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TERA: Rising General Article: Review in Progress - Part Three

By William Murphy on May 10, 2012

Ah, TERA. The first MMO in a good while I find myself anxious to log into each day. I’m not bashing here, but I’m honestly finding TERA more enjoyable than SWTOR was. And I’ve done a lot of thinking during this past week as to why this is. The basic outcome amounts to two key aspects of TERA that work better than they do in SWTOR: combat and population.  Mind you, the latter is entirely dependent upon player retention, and TERA has begun its life with fewer servers than the rocket-sales of SWTOR led BioWare towards.  But as of right now, the sheer amount of people partying up, chatting in general, hunting down BAMs and looking for groups in dungeons is absolutely addictive energy to be around.  It’s proof positive that a community really does add to the equation of an MMORPG, and that even a game which allows “solo play” needs people to thrive.  As long as TERA can keep its community interacting, it will do just that.

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In SWTOR, even during the peak early days, I would log in to find the planets feeling empty and void of anyone but myself and NPCs.  The game was segmented heavily with “instances” of each planet.  TERA has instances too, only they call them “Channels”.  If one’s too full and all the quest mobs you need are being camped, players can easily select another and go adventure there.  By default, players are placed in the more populated channels, and you see them running about, questing, killing BAMs, partying, PVP-ing (if you’re on a PVP server), and the chat channels are absolutely chockablock full of people going back and forth in often insane bantering.  TERA, in short, feels alive. I hope it stays this way.

THE SINESTRAL MANOR

I eventually managed to run the second major instanced dungeon, Sinestral Manor.  The second big “zone” players will play through is home to the cute, short, and pudgy Popori.  One smaller region, Vale of the Fang is being overrun by vampires and the Sinestral Manor is the culmination of this place’s major storyline.  It’s definitely a step up in terms of difficulty too.  We ran through SM with a 35 Berserker (the dungeon is intended for level 26-30), a fantastic Mystic for heals, myself, and two DPS.  Not a one of us was below the level requirement, and yet? We still nearly wiped on the first boss. 

I’ll have to dig a bit deeper on the next run, but this one-half of a vampire duo starts running around the room like nuts at one point, a whole bunch of minions in her wake.  Me, tank that I am, decided to agro about 20 of them. I did not make it because our Mystic was busy avoiding the others.  It’s an AOE lover’s heaven, and we just weren’t ready for it.  In the end though, as you’ll see in the video below, we managed to take out the final boss and win the day.  But it certainly wasn’t the cake-walk that Bastion of Lok was.  And it makes me really anxious to see the other dungeons if they keep scaling in complexity and difficulty. 

GUILD QUESTS AND POLITICS

I finally began to go some guild quests this past week too, in the hopes that we’ll manage to at least ding and hold level two with our motley crew of 10 or so active guild members.  We’re not big, but we try to maintain.  You see, in TERA, your guild can and should partake in the Political Vanarch system which will open up (we’re told) at the end of May for its first round of voting.  There are 13 regions that can and will have Vanarchs ruling them, even the tutorial Island of Dawn.  The Vanarch who is voted in to a region can control the trade brokers, the taxes on sold items, access to teleports and more. 

If you vote in a righteous Vanarch, chances are taxes will be low and Trade Brokers will be open in every village or town.  If a douche-y Vanarch wins through PVP (again this would have to be on a PVP server for now), he or she just might make live for Arboreans living hell. The Vanarchs are up for reelection every month though, so at least they don’t get to stay being terrible leaders indefinitely.  Already there are campaigns beginning on the forums, and chances are it’ll get even crazier with FB and YT campaigns in the coming weeks. 

Our little guild is likely going to ally up with some larger ones in hopes of a unified front in the elections on Dragonfall.  I’ll keep you guys posted on that.  But I highly doubt anyone with half a brain is going to vote in Begud the Amani Lancer for Vanarch any time soon.

In all I’m still really enjoying TERA, even after the leveling pace has begun to slow a bit and I’m realizing that the bulk of my play is about questing and dungeon-ing.  That’s not a bad thing.  I’m not a huge fan of the serviceable (but expensive) crafting, even though Evan “Scapes” Berman tells us that crafted items will have a slight edge over looted items at the endgame.  I’m just not a crafter, and that’s okay.  I’m perfectly happy still hunting down BAMs, scouting dungeons, and questing the night away while I chat with the fine people of TERA (well, some of them are fine).

I’m anxious to see the Nexus dynamic events at the level cap, and to see how much of an impact the Politics have on everything.  I still feel like I need some good structured PVP to round out the experience, especially since I went Carebear with Dragonfall.  They can’t re-activate those Battlegrounds fast enough.  Still, I never expected my attention on TERA to last this long. I know titles like The Secret World and Guild Wars are right around the corner, but for now at least… I just want to keep exploring with my Lancer in TERA.  That’s a good feeling.

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