Updated Wed, Feb 08, 2012 by Shayalyn
The gaming industry will be throwing new MMOGs at us hard and fast in 2012. How will you pick the best ones? You could spend hours researching upcoming titles, or you could let us boil the most impressive upcoming games down to their essences and help you match them to your gaming style. This week, we’re taking a look at TERA, the Korean import coming to North America and Europe in May, 2012. Will it be the game for you? Read on and decide for yourself.
You’ll want to give TERA a closer look if…
TERA is a fantasy MMOG, so you can expect it to be rich in all the things that make fantasy games tick--intriguing races (elves included), familiar classes, quests, big bad monsters, and deep, rich, fantastical lore. And yet, TERA also comes from Asia, so you’ll experience a touch of the exotic. Races, for instance, include the childlike (but older and wiser than appearances would suggest) treehuggers, the Elin, and their partners in nature-loving, the Popori, a sentient animal race. Classes include the standard Warrior, Sorcerer, Archer and Priest, but also the Lancer, a virtual battering ram toting a ginormous lance and shield. Monsters are huge (and in fact, TERA’s developers have referred to them frequently as BAMs, for “big ass monsters”) and, we’re told, smart.
Gone are the days of tabbing to target and then staring at the screen as you mindlessly trigger hotkeys—TERA’s combat is going to keep you busy. (In fact, it’s not unusual to see TERA demoed with a controller as opposed to keyboard and mouse.) You’ll target your enemy with crosshairs, so you’d better make sure your aim is true. Combat is also positional, so you’ll need to jump and dodge to avoid damage. You’ll be able to “paint” multiple targets with lock-on skills by selecting the skill, sweeping your targeting reticle over multiple enemies to highlight them, and then hitting your skill hotkey again to fire it off.
If you’ve ever played an FPS, then TERA should be a comfortable fit for you. If not, you’ll likely experience a bit of a learning curve, but you can rest assured that combat in TERA won’t be the standard button-mashing fare. You’ll need skill to play this game, not just the best armor and the highest level.
We’ve already shown you that TERA is action-oriented, but Blue Hole Studios has demonstrated for us that this MMOG will be community-oriented, too. At E3 2011, we learned more about TERA’s political system. Producer Sam Kim told us that the political system would bring a new level of player engagement to TERA. “When we say that the political system adds a whole new depth to player engagement, we’re really talking about players influencing the world around them,” he said. “That means getting votes, buying votes, raising taxes, making tons of money, opening shops, running your own events, and imprisoning players – jerks, enemies, it’s about doing whatever you want.”
It won’t be easy to rise to fame—you’ll need to be a popular or powerful player with lots of gameplay hours under your belt to exert the kind of control Kim mentioned—but even if you never become the next Baraka Obama (see what we did there?), you’re likely to enjoy a world that the player community can affect on more than a superficial level.
Amazing armor, huge shiny weapons, impressive-looking skills? Come on, admit it—you totally want to feel like a badass. And in TERA, you will, because Asian MMOGs are rarely short on badassery. And not only will you look like a bawss, the boss monsters you fight won’t be lacking in the “holy shit, what is that thing?!” factor. TERA promises monsters with finely tuned AI guaranteed to provide a satisfying fight.
But if looking ripped (or sexy) and dressing fine don’t make you happy, you can always fall back on cute. TERA brings the cute in ways both epic and a little bit creepy. If being adorable is what you’re all about, the Popori are for you—they’re a race of animals, and you can play anything from panda to a pug. If your ideal character has enormous anime eyes, fluttering ears and a wagging tail, TERA provides. On the creepier side of things, the Elin, a short childlike race, look a lot like…sexy children. And if that’s your thing, there’s game lore you can use to justify your decision. (Hey, they only look like kids! They’re actually old and wise…and darkly snarky.)
No doubt about it, TERA will satisfy the graphics whore in each of us. Environments are breathtaking, armor looks finely detailed, character models are gorgeous (or cute, or creepy, as previously mentioned), and monsters are truly the stuff of nightmares. If looks matter to you, TERA won’t disappoint.
TERA certainly won’t be the game for every MMO gamer—those who prefer a more laid back combat scenario will likely find its FPS-like controls challenging. The look and feel of Asian MMOs isn’t for everyone, either, and some may balk at the sexed-up character models, weapons so large they defy the laws of physics, and cutesy animals. But if the typical tab-to-target and auto-attack scenario has grown old and you’re ready to move on to something more action-packed that values skill over gear, you’ll want to keep TERA on your radar. The game will launch May 1, 2012 in North America and May 3 in Europe and is available for pre-order now. Pre-order customers gain access to all upcoming beta weekends.