1. Houkago Game Time

      1. 【TERA】 First Play during NA CBT2


        Last updated 6th March, 2012 (7:49 AM)

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        First off, this won’t be centered around level 27 PK PVP like every other “CBT2 impressions” is. I didn’t rush to 27. I’m not a PVE player, but I’m not a PVP player either. I’m just a player. As for “playing focus,” I’m interested in serious, structured 5v5 PVP, and I’m equally interested in camping BAMs and pro’ing the shit out of instances. Then I’m also interested in reading NPC text, looking at pretty areas, and screwing around. Basically, I just want to experience the game. Like, all of it.

        One more thing, my PC is crappy. I’m going to be buying a new one before the retail launch, but right now my screenshots are taken @ medium settings. If you’re curious about optimization, know that an 8800GT, AMD X2 6400+, and 4GB of RAM gives you an average of 23~26FPS @ 1920×1080 fullscreened with medium settings. I dip to the mid teens/low twenties fairly often, I get stutter more than I’d like, and Velika (main town) is just pitiful. That said, the game is playable, but very, very far from ideal. If you have a computer like mine, feel free to try the game out, but if you like it, you’ll want an upgrade for sure.

        With that out of the way: Holy shit, TERA is awesome. I’m not going to format this post real nicely or anything, it isn’t really worth it and I don’t have that much to say. So, LIST OF RANDOM THOUGHTS…!

        Table of Gay:
      2. Races





        ~Fin~

        Combat System

        Everyone has probably heard all about TERA’s awesome “action MMO” combat system already. It’s basically a faster paced Monster Hunter with tanks/support classes and more MMO-style things (DoTs, HoTs, buffs, CCs, blinks, etc). There is hardly any lag (it uses quake live’s hitscan code, most AU players on NA aren’t bitching too hard, of course lag does exist for higher pings though), and it’s overall pretty freakin’ sweet. I’ve always had an issue with tab targetting systems just feeling boring as all hell to play, but as a major action RPG player, I can say this new genre of “action MMO” is definitely going to hold my interest for years to come. It really is as cool as it sounds.

        Sorcerers


        Sorcerer: Lyrical
        ZENRYOKU ZENKAI

        I feel like they’re relatively late bloomers, but damn they’re awesome. The game tells you they’re a ranged fighter like archer, but I think they’re more of a mid-range class because they need to be about 9~12M away from their target to truly get anything done (archers seem not to lose any major usefulness at 16~19M, even if they do more DPS when closer). Being closer as a sorc is bad not just for your HP bar, but for your DPS as well. With a build, their main AoE nukes have CDs of 12 and 20, they have 4 main low-CD non-AoE skills (one with splash) to fill in the gaps, then tons of situational damage and utility skills.

        My first impression is that sorcs are the most reliable DPS in the game. This is because TERA has no elemental system, and magic damage/physical damage are the same. Of course they have the huge advantage of not being melee, but also, unlike archers who suffer damage losses at longer distances, sorcs absolutely need to be at the sweet spot of 10M-ish away. They want to be at a bit of a range. They get three escapes – a blink and two backsteps. Their escapes all put them at the ideal range from their target. Also they’re squishy as fuck.

        Due to the nature of the action combat system TERA uses, aiming can be an issue. But, since sorcs are almost purely AoE-oriented, they have the added advantage of being able to spend less time aiming, and more time spamming. In the time it takes an archer to charge up a shot and guess where their opponent is about to be, sorcs can just stand there and spam all of their shit without really giving a fuck as long the crosshair is in the correct general direction. This is a pretty serious advantage if you use it correctly, even lining up a skilled archer vs a skilled sorcerer, it feels like sorcs will just be able to pump out more reliable damage.

        Also, they are magical girls.

        Right now my only real problem with the class is their weapon design. I love the way their disks spin around, and the disk animations are absolutely wonderful – but the designs of the weapons themselves are pretty boring. Whenever I get a new weapon on my Berserker (they use gigantic axes), my only thoughts are HOLY FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK THIS AXE IS SWEEEEET AS SHIIIIIIT. But on sorcs, every disk basically looks the same. It must be hard to design such a simple weapon interestingly, but I could see it being done pretty well. Maybe endgame disks are sweet as hell. Oh yeah, also, the idea behind what their disks do is cool:

        Through the lens of the disc, sorcerers shape the force of their will, turning mental energy into physical force. The spinning disc focuses, reinforces and redirects each spell precisely where needed.

