Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Full Half Hour: Tera

I've never had much interest in Tera. I couldn't even summon up the enthusiasm to download the client to try the open beta. There does come a point, however, when the barrier to entry is lowered so far it's almost perverse not to take a peek. En Masse found that point with their Instant Demo. Although even then I was more interested to see how Gaikai's streaming technology held up than I was in playing the game.

My first attempt wasn't impressive. It wouldn't run at all. I left it a day to settle and tried again and second time round it worked just fine. The demo allows you thirty minutes. I used all of that last night and tonight I went back for ten minutes to take some photos. Here are my largely unconsidered observations from those brief visits.

  • Thirty minutes is more than enough Tera.
  • Gaikai's technology works. It takes about two or three minutes to load up on their servers and then the window appears and you're in. Everything was eminently stable while I was playing. I didn't notice any lag or hitching whatsoever. The demo runs either in a window or full screen and feels just like playing any MMO from your own machine.
    Strategically-placed hotbar
  • Visually it looked very muddy indeed. Blurred. I can't believe that's what the same zone would look like playing from an installed version. Granted they've chosen a zone in which it's perpetually raining and it appears to be night-time, but still...
  • Come to think of it, if one of the strongest selling-points of your game was the lush, gorgeous visuals, why would you choose a zone in which it's perpetually raining and it appears to be night-time for your shop window?
    None more blue
  •  And while we're on the subject, if another of the strongest selling-points of your game was its fast action combat which "takes the fight beyond whack-a-mole monotony with enhanced aiming, dodging, and tactical timing", why would you pick a zone for your thirty-minute demo that starts on a beach that has nothing you can fight? And that's locked behind a gate you can't get past until you complete several non-combat quests? Which use up the best part of half the time you've been given?
  • It's one thing to read about the well-known issues regarding the presentation of female characters in Tera but it really doesn't prepare you for the awful experience. For my full run-through I played the big guy and he was completely inoffensive. I made the mistake of picking one of the females for the screenshot run, which is why I have very few screenshots and I feel like I need to take my eyeballs out and wash them.
My reaction exactly, Ahdun.
  • If you're going to limit your trial to thirty minutes and set it somewhere that uses up half the time with busy-work and getting from one place to another, maybe also starting off with a level 20 character with a populated skill bar which you then tell the player to read and learn  before fighting anything might just obscure some of the actiony fun you were trying so hard to put across.
  • It won't surprise anyone reading this to hear that I hated the combat. Just horrible. Give me whack-a-mole monotony any day. 

In summation, I was impressed with Gaikai's contribution and, erm.. no, that's it.


  1. "Thirty minutes is more than enough Tera."
    That was fuuny!

    I tried the beta, and didn't like it either. It felt repetitive and I hated the tiny letters in the UI. Also, the combat animations for the girls felt absurd, specially when having to spam certain spells and moves.

    For an action MMO, I'll just stick with Vindictus.

  2. I wrote Tera off pretty early. However, recently I discovered that the game offers controller support which put the game back on my radar. I’ve always wanted to play an MMO with a controller due to my limp wrist--wait, that didn’t come out right--due to the toll WASD has taken on my left wrist over the years. But seeing how you weren’t impressed with the combat at all, it might just drop off my radar again.

  3. @Randolph Carter I was thinking only this evening that if the current trend towards action combat in MMOs continues I might have to think about buying a controller.

    Bear in mind though, I am far from a fan of action combat. I did enjoy it in DCUO, but that was an exception. Melmoth at Killed in a Smiling Accident (link up there in the blogroll) has a much more positive take on Tera's combat if you want a second opinion.

  4. LOL! why am I not surprised?? :P

  5. Honestly, I hate to hear this, though I was sure it was inevitable. I've been playing TERA a lot since release, and I really think it is a fun game. I don't know why they decided to offer the stupid prologue to "showcase" the game. The prologue was horrible when I played through it the first time, and I've opted out with every character since. The game itself is SO much better than that dumb prologue. I really feel like En Masse shot themselves in the foot by offering that abysmal part of the game as the demo. If you really want to see some good screen shots of what the game has to offer scenery-wise, check out where I have provided some awesome screen shots of the game world. My wife is in full agreement . . . her comment was, "if the prologue was the only thing I played in TERA, I would not have been interested." But, we both continued into the actual game, and it is a ton better.


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