The reign of subscription MMOs is coming to an end. With very few heavy hitters left standing with a monthly charge, those that have either switched to free-ish models or released as free-to-play have tons more competition to fight against.
As MMOs now compete to have the best F2P method and features, it can be hard for aspiring players to pick a game to download and put some time into. Usually you could just say download them all and try them out since they are free but MMOs are giant downloads and it is very difficult to spring from one to another and get a good sense of how the game is. You need to put some time into an MMO to see if you’ll enjoy it or not. Starting out is always basic and so-so in the experience department.
So how do you choose one of these F2P MMOs to check out? You use the internet and let articles like this make the decision for you!
What Makes TERA Online Unique?
There’s a lot of similar MMOs out there but TERA Online stands out from them all. What is extremely apparent off the bat is the combat system. This isn’t you point, click, tab target, and repeat MMO. TERA Online brings with it a very skill-based, free range, 3rd person, action RPG style of combat. You use a reticule to aim your attacks and heals and wherever you are pointing is where you’re going to focus. If you want to attack the big tree monster to your left, move your reticule upon him and let loose. If you want to heal your fellow party member, the same rule applies.
There are other ways to attack and heal and it deals with how many targets your ability will allow you to select. You’ll activate a selective ability and highlight a number of enemies or allies and then unleash your attack or support. This is a very well done system that just flows.
The one thing about TERA Online is that you’ll never get tired of battling. The use of the free range combat system coupled with a combo feature, fancy ability graphics, and constant motion of your character make it seem like combat is alive. To be honest, it is extremely hard to go from this back to a tab targeting system found in most other MMOs. Since TERA Online utilizes a player’s skill, you’ll find yourself less dependent on gear quality and more focused on how good you are with a class and its mechanics. Are you good enough to recognize when an attack is coming at you? Can you get your shield up fast enough to block incoming damage as a Lancer? Can you dodge and roll away from certain death as a Warrior? Can you correctly utilize the backstepping ability with your other skills to ensure a brief moment of respite during a tough battle? How well are your combos set up? Do they balance between offensive, support, and defensive?
These are all questions that game will teach you and then expect you to explore and learn on your own. The further you head up in level the more TERA Online will test your skill. You are perfectly able to take most classes and go head-to-head with a BAM (Big Ass Monster) and survive. It is refreshing to see an MMO lean more on skill and ensuring you know how to play your class. That being said, no class is exceptionally hard to learn and master unless you want to be cruel to yourself and be an Evasion Tank Warrior. The game warns you at character creation that these kinds of characters are the hardest to play but most rewarding to experience. The aspect of rolling, timing, and light armor will give you quite the challenge but I do see these being requested by groups very often.
Aside from combat, TERA Online does a lot right. The UI is extremely easy to use which gives it a clear win against a similar rival in DC Universe Online. Instead of laggy menus that take you away from the gameplay completely, TERA Online’s UI brings up menus on the bottom of your screen and attempts to keep your vision on the battlefield at much as it can. You can find a ton of information whether you’re a casual player or hardcore. If you just want to know if a new piece of gear is better than what you have, you can. If you want to manage raids, timers, a series of combos, see your average item level, or check your achievement progress, you can. Everything is smooth in regards to the UI and for this type of game, that’s important. DC Universe suffered from a poor UI which could be recognized as something meant for a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard.
Another unique aspect of TERA Online is the voting system for a title named Vanarch. Players above level 20 can vote for candidates to become a very powerful “lord”-like character. Once a player is named a Vanarch, they have the ability to raise or lower taxes on all sellable items and services, enable or disable certain NPCs, mass message everyone within their continent, and venture out on exclusive missions which are insanely hard to complete and usually involve ridiculously sized creatures. All of this goes towards Policy Points which allow a Vanarch to put more rules, sanctions, punishments, or rewards into effect. All of this goes through an approval process in a popular vote or can be put into effect immediately if the Vanarch and his guild win in a guild vs. guild competition.
There are a lot other cool features that TERA Online provides and while you can get most of them in other MMOs the above features really stand out and help make the game feel fresh.
