I’ve been thinking about TERA lately, with their recent Halloween festivities and studio staff shifting. And what’s nice about my memories of TERA is that I had a damned good time while I was there. I don’t feel a strong pull to return, but I can say I would if the title were to ever go free (which may not be far off for all we know). It wasn’t the perfect MMO, and many of its features felt too dated for me to truly get rooted in Arborea, but there were a surprising number of things En Masse and Blue Hole did quite well, and I thought for this week’s list we’d recount those facets. Read on, and leave us a comment to say if you agree or disagree!
5.) The Mount System
It seems like such a little thing, but until you have it in a game you don’t realize how much you wanted it. Mounts are given early in TERA, and their summoning is instant. This makes getting around the game world much easier, and in Arborea this is a good thing because the world is so big. There are better mounts to work towards, but the fact that you’re given your first for free and that mounting and dismounting are so easy is something that’s really welcomed in the confines of TERA’s back and forth questing.
4.) The Animations
Minus that annoying “I’ve fallen two feet from a stair and must stop completely” animation, TERA’s model work is absolutely stunning in both the looks department and the animations created by their art team. Like the mount system above, animations of characters, monsters, and the world in general are a big part of whether or not a player can become immersed. In TERA, a game with a style that verges more on the art and less on the side of realism, it’s even more important.
3.) The Dungeons and BAMs
They may be typical of the genre’s instanced content, but I don’t recall a single one that I disliked, and what’s more is that they were the perfect blend of trash and boss, paced wonderfully so that they didn’t take too much time. They proved to be one of the game’s most popular features, along with BAM hunting, and there was always a spot for a tank like my Lancer so I ran them often. I only wish the rest of the questing was as good as the fights in dungeons and with the Big Ass Monsters.
2.) The Classes, Especially the Lancer
This ties into number one below, but every one of the game’s classes (though there were some rough spots at launch) was unique and brought its own distinct flavor to the group-centric combat. Lancers were the truest and straightforward form of a Tank I’ve seen in an MMO. If you held your shield well, you could mitigate every last bit of damage. They aren’t just about soaking it up while the healer keeps the Lancer alive… they truly could stave off all damage if they were played right. To me, that’s what a tank should be: someone who can shield themselves and the party from damage. The Lancer was a perfect example of this. But it wouldn’t be as fun or as successful if it weren’t for…
1.) The Combat
The best part of TERA was its combat. While not perfect, the sort of hybrid between shooter controls and MMO controls made for a very active, addictive, and fluid sort of combat that hadn’t been accomplished in previous MMORPG releases. People like to point at Age of Conant for its excellent combat, but in my eyes TERA’s combat is leaps and bounds above the rest. It broke free from the shackles of tab-target hell and gave us fights that required much more active participation. Of all the things TERA did well, its combat was easily the highlight.
What about you? Have you played TERA? What were your favorite parts, and what were your least? Leave us a comment!