No, This Is The Silliest Mount Ever

Silly Syp, Rabbits are for amateurs. Real silliness involves patrol cars.

And giant…things. With pipes.

And his brother. Who is silly by proxy.

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things: DAW15 Part 2

So last time I thanked the SWTOR devs for their efforts. Today I want to highlight one of the things I appreciate about TERA.

While the game got raked over the coals in critiques, both socially and mechanically, there is one thing about TERA that I can not do in any other MMO that I play. One fun thing that nobody else really does. And that is that it has made me comfortable playing the game with the UI turned off, without having to mouse click any of my skills. Now to be fair, this is something that most ARPG’s and some MOBA’s have already gotten right – Diablo, Marvel Heroes, World of Tanks, etc. All of these can do that. But there are no straight MMORPG’s that I play that allow me that option and, more importantly, where that option of watching the fight unfold rather than watching numbers and buttons, is actually beneficial.


I actually took that screenshot above while fighting. And its not unusual for me to gather the quests in a given area, hit Ctrl+Z, and run off to play the game. Its refreshing (and immersive) to not have to look at boxes and buttons and wheels for a change. And TERA is a truly pretty game with lots of gorgeous landscape, interesting cities, and of course, colorful characters. Its kinda like playing an online version of Alice in Wonderland I suppose, and it has some unique charm in that.

So thank you En Masse and Bluehold developers, for creating a unique MMO that lets me feel even more like I’m at home in an RPG.

#daw2015, #tera, #mmo, #2015

TERA’s Santa Clause: Slightly Creepier Than Yours

Father Tonka visits the TERA servers once a year, to hand out presents, provide photo opportunites, and apparently, to watch the world burn.

I have come for your souls…

If demonic Santa’s are not your thing, you can buy some Snowbelle wraps for your virtual girlfriend, or give an expensive lottery box (~$25) to your buddy and get a Santa suit kickback.

Joking and price aside, I do like the incentive to give gifts to friends. That must be great fun for those with an in game guild or just some buddies playing along. I just wish it were a little cheaper, I’d send a little something to the person who helped me out with some things in game a few weeks ago.

My First TERA Disappoint

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

TERA is doing their Fall Carnival/Halloween Event right now, and it looks pretty cool. A daily mission where you break up the “Banquet of Blood” – a Vampire party. A group instance of defending a candy mound from a ridiculously evil “Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!” And, for those who are into that sort of thing, even a Halloween Costume Party!

I guess the answer is N.
I guess the answer is N.

The problem is the location. Flight points in TERA are unlocked not by having to visit the Flight Master, but by your character level, something I have applauded as a positive change to the usual. But it also means that I can’t get to the event locations, because I’m of a high enough level. I could run there, the old fashion way, having the nifty founder’s mount with a good bit of speed on it. But that’s not the only restriction…

If this event is anything like the last two (and a brief jaunt through the official forums confirms it is), then the daily carnival quests I described above are limited to high level characters – as in, my 20-something can’t even get the quest. No quest means no candy, no candy means no goodies from the Halloween vendor. And while it used to be that the gameworld itself was rigged to drop you some stuff no matter where you were, that no longer seems to be the case, so I literally have no way to get candy. None.

Back to leveling with you peon! Only those who have maxed level get to participate in the fun!

Which seems odd from a game design standpoint, but okay. Just means that instead of logging into TERA everyday to get candy (I really wanted the pet ghost, Boo), I will just do my usual leveling night here and there and keep logging into other games. Lost opportunity guys, lost opportunity.

Cute little feller, ain't he?
Cute little feller, ain’t he?

I could always buy some costumes from the store I guess…

…for $20?! I could almost buy my own horse for that.

Nevermind. I am disappoint.

The Noobie’s Guide to TERA

So if my post yesterday got you curious and you’d like to take a few tentative steps into the world of TERA, I wanted to write a few words of wisdom for you today.

1) Picking a Race

If you want to play a male character and want to avoid awkward clothing choices, you are fine everywhere except Castanics and a few of the High Elf light armor pieces. If you want to play a female, the choices are a bit trickier.

Amani is hands down the easiest, because they are the most “inhuman” and thus even the most revealing pieces are really just showing off what amounts to stone. But if that’s not your cup of tea, you still have some options. If you plan on going with a light armor class (Sorcerer, Priest, Mystic), the High Elf is probably your best bet. While the character models have overly large uh, assets, the armor choices tend to be more modest and classy – longer hem lengths and so on. If you want a medium armor class, humans are probably your best bet. Despite some really egregiously bad fashion outfits, a goodly number of them (especially endgame) are rather awesome.


