In the grand scheme of MMOs, Tera actually has quite a lot going for it. The combat's brisk, high-flying, and surprisingly tense, there's a fairly ambitious political machine chugging along in the background, and its selection of beaver/badger/cat/dog/catdog people is second-to-none. Unfortunately, the glue that holds it all together - a bog-standard kill/collect quest grind - isn't so hot, and unsurprisingly, players noticed. So Tera's world of Big-Ass Monsters and regular-size-ass everything else is getting quite a bit smaller.
On September 18, En Masse and Bluehole will be paring down Tera's North American server count from 11 to 3. So they explained in a Fall Producer Letter:
"We’ve got several metrics to measure server activity - and many of ours are below the mark. We’ve also been listening to the issues our players have been having in the game: lack of resources, lack of groups, extended wait times for dungeons, and so on. We feel that the best way to address these problems is to increase the number of simultaneous players on our servers."
"Where some might look on this as a negative, I feel differently. By combining our servers, we facilitate a more unified community and give players a more full, alive world where finding groups, locating rare items (for lower prices!), and getting into dungeons quickly are the norm. Most importantly, combined servers will allow us to run more regular, player-focused events where we get to interact with our players."
If nothing else, that last bit does sound quite nice. Granted, the letter then only goes on to cite a battleground tournament and holiday events - which, at least on paper, don't exactly sound like game-changers. "Several" content updates are also apparently waiting in the wings, so hopefully those will inject some new life into the proceedings as well.
There's also an FAQ for the finer details, but it's fairly standard server merger fare. Battleground ranks and Vanarch statuses will be reset, while character and guild name changes will only be necessary if someone else on your new virtual home away from home that's technically inside your home already laid claim to your old one.
And so we reach the part of the post where I inevitably discuss Tera's status as a subscription-based MMO, because ours is now a harsh and unforgiving world under the iron-fisted rule of F2P. In short, I don't imagine the fee has helped it - just as that piggy-bank-shaped barrier to entry barred the way for many potential players of Star Wars: The Old Republic and (the still sub-based) Secret World in recent times. Tera already has a premium item store, too, so it's not like this would be entirely uncharted territory for En Masse.
For now, though, it doesn't seem to be in the cards. Here's hoping, then, that beaver/badger/cat/dog/catdog people don't end up on one of those endangered animal commercials with all the sad music and gigantic eyes that shatter your heart as though it were a brittle, half-melted ice swan. Tera's far from perfect, but it deserves better than an abrupt end brought about by changing times.