Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Week with TERA: Day 1

After a lengthy patch download through the TERA launcher, I finally have TERA installed on my computer and ready to play.
I was hesitant to start up the game, as I've been feeling very ill this morning. Would I really want to spoil my first experience with a game by feeling like... well... crap, as I'm playing it?
I decided to just check out the character creation, and then take a much needed nap.

I have to say, the character creation impressed me. Being the animal person that I am, it didn't take much thought to choose the Popori race.
(The Popori are basically animals that have been granted an extra spark of life, making them sentient and humanoid beings.)
I was then told to choose my class. Every class is described for you concisely, and the game even offers a rating on the difficulty of playing each class. I went with the Slayer, which had a 3/5 star difficulty rating. (Plus, it sounded fun... light armor, quick dodging, and a big-ass weapons.)
The customization for my character included different types of animals, facial structure, fur patterns, tails, color tint, ear size, and markings. Though nowhere near Skyrim's customization, it's way beyond what World of Warcraft offers.
I was drawn towards making a dog Popori, and his stout, chubby frame just screamed, "NAME ME SOMETHING FAT."
I thought Chumley was a fitting name for an overweight, yet adorable dog-man with a giant sword.

Put down that sword! You're a dog. You can't even hold it.

Tempted as I was to start my adventure, I shut off the game and took a nap.

After my nap, and some Pepto-Bismol, (curse you, frail body!) I finally began to play TERA for real.
The game starts on the Isle of Dawn, a new island that literally sprang out of the ocean. You are a part of the expedition, and things well... are a complete disaster. Bodies litter the shore, medics are kneeling down trying to do what they can, and ravens are picking on the dead.

Mmm, delicious!

But let's take a step back here, and talk about the graphics.
I'm extremely pleased with them, that's about all I can say. The atmosphere is dark and ominous, there's attention to detail, and things are impressive so far.
I have noticed that there is no music, but hopefully that's only because this is the tutorial, and it's supposed to be somber. (I mean, there's death everywhere!)

After doing the first quest, which involves talking to medics across the beach and delivering waterlogged supplies to them, I took a little bit of time to explore.

Something.... something smells like bodies.

I was a bit disappointed to find that there are travel boundaries, those annoying invisible walls that limit your exploration. I swam out to some boats I saw in the ocean, but found myself colliding with one. Despite this, I am incredibly impressed with the environment. The cliffs, plants, everything is superbly rendered and placed, something that World of Warcraft really lacks. (World of Hill-and-Plateaucraft, anyone?) The environment reminds me more of Final Fantasy XI than anything. Things look realistic, but with a dramatic flair. If the rest of the game can be as eye-pleasing as this, I sure think I'm going to like this game.

Look, I'm finally geared up! AND in ridiculous purple!

The next quest was simple, just talking to some Centurions on the beach and getting equipment from them. I'm honestly confused as hell about all the mumbo-jumbo on the items. Crystal socket? Balance? What's that? I sure hope the tutorial will cover this later on...
A few more talk-and-run quests, and I reached an ominous portal that would teleport me to the cliffs...

Well, this sure looks ominous.

...only to meet the rumbling of a bridge collapsing. Looks like I'm going to have to swim, the tutorial popup tells me. Alright then.
It looks like in this game we won't be swimming underwater, just at the surface. I'm fine with that. I was then faced with my first.... drumroll please.... LADDER! Something WoW players have often expressed frustration about not having. (Honestly, why put a ladder in a game if you CAN'T CLIMB IT?)

 It's a long way down for a little doggie...

And hey! Here's the music! Sounds good so far.
When I climbed to the top of the cliff, I encountered my first enemy. I have to say, I was utterly confused about what I was supposed to do. The tutorial basically just told me to look at my abilities, and so I did. I still couldn't figure out how to use them strategically in battle, so I pretty much just spammed left click and pressed spacebar to do a combo when it told me to. I did experiment with the charge ability, and I ended up doing some kind of double combo. I couldn't really figure out how to do it again, but afterall, the tutorial automatically puts you at level 20. I guess you're not really supposed to know what the hell to do.
The combat truly does feel more exciting than most MMOs. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it, and end up appreciating it more. I'm just glad I don't have to auto-attack and watch my character do stuff. (I'm looking at you, FFXI.)

After a lot of hack and slashing, I found Elleon, the expedition leader. It was shortly after finding him that I encountered... THE FIRST BAM. (BAM, being BIG ASS MONSTER.)

This CAN'T be good.

Well, it wasn't good at all. I got my ass handed to me twice, but thankfully the prologue let you ressurect right where you had died. After defeating this big blubbery demon, I had to fight another... but in the middle of the fight a cutscene popped up. Apparently we all got killed, and Elleon was missing in action.
The prologue ends with Elleon's loyal brother bringing new recruits to the Isle of Dawn to train and eventually seek answers about Elleon's whereabouts, or final resting place if the outcome was grim.
And DANG, does the island look different now that it isn't storming anymore!

Graphics like this in an MMO don't come often.

And so, upon landing on the island my fat, level 1 doggie self decided to take a break to play some Team Fortress 2 with Jon. 
Thus ended my first day with this promising and so far intriguing MMO.

Current Impressions
Graphics: The graphics have absolutely not disappointed me. In fact, they're almost better than the screenshots showed. Seeing the graphics in 3D and moving is spectacular, and the environments so far are breathtaking. I'm very excited to see more of the ingame world.
Plot: Hate to say it, but so far the plot is relatively weak. I'm not particularly intrigued by anything so far. Not a lot of background information about Elleon was given, for instance. He's some kind of leader, but why is he so important? Sure his brother wants to find him, but who exactly is his brother? The game really hasn't given me enough background information, but I guess I'll discover more as I play.
Combat: I have to say, it's confusing, yet strangely satisfying. I guess it's good that I was struggling in the prologue/tutorial level, it means that you truly do have to have skill and master your tactics in order to play correctly. I'm excited to start at level 1 and truly learn my class the proper way rather than just being thrown into the game. The fact that I get to click to attack rather than just endlessly auto attack is refreshing.
Questing: So far questing has been stale. Same old typical MMO quests... talk to this person, get your gear, deliver this. Hopefully there will be better quests as I progress into the world.
Crafting and Gathering: Haven't done anything involving these yet.

Until tomorrow!

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