As the legends tell it, once upon a time – many mist-enshrouded moons ago – MMOs demanded consistent tributes of money every month, or else they’d destroy the world. Well, their world. For you, specifically. Now, though, all but a final bastion of behemoths who practice The Old Way have moved on to F2P. One such holdout, however, is Tera, En Masse’s swords ‘n’ sorcery to-do with a focus on bopping giant monsters and actually moving during combat. Unfortunately, its quests set the MMO level treadmill at walking pace and pipe low-volume elevator music through your headphones, so its new seven-day free trial is probably a good chance to see if enjoyable combat alone can sustain your interest.
Of course, there’s a suite of restrictions, as is typically the case with these things. For one, you’re saddled with a curious level cap of 23 – which is neither a nice, round number like 20 or the level when some classes get a really rad skill (24). There’s also no access to area chat, guild formation, whispering to anyone who’s not your friend, dueling, searching for parties, or having your say in the game’s ambitious political system. But, if you decide to stick around, your trail characters will transfer over to the full game.
So then, pretty locked down, but largely par for the MMO trail course. I personally think every MMO subscription not attached to attached to a thing called World of Warcraft has a rather short shelf life at this point, but for now, Tera’s at least worth a quick test drive. Sure, questing’s tedious, but world-roaming Big-Ass Monsters (yes, they’re actually called that) add an earth-shaking move-it-or-lose-it appeal to the typical MMO tank ‘n’ spank boss formula, and there are incredibly out-of-place dog/bear/cat people – the only creatures capable of haunting both my greatest nightmares and my wildest dreams.
Also, the combat really is a game-changer – even if frequently reused enemies mean BAMs are the only thing that require you to bust out Sun-Tzu’s highly underrated “Art Of Not Getting Stepped On By Things That Are Bigger Than God.” Personally, I still got bored around level 30, but there are definitely elements of a good game here. So then, who’s checking it out?