        Sort of reminds me of unison devices in a way.

        In a nutshell, I think the most important things for a sorc are going to be: know how to stay in your range but out of trouble, and know how to spam your skills effectively. Speed and general skill are going to win over careful tactics and exact aim skill. They’re a lot of fun, and I will definitely be maining a mahou shoujo. THEORY BUILD O SHI-

        Berserkers


        Zerker: Nanoha
        少 し 頭 冷 や そ う か

        How the fuck are these things so fun? I’ve had a pretty unbreakable distaste for melee classes in MMOs for quite a long time now, but TERA completely dispelled it within a couple of minutes. I swear, I hit like one noob mob on lv1 Zerker and jizzed so hard that I was seriously considering ditching sorcs and just playing one of these.

        They look and feel cool as hell. On an Elin, you’re an adorable loli in heavy armor wielding a gigantic axe. That alone is enough to play this class. But beyond that, their swings take a long time to charge up and it feels satisfying as all hell to hit stuff because of the awesome animations and sound effects. They’re the slowest class in the game, they actually feel heavy thanks to their intensely sweet running animation, and shit dude I don’t even know, zerkers are just the coolest thing.

        They are TERA’s single target heavy DPS. Their main skills are charge skills, so you have a feeling of building up tons of power and unleashing it in a massive blow (yes, this bullshit marketing-style “let’s sound cool” wording is what it actually FEELS like in TERA). They have no real notable utility to speak of. Thanks to heavy armor and block, they have semi-decent durability (can’t tank instances, but they can solo BAMs). Their block is very nice feeling – begins blocking instantly as soon you hit the button, and seamlessly stops as soon as you let go – if you time it right, you can quickly tap the button to block an attack (even a projectile!) then just continue whatever you were doing without losing any momentum at all. It is very nice that block isn’t slow and assy feeling.

        I’m going to be making a Zerker alt and playing it frequently just because they’re so cool. As far as playstyle goes, I think that knowing the fundamentals to Monster Hunter makes me feel comfortable (they feel very similar to monhan axes – this is a good thing). I don’t expect or want much real PVP mileage out of it, but with some CC backup they should wreck some shit pretty hard in field PK’ing, which is perfect for a BAM-oriented crit zerker. THEORY BUILD OH SHI-
        Mocking Shout → Staggering Strike → Thunder Strike
        Flatten (or any KD) → Leaping Strike → Lethal Strike

        Slayers


        Slayer: Fate
        Bardiche… Zanber Form

        These things scare the living fuck out of me as a sorcerer. They’re melee DPS, single target-oriented, but their main difference from zerkers comes in their versatility. Unlike Zerkers, these things can move. Fast. They also have a ranged attack on low CD that totally outranges a sorc’s sweet spot range of 10M, multiple dashes on low CDs that are all perfect gap closers, and CC to boot. The DPS they’re missing from a zerker is easily made up for by their mobility and utility. Oh yeah, and giant swords (while not as cool as axes) are sweet as hell.

        I began playing one just to get a general feel for the class, to see how some of the fundamental basics of it felt – and holy shit, I started having fun. Now I want to actually make one on retail, although much of my motivation for doing so still comes from a want to learn the class inside and out because of how much they frighten me. While zerks feel heavy and powerful, Slayers are a perfect blend of hard/fast sword swings. Their sword is giant and cool, but they wield it with a feeling of grace and speed. They also feel very monhan-ish. Extremely cool class. They get better at level 16 when they get overhead strike.

        I don’t have much else to say because the idea of a mobile melee class seems pretty easy to grasp to me. They’re fun. I’ll be making Fate in retail to solo with when my friends aren’t around.

        Archers


        Archer: Madoka
        Keep it a secret from everyone in our class!☆ UHIHIHI

        10~19m pewpew DPS. I spent the least amount of time on archer, so I can’t say too much. They have pretty typical skills; charge shots, barrages and traps. However, they’re still pretty unique feeling in TERA just because of its action combat system. One of their skills is sweet as hell, a close range jump kick that stuns dudes, it’s really baller looking. They have 2 backdashes for keepaway and a few things that they can charge up while running about. A bit of CC.

