Hey guys, Patrick Sun of En Masse Entertainment here! It’s hard to believe that MMORPGs once used to be the new kids on the gaming block. Today, they are the veterans of online games, and as such, have accumulated a number of myths over the years. MMO fans and critics alike have built up perceptions of the genre that are now practically set in stone. TERA, the action combat MMORPG published by En Masse Entertainment was built to bust those myths. Let’s take a look at 10 MMO myths and see how TERA strives to break the mold.
1. Asian MMOs Are Grindfests
Western MMO gamers hate spending the days, weeks, or even months it can take to get to max level on Asian MMOs. They are historically unwilling to grind out content, repeatedly hitting the same three keys for hours a day to kill monster after monster and watch their experience bar inch infinitesimally higher. And who can blame them, that’s no fun. TERA breaks this mold with its famous action combat, which removes the monotony from fights, and its faster leveling curve. In fact, the new starting zone, Stepstone Isle, guides players from first to tenth level in about 30 minutes. Most players reach level 20—where you will find your first dungeon and start fighting BAMs (Big-Ass Monsters)—within two hours of play. Dedicated players can hit max level within a week and start participating in endgame activities like dungeons, raids, and battlegrounds. And, if that’s not fast enough, there’s always level 60 Scrolls, which raise a character from first level to 60 instantly. The last five levels are still on the player, though. Sorry.
2. MMO Combat Is Boring and Stale
Standard MMO combat can get pretty repetitive. Every character has a set combination of attacks that optimize damage (for DPS) or generate aggro and mitigate damage (for tanks). Everyone rushes into battle, sets up in the optimal positions and begin mashing buttons. You don’t even have to aim. Just tab-select your target and begin spamming. TERA combat is different. Not only do you have to aim if you expect to hit your target, most classes get dodge, parry, or combat roll skills to quickly move them around the battlefield and avoid damage or gain an advantage over enemies. Plus, players can actually make enemies miss by simply not being there when the attack hits. Ever try to outrun a fireball in your standard MMO or watch as arrows curve in flight? Well, in TERA, you can dodge attacks. The RNG doesn’t determine whether you hit or get hit, your own skill takes care of that.
3. MMO Boss Battles Are All Rinse-and-Repeat
From Bowser to Big Daddy, RPG video games have been defined by their boss battles, and MMOs are no different. The big difference with MMOs, is the sheer number of boss battles you must face, because the game is never truly over, so the devs have to keep creating new bosses to face. This can lead to a lot of repetitive, rinse-and-repeat fights where the boss goes through the same stages over and over again, so once you know the routine, the fight becomes routine. TERA’s endgame bosses rarely fall into this trap. Sure, some attacks get repeated but, like in the Fulminar fight in Bathysmal Rise, these attacks are random. Players must stay aware and mobile throughout the fight, constantly changing positions to avoid debuff orbs, floods, buzzsaws, and the boss’s annihilation attack. A few of TERA’s other intricate boss battles are: Yana in Timescape, Killian in the Labyrinth of Terror, and Shandra Manaya, who was ranked as one of the top 10 MMO boss battles of all time.
4. Free-To-Play Equals Pay-To-Win
If there is anything Western gamers hate more than grinding out levels, it’s games that allow players to pay money to be better than everyone else. Too many free-to-play games sell gear that makes players nigh-invulnerable, weapons that make mincemeat of the toughest bosses, or purchase-only buffs that give rich players an edge over everyone else in PvP. When TERA went free-to-play, the decision was made to only sell cosmetic items and services that would enhance player experience without providing an edge in battle. So, while you can buy a cool weapon skin to make your lancer look more bad-ass, that skin doesn’t add more damage. While Elite Status players get many perks by paying a monthly fee, those perks do things like making travel easier or selling items through the Trade Broker cheaper. Players never gain an in-game advantage by purchasing items in the TERA Store. Even Level 60 scrolls don’t help you win. They just cut down the time it takes to level. Players still need to learn their class skills, practice fighting, and earn level-appropriate gear the old-fashioned way.
5. MMO Character Maintenance Takes You Away From the Action
We’ve all been there. You just got a great new piece of gear in a dungeon, but you can’t use it until you enchant it, which you can’t do in the field. Or the second healer in your pick-up group needs to respec to DPS, and heads back to town, again. In most MMOs, it seems that everything from getting your mail to learning new skills to crafting a piece of gear forces you to run back to town. You might spend upwards of 25 percent of your time running to town, sitting at an anvil or skill trainer, and running back to your quest location. In TERA, however, all of these “character maintenance” tasks can be done in the field, in between battles. You don’t have to see a skill trainer to get new skills or adjust your specialties. You don’t have to find a mailbox to get your mail; you just click a button on the game UI. You can enchant gear anywhere you like as long as you have materials handy, and you can craft at any campfire (which fits neatly in your pack). Plus, in TERA, your bank is a communal resource, so if you have materials you need in the bank while you’re standing in the depths of a dungeon, simply log onto an alt, grab those items, and mail them to your main character.
