAMs. Expand open PvP and the political system to create an atmosphere where player-driven content dominates and I’m confident it’ll become the go-to fantasy PvP game out there.


  1. If the only thing good about this game is the combat… I’ll pass. It’s not anywhere near as good as Darkfalls action based combat. I’m guessing you never played that if you think TERA is the best in its field.

  2. I’ve played Darkfall for a short period of time when it first launched and unless they completely rebuilt their combat system, TERA is better. It’s playable on a game-pad, but even with a mouse and keyboard its still very intuitive and easy. I’ve never seen a combo system like TERA has, which allows players to combo skills together for fast execution. I’m sure Darkfall’s combat system has been improved since I played last, but it’s hard to imagine it being better than TERA.

  3. Cycle 3 vanarch system they are introducing huge 7 day GVG for all guilds that sign up. I’m interested in this and how it turns out. The quest and the lore are really weak. Once you get to max level, there is no more questing needs except limited daily quest (takes maybe an hour to do) and nexus for reputation of the fractions.

    Decent review, but getting to 60 is only 1/2 the game of Tera. As a guild leader I work on organizing runs for dungeons with other guilds. Set up death matches for fun and organized battle grounds by players. While the battlegrounds is needed and the PVP incentive, we all know it’s coming. Best thing we can do is practice and prepare. Those that lay the foundation will be ready to rock the battlegrounds.

    Also helping lower level guild mates become level 60s is rewarding to help someone through their rough spots. BAMs are doable, but there are certain classes that just have a rough time doing this (Ex:Priest). One cool thing with a level 60 lancer, I can taunt and not team up with my guild mates. Let them get the DPS and easy XP.

    On our server, we had some guilds go AFK in the Nexus events. This in turn makes the mobs harder, but they get credit for doing nothing. There were other guilds that got upset about this, they ALL waged GVG and started killing the lowbies and made it difficult for the guilds to grow. This is one advantage to GVG. In addition one of the Vanarchs would NEVER open the shops in a crucial leveling areas (mid 50s). Every Vanarch guild declared GVG against them. So there are consequences to bad rulers. It’s been very interesting and I’ve enjoyed the end game content and political aspects of guilds in Tera than any other MMO.

  4. I actually found the combat in Tera made me want to go back to tab targeting. As fun as action combat is, I found over a long period, especially after a hard day at work, it was just too draining. The combat was the games best feature mind you but not enough to justify a sub, when all other sections of the game were so bland and cookie-cutter.

    So the fact GW2 has tab-targeting is a plus for me but neither system is a dealbreaker. I’d like to see a game that has a real, living, breathing virtual world (not expecting that from GW2). So very tired of been herded through the usual random fields of animals/monsters that are ineffectually attacking towns and outposts by waiting 20 yards away in small packs, with a resigned look on their face that says they know they are going to die soon.

  5. Yes great looking game. But after playing for awhile getting a Berserker up to 17, decided I’d roll a healer/support class (as chat channels are constantly looking for healers). Not only are your choices limited to 2 cloth casters (Priest or Mystic), but you are doing the exact same quests in the exact same areas to level up with ‘kill 10 X’ ad nauseum. Its like playing WoW-lite with no Paladin, Shaman or Druid.

    Some of the things i’ve read in the comments really highlite some of the cool aspects of this game. But the base game is just too grindy and repetetive.

  6. I can’t really say that the questing system is the worst of all time, but your opinion is of course your own. I will say that questing is _the same_ as every other WoW-esque game, and by “the same,” I mean “wholly identical.” This doesn’t make it _bad_, though, since all other WoW-like/light games are using the system. I don’t know whether we as a community want another game with the same exact quest types and _that_, to me, may be the game’s downfall.

    I think the game’s real problem is not that the quests are the same as in every other MMO, but that there’s only one path from start to finish. Every alt you play will do the _exact same quests,_ in the _exact same order_. I mean, you even visit the quest camps in a linear fashion. You can’t even go counterclockwise through a zone instead of clockwise without messing up quest levels.

    Taking EQ2 as a counter-example, the quests are identical to WoW et al. but there are like six level 1-20 zones and then multiple zones for every single level up to 80 or something like that. Rolling an alt means that you can literally get almost to endgame without repeating a single quest. Imagine a Tera as big as that…

  7. If you want a good action mmorpg, dont buy Tera, just go with Vindictus. It is mostly instance questing but the combat is absalutelty stunning in comparison to Tera.