        Something about playing an archer makes other archers want to PK you, I think. Literally everytime I saw an archer in CBT2, they tried to PK me (I always won, like an MLG champ). This class has potential for some crazy DPS, but they need to aim and move correctly. Because of that, they’re probably less reliable overall than sorcs are, but pro ones will definitely be able to fucking wreck people. If you come from fighting games or taisen action games and you’re good at reading movement, play this class. You will probably rape.

        With that said, I’m not too scared of them on sorc. I feel like most archers are going to be subpar until they really get the hang of it, and if you’re aware of movement and positioning then you should be able to deal with them properly. If you find yourself having trouble versus archers, roll one as an alt and get a feel for the class, it always helps to know the fundamentals of how your counter-class plays first-hand.

        One cool fact about archers is that they don’t use ammo, they have infinite arrows. This is because in the world of TERA, archers are actually magic users who channel magic to create their arrows. That always stuck out as really cool to me, and reminds me a lot of Madoka. I might make one on retail just because I like my Madoka archer, and this combat system owns for their style.

        Other Classes

        This turned into some class rundown somehow (as you can see, I like DPS), so I might as well take a paragraph or so to explain what I know of the other ones.

        Warriors are an evasion tank/DPS hybrid. Their DPS can’t even hope to touch Slayer or Zerker, but they have the ability to tank and their DPS is substantially higher than a Lancer. They dual wield and work on a stance system. In terms of PVE tanking, I hear that they can actually end up much better than Lancers, but their skill ceiling is much higher. From what I hear, they’re struggling to find spots on PVP teams in kTERA atm, but the good ones are really good. In PVP, they’re a mobile lockdown class with tons of stuns/CC. People say they’re the hardest class to master, but also one of the most rewarding, as a really good one can fill two party roles (even if it’s at 80% efficiency at each role) by themself. That’s cool.

        Lancers are the more straight forward tanks. Their DPS output isn’t high, but I’ve seen a Lancer rape people too (granted it was lv27 vs lv27 field PK’ing):

        Their DPS definitely takes a major dip later on. They can block the world, they have a self-heal, tons of taunts, and a “GET OVER HERE” skill that pulls enemies towards them. Pretty easy to understand tank class. I hope I see more, definitely the class I saw the least of when I was playing, but as beta players thin out and people get more serious I’m sure there’ll be a decent number of proper tanks.

        Priests spam the shit out of heals. They have tons of heals, and a really cool sleep skill that can lockon to people (CD of like 28 seconds or something with a glyph). They also get Kyrie Eleison on crack, some intense barrier skill. Some KD resistance, some general buffs to strength and defense, etc. But actually, due to TERA’s combat system, a purely support class would be sort of redundant if your party is good and can dodge most damage. In PVP or harder instances they’re full-on healers I bet, but in general PVE they work as secondary DPS ontop of support, and they have no shortage of DPS skills.

        Every game has that one caster class that is just sort of weird as shit and very unique to the game itself, and Mystics are that class in TERA. Their immediate defining qualities are orbs and pets. They drop orbs that anyone in party can pick up, which restore either HP or MP a good amount over (a short) time. Melee classes have 0 MP until they hit shit in this game, so mystics giving them MP is pretty sweet for opening fights (as they normally would open up with 0 MP). They’ve got pets that can heal, tank (to some extent anyways), and DPS. They’ve got CC, they’ve got aura buffs, they’ve got a blink, they’ve got a little bit of DPS spells… they’re just sort of all over the place, but they do what they do very well and shouldn’t be shrugged off as a “jack of all trades master of none” class.

        Sekaikan (Environments / Atmosphere)


        HOLY SHIT TERA IS BEAUTIFUL. There is no denying this. Even on my medium settings the game looks pretty great (the above SS are a friend’s who had higher gfx settings than I did, though). The environments are some of the prettiest you will ever see in an MMO and the graphics are wonderful.

        The Bad
        This is a real shame, but the game itself feels like a cheap MMO at points. When you talk to an NPC, the NPC is not engaging or interesting at all. Ever. They repeat the same voice clip 5 times in 10 seconds. It feels cheap and irritating. The quest system is standard, feels tacked on for the sake of moving you forward. NPCs with huge, out of place, retarded looking nonsensical question marks and exclamation points over their heads are all over the place. TERA’s questing system is just as unengaged as every other MMO’s.

