Publisher: En Masse
It's now free to play!
I played a great deal of TERA when it was released early last year, and for all its gorgeous graphics and impressive locales, there was still something about it that didn’t quite feel right. The developers pushed the boundaries – allowing MMO gamers to hook up a controlled for one of the first times – but it still felt rather dated. Add a few issues with some of the Race content and a fairly high monthly subscription and you’re left scratching your head.
TERA recently went free-to-play, so we thought it was time to jump back in -since we didn't play the game since our TERA Diary last year-, and examine how things have changed, and if it’s worth leaping back in and trying to play again.
Visuals – TERA is a stunning looking game, perhaps the most gorgeous MMO on the market today. The colours pop, the landscape looks massive (but not empty) and animations are slick and smooth. It was fantastic when you had to pay monthly, but now you can get in for free it’s hardly even worth thinking about. This is definitely a game for the graphics hungry.
Attention to Detail – It’s not just the quality of the graphics themselves, however. TERA boasts some of the finest attention to detail in any MMO I’ve ever played, and it makes the world come alive. Whether it’s a blimp hovering thousands of feet in the sky or the decent of flying Pegasus into a major city, it’s impressive to watch and never fails to leave you with a smile on your face.
Push and Play – Although there aren’t many MMO gamers who would admit to it, one of the biggest problems in MMO gaming is the barrier between the player and the world they’re trying to inhabit. With TERA, that problem is cut in half. Although the controller is no replacement for the keyboard (and you’ll still find yourself needing to use both at times), for 90% of situations it feels like you’re much more part of a world, and less playing a game.
Fight! – The battles in TERA are constant adrenaline baths. Even with the small creatures, you must learn to time your dodges well, as well as when best to use the more powerful attacks. You come across bigger enemies during play, and they can be incredibly tough, but a little tactics and hard work makes bringing them down all the more satisfying.
Pick Up and Go – If you’ve played TERA before and cancelled your subscription, you’ll now be able to download the game for free and play from exactly where you left off. I had to change my name and couldn’t pick anything even remotely like it, but I still had everything I had before and even the same quests were activated. If you’re on the fence about returning, this should at least give you peace of mind knowing you won’t be starting again from the beginning.
I’m Waiting… - Downloading a game is never interesting, but TERA takes that to a whole new level. With a 1mb download speed, expect to have to wait up to five hours for even a touch of gameplay. If you don’t have the HDD space or allowances on your connection, try and find something else.
Lore – For everything I loved about TERA’s gameplay, I couldn’t help but feel the lore itself was a little boring. An island appears, evil returns, it’s up to you to save the day. The plot itself is dry enough – although rather well presented at times – but the backstory is more like a history lesson than an interesting myth, and it ends up going in one ear and out the other.
Bugs, STILL?! – TERA was one of the top MMORPG games at release, but it wasn’t without its faults. There was a pretty annoying FPS glitch that would have perfectly capable GPUs churning out FPS in single digits. The only fix was to jump into your external GPU control program and set the settings to be handled from there. Imagine my surprise to learn that almost twelve months and a relaunch on, and that bug still exists, as well as a myriad of other little annoying things that turned many off the game in the first place. Talking of…
The Elin Problem – TERA had a rather big controversy concerning one of its playable races. The Elin are flawless, doll-like characters in skimpy outfits, but they’re also about the size and shape of a preteen girl. This caused many to boycott TERA completely, although there was quite a big difference between the original TERA release and the English translation (mainly less skin). The race remains playable and I imagine the mods are still locking any thread that mentions Elin oversexulisation on their official forums.
It’s also worth mentioning that, if you plan to play as a human or elven female, prepare yourself for an awful lot of jiggle in the boobs. Thankfully, the Elin don’t have this problem. God forbid things get creepy, huh?
TERA is a fantastic game, but without an established IP on its side fell into the cracks of The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2 last year. Like The Secret World, there’s still an awful lot checking out, and now that the barrier of entry has been reduced, I strongly suggest you at least check it out. Just make sure you give yourself a little time before you want to play – that download is a killer.