There's no denying the fact that TERA has completely pulled me in. The first ten levels were little more than a lengthy tutorial, leaving me wanting more and itching to continue.
When I reached level 10 I was finally able to get onto the Pegasus (world travel) and visit the main city. This is truly where everything began to open up. Crafting, the Trade Broker (auction house), Guild quests, Armor modifications, and many more options were now available.
And that's only in the main city.After a few hours of roaming around I decided to take off to "Lumbertown" and begin the daily grind. It wasn't very long into my grinding efforts that I met up with another TERA player, 'Goblin.Queen'. We were in the middle of tackling a quest involving angry Centaurs and their unwillingness to die. It was at this moment that we both realized TERA is fun solo, but is unbelievably exciting with someone else.
The combat system takes the idea of "aggro" and distraction to a whole new level. Now instead of using a buff to gain the enemies' attention, the strongest ally can simply attack and head the enemy. Great players will be able to dodge stronger attacks, ultimately staying alive despite the large mismatch. Archers, Healers, and Sorcerers simply stay out of arm's reach. Every battle feels more alive.
Goblin.Queen and myself partied up almost immediately. One aspect of TERA that I absolutely love is that even when your part logs off, it doesn't disband. If I am playing and Goblin.Queen logs on, it shows that he has arrived and our part is immediately revived. It really makes the entire adventure feel more like a cooperative effort than a random convenience.
I'd by lying if I said that I got very far into the story. In fact, I barely moved at all for these next 10 levels. The true action combat of TERA makes grinding one of the most exciting pieces of the puzzle. There are a ton of repeatable quests (not dailies, but immediately repeatable), that elicit a ton of experience for their completion. One of the quests involving the extermination of a group of Unicorns landed me 6500 xp per completion.
Which was an absolutely ridiculous amount for the level that I was.
After completing 27 of these quests I noticed that each one oft hem granted me a token. These tokens can then be traded for rare goods (mainly armor/weapons). Before I knew it, I was saving up for a set of Twin Blades that were nearly triple the power of the standard weapon I had been currently using. For a moment I wasn't sure if I should be happy there's another reason to grind, or incredibly angry that I may never progress the story.
Either way I'm now rocking a badass weapon and armor set.
It was around level 16 or 17 that I truly dove into my guild, "CRUX". I learned that the Guild benefits from not only individuals completely Guild Quests, but from depositing items into the Guild Bank and even typing "/praise CRUX" once a day into the chat box. Almost every interaction between myself and CRUX yields either prestige points or experience, both of which help in the world reputation.
While moving up in the ranks isn't the most important thing in the game for me (in terms of Guild ranks), I still want to help my fellow "Guildo's" out the best I can. Simply finishing a Guild Quest a day seems to have helped quite a bit, and now CRUX is rocking several different variations of themselves as the roster is now overflowing.
Level 20 was by far the most exciting point for me. My first "Instance" unlocked at this point, giving me the chance to see some true action and hopefully collect better items. I immediately hopped into the first one that was available (via the LFG option), and found myself hackin' and slashin' away at massive enemies. The final boss was beyond epic, dropping a few rare items, but more importantly showing me just how important a well-balanced team really is.
Without the Healer I would have never made it through the first area.
While all of that seems like the true reason to be excited about level 20 - it's really not. Preordering the Collector's Edition reserved a special White Lion mount, unlocked at - you guessed it - level 20. Francesca is now sittin' pretty atop 'White Fang', the most badass White Lion to ever grace the land.
Now it's time for levels 21-30.