"I don't blame you" or Why I Cancelled My Pre-Order

Yesterday, I went in to my local Gamestop to cancel my pre-order of Tera. Upon telling this to the man behind the counter, he laughed and said, "I don't blame you." He and I proceeded to agree on the reason why I would do this. This cancellation was not done easily, mind you. Tera and Guild Wars 2 were two of the few MMOs coming out that actually managed to pick up some interest from me, as they looked to be standing above the mindless wasteland that the entire genre and its players seems to be content with. So, why did I cancel my pre-order, effectively sealing off my interest in the game?

Never again will I know of dressing up as a leather-clad demoness. Well, at least not until my next role-play.

In a nutshell, the problem is everything except for the combat. More specifically, what I do between combat encounters, and why I'm doing these combat encounters. Now, I did enjoy the combat system, and I thought that the world and characters looked fantastic. But these two good elements (the latter one being superficial, to boot) doesn't make up for the bulk of the game being a gauntlet of same-y quests that all follow the generic MMO questing archetypes. In the very first quest hub, I found myself being told to go kill a certain number of mobs, then told to go back and kill a few more of the same exact mob, as part of a completely different quest, as if the game needed to test my ability to retain the knowledge of, "circle around the bad thing and click until it's dead."

In my mind, this sort of game design is unacceptable. I've played more than my fair share of MMOs, and I'm simply sick and tired of game design built solely around wasting my time with a high number of repetitive, menial tasks. Ideally, the moment I can prove that I'm capable of overcoming a challenge, the game should have me move on to the next bit of content. The only content I found myself enjoying was the instances and large mobs (or BAMs), where the BAMs were starting to become a bit boring after having to kill multiple of the same beast for a single quest. I like games that evoke a David and Goliath mentality, but the original story would not have been nearly as interesting if David continued on to kill Goliath's six brothers. I can't help but feel that Tera would have been better if it focused less on having dozens of boring generic quests in each zone, and instead focused on a few quests that were more in-depth, or simply less quests, but with higher rewards

There's a joke about padding in here, somewhere.

For full disclosure, over the course of the three closed beta weekends I played, I rolled a new character each time. First, as a popori slayer, then a high elf archer, and finally with a high elf warrior. Each time I played with a new character I got a little bit further, and each time I would stop after roughly a day and a half of my casual play, ultimately reaching the esteemed level 24 with my warrior. This wasn't particularly far, but I didn't feel as if the game really engaged me enough to warrant any further look. It may get better, but Tera's not the only game in existence, and I'm more than capable of playing games where I'm not forced to play through boring content in order to have fun. I have a job, and I'm going to college. I need entertainment, not another source of frustration and boredom.

As much as I liked the few bits and pieces of Tera, it simply did not make up for the huge amounts of pointless filler. As a result, I cancelled my pre-order, and am now looking forward to the first Guild Wars 2 beta weekend. It may not be the exact game I'm looking for, but to ArenaNet's credit, they don't seem concerned with wasting what precious little time I still have. I can't say the same of Bluehole and En Masse.

20 Comments
21 Comments
Posted by Rawson

Yesterday, I went in to my local Gamestop to cancel my pre-order of Tera. Upon telling this to the man behind the counter, he laughed and said, "I don't blame you." He and I proceeded to agree on the reason why I would do this. This cancellation was not done easily, mind you. Tera and Guild Wars 2 were two of the few MMOs coming out that actually managed to pick up some interest from me, as they looked to be standing above the mindless wasteland that the entire genre and its players seems to be content with. So, why did I cancel my pre-order, effectively sealing off my interest in the game?

Never again will I know of dressing up as a leather-clad demoness. Well, at least not until my next role-play.

In a nutshell, the problem is everything except for the combat. More specifically, what I do between combat encounters, and why I'm doing these combat encounters. Now, I did enjoy the combat system, and I thought that the world and characters looked fantastic. But these two good elements (the latter one being superficial, to boot) doesn't make up for the bulk of the game being a gauntlet of same-y quests that all follow the generic MMO questing archetypes. In the very first quest hub, I found myself being told to go kill a certain number of mobs, then told to go back and kill a few more of the same exact mob, as part of a completely different quest, as if the game needed to test my ability to retain the knowledge of, "circle around the bad thing and click until it's dead."