If you want a heavy armor class…well, as annoying as they can be, the Elin are probably your best bet here. Every other female heavy armor set for the other classes is some variation on the chainmail bikini. That’s not to say you can’t find exceptions, or make your own.

TERA has a fantastic template/remodel system in place. You can visit an NPC and for a fee move the appearance of one armor set or weapon to another. Even better, if you don’t possess one you like, there is a template shop that sells the appearance of almost every set you could wear for a reasonable price. So you should be able to find something. And even the most scantily clad race class combo usually has some fun outfits that aren’t over the top. Even the Castanic light armor babes:


The TD;DR here is that Humans are the fantasy standard, Castanics are your emo/hipsters, Amani/Baraka are your BAMF‘s, Popori/Elin are your cute/furry, and High Elfs are your high fashion/high society types. Their outfits and emotes will reflect these trends.

2) Picking a Class

Pick what you want, but please please please be aware of the difficulty ratings on the class selection screen. They are there for a reason. Please know that there is no class you cannot have fun with and no class you cannot master. None of this is rocket science. But some classes do require a little more supervision and a little more time to get the hang of.

For example, the Warrior class spends a lot of time on the move in the philosophy of “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” – you are not going to stand in front of a mob and just pound on him, unlike other MMO’s Warrior classes. If you are curious, TERA provides a complete list of each classes skills on their Game Guide on the main website (for example, here is the one on the Warrior). These guides are great and really give you some insight into how the class plays.

If you are a tank, your choices are Lancer (traditional tank) or Warrior (evasion tank). If you want to heal, you can go Priest (traditional healer) or Mystic. The Mystic is very different in that while it has direct heals, it also has some interesting mechanics. For example, it can drop healing orbs on the battlefield for its teammates to pick up as needed. For example a good mystic teammate might drop an orb right behind the mob so their warrior tank can snag on as he does his evasion roll. This “fire and forget” style healing is matched with some “fire and forget” dps in the form of pets, so you have some great potential – but at the cost of a more difficult class to play.

On the DPS front, you have your ranged options – Sorcerer and Archer, and your melee options – Berserker and Slayer. The Warrior also doubles as a solid melee DPS choice, if giant two handed weapons are not your thing.

3) The Starter Island

The Isle of Dawn has been streamlined from the games launch. Gone is the confusing flashback opening where you play a level 30 version of yourself on the initial invasion of the island, in fact it looks like that has been written out of the narrative altogether. I mention it only because if you are an explorer type, you will notice that about half the starter island is depopulated. There are tents, gathering hubs, and even clearly marked quest items on the ground but its a ghost town.

Um..guys?  Hello?!  ...Everyone is lost but me.
Um..guys? Hello?! …Everyone is lost but me.

If you just follow the quests and narrative given now though, you won’t even encounter those ghost areas. The island will take only an hour or so to complete, and you will end up in the capital city at level 11 with clear instructions on where to head next. None of the mobs on the starter island will aggro on you. They will pop the alert icon (an exclamation mark, and they will turn and face) which will get you prepped for mob life in the main game, but none of them will then aggro after that alert phase and start attacking you first. (ETA: Except maybe the boss treeman you fight early on, I can’t remember at the moment).

The island doesn’t take long to move around, and you will get a free mount at level 11. But if you want, you can spend $5 on Amazon and get the Quick Start Bundle, which has some nice one use buff potions and a mount that you can use right away. Also you may want to check and see what goodies you have been given. Hit the Alt or Esc keys and then the box looking icon to the right. There you can open the ingame store or check item claim. I had a bunch of items in there I didn’t know about when I started and I don’t know if they were gifts because I had an account before the F2P transition or what. Its worth a looksy either way.

The storyline of the game is explained in cutscenes that occur at the beginning and end of the island time. But if you want the short version – this island has sprung up for some unknown reason and is being tamed and investigated. For some it might hold clues to the real conflict at hand – the Argons. It is against this invasion that the races of TERA have united (mostly) and you have been conscripted into. But before taking on the enemy on the frontlines to the west, unblooded recruits like you are being tested by troubles that have popped up on the home front. Explore the island and its mysteries, report to the capital, and then get your next assignment – uncovering the source of the unrest and fey attacks on the forests north of the capital and its centerpiece, Lumbertown. Is there a link between the island, these attacks, and the Argon invasion? That’s for you and your friends to uncover.

