Between Friday night and a couple hour session after the dog got me up early for her walk this morning, I’ve taken Bart The Slayer from level 8 to level 15.
In the course of this, I’ve left The Island of Dawn (the starter area which takes you level 1-12 or so), explored the main city of the world, the name of which just went out of my head, tinkered a tiny bit with crafting and finally moved on to the next zone.
Overall the game continues to be fun, mostly because of combat and having a new world to explore. I’m not sure how fun an alt having to do the exact same quests would be. I pine for the days when games like EQ2, WoW and LOTRO would launch with several different starting areas for different races. I suppose that’s much too expensive it today’s game development economy though.
I’ve been switching back and forth between using a controller and using mouse and keyboard. I find the controller to be a lot more fun when it comes to combat, but mouse and keyboard is much more efficient and much easier to use when it comes time to fiddle with your inventory and stuff like that. Mostly I like combat with the controller because I do a lot of moving around and moving a character (in a 3rd person game) with the left stick and moving the camera with the right stick just feels more natural to me than keys to move character and mouse to move camera. What makes the mouse and keyboard feel odd is that there’s no way to turn the character with the keys. A&D strafe and Q&E are bound to non-movement tasks. So you move the camera to turn the character. It’s hard to explain, but it all feels more natural to me with a controller.
Tip: Type /controller or hit the Back button on an Xbox controller to bring up a set of controller-specific options.
At level 15 I still only have a few skills and I think this is just the way the game is going to be. New since level 8 are just a shout that gives me 100 MP and a Retaliate command that only works when I’ve been knocked down. When that happens the game prompts me to use Retaliate by hitting the space bar (or the X key on the controller) so I don’t even think I need that one parked on a hotbar.
Once I got off the Island of Dawn I turned on general chat. Most of the idiocy was gone [side note: the new “I’m gonna prove I’m cool by telling everyone that a popular MMO sucks” target seems to be SWTOR, giving WoW a bit of a rest from the abuse] and I mostly eavesdropped on what was going on. There was a lot of talk about Chains (skill chains) and I remember Chains from the prologue but I still either don’t have them or don’t understand them. I do know the “hitting space to trigger Retaliate” is the Chain mechanic at work, and one time my Charge move ended with the option to do a chain but I missed it and haven’t figured out why it did it in the first place. So that’s a mechanic that still eludes me.
One thing I haven’t done AT ALL is customize my character. I mean I get better gear and use it and every 2 levels I go to the trainer and buy all the skills available (most of them upgrades to existing skills) but I haven’t had to make any decisions yet.
Between that and the controller-friendly combat, Tera just feels like a nicely casual MMO so far. I don’t say that in a derogatory way…sometimes it’s fun to have a game where you can just beat up on things while pretending they’re the CEO of your company or something.. 🙂
Yesterday I mentioned repeatable quests on the Island of Dawn. Once you get to the ‘main game’ you’ll get these too only so far they’ve all been based on kill tasks. Rewards for these are either a couple of Lucky Eggs (containing random loot) or some Tokens that act as a currency on special vendors. This kind of mechanic is fairly common when it comes to dungeon running in other games, I’m told (since I never group I never do dungeons/instances in MMOs) but I haven’t seen it often in the solo-able open-world parts of many games. These repeatable quests are nice “filler.” You get exp from fighting the things, exp from completing the quests and these tokens which I hope will offer nice gear. Combat is pretty fun in Tera so I was always killing random baddies anyway…now I have a reason to do it. There doesn’t seem to be any limit to how many times you can do these quests (they’re not Dailies and have no cool down), except once you out-level them they stop being offered.
I guess I should talk a little about crafting. Gathering is available from level 1 to anyone. You don’t have to train or buy tools..you just start gathering from nodes sprinkled around the landscape. Gathering gets you raw materials, of course.
Extraction lets you get raw materials from gear you don’t want. You can opt to extract Metal, Cloth, Alchemy Reagants or…um, magic bits? Or was it leather? There are 4 things anyway. Before you can extract you have to buy or find a scroll that teaches you how. There’s a scroll for each type of material and each tier of gear. So your first Metal Extraction scroll teaches you to get ore from Tier 1 gear. If you want to extract Metal from Tier 2 gear you need a Metal Extraction Level 2 scroll, which of course costs a bit more than the level 1. If you want to extract Cloth from Tier 1 gear then you need a Cloth Extraction Scroll to learn how to do it.
Finally there’s crafting. I haven’t done much of this but I believe we have Weaponsmithing, Armorsmithing, Cloth Weaving, Leathercrafting, Alchemy and Magical Essences… I think that’s right. 6 of them anyway. In order to make something you need to buy a pattern/recipe/blueprint which then teaches you to make that thing. All I can make is Ingots and leather. In both cases I have to combine gathered raw materials with a reagant I buy from an NPC.
There doesn’t seem to be anything preventing you from learning all 6 crafting skills; maybe there is at higher levels, but newbie stuff seems open to all if you’re willing to buy the patterns.
And I think that’s enough of a Wall of Text for level 8-15. If anyone has any questions, ask away, though I there’s still a ton I don’t know!
But my feeling right now is that Tera would make a great F2P game. It’s fun and easy (I died once in the Prologue but since then haven’t really felt in much danger) and pretty. I just don’t know that people are going to be willing to shell out $15/month for fun and easy and pretty.