Tera Revolutionises MMO Combat, But Is That Enough?

My newly created Priest character descended towards the mystical island upon his majestic flying steed amidst a squadron of legendary heroes. They spoke of the adventures to come, but I wasn't paying attention; I was focused on the glaring texture seam in the sky behind them.

Here were these gorgeous characters flying atop magical beasts — easily some of the prettiest models I've encountered in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game — sharply contrasted against this shoddy sky. The experience set the tone for my beta experience in En Masse Entertainment's Tera: brilliant and new versus old and ugly.

Take the much-touted action combat system. You may have seen the bombastic MMO-FO video series we've been running during the PC Gaming Lives block over the past few weeks. It truly lives up to the hype, delivering battles that rely more on the skill of the player than the pressing of buttons.

Combat comes early on in the Tera starting experience, each new player tasked with taking down lumbering tree creatures that roam the newbie island. These woodland enemies obviously telegraph their every attack, giving players ample opportunity to get out of the way. Melee characters can scoot to the side and continue hacking away, while casters and other ranged combatants have methods of moving out of range; my Priest was able to causing a fiery explosion, shooting himself backwards while damaging approaching enemies.

Some enemies move in massive groups, one larger creature controlling a horde of smaller ones. In other MMO games taking on a dozen enemies at a time is often suicide. In Tera it's an opportunities to show off your area-of-effect spells. I dabbled briefly with an Archer, who had an attack that locked onto numerous enemies, a mechanic often found in side-scrolling shooters, unleashing a flurry of arrows at the marked targets when the mouse button is released. This was fresh. This was new. I was impressed. Unfortunately that action-packed combat is driven by the most standard quest system imaginable. The opening area leads you from mission to mission, tasking you to kill X number of enemies, gather Y number of special items, or simply running back and forth between non-player characters, delivering items or messages.

The feeling of innovation versus imitation followed me throughout my brief dalliance with Tera

The game attempts to mix things up. One quest will have you entering a special instance to fight off hordes of creatures attacking an important NPC. At the end of the starter area (around level 12) you'll face off against one of the massive monsters you may have seen in Tera's more impressive screenshots.

But as soon as that is done you're delivered to a main city, guided to a quest hub, and the cycle begins again.

The feeling of innovation versus imitation followed me throughout my brief dalliance with Tera. Perhaps time will wash the feeling away. I wasn't able to experience what's in store for high level character. The game's intriguing political system in particular promises to add a compelling social aspect to Tera's end game. Perhaps one day I'll play enough to rise to power, bringing the land to heel under my banner.

Perhaps not. Epic adventures rarely begin with the hero dropping out of the poorly textured sky.


Comments

    I felt the same (esp. the intro. Who are these people? Why am I completely mute and dead-looking in an group full of chatterboxes-y adventurers? WTFs with the sky?? Where'd my mount go???). Sure the combats nice and it looks great (if questionable), but I just didnt see the point in playing a game if the means to an end was the only thing interesting/different, esp. in an RPG. I got to about level 3 before I got bored. Granted, some tera fanboys said that if they wanted a story, they'd read a book...

      Well I am not at all a Tera fanboy but I do not play any mmo for the story. Even SWTOR which had the story as a selling point was very average. Never had a story in an mmo come even remotely close to any book in my 500+ book library.
      Each to their own but I do enjoy the combat in Tera. Sure the quests and story are average at best, like most other mmos. But at least they have tried something different.

        But it's such a dumb comparison: you dont see people going "I dont watch movies because the stories in my 500+ book library are so much better than any movie".
        Why they cant actually make an effort to put decent quests in? Is it some sort of taboo or because like you, everyones used to the stories and quests sucking so its ok to just keep it sucking? This at least is where Arenanet and GW2 are being different: it's still got PvP and different combat but its also got a PvE that isn't suicide-inducing. And without a monthly sub.

          are you joking, i say that all the time. i go watch movies to lmao or to enjoy a pointless action movie.

    As MMOs go (especially the Korean style MMOs) it's pretty good. The combat's very fun and while it's a bit rough in places, the game works fairly well. The questing experience is dire, especially coming to it after playing SWTOR, but it's miles ahead of most MMORPGs of similar vintage and origin.

    Doesn't matter. The game's going to fail. The enormous elephant in the room is that this is a full retail release game with a subscription model. It's simply not good enough to pay $50 US then a subscription like $15/mo. to play. The subscription would be passable if it was a free download, but to actually compete against other subscription-based MMOs the game would need to be a lot better than it is.

    I'll be stunned if this doesn't follow Aion and many others to a free-to-play model in a year or so.

    This isn't Guild wars 2. Why are you posting about an MMO that isn't Guild Wars 2?

      Whoa, whoa.

      The Secret World also looks good.

      But yeah, the description of the combat system doesn't sound it's advancing much over GW2's.

    Not sure how people are classing this as revolutionary... Combat system flow seems almost identical to Tabula Rasa except this game is pretty much the standard fantasy detritus. Yet somehow this crap gets plugged as innovative? Friends who are in the Tera CBT weekends tell me it is fun but very samey. All these articles seems like bullshit hype train to me. Not like that's out of the ordinary for the MMO genre.

    Meh Korean game... It will be filled with ludicrous amounts of gold spam, and be great for the first 20 or so levels, then have completely draining repeated quests. Heh, ill never touch another Korean MMO again.

    Kind of a shame too, they look great and have a lot of potential, but ultimately are terrible.

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