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Mad Melee and Male Midriffs - First Days with TERA

Updated Mon, May 07, 2012 by Ethec

TERA's release timing was arguably among the best in MMO history. As scores of online gamers are fresh from the first Guild Wars 2 beta weekend, MMO enthusiasm is probably as high as it's been since the SWTOR beta, and on top of that, college students are finishing up finals and looking for something to sate their summer gaming hunger.

As part of that incoming wave, I overcame the seemingly nonexistent queues and rolled a character. Finding a race with a low ladyboy quotient was a not-so-unexpected challenge. My first choice, Castanic, was an outright fail in this regard--the look screams Grease cast making a Twilight movie in a gay bar. I settled on Aman; though ripped abs are on display, but the rock hard abs at least look rocky.

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An Aman Berserker with rock hard abs... literally.

My class choice was Berzerker, partly because I liked wielding something with heft-- the massive axe often becomes embedded in the ground and often delivers enough overswing to make a golf pro wince --and partly because the class got a 3/5 skill rating. I don't want to play the game on story mode (/cough archer), but I'm not looking to make a career out of TERA either.

Off I went into the game as a... level 20? I found myself in a brief tutorial with a heavy helping of story. This sequence wasn't in the beta but seems like a very favorable addition to the game. It's the first expedition to the Isle of Dawn, and nothing's going well. A simple fetch quest had me delivering supplies to burnt-out medics, simultaneously introducing me to movement controls and the all-important [F] utility key. I followed the human leader Elleon deep inland as he battled waves of demonic enemies. Fighing scores of disk reapers that I'd later fight as a level 11 made me feel badass, and the impending gloom of the setting and situation held its own kind of allure.

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Disc Reapers show exactly what you always hoped for in a hula hoop.

After the final boss fight against a World of Warcraftish abomination on steroids, a giant winged demon swept down on the scene and the screen faded to black. Um... what? Elleon's apparently disappeared, and I'm level 1 on a much sunnier, happier Isle of Dawn. Disjointed, yes, just like most of TERA's cut scenes. But at least my first impression of the launched game wasn't all sunshine and cute creatures to slay.

I won't delve too much into my experiences on what followed: the present day Isle of Dawn, the level 1-10 experience has been covered to pieces in Shay's beta preview. The cuteness of hoglings and terrons and the creepy crawlies I get from hearing the childlike Elin talk in their granny voices; these things are old hat by now, and outside of the prologue, nothing major seemed to be changed in the opening sequence since beta.

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Dolari wants you to kill the tree creature eating hoglings; Volis wants you to kill the hoglings. Go fig.

After a brief stopover in Velika, a massive "city of wheels" and the focal point of the game's conflict, it was on to Lumbertown. The sleepy woodsmen's town has been seeing an influx of refugees from invasions of Argon forces (the ultrabaddie in TERA, not the noble gas). Lumbertown was slightly less putesy (pukily cutesy) than Isle of Dawn, the principal difference being that the piglings wear armor and there are lots of centaur (which, thankfully, reside lower on the ladyboy scale than expected).

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Lumbertown might sound like a place near Fraggle Rock, but its actually the 10-15 area.

It's time to relate some first impressions. I admit I didn't put much stock in TERA's big selling point: action combat (thought I was going to say BAMs, didn't you?). The auto attack-avoidant combat is fun, but so was action combat in Auto Assault, Fury, and a score of other (cancelled) action combat MMOs. Action combat tends to be fun in small doses, but it's nothing to base a MMO on--at least not one you want to play for any length of time.

A strong story, social dynamism, or fulfilling PvP are much better bets, and I wasn't sure that TERA had any of these elements. I'm still not sure at level 20. But I will say that last night I logged in to check out something for the TERA tips article and ended up playing for three levels. Breadcrumb-trail quest lines still have their pull.

Pros:

  • Outside of a few raving caps-talkers, I found the community to be extremely helpful. TERA allows guilds of one, meaning solo players don't have to feel all untagged and alone and can easily invite potential guildmates on the fly.
  • The User Interface, which is relatively minimalist but boasting a nice auto-zooming map. Better yet, the quest tracker can also tracks quest mobs on the minimap should you somehow find yourself temporarily targetless.
  • Combat is fun and seems to become more distinctive in style between classes as you level up, especially for magic users.

Cons:

  • Have I mentioned how meh I am about effeminate looking male characters wearing crop tops?
  • The cycle of fetch, delivery, and kill quests was tired seven years ago, and I'm beginning to get hints of a mid-level grind as I finish up my work in Lumbertown. You might experience it sooner.
  • Too many mobs trying to kill me with cuteness. Worse, they're reused (and armored up) from area to area.

