TERA is a game that might revolutionize the way people play MMOs
TERA Rising takes the fight beyond whack-a-mole monotony with enhanced aiming, dodging and tactical timing to create intense and rewarding combat. The recipient of multiple industry accolades, including Best PC Game at E3 and Best Combat at PAX, TERA Rising gives players the best of both worlds: MMO depth with visceral action combat. The game features some impressive visuals, with towering detailed beasts to fight and a fantastic spell variety. Beyond the typical MMORPG questing (which the game features quite a lot of), players can engage in 5 man dungeons and participate in Guild PvP. TERA also features a very unique and intricate political system, which allows a whole zone to vote on a player to become matriarch. This player is able to access rare patterns and set tax prices on vendors throughout the zone. Players can choose to also fight for control over a zone through PvP arenas. Thus, I'm pretty excited to dive into Fate of Arun. En Masse has promised that the expansion simplifies and streamlines some of the more tedious elements of the game while putting a premium on epic quest arcs and all-new dungeons and raids. That all sounds like a win to me.
TERA (mostly) throws that kind of gameplay out the window. You still have hotkeys to press in order to activate your abilities, but there aren't any autoattacks. Rather than the success of your character's attacks coming down to an arcane mathematical equation judging stats like "attack hit" or "dodge," the success of your attacks depends on your aim. Your character's attacks and abilities are all aimed at the targeting reticule in the center of your screen, meaning that success is up to the player rather than stats. TERA (The Exiled Realm of Arborea, to be precise) is a game that might revolutionize the way people play MMOs, if not for all the ways in which it doesn't.
Combat in MMOs these days is most often played using the model popularized by, though certainly not invented by, World of Warcraft. The character selects a target and begins to attack that target with his or her weapon of choice; the target responds in turn. The player presses buttons on the keyboard to activate the character's special abilities, and both parties slug it out, trading attacks until one of them retreats or falls. If the rest of Tera were as unique and compelling as its combat system, then this would be a revolutionary massively multiplayer online role-playing game instead of just an incredibly solid and sexy one with an amazingly addictive feature.
I know that people always gripe about female characters’ skimpy and impractical armor, but TERA takes it a bit far. The most modest outfit I could come up with for my Slayer featured a belt that was about 50 percent the size of the poor girl’s shorts. I felt like a pervert every time I watched her run. However, I did find it amusing that she rode side-saddle on her horse. You know, “modest is hottest.” And as long as we’re talking about perverts, the Elin race (intended to resemble children) are dressed just as poorly, and every time I saw one running around I couldn’t help but raise an inquisitive eyebrow. In the end, however I got over it because you can also play as a bunny, panda, kitty cat, or any other such cute furry animal. Nice save, En Masse.
At first glance TERA may come off as a boilerplate for Asian character and video game graphic design, and there is some of that. There are the big-eyed anime-style child races along with the cutesy personified cuddly animal races. There are the ladyboys and libidinous female models. But stereotypes aside, the world is vivid and painted in rich deep tones that seem to beckon you into the screen. The cell-shading is remarkably theatrical which painted with the calculated palette makes each area of the game enticing and exciting. Flying into the city of Velika for the first time is nothing short of breathtaking. You'll almost want to abandon reality to fully immerse yourself into the vibrant landscape.
BAMs and challenging group dungeons provide a lot more to like about TERA, but you'll need to grind through 20 levels (12-15 hours of play) before you find any of this worthwhile content. I'm happy that TERA discards the elements that make combat so tedious in other MMOs, but I wish it was bold enough to attempt to fix the many other shortcomings of the genre. If the action in TERA had a unique world, quality writing, or more interesting quests to back it up, it would be must-play; as it is, it's just a passing curiosity with some room for improvement.