TERA is poised to become an action MMO unlike any other, if my hands-on experience at PAX Prime this year is any indicator. Sitting down to play for the first time, the first item of note is that the graphics are polished, refined, and dripping with delicate beauty.
We then selected classes for our group’s dungeon run – I was to play ranged DPS archer, @sigmarue the sorcerer, and another associate had the unfortunate distinction of playing the melee DPS, AKA Bob. Tank and healer roles were played by En Masse Entertainment staff due to the complexity of aiming taunts and heals, I would imagine.
We were to explore the tail end of one of TERA’s level 40ish dungeons, and after hearing that several of the other playgroups had failed that definitely piqued my interest. The archer was very easy to pick up and play, as ranged dps usually are.
I’m quite certain my DPS was far from top notch, but utilizing a variety of avoidance abilities and powerful long range skills, I was able to stay out of the thick of things for the entire run.
Bob wasn’t so lucky. As a melee DPS, Bob was eating dirt quite a bit during our 1 trash pack 2 boss run, as anytime the boss or mobs would look away from the combat for a moment or decide to let loose AOE, our pummeling melee bruiser would often become monster chow.
Luckily, the resurrection system in TERA does allow for battle ressing, although the player does come back weaker each time until their abilities can be restored through campfires and other boons/buffs after combat. Considering how hard these bosses were hitting, it’s good to be able to get back in the fight if you fall victim to a misplaced claw or lightning bolt.
The fights contained many familiar MMORPG conventions – “adds” to burn down, enrages, combat being forced to shift around the room, “telegraphed” attacks that require players to move or reposition. Alongside the old hat of these MMORPG mainstays, the action elements of TERA really shine through.
Instead of the “action” found in many current generation MMORPG’s, which can consist of hitting 1-2-3-4 as a player strafes left and right, the action in TERA is fluid and dynamic, keeping even a traditional “TV watcher” role like my Archer on its toes. If you stop paying attention, you’re going to be real dead, real fast.
Another aspect that felt very different from the current crop is the pacing of the fights. This was a reasonably high level dungeon, sure, but not a raid – and these battles took upwards of 10 minutes each.
These were not “turn and burn” bosses where you pop all your trinkets and pots and expect to blow through them for a loot handout, you’ve got to really belly up to the bar and give them a real fight.
Our characters were reasonably geared for our level (I checked) and even so, the fights had plenty of turbulence. I’m fairly certain that the playgroup is designed to be able to win handily with the gear selections, but we were told that several of the other groups that day had indeed wiped.
And I believe it, and that’s a good thing. I think we’re all a little tired of bosses that don’t bite back.
TERA is an action MMORPG with spectacular graphics and seductive gameplay – and I can’t wait to see more.
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