Peppered with beasts and monsters thatll make you feel like youre playing a session of Monster Hunter fused with the fantasy world of Aion, TERA is an action MMO at its heart with a combat system that focuses more on timing and precision. Its also one of the most gorgeous MMOs on the horizon. Making full use of the Unreal III engine, TERA sports some of the most stunning visuals of any MMO weve played. The land is beautiful, the characters are shamefully hot, and even the monsters are breathtaking. Well, not so much breathtaking as huge and intimidating, but you get the picture.
As mentioned earlier, TERA's combat system sets it apart from nearly every MMO on the market. Developer Bluehole Studio has ditched the tab-targeting mechanic for an action system that forces the player to engage in every encounter. Skills and spells must be aimed and dodging is key to surviving even the most trivial of fights. Even healers will have to use their twitch aim to bounce between main tank heals and ranged casters on outskirts of the action, weaving together a combat experience that feels fresh and unique to the genre.
But TERA also has one of the only political systems that allows for players to rule over entire zones. You can set up your own election campaign or muscle your way to the top in Guild vs Guild PvP for the title of Vanarch. Attaining the position allows a player to tax goods and sales within a region or decide what services are allowed. A slew of options allow Vanarchs to customize how they rule, but bi-weekly elections insure no tyrant or do-gooder stays in power long.
TERA might not be different in every aspect, but Bluehole and publisher En Masse have managed to put together a package that highlights and builds upon its differences for something that truly stands out in a sea of sameness. Thats why GamesRadar was excited to be able to giveaway closed beta keys for the most recent closed beta test phase for TERA. If you missed your chance to try TERA for yourself, or if you just want to know more, join us for highlights from our favorite moments from last weekends beta test event.
Every epic journey starts with a hero, or in this case, a hot Castanic heroine. Character creation in TERA has built upon many of the tropes we've seen in MMOs, offering a slew of preset designs and faces but also providing the ability to tweak facial features via extensive sliders for bone structure, nose, eyes, mouth and ears. The option of seven races gives players a nice starting point for creating a unique look, all of which are highly polished and attractive. If rolling an ugly avatar is more your thing, just hit the random button and you'll receive a face that will compete with the strangest of beasts in TERA.
Customization and Controls
As any Star Wars: The Old Republic player will tell you, realizing you can customize your user interface is a big thing. When opening up our options, we found that we could move any UI element on my screen to any location. TERA also has controller support (see bottom right of screen), which offers the welcome option to sit back and play the game like a console RPG. As purists, we preferred the keyboard and mouse, but the controller was also incredibly easy to use even when navigating inventory and character menus.
First Big-Ass Monster
Killing loads of demons and corrupted animals usually leads to one thing: cleansing the source of evil. Turns out that source of evil was a demon the size of a two-story building that hits like a Mack truck. TERA's major strength is how different its combat is from other MMOs. We couldn't help but squee with a mixture of fear and joy as this lumbering pinnacle of evil lunged from one side of the room to the other. Well-timed dodging and constant movement makes it possible to slay the beast without taking a single hit. Unfortunately, we died while soaking up the fun rather than dodging as he proceeded to jump on me.
Flying with Pegasus
We didn't really get a sense of how beautiful TERA was until our first flight on this flying horse. With the wind rushing through our hair as trees and players below passed beneath the glory of our mounts wings, we could drink in TERAs massive world from afar. The flight was a bit long but we couldn't help but the time spent admiring the architecture and gorgeous horizons on our way to Velika city was well spent.
Our First Mount
Flying on Pegasus was great, but what we really needed were some hooves to get us around on the ground. The first mount we received was a brown armored horse. Why is this a grand moment you ask? Aside from the luxury of faster travel, mounts in TERA summon instantly with the click of a button. The combat system requires a lot of room to move and dodge, inadvertently causing some quest monsters to be spread out across the landscape. This mount helped keep the action rolling by allowing us to move across the battlefield without the unnecessary hassle of waiting for respawns or bothersome mount summons.
Helping a Popori Child
This little Popori was the son of the Fey Forest Keeper. Worried that he wouldn't be acknowledged as the heir, he took matters into his (and our) hands by gathering the materials to make a good impression. In this case, that would be the wings plucked from a dozen fairies. Most of the quests in TERA are typical kill, gather, and delivery tasks, but the stories and combat go a long way in making them more enjoyable. Phonon has you gather the wings from fairies and then places them all over his body for a glittering look. His new shimmering exterior is sure to impress those that doubt his ability as future Forest Keeper.
Taking on Groups
Big-Ass Monsters (aka BAMs) comprise most of our epic fights during the beta, but not the most challenging. As a sorcerer hell-bent on destruction, we needed to kill tons of monsters in the most efficient manner possible. Pulling together large groups forced us to utilize advanced strategies, weaving in and out of casting spells and dodging. TERA does have its own large groups comprised of leaders and half a dozen minions, but after some practice we were able to pull two or three of these groups together for faster xp and a more intense experience. Every class has skills that hit multiple targets, all of which shine when players pull groups rather than settle for one-on-one fights.
Tuwongi Mire is certainly an oddity. This swamp-like zone is akin to seeing a half-naked Elvis do the Macarena: you know it's strange, but you can't help but enjoy it. As you can imagine, the zone is themed according to anything amphibious and toady. We saw temples made from giant toads, balloons made from less giant toads, and drums that were played by toads desperately hopping away only to be pulled back by a leash. The area is inhabited by a strange mini-bird cult, all of which have crazy eyes and helmets. One cult had a bear trap helm, another preferred a fruit basket. Most of the areas we saw were of the fantastical magical variety, but this swamp took things to another level.
World Elite BAM
We were finally starting to dive into the mid-level zones when we came across this jolly fellow. It was clear that he had consumed his fair share of unprepared adventures, so we decided it must be a good idea to attack him. Throughout TERA we ran into challenges that were clearly made for more than one player and this beast of gluttony was no exception. At one point another player tried to save us, but the sultan of chub still managed to crush us beneath his immense weight. Even with a large group it was difficult to take him down. The fight lasted about six or seven minutes, most of which was spent running around trying not to die. It was frantic, but fun.
Our last great moment takes us to our first dungeon run, combining the best of everything wed experienced thus far. Deep in a mountain-side cave, our group ventured forth to bring an end to any and all demon activity. The encounters ranged from two or three sword wielding cultists to pulls of 30+ rat-like minions. The best fight by far was the final boss. At first, we were prepared to be disappointed when we rounded the corner and saw what appeared to be an unimpressively normal looking boss. But when we killed him, a mountainous creature spawned in his wake. It was like fighting a volcano. He threw rocks, shook the ground beneath us, and even vomited lava all over our tank. It was seven minutes of dodging fire and brimstone whilst casting off every spell combo we could. In the end, we were rewarded with gear that didn't help any of us, but the experience was great and our group decided to do it again.