Tera - Game Overview
The basics of Tera, from combat to skills to transportation.
Bluehole Studio’s The Exiled Realm of Arborea (TERA) seeks to break the mold of MMO gaming by introducing a new combat system that handles as well as any brawler you’d find on a games console. With seven race, eight classes, and an incredibly diverse character customization system, it’s easy to come up with the perfect hero to journey through Abrorea battling “Big Ass Monsters” for loot, fun, and glory. With incredible graphics, seamless gameplay, and a political system that grants power to active players on servers, TERA has a lot to offer the MMO genre. Try it today!
The basics of Tera, from combat to skills to transportation.
Gamer Girl Sophia Loveu reviews TERA.
TERA class overview: which will you choose?
TERA is a game that seeks to redefine the MMO experience through a combination of unique visual design and action-oriented gameplay. Originally developed by Korea’s Bluehole Studio in 2011, The Exiled Realm of Arborea (or TERA) has finally been unleashed on the Western world, courtesy of En Masse Entertainment. The game claims to change the rules of the MMO genre currently dominated by titles like World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Does TERA deliver on its promises, or does it simply prove that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
Like the majority of MMOs, TERA is set in a fantasy world populated by dangerous monsters and powerful beings. With seven races and eight classes to choose from, TERA’s world is diverse. Every race can assume the role of any class, allowing for a high amount of character variability: players can choose to tank through the game as an Elin, who are basically childlike bunny-girls, or heal their allies as Baraka, a huge race descended from giants. Character models are very customizable, with features that can be altered and shaped down to the jawline and or even their nostril flare. Even though the character models are extremely varied, TERA’s gameworld is visually consistent, adding to the game’s immersiveness—although it must be said that there are serious discrepancies between male and female armor designs that were actually censored in the game’s Western release for being too revealing. I thought it was cute.
TERA’s menagerie of enemies is beautifully rendered using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. The strongest enemies in TERA are affectionately referred to as BIG ASS MONSTERS. Yeah, that’s right—BIG ASS MONSTERS. No kidding, either: some of these BIG ASS MONSTERS are huge and pretty challenging, requiring a group of players to work together to take ‘em down.
Despite the game’s high level of visual customizability and race/class combinations, the game’s party system typically returns to the classic MMO dream team comprised of a tank, a healer, and some damage dealers. The lancer, TERA’s tank class, is the linchpin of any group, existing purely to take damage from the BIG ASS MONSTERS as their teammates chip away at enemy health bars. This game is basically about tanking and spanking.
The game supports two different modes of control: the standard keyboard and mouse option, as well as an option to play with a gamepad. Each control scheme is adequate, although seasoned MMO players will probably stick to the former option because it allows for greater accuracy and a larger number of keybinds, both which are essential for twitch-oriented gameplay. TERA is a game that focuses on the need for precise controls; unlike games like World of Warcraft, which basically only require you to be facing your target when blasting them with spells or slashing them with your sword, TERA features an action-oriented combat system that forces players to directly engage with their targets, toe-to-toe.
TERA’s combat system is probably the game’s most revolutionary aspect, and is the feature that separates experienced players from MMO virgins. Many skills are directly impacted by player positioning: a mystic can use “Soaring Attack” to quickly recover and strike back at an enemy who has knocked them to the ground, while archers, a physically fragile but highly mobile character class, have a variety of abilities to keep enemies at a distance, such as a stun trap and an ability called Backstep which allows them to leap away from enemies in melee range.
One of TERA’s most interesting aspects is its direct engagement with server politics, which impact the structure of the gameworld. Players are put in charge of political goings-on in Arborea through the vanarch system, in which guild leaders compete for leadership of the world’s various provinces. Becoming a vanarch is the most prestigious achievement in TERA, and is only possible through a combination of guild versus guild combat, constructive community engagement, and of course, the slaughtering of a lot of BIG ASS MONSTERS for “Policy Points.” Policy Points allow vanarchs to pass particular laws regarding taxes, enable or disable player versus player combat, and also to hire and fire particular NPCs; in short, vanarchs are the VIPs of Arborea, wielding dizzying political power.
While the vanarch system is definitely something for players to strive for, it isn’t perfect. If a vanarch chooses to quit playing the game during their tenure, they are impossible to replace, meaning that all the decisions they have the power to make cannot be made and their province stagnates. This problem will likely be addressed in a future patch, but it seems like a pretty silly developmental oversight.
TERA gestures towards potential evolutions in the MMO genre while at the same time sadly repeating many of its worst aspects. Classes are balanced around a stagnant healer-tank-DPS model that reduces opportunities for groups to play together successfully, and the quests are pretty dull: after all, collecting rabbit hides for a tailor isn’t particularly heroic. That said, the combat system is stellar compared to other MMOs, the graphics are amazing, and tackling the BIG ASS MONSTERS left me breathless. TERA certainly offers enough to tide over bored World of Warcraft players waiting for the next truly revolutionary MMO. It earns a Z-Score of 81/100.