Sunday, May 6, 2012

TERA ONLINE: First Impressions

Tera Online is a Asian MMO that has been recently how do I say, Westernized.  It was released in Korea on January 25th 2011, so its been around a while and recently got released in the US on May 1st.  I actually first became aware of Tera sometime at the end of last year.  A bunch of gamers that I follow on Twitter and G+ where chatting it up a bit, but since SWTOR was coming out the door and I had already committed myself to that little MMO, I didn't really pay much attention to the chit chat.

Fast forward a few weeks ago when Tera Online held their Open Beta.  I had pretty much given up on SWTOR and had resigned myself to spending my time playing League of Legends and Minecraft with a few friends.  I even reactivated my World of Warcraft account because that's what people do when they don't have any place to go, they go home.  Well, I was seeing all the rumblings happening on Twitter and G+ and I figured I'd try and mooch a beta key.  I actually got lucky when someone said that Gamespot was giving them out on their website.  So I hoped over grabbed me a key and started the download.  I have to say that I wasn't expecting anything exceptional.  I really didn't know a lot about the game nor had I actually played any Asian MMOs though I know a lot of them are F2P in the US and a few are even browser based.

So here I was really shocked when I just couldn't get enough of the game once I logged in.  It had the character models had the typical Asian Manga style as I expected but they been cleaned up for the western audience, basically covering up the breasts a bit more and putting underwear on the women models so players wouldn't be getting an eye full every time your character climbed a ladder.  The other exciting part of the game was that the graphics were just awesome.  It had been a while since I was really impressed with a games graphics and I have to say this game is probably in my top 5.  It just looked great.  I took a ton of screen-shots that I shared with people in my G+ circles the entire beta weekend.  The other interesting thing, which I'm sure everyone knows about since I'm probably late coming forward with my Tera impressions is that you have to actually "Aim" at your target instead of just Tabbing to it like in most games.  There is no auto attack.  You basically aim a small reticle at the mob select your attack skill, some are actually bound to your left and right mouse buttons, and start doing some killing.  The reticle also has a range finder on it so you always know how far you are from the mob, that way you don't over shoot your area effect spells. You can also dodge incoming attacks complete, combo attacks and have a great time wailing on monsters.  The action is fast and furious and its the best time I've had in an MMO since my first days of WoW and to be honest, I didn't really read one quest.  I was too busy grabbing them and going out to see what combos I could do that would cause the most damage to the mobs.  I mean after a while, I didn't even care if I had a quest to kill stuff, I would just attack them because, it was fucking fun.  Another great aspect of the game is that when you get a quest to say kill a specific mob, then a small exclamation point appears over that mobs head so you know instantly that these are the ones you need to kill.

I played every chance I got during the weekend and even found, after I tested the launcher, that the game was still live on Monday morning that I just had to jump in and try my third alt.  Making alts in this game is just a ton of fun because each one has a different way of dealing with attacks and heals.  It has the basic class types, Priests, Warriors, Sorcerers, Archer and then the off shoots of them, Berserker, Mystic, Lancer, and Slayer.    There are also 7 races one of them is a furry animal race while the others are a bit more typical, except the Elin, who look like a young child with tail and ears, a basic manga staple if you ask me.

So after much deliberation and watching the chat in my G+ circles, I decided to pick the game up on launch day, cancel my SWTOR subscription and sign up for a 3 month trip into the world of Tera.  So far  I've enjoyed the crap out of the gamer.  It will be a little grindy to some and the quest language isn't the best considering they translated it from Korean to English, still its not that important.  The voice overs can get a little annoying especially when the guys in a specific area tend to repeat the same stuff back to you, but you can't really say that's a deal breaker.

The only disappoint me is the crafting.  Its is a bit on the expensive side at first and since you don't start making decent money from quests until level 14 or 15 it might be around level 20 before you can start working on your crafting.  I did decide to invest a little bit of my early cash on getting my alchemy up enough to make some decent health potions which have really helped since my warrior tends to soak up a lot of damage when I'm not dodging, something I'm not proficiency at yet  Some classes do better with health and mana regen than others.  Priests don't do a ton of damage, but they have lots of spells to heal and restore mana.  Lancers are very good with dishing out the damage and mitigating it as well, but they are very slow with their attacks and having to block a lot doesn't make killing fast and efficient, like say the warrior or beserker.  I did play the archer for a little during beta but I've been sticking with my warrior, sorcerer and my priest.  Yes, I'm leveling up three alts at the same time.  I'm doing this so I won't get bored like I did in SWTOR.  Yes repeating the quests in the same areas can be boring, but its just grinding.  And yes that's all this game really is because you don't play it for the story you play it for the cool combat.  Everyone I have met says they hate grinding but with Tera grinding is more fun.

They make the MMO genre fun again because they don't put a lot of restrictions on you.  Most items you get from loot aren't binding to your character.  So you can take them off and sell them or give them to people. Your bank is shared by all your characters so you don't have to move around from character to character trying to find that one item you need, you just open the game and its there for all.  At level 11 you automatically receive a quest to get your free mount.  Its the same as everyone else but still, its a free mount. The game just makes things that seem tedious in other games, less so in theirs.

I'm having a blast.  I'm sure there will be somethings about the game that players will hate, but if my friend over at Pumping Irony can get into Tera  considering his feelings about subscription MMOs, the the game must have some decent on some level, right?

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