Have You Played…Tera?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Tera [official site] is that television program you turn on after first looking over your shoulder to make sure no one is home. No, I’m not intending that to be any sort of statement on the various states of undress all of its female characters tend to be in. I just mean that Tera is a guilty pleasure that I probably will never admit to. Except in the form a hush-hush recommendation because I think Tera is kind of great. Now pinkie-promise never to tell.

A part of me doesn’t want to recommend Tera, but then I realize how many afternoons I’ve spent smashing monsters in the face as my lancer and I realize that even if my brain thinks Tera is dumb, some twisted part of my soul loves the hell out of it. And really, it’s because Tera represents the best execution of the worst style of MMORPG. What I mean is that Tera is yet another World of Warcraft clone that emphasizes everything that is actively killing MMOs as a genre. It’s all about arbitrary loot grinding without much meaningful socializing or community-building. But, my god, do I barely even care about that when I’m playing.

A lot of people will rightfully praise Tera’s combat, and they should because it’s fantastic. But there should be more said about how perfectly smooth Tera has sanded its endless wheel of progression and rewards. While getting the best possible equipment can still be a grind, the rest of Tera zips along at such a fantastically quick pace, and I think that’s great. Gone is this pretence that I need to invest hundreds of hours to achieve anything in an MMO, instead I can be max level within a week just by investing a few hours here and there. While some might argue that means there’s little investment in your character, I find it quite the opposite. Tera manages to still be a big meaty MMO without feeling like I need to give up a few friendships just to get to the best part of it.

I like Tera because it knows exactly what it is and doesn’t waste any breath pretending to be something different. There’s no hollow MMO idealism here, just a dumb game that ends up being smart because of it. And that’s exactly what I want right now; to turn off my brain and just enjoy something without feeling the need to judge or be judged for it.

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17 Comments

  1. ScubaMonster says:

    I liked Tera, but the thing that really turned me off was how all armor and weapons looked exactly the same for individual classes. You might come across a slightly different shade of armor or weapon, but that was it. I can’t stand that sort of thing in MMOs. Sure, at end game when you’re decked out in raid gear you’ll always look like the other guy with the same raid gear regardless of the game, but I’d at least like some deviation and individualization for part of the game. It’s really boring getting a new item only to have it look exactly like the other 10 items you previously picked up.

    • int says:

      Yeah, and I like helmets. I want helmets! Only head slots I saw were eye patches and such.

  2. baseless_drivel says:

    Maybe I misunderstood, but I’m not sure I’d call TERA anything even close to a “WoW clone,” given that WoW is one of the last things I think about when I see this game. That is, unless being a quest hub theme park MMO is all it takes to be a WoW clone.

    But yes, it’s kind of refreshing that TERA just doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass. The longer it’s been around, the more it seems to have gone off the wall in ridiculousness. I mean, you can buy actual sports cars, furry suits, and fruit weapon skins. It just doesn’t even try to be serious anymore.

    But as a warning, this game does have a lot of highly stylized and idealized female AND male bodies, as well as a race that looks like young girls, all of which are extremely uncomfortable to some. But given that you can also play as a pipe-smoking dog that uses a giant sword to pole-vault over things, riding around on a golden pig… well, I found it difficult to be upset over people fighting in beachwear.

    • Aerothorn says:

      “That is, unless being a quest hub theme park MMO is all it takes to be a WoW clone.”

      I think that’s exactly what he means. Pre-WoW this wasn’t the standard, and WoW really defined it; post-WoW this is 95% of MMOs (from like, 2004-2014 or so anyway, some are *trying* to move away from this now?) They are all WoW clones to various degrees.

    • Ringwraith says:

      When almost everyone’s outfits are ridiculously-designed to some degree, it’s a bit more palatable.
      Though really, I just liked rocking scarves that flowed around while performing acrobatic stuff. As the animation work was ridiculously good (different races of the same class would even have varying animations).

  3. teppic says:

    Tried it, but the awful generic trashy quests and the little girls running around in skimpy underwear sent me right away.

  4. Evil Pancakes says:

    I played Tera quite a bit when it went f2p, for a while. What I really liked was just going around and trying to kill the massive monsters, that usually required a team of at least 2 people, on my own. It wasn’t time efficient, but it was fun and satisfying once done.
    But the more I played the more I got annoyed with the crap Gameforge was pulling with the game. And then they completely ruined the one thing I really liked about the game, and made those massive monsters easily killable on your own. It was fun while it lasted I guess.

  5. ChromeBallz says:

    Tera died for me once they introduced those minicars. Before that it was already slowly dying because of what’s on offer in the cash shop – It became so ridiculous, and even low quality for a lot of stuff, that it became evident that the dev didn’t care anymore. New classes? Elin only, or female human/elf only! Why? Well, it’s catering to a certain demographic, one which i am no longer a part of i guess.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Amusingly, the new classes being restricted to certain races is often because those races were not the most popular at the time.
      No real excuse than the obvious one for being female-only though.

      • teppic says:

        All of the new classes are female only.

        • Ringwraith says:

          Yeah, that’s why I said there’s no other reason other than the obvious one that they’re female-only (well, it does cut down the animation work they need to do too).

  6. EMI says:

    Mechanically, how does the fighting compare to Blade&Soul, the other schlocky but surprisingly mechanically solid MMO?

    • Ringwraith says:

      TERA’s much more trinity based with healers/damage dealers/tanks, although ‘tanking’ requires blocking attacks with well-timed presses, and there’s even the ‘evasion tank’ option, i.e. drawing attention then mostly flipping out of the way of nasty attacks.

      Also TERA’s clearly more Korean in its source material than Blade & Soul, as the latter draws from martial arts trappings.

  7. Ringwraith says:

    The animation and hitboxes were what always impressed me.
    The example I like using is when I was fighting one of the big stompy monsters, it did a ground-pound attack, but as I was using an attack of my own which had a small skip in the wind-up. These two events happened to coincide, thus I avoided the attack completely.
    Also some basic swings can fly over your head if you’re short enough. I’ve been slightly too short to be hit on some parts of weapon arcs before, and started abusing that.

  8. malkav11 says:

    I played very briefly and hated it. It’s very, very pretty, but the quest design was extraordinarily tedious and uninspired and the worldbuilding and storytelling 4th or 5th rate at best. And that absolutely kills an MMO for me. Was the combat better than many other MMOs? Sure. But games like Guild Wars 2, The Secret World and Elder Scrolls Online all make significant strides towards making more fluid, active combat – perhaps not to the degree that TERA has, but significant nonetheless – and do so while being interesting places to explore and interact with, while telling cool stories (in the second and third instances, at least – though there are nice touches in GW2).

    And ultimately, MMO combat has limitations that mean you’re always going to do better, combatwise, with a game that’s more about that sort of thing. A Metal Gear Rising, or Bayonetta, or Devil May Cry, or whatever other games sell themselves on that sort of thing. Personally, I don’t care. Don’t make the combat actively painful or frustrating and it’s just interstitial bits of fluff between the stuff that’s actually compelling to me. That’s been the ARPG strategy for years, after all.

    • Ragnar says:

      I tried it during a free weekend when it still had a monthly fee and found the same thing: very pretty, but every quest was a tedious “kill X” or fetch/delivery.

      The combat wasn’t enough to make me want to play the game on its own, and I’m not sure why I’d pick it over the hack and slash games you mentioned or an action RPG like Amalur or Mordor.

  9. 2Ben says:

    No, but I did play Tera link to myabandonware.com