TERA Online’s Free-To-Play System
This is a very important section because there are varying degrees of F2P models out there ranging from moderately limiting to very limiting. Some games just try and force you into the normal monthly subscription, an example being Star Wars The Old Republic. Then you have a completely free system like Guild Wars 2 where the only thing that impedes it is a cash shop with certain items that make the experience easier to go through. There are also Pay-to-Win models which you can find in games like Runes of Magic and Atlantica Online. In those systems you can buy items off of the in-game store and make yourself more powerful and have an advantage.
TERA Online’s F2P model isn’t very limiting. You get a ton of content for free and if you want to be able to go into more dungeons, have more characters slots, do more daily quests, have more bank space, and other such features then you can still pay the $14.99 monthly fee (otherwise known as an Elite subscription). You still get a lot for playing as a free account. You get even more if you bought the game before the F2P re-launch as you get Founder status. You can still obtain Founder status if you can find a regular or Collector’s Edition retail box in a store, which is a nice but rare option.
You can head to this link to see all of the limitations of a free or Founder account. It also lists what you get if you decide to upgrade to Elite status. You get a lot more than just more bank space and character slots, which is enticing.
The in-game store offers a lot of costumes, weapon efforts, accessories (such as 50% more XP for a few hours, etc.). You can also buy mounts, name changes, race changes, and Elite members get sale prices on certain items.
TERA Online offers a few different options in regards to account statuses and this is one F2P MMO transition that doesn’t make the free account look like garbage aside the paid one. En Masse did a great job on deciding which features would be limited and how badly. You won’t have to worry about being locked of a major feature because you don’t pay and that is what’s most important.
TERA Online’s Endgame And Upcoming Features
The weakest part of TERA Online is its endgame. I’m not saying this isn’t anything to do but if you’re an MMO veteran who enjoys raids then you’ll be waiting a bit. There are raids coming but they aren’t released yet. Instead you’ll be looking at harder difficulties in dungeons, a couple dungeons that unlock when you hit engame, and some other challenging things to do. You’ll also have your daily quests, deathmatch PvP, and other PvP options to keep you busy.
Endgame doesn’t feel very full of things to do and you may find yourself bored if you sit there logging onto the same high level character every day. Thankfully leveling up alts in TERA Online is just as fun as the first time around. The engaging combat and fun quests ensure that you’ll have plenty to do while waiting for the upcoming features and raids.
If you need raids and other such content immediately after you reach the top level, then you’ll be disappointed with TERA Online but if you’re fine with some daily dungeons and quests while leveling an alt or two, you’ll be more than fine.
So what exactly is on the horizon? A great way to see what is coming up is to check out what the Japanese and Korean versions of TERA Online are getting. You’ll see things like new costumes, weapon skins, dungeons, PvP maps, PvP arenas, and the upcoming raids (not released yet even on the foreign versions).
There is a lot of content being made for this game and while the wait is a bit long to see them come over to the US/EU version, you can really get a sense of how big the game will get by checking out the news for the foreign versions. The first raid encounter will be called Kelsaik’s Sanctuary and will be available in 10-man and 20-man variations.
Should You Play TERA Online?
I would recommend TERA Online to just about any MMO player – veteran, casual, or brand new.
If you’re just getting into MMOs then TERA Online is a great way to start. You’ll have the free range combat system as your first one to experience and it’s a great one at that. Veterans will have some retraining to do as you can get used to one system and find another to be completely foreign to you.
If you’re an action RPG fan and play games like Kingdoms of Amalur, God of War, Fable, or even Star Ocean then you’ll love TERA Online. The combat keeps the game fresh and this is actually the first MMO that I’ve played that I enjoyed starting over at level 1 and going through the paces again. Each class brings something new to the table and some of them will really challenge your in terms of when to strike, when to move, when to block, and then to string together a combo.
All of this comes together in a great experience whether you’re going it solo, have a group of friends, enjoy dungeon running, or are waiting for the raid content.
Download TERA Online at the official site and give it a try. I can almost guarantee that you’ll be impressed and find yourself playing over and over again.