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Disclaimer: I will not explain or elaborate on how to play the beta, if you really want to, you will find a way.
This review is based on my experience thus far up to level 20.
Guys, the hype is real. If you have been reading up, watching videos, exploring lore or just browsing forums in anticipation of this game, let me just tell you....TERA is everything you've hoped for and MORE.
Character creation is a breeze, but sliders are limited to the head only. Height, weight, length, etc etc are all locked by which race you choose. Don't let this fool you though, there are more than enough customization options to set yourself apart from the rest.
Unfortunately I cannot provide a deep review of my encounters in the land of Arborea, mainly because the game is completely in Korean, but what I can do is provide my honest opinion of the games mechanics, gameplay, and attention to detail. First off, the game is absolutely beautiful. Coming from Aion, this game takes graphics to an even HIGHER level, which I was very very skeptical about. Make sure you upgrade your graphics cards because you don't want to miss out on the beauty that this game exudes. Mind you, the client itself is 22 gigs before patching...you get the picture. Player models are smooth and polished, animations are fluent and realistic and every map has been pushed to its graphical limit. In Aion i distinctly remember a lot of the NPC's not on par with the actual character models, but in TERA each NPC has the same perfection and polish that the playable characters have. NPC's move around, play with their weapons, tighten their armor, and do various things that they would be doing. The maps are massive and wide, allowing you to choose your own path, or follow the sets of quests branched out from each town and camp. You will NEVER run out of quests in TERA....there are dozens in each town, and more in each camp....so many so that I find myself even declining some! The actual quests are very well made and create a flawless balance between the typical grind you'd expect in a Korean MMO and the quest based XP us Westerner's are used to. As you get around 13+ the quest mobs really make you work to drop those precious quest items. This really pleased me because I am so used to just getting 1 item from every quest mob no matter what. Nope, not in TERA. You need to work for those quests, sometimes grinding out 40+ mobs on a 15 item quest. They make it so you don't even realize you're grinding while you are!
The best part about playing TERA is that it really is like nothing I've ever played before. I come from a background of mainstream MMO's, Ragnarok Online, WoW, WAR, AoC, Aion and so on. So getting used to having a crosshair on your screen at all times was invigorating and felt fresh. I chose the Archer class, coming from an FPS background I figured it would be my best bet, also I have always been fond of the ranger/sin classes.
The Archer does not upset. New skills come about every two levels, and once that ding pops you better bet I'm off to the nearest skill trainer to grab those new skills. ESPECIALLY because I have no clue what they do! My favorite part of the TERA gameplay is obviously the action style combat system. It really has me sold after two days of gameplay. The amount of different combo's you can chain together are endless, making each monster encounter something special and fun. Gone are the days of "Tab target, F1.........F2..........F1............F4". In TERA you need to actually AIM at the monster you want to hit!
Many times have I been saved by perfectly timed combo's that actually make me feel like i've accomplished something.
Here is an example of a random mob fight.
I approach the target mob.......I get within about 19m, aim my crosshairs at it and begin to hold right click. My bow charges with power as a slider slides through one powerup, I keep holding and it slides through the next level.....I release right click and BOOM! the mob is hit and knocked down. I get within 15m and hold left click to start pelting it with my arrows (each hit landed returns mana). The mob is furious and it charges me......I have to act quick or I'll be hit and knocked, I quickly press 2 and my archer whirlwind spins backward, evading the mob's blow. I notice that the mob has summoned minions to help aid him, so I press F1 which brings up a square box on my crosshair. Walking backward I highlight over each minion with my crosshair and they turn green once highlighted.....with all 5 selected I click again and BLAST goes my multiarrow taking out the minions with ease. The original mob is dangerously close to me now but also low on health....I decide to finish him off. I double tap the 4 key and with a close range melee sweeping kick and backflip finish the mob off in style .
Now remember, that was TOTALLY situational. Every different mob yields a different battle / set of combo's. This is what keeps the game fun!
I can't yet report on the in's and out's of crafting system because frankly, I cannot read Korean. There are many intricate details and random quirky things that really makes this game a blast to play. As for PVP, at this point it is a declare/accept dueling type system. I haven't been able to get into it much because of the language barrier, but I have dueled a few people and am still undefeated I took down a berserker and two slayers thus far. The instance at level 11 is a great beginner instance with an AMAZING looking boss, something players should get used to in TERA. Throughout the campaign you'll be visited by breathtaking cinematic's, fantastical unicorn rides, and I'm sure some awe inspiring lore to come (once we can read it)
There is much more to be told, but for now I must get some rest. I can report on the 20+ gameplay next week.