Sunday, March 25, 2012

TERA Beta Weekend

I was in the Beta Weekend for TERA, an upcoming MMO. TERA is a bit of a cross between Asian MMOs and WoW/RIFT/SWTOR. It's still a theme park MMO, but a lot of the sensibilities are more reminiscent of Asian MMOs than Western ones.

TERA's main selling point is that it is more of an "action" MMO. The creature animations "telegraph" their attacks, and you can manually dodge or block the attack. As well, you can chain attacks together in combos, to produce something a little bit closer to an action game than a standard MMO.  You don't select a target, but rather attack what's in front of you.

TERA actually does a very good job with this. Combat is rather interesting, and a bit more interactive than standard MMOs. The real standout in TERA is the animations. They are superb.

There are also lots of other nice ideas. For example, harvesting a resource node gives you a small temporary buff for the next few minutes. There's this concept of "stamina" which slowly drains over half an hour or so. You replenish stamina at campfires, and you burn charms to give everyone near the campfire a long-term buff.

However, TERA is pretty shameless. It's the type of MMO where all the female characters wear high heels, and extraordinarily revealing gear. It's actually somewhat impressive at the sheer number of ways TERA's artists can make inappropriate gear.

One race even looks like prepubescent girls, which comes across as rather sketchy. I honestly don't think the developers mean it in a negative way (well, I hope not), as it's paired with another race of furry round badger type animals. But maybe it just loses something in translation. An archetype (lolicon?) which has a specific meaning in Asian culture, but not in Western culture.

As a result of the last two items, the audience TERA seems to attract is rather distasteful. Area chat is rude at best, and downright disgusting at worst. Regardless of the game itself, I would rather not play with those types of people.

Which is a bit of a shame. The game itself has a pretty decent core. The animations are excellent, the classes are interesting and varied, the combat is fun. Some of the subsystems like trading and crafting are a little confusing, and the game likes randomness a little too much. But when I turned off player chat, the game became surprisingly appealing.

Still, you live by the sword, you die by the sword. TERA chose high heels, skimpy armor, and lolicons. And thus they get the audience that is primarily attracted by high heels, skimpy armor, and lolicons.


  1. Sounds unfortunate; I liked the idea behind TERA...the more action focused combat with room for player timing and skill to improve your combat performance...but it is too bad they are appealing mainly to the...well "creepy" market. I mean I am usually alright with a little bit of the bikini-plate but TERA goes overboard, then all the way to the bottom of the ocean, back up, and leaps back onto the ship to dive overboard again.

    Well here's to hope for Guild Wars 2.

  2. I also have to wonder at En Masse's choice of marketing strategy for the game. Did no one who green-lighted the MMO-FO campaign realize what the euphemism mo-fo actually stands for?

    Maybe they really are targeting a certain demographic...

  3. Come on... since when can you judge a game by the chat in its beta? Since this game will have a sub I guess 95% of the "idiots" are gone with rls. Question is if this is worht its money. I dont see me playing this game for months. D3 hits the stores one week later. Dont know wich one I will pick up to get time passed till the interessting stuff comes out. Like TSW or GW2.

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  5. If you are familiar with them, how does Tera's combat compare to games like Vindictus or Kingoms of Amalur? They sound fairly similar from your post.

  6. I haven't played Kingdoms of Amalur, but I have tried Vindictus.

    TERA combat is sort of in-between Vindictus and WoW. It's actually kind of hard to explain this, because on paper TERA sounds more like Vindictus than WoW. But somehow the pacing of the fight is more like WoW, at least in the early levels.

    That's probably a pretty bad explanation, but if WoW and Vindictus were on a spectrum, I'd put TERA in the middle somewhere.

    Of course, the non-combat aspects are all much more like WoW, with an an actual world rather than a lobby-based system.

  7. I liked what I'd seen of Tera so far - the world is beatiful and the combat seems to be something new in the MMO world - but indeed, I was put off as soon as I saw the loli's; I could handle the large amount of skin being shown but that was just too much. I had hoped it'd be just my imagination running loose that it would affect the gameplay, but now that you are confirming it I'm a little disappointed. Bringing this game to a Western market, they should've toned down on the neko.

  8. TERA combat is a bit more flexible than a traditional MMO, but not as free form as a typical action game. Your skills still root you in place for the duration, so it becomes more of a tactical position game rather than something a bit more free form such as Kingdoms of Amalur, the God of War series or Devil May Cry.

  9. It seems that being an ass-hat is the norm in all MMO games right now, rather than the exception. Maybe it's time to introduce drop down menus for speech rather than allowing people to type abuse in chat channels.
    Let's face it, in a BG all I need to know is "Inc BS", and I certainly don't need to see "wtf u doin noobs? ffs u suk" every single time I play.

  10. vlad, ironically, TERA has a very nice and easy to use implementation of that. Pressing E brings up a radial menu of combat talk options and you can quickly select one.