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Bluehole Studio | Play Now
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 05/01/12)  | Pub:En Masse Entertainment
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download | Retail Price:Free | Pay Type:Hybrid | Monthly Fee:$14.99
System Req: PC | Out of date info? Let us know!

What a fun game.

Great combat system, good community, awesome graphics.
Final Score

9.5
Excellent

Pros
 
 Combat
 Graphics, animations, and art style
 Fun
Cons
 
 Not much character customization
 Questing gets a little repetetive in 2nd or 3rd playthroughs
Disclaimer: The following article is the sole opinion of its author and does not represent MMORPG.com in its thoughts or opinions. This is not an official MMORPG.com editorial article.
Tera online is exactly what I have been looking for. I used to play free to play MMOs, but I got sick of the bad support, stagnant communities and lack of expansions (and dedicated players for that matter), so I decided it was time to try and find "my" pay to play game. I got one month subscriptions to multiple games recommended by friends. Ones that were focused on story, ones that were focused on character and class customization, then I finally found TERA and found out what I wanted was a game focused on playability and combat.
 
So, let's start with the most obviously different part of TERA, the combat system. The combat is very very engaging. It's easy to pick up and learn, but it takes skill and dedication to your character to master it. You must actively move around the field of battle in order to avoid danger. Not even healers can just stand around and heal. Everyone must be actively involved in the fight to survive and obtain victory. The skills are typical of an RPG game, you have your DPS skills, your tanking skills that gain aggro, healing skills, etc., but the thing that really sets the combat apart is how you actually have to aim your skills and use them at the right time so that you don't get your face stomped as your skill is being carried out. But it isn't just you who is moving all the time either. The enemy moves a lot as well and they all have moves that make them vulnerable as well, things you can exploit. Which brings me to my next point on this topic, whenever you feel it is time to exploit an opening, you can execute an attack and, depending on which skill you use, a combo can be carried out simply by pressing the spacebar. This will activate a separate skill in your arsenal all by the press of one button. An example to close, with my warrior, my main character, I can use an area of effect combo, then by pressing the spacebar, I do an evasive roll to get in behind my enemy, then I press the spacebar again to do another circular slash dealing massive damage. These things are all what makes the combat system really awesome in TERA.
 
The next major point I want to bring up is the presentation of the game. The graphics are excellent compared to a lot of MMOs out there. Polygon quality is great, coupled with awesome textures and animations, you have a combination that is really beautiful. The artwork is very intense and interesting as well. Monsters are actually bad looking and sometimes intimidating. The races, too, are quite different than your typical human, elf, dwarf, dark elf races. First are the humans. Now I tend to shy away from choosing a human in games simply because, why would I choose a human when I can choose one of the other, more diverse (for lack of a better word) races, but the humans have a different quality about them, they're bigger and more angular than other games. There are the Amani, a huge, almost demonesque race with horns and hard skin. The Castanics are your dark elves with a twist, they have horns! The Popori are a small animal race (these are a bit too cutesy for my tastes but nonetheless unique). The Baraka are hulking, metal looking people with metallic beards and sort of cyborg bodies. The Elin are these fairy type female race who resemble children. And finally there are the High Elves, who are admittedly not that imaginative, but the animations given to them make up for it by giving them a very elegant air. All of the weapons and armor look really intense and have lots of minute detail and are just plain awesome. On another note, the music is somewhat lacking. There doesn't seem to be a lot of music going on, and I sometimes found it awkward when I was fighting a group of enemies and there was no music to bring the intensity of the fight to another level. There are weird quiet spots when no music will play even when you are just walking around the world and it makes it feel a bit stagnant. Animations are really well done and the magic and effects are very pretty, which adds a sweet dynamic when partying with lots of people.
 
Now that I'm done raving about my favorite parts, some quick observations about the rest of the game.
 
The questing is a bit repetitive. Lots of gather this, kill that quests. But I didn't find it too too bad because of the narrative surrounding the things you are doing. The story and concept of what is going on in the regions you explore is the main focus I think, and if you actually read all the things that the quest givers say, it's not too bad to run their errands. Some people like to just mash the "accept" button and grind the quests out, which is fine on your second or third character, but I enjoyed reading everything and taking the world in on my first character.
 
The dungeons and BAMs are really really fun. One of the best things about any MMO is getting a good rounded party and strategizing in a dungeon to claim the best loot in the game. And not only can you dungeon run, but you can run a BAM, which is basically a boss fight against a "Big Ass Monster". These demand a well rounded party and constant attention. You can't just sit there are mash on buttons and hope to win, everyone must be keenly aware of their role and carry it out well in order to win. These events are what keeps max level characters in the game and people coming back for more, and En Masse has delivered a couple events and expansions to add new instances for experienced players to stay in the game, all of which are fun.
 
The only real downside that I didn't care for was the fact that I couldn't wield a greatsword and wear heavy armor, meaning that there isn't much in the way of character customization. The classes are all pretty set in stone and there isn't really a lot of room to customize exactly what you want your character to be. Warriors dual wield swords and wear medium armor, berserkers have a battleaxe or warhammer and wear medium armor, mystics are healers and wear cloth armor, etc.. So there is no chance you can fully customize and fine tune your character to be, say, a heavy armor battle-mage or something to that effect. This does not, however, take away from how fun each of the classes are to play. There are 8 classes, each with unique skills and play styles so it was fun to try them all and see which one suited me best. Plus, the diversity of actual visual customization of characters is pretty good, if not typical of most games. You have hair styles and color, basic faces which can each be fine tuned with their own individual "adornments" and a fine tuning menu for control over bone structure and such, but there is no body size options, so everyone of a given race is the same body type specific to that race.
 
Overall I would say that this game is definitely worth paying the subscription for. Wicked combat, great presentation, and a really good community all make this game very playable and extremely fun.

More TERA: Rising Features:

TERA: Rising - Exclusive Wounded World Reveal Interview added on Wednesday June 25
TERA: Rising - Ready to Celebrate Its Sophomore Year Interview added on Wednesday April 23
TERA: Rising - The Dungeon Assault Experience Interview added on Tuesday September 10

More Features:

Albion Online - Guild Alliances Dev Journal added on Saturday July 12
Shards Online - The Development Road Map Column added on Friday July 11
 
XImpalerX writes: 
I agree with everything you said. TERA is amazingly fun and has the best graphics of any MMO to date. I tried testing AION after it went F2P and I couldn't bear the sluggish tab target combat.
2/18/13 3:17:45 PM  / Report
 
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