Congratulations are due to me. I have reached level 20 with the pudgy cat like warrior you see posing above and am ready to share further thoughts on Bluehole Studio’s ambitious action-MMO Tera. You can read my initial thoughts on the first few levels of Tera by clicking here and my latest ramblings can be found below…
My biggest criticism of Tera in those first ten levels was the lack of variety in the quests. Unfortunately I can’t tell you that they get any better. As of level 21-ish quests remain basic in their demands: kill some things, gather some things, escort some people. It’s disappointing but even so I’m still enjoying Tera a great deal and it’s all because of the action orientated combat.
It’s really extraordinarily entertaining. Even at these low levels enemies dodge and move, jump and charge. You can’t just stand still and press one button you have to be moving and dodging yourself, chaining attacks together and reacting to the enemies. It’s more akin to a full on action title like God of War than any other MMO I’ve played. Where in past MMOs combat was a means to an end, a prerequisite to completing a quest and acquiring experience points, in Tera I find myself gathering quests just as an excuse to get back out and fight more things.
Outside of the combat Tera continues to offer a pretty standard MMO experience so far. While I am out and about in the huge seamless world quest-lines are directing me from one town to another to kill things in the surrounding area. It’s very linear up to this point but I’ve been assured it opens up further down the line and there is a choice of regions in which to ply your trade.
It seems to be a common trait amongst recent MMOs to focus on one aspect of the genre and build upon it rather than create something altogether new. The Old Republic had its storytelling, Rift its public quests and Tera has revolutionised MMO combat. In doing so Bluehole Studio hasn’t compromised other game functions though. In The Old Republic for example each planet is instanced with large sections restricted by class or quest requirements due to the way the story is doled out and the clamour for a built in group finder has forced Bioware to include it in their upcoming 1.3 patch. Tera on the other hand has a seamless open world and a host of fully functioning tools to aid interaction with other players.
There are two separate group finding tools. The LFG (Looking For Group) tool allows you to advertise yourself for a quest, an instance or anything going on in the world and also to see to see other players also looking for a group. The Instance Matching tool brings players together across servers to group up for specific instances. Just like the Dungeon Finder in World of Warcraft you can choose your role and the game will automatically look to fit you in to a group.
As I reached that great milestone of level 20 I have been able to test this out for myself and I can confirm that it works perfectly well. I selected a dungeon, the game found me some comrades and we forged ahead together killing things as a group thrown together by this tool.
The Bastion of Lok, this first instanced dungeon in Tera, is designed for 5 people between level 20 and 24. The setup follows the traditional MMO formula of a tank, a healer and three DPS and, in this instance at least, very little teamwork was required. As long as the tank successfully maintained control of the enemies we were fighting and the healer kept everyone alive it was simply a matter of progressing from room to room destroying every enemy in our way. It was rather chaotic and extremely easy to become confused as the screen filled with enemies and spell effects but it was fantastic fun. As an introduction to instanced dungeons it serves its purpose well as each class would have to at least stick to their designated role for success but I imagine more advanced teamwork will come in to play further down the line.
Guilds are of particular importance in Tera as they operate not just as groups of friends who enjoy playing together but as political parties vying for control of regions. The political system of Tera is not something I have yet to partake in but it’s influence is felt throughout the world as rulers set taxes and have the ability to enable special NPC vendors in the regions they control.
So, at some stage you’re going to want to get involved with a guild and there’s even a tool for that. Every player has the ability to browse a list of guilds on their server where they can see the number of members, the level of the guild and an advertisement from the leadership. If you see a guild you would like to join you can send an application to them from the same screen. It’s a small thing but it’s little details like this that help underscore Tera’s quality.
So far so good. I’m still thoroughly enjoying my Tera experience and there’s a great deal more yet to come. I’ve joined a guild but yet to get involved with any politicking and there’s plenty more instances, 40 more levels and PvP battlegrounds still to look forward to. I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on.