|Pub: En Masse|
|Release: May 1, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Suggestive Themes, Violence|
If there's an area in which TERA falls short, it's that it can sometimes feel like more of a grind than WoW. I can't quite put my finger on the reason, but I think part of it is that TERA's quests are much heavier on basic errands—kill quests are a bit more entertaining than "run over there and talk to this other guy" quests, especially when the combat system is a huge selling point.
Of course, another part of it just might be that the game will feel familiar to any WoW player. But whatever the reason, I occasionally got the feeling that I was just running back and forth between markers on the map, rather than engaging in an epic quest with fascinating combat. These spells never lasted for too long, but they did detract from the experience.
One thing I haven't mentioned yet is that while TERA is new to America, it's been around in South Korea since January of last year. In fact, some media sites have reported that it cost more than World of Warcraft to develop, and all of the effort shows—TERA is very, very polished. The only problem I encountered in my hours with TERA was that I managed to get my character stuck between some invisible walls once; there's already an "unstuck" feature to fix this when it happens. The American localization was handled exceedingly well, and aside from the normal jitters (some people reported account problems, I got kicked out of the game once, etc.), the launch went swimmingly. En Masse, the company in charge of bringing the game to America, did a great job.
Unfortunately, TERA is also rather expensive; in a world where so many MMOs have gone free to play, TERA demands an up-front $50 investment, plus a subscription fee of $15 a month. It's clearly targeted toward the MMO faithful—and for the MMO faithful, it looks like a good buy from the hours I've spent with it.
I almost hesitate to lavish so much praise on TERA. Given how much it has stolen from World of Warcraft, TERA is standing on the shoulders of a very tall, very strong giant. But the bottom line is that TERA fixes the very worst aspect of WoW—the lame combat—while making some improvements to other features and doing a good job of emulating the basics. If you're looking for a new MMO, TERA is an excellent choice.
Date: May 4, 2012