This past weekend was the Tera Online open beta. I had played Tera Online previously during one or two closed betas, but I decided to give Tera another go since I had heard that they had changed the starter zone. After playing almost all weekend, I can safely say that Tera Online isn’t true action combat and the game is nothing but the traditional MMO formula with a minor tweak.
In total, I would say that I have beaten the “noobie” island about 3 or 4 times during my entire playtime with the game. I haven’t played endgame PvE or PvP, but given what I have seen, I don’t have high hopes for it. Reasoning for that a bit later. I have tried playing all the classes, but the only ones that I could stand to play were the Warrior, the Archer, and the Berserker. I typically like ranged casters, but in this game, I definitely didn’t. The race selection boils down to buff male or slut female. Honestly, this game is really trying to pull in that teenage demographic. I am really glad they took the time to make jiggle physics and platemail bikinis. Before you ask, all my characters were male Aman, they are basically a demon/dragon race. They are very tall and very buff, just how I like it. Oh, and just to get it out of the way, I strongly dislike the inclusion of a loli race in the game, I mean, seriously? This loli race was originally intended to wear much more revealing clothing. It is crazy that there are still people that defend Tera’s wanting to include the original, unchanged race. Hell, even the changed race makes me uncomfortable.
Anyway, the game follows the standard MMO model of questing which includes waiting for named mobs to respawn, drop quest mobs not dropping their loot, and kill stealing. These are, of course, all of my favorites and I am deeply thankful to see that they made little to no effort to change that boring, old, stale, and tired model of questing. So all the quests are kill X, collect X, etc. Nothing more to say about the questing beyond the attempt to include cinematics randomly to spice things up, but I didn’t bother to watch any of them since all previous story quests wanted you to read quest text.
The revamped starting area thing that I heard about was a lie, so screw who ever said that. Essentially they just added a prologue area. This area is required for your first character, but later characters don’t have to do it. They start you off at level 20 with a bunch of abilities that you don’t know how to use and you quest for about 30 or so minutes. I don’t like it for obvious reasons, especially when I have no idea how to play this character since I just made it and now I have to go kill a bunch of stuff? Okay… The thing that really pisses me off though is that right after you kill the boss of this prologue area, they just dump you on “noobie” island at level 1. So whatever amount of time it took for you to do the prologue was essentially wasted.
The graphics are very pretty. I would say they are almost the standard fantasy MMO graphics, very similar to Final Fantasy or Aion. The music and other sounds are fine, not amazing or anything, but they work. I don’t typically care about graphics if the gameplay is solid, but in this game, it is one of the few things going for it. The flightpaths that you ride a pegasus on really show off the landscape very well, too bad in doing so they take a bit too long to get from point A to point B. The game was also very well optimized, although it was released in Korea quite a while ago, so it should be optimized.
The UI is annoying, to say the least. Being unable to perform combat and mess with my bags or my UI at the same time is very annoying. You also either have to stop moving or autorun to mess with any UI element when you aren’t in combat, including your bags. There are other minor gripes I will include here, such as being unable to sell all my items to a vendor at a time. Yep, you can only sell 8 or so items at a time. The idea of stamina is bogus. Basically, you have to sit next to a campfire and regen your stamina after fighting for a certain amount of time. It boils down to this:
- 0%-19% Stamina – Poor Condition – HP and MP debuff, also decreased damage.
- 20-39% Stamina – Average Condition – No stat penalties or bonuses.
- 40-79% Stamina – Good Condition – Increased HP and MP
- 80-100% Stamina – Maximum Condition – Further increased HP and MP
Stupid time sinks piss me off. So do the limited health regen options. If you aren’t a healing class, the only ways to regen your health is through potions, bandages, or waiting for a crazy long time at a campfire for your health to regen.
Alright, onto the part people care about. In this game, they claim to be the first true action MMO, which I think is far from the true. Every time you use a move, you perform a static animation. This static animation roots you to where ever you are standing and you perform said move. This move can’t be interrupted as the animation has to finish. This, of course, prevents you from casting or attacking while moving, which severely takes away from the action feel of the combat. Tera essentially lied since although they heavily advertised the fast paced action combat with a realistic aiming system, you have to stop moving to cast a skill/attack for every single class. What bullshit is this?
There is this chaining mechanic where moves chain into other moves and can be performed by pressing the spacebar. So, press 1, then spacebar, spacebar, spacebar, etc. to do a whole slew of attacks. This really detracts from any action feel and makes the game feel like button mashing. There is a dodge mechanic, but I don’t like it. Some classes have a dodge that goes forward and others backwards. You can’t choose any direction other than what the move does. This makes the combat feel, once again, very static. Adding to this is that there is an animation for the dodge and if you don’t time it right, you can still get hit even though you pressed the button. There is no tab targeting and most moves require you to aim using a targeting reticule, although there are a few which are auto-targeted, such as an arrow volley or certain healing moves. But the combat can be boiled down to traditional MMO combat with a targeting reticule gimmick. This is very unfortunate since I did really want to like the combat, but after a while, it just gets boring and a little frustrating.
So, if the combat is just the standard MMO formula with a minor tweak, where does that leave PvP or PvE? Of course, this is all speculation since I participated in neither, but the bosses that I did fight while leveling were really easy. They obviously telegraphed their attacks, making them stupid easy to dodge, so even with their crazy health pools they were a snooze to kill. If all PvE combat is like that, then forget about it. The trinity does exist in this game, whether you like it or not. PvP on the other hand might be the only redeeming feature of the game, besides the political system. Although, since abilities are very static in nature, I would imagine PvP would boil down to a lot of running around waiting for the right chance to attack, which sounds as boring as the rest of the game. This is forgetting that the gear treadmill exists in this game, so it is probably possible to get killed because someone grinded way more than you did, even if you are more skilled. Of course, this is all speculation, so I could be wrong.
Overall Tera Online isn’t my cup of tea. Perhaps some people will like the crazy grinding and boring combat, but I certainly didn’t. This opinion is magnified further because there is a subscription. If the game was free-to-play or pay-to-play, like Guild Wars 2 is, then I would probably play it until something more interesting and better came along, because although I just shit all over the game, I still think it is better than SWTOR or Rift. Unfortunately, it does have a sub, so that idea is moot. I didn’t touch on the political system or crafting because I really didn’t participate in either. The political system, while interesting in concept, doesn’t concern me because if the whole game is boring, I seriously doubt one system will change my mind, especially if I have to grind to max level to really enjoy it.