This weekend I had the opportunity to play in the Tera MMO Open Beta. I’ve been playing SWTOR very casually, like, once or twice a month, so when one of my oldest and dearest friends spoke to me about Tera and showed me how he’d recreated me as a high elf in the game, it piqued my interest. (Fair warning, I don’t run max graphics settings on my machine since it’s a laptop and I really don’t want to fry it.)

Ray and I downloaded and played Tera this weekend. It was actually a refreshing change from all previous MMOs that I’ve played.

It combines so many elements of so many different games that it’s sure to have mass appeal. To begin with, the characters are lovely. They make me think of a lot of the Korean MMOs that I’ve seen but never really been able to play. I feel like I see elements of Lineage II and Final Fantasy in the art.

The recommended system requirements:
• OS: Windows XP (32 bit only), Windows Vista, or Windows 7 (latest service pack)
• CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ or Intel Core2 Duo E6750 2.66G
• RAM: 2 GB or greater
• GPU: AMD Radeon HD 3870 or Geforce 8800GT
• HDD: 50 GB of hard drive space (25 GB to download, 25 GB to unpack)
• DirectX: DirectX 9.0c
• Optical Drive: DVD-ROM Drive

My video card is a bit lacking, as it’s an NVIDIA Quadro 1000M, but I’ve got 12 gigs of Ram, which doesn’t suck.

My take on the races:
Humans – humans
Aman – humanoid dragons
Baraka – giants
Elin – cat girls, fox girls, bunny girls
Popori – raccoon, panda boys
Castanics – demonoid race
High Elves – elves

My Castanic Sorceress & Ray’s Aman Warrior

I think the Aman were created to appeal to anyone who loved Horizons MMO (I think it’s gone now), and everyone who has ever wanted to play a dragon.

Elin and Popori are one race, but the Elin are the female version and the Popori are the male version. I think they were made to appeal to everyone from Final Fantasy Online who played a cat girl.

I like the Castanics and High Elves the best. They’re totally cute and definitely my style.

The character creator is REALLY nice. It gives you a ton of options for skintone, hair color, eyes, the shape of your eyes, bone structure, mouth, hair style, body, jewelry, tattoos, etc. It’s definitely leagues better than many other character creation menus that I’ve played with.

Available Classes:
Archer
Beserker
Lancer
Mystic
Priest
Slayer
Sorcerer
Warrior

Of the classes, I played a sorcerer, but I would also probably enjoy a mystic.

Sorcerers are ranged ‘nuke it til it glows’ type of character. Really, this tends to be what I enjoy these days.
Mystics are more support magic. They’ve got a little healing, a little damage, a pet class, etc. This is what my BFF played with us. This is the other class I would end up playing.
Ray played a Warrior. He said it was sort of like evasion tanking.

Me and my BFF together. We’ve been gaming together online for for almost 16 years.

Crafting/Gathering:
First off, gathering and getting quest drops is a group activity. So you don’t have to compete for loot drops. You don’t have to compete for resources. THIS is genius! While a few MMOs do have quest drop sharing, I can’t think of any off the top of my head that let you share gathering resources like mining and such.

Secondly, I like that it seems like almost everything is dyeable when it comes to your wardrobe, so you can customize your clothing. This actually makes me think of Dark Age of Camelot or Rifts. I hate when everything is drab and looks the same.

Third, with the way everyone can share gathering, it seems like (and it’s hard to tell after only playing a weekend on the RP server) there won’t be such horrid inflation on the trade market.

They do tease you with gorgeous pegasus mounts for flying in between cities.

Mounts:
I’m pleased to say that during the beta I got a mount at level 11. I’m glad that they recognize the need to not bore their players to death and torture them into quitting the game from the sheer torture of running around to ‘earn’ their mounts.

Me on my mount. Apparently Castanic women only ride sidesaddle.

Gameplay:
The gameplay is what, aside from the breathtakingly beautiful art, made me want to stick around more than 5 minutes. I have _never_ played a MMO with this sort of game play. There are two modes of play: out of combat and combat ready. It took me a bit to get used to it, but basically you are always doing a mouselook (but not mouse move) when in combat. I normally do not like this type of camera action, but I was able to get used to it.

Next, combat is very interesting because the game does not auto target for you! It’s up to you to attack your target. You can blast spells all day but if you’re not aimed at your opponent, he won’t die. I also like that I can map attacks to my mouse button and for the first time in many years (we’re talking Everquest days), I found myself wishing for one of the mice with more than 4 buttons.

Additionally, you can chain attacks together! This is cool! Basically you do your attacks and if you trigger a combo, you can do another attack that builds off the first.

Any Complaints?
It’s incredibly difficult right now to tell if everyone is on the same quest/step. This really needs to be fixed because it’s a pain in the butt if you’re not sitting in the same room with the person(s) you’re playing with and you realize you’re missing one of the quests. This should be pretty easy to fix.

 

The three of us goofing off.

Will I buy it?
So far, I really like what I’ve experienced. I think this means Ray and I will end up pre-ordering the game before it’s released. I believe it will be released on May 1, 2012. I like the game play and it’s unique in my MMO experience with how combat works. I like that you have to actually aim to hit what you’re trying to kill. I like that your teammates can physically block an opponent for you. I like the character creation and the races available. I like the classes. I like how each character can be customized – from their looks to their outfits. This feels like a really unique MMO experience to me.

Have you heard of Tera? Are you interested in an MMO like this? What’s the most unique MMO that you’ve played?

 

tagged in Game Reviews