Things We Love About TERA

TERA - op-ed headlogo - EN

Whilst the MMORPG genre is relatively oversaturated, especially when it comes to the fantasy-based MMOs, and for every classic that finally dies three more seem to spring up; needless to say it can be quite hard for games to make that much needed first impression to stand out and make people want to play. TERA (published by En Masse in North America and Gameforge in Europe) appears to be one of those MMORPGs that actually managed to do this, constantly growing with new content added continuously, a strong community and a single pretty decent development team (and some decent publishers as well) the game goes from strength to strength.

For a Korean MMORPG that can often fumble in the Western market due to the classic grindy mechanics, TERA has managed to avoid these pitfalls and made a pretty solid game, and so here are just some of the things that we feel have made it such a success and what we love about it...

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Action Combat
Skill based combat for PVP and PVE. Out of all the things that stand out as TERAs biggest success it would have to be its combat system, a breakaway from the traditional tab targeting combat from other MMORPGs the gameplay is more like a third person shooter requiring skill, aiming precision, positioning and active dodging to outmanoeuvre your opponents whether intelligent AI or other players. We honestly believe that once you try out an action combat system in an MMORPG then resorting back to tab-based targeting is extremely unfulfilling and lacks any sort of challenge. Added to the fact that there are a number of ranged classes, many of which must get within targeting range, channel their attack and aim it successfully, the combat definitely isn't for those that want it to easy way. Must drink your class and knowing how to fulfil your character's role in a group (for Melee Damage, Healing, Ranged Damage or Defence) gives players a greater fulfilment to a job well done, feeling like you have really contributed in meaningful ways to a battle especially when in an intense PVP match or a prolonged raid that saps your endurance leaving you mentally fatigued due to the constant level of concentration required. Added to the mix is the ability to combine multiple attacks to build up combos and you have one of the best combat systems in any MMORPG.

The bigger the better and generally the more dangerous. One of the great features of the game are the wandering world elite BAMs (Big-Ass Monsters), literally monolithic creatures that tower over players and offer a great fight that will challenge teams of players and offer an extremely difficult opponent to any solo player. Whilst the levelling and gear curve has made BAMs fall behind the threat level slightly for more veteran players, they're still a great source of excitement and challenge for newer and lower level players. Fighting them feels intimidating, their size quite overwhelming, they look and feel like they are powerful (as well they are) so when you manage to take one down you actually feel like some epic hero!

Available Races
There are 7 unique races. When it comes to fantasy MMORPGs we're pretty tired of seeing the same fantasy races, TERA definitely went its own way insofar as unique lore and matching races to occupy their world and stay away from traditional races (for the most part, we still have the obviously staple Humans and also High-Elves, though they're a little different to what we're used to). The Asian influence is pretty clear with the Popori and Elin; the first being walking, talking animals (not even "animal like humans", literally a walking badger) and the latter being the furry eared children (albeit they're not actually children). Whilst the Popori nor Elin are our personal favourites (which goes in contrast with the majority of the community who seem to love Elin...), we do think that the commitment to creating your own races and their own background is definitely a commendable feat.

The Graphics
The game's visuals are amazing. Right from the offset after first logging into the game you know you are in for an atmospheric and immersive experience, designed on the Unreal Engine the developers have definitely pulled out all the stops when it comes to effects and world building. Each zone that you head into has its breath taking moments, whether a skyline of collapsed ruins in the distance, a huge open vista or a bustling city, there are plenty of points of interest and landmarks to keep players engaged instead of feeling like going through the same repeated locations. Only second to this is the look of our characters, from the actual customization to how they can be dressed up in a huge variety of clothing items, it's pretty extensive and offers something for everyone.

Actually Free to Play
No hidden costs or pay to win features. One of the many issues with the F2P market is which business model to adopt, where to bring in money and what to charge for; for us it will most definitely make or break an MMO. Finding what players are willing to pay for with some regularity to bring in a stream of incoming vs making them pay for things they have to have to enjoy the game (even when it comes to top tier weapons that whilst you might not HAVE to have them, you do HAVE to have them if you want to be competitive). TERA (and their various publishers) has managed to navigate these treacherous waters with grace and style with no cash shop items really offering all that much of an advantage and definitely following the convenience and appearance format so that the game doesn't suffer in ways that so many other MMORPGs do. One of the other key things to remember is that the majority of cash shop items can be resold on the in game Broker (basically the auction house) to other players, who can purchase these items with in game gold instead of paying cash themselves; definitely a good move.

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So that's what we love with TERA, but more importantly what are some of your favourite things? What do you think could/should be added to our list that makes the game great? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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