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SummaryUnimpressive, but good for some PvE fun.
The GoodThe combat is based around tactfully dodging, blocking and avoiding.
Bosses are designed to be large in size, but manageable in tactics.
Character design is very creative and doesn't follow the stale Tolkien Fantasy formula.
The BadMost mechanics that are introduced are entirely pointless.
They are also introduced too soon in the game, overloading the player with information they won't need.
The game is VERY easy.
Writing and design of the quests are both very outdated.
Community fails to impress.
The menus are obnoxiously designed and some, again, serve no purpose.
The Bottom LineIt's difficult to review an MMO like Tera, since there will always be large chunks of content that I simply missed. I played the game for the first 25 levels, so for all I know, the amazing parts were all hidden in the very next zone. From what I played, however, the game appeared to me like the designers came up with a fun mechanic, but didn't know how to back it up with other features.
Tera takes place in a world with two continents in it, similar in design to the original World of Warcraft. All the races of the world have organised in a single alliance called "The Valkyon Federation" in order to beat back the constant presence of demons. As the player, you are the latest rising star within the ranks of the federation.
It's a very basic setup for an MMO story, but where it falls short is its delivery. All the quests are structured in the old "kill 12 boars" or "Find 7 flowers" structure that World of Warcraft popularized in 2004. That was nine years ago, and since then Blizzard has put in a lot of effort to refine the quests. Burning Crusade introduced items that can be used during quests, Wrath of the Lich King introduced vehicles that gave you a different move-set, and Cataclysm went all-out with area-copies that changed the world as you progressed through story-lines. By comparison, Tera feels lazily stitched together.
The combat makes up for a lot of this, though, since it allows you to have full control over your character. What this means, is that you can map dodges, blocks and parries to your hotkeys and use them to stop enemy attacks. This mechanic allowed me to tackle a group quests alone, simply because I could skillfully avoid the enemy attacks while slowly depleting their health. In other words: this is an MMORPG in which your own skill actually counts for something. Rejoice!
It's however a shame that the designers decided to make the game insanely easy. As an archer, I was hitting enemies with arrows that took down 25% of their health at a very quick pace, while they in return usually hit me for 3% of my health and were relatively slow; even most mini-bosses do damage that I could easily tank. During the 25 levels that I played, the only times I died were moments where I purposefully did something I knew to be stupid.
The game also a problem with its pacing of mechanics, with which I mean to say it never knows when to introduce new features. The tutorial island, for example, forced me to partake in quests that introduced bombs, seals, campfires, repeatable quests, boss-fights and climbing, most of which are mechanics that either vanished from the game entirely or didn't come back into play until level 20 and beyond. On the other side of the problem, the game is very slow in making PvE and PvP available to the players. The first dungeon doesn't unlock until level 20 and PvP is apparently only available outside of duels after you reach level 60. Additionally, the second dungeon opens at 26, followed by the next one remaining locked until 35. There is simply no flow in the content, what are you supposed to do if you decided to level through PvE and find out you have to cross 9 levels in one dungeon? Hopping back into the questing scene feels like giving up at that point.
The game does demand a lot from your computer, since it quite clearly had a lot of artists working on it. The world of Tera looks amazing, even on the lowest settings. It has a few issues with textures vanishing and animations glitching, but the piece as a whole is nothing to scoff at. Characters are also very open to customization, which is a welcome change for an MMO. I did have some issues with the females in this game, however, since it seems you can never make them look decently clothed, no matter what you try. Even the Elin, a race of children who live in the forest (pretty much a direct copy of the Kokiri from Ocarina of Time) always seem to have half their skin exposed. This led to a very unfortunate moment where I had to climb up some vines with an Elin right above me, proudly displaying her underwear. Please don't call the cops on me.
Overall, I feel like Tera could have seriously used another year or two of work. The overall story is fine, but the quests needed some dire restructuring, the combat is great, but everything around it falls apart and the visuals were beautiful, but rather sexist. I am fully aware that an MMO is never truly finished, so there is still hope for Tera somewhere in the future.