I should have posted this sooner, but i’m still playing TERA and i’ve gotten past level 20, so it’s time to check in for the next update. Since the last update I was able to find a nice guild that is active, and was able to get up to a higher level to try some dungeons and work on the story line and just experience more of the world in general. The graphics still look amazing, the community still seems friendly, and there still seems to be a lot of interesting sites to see in the game. However a lot of the mechanics that I was hoping would improve over time don’t seem to really improve. In the end, it still feels to me like a tired classing MMORPG with little to offer.
I’d have to say the biggest complaint I have with TERA thus far is the combat system in regards to how the gameplay feels. Sure it is fun to have true combat, run around the enemy, let loose the great attacks, and gain exp. But it seems like every enemy and every fight are just the same thing over and over. And it also seems like I am always playing catchup. I am currently playing an archer. It takes about 20 arrow shots to bring down an enemy. This isn’t fun. Especially when I have multiple enemies and they all constantly come at me. I can stay in an area long enough to level up past the enemies so my attacks do well enough to take them town in 10 shots (which is nice) but by that time the experience points are miniscule and not worth it. So I move on to the next area where I fight slightly uglier monsters at a slightly higher level and take 20 shots to kill again. When I am finally comfortable attacking those, they are not worth fighting so I have to move up to another area and do more of the same thing. It’s this repetitive attacking and dodging and leveling up to do the same again that really irks me. That and all the quests still being the “Kill x mobs,” “gather x items,” “talk to x person” quests.
The further along I get in the game and higher levels, I am making disproportionately huge experience points. I’m not even sure if the exp I am getting is good or not. At level 5 if I got 300exp for a mob, that was great. If I got 5exp for a mob – that was a puny mob that wasn’t worth my time. Now at level 27, the puny little mobs are giving me 672exp each, and the big mobs are giving me 4500 exp each. Is this good? I don’t know. Because it takes a lot longer to level up, I don’t know if I am leveling more slowly because the exp is low (and it should be over 9000) or if there’s just a longer wait each level. It’s probably a combination of each. I complete a quest worth 35000 exp (which sounds great) but my exp bar only goes up maybe 1% of the way to the next level.
Finding a party at later levels is proving a challenge. There is a party finding tool in-game but most people don’t utilize it. The area I am leveling up in for my level range is pretty deserted so I am having to opt out of quests that require more than just myself so I can continue my leveling up. I have a nice guild, but we’re spread out into so many areas and levels that it is difficult to find someone who is doing what I am doing to help. The last time I needed help someone from the guild answered. This person was several levels higher than me so we didn’t share any exp in the party (due to the difference) and they had nothing to gain from helping me. And that’s one HUGE problem in TERA – the fact that once you are advanced one or two levels or have completed the quests for an area – there is no good reason to ever go back. That feeling of being pressed down the assembly line to level cap is a very isolated and boring feeling.
Now, some fun things I did get to do in TERA thus far involve participating in the Valentine’s Day events and checking out some item shops in the new F2P store. The Valentine’s event was great, as every hour on the hour if I was logged in I would receive a letter with attached event items that allowed me to open some of those locked strongboxes or healing items with a Valentine’s theme. This was unexpected and made the game feel a little more fun. I also was able to pick up a snowsuit from the market place to wear over my gear for about $5 which was neat to try.
The Valkyon Outfitters (the store is called) contains many items like vanity gear, mounts, exp vouchers, strongbox keys, consumables, etc. I also dropped some cash on a character appearance change voucher. I went from being a fat little rabbit popori to a fat little panda popori. It was a frivolous expense, but the process was easy to work with and I got what I wanted out of it. The prices in the store are high though, and I easily spent $20 just getting a few items to experience the novelty of it. I can see where the F2P model does come into helping a struggling game. It is like the Farmville effect, where you can play for free, but knowing that paid items will get you further eventually you’re going to want to drop some cash to make the experience easier. If you only had a few hours to play a week, spending a few dollars online could get you to level up 50% faster to catch up with your friends.
The one thing I do not see in TERA that would have made the game great is lasting appeal. I can imagine once I finally muddle my way to level 60 and have some nice gear and finished the story quests, I don’t see what the point is to continue playing. If all areas are explored, all gear is maxed out, and all activities are complete – what’s there to do but sit on a fancy horse, brag about all the gold I have, and kill some people in PVP that can’t best me because i am on top? I guess I could start a new character and do it all again – but why would I? One thing I am glad for with FFXIV 2.0 coming out is that there will be a lot of additional activities that a player can do with people at a variety of levels. Since I’ll be playing TERA while waiting for 2.0 to be released, maybe my opinions will change. But so far TERA is just a generic, boring, and empty MMORPG with a good community and nice graphics.