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TERA is a game with the typical 3D Fantasy MMORPG fare. It’s got quests, classes, races, leveling up, and mad loot. The one thing that makes TERA stand out from the rest of the landscape… is their Epic Action Combat System. The action is real time requiring skills not unlike your typical first person shooter. They also have Gigantic Epic creatures to combat. When I say gigantic, I mean the size of a small skyscraper gigantic. With a truly beautiful world, a robust player-driven political system and lots of fast paced action, this is worth a try.
GENRE: 3D Fantasy
DEVELOPER: Bluehole Studio
PUBLISHER: En Masse Entertainment, Fogster Interactive, Hangame
ENGINE: Unreal Engine 3
RELEASE: May 2012
MONTHLY COST: $14.99
QUEST TYPES: Story, Zone, and Multiplayer Quests
CRAFTING: Tradeskill Recipe Based
SKILL SYSTEM: Class-Limited Purchased
COMBAT SYSTEM: Real-time Action Combat System
PVP: Guild versus Guild
PLAYER HOUSING: None
METACRITIC SCORE: 77%
TERA elevates the fight beyond whack-a-mole monotony with imprved aiming, dodging, and tactical timing to create intense and rewarding combat. Unlike other MMOs, you can use your controller or keyboard and mouse to control the action like never before. With all the depth you expect from a traditional MMO, plus the intense gratification of action combat, TERA promises to change all the rules.
Tera’s an action-MMO that nails the “action” part and then manages a face-palm-inducing face-plant on all the other bits. Combat moves quickly and feels great, but dirt-dull quests, a generic, disjointed story, repetition, repetition, and repetition ensure that any fun you might stumble across is short-lived. Even grouping to take on colossal, world-roaming boss monsters – initially a thrill few other MMOs can match – eventually grows old due to a lack of variety. Between impressive graphics and flashy battles, Tera has mountains of style. Substance, however, is still sadly lacking.
In many ways, Tera is a whole lot like other massively multiplayer role-playing games. You team up with other players, fight monsters, level up, earn new gear, and so on. It is, in fact, a very traditional online fantasy adventure in most respects but one: its action. And that action is so smooth, so immediate, and so enjoyable that it’s likely to keep you invested in Tera, even as you skip from one quest to the next, ferrying messages between characters standing 20 feet from each other. Generic questing aside, Tera is a well-executed game: it’s easy on the eyes, smooth under the fingers, and remarkably stable.
Visually, the game shines. A step above most MMOs, the environments are vibrant and beautiful, and the baddies (especially the BAMs) are some of the coolest and most distinctive you’ll find in a fantasy game. Similarly, the different races you can make characters out of are equally awesome, save one complaint. As you may have noticed, all of my characters were girls. In fact, in any game where I’m given a choice, my character is always a girl. So I was distraught when I found that in TERA, no matter what race or class I chose (even the burly reptilian one), every character seemed determined to redefine the term “scantily clad.”
The eight classes map to the traditional MMO trinity, with a tank, two healers, four DPS (in ranged and melee varieties), and a tank/DPS mix in the Warrior. And thanks to an unexpected quirk of TERA’s lore, it’s vital that you get your class choice right first time. All seven of the playable races – from humans, to the effeminate High Elves, to the uncomfortably sexualised animal-children of the Elin – are allied into the Valkyon Federation. That means there’s no race-specific starting area, so if you go back and roll a new character you’ll have to slog through the same material. An opening tutorial does give you a level 20 preview of your class, but its haphazard delivery doesn’t give a sense of how mid-level combat will play.
It definitely has its drawbacks … but by and large TERA is an enjoyable themepark MMO with fantastic combat and gorgeous visuals. It’s got plenty to do from level 1 to 60, the promise of great content to come, and some of the best action you’ll experience from any game on the market. There is a tough road ahead of En Masse with some heavy hitting AAA experiences coming down the pipe, but the team from Seattle should be proud. TERA stands mightily on its own as a unique, inherently fun, MMO experience. Even if you don’t wind up loving it as I have, you should definitely give it a try. Just get past the Isle of Dawn before you judge it, fight a BAM and try a dungeon. Chances are, you’ll see why I’ve been so charmed.
MMOs are constantly evolving beasts, and it’s impossible to hand down a true, final judgment on one, let alone so soon. TERA boasts an impressive set of endgame features beyond the standard dungeon raids, like in-game politics that give players the option to rule whole provinces and dynamic world challenges a la Rift. They may well compensate for TERA‘s deficiencies while leveling, but they may not. Time is the judge of all things, especially MMOs.
Bottom Line: TERA is a game caught between MMO past and MMO future. Its action-based combat is a breath of fresh air for the genre, and makes tackling its giant enemy monsters all the more thrilling, but its quests are formulaic and repetitious, serving no real purpose other than to move you through zones while anticipating the next giant boss fight. Rough around the corners and boasting some theoretically nifty endgame features, time will either make TERA great or see it slip below the waves like so many others.
Recommendation: MMO players who feel the genre is growing stale should give TERA a try, or hold out for Guild Wars 2. If the relatively dull combat turns you off WoW or TOR, it might be up your alley.
As if in contradiction to the social drawbacks with the engaging combat, another new element TERA brings to the MMO buffet is its political system. These systems have been toyed with before in various free-to-play titles and a smattering of Eastern MMO games but the system in TERA is the first time the concept has been introduced to the Western audience on such a large scale. The idea is relatively simple: players level 20 and above vote once per month on their Vanarch. Vanarchs are responsible for setting and collecting taxes from NPCs and with the funding are able to open new merchant NPCs and fast travel routes. The political system itself promotes a very social game, as campaigning for votes plays a huge role in a candidate’s success, as does the guild the candidate leads. Yet, as in real life, the political game takes place at a remove from the core progression of the game for most players, and is (at least at the early stages) relegated to novelty feature status.
- Official Website
- TERA Forums
- TERA Wikia
- TERA @ Twitter
- TERA @ Facebook
- TERA @ Google+
- TERA @ YouTube
Minimum System Requirements:
OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows XP SP2
INTEL CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz
AMD CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2
NVIDIA GRAPHICS CARD: nVidia GeForce 8800 GT
ATI GRAPHICS CARD: ATI Radeon HD 3870 XT