I have played quite a bit of TERA. I participated in the betas, played through and after launch for a few months, and played for two months earlier this year into the TERA: Rising launch. As someone who has put a lot of time, money, and effort into the game I can say this with confidence:
It’s just okay.
If you wanted to skip the rest and just take the above as the review, that is fine. There’s a lot to say on the topic of TERA, and not all of it is all that interesting. I’ve gone through periods of loving and hating the game. As it stands, I don’t particularly hate it — but En Masse Entertainment isn’t getting my money anymore and I’ve been logged off long enough for my guild to kick me.
Let’s do this bit by convoluted bit.
There are not a lot of facets of the game, and despite its 3D visuals the TERA experience is very 2D in that it is flat. What you see is what you get: Pretty visuals, a decent combat system, and nothing else. There is no involved world or story to get involved with, no bustling community full of helpful and friendly people (my community optimism was quickly murdered with Rising).
I would dare to say that there is no “TERA experience”. Aside from a few moments where you go “Holy shit, that thing is huge!” or “Well that’s a pretty view,” there is nothing that really captures you. You play to level, and you level to hit a gear grind. There is literally nothing else to do in TERA but grind.
Now hold on a second, there is no grind!
No, sir. There is definitely a grind. You see, when you play the game and want to hit level cap, you will in fact claim there is no grind. The quests give you enough to kill to level, every time: But this is quest-grinding, a beloved MMO mechanic that TERA pulls off terribly.
While quests are plentiful, their lack of general variety just boils down to players killing X amount of mobs repeatedly, all the way to 60. A little bit of variety would be nice, but even when it comes down to dailies things are fairly straightforward. You kill, you turn in, you move on. I’m not looking for some sort of emotional attachment to the quests, but some sort of variety. Why am I killing level 30 to 45 BAMs for an endgame daily? Every day?
Being spoon fed where you have to go streamlines what is otherwise an irritating, boring process. Most players don’t complain about the massive quest grind because they don’t have to think about what they have to do. You go where it tells you, you kill the mobs with exclamation points over their heads, and you leave. That’s it. The end. You do this ad infinitum until you hit level 60, and then you have two things to do:
- Buy the Victor’s armor set and grind battlegrounds until you can get the Fraywind set, after which it’s time for you to grind for the mats to make your Visionmaker.
- Grind Nexus and Temple of Temerity until you have the gear to get you into more difficult dungeons, which you then grind until you get all the way up to Queen’s.
And that’s not all! I hope you’re ready, because once you have your gear it’s time for you to grind up gear and masterwork (or refined) alkahests to use as enchantment fodder. The enigma and spellbind process goes hand in hand with this, and is similarly fucking expensive. You will be grinding for enchantment fodder for weeks. Have fun!
B-but the combat!
Yeah, the combat is nice. But is it nice enough to suffer through the rest?
In a game that has: a half-baked crafting system that is easy to level and useless outside of crafting endgame equipment, a community more focused on being kawaii and ERPing in private than doing anything else, and literally nothing to do but grind; is it worth it?
It kind of is. Only kind of.
Despite the complaints that you can’t move while using skills, the combat is still fun. It has a sort of Monster Hunter-feel, though less tight and rewarding.
The only area in which TERA: Rising exceeds is its combat. Everyone knows it, and it’s what keeps so many people playing the game. It’s why I played the game on and off for so long. There’s just something about being able to solo a giant monster. But if I wanted to do that and have my efforts amount to something, shouldn’t I just play Monster Hunter?
RaiderZ, a game very similar to TERA in the grind and combat, supplements the Monster Hunter-style combat with collecting monster body parts to make gear. Something like this would do TERA a lot of good — though it’s unrealistic at this point in the game’s development cycle.
The reward for the amount of effort put into the game is just too little, and while playing it genuinely feels like the amount of effort the developers put into the game is just too little to warrant such a time sink.
Looking back, the amount of memorable experiences I had with the game were very little. How many MMOs produce few memorable experiences? I still remember so much from so many other MMORPGs I’ve played. Why is it that TERA leaves me feeling like my pallet has been cleansed forcibly with bleach?
So yeah, it’s the minimum of “okay”.
TERA‘s combat system is one of the best in MMORPGs to date, but it’s lacking in so many other departments that it’s hard to say that this is a good game. Game play is king, but an MMO’s gameplay encompasses a bit more than just combat. At least it should. And it doesn’t in the case of TERA.
I do still like the game, to a point. But I can’t say it’s excellent or a great way to spend your time. Add some flesh to those bones, Bluehole/En Masse. No one should have to suck on the bones to get the flavor.