        There are little things too. Gathering things on the ground has one animation per race. Elin rip the shit out of the grass on the ground where they’re gathering. This is pretty cool looking (and hilarious), but then when you need to gather an item from a corpse or a stack of wood, you’re still ripping the shit out of grass. It’s pretty “wut.” There’s a lot of little stuff like this scattered throughout the game that feels cheap. Another example is the classic “quest npc appears out of nowhere, then walks away and disappears into nothingness because they’re going to continue their ‘mission’.” Just play a cinematic or something. This is 2012, you know.

        They’ve clipped out the environment in really silly spots at times, and there are an abundance of poorly placed invisible walls. I don’t really understand why you can’t jump off of the world and fall to your death. If they just removed the clipping around cliffs/bridges that lead to death pits, that alone would make the game feel more epic in scale and freedom. But no. There are some other little things, such as no splashes/water ripples/effects at all when swimming:

        But when little things like that begin to add up, and a game uses the same old cheap-MMO quest/NPC tricks as every other game before it, it doesn’t feel very nice.

        Oh yes, you can’t forget about re-used monsters in new areas. MMOs tend to do that very often, and it makes areas lose a large portion of any sense of uniqueness they may have had.

        Too many nitpicks adding up to an overall cheaper experience was my biggest (and really, only) issue with TERA. If it weren’t for these problems, I believe TERA would easily be the greatest MMO of all time. Like, no joke.

        The Good
        All of that being said, it’s still got a good atmosphere. I’ve already spoken about how straight up gorgeous the graphics are, but there are a few little touches they’ve done that are pretty A+ too. For example, magic circles:

        Holy shit, a gigantic, sweet looking magic circle in the sky? That’s S-rank. And the casting magic circles are Seven Arcs (Nanoha, Dog Days) quality, seriously.

        I’ve heard from friends who are farther along than I am that each of the race’s towns are amazing. High Elves get a High Life town, Amani get a sweet tower, Elin get a pretty lake/tree town, and the Castanic town is just straight up amazing, apparently. I haven’t seen these places yet, but the Human capital, Velika, is fucking sweet as all shit. So is the starter area:

        I really suggest watching this in 1080p. No idea why they added so much stupid dancing.

        Basically, the environments are atmosphere are just amazing. One of the best fantasy worlds I’ve ever seen. This is largely due to the colors, I think. They’re so vibrant, you don’t see that often in fantasy settings, or even in games in general.

        You can scale and customize the GUI enough that it won’t be in your way or feel obtrusive (generally). But better yet, due to this being an action game, you can play without the GUI on at all during non intense combat, unless you need to look at your map a lot. I love that aspect of the game. During PVP or serious fights I’m sure you’ll want your GUI on for general managing assistance, but for killing quest mobs in pretty areas, it’s unnecessary.

        Earlier I mentioned how sweet Zerkers feel and how cool their axes are. Every class is like that, for the most part. They all feel like they should – they’re all immediately recognizable and well defined. On a slightly more serious note about races, they all fit in the world perfectly. There are a lot of races too. Sexy/sultry females of every type, to lolis. Badass gigantic towers to silly little popori thingies. And enough options in between.

        All in all, from what I played, it’s a beautiful game with an amazing world. The cliche MMOish aspects of it could be a lot better though. I know I’m being unreasonable when I expect a game to revolutionize both combat and general MMO progression right off the bat. And no, I don’t want to ditch the standard quest system for “easy mode” progression like Guild Wars or anything like that, I’d rather have a straight up L2/RO grind.

        Westernization

        ふぅ・・・
        I’m very torn on En Masse Entertainment’s business practices.

        The Bad
        All right, this is the real problem with NA. You can’t blame TERA as a game. EME make some intensely poor localization decisions though, and they’re straight up unforgivable. The biggest of the fish is nonsensical censorship.


