After playing most of the game, it’s that time to see whether TERA stacks up well against its other competing MMOs. Honestly? It’s going much better than I expected. I’m not going to get too in-depth since this isn’t a review, but there are a few things I feel the need to bring up in my impressions.
I was one of those people who spent time getting to know TERA in its closed beta weekends, though I never quite got as far as I have since its release. In fact, most of my experience with the game was largely spent on the first island, and everything about it basically reeked of another game that ripped off World of Warcraft’s formula but with a better set of graphics. Maybe that’s still true to some extent, but I did find the game opens up more as you progress away from that island.
Appropriately dubbed “Noob Island” by the community, the first island is filled with a very straight-forward, singular path of little towns that all make you do the same thing you’ve done for the last eight years: kill this and gather that. It gets boring very quickly, but the game does redeem itself by offering unique enemies—not to mention BAMs—and creating interesting scenarios that actually engage you to a greater extent than other MMOs. If nothing else, it’s written pretty well.
The combat is as good as people claim it to be, though it does also allow you to cheap out the game a bit once you learn an enemy’s pattern. For example, there was a point where I defeated a tough opponent with just 18 HP because I would wait to dodge his attack, attack from behind and run around in circles because that confuses them too much to allow them to strike. Boring, sure, but undoubtedly effective.
As for legitimate combat, I have mixed feelings with the automatic skill-chaining system present in the game. Here, you get to pick what skills are displayed briefly on your screen after performing another specific skill, allowing you to chain it by pressing the spacebar. While this does make things simpler, it subtly encourages the player to stand in place as he presses the chaining key to deploy all of his attacks. Outside of that, it’s definitely a feature I like since it also discourages accidentally pressing another key and using up your last elixir instead of delivering the final blow.
All in all, TERA’s shaping up to be a much better game than it appeared to be during the beta, and that is something I definitely can’t complain about.