A few months ago I lost my World of Warcraft, 2v2 Arena partner to Tera Online. The game was amazing! he said. It’s so pretty and the game play is so much fun! he said. It’s another WoW clone I don’t care about! I thought. Well, guess who ate their words last weekend? I’ll give you a hint: It wasn’t him.
Friday night I purchased and downloaded Tera Online, a new MMORPG by En Masse Entertainment that strives to give “true action combat” to players as well as give an active and interactive community. Currently a level 22 Sorcerer, I think they’ve succeeded, though I am tempering my enthusiasm for this game after the last half-successes of Rift and SW:ToR. I cannot give my full backing to Tera Online until I’ve seen the end game content, because an MMORPG is all about the end game content.
The world of Tera Online is torn by war and strife. The Argons attack for no known reason and the armies of all the races have come together to keep them from destroying their world. Unfortunately, this has left the home front vulnerable to old enemies and new threats. Recently, an island has suddenly appeared off the coasts of the two continents, never before seen and holding its own powerful secrets.
The introduction (and the demo) drop you onto this island amid the screams of the dying and the sound of crashing waves. A grim scene, but this is my biggest criticism of Tera Online so far. The intro quest (and the demo, which IS the intro quest) is confusing, convoluted and fails as a tutorial on how to play the game. Players are given every ability of their class and told to go kill and fight mobs without any explanation of how the game works. For MMO veterans, this is challenging, but nowhere near impossible to get through. For players new to the genre, good fucking luck.
So with little information on your class, the abilities or now the new combat system works, you’re sent out to find Elleon. Who the fuck is that you ask? I had no idea. I found out about an hour or so later that he’s some big hero dude who lead the expedition to the new island, but we’re not there yet. You’re out to find Elleon – some guy – and where is he? Who knows! Go that way, kill the things, figure out your abilities on your own, and don’t die! I was not having fun. Still, the game was pretty and I wanted to see what was up so I plowed ahead.
Eventually, I found Elleon and attempted to fight a Big Ass Monster with him (That’s what the elites are called in this game. Did I mention its rated Mature?). After we kill the first one, suddenly a second one appears and he ate my face off. My screen went black and now I’m frustrated and pissed off because I didn’t understand what I’d even done to die, let alone how I was going to kill this thing once I rezed again. Then I get a cut scene. What’s the shit is going on? Suddenly I’m flying on a pegasus, being informed that Elleon has gone missing on the island and his brother is searching high and low for him. Apparently, it’s X amount of time later and I’m being sent back because they can’t spare veteran soldiers from the front because the Argons would break our line if they left.
Wait. What? At this point I had no fucking clue who the Argons were either, or what “the front” was, so I have no God damned clue what is going on in this game. Point off for Tera Online’s story telling abilities. Eventually, players do learn what happened and who everyone is and I’ll pass this information on to you. The island force you were a part of was routed, Elleon disappeared and you and two other guys survived the attacks by the demons. The Argons are the enemies of the Federation (something they also didn’t explain) which is the combined government that came together to fend off the Argon attacks. Considering this debacle of an opening, I can’t even say for certainty I’m right about all this.
Remember, the above is my biggest criticism thus far of Tera Online. Once actually on the island, the game proceeds as it should with no strange curve balls thrown your way. It actually teaches you how to play, how your spells work, how enchanting and socketing works, and has an engaging story line. Honestly, everything that Tera Online has for players is too much to get into in one post, so we’ll discuss the most innovative and interesting aspects of Tera Online.
The Combat System
Unlike Rift, SW:ToR, and WoW, Tera Online really does have an active combat system. What’s that mean? Simply put, if you want to dodge an ability or attack, you better be on your toes and moving your character out of its way. There is no dodge or block stats, to survive without being a lancer (the tank class) you had better be learning your enemies patterns of attack and getting your toon the shit out of the way. Especially when it comes to BAMs.
I think this is exactly the kind of system MMOs are needing. It’s the same formula, with a new twist that means you cannot scrape by barely paying attention to a fight. If you do, you’ll just die over and over until you learn to backstep or run out-of-the-way. I had a blast and group combat is even more fun.
The Loot System
The only other criticism I have about Tera Online is the loot system. Instead of looting a corpse, mobs in scatter their drops across the ground for players to pick up, like in Diablo 1 and 2. I say those and not D3 because that game gives specific loot to each player, while in D1 and D2, the loot just fell on the ground and was first come, first click. Pugging just turned into a hell on a whole new level.
While Tera Online does have a roll system, Round robin, which distributes loot to party members equally, it’s only when “rare and superior items distributed via dice rolls” is selected as an option. This does not account for your uncommon and common items, though, which are still first come first served. Playing a ranged class, I literally ended up with six items at the end of a dungeon thanks to this system – keep in mind that each mob drops three to four items and we’d killed dozens. Heaven help you if you have lag.
Races and Classes
If you’ve read this far, I assume you’re interested in what Tera Online has to offer. The races in the game are from left to right in the above picture: Castanic, Human, Aman, Popori, High Elves, Baraka, and Elin (not shown above). Or as I call them: Horned devil people, humans, what the shit is that, furries, elves, draenei, and pedo wet dream. If you want to learn more about them, look here.
What’s really interesting is the classes. On the website, they are listed in order of challenge difficulty and if they’re right, you’ll see few warriors tanking because that is supposedly the hardest class and vocation in the game. The other classes are Archer, Sorcerer, Priest, Mystic, Lancer, Slayer and Beserker.
The Archer is a sustained, ranged DPS class, rated a difficulty 2/5 by En Masse. The Sorcerer (my class) is also a 2/5 difficulty ranged DPS class that focusses on burst DPS. The Slayer and the Beserker are both melee burst DPS with a difficulty of 3/5, though the Beserker is also able to block incoming damage to ranged players if necessary. The healers are the Priest and Mystic, the former with a difficulty 3/5 and the Mystic with a 4/5. This is because the Priest is solely a healer while the Mystic is a support class, debuffing, buffing, dpsing and healing. The last two classes are the Warrior and the Lancer with a 5/5 and 4/5 difficulty respectively. The Lancer is an absorption tank while the Warrior can be an evasive tank or sustained melee dps. If you choose to be a Warrior tank, you better not have any lag.
Hopefully I’ve given you a good idea of Tera Online and how awesome it could be. I can only hope that the end game lives up to the experience I’ve had so far and I suggest everyone go out and buy it to give it a try. If not, check out their website because there’s so much more that I didn’t touch on.
Oh, and the picture below? That’s an in-game screen shot of a city you can walk around. It’s fucking huge, but without the emptiness most huge MMO cities have. Go see for yourself!