TERA Beta Impressions

My Popori from TERA beta
He's so dang cute! I love the Popori. Every game should have them.

I decided to check out the TERA beta weekend this time around.  I made a Popori Archer and jumped into the game knowing nothing but the impressions of my friends. Despite what might already be established fact or obvious to some, I’m going to run through my list of early first impressions.


TERA is beautiful. I wish this level of beauty could be obtained in all MMO’s.  The art style isn’t exactly my favorite, but what they’ve done with it is create a vibrant world that invokes a  “stare and drool” response.  Animations, from what limited exposure I have to them, all seem very well done despite being attached to that eastern market style.  The scenery is just gorgeous.


The UI is traditional, but functional and nice looking.  I like the on-screen map.  The controls are interesting for a MMO.  As an archer, I have a reticle on-screen that I aim at the enemies.  I had an Xbox360 controller plugged in when I booted up TERA and it was immediately detected.  An on-screen transparent controller image appeared in the bottom right to help me learn the controls immediately.  Surprising, the game worked quite well with the controller until I had to interact with NPC’s, at which point the joysticks moved the mouse cursor – a very odd feeling.

Climbing vines. Look at that view!


Combat is very active.  Like I mentioned above, aiming and shooting is different than simple lock-on hotkey use.  I’ve picked up a few abilities on my archer that are activated by pressing a hotkey.  I press ‘1’ to activate Volley, hover over up to five mobs to ‘highlight’ them, then press the left mouse button to volley arrows onto those targets.  I also have a penetrate arrow mapped to ‘2’ that fires right when I press the hotkey — this means I need to be aiming at something for it to actually hit.  I like the combat.  It’s different and fun.

The Problem

The biggest downside of the game that I encountered was the obvious attempt to transition from a ‘grind monsters to level’ system to a more modernized-west market quest-centric game.  It’s obvious right away when you are given quests with zilch story or reasoning and send you right out to kill five monsters.  When you get back, the NPC practically thanks you and sends you right back out to kill 5 more of those monsters, this time for their claws.   One quest in particular wanted me to kill this mean tree monster because he was hurting pigs… but the NPC next to him sent me to slaughter groups of the exact same pigs to practice my AOE.

Although beautiful and different in many ways, TERA has a very familiar generic feel.  I’m confident that I would grow tired of grinding quests.  I’d rather be let loose in the world to make my own way and kill monsters at my leisure like the old days of DAoC or EQ.

After a few hours of play, I realized the game lacks a soul.  There’s nothing beneath the beautiful surface.  I couldn’t figure out why I should keep playing or what my purpose of playing was even from a story perspective.  I only hesitated logging off because my character was so dang cute.  In the end, that’s not enough for me.

Graev mentions that it may be worth it if the game has a lot of big monsters that are hard to kill.  I can agree with that.  If TERA develops later on into something more like Monster Hunter, then I might be more inclined to continue playing.  I need more convincing, though.  After so many of these MMOs in the past years turning into 3 monthers for me, I want to really look hard at why I’ll be playing something before I invest emotionally and monetarily.  If you have experience with TERA at later levels, please let me know how the end-game developers.  What do I have to look forward to while leveling up?  The lower levels paint a bleak picture of TERA’s future.

If shallow quest grinds don’t bother you, and killing lots of monsters ‘just because’ is your thing, then I can’t see any reason why TERA wouldn’t be an awesome game to try.  It’s gorgeous, different and engaging with its approach to combat, and handles nicely.  Anyone looking for something different in a MMO, though, should be hesitate before early adopting.

  • Agreed with pretty much everything you stated Keen.

    I booted the game up last night when I got off work and was amazed at the gfx and the combat was fun but my 3 biggest gripes are

    1. The questing was BORING, after playing SWTOR for 3 months now (I still play btw) I doubt I can ever go back to a WoW style quest driven MMO ever again.

    2. The combat was fun but I have never been a fan of traditional RPG styled click to attack combat. Having to go into UI mode and Combat mode will always feel clunky to me, having extra key presses un-needingly IMO, is obtrusive to my immersion.

    3. First impressions are a huge for me, and Tera fails this test because of boring questing, linear world, and zero exploration. I hear once you get off the starter isle the game opens up and I hear alot of good things about fighting BAM’s but I doubt I can get to that point due to the boring starter isle.

  • I’ve been playing the beta since the first closed beta weekend about a month ago and agree with mostly what you stated. The quests are pretty horrible, and while they do get slightly better once you get off the starter island, in terms of proving more story, they’re still pretty horrible.

    I ended up rerolling last CBT on the new PvP servers and am currently level 17. The open PvP atmosphere helps out a lot, but if you’re not into that, then yes, this game doesn’t have much to offer early on.

    Im still excited to see the political system in action and to see what other PvP and guild vs guild elements are introduced, so I haven’t written TERA off just yet. I love the action combat and the BAMs look like they’ll be fun, although I have yet to battle one.