In my mind, this sort of game design is unacceptable. I've played more than my fair share of MMOs, and I'm simply sick and tired of game design built solely around wasting my time with a high number of repetitive, menial tasks. Ideally, the moment I can prove that I'm capable of overcoming a challenge, the game should have me move on to the next bit of content. The only content I found myself enjoying was the instances and large mobs (or BAMs), where the BAMs were starting to become a bit boring after having to kill multiple of the same beast for a single quest. I like games that evoke a David and Goliath mentality, but the original story would not have been nearly as interesting if David continued on to kill Goliath's six brothers. I can't help but feel that Tera would have been better if it focused less on having dozens of boring generic quests in each zone, and instead focused on a few quests that were more in-depth, or simply less quests, but with higher rewards

There's a joke about padding in here, somewhere.

For full disclosure, over the course of the three closed beta weekends I played, I rolled a new character each time. First, as a popori slayer, then a high elf archer, and finally with a high elf warrior. Each time I played with a new character I got a little bit further, and each time I would stop after roughly a day and a half of my casual play, ultimately reaching the esteemed level 24 with my warrior. This wasn't particularly far, but I didn't feel as if the game really engaged me enough to warrant any further look. It may get better, but Tera's not the only game in existence, and I'm more than capable of playing games where I'm not forced to play through boring content in order to have fun. I have a job, and I'm going to college. I need entertainment, not another source of frustration and boredom.

As much as I liked the few bits and pieces of Tera, it simply did not make up for the huge amounts of pointless filler. As a result, I cancelled my pre-order, and am now looking forward to the first Guild Wars 2 beta weekend. It may not be the exact game I'm looking for, but to ArenaNet's credit, they don't seem concerned with wasting what precious little time I still have. I can't say the same of Bluehole and En Masse.

Posted by Funkydupe

These games can be great for people who doesn't already have 3-4 MMOs among their past gaming experiences. Sometimes I think we just have to wake up and say that these games aren't for us anymore.

I'm going to try TERA, GW2 and TSW.

There are still too many people fresh in the MMO genre, and as long as they keep buying the games, they will be made in a similar mold.

Posted by ajamafalous
@Funkydupe said:

Sometimes I think we just have to wake up and say that these games aren't for us anymore.

I feel like this is something people need to realize about all games, really.
Posted by niamahai

but...how is the /dance?

we are still one gen away from the MMO that will rewrite the MMO genre due to tech and business limitation.

I don't see how GW2 quest structure. is going to be any different than this. Its saving grace is that is has no monthly subscription.

Posted by Giefcookie

@ajamafalous said:

@Funkydupe said:

Sometimes I think we just have to wake up and say that these games aren't for us anymore.

I feel like this is something people need to realize about all games, really.

I wouldn't say all games, just most.

As for Tera, I'm pretty sure they weighted the amount of money it took to localize it compared to the amount of money they will make from people just wanting to try it out based on looks and demonic/loli boobs. That said I'm really hoping Tera and GW2 will be the last high profile MMOs we see for awhile.

Posted by Rawson

@Funkydupe said:

These games can be great for people who doesn't already have 3-4 MMOs among their past gaming experiences. Sometimes I think we just have to wake up and say that these games aren't for us anymore.

To that, I honestly wonder if such a market exists anymore. WoW was an outlying case, in that it brought millions of people into a genre all at once, whereas before it was generally assumed that all games were fighting over the same niche market. So there's certainly the possibility.

However, Tera is not WoW, it's not made by a company like Blizzard, and WoW was appealing to both MMO newcomers and vets at the time. While there will always be some people for whom X MMORPG is their very first one ever, I wonder if that's honestly a worthwhile chunk. I'd be willing to bet that the majority of people who have played Tera, or will play Tera, have played other MMOs before.

But even if it's a sizable chunk of people who have never played a game of this genre ever before, does that excuse it for being filled with tedious filler? Can the allure of being in a virtual theme park for the first time ever actually work anymore, now that it's no longer a novelty? I remain dubious.

@niamahai said:

but...how is the /dance?

we are still one gen away from the MMO that will rewrite the MMO genre due to tech and business limitation.

I don't see how GW2 quest structure. is going to be any different than this. Its saving grace is that is has no monthly subscription.

