A New Tale inTera

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.

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Regional Restrictions

Well, after downloading both Rift and Tera because I became crippled with indecision I ended going into Tera first after having a friend say he wanted to try it out.

It was actually rather funny hearing him go through the process of getting the game working as it seemed many of the same issues were still there. It was taking forever for him to download until, after a day I realised the client must still be using PtP for its downloading. I thought that had been removed, and so once changed the downloading began at a reasonable place. I began downloading then too but had none of that issue, my client performed and looked different… “Wierd” I said.

Then were a couple issues with the install and getting a crash every time he pressed play, apparently issues with how the is was set up in regards to ram. Then, finally, we both hopped in game and were organising a server to play on and I recognised none of the names he was saying.. They weren’t showing for me either. And then it clicked.. He had downloaded the EU client. After a few days for him of downloading and then bug fixing I just had to laugh. He swore profusely, rage quit for a moment and then began downloading the NA version.

I had always heard how bad the EU publisher for Tera was but it was more based on hearsay to me, it had never impacted me too much and I had promptly discounted it. Now I can’t believe how obvious it is. He was downloading nearly the exactly same client I was using nearly a year ago even though the newer client must be available to them. It played rather poorly as well with a decent amount of lag, much more than would be accounted for by the distance. I’m surprised a company is being that brash considering a comparison is rather easy between it and how other companies are running but then when you run the monopoly in your area.

Sometimes I still can’t believe that in the global industry of ours things are still being so segregated. The Tera client offered no options to switch region and required a completely new download from the proper distributor. That disconnection is rather ridiculous though considering that the game files are near mirror copies of each other. Same product, being ftp the purchase price differences are a non factor and all it does is restrict the playerbase further for the publishers.

Connectivity is still not great in many parts of the world and the larger ping can create varying gameplay but still.. Is there any reason to create all these unnecessary roadblocks and restrict with who, and how we can play besides the fact that publishers haven’t acclimatised to this new millennium. I can’t even believe in this day and age that the amount of publishing companies that are truly global is so small. Mostly It’s for arbitrary reasons. All the countries bring published in would of course have varying publication laws, taxes, and market factors that need to be resolved but once you have gained a certain information base regarding it it wouldn’t be as hard. Even if it is more difficult than that (and it probably is) a consulting agency would be able to do the same job.

The technology seems to be growing up now to support a greater sense of connectedness. Megaservers are the new buzz word and should offer a greater ability to play with who you want, Information is becoming more flexible to change and the options are being placed with the player more often.I believe Everquest Next is going this way and allowing people to switch between the regions as you please yet there are many others that are still rather restricting for artificial reasons.

I see server communities as being a good thing for mmo’s, but only for certain games that would support its growth in the first place. For all those other transient experiences the least amount of restrictions the better. I’m of course looking at this from someone who really has no idea about the legal, technological, and corporate restraints and issues so this is probably just more inane ramblings…. but still….

#ArmchairDeveloper #Region

Purty Pics of the Week

Just incase you missed some of the pictures I thought I’d do a little recap

Gw2

GW2- Gendarran Fields

TERA 2013-02-16 00-21-08-38

Tera – Tuwangi Mire

FirefallClient 2013-02-14 20-53-48-47

Firefall

TERA 2013-02-10 12-55-23-13

Tera – Valley of Titans

Gw2 2013-02-10 17-02-19-01

GW2 – Straits of Devastation

TERA 2013-02-09 11-46-11-07

Tera – Valley of Titans

New Player Tera Tips

Seems to be a lot of people trying out Tera, more then I thought and even people I didn’t think would go near it. So since I’ve played it extensively for a while I thought I’d give a few hints and tips to the newbies to make the transition a little smnoother and hopefully alleviate some of those WTF is that thoughts.

-Info Spam Ahoy>

Replay: Tera Take Two

If you haven’t noticed it yet right on the side there.. yes just over there —> I have been uploading purty pics which won’t be everyday because I lie terribly but hopefully will be most days. And if you have been observent you may have noticed the Tera pics.. yep I’m jumping back for another round.

I have honestly been want to jump back in for some time just to see the world more, enjoy a little action combat and maybe toss my poor mystic into the pvp modes which I have never tried. There has just been so much to play lately and I wasn’t going to sub for something I would never have time to play. And now as of a couple weeks ago it is ftp so time to once again meet my furry friends.
-Word Spam Ahoy>

Tera goes Freeeeeeeeee

As you may or may not have heard Tera has gone free to play… *tumbleweed*.. yes many did not play it or it may not even be on your radar at all, it wasn’t exactly a niche game per say it more just looked icky. Over the top styling, kind of out there design approach in regards to monster and clothing design, and then there was the straight up weird marketing approach that made it come off as the jock in a locker room of geeks… just waiting to give someone a wedgie for looking at it funny. People emphatically said do not want in regards paying for a box and a subscription when there were better sounding games out there and on the horizon.

