Our Official TERA PlayStation 4 Review
Almost 6 years (on May 1st) after its debut, the F2P action combat fantasy MMO Tera, developed by Bluehole Studio and published by En Masse, has now arrived on our consoles, specifically PS4 and XBox. Two weeks ago we started off in En Masse’s “7 day Head Start” program (see our Review In Progress) and on April 3rd the game opened up to F2Pers all around the world. We’ve had a few weeks for the “dust to settle” so the question is how have things changed since our first pre-review, if at all. This is our Tera PS4 Console review.
For Those New To Tera
The world of Tera began a long, long time ago when two titans of unimaginable power, Arun and Shara, met in a formless void. For unknown reasons they fell asleep. And as they slept, they dreamt, and their dreams become reality. Their dreams led to the formation of twelve gods and associated “mortals” (i.e races). The gods eventually went to war based upon scheming, rivalries, etc. The gods also brought the mortals into the war’s battles. These wars left most of the gods dead, imprisoned, or otherwise diminished. The god wars also impacted the mortals as some races were wiped out. Others, like the Baraka and the Castanics, emerged from the conflict itself. And as Tera begins, the Humans, High elves, Amani, Castanics, Baraka, and Poporis have banded together to fight a menace from beyond their world known as the Argons, a metallic race from the Underworld.
Tera is an action combat MMO where you aim your attacks and dodge telegraphed attacks from your foes. The telegraphs are visible red zones, that appear in different shapes and sizes, on the ground for the current mob you’re engaged with. There are thirteen classes in the Windows PC version with the Reaper class unlocking after you have a toon at level 40. Another original selling point of Tera was the fact you’ll encounter BAMs (a.k.a. “Big-Ass Monsters”) in dungeons and open-world content. Tera is a free-to-play experience, with no artificial cap on classes, zones, what you can do, etc. All the content in the game can be experienced without buying anything. There is of course an in-game store that offers cosmetic items and services to make your journey to end game a bit quicker as well as their paid subscription option, elite status.
Tera For All…
When the game opened on April 3rd more servers also opened so I never completely felt the impact of more logins on my server. I’m assuming most F2Pers started on a fresh server, be it PvE or PvP.
The story, and quest line, in Tera for the most part is pretty straight forward but nowhere up to the story telling par with say World Of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online. It’s not that the backstory is bad it just doesn’t instill a feeling of “why I should care”.
The combat system via the controller is responsive and fluid. Like many other controller-based action games the joysticks control the camera. Controller buttons can be remapped to different skills if you choose not to like the default scheme. The game does make full use of all the buttons on a PS4 controller and that includes having a pop-up dial for selecting quick items like potions, mount recall, and pet recall, etc. Mobs use a telegraph system when they are about to unleash a major attack so dodging out of the red is essential, especially later in game and when in dungeons. Thankfully, one button and a directional joystick make dodging fun and relatively easy…. when you react within time.
After playing this game for two weeks though I’ve been slightly bored killing grey mobs. A lot of the quests I had to pass on due to out leveling the story quest line fast, being a completionist this was a tough habit to break. I ended up doing “grey mob” quests that yielded gear I could wear, not knowing what main story elements I ended up missing. On the plus side since the “Vanguard Quests” (dailies that yield pearls and rubies that can be traded in to NPCs for a reasonably high amount of gold) are level ranged based. At the higher end of the level closing out these dailies was relatively easy for high gains. One way to avoid this would be not to spend so much time killing the abundant number of mobs in an area but to do the quests in the zone, in a focused fashion, and move onto the next zone.
There are quests that lead you into dungeons which are best experienced in a group. There are quite a few dungeons and many of them have a hard mode for better rewards. There is a built in instance matching (LFG) tool, but most of the dungeons are leveled based, meaning the game does not do any level scaling like GW2, Rift, etc. The first story dungeon, Bastion of Lok, I had accidentally out leveled. When this happens, you can no longer use the instance matching tool. You’re only recourse is to enter as a group or try soloing it (eventually). I ended up soloing it at seven or so levels above the recommended level range. It was doable, but the main bosses take a while to clear. Most BAMs (“Big Ass Monsters”, typically bosses) have ten stacked health bars so it becomes a game of “peeling away the onion”, it also meant having some health potions on hand was useful.
Tera has a PvP system called Battlegrounds (which I couldn’t partake in), initially Kumas Royale (Level 20), Iron Battleground (Level 25), Fraywind Canyon (Level 65, Capture Point) and Champions’ Skyring (Level 65, 3 vs. 3 Arena). Two more PvP zones will be added post-launch.
There is a crafting and gathering system as well, but the game doesn’t really have a tutorial for the crafting portion so first timers will probably be confused without some research investment. Another means of “crafting” is the built in enchanting system. Gear can be dismantled and using the “dust” can be used to enhance other gear, to a certain level. This is a helpful way of keeping some of your inventory open and it comes without having to “learn” a given crafting skill.
As mentioned, there is an in-game store that is free of any “pay-to-win” items. For the money there are some beautiful mounts, costumes, cool pets, etc. You also can pay for some servers like bank expansion, another character slot, etc. Transactions are made using EMP where EMP packs are available through the PlayStation store for real money. On the designated PvP servers, open world PvP is consensual, after hitting level 65. Open world PvP begins at level 65 and you must toggle an ability/skill (flag) putting yourself into PvP mode.
The game is stilled plagued by bugs we noted in our first review (e.g. wrong server selected, some trophies not being awarded, some stuttering, etc.) and since day one of head start players have not seen any patches yet. Just today I fell into another, known annoying bug, my character marker is now missing from the mini-map. So, there is some concern on how patient players will be with bug fixes as some of the continuing bugs have been known since open beta.
Overall, it’s nice to see another MMO on consoles. If you choose to play Tera on XBox One, then a Gold subscription is required to play. On the other hand, PS4 owners do not need a PlayStation Plus subscription to play Tera on PS4. Watching a few Twitch streams during the first week of official release it seemed like many were, for the most part, excited about this game. If you played the PC version, you’ll probably be disappointed in the console release since its content and features haven’t caught up yet. For any other console owner who has never experienced Tera it’s worth the download and logging in as it’s a solid free-to-play MMORPG that is a fast paced, charged experience and heck we did say it’s free!
- Action Combat MMO On Consoles!
- Fast paced, mob re-spawns happen quickly
- Leveling isn’t terribly grindy
- Nice menu system
- Content a year behind of the PC version
- A handful of annoying bugs still
- Out level the story quickly