For years, MMOs have been limited by an over-dependency on stats that has negated the need for genuine gameplay skills in combat. TERA promises to change all that as it arrives on the scene laden with all the colour and fanfare of Western MMO design. Fans of the genre will be delighted to hear that it succeeds with flying colours.
TERA is a wondrous home of seven fantastical races facing the threat of an evil hiding under the surface. It falls to you and your little round-cheeked cuddly puppy to save the day.
Sounds somewhat familiar? No surprise. In almost all ways, TERA fails to present anything new to MMOs. It offers plenty of story quests as you climb your way to level 60, and there are dynamic events where players have to defend themselves against hordes of monsters. You can also run for office and come to rule over a whole continent, arranging NPC services, collecting taxes and reaping the rewards of power.
Guilds can go to war with one another when they find each other as well as setting up death matches. But there’s nothing new here. Rather, TERA wears the one-size-fits-all jacket of a MMO as tailored by World of Warcraft.
TERA would fall beneath the shadows of other MMOs, were it not for its crowning jewel of originality: the combat. TERA gives to MMOs the combat of console action games, placing importance on player skill rather than stats and items. It works by pairing the camera controls with the motion of your mouse, placing your character’s focus on a reticule in the centre of the screen. Taking down big monsters will test your reaction and thinking times, genuinely working your brain and forcing you to live in-the-moment. The gameplay demands precision and will reward you for it. Combat has never felt as satisfying in any other MMO.
This combat system really is the singular but valuable bartering chip of the entire game. Whether or not you ultimately sign up for TERA will entirely come down to how much importance you place on the action-based combat. In every other way, TERA is a typical, run-of-the-mill MMO, but if ever a MMO was made glorious by one single element of brilliance, then it’s this.