But it is ftp now and you really should care.. just a little and this is why

-Word Spam Ahoy>

Picture Proud

Ok so this is more of a fluff post, but don’t let that put you off because as they say “A picture is worth a thousand words”… or whatever other justification is needed.
I have completed the Scorched sands area now and here is a little round up of Pics.

Also since I have shared my love of all things Tera and that is slowly flittering away, here are some of my screenies displaying my favourite zones

Teething Troubles for Tera

Well it seems Tor is not alone with this year’s layoffs (you could say 38 studios as well but that was more of an implosion) and to be honest I was a little sad upon hearing the news. Not at Tor, that failship is beyond hope in my mind but about EnMasse. I really enjoyed the base game, more so then many I have tried as the combat felt active and was quite fun when you got used to it. I felt truly engaged while healing whether it be in PvP or the 16th run of the same dungeon, even gw2 is a poor substitute for that.

Tera’s issues are actually pretty similiar to Tor’s in a sense  as they both had this huge disconnect between the leveling experience and endgame, check out an article at Battle Chicken for a decent rundown. Though to give ToR a little credit Tera’s was far more limited and stifling. Upon getting to endgame after enjoying the open world feel of bams and PvP we were greeted with a brick wall of content, I say “content” but in no way in this day and age does gear grind equal content
With the way enchanting worked as well it meant running these same 2 dungeons maybe 50 times, sometimes less other times taking it to extreme amounts. RNG is a harsh mistress. But wait then you have hardmode’s of the same 2 dungeons… Enough to send even the most hardened of criminals into fits of madness (hmm maybe that’s how trolls are born).
Also I would have to say the whole Nexus debacle, let’s PvE in a frame by frame slideshow for PvP gear, was far worse then any implementation of Illum ever could have been. Seriously what in gods name were they thinking.

Please take note future developers, if you release an mmo with an endgame that involves banging ones head into a brick wall repeatedly, over and over, you will fail… In a blazing fireball of destruction. It really is just not enough anymore in this market as people expect more and have a plethora of options that have more. Simple gimmicks are not enough and will not save you from mass exodus. Refine the fundamentals, enough that it matters and remember your trying to create a virtual world, not a virtual experience… Fluff matters more then you would think.

EnMasse Freeloaders

I think that these layoffs at EnMasse matter a lot less for the future of Tera then it appears. From my own experience it didn’t really seem like EnMasse had much of an influence in the development cycle, most of the current content and that in development seems to come from Bluehole.. scratch that, All of it comes from Bluehole. To be honest I don’t even know how much their input even matters as too the direction of future changes and content, they proclaimed there abilities and importance in the process but I am sure any Publisher would do the same. All that I really saw Enmasse be involved in was the westerniztion process which involved translation, quest streamlining and giving Elin diapers. Looking back at it they really do appear to be rather irrelevant in the process and more like a community management firm then an actual game development studio.

FtP or Not FtP, that is the question

The leveling grind while steep nearing the end was still enjoyable and is not a bad thing per say as it is while leveling I made some great contacts exactly becasue of the leveling mechanics but I cannot see this translating well to the ftp scene. Ftp games pretty much require a casual aesthetic wherein there is a better sense of pick up and play, as well as gaining some sort of progression with limited time. People want to level in a certain rate and with only a few hours to play here and there, and that just is not Tera.

Another negative against Tera going ftp is that it isn’t very solo friendly. By and large the majority of people in the FtP scene enjoy a more streamlined single player experience, this is where Tor will do perfectly (there monotonization strategy not so much) and Tera will not. No one is arguing that mmo’s are always better played together but when your market is likely to flit between products constantly they will likely not have a consistent group to play with. Also with limited time being available for each product, finding a partner or group is often not possible and the person is more likely to do it alone.

While in ToR you could skip every single piece of group combat without it inhibiting you too much, In Tera this is really not advised. BAM’s are the single best mechanic Tera has on offer, not only are these some of the best combat available they also help you learn many of the boss mechanics you’ll face later on. Also gear has a tremendous effect on your leveling experience with greater amount of survivability and damage and you get a few nice pieces from the BAM quests. Tera also gets extremely unfriendly for those wanting to solo later on in the leveling experience as mobs get a lot harder, especially for certain classes as they have a lot more health and greater damage potential.

Lastly Tera has a High Learning curve, there is no easy to learn part when your tackling the harder content.. either learn or die. While the starting area is quite an easy introduction in terms of learning what skills do and the difficulty of the monsters it in no way  prepares you for whats in store later. You need to be very active and tackling the BAMS or dungeons will usually mean having to learn the many little tells the monsters have inferring an attack, miss any of these later on and the likelihood of death is high. Fights require constant attention and are constantly evolving requiring thought, it is even very beneficial to have extensive keybinding and I don’t see this style of combat transferring well to a FtP market.. not in the slightest.

I can see Tera eking out an existence for some time yet, the combat has a decent pull and the world is enjoyable enough but even I know that those who would support a FtP game through fluff purchases like clothing would not be ones to even touch Tera with a ten foot pole. Subscription is fine for now and if they improve the user experience and expand on endgame content, maybe remove a bit of the grind and smooth out the insane gear scaling they might just pull back a few more subscribers.

