For the past few weeks, I've been playing Tera Online 1 to 2 evenings a week as a static duo with Sarzan, who is by the way, starting to blog on Spicy Funyun. For me, the idea is to surf F2P games until the next big surge of enthusiasm for GW2 aka an expansion, as filler. GW2 is my home for the foreseeable future but an alternative would be nice.
Despite having a list, of which Tera Online wasn't even included, that's where we've landed first. I don't remember how that happened. *Smile* Going in, I knew Tera Online wasn't targeted to players like me. I'm no FPS gamer. I've played a few in my day and have enjoyed them but I suck at them. I'm a die hard keyboard gamer. Me and PC games go way back. Me and controllers, not so much. So I can't blame the game for aspects that are awkward for me merely because I prefer to do most things with the keyboard. So I'll skip my opinion on those aspects for the most part.
It Ain't no Tyria
I don't know when I'll see the likes of GW2 Tyria graphics and detail again in another MMO. It's incomparable, inspiring and stunning. We do pay dearly for all this pomp and circumstance. Large body combat can be an agonizing slide show. For me culling just added insult to injury. Even so, gaming in Tyria's lush world that always feels alive, reminds me why I play fantasy games, in particular, MMOs.
Tera is somewhat of a generic fantasy MMO environment. The art style feels a bit dated coming out of GW2. It's not on the level of realism like Age of Conan, nor is it stylistic like Allods. Don't get me wrong, the graphics are "nice" but they're not really special. There are elements that appeal to me. So far I've seen shire-like areas, woods and germanic style locations I'm partial to as zones. The human city is slightly industrial in a way that gives it a whisper of steampunk.
For questing you have your bears, pigs and boars clustered in groupings that are all too familiar and doing nothing new - same old pathing and static behavior. The zones themselves are very reminiscent of Runes of Magic. If ROM wasn't your cup of tea, Tera won't impress you much either. It doesn't feel like developers have come to terms with the sheer variety of choices we have now in the MMO space and that merely decent or "okay", isn't going to get you monthly subscribers anymore.
You will encounter some NPC and mob types I've not seen anywhere before, with details that are very nicely done. However, so far, it's back to questing in the wilds ala EQ1/2, WOW and the rest of the old guard. This questing in the wilds leaves me flat. I'm left wondering why I'm supposed to care what these creatures are doing out here amongst themselves? The answer is I don't. For me, there's no sense of urgency in that questing model. I don't bother with the quest text. I'm merely a schlub grabbing tasks and managing a "To Do" list.
All that said, there are aspects of Tera that shine, such as the classes and other reasons that kept me moving past the starter area. Check back on Wednesday for part 2 of my early impressions and Friday for the conclusion.