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Published on July 28th, 2012 | by Matt Purser

TERA – Asian grind-fest or genre defining moment in MMO gaming?

I actually wanted to title this “TERA – 2000 year old sex objects and giant noses with hands” sadly though the Funsponge overlords soaked up my amusement and advised me that referring to the childlike Erin as sex objects would probably offend someone somewhere.


TERA is the latest in a very long line of fantasy based MMOs to hit these shores, it’s a subscription based model so you’ll actually have to fork out real folding coins to play it as well as buying the “box”.

Anyone who’s played an MMO in the last 5-6 years will recognise the format, hit buttons to perform actions in a sequence that makes the monster in front of you fall over. Stand at a crafting station clicking more buttons to create items which never sell on a virtual auction house. Smash face against a keyboard as your comrades can’t fathom the basics of “don’t stand in the fire”. That kind of thing, you get the picture.

Well TERA, bless its crazy knee-high Asian socks, does away with the old click on monster, click on number of buttons and wait for it to die routine and instead opts for a much more fluid, natural way of fighting. Why no one thought of this before is beyond me, after a few minutes you’re dancing around pulling off wild ninja-esque moves with reckless abandon. The graphics and animations of both your character and the bizarre creatures you face (more on those later) are incredibly well realised, each item you pick up, each bit of armour, basically everything you wear, wield, ride on or caress with your delicate fingers has been individually designed. From the usual rubbish “grey” loot to the  “orange” loot (no purpehlz here) each piece of equipment has been designed/modelled/painted from the ground up. Hats off to the art department in this respect, as a visual spectacle it’s truly stunning, every zone you enter, every section of that zone, every dungeon, cave, lake, river etc. has been hand-crafted from an amazing palette of colours, textures and effects.


Despite all the effort put into the combat, which is truly different, innovative and at times downright spectacular, the rest of the game is ultimately yet another generic clone, if a hugely polished one. Butt loads of content and stuff to do, competently executed but lacking any real innovation. The quests… ahh yes the quests, before I skip over that. There are literally thousands of them, tens of thousands. But none of them between lvl 1 and 43, where I got before calling it quits, presented me with anything different other than the usual “kill x of these, then x of these, then camp a named mob that may or may not appear for a while whilst killing x of these” or the best ones “go chat to him right over there” *points to NPC right next door to the one you’re speaking to*.

Even the tutorial level gives it away somewhat. You start at level 20 with some skills to master which introduces you to the combat system. Then once you complete that mini-story it plunges you back to level 1 and the “find/kill/collect” grind begins and everything begins to feel very familiar.


And yet….despite that familiarity there’s something about it that compels me to play that little bit more to see what’s round the corner. Whether that be a beautiful vista, or a BAM (Big Ass Monster), TERA’s epic boss mobs which are both vast and bonkers, some of them are just an arse with arms!

This is not a game to be played alone, you’ll soon grow bored of the eternal quest grind and no matter how cool those spinny swords or fiery flames look attached to your arms, nothing will fill the void created by the feeling that you’ve done all this before 101 times. So unlike Guild Wars 2, which genuinely appears to be attempting something truly monumental in ripping up these tired tropes MMOs have been for the past two decades, TERA falls at the second hurdle, taking brave steps with the combat system but failing to revolutionise anything else.

TERA - Floaty Magics

It’s a fun diversion, as a long term project though, and lets face it only the game which shall not be named has managed to pull off the long term with any success in the last eight years. If you’ve played any MMO’s since, you’ve seen this all before barring the pretty graphics and flashy combat. Unless you happen to be really into Asian styled games, with all the grind and challenge that go along with them, and you have at least 4 friends to share those challenges with, you’ll probably tire of it fairly quickly.

If it’s just you and a spare £50 I would spend it on Guild Wars 2 and get way more bang for your buck.

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About the Author

has played games since the pixel was first formed on the back of a stone ape. From Mazogs, through Everquest, and finally the joys of under a tenner gaming via the magic of Steam. Matt is unashamedly an attention deficit gamer.

3 Responses to TERA – Asian grind-fest or genre defining moment in MMO gaming?

  1. Gary Kirwan says:

    I think I liked Tera more as a collection of ideas than an actual game. The 3rd person action style of combat was great in theory but because every attack had an animation which rooted you for the duration, essentially giving it a cast time, it felt a bit clunky. The combo system helped this by reducing each successive animation sequence but not a lot. The Vanarch system was also really interesting but is something the value of which will only be seen in the long run. In the pro column, playing a healing class in the game is really refreshing because there’s no health bar whack-a-mole. You either need to mouse over the ally or the ability is ground targetted, making positioning, awareness and predicting your allies movements more important.

  2. Matt Purser says:

    Yep completely agree. I didn’t actually mention the Vanarch system which I probably should have because that is actually a pretty cool concept, but like you say it is a collection of good ideas rather than something that hangs together as a rounded product. Even the Vanarch system, which I’m assuming they tried to base off of Eves player run system was watered down so players don’t actually control all that much just what the developers want them to whereas Eve just says ‘have it all’…

    The healing system is probably the most challenging healing I’ve ever done, though it’s a bit of a one-trick pony once you’ve got high enough, I’m not sure the system itself can add any more complexity to it but it’s a neat twist on whack-a-mole healing.

  3. Vesh says:

    No purpelhz?!!

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