Mechanically? GW2's quest structure is very different, in the sense that there are no proper quests. Rather, the primary pull of PvE content will be going out to events that occur in the game world and taking a part of them. Note that I said "take a part of." You won't have to compete with other players to get the first hit on a mob or anything like that. Instead you participate in order to earn XP and rewards, as if you're automatically all part of a big group, which I agree with. It's ridiculous that people play an entire genre of "massively multiplayer" games as if other players are a plague that should be avoided. Additional players should make the game more fun, not be a source of annoyance.

As for the events? You can follow the events in a suggested order, but it's not required. Events themselves aren't required at all, even. If you'd rather PvP, you totally can, and level up by doing so. The aim is to do what you think is fun, not to chew through a million same-y quests until you get to the even bigger grind at the endgame. The main appeal to GW2 is that it's an MMO with all the annoying bullshit stripped out.

Not trying to insult you here, but I do find it kind of amusing how a lot of MMO players seem to be unwilling to accept the concept of a game where you do whatever you want because you enjoy it, and aren't forced into hopping from one quest hub to the next.

Posted by Dezztroy
@niamahai said:

but...how is the /dance?

 It's terrible. It looks dumb and is accompanied by moans you'd expect in hentai.
Edited by project343

Played the open beta for pretty well the whole afternoon/night. Figure I'd dip in with my "pros and cons" list as someone who hasn't really followed this game, or had any interest in it (aside from seeing how the combat system turned out).

Pros

  • Game looks stunning and runs like butter on my modest-to-solid machine. With the hundreds of players running around in the beta, the only thing that gave me trouble were shadows. Absolutely incredible.
  • Not a single crash, bug, or instance of lag being a problem.
  • The combat is tons of fun. And it works really well with a controller. The whole thing felt a lot like DC Universe Online, but significantly more responsive.
  • Pretty solid 'crazy overdesigned Asian fantasy' art style; akin to FFXII and, say, Aion.
  • Small things: pretty fantastic UI, interesting profession system, early level mount, beautiful capital city, pretty solid tutorializing

Cons

  • Quest design; goddamnit, make more compelling quests. In the first 10 levels, I can only thing of like... two quests that weren't kill quests. And they were, in fact, loot 'environment item' quests. The quest design makes vanilla World of Warcraft look like a revolutionary step forward. The most exciting part of my evening was when the game tasked me with climbing a set of vines up a cliff to retrieve an item. Ya. Compelling shit right there.
  • Mobs 'cuz... mobs. They just derp around in circles in giant fields filled with like-minded friends waiting to be an objective on one of your before-mentioned kill quests. More than that, they're the same brand of nonsensical, over-designed mobs that you see in most Final Fantasy games--they feel completely out of place, and like they don't belong in the environment. Jarring to say the least.
  • Some really awful voice acting and writing. I'm pretty sure I heard a Battlestar Galactica dude introduce the game, and boy did he sound bored to be in that recording booth.

So ya. It was sort of what I was expecting. Tons of polish, poor localization, pretty refreshing combat system, and dated Korean/Asian-MMO gameplay.

They're sort of adorable. So here is my 'conquering of the first 10 levels' screenshot.
Posted by minotaka

@project343: awesome screenie!

Edited by M_Shini

I was going to end up getting the game, at least from how it seemed without trying it out, although after the open beta i had lost all my interest, the whole real action time (how ever its supposed to be called) didn't seem to me as such a big deal as i thought it was since i was kind of hoping for a action fighting sort of game game in a mmo universe, and after going through 3 hours of just boring quests with a box of text i completely ignored after trying the first few times, i didn't end up taking in the feel of the world but then that sort of fantasy style isnt necessarily my cup of tea.

They had some cut scene stuff for some quests but it was very minor and the quests were just generally generic and wasn't able to keep me interested why i was doing these things other than to finish them so my map didn't have lots of '!'s everywhere.

Still looking out for that mmo that gets me, although i do wonder when that one will come around since its so hard to get that spark of interest after i had already been into one for a good 3 or less years beforehand, its hard to find 'the one' again a second time around, maybe Phantasy Star Online 2 is more down my street with how the combat is more action oriented in that although at that point PSO2 is (at least my experience of PSU and other phantasy star games) barley a mmo with how instance heavy it is, not to mention they may or may not even have a proper English client leading to the headache of getting fan made English patch's for translations, will wait and see i gusse what happens with the mmo market it needs to stop just following the general Wow Template for battle system at the very least for me.

@ajamafalous said:

@Funkydupe said:

Sometimes I think we just have to wake up and say that these games aren't for us anymore.

