Old School Gamer Tries TERA: The Results
I have been a pc gamer for well over 20 years. Yes that makes me old. Deal with it. Through out those 20 years I have played all kinds of games: Fighting, real-time strategy, Fps, RPGs, Action RPGs, Adventure games, CRPGs, space combat games, driving games...
I realized that I was searching for a multiplayer experience to have fun socializing with folks with similar interests.
My first MMO love was World of Warcraft. I ran a large guild for over 5 years. I met all kinds of interesting fellow gamers. I had tons of grand, goofy and funny adventures. I enjoyed the experience. But as time went on I began to realize that WoW was going stale. The rotation based ideas of gameplay.. with tab targeting.. was ultimately boring. Danger is based on random chance. Getting out of danger to some degree was also random. Which ultimately meant that control was taken out of my hands. Blizzard was making seemingly random changes to the game in order to see what stuck.. and I watched as the game went from 12 million interested players to now 8 million and slowing. I saw my old server dry up. So it was time to move.. but then they released a huge PVP nerf patch and I watched my guild of PVP fans vanish over night.
So began a quest. A quest to find a new game.
Initially Neverwinter was that game. Combat controls were great. But as a free to play game, it quickly became clear that it was sadly a pay to win game. If you can afford purchasing the best gear in the game with the best enchants, you were going to dominate. Skill was not the determining factor. They announced the game going live and some massive endgame raid. Sadly that endgame raid was a farce. No new bosses with new interesting boss mechanics. No 20 man vs 20 man guild battles--instead you could only group up with 5 people and hope you had 15 smart players join with you. So that was again a huge disappointment. While talking to a friend I remember him mentioning TERA, another online MMO, was the first action-combat based MMO. I remember a year ago dismissing it because I was still enthralled with WoW. I decided after realizing I was wrong to dismiss and the fact the game had gone free to play. It was worth trying it out.
So I logged on and read up on the changes to the free to play system for TERA.
TERA players who decided to stick with subbing were labeled Elite. They got extra perks like experience buffs and an atlas that allowed you port to any city in the game. And They gave the player special access to separate que for Gm support via live chat online. So if you paid to support the game, En Masse made sure to support you. I read up on the gameplay. As an action combat based game, every class had a special ability they would enable via the right-click to escape damage. Either by raising a shield, an axe, by dodging to the left or right, flipping away or jumping over. There were many ways for the TERA player to control their fate. Graphically the game uses an enhanced version of the Unreal engine.
So I decided to make a slayer. A Slayer is a two-handed great sword-wielding glass canon who is all about fast attacks and dodging damage via a somersault. Or by using other abilities. Imagine if a rogue and an arms warrior from WoW had a baby. This would be the result. They get moves like backstab. They have whirlwind. They have an overhead smash that does some insane damage. TERA enhances those abilities via a chain system and a glyph system. Glyphs alter one's abilities by increasing damage or by giving abilities a bonus when followed by a separate ability.
First thing I noticed while leveling was the global chat and surprisingly, no gold spam. None. Zero. For a long-time MMO fan this was a shock. Wait, no gold spammer clogging up trade or general chat? How did this happen? Then I realized they just blocked anyone typing any website URLs period. Instantly this destroyed the gold spam trade. Brilliant.
I also noticed someone trying to curse another player in global, then watched as a GM silenced them. Active GMs actively managing the players? This was a revelation.
So as I continued questing I met my first Bam .. 'BIG ASS MONSTER's. This was no regular encounter. The music changed--it signaled that I was in for the fight of my slayer's life. The mob had like 4 times the life of the regular mobs and it liked to move a lot. I went for a potent attack and watched as the BAM dodged my blow.
Wait, a Monster with good AI? Officially, my mind was blown. After years of watching so many bosses die in monotonous fashion in WoW and other MMOs, this was amazing. Sadly, I didn't succeed that first time, but after that I was hooked.
Then I hit level 30, and this past Monday they released the largest new patch for TERA ever, along with a new PVP battleground, Corsairs Stronghold. Their PVP battleground system believes in equalizing levels and giving everyone the same ilevel gear. Yup, no overpowered players destroying others. The battles are epic. Siege tanks, siege guns, ladders to scale walls, airships to sneak past a fortress walls; if your airship is not shot down by the siege tanks! This is the type of 20vs20 battles that legends are made of.
So after that experience I put my money where my mouth was and subbed to TERA. If you're an old school MMO player like myself and you are looking for a new experience, or a revelation and you are bored and tired of tab targeting and dumb bosses, try TERA--you will not regret it. I guess an old dog can learn some new tricks. Excuse me I see a BAM on the horizon and I need to make it pay.