Some TERA thoughts at Level 20.

On and off this week, I’ve been dipping into the world of TERA. It’s been a busy RL week, and my Wurm horses are ever in need of feeding, so I’ve not had as much time to play as I might normally, but I have gotten my Mystic up to level 20, and a Slayer up to 12. As such, I’ve had a few thoughts about the game that I figured I probably ought to get down on paper.

Maltheas gazes out over the Isle of Dawn

Action combat is nice, and I know that for a lot of people it is their favourite thing about TERA. I’ve played Dungeons and Dragons Online though, so action combat is not a new thing to me, and TERA’s version of it seems to involve an awful lot of waiting for your combat timers to finish before you can click again, especially with my slayer character. I’m sure animation and technical changes could be made to make TERA’s action combat feel a little more fluid, and I would expect something along those lines to eventually be done. Off the cuff, I’d speed up the animations for the Slayer’s basic mouse-clicky attacks, and lower the damage to compensate.

At any rate, it’s at least as good as the combat in most other MMOs, and I’ve had some fun with it.

Popori are adorable, and the world itself is extremely good looking. Like similar games previously, I find myself wondering what could be done with these beautifully rendered worlds, if only a little more imagination had been applied to the gameplay, or indeed, if they were magically moddable by others.

Anyone who’s read this blog for a while will know I’m not a fan of linearity in MMO. I like to have some choices in what I’m doing, lest it feel more like the game is playing me, rather than the other way around. TERA has taken linearity to extreme lengths.

Your character is lead through the game, from hub to hub, by a never-ending chain of red quests. So far as I can tell you have to do these, and so your advancement through the game is along a completely predetermined path. You can choose not to do the yellow-named quests at each hub, which at least speeds things up a little, though you’ll likely need to do some of them at least to keep your level up high enough to do the compulsory ones.

With only one starting zone, and no class or race-specific content, this is not a game in which I would want to level too many alts. Linearity is almost undetectable if you only have one character, which is why single-player games can get away with it much easier. It’s only when you start another character and find that the experience, your class’s abilities aside, is almost identical, that it truly begins to grate.

While Rift was also rather linear in its questing hub structure, it did have the enormous benefit that its zones also had quite a lot of dynamic things going on, which made the world feel more alive, and could provide some variety in experience as your characters made their way through the zones.

Please Note: I’m only qualified to talk about TERA up to level 20 so far. It’s possible that everything changes later on, and I want to avoid being yelled at if it does.

It’s a shame, because TERA does abound with clever little touches. You can find charms which you can burn in the quest-hub campfires to give everybody in the camp at the time a random 15 minute buff, and you can have up to three of them running at once. That’s a positive interaction with other players that can only lead to good things.

Did I mention that Popori are ADORABLE?!!

Usagi the rabbit Popori surveys the scene in TERA

TERA seems a solid example of the modern themepark MMO, and if that’s your favourite flavour then you should certainly give it a try. While I don’t think it’s going to be a good game for alts, and will probably lack longetivity, playing a single character through the campaign should be quite a lot of fun, and will easily keep you entertained until the next big MMO release.

We’re going to be talking about TERA’s politics system, and MMO political systems in general on the next edition of The Three MMOsketeers.

TERA : Team Maltheas, Assemble!!!

The TERA head-start began about an hour ago, but I have yet to actually get into the game! I have been too busy dithering over the exact bone-structures of my starting team of characters!

Arkenor is looking a bit dourer than I like, but it’s rather hard to wipe the grumpy expression off the faces with decent beards. Maltheas is a little distressed that he can’t be a rat, but I have managed to convince him that raccoons are also quite cool.

We’re not too sure who that Usagi fellow is, but he seems vaguely familiar. I’m sure he’ll serve with honour.

Team Maltheas is ready for Tera.

Right, I suppose I’d better send Maltheas in to have a look around. I did not play in the Beta, so this is going to be my first experience of the game.