Returning to TERA - The Community's Still Weird, and That's Okay
TERA and I have had a troubled relationship, dating back from the first months of the game's official release and being frustrated at the overall lack of content at the time. I had the same problem earlier this year right as TERA: Rising launched, and I hit the endgame wall yet again.
With the patches over the past few months adding new endgame content and PvP options, TERA's overall content is much higher than it was back in February. This much makes me happy, but isn't a surprise. What is a surprise is the community's unwillingness to change and how similar it is to earlier this year and even last year during the game's subscription period.
People will tell you the community is either great, or one of the worst on the market, with no middle-ground. How can this be? Surely people's reports on the game's community are biased in one way or another toward a particular type of social style. TERA's community is by no means the worst, but it is one of the most strange and most difficult for those uninitiated to figure out.
As you may well know, TERA's biggest draws are the action combat and nice visuals. The people who make their way to the game do so often for at least one of the following reasons:
- They want lots of PvP.
- They want to RP using the unique races of Arborea.
- They are tired of traditional MMO combat.
- The game looks so nice.
- The sexy outfits on both genders.
Most of the people who migrate to TERA are not those looking for an enriching PvE experience -- something you don't really get in MMOs these days anyway. They want action, of one type or another. And notice I said 'of one type or another', and I don't go into detail on that.
What needs not be spoken on is something that is a core component of the game's community on every server, and is something that comes up in conversation in area, global, guild, alliance, and party chat on a regular basis. Whether or not you are playing the game for that purpose, you are going to meet, talk to, and befriend these strange people. They are everywhere, and they are the core of the TERA community.
Why even talk about this?
Because if you are the type of person who thirsts for blood or debauchery, TERA has a place for you. That is what makes the game's community so unique among its peers, for better or worse.
There is no MMORPG with such a colorful community. Though the people may not always be the nicest, it is always interesting. My questioning EME choosing to keep global chat as the game moved into F2P territory was unwarranted, because global chat and the type of people who use it regularly are part of the game's flavor and charm. It wouldn't be the same without it.
It's understandable some people would not enjoy TERA nor the types of people it harbors, but those who even have an inkling they may enjoy dealing with this type of community very well may. It is truly an enigma in action, and it is not for everyone.
Having poked my nose into enough MMORPGs this year (and several years prior), there are some who are clearly better from a community standpoint than others. For example, FFXIV's community will likely be unmatched for some time.
TERA's community could not even come close to that of FFXIV, but it has that crazy macadamia nut flavor I just can't turn down. I thought I was tired of jokes about Elin honey, but it seems not. Perhaps I myself am one of the crazies best buried away in the game's halls -- or perhaps the community is just odd enough to be interesting. Who knows.