Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Week with TERA - Day 2

Well, it turns out I have finally gotten the cold that has been making the rounds throughout my family this past month. I'm not too happy about it since I'm on vacation, but I guess it's as they say... Shit happens.
At least I'm in good company, and have this little project here to work on while I recover.

We start where we left off yesterday.
Chumley has just landed on the Isle of Dawn as one of the many recruits brought to search for Elleon. (If only I got to keep the flying stallion I flew in on...)

And the graphics just continue to please.

The next few quests are just like the previous ones... talk to this guy, who blabs about Elleon, your bravery for returning to the Isle, go talk to this other guy about Elleon.

Chumley talks with his hands... a lot.

As I was walking from NPC to NPC and checking out my surroundings, my attention was drawn to the chat box. Area-wide chat was blowing up with chatter... and unfortunately not the kind of chatter I like to see.
Lower case, horrible misspellings, and people correcting each other's misspellings with more misspellings. (They were literally correcting the spelling of "eletest" with "elitest" rather than "elitist"... I hate to be an elitist and complain about spelling, but my gawd.) Not to mention abundant use of this face: ^.^
Then somebody brought up how happy they were that this game had a different combat system from other MMOs, and all the intelligent people crawled out from under the rocks and joined in the discussion. Phew, for a moment there I thought the whole game world was inhabited by kids and adults who still think that anime smileys are "cute"...
Anyway, onto the game itself.


Is there really any more I can say about the incredible environment here? There are trees, flowers, a goddarn rainbow, waterfalls, towers, rocks, birds, everything you'd expect in a realistic environment. I remember finding many games devoid of such simple little things. Everything seems meticulously placed, and I really can't help but be floored by the beauty of it all.
After admiring the landscape, I finally got my first combat quest. I had to kill some tree-thingies, and a handy little tutorial bubble popped up to tell me how to track enemies on my mini-map. After following the demonstration it gave, I started to track them. The mobs show up as little orange dots on the mini-map. This will be quite useful.

And so, I set off with no abilities except for my standard attack and dodge, and attacked my first... tree thing!


I gotta say, I am loving this combat system. Even without any abilities, I was having a blast. Facing the enemy is crucial. You can attack facing the completely wrong way, but you won't hit the enemy. You also have to be paying attention to the enemy itself. They give off certain cues that they are about to attack, such as raising their arms for a huge smash attack, or preparing to charge. That's when the dodge comes in handy... Chumley, for instance, uses his badass sword as pole to literally vault over the enemy. Learning these cues was easy, and soon I was killing things without taking any damage. I leveled twice, which is celebrated with a burst of white wings and a crown.

I'm surprised that he can pull off these kind of acrobatics with a tummy like that...

Items were dropped frequently. Rather than coming up in a menu, they are dropped directly onto the ground and can be picked up with the F key. 
Another cool thing about the enemies is they can get enraged. If something on an enemy flashes red (in the deer-thing's case, it's his forehead) they gain increased attack and speed, but also are more vulnerable to counter-attacks and knockdowns. This looks like it will really add to the depth of later fights.
I soon got my first ability, Whirlwind. Abilities are actually very useful, and once again, need to be aimed and timed. Each hit of Whirlwind does about 4 times my average hit, so it's a very satisfying ability. I think me and the combat system will get along just fine.
As I was questing and gathering evidence that the monsters in the area are being controlled by something and being made hostile, I got a quest that actually gave me a cutscene.

OH NOES! This tree is killing PIGLINGS!

Even though he wasn't a BAM, he was one tough cookie. One body slam from him took a third of my hitpoints, so dodging was crucial. I was glad that even this early on, challenges were being thrown in my direction.

After a string of go-and-kill-this type quests, I was relieved to be given a different mission... To go to Tower Base, which really isn't a tower at all. It's more like a giant, fragmented tree.

See what I mean?

It was there that I went through a short gathering tutorial, which involved... pressing F! Gathering in TERA is extremely rewarding, even if you aren't into crafting. Every time you gather up a resource, you get a useful combat or gathering buff. Best of all, these buffs can stack!
I won't bore you with the details of every quest that I did past this point, but basically I killed a lot more monsters for many more NPCs. Quests certainly aren't the strong point of this game thusfar, but I'm hoping that once I get off of this island I'll be moving on to more exciting ventures...
I did some gathering as well, though I still have no idea what I'm supposed to do with these materials. All in due time, I assume.

Gathering some crystals... they're pretty, but other than that, I have NO IDEA WHAT THEY DO!

The monsters in the game continue to impress me. My favorite so far have been these two:

A big-beaked, helmeted bird-thing...

...and this double-headed wolf-thing. Less cuddly than Chumley, that's for sure.

After a lot of exploration and killing, I finally met up with Elleon's brother, and well... he's looking for Elleon. Go figure. Yada yada, more quests, more people not believing that Elleon is still alive, so on so forth. Plotline still isn't grabbing my attention.

I did find this guy though. Scratch what I said earlier, THIS monster is my favorite.

Looks like things are going to get ugly at some point, because I found an area that was dead and surrounded by a dark aura. I'm excited to see some new environments, especially some dark ones... I've been in happy land for so long.

And what is this? EVIL? IN THIS PARADISE?

Guess I'll have to find out tomorrow!

Current Impressions
Graphics: They continue to amaze me. I really am enjoying the environments, and the monsters are animated superbly. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing another zone.
Plot: I still haven't seen the light, so to speak. The only new aspects of the plotline that have been uncovered  in my questing is that Elleon's brother is a scholar, this new island might be the "child" of the titans, and that most people think Elleon is dead as dead can be. I still have no idea why Elleon is so important anyway...
Combat: I have to say, I'm thoroughly enjoying the combat system. Now that I'm learning skills one at a time, I can adjust my combat strategies as I learn each one. I love the dodging, the aiming, everything. You really have to pay attention to what's going on rather than just button mash.
Questing: Still not anything new or innovative, and a bit disappointing. With all of the amazing visuals and the action-packed combat system, you think they would try to make the quests just as appealing. The only thing that truly stood out to me was the narrated cutscene I got when I was told to go defeat the pig-stomping tree-man. If I get more of those, I could forgive the staleness of the other quests.
Crafting and Gathering: Still no idea on crafting, but gathering is fun and useful. I'm a lot more motivated to stop killing things and go pick up a plant that I was in World of Warcraft, for instance. In WoW you know you'll be able to make something or make some coin... but here I get BUFFS. Yes, beautiful stacking BUFFS! I feel so pampered.

And so the adventure halts for sleep...

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