Well I’ve been playing more and more Tera lately and it’s actually not entirely disagreeable. It’s a wierd world in many ways as it has a more of an Asian influence than I’m used to. It is a culture shock with how it a structured, designed, and just the aesthetic is completely off but sometimes that is a good thing. When travelling, Japan and China were my favourite places just because of how different they are and how new your experiences were. I like being a tourist there and indulging my senses but it isn’t exactly a place I want to live.
And that’s pretty much about how I feel about Tera in many ways. The combat is widely different from back home; the people and monsters are unrecognisable; the names of places and such don’t abide by the rules your usually accustomed to; and that general feel is just… different. I’m not quite sure if that makes a good premise for a game on the western market but I’m glad it is filling a place for us tourists.
Jumping back into Tera I was actually amazed at how far the end game has progressed in such a short time. I’ve barely followed the news and announcements of the game since I stopped playing many many months ago but now it seems to have a considerable collection of end game dungeons. Originally I thought getting to know my mystic class once more would take the most time; learning the skills, keybinding again, and just becoming accustomed to how it plays but that was only a small part. Within a little bit of exploring and reading the tooltips I was reasonably acquainted with the class again, it will take a while to learn the nuances of play but it’s certainly not the hardest part.
The hardest part about getting back into Tera or any mmo really is learning new content, the longer you stay away the longer it takes to learn these things. Coming back in I was assaulted with terminology I hadn’t heard before, so many acronyms of dungeons I had no idea about. Looking into it there is a lot more now then I could have imagined, a number of new dungeons and now large and small raids as well. It is the same level cap if I’m reading properly but right now I would be a long way behind the curve in terms of Item level which means running the right order of dungeons. It seems like they have spent over a year of development completing a large, extensive and structured end game.
I am actually thinking about diving back into these dungeons from time to time now as it was one of my favourite sides of the game. Once you got all your skills these were a dynamic and extremely challenging collection of experiences and I’m glad to see they have extended on it without obsoleting them. It will be a lot to learn though; a lot of new mechanics to figure out, boss animations to memorise, and even just what/ and where the hell I’m supposed to go next. My quest log is completely alien to me now being filled with event quest and I would guess the lead up to new dungeons. It’s definitely a lot to jump into.
So instead of dealing with that just yet I started a new Kitty Zerker and leveled with a friend… and having an ok time. A lot of the early experience has been streamlined, many quests omitted and even whole parts cut out, experience has been sped up, and it does seem to flow a lot better now with very little of the back and forth fetch quests.
It kind of makes sense in a way for them to be speeding up the levelling system, and it really has been sped up dramatically. In less than a day of play we were already close to lvl 20 which used to take quite a while, the starter island was many hours all to itself. The levelling in Tera was lauded as it’s worst feature by many and now it seems to be slowly removing the fact. It made sense at the time to extend how long it took as there wasn’t much content for when you got to the end but now there is they can slowly weed out that process or at least make it a better experience.
Recently they had an event to gain a near lvl cap character just by naming it appropriately. Level 58 was a good decision on their part as there are many dungeons during that time and you would even learn many of the Bams’s moves that would train people for those early end game dungeons. I’m not against completing removing the process although I think it would be better to just trim it down and leave in the best parts of it, leave the group quests and dungeons which seems to be the path they are taking.
At this stage most mmo’s would have raised the level cap providing players with new avenues for progression. It also makes for an easier path for new players to catch up but instead of that they created a rather expansive gear treadmill and it seems to be working out reasonably well for them. Jumping on in the oceanic time zone all the servers were full, given there are only 8 it isn’t amazing but that is still pretty decent considering the age of the mmo. Getting that many on during the week denotes a healthy population and a rather sustainable one at that so obviously they are doing something right in how they are targeting their core population. A year ago I would have written off the game as dying and soon to be pronounced dead mmo, another in a long line of failures that had good ideas but terrible execution however it seems that the ftp transition and getting players to actually try the game was all it needed.
It has definitely been an interesting development cycle for the project and they have a unique experience available… that is if your willing to put up with the feeling which, as Mr Attic Lion described in a recent comment
It was like dipping your hand in molten lead. Fine while the thin veneer of water/interest in the combat mechanics lasted, but horrendously painful once that evaporated and allowed the 600 degree metal/condensed awfulness of the quests to contact your skin/brain.Then to add insult to injury, after your hand is amputated/you fruitlessly try to scrub your mind of the soul crushing boredom you just experienced you find out you have lead/Korean poisoning.
yep.. it’s pretty bad at times but maybe worth it if you emerge victorious and piece yourself back together again. If the quality of mmo’s s equated to the sum total of their end game dungeon delving then Tera would be right up near the top, it’s just a shame the beginning play still takes so long to get better.