  • The hitbox is a big issue for me, you will be at a disadvantage in PvP unless you are a midget.

  • Yea forgot about the Hitbox as well as the rooting yourself when activating any attack skill. Those 2 things are huge deal breakers for me.

  • I played the Korean version for a little bit (not illegally I lived in Korea) and wasnt sure if was missing something with not being able to read the questing. Apparently I was not.

    I am rather amazed at the amount of games which do nothing to hide their grind or add variety to their questing.

  • @Wuf I dont even mind grind if the grinding is immersive and you move. The grinding I detest is sitting at one camp grinding the same mobs over and over ad-naseum for nothing other then XP. Asherons Call got it right IMO, you might grind your way to level cap but at least you are constantly exploring, moving and getting rewarded with rare drops and crafting supplies while doing it. I would take AC’s grind over a DAoC mob camp grind or a WoW quest grind any day of the week.

  • Asherons call is a game i wish I played, computer at the time though could not even run anything 3d. Made me miss a lot of games from that era.

  • “There’s nothing beneath the beautiful surface.”

    Tera is a typical, Asian eye candy game, designed by males for males. everything that actually makes an MMO – world, exploration, quests, endgame, combat, PvP, younameit are afterthoughts. I’m amazed they still produce games like this; they’re a dime a dozen by now and not very clever. luckily, cute dolls in tiny skirts are not enough to win many customers over these days – the novelty of it has clearly worn off and there are too many better MMORPGs who do not only look good, but are actually well-designed in aspects that count.
    Tera is an easy pass for me.

  • the starter island is pretty bad… it does a terrible job of showcasing the strengths of the game and drawing people in… that’s been one of the main complaints on the official forums, but i doubt anything will be done about it because those changes would have to be made by the korean devs, and i doubt it’s a priority for them.

    the combat uses a root animation system instead of a global cooldown… it’s pretty standard for asian MMOs, but it’s different from what most of us westerners are used to… so we tend to complain about it, until we play w/ the system long enough that we get the hang of it, and then we wonder why we hated it so much in the first place… personally, i really like it now… it leads to a more tactical experience, especially in PvP, where you actually have to think about positioning and timing before you use a skill instead of just running around and mashing buttons in a priority rotation of sorts.

    i don’t care much for story in MMOs… how immersive the world is, is much more important to me… and i find the world of Tera to be pretty decent, so i’m not too worried if the quest txt is bland and the story is uninspired… that’s what single player games are for.

  • @Logan: I agree that story is not necessary. EQ had very little story but was extremely immersive.

    I didn’t feel immersed by TERA at all because of how shallow it felt.

  • wow another terrible representation of TERA on this blog. TERA turns into exactly what you mentioned. Big Ass Monster fighting is some of the core of the game around lvl 20, and much more the rest of the higher levels. It’s exactly like Monster Hunter with BAM’s(Big Ass Monsters) all over.

    Since the combat is so unique, nothing really gets rolling until about level 20. So many reviewers stop after an hour of play and have no idea what the game has to offer.

  • Hitboxes are real…but so are healboxes.

    Healers have to actively lockon to heal, and small bodies wont help that. Also, people with smaller hitboxes have less melee range.

    It’s a trade off.

  • @pendulum
    Why should someone have to play to lvl 20 or beyond just to have fun? If a game isn’t fun from the beginning, who’s really going to make it that far?

  • So the only things TERA has going for it are nice visuals and non-standard-MMO combat…? Pass. I already get that in Skyrim, thanks.

    Kaybek nailed it… If game X requires you to play for Z amount of time before becoming fun, then game X is poorly designed, thus game X is lame, forget about game X.

    The current crop of MMO developers needs to get a freaking clue — just because it’s an MMO doesn’t mean they can make a shit game…

    Player: “Meh, the game-play is so weak…”
    Developer: “But you can play with OTHER PEOPLE, online!”
    Player:”But the game-play isn’t very fun!”
    Developer: “But you can play with OTHER PEOPLE, online! AND pay a monthly fee!”
    Player: *sigh*

  • I bought the 5 Euro deal to get access to all the next beta events. Sounds fair to me compared to what other “crap” games ask. If Keen says the game is worth seeing, I will get my 5 Euro worth just from the beta events, and if I happen to like it, I will have 5 Euros paid towards the final purchase of the game.
    A good and cheap way to spend some time until GW2 is released.

    Next beta event is this week end I think, yes?

  • because the combat is so different from any other western MMO, the first 10 lvls kind of have to be really easy and simple in order to gradually introduce people to the new mechanics… i agree that they could have done a much better job with this, but any time a new style of game comes along you have to assume that it will take a little while to get into the meat of the game simply because there is so much to explain to a new player that is unfamiliar with the style of gameplay.

    so yes… it SHOULD have been done better… but i’d argue that you have to give it more time than say a game like SWOTOR, or WAR, which are exactly like their predecessors and the only thing new is the story components (which can be judged from the very beginning of a game)… when a game focuses on combat and actual GAMEPLAY, you need to give it some extra time for that gameplay to develop and gain complexity.

