I am very much a person of impulse. When I have a wild idea, but feel like it could result in something good, I’ll try to do it. One such idea was to spend a week, or in this case five days, playing an MMORPG and develop something from my time and experiences with it. So let’s just say it’s a review of my time with Tera Rising. Why did I choose this out of the plethora available? It had decent controller support and was free to play.
MMO-ventures With TERA Rising
Developer: Bluehole Studio
Publisher: EN Masse Entertainment
Rig: AMD FX-8320, 8GB of RAM, Radeon HD 7770, Windows 7 64-bit
Let me just throw some bones right out of the gate. One is that I more or less played the game by myself, ignoring the first three letters of the genre out of my own personal spire. Two, I played the game while listening to a series of podcasts 98% of the time. Three, I only made it to level 38, with level 60 being the ultimate goal. With the fourth and final tidbit being that I have no idea what I’m doing with this piece aside from reviewing my time, so apologies if it is poorly written or organized.
Such as how I’m not sure how to elaborate on the narrative/premise, as it the normal structure I’ve set in place for myself. As the main storyline or quests focuses primarily on your user generated avatar in a distinct, but far from original fantasy world, being a very central character in a world of similar looking adventurers, most of whom could whip your tail in one hit. Not that the attempts to tell a very well constructed tale of a world made to compensate a million heroes roaming around would fall onto anyone’s ears. Or more specifically, eyes.
Tera unsurprisingly has a lot of the problems I had with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Which aside from being a very interesting story of Baseball, investments, and the governments of Rhode Island, was a single player MMO if Tera Rising is any example. Where the ultimate goal of the adventurer is more focused on completing a series of checklists thrown before you. To the point where your limited range of class specific skills lack any form of creativity in their use, as you go into rotation as it represents some form of slim stimulation when going through a series of increasingly powerful monsters. Not that their might’s growth is on a different level from your own character.
A mostly custom unique form a mix of classes, genders, and races that doesn’t have much in the way of an actual character, and is just a doll to be dressed in a series of outfits that raise questions that halt this train of comparisons. With the art direction held by Tera being among the most interesting things about it. In short, it both tries to acknowledges how absurd the outfits you swap in and out every other level are, but met it half way in terms of being just as bonkers. With most females, or at least my human female character looking like a cocktail waitress or perverse french clown in a world filled with Lolis, raccoon people, angsty looking demon ladies, and whatever the hell the monsters are suppose to be, aside from recycled animations with different names above them.
I think this has a lot to do with the game’s Korean origins, and how it uses the Unreal engine out of all things. And with a worldly market, it feels like it has one foot in the door of being a dumb game where you can eventually get customizable sunglasses. Instead of seemingly hiding away a lot of the more deviant aspects, so that the game looks like a mildly cartoony trek through the repetitious series of landscapes that are probably lacking in terms of vision due to their utterly nutters scope.
Tera is a very, very large game, one where the starting island is the smallest country to explore, and it still feels absolutely massive. But when told to create a large world with a budget that is actually not too outrageous for a single player game, the repeat effect is a very tempting pattern to partake in. Where everything is padded, hard to traverse even with a free horse given by the time you’re set off into the real world, and seldom offers any reason to go exploring. Just search for the yellow exclamation marks and kill X of monster Y, or hunt for object Z by clicking on the item for the game to detail where it is on the minimap.
It quite simply lacks the perks of a large domain to explore, and acts more as a backdrop for players to meet in. Not that players themselves were extraordinarily popular during my later two days of playing my afternoons and nights away. Due to how everyone is either in another part of the surprisingly linear path to the maximum level, where things presumably really get rolling, or how expendable the areas really are. Why would you ever return to the questing area for levels 15-20? No real reason, as it just means there are monsters for you to touch and kill without a problem at all.
Though, I did encounter a few other players, and even formed a few makeshift parties with them. Meaning I said yes when I encountered the liberally thrown about giant monsters for a particular area, who are like trying to break a truck, if the truck occasionally bite your hand off. With the kicker being how they are scattered about in these one stop areas, but are intended to be taken out alongside the other normal sized and far more manageable baddies. Ones who don’t make me grow upset about the inevitable travel time after they get a few good hits in and you are sent back to the town. Or the fact that there is no way for a sorceress to heal outside of downing a potion.
Made no better by how every area only has one major town at its disposal, but it does have a series of camps to keep the quest train rolling, and your stamina up. For a reason that I still can’t understand, you are given boosted HP and MP when you sit around a campfire, but lose it as you’re distanced from said fires, and are out questing. When there is no reason to ever go back to the camps thrown about the massive map, seeing as how they don’t offer something as simple as a shop for you to sell the inevitable useless junk. Which included pretty much anything aside from equipment I could use, seeing as how the crafting systems the game shoves on in don’t seem to have any real reason to be used. Sure, you can make potions, armor, and other hootenannies, but the process is so quickly glossed over, with something as basic as a blasted weapon rune being a useless object as far as I could tell.
In fact, the whole crafting system is very poorly introduced, as it is kept away until level twenty or so is reached, and presented in the form of a very optional quest where you need to buy a series of kits to participate in even the most basic form of crafting. Leaving the series of mechanics as something that may just be optional, but there never appeared to be an incentive to do so, seeing as how distant most of the supplies are from the beaten path. Sure, you can take weapons apart and use their core components in order to make new ones, but when equipment is tossed aside without much of a care, the systems just seem worthless. Now, this could easily be amended in the whole post-game that I hear snippets about when it comes to MMOs. But it took me a very hefty amount of my time to get as far as I managed to progress, and I can’t help but fathom that something is amiss if mechanics are of no use until well after the twenty-five hour mark.
The fact that I dropped this game like an unwanted infant is enough to show that I was not particularly fond of it, but I can’t say it was a form of revelation that made me detest the genre of the MMORPG, just one certain style that seems to be the default package for people to devote millions towards crafting. I will not deny that video games, as long as it is lumped with most other entertainment mediums, can be a time sink, but playing Tera was like picking at a poorly painted wall. It has some sort of perverse fun for a while, but gets boring after you realize that there are better ways to spend your lovely summer days.
Now to wait until the upcoming weekend, so I can do a similar thing with Guild Wars 2. Hell, if that goes well, I may turn this into its own series. ‘Snot like I’ve got a massive backlog… wait.