Tera - Lighthearted Review
Hello everyone. To keep the quota of game posts, living up to the latter half of the blog's name, and to share a bit of what I’ve been up to lately, I’m going to do a little review of the MMO Tera. I’ve seen a lot of talk about the game and everyone seems to ask ”is Tera any good?” but what I haven’t seen is someone actually talk about playing it or answer that question. I’ve played it and in short, it’s good.
Tera is an MMORPG by the korean developer Blue Hole Studio which was recently formed by former NCsoft employees which were working on the Lineage 3. There was a big shitstorm about Blue Hole stealing trade secrets from NCsoft and such, but that’s outside the scope of this post. Tera is distributed by En Masse Entertainment which is a subsidiary of Blue Hole.
It has been out since last year in Korea but just recently got an official release in North America and Europe. Tera is actually an acronym for The Exiled Realm of Arborea but no one really knows that and they just call it Tera (A.K.A. that one MMO with the prepubescent bunny girls). One more piece of information that is interesting, Tera is made with the Unreal Engine, which is very surprising because the game is not all shades of gray with characters that look like football players.
When you start playing Tera the first thing you’ll do is notice is how different it is from your typical MMO. Ok, that’s a lie, the first thing you will do is drool at how beautiful and sexy your character is (more on that later) and THEN, in a very close second, you’ll notice that when you press your left mouse button your character will rev up and do an attack, no clicking on a monster, you just aim somewhere and you start attacking.
Controls and Combat
That you throw an attack by merely clicking the left mouse button is very significant because this implies that this game is not your typical “click an enemy to auto attack” kind of game. No sir, this game actually FEELS like a video game, no clicking and waiting, no random number generator to calculate if you dodge an attack no dice rolls to decide the fate of your character.
In Tera where you are matters in the context of combat. Monsters often use some attacks that only damage in front of them, and naturally you’ll want to move to the side or behind the monster. Conversely, when they us area attacks, you’ll want to move away from completely. Getting familiar with the cues that signal these attacks and learning the timing that you need to dodge or block this attack is something that was completely alien to other MMORPGs as far as I know. Because of this, the combat in Tera feels very much like an action game rather than an MMO.
For example, say you’re playing as Slayer, a burst attacking (DPS) class, you’re attacking a monster normally when suddenly you notice it’s starting to rev up to do a very damaging attack. At this point you have several options, you could stand there and take the hit like in your standard MMO, not a very fun way to do it, you can use your very handy dodge skill and leap to the back side of the monster and avoid all damage while gaining some precious seconds of attacking it in the back, or you could simply move out of the way and save your dodge skill for a more pressing occasion. There’s a pretty big variety in monster patterns, however there are a lot of “same monster different pallet” going on. Luckily there's also a constant mix of new monsters and behaviors mixed with these familiar monsters to keep things interesting.
Tera has pretty standard quests for an MMO. Go kill 10 pigs, go gather 5 of this useless flowers, escort this dumbshit NPC to the next area, protect this irrelevant NPC for 5 minutes. Nothing too different from normal. It can get pretty repetitive, there’s only so many of random monster A you can kill without it feeling old. However, once in a while you get a weird quest, like salting some meat by clicking an item in your inventory, or using a bomb from your inventory to destroy some crates or discover some monster in costume. Again, nothing way out of the norm but they’re kinda nice to get you out of the kill 10 things and turn it in mindset.
There are however some quest that you just have to do with a group. Trying to solo some monsters is just not to your best interest. They’ll either hit really hard,have way too much HP or are just a pain in the ass to do alone. Fortunately Tera has a couple of tools to make the life of us friendless people a bit more manageable.
There is this Looking For Group (LFG) interface built into the game that posts a little ad on the server with your message saying that you want to kill X thing with that party. You can receive a request for a party though this way or join someone else’s party this way. I thought this was a really nice feature to help people get organized and do something, however NO ONE USES THIS for some reason. It would be nice if the community started using this but alas, a lot of times you end up looking for a party the old-fashioned way of typing in a chat window.