  • If you’ve only played the first 12 levels you need to continue. Admittedly the starter island is a bit of a bore but they have said during open beta they are ‘revamping’ it. We’ll have to wait and see what they come up with. I have played to level cap during each closed beta and I have to say that I really started enjoying it around level 20 when I came up agains my first BAM..the basalisks. If they incorporate BAM’s at a lower level and on the starter island it would make a world of difference. I disagree with your assesment that it has no soul and would definitely argue that your bias against asian games, though well deserved, may cloud your judgement. Play more..or wait for open beta and see what they do before you try it again. You should certainly go BAM hunting before you pass final judgement. All I know is that I enjoyed it at later levels and eagerly await the day I can go BAM hunting with my buddies.

  • It’s hard to play past the first 12 levels when the first 12 levels suck. I’m not going to pay money to play past something bad hoping it gets better. At least it’s not like other MMOs that are fun for the first 20 levels THEN suck.

  • Its true..the starting area does fall victim to lack luster but I’m eager to see how they rework it for OBT april 19-22..If they deliver a better intro area I’ll sing their praises but if not its no worse than the first few levels of WoW or Aion, games that you loved during their time. I just think a lot of people wrote the game off before they even laid eyes on it. I guess the end verdict for me is to wait and see but the BAM hunting is enough to keep me interested for a few months at least. Its not like we’re gonna find a game and play it for the rest of our lives..we’re too fickle 🙂

  • I’m more than willing to try out any changes they make if I don’t have to pay to try them. An open beta test would be a great chance for me to see if I like their changes.

  • as an aside… Raiderz just started their alpha test… it’s pretty much a F2P version of Tera (or monster hunter in MMO format) from what i’ve played so far (lvl 12)… they get you into killing BAMs a lot quicker and the story isn’t nearly as bad as Tera’s… overall the first zone was much more enjoyable than tera’s starter zone… and i’m actually liking the combat just as much if not more… it definitely needs some basic tweaks, especially when it comes to the interface and chat functions… but it’s a pretty damn good experience for an alpha f2p game… grab a key somewhere and check it out.

  • You guys kill me. The first levels are an introduction to the mechanics of the game. You don’t have a full toolset until about 20. That is how MMO’s do things, but there’s more hand holding in TERA to teach you the unique combat system.

    They recently made the newbie area harder because too many people jumped to conclusions in 30 minutes like some of the commenters here.

    There’s no such thing as logical kill quests, that’s also a silly complaint. welcome to an MMO where you kill things to get XP.

  • i laugh at this …….it took me but a few hours to get to level 20? people put hundreds sometimes thousands of hours into a mmo….and your saying tera isnt worth playing because the first 4 hours are shallow? get a clue…I HAVE NEVER had fun in the first few hours of a mmo…there is NOTHING fun about tutorials and repeatedly smashing the only 2 skills you have while tab targeting enimies…atleast i dont have to do THAT in Tera. Tera is not a grind, its not even a grind in korea. i easily level hit level cap in 4-5 days…just about as easy as rift…its all about end game content and reason to play at level cap. dont pretend you read quest anyway…if you do your the 2% of mmo players that actually care about them the rest of us skip and follow the quest locators to blow through the game. instances are fun and require far more tactic and skill than a point and click mmo…you have absolutely no grounds to judge the game lol

  • ehh, You Guys confused me quite a bit, i still think about this game and only that should convince me to buy it but i bought SWTOR CE even and after 4 months when my charicter got everything and i started to bank money i asked myself WTF im doing i dont enjoy this at all. Thats why i hesitate about TERA.

    Now i realized im searching for something totally new in MMO, Tera have very nice combat, as i saw i liked it very much, also fantasy theme is the way i like(that was also the factor i left SWTOR), grafic in TERA is stunning for me, i remember the time when i like to log in to WoW just to look at Darnassus, as for Tera grafic i have this feeling. The only part that worry me so much are story line and quests(yeah im in this 2%) i like read good story and quests i like to know whats going on in the game as i pass by. As i write this stuff i also found this:


    and i think i convinced myself to buy this game 🙂

    Thanks Guys :))

  • […] These particular specimens are pretty damn ugly, I’m glad it wasn’t late at night when I played through this quest chain. I’ve seen plot holes like this many times in many MMOs, I do wonder whether Storybricks or some other evolution of questing might actually break this tendency for conflicting orders. It’d be nice if the little spider ran away or refused to attack a big one; equally if we’re tasked with saving pigs in a different game by one NPC we shouldn’t get a reward if we follow another’s instructions to slaughter same pigs (e.g. from Keen, paragraph marked ‘the problem’). […]