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TERA Beta Report: Action MMOs are the future!

The Exiled Realm of Arborea or Tera if your not crazy is a Korean action MMO and will soon make it’s US and EU debut. Recently Frogster (The EU publishers of Tera) planed to do a sneak peek weekend, where people could try out the game before it went into closed beta. That didn’t happen. From what I can tell their servers blew up under the load and they canceled the weekend event. Of course this was followed with people on the official forums demanding compensation for all their lost FREE! Yesterday Frogster announced a short two hour test for a “Functional tests of our systems” and I jumped at the chance to check it out.

I’ve heard about Tera for a while now but was never interested until I watched the trailer about politics and the ability to govern in Tera. The biggest thing I miss from MMOs are the social elements something like this has the potential to be very interesting. Unfortunately apart from the trailer I haven’t reached a point in beta where I can see any of this in action but it’s my most anticipated feature by far.

The other main feature that sets Tera apart is it’s combat system. They have gone for an hack and slash style with abilities being triggers for bigger attacks. Left mouse is your basic attack that you can chain up to four times for more damage and right click is dodge. Combat felt really slick. Actively participating in combat is something I feel has been lacking in MMOs for some time. Staring at your hotbar and managing rotations has been the standard for too long. Having to doge because some giant tree dude is about to punch you in your face is far more engaging. Their have been other MMOs that have tried this style of combat such as Vindictus but Vindictus has a Phantasy Star Online structure and isn’t what I would call a true MMO. Guild Wars 2 also came to mind. Looking at the trailers they seem to be going for the same thing in terms of combat. More action based and reacting to what’s happening on screen. While combat felt fluid it must be said that the starting area was incredibly easy. I probably could of used my basic attack and killed everything just fine.

The questing was the usual MMO quest thing. Click the dude, take the quest and hand it in. They have a section of the quest log dedicated to “Story Quests” but they didn’t differentiate in any meaningful ways. There were a few cutscenes but out of the two and half hours I played I would say about 2 minutes of that were cutscenes. Having played a lot of SWTOR recently I did enjoy that I could just marathon through theses quests without waiting for dialogue. One thing that made for stop and think for a second was the inclusion of player collision. I don’t really have anything to say about it... I just thought it was weird.

I kept doing my quests and eventually made it out of the starting area and into the first (maybe only?) city, Velika. Tera already looked good but Velika looked amazing. The buildings were so ornate and looking up you could see all the landmarks of the city. I spent a good half hour just wandering around checking out the vendors, trainers, crafting areas and loot that was way too high level for me. I also found a vendor that got me real excited. Guild hall dude. I didn’t even know guild halls were going to be in Tera but it’s social things like that I really like. Having a guild hall in Guild Wars was a bunch of fun and SWTOR is adding them soon™. It’s something I wish more MMOs had.

I finished my play session excited and wanting to play more. I preordered so I get into all the closed beta events coming up and hopefully get some more impressions out beforel Tera launches on May 1st.