I kind of wanted to get to level 20 before I wrote this post but alas, it was not to be. Since my last post I took Bart from level 15 to level 19. So what did I learn?
Biggest thing: skill chains. Turns out you have to set these up yourself. Hit K to bring up the skills window and at the bottom is a Skill Chains button that opens a second panel. The ‘starter’ skills seem to be predetermined but you can drag whatever ‘chained’ skill into the various slots that seem like they’ll fit your style. At my level all the chains are 2 links long.
I also learned a new skill, Overhead Smash, that ‘auto-chains.’ When I spam my main attack a few times (which IS called a “Combo Attack”) I’ll get a prompt to chain (ie, hit Space) the Overhead Smash (don’t shoot me if I have the name wrong).
My friend Gwyn, who you see commenting here now and then, formed a guild with her sister and they invited me to join. OK maybe I begged them to let me join. Either way, I’m member #3. I wanted to check out the Guild Quest system. Turns out this is very similar to the repeatable kill quests that you can get, with the one exception that you can ‘store up’ extra kills. For example there was a Guild Quest to kill 12 Foozles. I killed 12 but as I continued with other quests I had to fight more Foozles. The counter kept going: 13/12, 14/12 etc. By the time I turned the quest in I had 17/12. As soon as I turned it in, the quest reset and restarted at 5/12. I assume that others in the guild will find those same numbers and can take up the baton where I left it.
I finally stopped to do some crafting and my sense is that it’s mostly a money sink in low levels. I opted to work on Alchemy in order to make some potions. To make a healing potion I started with some leaves I’d gathered. I bought and learned a recipe that turns the leaves into an intermediate material. To do that requires the leaves and a reagant that I had to buy from a vendor. Then to make the actual potions, I needed to buy the recipe. Then I combined the intermediate material I’d crafted, another reagant I had to buy from a vendor, plus some glass vials, also from the vendor. It got expensive fast.
You can skip that first step by extracting from items that have dropped from mobs. So the question is which is more lucrative. Here’s another example, this one using metals. I can gather ore, then combine it with a vendor-sold reagant to make Ingots which I can then use to make gear. Say a pair of metal armor boots drop and I don’t need them. I can sell them to a vendor and use the coin to buy reagants. Or I could Extract Metals from the boots, which should provide an Ingot, bypassing that initial combine. At low levels you probably want to sell gear and buy the reagants since you’ll skill up making Ingots but later it’s probably cheaper to just extract your Ingots.
Last thing to hit on for today: the difficulty level of the game. Yesterday I mentioned how easy Tera is, and it has been up until now. But all of a sudden battles are becoming more intense and more interesting. Suddenly dodging and avoidance are becoming essential as I’m encountering baddies that exude poison as their special attack (all mobs in the world of Tera have the same tell; their eyes flash red before they unleash their special attack).
Granted this is just combat difficulty that is ramping up a bit. The rest of the game is still very clear cut. You always know where you need to go next, and what you need to kill. Mobs that will help you towards fulfilling a goal have an icon floating over their heads: yellow for a personal quest, blue for a guild quest.
A limitation of the Unreal engine (I think) is that all zones are essentially very wide corridors, so there’s really not a ton of exploring; it’s more like sight-seeing as you travel through the world.
And yet…I’m REALLY enjoying the game. Maybe it’s because my expectations were so low, or maybe it’s the progression hound in me who is so delighted at doing quests that give great gobs of experience and help you level up quickly. I still don’t know how much fun an alt would be, but I’m finding myself bummed to think of the open beta weekend ending and it’s going to be tough waiting for the game to re-open next week.
Here’re a few short videos I captured of me fighting. They were captured at half-size using Fraps so they don’t look as great as they might. Apologies to those who’ve already seen some of these on Google+.
Tragically, these corrupted unicorns must be put down. This fight has a good example of the great ‘staggering/falling down’ animations that mobs have. You almost feel sorry for the poor thing when it goes down. Almost.
You’ll do a lot of fighting against groups of enemies like this one. This demon thingie is surrounded by a bunch of fairies. The fairies die really quick to AOE attacks but if you don’t take them down they will suck away your health in a ‘death by a thousand needles’ kind of way:
A similar battle. I pop my Shout that gives me some MP to use, then charge into the fight. After a couple of swings I fire off Whirlwind — that double circular attack. That takes out most of the fairies and then knocks the ‘boss’ on his butt. Just before he dies you can see his eyes flash. It would’ve hurt had he gotten his special attack off in time.
I included this one because I love the creature design. Tera has a lot of really weird creatures and I’m enjoying seeing what they all do. This guy spits a nasty poison, though he never did in this battle. You’ll also see me do an overhead smash…into thin air. No auto-targeting in this game and you can get caught in a combat animation facing the wrong way. Just part of the challenge!