I feel like this is something people need to realize about all games, really.

This may be what i can't accept and im asking for something i can't get into any more.

Posted by grayfox1210

A friend of mine described this as "Fan Service: The Game." Big weapons, big boobs, what is considered good armor is barely any clothing at all, and so on.

Posted by EXTomar

Terra has had a long and troubled development history let alone a less than stellar release in Asia. I do feel like they fixed up some issues on the NA release but the fundamental issues are still buried in the system. I do think Terra is on the right track with the idea that the player should be looking into the scene instead of the HUD for updates and what to do but I feel that Terra isn't going to be the first game to break out and do it right.

Posted by Visceral45

Tera is beautiful, the combat is great, endgame PvP is really fun, BAMs are fun, instanced zones are great.......its a awesome game with a nice feel.

BUT as you mentioned the questing is boring, repetitive, lackluster, and void of imagination. The game is built on quests and they should have made them more interesting. More in depth longer quests with higher rewards would go a long ways to make the game more enjoyable. Island Of dawn is very boring and I also dislike the instanced zone you start on at level 20 on your first character. Also bots are already running rampant and I see Tera going down the same road as Lineage 2 which really hurt the official server. I quit playing OFF servers and went to bot protected private servers for exactly that reason.

Private server will be coming for Tera and if the bots are not taken care of on the OFF servers they will merit serious consideration. Also on private servers the ability is there to make the changes that enmasse/blue hole won't make to make the game more enjoyable such as reworking quests among other things.

It has already begun http://terareloaded.com

Posted by Anund

@EXTomar said:

Terra has had a long and troubled development history let alone a less than stellar release in Asia. I do feel like they fixed up some issues on the NA release but the fundamental issues are still buried in the system. I do think Terra is on the right track with the idea that the player should be looking into the scene instead of the HUD for updates and what to do but I feel that Terra isn't going to be the first game to break out and do it right.

I like that you went to the trouble to use italics on the name of game you are talking about, but you didn't even research the game enough to manage to spell it correctly. Your opinion obviously carries weight.

Posted by SeriouslyNow

@project343: That was exactly my experience except I also engaged in a discussion where I called the Elin Loli dolls (and of course was told the Elin are over 1000 years old). Did you feel that the abilitease in the intro was poorly explained?

Posted by project343

@SeriouslyNow said:

@project343: That was exactly my experience except I also engaged in a discussion where I called the Elin Loli dolls (and of course was told the Elin are over 1000 years old). Did you feel that the abilitease in the intro was poorly explained?

It was very disorienting to learn a semi-complex setup, then quickly be reduced to nothing but the most mundane skillset. Initially overwhelmed then quickly disappointed--certainly not the goal of what an abilitease should be.

Posted by CatsAkimbo

@project343 said:

@SeriouslyNow said:

@project343: Did you feel that the abilitease in the intro was poorly explained?

It was very disorienting to learn a semi-complex setup, then quickly be reduced to nothing but the most mundane skillset. Initially overwhelmed then quickly disappointed--certainly not the goal of what an abilitease should be.

I actually like the abilitease quite a bit. When I was deciding what class to play, I made several characters and played around with the more advanced skillset to get a feel for what it would be like playing them. It really helped me figure out what to play. Plus you can skip the prologue on additional characters after you finish it once.

Posted by benspyda

If I were to give this a try it would be a podcast game. Dull mind numbing quests become amazing adventures with Vinny in your ear.

Posted by eccentrix

@Rawson said:

the original story would not have been nearly as interesting if David continued on to kill Goliath's six brothers.

Aw, the Rocky movies weren't that bad.

Posted by Doctorchimp

@Funkydupe said:

These games can be great for people who doesn't already have 3-4 MMOs among their past gaming experiences. Sometimes I think we just have to wake up and say that these games aren't for us anymore.

I'm going to try TERA, GW2 and TSW.

There are still too many people fresh in the MMO genre, and as long as they keep buying the games, they will be made in a similar mold.

It's funny this game isn't for the person who's played MMOs, but it's also for the person craving that sort of mundane MMO grinding experience? What? So it's a game for MMO fans who haven't already played MMOs...

This is why MMOs are failing.

Posted by Funkydupe

@Doctorchimp: The more games you play, the more experience you'll get, the more games you can compare other games to. The pattern is emerging.