Early recommendation: If you enjoyed the visual stylings of [insert Asian import MMO here] and a slightly more twitchy take on Lineage 2's gameplay, TERA offers 30 days of free game time with the box purchase and should easily give you (at least) a very fun month of hogling splats.

Good Article, and I agree whole-heartedly with your assessment. I haven't found any "hook" to pull me in and keep me playing. TERA does not do a good job of making me aware of the primary storyline, the significance of my being in the world (I don't even know the name of the world that I'm supposed to be saving!) or changing up the same leveling mechanisms that we've been forced to endure ad nauseum for way too many years.

What it does do, though, is allows me to escape for a couple of hours here and there and have a little fun with the combat. I've always sucked at twitch-based gaming so my ability to be successful at high-end, challenging content is very limited. This game works best (for me) as a holdover until Diablo 3 is released next week; it was worth the box price for it's "uniqueness" and will keep me from boredom for a couple of weeks, but as soon as something else comes along I will probably drop this game like a bad habit.

p.s. I prefer not to think about the Castanics as a "Grease cast making a Twilight movie in a gay bar" but rather as an 80's hair band front-man (David Lee Roth, Brett Michaels, CC Deville) gone horribly wrong. Yes, the look is decidedly ladyboy, but I have hope for the late-game armor models to at least keep me entertained. :)

I've heard combat and PvP especially doesn't get truly rewarding until endgame, with all abilites etc available.

Unfortunately, I'm done with old-school grind, so I cba to get there.

GW2 otoh does a lot of things right.

I think if they had made this game a free to play it might have been more successful. It will probably be free in a month or so anyway, but by then I think most will have lost interest in it (I hope to still try it but no way will I pay for the box)

I just don't see how after aion flopped that they think Asian imports are going to work in the US with a box fee + monthly fee. One or the other.. or scrap both and go cash shop.

Ya Tera starts off really slow lol, the story really picks up only after lvl 40 and suddenly lvl 40-60 you get DUMP with like all these story plots all of a sudden that sounds and looked interesting. Why couldn't they have done this from lvl 1? idk lol. But the game is very PvP centric to me, the combat works best in PvP. PvP makes it a different game compare to PvE.

are you seriusly judging the game after 20 leveln?? Is there even 1 great game where you have pvp und pve content in the first 2 of 6 lvl stages?

First of yes male castenics are gay and? Male elfs are even more gay. Dont like the rase dont play it.

Tera has GVG with is currentlich the main PvP platform for most of the players.
Another thing is that they annouced i think a half year ago that they are working on WvWvW content with PvE und PVP in one.
The Politik system gives the Guildleaders the posibility to rule 1 sektor.

Judging the game after 20 leveln?? Is there even 1 great game where you have pvp und pve content in the first 2 of 6 lvl stages?

If i compare Tera with GW 2 then i have
Tera: Great combat system for PVP with the posebility to add nearly every content
and
GW2: Old style booring target system with many good featers and layed content.

I have seen that games add great featers and content after the release but there is no singel game that changed it combat system.

If you are also borred of the same old shitty tab target system play tera and you dont want to play any other game.

I bought it Friday with the intention of only playing through my 30 days for some entertainement, and so far I have been enjoying myself. While I won't stick around long term (as I have other games I am more interested in), it is fun to play.

To comment on one of you pros: I have had nothing but terrible experiences with the community in Tera. The Chat is just plain awful to read, where people are completely rude. I tried everything I could think of to split a stack of scrolls to give to a friend, so I asked in area chat.... My answer "Just like every other freakin mmo known to god" Well thanks budddy that was helpful. Also when I was out questing there have been numerous times where people will come and steal the "chest I am supposed to loot for quest items" while I was killing the mobs around it. So I just end up going to a low channel and staying away form other people :(.

While I know that a few bad apples shouldnt ruin the bunch... however they do.

Other than that, it has been fun to play.

Oh, the horror of having to play a scantily-clad, questionably-effeminate male character!

Now maybe you have an inkling of appreciation for how many of us have felt being forced to play female characters in bikini armor.

It's all fun and games until the sexual objectification happens to YOU, isn't it?

I couldn't have said it better lol

How sweet and honorable to Thailand's third gender that your use of "ladyboy" makes it synonymous with "pretty," "feminine," "girly," and "lovely" when it is normally used by Westerners as some kind of derogatory term. I really like pretty boys like Josh Hartnett, Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp, so I will go check out TERA posthaste. Thanks!

You are right, but all patriarchies devalue and degenerate the feminine to feel better about themselves. That said, I am still enjoying Tera, all the gorgeous graphics and beautiful males make it fun to try new races and classes while exploring the new world.

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