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Jan 12, 2013

Tera Online Review

Tera is an action MMORPG, where auto attacking and tab targeting have been removed in favor of a much more fluid (and interesting) combat system. The game plays very much like your standard action game, and defeating enemies requires dodging, blocking, and being mobile. While you must still use a hotbar to trigger abilities, all of them have to be AIMED by you, and can be dodged just as easily by another skilled player (not by monsters, who have terrible, terrible AI). This results in some of the best PvP action I have ever encountered.

All is not well however, as the game has quite a few broken quests at this very moment. They recently merged all their servers into just three (the PvP only Mount Tyrannas, the PvE only Tempest Reach, and the Roleplaying server Celestial Hills). This merge created a myriad of problems and broken quests for the team at Enmasse Studios. I tried playing a freshly made toon just for the purpose of this review and found that I could not progress through the prologue because of a quest glitch. Moreover, skipping the prologue and going to the newby area, I was again halted by a quest MOB not spawning - and this once more prevented progression. There were about 20 people trying to finish this story quest (you NEED to complete them), and swearing about the game being a bug filled mess.
Logging on with my higher level characters, I was told there were quite a few more bugs in game after the merge (I asked in guild chat), and a lot of them impede progression.

The Good:

- The combat is amazing. I love that auto attack and targeting has been removed. This is by far the best combat in any MMORPG that I have played, and I played a lot of them. The thrill you get from dynamically dodging or blocking (and countering) your opponent's attack adds a lot to the overall feel of things.

- Environments and creature design are outstanding. Whoever created the world of Tera should be praised for a job well done. Everything from lush, rolling landscapes, to the mobs and races that inhabit it are all top notch. My only complaint about the races, is that all the females look like slutty supermodels (or borderline illegal for the Elin race).

- There are lots of ways to customize your characters (however there are also some limitations - such as not being able to make a purely bald character).

- Interesting progression system where you glyph your skills to modify them (there are usually quite a few choices to pick from), and lots of ways to improve your gear (crystals, enchantments, etc).

- Fighting BAM's (big ass monsters) is incredibly fun (and they live up to their name). Killing a BAM is like hunting similar creatures in the excellent Monster Hunter games, but a bit more challenging. For all you MH fans out there, do yourself a favor and roll a Berserker - that way you should be able to solo most BAM's. That is my main, and the only character that I can solo most BAM's with (adding to the MH feel).

- Server merges make for incredibly populated servers. There are countless players running and fighting all around you.

- The world PvP is pretty good, and actually exists in Tera, as does GvG (Guild VS Guild) and Battlegrounds.

The Bad:

- There are generally only three quest types in Tera (of the fetch, escort, and slay variety). All MMORPG vets are familiar with these "staples" of the genre. Eventually PQ's do make an appearance, but by that time it is already too late.
With the evolution that The Secret World has brought to the genre, playing Tera (or any other MMORPG for that matter just feels stale).

- Plenty of broken quests after the server merge.

- Grinding, grinding, and did I mention grinding? The best way to level up is still to repeat grind quests in key areas while queuing for dungeons. There is a huge drop off in the leveling speed at 40, and then again at 50. Getting up to 40 however is pretty simple.

- The game does not deserve its M rating. It simply doesn't push the boundaries like Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures or make you think like The Secret World. Other than the nude patches that are floating around the net, there is nothing too inappropriate in Tera. When a game is rated M, I expect it to handle that rating with more than just skimpy dresses.

- Tera's story is absolute generic garbage. Everything from the poorly voiced cutscenes to the terrible text. I tried to read the whole thing my first time through, but eventually succumbed to the ultra fast "accept quest and move on" mode. Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Secret World really handle this a LOT better. This is disappointing since I actually loved the Tera books.

The Ugly:

- Tera is dying. Unless they switch to F2P post haste, I am afraid that even the three current servers will not fill up. My guild, which consisted of hundreds of members months ago, is now down to 17-20 active ones. The merges helped quite a bit, but I don't know for how long.

- The AI of some MOBs in this game is unbelievably laughable and makes the monsters in WoW seem like brain surgeons. You can exploit terrain and class skills to no end when it comes to certain encounters.

Conclusion:
At the current price of $9.99 (for TWO copies), it would be a mistake to not try this game out. It comes with 30 days of playtime, and if you do everything right it should be the only money you will need to spend (just purchase Chronoscrolls for in game cash).

I liked Tera at first, I really did but as time progresses and I experienced other games, I couldn't help but give the game a three star rating. If you have never played an AMMORPG before, feel free to add an extra star to my review, but with the competition being what it is - I can't recommend this game too much. In fact, if it wasn't for my addiction hunting BAM's and world bosses, I would have probably completely moved on by now.    
Verdict: 60/100


Details:
Genre Role-Playing
Style Persistent World Online RPG
Release Date April 14, 2012
Developer Bluehole Studio, Inc.
Publisher En Masse Entertainment Inc.
Controls Joystick/Gamepad, Keyboard, Mouse

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just checked their website, and they are going F2P in February 2013. It was posted on January 9th, 2013.

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