It seems like ages ago that we started covering Blue Hole Studios’ and En Masse Entertainment’s The Exiled Realm of Arborea (or TERA, as it’s now commonly known). In our time covering TERA, going all the way back to 2010, we’ve talked about everything from the art style, to the political system, and even 2009 had a preview from our own Carolyn Koh. It’s amazing to see how the game has changed so much in those three years. Now today, even though we’ve had a carried over Open Beta and head-start under our belts already, TERA officially launches. In a year that’s shaping up to be a great one for the MMORPG, En Masse’s game has run the gauntlet of beta and media reactions and predictions. But it’s only from today onward that really and truly matters going forward.
Maybe you’ve read my first Review in Progress column, but in case you haven’t TERA is growing on me. In honor of their launch today, I think we’ll compile five things that really make me smile when playing, and to be fair: a few that make me /sadpanda as well. Please feel free to list your own ups and downs below! See you guys on Dragonfall!
THE WARM AND FUZZIES
- Combat – Kind of a duh, but the more I play my lancer, the more I fall for TERA’s combat. If there’s any one thing I hope other games take from TERA it’s the combat system. At its best is sublime, and at its worst it’s still a damned bit more entertaining than most MMOs.
- The World – It’s absolutely huge and gorgeous. I can’t say this enough. I’m not normally a fan of the Asian art-style, but here it’s working for me. The characters and the scenery blend together well, and the over-the-top fantasy hits some sort of Miyazaki-like place in my heart.
- Dungeons! – Easily my favorite part of the game so far, thanks to the exceptional Dungeon Finder (yes, I’m a Lancer so it works quickly for me). I’ve only dabbled in the Bastion of Lok to far, but if the bosses and fights in this first dungeon are anything to go by I think the good ol’ dungeon crawl will be one of TERA’s highlights.
- Mounting and Dismounting – It may seem like a little touch, but being able to mount up and dismount at the press of a button with a one-second cooldown and no cast timer makes me a very happy gamer. The world is huge, and getting around it is a lot easier with a trusty steed.
- The Story Quests – The questing in TERA is pretty basic. Even the story quests are. But one thing I really find well done is the cinematic and story-driven campaign that carries you from 1-60. Sure, most of the time you’re killing 6 of this or that, but the story written by some top fantasy authors out at En Masse deserves recognition. Please don’t skip all of the quest text. At least read this bit.
THE SAD PANDAS
- Aman = No Recall – At least not early on. Most players will get the ability to recall to Velika (an hour cooldown skill that returns you to the capitol city) early on. My poor Aman does not get such a boon… at least not until he manages to make it to Kaiator later on, which is his hometown. Given the high cost of teleportation scrolls, I’m really glad I have that mount.
- No Jumping in Combat – Part of me loves this, because I hate bunny-hoppers as much as the next guy. But in a game that requires me to dodge effectively (thank God for my shield on the Lancer), you’d think they’d allow me to jump. Again, I get the reasons for limiting this to the dodge skills on each class… I just feel weird being locked to the ground while in-combat.
- I’m Immortal – I’m sure it’ll change in later levels, but at 22 so far, it seems like I just can’t die. I’m trying, and I’m sure being a Lancer doesn’t help, but I feel like unless I just don’t attack or block there’s no killing me. The dungeons make sure I’m challenged, but the open world is a breeze so far.