4) Gathering and Crafting

If you are into crafting, start gathering now. You won’t really be able to craft until you hit the capital, but its good to start now. Even if you don’t craft, start gathering. Gathering actually grants you one of three random buffs that increases you speed, stamina, or healing. And these stack multiple times. In other words, TERA actually compensates you for the time to take to stop and gather resources. Wild idea, I know, and I love it.

You can gather everything and craft everything. There is no limit on learned skills, the only limit is the time you wish to put into crafting. Thank you TERA!

5) Into the Big Bad World

Before you leave the capital, make sure you check in with the inventory expansion guy. He will give you the first one for free, and the second one is only 15 silver, which will be very affordable even just off the starter island.

Once you are in the big bad world, be aware that mobs will come fast and hard, and its entirely possible in dodging and moving you will aggro a second one. Keep moving and use those class abilities to their fullest. You should have several healing potions from starting gift crates, use them early and often. If you don’t have any, craft or buy some. Bombs are nice as well, use them to supplement your DPS or AOE attacks.

Play around with those skill chains and don’t be afraid to switch them up based on the tactics of the mobs you encounter.

And always remember to use campfires and bonfires to get the full stamina boost for your character – why would you not go into combat with a 20%+ buff to your HP and MP? And while you are there, don’t forget to throw a charm or two into the fire for those additional buffs as well.

And finally, if you need anything, give me a yell. I’m not on every night, but I’m happy to help if I am on. Since I tend to play a variety of characters, just shoot me an email (see the About Me page) or a tweet (@Harbinger_Zero) with your character name and my awesome phone (which is always with me) will buzz with a notification. And I will track you down and help you in any way I can!

Good luck and good hunting.

Another Confession To Make

Well things have shuffled in my regular playing group again, and the end result is that we won’t be able to get back together in complete formation until February or March. So that means Rift has been placed on standby. I did fine with that for about a month, burying myself in tanks and planes and enjoying every moment. But after awhile, I get the itch for some fantasy.

So I downloaded and patched two possibilities, for one specific reason. I had heard about Everquest II offering the option to play free top level characters, something I have been wanting since 2007 or so. And I also, in reading about that, heard that TERA was offering the same deal. Since I had heard that the TERA offering was a time sensitive deal, I went that direction first. Turns out, I missed my opportunity by just a few days (something I am still seething about – though not too much, its clear En Masse bypassed the usual advertisement on the opportunity as a way to reward current players, so…you can’t get too angry about that).

So, the confession is that this has led me to playing TERA regularly. I know, its not a popular choice. Nobody likes the oversexed characters, the action combat was given the ho-hum yawn, and anyone into Eastern style fantasy settings is probably on the FFXIV bandwagon (or still clinging to their FFXI accounts).

But for some reason, I have found myself really enjoying the game, and having no problems playing it. I’ve been pondering why that is, and I think I can sum it up in a few simple points.

Beauty, not Sex

The over sexed characters really disappear once you get out into the “real world.” In the capital there are approximately 973 scantily clad females dancing endlessly, while general chat is laced with innuendo or outright propositions. But once you leave the capital and go out into the adventure zones, you’ll be hard pressed to find any of that. The spell and combat effects are flying, and the pace of combat is fluid enough that I haven’t yet stopped to gawk incredulously at what anyone is wearing. Its all business, all the time. Well, almost all the time. I have stopped on occasion to enjoy the gorgeous world and well done characters in the game. This is a game that just looks fantastic, enough so that you have to stop and smell the flowers every once in a while. Being out in the game world really lets that shine in an untainted way. Sometimes, even at its top graphical settings, I cringe in Everquest II. Even on the lowest settings, the game looks great. For comparison, here is a screenshot taken on my new gaming computer, and then one on my old laptop that could barely run Rift and SWTOR.

Stunning textures on the tent, beautiful lighting effects.  (New)
Stunning textures on the tent, beautiful lighting effects. (New)
The character models tend to be oversexed, but its also hard to deny the level of detail involved here, or just how beautiful the models are.
Even on the crappy old computer, you can appreciate the detail and beauty of the world and character models.