In a similar way there's an auction house where you post something you want to sell and you can see what you can buy. This is really widely used and you can probably sell whatever rare junk you don’t need there.
Looking for a group is nice and all but if you’re going into a dungeon you really need to get a balanced party with a tank (the damage mitigator), healer, and DPS, for cases like this Tera has Instance Matching. Instance matching will search within all servers of Tera (of your region) for other players doing the same dungeon as you in a balanced way. It’ll get one tank one healer and at lest one DPS, it will automatically teleport you to the dungeon from wherever you are. This is really damn useful for getting a quick party for going through a dungeon, the downside is that there’s currently only 1 tank class in the game, comparatively there’s 4 DPS classes, so if you’re DPS you’re gonna be stuck in a queue a while, You’re a tank? Oh hey, look, you got instantly ready for the dungeon. I believe WoW has something similar but I’m not sure on the details.
Short for Big-Ass-Monster, BAMs are probably the funnest part of Tera. Think of them as boss monsters. As you might imagine, this is a special type of monster that is
big in the ass department. To clarify a little, BAMs aren’t just bigger versions on normal monsters with more HP, they’re completely new monster with their own models, animations ant attacks patterns. It usually takes a party to take them down and do a whole variety of range and area attacks that can really pose a challenge to your party wherever they’re right in front of it, behind it smacking it or at a distance healing BAMs have widely different scenarios and behaviors like jump up for an area attack, make the spike traps of the room you’re standing on activate, pounce all over the place, summon minions, area attacks that take up most the room. Killing BAMs is somewhat reminiscent of Monster Hunter, all that’s needed for it to be the same is different attack areas and breakable limbs. It would be great if I could cut off the tail of some of these BAMs. It would be great if every single BAM was different, but like any other monster the same types of BAMs tend to appear later but only stronger. On the good side, there's a mix of new BAM types along the way.
Because of the dynamic gameplay and wide variety of options you have in each situation, Tera really feel different from your standard MMO. Now imagine you’re fighting a BAM with a party of 5 and it uses a very hazardous silence attack that makes it impossible to use your dodging skill and right after this the monster does an attack that can potentially one-shot you and everyone in its range. Do you run away hoping your teammates do the same? Do you gamble stun attacks and hope they take effect to interrupt the boss' two follow-up attacks? Do you try to go for broke and use your knockdown abilities to try to completely incapacitate the monster altogether and giving you and your party a chance to deal massive damage? Or do you stand there attacking like an idiot letting the attack hit? I had this specific fight a couple days ago, and it was pretty damn fun.
Tera is one of the few MMOs that really taxes your system. As a result
you’ll find that people just won’t shut up about their computers you’ll find that these big demands on your system result in big rewards on the graphics end. Tera is an obscenely beautiful game from both the technical and art direction perspectives. Perhaps I'm exaggerating with the demands on your system however. A modest video card and a good processor is all you need to run it at max settings and get a beautiful scene, you won't have to buy a $600 card just to play this game.
In a world full of brown and gray FPS with jelly splattered all over the screen, I find it very refreshing when a game goes out of its way to become bright and vibrant without looking like an ice cream truck with christmas lights. Tera has style and very big technology behind that style, the result is very pretty, sometimes awe striking scenery. The tree’s leaves sway in the wind and rays of light peek through the clouds, a rainbow forms above the waterfall in the distance all while beautiful bunny fairies prance through the fields.
Apart from the awesome scenery there’s also a varied amount settings and themes in the game. So far I’ve encountered grasslands, jungles, desert, farmland, spring fields, haunted mansions and more. I always like when an area feels different from others in video games because it helps a lot to break the monotony. This game is beautiful, just look at the screenshots. Ironically, you still get those red edges around your screen whenever you’re dying, just like Call of Duty!
But you probably don’t care about the random trees, you’re here for the sex appeal, and Tera delivers on that end as well. Tera has 7 different races with very different looks and feels. From innocent and playful to stoic and muscular to sexy and alluring, Tera has you covered. Oh, and don’t think that this only applies to the girl designs, there’s plenty of man-abs uncovered, man-cleavage and other such man-service to
make me cringe keep the ladies satisfied.
