[Note: This post is not meant to be professional, this is a personal blog for god’s sake. Thanks.] I was never really going to play TERA upon release, so I thought it would be alright to spend a couple of dollars to try out the Closed Beta phases for TERA Europe. I first played TERA on the Korean server ages ago in Closed Beta 1 or 2 using a friend’s account, but since then I have not touched the game.
Open world action combat is something which I have not seen for a long time, with an old MMO call Risk Your Life (or Return of Warrior in the latest incarnation) the closest thing for me. Of course I was excited when TERA was announced, after all the old man in me is getting tired of the “generic” point and click combat system. So what possible complains could I have against TERA?
“True action combat”. I am not sure how Bluehole Studio, the Korean developer define this, but in my books, not having the ability to fire projectiles or swing weapons while moving/ strafing is not really “true” action combat. It is more like a “True Non-Point and Click” online title. Imagine you are a soldier on the battlefield with an assault rifle, but everytime you want to shoot, you have to stand still at a spot, fire a few rounds, and move again. The same thing applies for melee combat, you can’t swing your weapons while moving. I am getting the feeling I will be flamed for being so choosy and stuff, but seriously, this restriction pissed me off tremendously. The skill casting system is not “fun” or “action” at all as well. I find it hard to describe in words, but it has got something to do with a delay when casting continuous skills not caused by lag, but how the system is designed.
Ok, so gamers wanted action combat, hence the developer gave “console style action combat”. Wait, is it really “console style”? What made console RPG action fun? Let me see… endless chain of combos, ever jumping damage numbers, bonuses for more attacks being chained together… Wait, none of these are in TERA! Yes, I am being picky again, but I hate it that all these things were apparently not thought of much during the production process.
Basically, TERA does not really have an identity of its own other than the rather novel acknowledgement of it as the first open world action MMORPG. Other than that, everything else is pretty much similar to old-school mainstays like Lineage II and WoW. It also lacks the true meaning of action, which was highlighted above. With that said, NCsoft reportedly formed a new team for Lineage III recently. Hopefully, the development team played enough consoles action RPGs and online games like Dragon Nest to know how combat should actually be like.
Is TERA really all that bad? No at all. The graphics is one of the best I have ever encountered for an Unreal Engine 3 title. Most of the others I played felt somewhat clunky, perhaps due to the inexperienced developers working on the engine. In fact, TERA has perhaps the best graphics in MMOs I have ever played in my life, alongside ArcheAge. Since majority of Bluehole Studio’s staff defected from NCsoft, which use Unreal Engine for most of its games, this is the kind of quality and polished visuals which make gamers immerse in the detailed world.
There is a small detail which gave me a pleasant surprise, which is getting random buffs just by gathering resources out in the open field. They range from healing you, increase max health points, increasing gathering skills and more. You see, it is all these simple things which gamers take for granted, and only will complain about if one day this function disappears.
I guess that is all for now. My main point is, the “action combat” lacks the “action”, and combat itself does not make a complete game without the right features to complement this system. Hey, having massive server merges in just a couple of months in Korea and Japan didn’t happen for nothing after the initial craze. TERA is a good game to spend some time in now, but once Diablo III and Guild Wars 2 arrives, I fear the worst. Guild Wars 2 may not boast the “True action combat” tag, but with its dynamic world events, secret dungeons, PvP modes and more, it will definitely trounce TERA in terms of re-playability. And no monthly fee as well!