6. MMOs Have Outdated Graphics
Let’s face it, many old MMOs are showing their age, with some game engines still churning out decade-old graphics where you can literally count the pixels on the trees. And yet, somehow, TERA, which came out in Korea almost five years ago, still has stunning graphics today. TERA Reviews from 2012 when it launched in North America all raved about the graphics: “TERA is a great-looking game [that] runs extremely well, deftly balancing beauty with performance,” said one reviewer. “Between impressive graphics and flashy battles, TERA has mountains of style,” claimed another. After the Fate of Arun update, another reviewer took a fresh look at TERA, saying, “This is one of the best MMORPGs when it comes to graphics,” and “There’s a ton of detail placed in literally anything you can find in this game, and the experience benefits a lot from that.”
7. MMO Player Bases Are Shrinking
You’ve seen the headlines. New MMOs launch with tons of servers and then within a few months, they start reducing their number and combining the remaining servers because of a shrinking player base. Even the 600-pound gorilla in the field has faced a reduction in players in recent years, and TERA did go through a period of reduction in the past. But that was then. Today, TERA is going strong on Steam, gaining close to a million new Steam accounts since launching in May. In fact, TERA is the third-most played F2P MMO on Steam as of the time of this writing. After the influx of Steam players, TERA had to open a new server, Highwatch, which has a thriving community. Here are some fun numbers that show the game’s current health: TERA has almost 100,000 active registered guilds worldwide. Every day, TERA players kill more than 6 million BAMs (big-ass monsters) and clear roughly 70,000 dungeons. Almost a quarter of a million players have reached level 65 since the level cap was raised just a year ago.
8. New MMO Content Always Costs Money
The average MMO adds some new content for free between major expansions, but these are often content that was promised with the latest expansion and just not ready to go when the product shipped. Plus expansions can cost as much as the original game (or even more). Even though TERA started life as a subscription game, it never charged for an expansion. The first major content addition, TERA: Rising coincided with the game’s transition to free-to-play in 2013. A second major expansion, TERA: Fate of Arun arrived at the end of 2014 for free, adding new zones and quests and bumping the level cap up to 65. In addition to these subtitle-changing expansions TERA has seen three to four major content updates every year, all of which have been free. In 2015 alone, TERA added two new classes – the gunner and the upcoming brawler, several new dungeons and battlegrounds, a new starting zone, and gave berserkers the ability to tank at max level, which added a slew of new skills to one of the original eight classes.
9. MMOS Are Basically Running Sims
Gamers who have never played an MMO are often astounded by how much time they spend running from one place to another just to find content and continue playing the game. Anyone who ever had run from Thunder Bluff to Ratchet or, worse, Stormwind to Booty Bay just to get on a blimp knows this pain all too well. These are games, right? The point is to have fun while killing monsters. What’s with all the running? In TERA, you get your first mount practically as soon as you step off the starter island, which is now less than 30 minutes of gameplay. Elite players get a mount immediately, so you never have to run anywhere ever. Add to that the Pegasus flights that can take you from any city or town to any other city or town, plus the teleport kiosks in every town that will instantly transport you to outposts you’ve already visited, and it’s easy and fast to move around the world of TERA, which is a good thing because it takes 23 minutes to ride a max speed mount across Southern Arun, which is just one of TERA’s four continents. For even faster travel, check out the Travel Journal and Village Atlas you receive with Elite Status. The Atlas provides instant travel from anywhere in the world to any city or town, while the Journal allows players to bookmark five travel locations anywhere in the world that they can teleport to whenever they want.
10. Female MMO Characters ALL Wear Impractical Armor
Okay, you got us on this one. Female TERA characters are often pretty cheeky (and busty, midriff-y, and high-thigh-y), But there are many variations on armor to choose from and TERA even allows you to dye every piece of gear in your favorite colors. Plus you can buy costumes that completely cover your armor (including head-to-toe duck, sheep, and pig costumes) that completely cover your armor, as well as accessories such as capes, guitars, and even giant watches that help cover risqué armor and help players create a distinctive look. Plus, TERA provides equal time to beefcake in the game with speedo inner armor and skimpy costumes for male character models. I mean, have you seen the Bounce XXL video?
So that’s our top 10 list of MMO myths. There are plenty more myths out there that need busting, and I’m sure the comments section will fill up with ones we missed here. That’s the nature of MMOs. They are played by passionate gamers who are never afraid to express their opinions. But that’s what makes this such a vibrant community.