The Action Combat Was Better Than People Thought

The first time around in TERA, playing the open beta, I stuck with the one class that I absolutely loved on paper, the Mystic. A healer/pet combo class, it had a lot of fun abilities and seemed perfect for my playstyle and background. And I still enjoy the snot out of it. But..I’ve played around a bit with the other classes too. Each of them has its own flavor and, the word that is used most often on the forums and fan sites for the game, “rhythm” to play. Some are tougher than others to learn, but not so much that someone might say “man, I could never play that class, its just too hard.” The combo system is perhaps what I most underappreciated last time in. What if your MMO not only made macros okay, but highlighted them in a way that made them part of the game? There is an easy drop down list on your skill menu where you can drag and drop skill icons to form chains. Then you just tap the spacebar to move to the next skill or attack in the chain. Its not an unlimited one touch system – each skill can only be chained to one other at a given time, meaning some strategy and though is needed. But for example, my archer currently has her two close combat attacks slaved to her “backstep” evasion ability. When someone gets close, they kick a snap kick, a roundhouse kick, and then I leap out of the way so I can start unleashing arrows. Its fun to watch and use. But its not perfect – there are some enemies that love to use charge attacks – and on them, that combo doesn’t work so well, because it sets me up to get knocked down and punished. Instead I have to use some of my trap skills or try to stay mobile, which means eschewing my charge-up skills for quicker attacks. My Mystic is just as action oriented by the way – using teleport jaunts and PBAOE strikes mixed with weaker, but faster ranged attacks for mobile awesomeness.

The closest thing to this combat/action wise would have to be The Secret World, though smoother, since I’m not having to toolbar hunt to play. And even with only eight skills up there, I have to do some toolbar hunting. That is one more thing I love – default controls set to let you play without ever having to click on screen on anything. Just about the only time my hands leave the WASD and mouse is to move inventory around. Would that other MMO’s would ditch the old setups and give you something like this!

Lots Of Friendly People

I mentioned the 973 person dancing harem in the capital. Hopefully you laughed, but if you are like me, you did a double take and thought – wow…there are a lot more people playing this game than I thought. And you would be right. At times on the starter island, I’ve had to wait for respawns! Even given the fact that TERA, in a genius move – has ditched the “Kill Ten X” for “Kill Five X” – which is nothing more than a parlor trick but…man does it work! Those quests are not nearly the chore they were at 10 kills now that they are at 5 kills. Weird, but true. Anyway, so many people. And twice I’ve had to group up with strangers for that boss mob that only spawns once every couple of minutes – and its been no big deal, or NBD as the kids text these days. Hey you wanna group up for this guy? Yeah sounds good, but hang on this other person has been wandering around here for a minute, lets check with them first. Yep they need him too. Okay, invites sent! Mob was killed people were happy.

Twice I’ve asked questions in general or trade chat, and gotten immediate, helpful responses. One person I ran across in playing found out I was a new returnee and was truly pleased, told me to ask if I needed anything at all, and then – in a first ever, asked if it was okay if they added me to their friend list. I found out why – if anyone adds you to their friend list, you get a notification on your screen. So nobody can creep on you without you having a chance to block them the hell out. It was refreshing to find such a universally upbeat community and full servers on a game I thought was half-dead.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. My initial review of TERA from open beta is still the third most viewed page on this website, behind only my naming guide for STO and the tips and tricks guide for World of Tanks, and garnering more than three times the number of hits of the fourth most viewed page.

Even The Lockboxes Are Pretty Innocuous

Yes, we all hate them, and TERA, being F2P with an optional sub, has them. But I wonder if STO has given them a bad rap. In TERA, things are a little different. STO sells keys for around $1.15 and gives you a guarentee only of some worthless lockbox-only currency. And they never give away keys. TERA charges around $.50 for a key, and guarantees you 1-2 uncommon items useful to anyone of any level (like crystals to perma-buff your gear, scrolls to enchant with, etc). STO gives you the option to get the best DPS/PVP ship in the game, that has sold, at times for what is over $100 of real currency. TERA gives you costumes for your weapons and armor. Costumes that you can also buy straight up from the store. The only difference is that the lockbox versions generally allow for being dyed or, in the case of weapons, have a glow effect that straight store-bought versions don’t have. Oh, and you get keys for free sometimes. Subscribers actually get 10 keys a month. As a returning player, I was given 20 keys for free to play around with. In STO I get lockbox drops so often, I have about 5 stacks of them in my bank – even with regularly selling stacks off for peanuts on the broker. In TERA, I’ve got one stack that’s not even a full stack yet.

I mean if you really, really hate lockboxes, yeah, they are still there. But if you understand that they are a good way for F2P games to make money, you have to appreciate how En Masse has handled them with kid gloves in TERA.


So That’s My Confession

I like the game you’re not supposed to like. The game with characters running around in bikinis and stuff. The game with really obnoxious advertisements that used MMA stars to offend people. Between this and getting kicked out of my guild recently, perhaps you think the worst of me. But at least its all out on the table now for you to see and talk about.

But I do like it. And from what I’ve seen so far, I think I’m not quite as alone as I thought. So if you need me, for the time being, if I’m not wrecking tanks and planes, you can find me there.