Hopefully our drawn-out and lengthy preview of TERA, Frogster’s recently localised Korean MMO whet your appetite for the full release; it sure did with ours. Now, after a months withdrawl from the land of Arborea — or what we saw of it — we’re back to give our first week summary of the land and all the adventure it has thrown at us so far. Prepare yourself for gallaries of high-res images fresh from our hard-drives yet murky in colour and slightly damaged from the perilous tubes of our upstream internet connection.
In all honesty we had no idea we would be here writing this journal of adventures following our preview. Back then we had our good friends over at Frogster send us the codes for the sneak peak to give away to you guys but were never told to expect a review copy to be flying towards us closer to release. We had plans to dive back into Arborea for our own enjoyment but delving back in for the good of you beautiful readers is all that much better.
Our faithful petite Elin warrior sliced her way through the varied vreatures of the Island of Dawn during the sneak peek test, her dual blades and acrobatic movements shed a lot of light on TERA’s dynamic pure-action oriented combat mechanics as she dove out of harms way with timed rolls and splattered blood all over the grassy fields. She was a blast and her swords were mighty fine, she served her purpose and so we thought it’d be best to try another class for the next 4 weeks of travel and adventure, not alone, we paired up with a friend of the site to test a combination of dual archers of the Castanic race; and here they are.
Absent from the sneak peek test was the prologue of the story. Those who watched the opening scene of the game during pre-release were dropped on the Island of Dawn with a squadron of other incoming fighters eager to see just what had happened to the last lot who ventured out there. The prologue we were thrown into this time allowed us to play a level 20 version of our class to play out the events of the fallen legion while doubling up as the perfect test of ability for your chosen class/race combination to try before you start to pump serious hours into developing them.
Immeditally the prologue gave us the chance to fire arrows all over the place at a stupidly unnatural speed. TERA essentially plays like a third-person shooter here as you aim your reticule at the enemies and pump pointy sticks into them across your range of skills. Our first major skill tasks us with quickly high-lighting and locking onto multiple targets to shed death from above arrow-style, something other MMOs only use a cursor controlled target ring on the floor to replicate. Traps, rapid fire bursts and multi-target piercing arrows make for a lot of strategic run-and-gun action as you get the chance to kite enemies through your traps and line more up for a well placed ‘Piercing Blow’ is easily a refreshing alternative to repetitive combat rotations PvE centered DPS players are well aware of from other MMOs. Usually the only variation from combat came from a healer’s need to react to sudden health drops or a tank having to pull back agro usually caused by a bored DPS shooter with a hyperactive pet ; except TERA archers don’t have pets.
The same experience of the Island of Dawn was had during the beta tests. Nothing has changed here; at least nothing noticable. The land is vibrant and quests remain the same type you’d expect from any MMO. That said though, don’t think the experience will become more tiresome with each new character, because it won’t, the dynamic combat and how each class handles the mechanics makes the usual slaying quests a lot more enjoyable and less likely drag after a few repeats.
Your tasks around the island of dawn will wrap up at level 10 – that’s about 2-3 hours of solid play. After that, it’s time to grab your new mount and take a pretty calming pegasus flight to Vielka – the first major city hub of Arborea. Rather than hit you with a loading screen, TERA uses a pretty nifty visual work around in the form of a speed tunnel to blast you between zones after a nice tour of duty.
Vielka’s own in-built runway will be the first peice of fantastic design to burn into your eyes. The rest of the city will continue you do that as your run through it’s Venice-like corridors and walkways. Often-times it feels rather clostraphobic for a city of its grand stature, but it manages to house everything in nicely while still offering a lot to stop and stare at. Vendors, multiple crafting workshops, the auction house and a well-rounded theme song is typically all that’s needed to situate a traveller to the zone which it manages with no problems.
The week was pretty much void of crafting dispite all the ores and essenece we gathered on our travels. We’ve been putting them to some use this week though so we’ll make sure to go into a bit more detail in next weeks summary. After touring the city and poking the locals we hoped right back onto the flying taxi horse and rode her (we called her Steve) into the humble abode of Lumbertown. The towns people of course needed our help and offered us coin and goodies in return for doing their chores and killing deeds. Their haunted ghoul-infested cemetery needed sorting out, a slow pony needed guiding to a pool, and pigs needed drugs pumped into them. We were certainly up to the tasks of the lazy people and within another 7+ hours we had reached our goal of level 20. Not before trapsing through a cave and a surprise beating from a giant rock that caught our fancy. Warning guys, when you hear the term “BAM” the word itself spells disaster just as much as the anagram – “Big-ass Monster”.
Our combos of traps, kicks, and cheeky disengadging jumps had been easily capable of shutting down all mobs with ease. Raining arrows upon foes and claiming multi-kills with the peircing shot never ceased to create that urge to yell “MULTI-KILL” in the party chat. MMOs focus so much on combat but has never before really made it this fun. We’ll be back at the same time next week to go a little more in-depth as we finally try out the game’s PvE instances, crafting system, and take another shot at some of those elusive BAMs.