  8. Questing could be more interesting, but the way I see it it’s a lot like being an avid fan of genre fiction or a particular niche genre of music or movies. At a certain point you just embrace the cliches and tropes (kill X quests, gather X mushrooms etc) because you’re a fan of the genre and at some point you’ve developed a taste or temperament for something that may not be as immediately accessible or boring to the general gamer.

    Tera has the potential to be a great game. A month in, I am still logging 4+ hours a day at lvl cap, making it effectively a WoW-killer for me, despite my social ties to that game. It has a lot of potential and for all the things it famously does wrong, it does a lot of other things right (tanking tradeoff between holding threat and survivability, healers discouraged from tunnel vision-ing, factionless guild-centered structure, sense-of-awe moments in the open world etc). It’s just a shame most discussion about the game devolves to the usual superficial, ultimately irrelevant, topics of female armor design, elin, etc. (Aware of the irony in my mentioning of said topics in this comments thread)

  9. What I’m really disappointed in is their trial. In 7 days (logging about 5-7 hours every 2-3 days) I was only able to reach level 14 on one character. That was after I decided I wanted to dedicate to that character.

    They should have a free trial forever up to level 20 (or 23 in their case) like WoW does up to level 20. I didn’t have enough time to experience everything I needed to in order to make an educated & fair decision to buy the game.

  10. Ok Then peeps this is what I think of Tera its Half amazing
    (7 day Trial member)
    Graphics 10 Both Character and Environment
    Combat Physics 9
    Environment Physics 7
    Story 3 (at best)
    Leveling 4
    Leveling tree 7
    Character customization 5
    A few others described below

    Environment graphics : going to 20 I have found a lot of places (walls/cliff sides/ rocks on ground) that stop you from running in to them stop you short or they but the wrong textures there by mistake ,This I find takes the realize out of the game a bit when you bump in to an invisible wall.

    Story : I am not sure how many people here have played FF11 but one of the best things about that was content and story until Abyssea that is,This game however is lacking BADLY in story it has a base on the story but does not keep you in to it at all up to 23 I have seen 5 cut scenes (possibly one more) and none got you in to the story the only one I found any interest in was the story of the main city. Tera is lacking story based content way to much for me to consider buying this is my biggest problem with this game aside from leveling system we will get to that next.

    Leveling : The speed you get levels is too fast but people say its a grind fest and they are not wrong, Allow me to explain this game has no starting content at all besides a 12 level training and a 11 added level “train track path” as some people have called it or more known as questing system. This system is trash,boring,over done and not rewarding what makes it worse is you need to follow the questing system to get good exp and to know where to go next to continue to get good exp. Comparing this to FF11 it took 6 months to a year to max out a job/class in FF11 but the game was fun because it had so much content too much even everything was slow in FF11 ALSO there was no PVP and the game is still going after 10 years.
    All I’m saying is even with half the content amount plus the PVP in Tera you could have a good game for a long time. GIVE US STORY CONTENT AND GOALS! not just kill each other and linear lazy leveling system you need both to make a game shine you cannot have just story or you get FF13 *shiver* MMO makers need to know why there games fail so fast and its simple its because they do not put Meaningful goals mixed in to a story THATS a real RPG and THAT’S why all these MMO’s only go for a year or so they probably plan it that way to hype up a new game for the next year idk there agenda but they are failing me and everyone else that likes RPG’S!.

    Character customization : I can tell they put a lot of work in to the faces textures and tails/horns but no body size variations is silly not a game breaker just meh.

    The queuing system is horrid waiting an hour plus because they don’t want say 2 slayers or sumthing going in at once especially when there is low pop on or low pop time of day(not exactly sure why).

    Sandbox/Liner/Game play: getting to 23 I got 5 classes/jobs to 23 and played all 5 of them the same exact route this is not horrible but take WOW for example you pick a horde/alliance you pick your race you start in that race area and this is why I think ppl like wow at the start even tho it has the crappy questing system it changes it up a bit with mobs and scenery with competition as does (again) FF11 or >>Star trek/SWG << lawl games and since TERA is focused around pvp in its current state is a horrid idea because there is no real rivalry even FF11 had a rivalry with the weekly assessment to see what city took over what area and got the items and free teleports also free way point markers for the area they have taken. these are just examples of what tera is missing and why it feels incomplete IMO of course they tried for a PVP and PVE game and only got half of each side right :P

    This is my Review on the improvements not so much on the good points because they dont need improving heh.
    these are improvements not a bash I really want Tera to do good I have even sent some advice to the chat support who where always friendly and nice also speak to you like a freakin person and not a robot

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