This weekend was TERA Europe’s closed BETA and I decided to share it with everyone. I’ll be covering various aspects of this visually stunning, fantasy MMORPG.
This weekend was TERA Europe’s closed BETA and I decided to share it with everyone especially as there was no NDA and they encouraged to share it (unlike playing SWTOR closed BETA, it was all secretive). It actually took me a day to patch this baby which is most likely down to my poor internet connection the past week. I’ll be talking about various aspects of the game, I’m not a hardcore critic so there may be things I have missed but feel free to tell me! Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to test all races and classes but the general chat window was full of opinions and it was good to discuss with others. I just about reached to the instance at level 20 called Secret Base but it was coming to the end of the Beta weekend so that, unfortunately, won’t be featured in this blog entry. The game is visually stunning, no doubt about that, so I would recommend that people who want to play this may need to pimp out their PC especially on the graphics aspect to enjoy the game to its full potential. Remember to click on the image thumbnails to view them fully.
When you first start to make your character, you have to pick a race from Aman (dragon people), Baraka (big rock men), Castanic (slender demonic humanoids), Elin (pedo magnet animal girls), High Elf (pretty explanatory) and Popori (adorable small animal people). Then you pick your class from Warrior (dual wield swords), Slayer (great sword), Berserker (mighty axe), lancer (spear and shield), archer (bow), sorcerer (interesting disc weapon, much like an orb in other RPGs), priest (staff) and mystic (wand).
I recommend to not follow the stars of difficulty on these classes e.g. warrior is apparently the most difficult. This is because all the classes are somewhat insanely simple to play because archer has two stars and was so easy to play it wasn’t fun. It was literally left click to shoot and when the enemy is close, right click to jump backwards. However, sorcerer was two stars and was very fun mainly because of the pretty spell effects (it was still easy).
Now I’m one of those MMO players that will spend 30 minutes creating my character even though you’ll see the back of their head 90% of the game. I’ll be honest, I was quite disappointed at the amount of options to customise your own character. I don’t think there will ever be an MMO that had just as much customisation features as Aion Online for quite some time but the options were quite restricting in this game.
I would have liked to select the body build of my character but it seems TERA would like to keep everything prim and pretty. Select a “face” is restricting e.g. you may want certain eyes from one face but a certain bone structure from another face selection. But you can still change these presets slightly in the “Fine Details”. You can select a “voice” for your character but it’s just them screaming in battle, there isn’t much variation and for female characters most of the ones available is a girly, high pitched “Ha!”. You can also see what your character will look like in other armour. The third image above is Castanic Sorcerer armour and I did notice the second and third armour to try out is in fact your level 11 and 20/21 armour. I noticed there isn’t much variety in armour in early game, there’s a new outfit every 10 levels or so and in-between these levels you can earn armour as quest rewards and my reaction was “Oh, it’s a blue dress instead of yellow”.
Once you have made your character, it will go onto the select screen which looks very pretty and some animations of doves flying across. However, the maximum characters you could make was three. I’m hoping this is just because it was a beta (later confirmed maximum is eight normally). If you want to delete your character, you have to wait a whole 7 days for it to be completely delete. I suppose it will ensure that people are less disposable of their characters and in case they want to change their mind but this was annoying when I wanted experimenting with different classes and had to change server for another three character slots.
There are different kinds of symbols for different types of quests which is very handy such as red is story quests and yellow is zone quests (normal quests). The exclamation marks (“!”) shows an available quest, question marks (“?”) are quests that continues on from a current quest (like those “go talk to this guy now” kind of quests) and the asterisks (“*”) are people you hand in and complete your quest.
One thing I didn’t like was that the asterisk and question mark icon quests would appear on your map but exclamation mark quests wouldn’t show on the map so I would miss out on quests. People in my party would be working on a quest and I would have to say “What quest are you working on? Damn, I haven’t got that one, could you share it with me?”. I suppose this is to prevent millions of these icons appearing all over your map (though in other RPGs you can filter out low level quests from appearing on the mini map) but it would be nice that if you zoomed into your map or a certain area and then they would appear so you can make sure that you are doing all the quests (especially for those completionists out there).
One thing I liked about the questing is that there would be an exclamation mark on the monsters that were needed for quests as well. I found the quests on TERA very generic, mundane and extremely repetitive. If you encounter a new monster in an area you’ve just explored, don’t fight it yet because there will be a quest to either kill a certain amount of them or collect items which you would get from killing them. Or there are quests where you have to get their health to below 30% and use an item on them or tame them, etc. There also quests such as examine this statue or collect these mushrooms (examples) that are dotted around the map. If you’re a MMORPG gamer then you would have heard all these before. Nothing creative or interesting.
On the other hand, I did only reach level 21 on my Castanic Sorcerer and I haven’t done any dungeons so it may get better further into the game but it’s not a good sign when the first 20 levels are repetitive. Throughout my playing time, I have noticed there seems to be one escort mission or protect a certain person per zone and the good thing about this is that there is a timer above the quest summary on the side to say how long you have left (they last about 8 minutes or more).
I quite enjoyed the combat in TERA, it was fast paced and you are not focusing on one certain monster. You have a cross-hair target in the middle of your screen and you move you mouse to where you want the cross-hair to go and use your ability. This can be quite difficult when the monster jumps behind you or moves swiftly to another location but that adds more of a challenge considering the classes are very easy to use and it feels more realistic.
I noticed that there was no normal attack or auto-attack (you just press left and right click on your mouse, use 1-6, F1-F6 and C to initiate a battle) or maybe I didn’t notice it? There is no aggro on monsters until you reach Lumbertown at level 11 (such a terrible name). I like the little feature that an exclamation mark appears above the monsters’ head when they recognise you. I also like that there is no need for a seperate monster window to pop up about their health, level, etc. It’s all on the screen for you and the distance you are from that monster because sorcerer had skills such as “Magma Bomb” that they throw from a distance of around 10m.
