So let's get started!
I logged into Chumley, and from my quest log it looked like I was to head to a new town... Cresentia.
First I had to escort a Peddler there, and when I arrived at the place where they were waiting, I saw why he'd need somebody to guard him....
Old and fat, not exactly the best combination when traveling down a perilous road.
Guarding him as he tottered down the path wasn't exceptionally tough, until the old coot decided to walk on without me while I was fighting a sporebeast... I had to drop everything I was doing, rush down the path, and intercept two additional sporebeasts that were beating on him. Of course, the sporebeast I was fighting before came barreling up the path behind me, and soon I was being knocked down to the ground by their fat fungus arms. Thanks peddler, you sure had my back on that one, didn't you?
When I arrived in Cresentia, I was relieve to see on my minimap that it was an actual town, and not just a miniature outpost. Looks like I can finally clear my cluttered inventory while I'm here.
I think I also found my long-lost son, but he wouldn't talk to me.
I picked up my new skills and sold things I didn't need, and was thrilled to get a quest that would have me searching for... A DOG! Apparently a dog named Ohdi (haha, I get it!) has ran off to the cemetery in search of undead bones. (He has a thing for them) I'm to find him, and collect some bones from the local undead monsters. Sounds like a good ol' adventure to me!
Before I headed off to the cemetery, I was given a quest to escort a trainee there for some undead-slaughtering experience.
I don't mind taking a buddy along... NO, WHY ARE YOU ATTACKING THAT?!?
As I entered the cemetery, it was clear that this guy had intentions of his own, namely going around and killing things in a circle and then exiting the cemetery altogether. So much for finding Ohdi...
I turned in the escort quest, and then went back to the cemetery... It was clear that I had to rescue Ohdi on my own.
I found him pretty quickly... Don't worry fella, I've got bones for you back home where it's... you know... less full of monsters.
After saving little Ohdi, it was time to move on to the bigger problems... namely the Devan.
They seem to have allied themselves with a greater power, which has given them the strength to expand their lands and attack the villages. It's also strongly suspected that they are behind the undead uprising in the forest. Time to put on my sleuthing shoes, and try to figure this one out.
One quest giver told me to go to a mysterious altar in the middle of the cemetery, so off I went.
I inspected the altar, and THERE HE ROSE!... until a Castanic decided it was his, and started killing it.
I decided to let the guy have it, and waited patiently until I could summon the quest boss again. When I finally could summon it, the idiot attacked him AGAIN. The kill didn't register as mine, so I went along my merry way to take out some frustration on other undead beings until this jerkoff left.
I returned a few minutes later to see a Popori summoning it, and later a Castanic, and an Elf... Fat dog men need a turn too, you know.
I finally did get a chance to kill Grayal, and it turns out that the Devan are indeed behind the undead problem. They apparently summoned a nexus spirit, whatever the hell that is, that brought spirits back from the afterlife and trapped them within their old bodies. Not good, but gives me something to do.
At least the Devan have good taste in structures.
I had to collect some amulets from Devan priests and arcanists, and I got about my business swiftly. Now that Chumley is level 16, I have a new ability called Overhead Strike. Honestly, this one skill has breathed so much life into this class. Every 4 normal attacks I can use it very fast, or after any other attack. (It's otherwise slow to charge) It does some great damage, and it's a lot of fun to use. I'm glad I didn't get all these fun skills early on, it was worth the wait.
I remember a Castanic NPC complain about how the villagers didn't trust him because he looked like a Devan... Now I'm seeing the resemblance a lot better.
Upon arriving in the large Devan camp, I found an undercover agent I was supposed to be looking for. She was clutching her side as if injured.
I'm assuming she's Castanic.
In a short yet satisfying cutscene, all was explained. She was spying on the Devan leader, who has started to work in conjunction with the Scions of Lok. He was bowing before a high priestess and apologizing profusely that his power was not enough to corrupt the Fey Forest. (Finally, plot continuity!) She said that their next step would be even greater... and that's when the spy was spotted and attacked. She got away, but not without taking some significant damage. After she spurted out to me that the Devan leader must be stopped, she fell backwards and died. You did well, soldier.
Deeper in Devan territory, things are less classy,
After a lot of revenge slaughter, gathering supplies, and taking a ring off of a corpse for some scout, I reached the place where I would find the Devan leader.
This is for the dead chick! HYAAA!
The fight was over in two swings, which confused me. Either I'm horribly overpowered, or that guy was horribly underpowered. Maybe a combination of both? Who knows...
Either way, after turning in this quest, I was told to go to Lumbertown. Guess I need to report my findings.
Does this insanity go deeper? I'm sure it does, but this is where my last entry ends.
It's time for me to reach my final verdict.
Graphics: I know that buying a game alone on graphics is silly, but this game definitely doesn't disappoint in this aspect. The character models are detailed, the animations are fluid, and the environments are at moments, stunning and breathtaking. Even when it isn't downright amazing, it's hard not to have an appreciation for what you're seeing on your screen. After playing World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XI for years, it's truly incredible how far MMO graphics have come, and TERA is a prime example of what all future MMOs should aim for graphics-wise.
Plot: Though relatively weak compared to World of Warcraft's lore, and Final Fantasy XI's massive storyline and conflicts, TERA isn't completely without a plot. Though unclear or rushed at times, I've found that more and more about the game world is revealed with every quest line. I also feel as if this game could have the potential to have an amazing background story, if only more things were explained. Though not the bottom of the bucket, TERA's foremost issue is it's lack of background information about the game world.
Combat: Even without a strong plot line, I found myself motivated to play. The main reason for this was the innovative and extremely fun combat system. It's refreshing, it's new, and is reminiscent of games like Skyrim. It also has a bit of a console gaming feel to it, which I assume is the reason why it has such strong controller support. Skills are gained through a trainer like in World of Warcraft, but are spaced evenly, with at least one ability being upgraded or new ability being learned every even-numbered level. The learning curve is longer than most MMOs, but that's what makes this game a gem... it's challenging, it keeps you on your toes, and is sure to please.
Questing: Let's face it, TERA hasn't done anything new with the questing system we all have come to see as the norm in the MMO world. On the other hand, the quests aren't painfully long, you don't have to struggle with frustrating drop rates for quest items, and there are plenty of zones and quests to do. Essential plotline quests are marked with an orange question mark, and the mini-map tracking system is superb. It's hard to get lost in this game, and easy to find any monster that a quest dictates must be killed. The questing system is manageable, but groundbreaking it definitely is not.
Crafting and Gathering: I'm sure the crafting system is extensive from what I've seen, but it's also expensive. As a first time player it was nearly inaccessible, and completely impractical. Gathering is truly a rewarding experience, however. The buffs and experience points that gathering rewards you are invaluable to any character's leveling and questing. Nodes respawn very quickly so there is barely any competition for resources. All that matters is that you have the few seconds to gather was you find. Best of all, any character can gather anything. There is no limit on the amount of professions you can take. I'll take this gathering system over World of Warcraft any day, but as for crafting, I'm not yet sure.
Is TERA worth getting? You bet your sweet monthly subscription it is, but only if you are bored to death of the current MMOs on the market. If you're all about saving money, it might be worthwhile to wait for Guild Wars 2 like most other people are doing. On the other hand, TERA's combat system is so unique and exciting that it's hard to resist. It breathes new life into a genre that I before thought was going stale, with a constant flood of WoW-clones and MMOs that went free-to-play faster than you could say "failure."
For now, I'll be enjoying the world of TERA with much gusto, and Chumley will continue to waddle his way to glory.