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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First Impressions - TERA, the First 10 Levels

TERA has been on my radar for some time now, but not much more than the occasional press release scan-through. After dumping hundreds upon hundreds of hours of my life into Rift, then wasting dozens on The Old Republic, the MMO scene was feeling a bit flooded. The thought of entering another MMO at this time just didn't sit well.

Regardless, I decided to download the beta during it's open weekend. Suddenly I had three double-digit leveled characters across three servers, had the collector's edition preordered, and was telling everyone I knew about how great TERA is.

Why you ask? Simple - real-time combat.

Francesca in all her glory
After messing around with several different classes I decided to be a Warrior as my main. Advertised to be the most difficult class to play as - and rocking two swords - the challenge presented itself quite nicely. After all, TERA's combat is real-time, so if you're good enough you'll survive.

I mapped the few skills I had to my number keys, launched my buff, outfitted Francesca just the way I wanted, and began my journey.

The first few levels involved nothing more than learning the game. It took a little while to truly understand that dodging an enemies' attack, actually dodges their attack. No more of this running from a sword-wielding baddy only to lose health when you are thirty feet away behind a tree. If an attack is on it's way, you can either combat roll out of it's reach (consuming Mana), or can simply move appropriately. Once I began to find my rhythm I was taking on enemies that were several levels higher than me with ease. Even mobs of them became routine.

It was incredible.

It was right around level 5 when things began to make a lot of sense. I unlocked a few more skills, granting me the ability to slash down enemies and spin my blades like a whirling dervish. Enemies became more sporadic, causing me to learn their moves and react in accordance. My weapons and armor began to upgrade, mineable items were scattered around (though crafting wasn't available yet), and a guild known as "CRUX" offered me an invite.


I gladly accepted.

Which brings me to one of my favorite aspects of TERA so far: the community. Outside of one player - whom I eventually blocked, suck it if you're reading this - the community is phenomenal. Everyone is extremely helpful and always looking to either quest or do a dungeon. If you're not in the mood to do either of those things, then there's always the option to just dance.

The Guild Bank is immediately open which is brilliant. In typical fashion the Guild levels up, can earn rewards, can fight other guilds (through deathmatch), and can even open their own chat channel. I've played a lot of MMO's in the past and have always been in a guild, but outside of the one I joined in Rift, this guild system feels incredibly complete.

I ran around with the Guild until I was level 10, fighting insanely detailed and monstrous creatures. As the world opened up around me I was amazed at how many different enemies they have created. TERA to me feels like the MMO that Final Fantasy wanted to be. Every class you choose is bright, vivid, and full of personality. The world is saturated with color and littered with opportunities. Whether it's to fight, mine, accept a mission, craft, or ride a Pegasus is up to you.

Francesca on a Pegasus - so sexy
It was at level 10 that I eventually boarded the Pegasus and traveled to the new world. This is where I stopped. Crafting had just become available, and if the numbers read right on the weapons I could eventually create - I know what I'll be doing for the next dozen hours.

The best way for me to describe TERA is that it's Rift meets Final Fantasy meets real-time combat. This is absolutely not a game that you should pass up if you are a fan of MMO's.

If you do sign up, make sure to find me on "CRUX". My name is Francesca, and I'm a badass Warrior chick.
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