TERA review in progress - Part 1
Looking to redefine the MMORPG experience En Masse Entertainment released TERA last week, an action MMO that rids itself of traditional MMORPG combat, and instead, replaces it with real-time skill-based combat. While a lot of TERA is comprised of features already seen in many MMOs, the game takes these elements and either polishes them or provides a unique twist that makes the system fresh again.
These days, MMORPGs usually follow a simple formula: Go to NPC, get quest, perform task, return for XP and reward. In a sense, TERA doesn't deviate from this course. You have quest givers marked with an exclamation point, waypoints showing you where to go, a traditional HUD, etc. These are features that simply work. There is a reason most, if not all, MMOs have it. So in that sense, you can't blame En Masse for not trying to reinvent the wheel.
That's not to say En Masse has created another WoW clone. In fact, they have taken quite a different approach, especially in terms of combat. As I mentioned, TERA features an all-new action, real-time combat system that takes player skill into account just as much as character skill.
Combat in TERA relies on your ability to actively aim, attack, and defend against enemies. Using your cursor you must accurately aim at the enemy and click to attack. Mix in some active abilities, chain attacks and defensive abilities, and TERA's combat is perhaps the most welcomed change — espeically in an MMO genre that has grown stale with auto attacking enemies. There's no pressing a button and waiting. There's no randomness in terms of you hitting or missing; if your target is over the enemy, you'll hit it. If you aren't in front of the enemy, they won't hit you.
TERA isn't just about aiming and clicking. Abilities can be chained into combos that dish out extra damage. You can set up your abilities in a way so that after using one skill, you can hit 'spacebar' and perform another skill immediately after. Not only does this add more damage, but it makes the combat in TERA more smooth and seamless.
Like most MMOs, TERA is based off of your traditional roles: tank, healer, and dps. These roles are spread over a few classes like Warrior, Lancer, Archer, Mystic, etc. Many of these classes are similar to what you'd find in other games, but as I said, it is the combat that separates these classes. Between the active dodging/blocking and attacking, TERA puts a nice spin on the otherwise overdone class archetypes.