One feature that is a very useful for parties in TERA is auto messages to communicate with the party. In the past, I have played MMORPGs where I’m in a party, in a dungeon, I’m the healer class, there are monsters attacking me and the tank is way up ahead attacking mobs and forgot a few. If the healer dies then gradually the rest of the party dies. So this feature saves a lot of time, especially in critical moments, instead of typing you just press E and select your message.
The first means of transportation is in the first cut scene where you’re with a group of characters riding on flying horses, which is called Pegasus, to this island across pretty skies and then you land to start your journey.
When first starting to play the game, walking around doing mundane quests such as “Now go talk to this guy” can be annoying. The default to move is the classic WASD and you move your mouse freely to rotate the screen and enjoy the wonderful scenery unlike most PC games you have to hold the mouse button and then move it around to rotate.
Though there is a catch, you have to press Esc or ALT to access your options such as chat, inventory, edit skill shortcuts, move around interface windows, etc but there are shortcut keys as always such as press I for Inventory and L for Quest Log. There is the sacrifice of restricting multi-tasking for the player e.g. I can’t check out my inventory whilst walking, I have to stop the Num Lock auto-walk, press Esc then I and then I can look. Call me lazy 😛
Once you get to the Tower Base around level 4, you’ll come across teleport transportation but you will only be able use this once you travel to the next area around level 8-9. However, laziness costs in TERA and using teleport can cost around 1000 gold but when you get to start using teleport you’ll have 10,000 gold and get handed free goodies from quests anyway.
Instead of running into a cave or lair like a lot of MMOs, there you can use teleport to go into these hidden areas which I thought was a nice touch. Once you hit level 11, you’ll come across large towns which have “teleportals” situated around certain areas because it’s so large, but again, this costs. You can also buy scrolls (and sometimes get given them for doing quests) that can take you to the nearest city or town or ones that take you to a certain place like Lumbertown or City of Velika.
There is also interaction with your surroundings like climbing and swimming available however it looks like the character is just floating. They’ve made the character movements well but not blended that to the actual objects in the map. I like that you don’t take much damage from jumping off cliffs and on rocks however that may change further into the game to make it more difficult.
More about Pegasus. This horse is very pretty and, yet again, it’s not free to use Pegasus to leave the island once you hit level 11 and you have to pay to go further in the game but I have a feeling that TERA will be one of those games where money is no object (like in Trickster Online). It will fly up and then go through and (very nifty looking) portal which I thought seemed unnecessary considering it’s across the sea but maybe it was a great distance to need a portal. The horse takes you through the scenic route wanting to show you how much effort TERA put into the visual aspect however this can get very boring after a couple of times and you just want to get to a certain area. It is a nice touch however.
A good thing about TERA is that you don’t have to wait until you’re level 40 to ride a mount or save up a fortune to afford a mount. You get given a mount for free once you reach level 11. Great! A mount in this stage of the game is essential as you’ll be travelling much larger areas now. Though I sometimes feel certain areas are made for large for the sake of being large e.g. plains. There’s also cute little sparkles trailing after your horse. You’ll be excited about your new mount for about 5 minutes and you’ll realise every Tom, Dick and Harry has the same mount as you. The good thing about mounts in TERA is that it’s an instant cast, unlike some other MMOs, which can be handy to escape aggro and mobs (unless a battle has already started). However, if monsters are attacking you whilst on your mount and you want to fight them, you can’t press an ability and start fighting. There are certain interactions where you have to get off your mount first.
Gathering materials is needed to craft items in TERA (and almost every MMO) but there are some little perks that I haven’t come across before. First though, I’ll explain that there are three types of material that you can gather: Plants, Ores and Essences. You can also use Hides for crafting but there is no butchering or skinning monsters (unfortunately) and these are just drops. You gather these materials from nodes dotted around the map.
Now for the things I like about gathering on TERA. There’ll be no more fighting over who gets to gather from a node in your party because more than one person can gather from the same node. In fact, they encourage sharing in TERA because the more people collect from the same node, the more goodies you get (though I have only had another person share the same node as me, I haven’t tried three or four people gathering at the same time). What I also like about gathering in this game is that you can get buffs once you have completed gathering from a node. You even come across “Plentiful” ores, plants and essences which means you can gather from them more than once.
All those materials you’ve been gathering can now be crafted into goodies once you reach the City of Velika which has a huge area dedicated to crafting. There are six professions: Amorsmith, Leatherwork, Tailoring, Weaponsmith, Focus Craft and Alchemy. All are self explanatory except for focus craft which is making alternative weapons such as staves, bows, discs and sceptres.
The big question
Will I be buying/pre-ordering this game? No. I personally wouldn’t fork out 50 euros to buy the game and to pay subscription per month on top of that. I would probably only play it for 2 months at most? I’m just not so hyped up about this game, plus it’s more probably more suited for people who play the fantasy Korean MMORPGs. Someone summarised this game very well, “As generic a MMORPG can be without being WoW”. Many parts of the game resembled Aion Online to me, including the City of Velika, the game is really pretty but falls flat on gameplay. The combat system is interesting and you’ll defintely hear compliments on that aspect from people who have played the game before. I’ve heard TERA has a political system that no other MMO has but I wouldn’t pay to find out. However, I would like to play the game again in the future to see the other areas and if the game gets better and I would definitely recommend people try it out. Apparently there is a Closed Beta for North America on May 1st, I would definitely recommend you try it out.