Tera has a character creation system where you can make some really damn attractive character models. This system is pretty limited however. You have the most control over the head and face of your character, the skin tone, and with some races what type of tail and ears you get. In essence you can edit only the face. But this is enough really. Tera has very attractive preset faces, and it not hard to tweak them and make a beauty of your own by tweaking these to your . Also keep in mind that you can choose the sex of your character for 4 of the races and your appearance also varies by the class of armor you use, so you won’t be bumping into a head swap of your character too often, but don’t be surprised if you do. I’ve run into 2 people who had the same body as my character, my character had a much prettier face however.
There is a huge variety of outfits that your character can get. They go from very the chic that you’ll likely to see a stylish girl in the real world use, to very elegant that a movie star might wear to the Oscars, to outfits so skimpy that they are just a bunch of strings. My favorite so far has been a Castanic in heavy armor using large shiny greaves with some black lace stockings underneath that peaked through all the metal, amazingly sexy.
Different races have different aesthetics and appeals. High Elves and Humans enjoy a lot more bouncy-ness around the chest area. There’s also Castanic for those who prefer the more moderate bust line. I’m not trying to depreciate the other races (I actually seem to prefer the High Elves) but when people think of Tera they think of those loli little bunny girls with thick thighs and overly cute mannerism that you’ve seen in all those videos in YouTube, in other words they think of the Elin race.
The Elin race, story wise, were created by the goddess to be some sort of nature guardian fairies or spirits or something, all you need to know is that they’re some magical beings. The Elin are probably the most recognizable race in Tera and for good reason. Every single hair of their being is made to be cute. Their idol animation has them catching random bugs while they bend a leg back in a very girlish fashion, they do a V sign for victory, they jump arms extended and legs flexed with the most happy expression in their face. Elin go out of their way to capture you with their cuteness, and it works. I’ll say that the Elin and their deliciously plump thighs are probably the main reason I was first interested in Tera. However, as hard as it would be to believe, Elin are not universally loved.
There was a sort of controversy because to some people they look like little girls in skimpy clothing. This lead to the censorship in the western release of the game. Elin now have short shorts instead of metal bikinis and there’s no navel exposed in any of the costumes. Apparently any girl without a chest is prepubescent to the entirety of the western world. Even so they’re not even girls, they're some sort of fairy beings with completely different body types than humans so putting them to the same standards is ridiculous. I won’t rant about this too much because it’s an easily fixed problem, as you can get a mod to revert the changes and have the Elin in all their skimpy glory.
I’ll admit that I don’t care about the story about Tera too much. It’s hard to care about every single one of the people you’re killing 5 random mobs or saving their village. To them it might be the most important day in their lives, but for me it was just Tuesday. Such is the fate of the chosen hero of destiny.
Tera seems to have a lot of back story that makes up it’s magical world. There’s plenty of explanations for how the world came to be the way it is and gives you plenty of reasons to do what you have to do in the quest. There’s plenty to keep you reading and learning of the world for a while if you so chose to; however, I just want to go questing with my friends most of the time so I tend to skip on this part of the game.
Tera is a great new take on MMORPGs and I would say it is worthwhile if you haven’t played a game like this before or if you’re a veteran of others like it. It takes all the good parts of western MMORPGS with good parts of the Korean MMOs and combines them with fun and dynamic gameplay and you get a game that feels like it’s the next generation of MMORPGs. As fun as it is to play the biggest flaw I see is that it still feels as grindy as any MMO. I don’t see that going away anytime soon as companies need players to keep playing to make money. But it’s not so bad if you take it a day at a time and not try to rush to max level in a week.
If you would like to play with me and some other fellow figure bloggers you can join us on the North American server Freeholds. Guild name is Night Shift Nurses, guild leader’s Babycakes (aka Chag, creator of Hobby Hovel).
We also have Ashlotte from Hobby Hovel.
Luth and Zai from Plastic Parfait.
Hamstercorp from er Hamstercorp.
And some guy from Toronto!
That's that, hope to see you guys there!
Till next time~