See you space kitty

Well considering the impending doom (ahh how i love the exaggerated nature of the interwebz,) I did what any self respecting oversized gerbil would and headed to the beach looking for some swimmers. I didn’t feel like grinding mobs and boxes so I bought one off a friendly little person who had a spare.

Mayor of Catburgh and his resident rooster

That’s one relaxed kitty

It was funny going back and still seeing a quite lively community chatting up a storm in chat and there was even a few guild community events happening on the beach side. I would honestly go back to Tera in a heartbeat if they created some decent systems like I posted here but sadly the developer focus seems to be on dungeons and highly inflated gear stats. I have actually held off selling my account for that exact reason even though those I played with have mostly sailed of too brighter pastures with a nice $400 in their pocket. It seems they are still doing perfectly fine going from the server list so my account will probably be safe for a while yet. Hopefully one day I may feel the need to sub again but in the mean time, Tera… I wish you well.

Caring about Communication in the Community

The MMO Melting Pot is a new site I came across recently that covers many of the very good works of mmo bloggers around the interwebz, it had a recentish article with a very good thought behind it. It was discussing how the mmo community on a whole really isn’t very engaged and interactive with the various gaming sites and blogs compared to other genres’. The aim here is to open up the community that little bit more with getting more involved in conversing about their favourite genre which is very admirable. While we are all pretty much all Shut-Ins and Sociaphobes (apparently) it is just asking you to branch out, get out from under the metaphorical and literal Doona Blanket of safety and involve yourself and your compadres more in the community. So maybe share along the MMO Melting Pot, your favourite blogs (not encouraging my own of course =p) and encourage them to comment.

It is a funny thing the comment, often before you get to know anyone it can feel a little odd leaving a post, like your some unwelcome stranger whose interactions are worthless and not welcome. Honestly that’s how i first thought. The interesting thoughts i had because of someone’s brilliant post were for naught, which is a shame as they really could have invoked some nice conversation. Your comments wherever you travel will always be welcome, even if you do not exactly agree and especially if you have a diverging viewpoint, it really does brighten our dreary word spams and hopefully will brighten our community. It can create some great discussions as well and who knows maybe meet a few interesting people along the way. So get your comment spam on and fly that mmo freak flag.

Word Spam Ahoy

Tera be Gone

So Long, Little Kitty

I have officially removed Tera from my desktop which weirdly enough makes me feel quite sad. It kind of makes me feel like i just dumped a boyfriend who i had a great fling with but who no longer holds my attention, not to mention the far better future prospects. Maybe if he had found me earlier i could have formed a greater bond… the odd booty call her and there isn’t out of the question though, and i will definitely hold onto a subscription at least until the pvp battlegrounds come about. It was a decent month of play and god damn it i am going to miss my fluffy fat tiger.

Saying that i only played for a month might sound like a a god awful admission and a terrible thing for an mmo where long term subscription and play should almost be a given but in reality i enjoyed my time and still look at it fondly. I jumped the boat quite early in terms of improving my character but i just couldn’t and didn’t feel like putting in the effort required to get the new gear.

My decision really came down to the fact that in the 3 (or is it 4) weeks the nexus’s have been active i have been able to attend a total of 1, remembering that saving up enough tokens requires many many events (then enchanting) i really didn’t feel it was worth my time… Not to mention that pveíng for pvp gear is absolutely friggin retarded. Overall the nexus “content” was very badly thought out, the little events that they do have are really quite annoying since to benefit the most from it you really have to follow a zerg, and when you are the entire event basically turns into a slide show (at least on my lappy anyway). It really isn’t an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon of gaming.

Tera is an amazing game at its base but there is just so many mechanics and systems that are very poorly thought out and implemented, and everything that is great about it is entirely underutilised. The factionless gvg system is great and leveling up while having the many great fights be it win or lose will be the highlight of my experience. Regardless of what you want to say about the level/gear scaling it added a nice element of excitement and exhilaration to the otherwise dull general mmo questing system. I honestly no longer wish for factions in my games, yes 3 is definitely better than 2 but in my opinion a well crafted factionless gvg system would be superior.

It also had quite a good community if you can believe it with dungeon groups being formed at every age range just by using lfg and area chats. I think the game fostered group play and community building in a fantastic way. Bam quests were great and always interesting, grouping up meant security in a sense from gankers, and as the game progressed the mobs became faster and harder…by lvl 53 I found myself needing a questing partner. By the end of play I had quite a respectable sized friends list, coming from TOR where it was a total of 2 I was thoroughly impressed.

Tera was also the most fun i have had healing in an mmo… it was engaging, hectic, and enjoyable. The only reason i completed the normal mode dungeons like 20 odd times upon reaching 50 is that just about every time you fight feels different… it reminded me more of pvp where it feels dynamic every time and is about keeping a level head and reacting to the situation at hand. I may still have a go with them from time to time anyway.

I also may do a little write up at a later date of what i would have done to improve upon its great foundation.

See you space cowboy.. from the edge of the world