TERA was an MMO that had me quite excited for a couple of reasons. First off, it was done by a team led by former Lineage 2 developers. Secondly, it featured and active combat system. Unlike most MMOs where you simply hit the Tab key to target creatures and then mash key numbers on your keyboard to do your attacks, TERA had you actively using your mouse to aim your attacks, choosing when to strike, and when to block by using left and right clicks respectively. This gave combat a much deeper dynamic, and you had to actually pay attention to what was happening on the screen instead of just staring at your keyboard and pressing numbers in rhythm based on cooldown.
TERA Launched on May 1st, 2012. It was developed by Bluehole Studio and published by En Masse Entertainment in NA. I had gone out and bought a collector’s edition as I had high hopes. It featured amazing graphics, refreshing combat, and BAMs (Big Ass Monsters).
The game featured seven races and 8 classes (now 11 as of posting date). The graphics were a mix of realistic with a unique art style as hands and chests were a bit more bulked up than what you could consider “real”. TERA also became well known for it’s “Elins” race, which was a small female only race that could have animal tails and ears and is the root of many jokes. There was also the “fury” race, Popori. We also had the options for Humans, Aman (draconian humanoids), Baraka (giant, males only), Castanics (elves with demon horns?), and High Elves. The character avatars looked great, though customization was a bit limited.
The combat was indeed amazing. I have never had more fun playing as a tank and healer in a game. As the Tank I had to keep on my feet, remain moving, and know when the block the big attacks. Failure to pay attention would result in all our deaths. This was so refreshing compared to games like World of Warcraft where blocks were handled automatically. Timing a block just right could cause your opponent to clash their weapon into your shield, knocking them backward as they were thrown off balance, leaving you the perfect opportunity for you to strike with your spear. As a Healer, I was constantly moving. The bosses were more often than not the previously mentioned BAMs, giant bosses capable of striking across large areas, and taking up good portions of your screen. Because heals actually had to be aimed, you had to make sure your line of sight was clear so you could throw that critical heal when they needed it. To account for this, they had an ability they could use while running to generate mana, adding a whole new dynamic to resource management while in combat. Combine that with back flip, jumping, and dodging abilities, and every battle was a pleasure.
I never made it to max level. Actually I never made it past the free month. I made a tank character, didn’t align with any guilds, and didn’t really make any friends. Grinding through the quests was uninspiring. Sure the combat was fun, but having to run from spot to spot to kill dozens upon dozens of random creatures just wasn’t thrilling. The dungeons were fun and the bosses amazing, but you’d have to run one a dozen times to gain a level. The grind was steep, common for Korean MMOs, and I just wasn’t feeling it.
In February 2013, the game adopted a freemium model. This is when my friends adopted it and began to play and I started my role as a healer. It was fun for a bit, but I was unable to keep up with them as I had classes and they quickly advanced to the max level. A few months later we played again during an XP event which made the game progress at a much more acceptable rate, I even paid for a month. However once the event ended, so did my interest. The game did have crafting mechanics, but nothing that interested me. I am sure I am wrong with this statement, but it just didn’t seem to have much to offer. TERA falls into the realm of being just one of the MMOs I hopped to and never stuck with as I searched for the next great MMO of my life. The game also launched on Steam and has actually seen moderate success in its free-to-play model.