        Elin armor censorship, High Elf nipple censorship

        The censoring of Elin’s armor is truly a mystery. Why? There were no restrictions in place by ESRB or distribution channels that would have cared about the original Elin armor. They consciously decided to randomly censor a class without any real basis or reason behind it. Their only reasoning could be “lol it’s pedo and westerners don’t want that”, but that reasoning should have been instantly shattered as soon as they saw the popularity of Elins (most popular race) & found out how many people were modding the armors back to their original state (it’s just a file swap). Furthermore, there are many complaints that their shitty reskins have bad looking textures and don’t fit the armors.

        The nipple censorship on High Elves (also applies to Castanic and Humans) makes a LITTLE more sense, it might have raised the ESRB rating, but I still don’t really get it. De-censor mods exist for all of this so it isn’t a majorly big deal, if they ever implement measures that make de-censorship impossible, my sub will be cancelled no matter how invested I am or how much fun I’m having. Their attitude towards this issue is slightly concerning:

        I realize this is just a response to a help ticket by lowly support GM, but… Seriously? No further comment.

        The next problem is localization of dialogue. The expected horrible dubbing aside (again, you can mod it out and use JP or KR voices, and if that ever changes, my sub is gone) the translation of the normal dialogue is… not a translation. They have a writer, not a translator. No, I’m not just being critical of a liberal translator – check out the video thumbnail here. A “lead writer” in a localization? Seriously, they’re just openly and proudly rewriting…? I know they were trying to make the game feel lax with tons of little humor sprinkled around the dialogues, and I know that EME is co-developing the overall story (afaik this doesn’t extend to specific korean dialogues), but in the end it just cheapens the experience to me.

        This guy is really bad at characterization to boot. Every single NPC talks the same. I don’t mean their voice, but I mean their speaking style in their dialogues. Elin, Castanic, Elves, and Baraka all have different speaking habits, you know. I know on the JP version of TERA, Elin have a unique, cute speaking style that suits their race. That’s probably closer to the KR style. This wasn’t captured at all in their rewrite. All of the races and all of the characters sound the same. High-ranking officials in the capital sound the same as random dudes in outposts. It’s retarded.

        The Good
        While their story/NPC rewriting is absolutely horrendous and their censorship is unforgivable to levels of turning me off from playing, they do head in the right direction when it comes to localization of gameplay. What’s that mean?

        They’re upping the difficulty for levels below 20, and anyone will tell you that’d be cool, because 1~20 is way too easy. It’s still fun to play because of the combat system, but a little bit of difficulty would be nice. I don’t know if it’s even possible to die in PvE before 20ish. Do mobs even do damage? Upping this difficulty is a very welcome change.

        Another sweet thing they’re doing is revamping kTERA’s PK system. In kTERA, there are no PVE or PVP servers, just servers. But, the penalty to PK’ing is so horrible, that every server might as well be PVE. No one PKs because it just isn’t worth it. You get a 5min debuff that nerfs you to all hell, and you’ll probably instantly die after you PK one person.

        In the NA version of the game, they’ve removed this nonsensical PK penalty, given the option of free PK’ing, and opened up PvE servers for whiners. This is also a very nice change.

        EME are also pretty bro in general. Their support is top-notch (cool guys), they respond to the community, they keep us updated, and they generally seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to running an MMO. Except the censorship crap. I just can’t understand that.

        CONCLUSION

        Holy shit, this ended up pretty long. Basically, TERA is sweet as you should play it. The game is based on 5-person parties for both instances and PVP, so its got a nice small scale to it, leading to skill-based play where every party member really matters and can’t slack. The environments are beautiful, the classes are A+, everyone should find a race they like, and the combat is the most fun I’ve had with an MMO in my life. And trust me, I’ve played a lot of them.

        Right now a lot of people are debating GW2 vs TERA. Elin aside (I love Elin), TERA is still the winner in this debate for me. GW2 has too much of a focus on PVP, whereas TERA seems more split between PVP and PVE, which is what I like. I also like TERA’s traditional tank/healer/dps system, as a game where every class is dumbed down and generalized to be able to support themselves and rely less on their team composition doesn’t appeal to me (this is a major focus of GW2). Also, open PK is a lot of fun, especially when competing for bosses such as BAMs. GW2 will be a fun game, but I think TERA will be a more memorable, epic experience. Also the combat is a bit faster paced, so that’s good.

        THE END.

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        MMORPG, TERA


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