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Adventures in TERA

Adventures in TERA (Photo credit: _Chag)

From my previous post, you can probably tell that my first impression of Tera was rather piss poor.  While I did play around for about an hour that night, I decided my frustration was putting such a damper on the experience that I would go ahead, call it a night, and take a fresh look at it again tomorrow.

Tomorrow came, and I found I actually like the game.  Up to level 9, anyway.

I started off as a warrior, which said it required the most skill to play well (and I can see how; being able to know the best time to dodge an attack to keep from being splattered is often a good test of skill).  I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting.  The basic combo ability was a delight to watch and had fluid, dynamic animations.  All of the skills I gained were great to look at too.  Definitely made it more fun than to stare at action bars and cooldown timers like other MMOs.  Coming from a World of Warcraft Protection Warrior, though, it definitely took a little bit of getting used to.

Next character I created was a Lancer, so that I could play the only shield-wearing class and see how they stack up to my expectations.  Honestly, I was less than impressed.  Their basic combo move had only subtle differences between the first, second, and third press, so it just looked like I was stabbing someone with a lance most of the time.  Blocking, though, was a lot more fun than WoW and more dynamic; this is how I picture “active mitigation” whenever someone says that phrase, not “I’m going to build up resources to make me block better.”

I tried an archer as well, but I only got to level 4.  So far it seems to be spam click city, but was actually more enjoyable since you have to aim vs tab + right-click.  I did run into a slight bug, though: if you assign an ability that has a charge effect to a mouse button (let’s say, Mouse 4 that’s on the thumb side of my mouse), even if you hold the button down, the ability casts immediately instead of doing its charge effect.  For now I just use a keyboard button for those, but then again, I’m only level 4.

Overall, I’m impressed with the game.  Definitely moreso than I was with Rift, and probably on par with where I was with Star Wars: The Old Republic, but for different reasons.  The world is beautiful but slightly generic high-fantasy; the music is a step above average, but isn’t what I would consider breathtaking (it’s not bad at all, though); and the story is slightly better than I was expecting (but most people will snooze through it anyway and probably wouldn’t miss anything).  The core of the game lies in its combat system, and I’d like to think it will keep me engaged for a while.  Overall, I give the game a B, leaning towards B+ just in the little bit I’ve played.

Maybe this will apply to some of you: the one thing I kept thinking when I was playing this game was, “This is how Final Fantasy XIV should have been.”  It’s stylized in the same vein, and a Final Fantasy setting and story would have taken the game to a whole new level.  That’s about the only problem (and this doesn’t just apply to Korean MMOs, but to all MMOs that do not have an established setting): it’s hard to break it in the MMO sphere with a brand new franchise or IP unless you provide something really stunning.  I think Tera’s combat system does just that.

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