My first trek into the action MMO began with looking over my character and class choices. I was impressed by the amount of different characters you can choose from. Of course, you have your humans and elves, but it expands from there giving gamers varied choices in the type of hero they want to create. This allows you to build your race based on the class you would like to be. For me I wanted to be a priest so in the spirit of my Everquest character I selected a high elf.
After selecting your race you can choose from a number of classes, many of which anyone familiar with MMO’s will recognize. All the classes have descriptions of what they do and a star rating system that tells you how hare the class will be to play. I have to admit I was surprised the priest was only three stars as in many games it is harder to play.
When customizing your character you have a number of choices including presets that have a number of good looks choices. Even if you select a preset, you still can make modifications to it. You can also start custom from scratch and choose everything from hairstyle to facial features to how your armor will look. Once this is done, you can edit your name and begin.
Another cool thing when you start out is you can select from the keyboard or a controller like the Xbox 360 or PS3 controller. Obviously since you will also be typing with other players you will still need the keyboard, but the game is set up in a way that you can control your basic movements and attacks using a joystick which is not only fun, but could be preferred for some console gamers.
So right away, to are tossed on a beach, which kind of reminds me of the beginning of Conan or the goblin starting area for World of Warcraft. Instead of starting out at level 1, you begin at level 20 and have a number of abilities to use. I, as a priest started off with offensive and defensive abilities.
Movement is a combination of your mouse and W, A, S, D and it only takes a second to get used to the controls if you have played MMO’s before. The beginning quests get you used to walking around, using the “F” key to talk with people and getting used to your UI.
As you can see in the video and screenshots, Tera Online tries not to put too much on your screen. You have your health and mana bars. Then you have the map screen, your dialog windows and your spell bars all in normal locations for most MMO’s. You also have your inventory box and your character box where you can equip your character with items.
Once you get past the starting quests, you get some starting armor and make your way out. Along the way, you see that there will be different interaction with terrain like jumping on pillars and climbing ladders. When you attack, you use the left mouse button for a basic attack and the right button, at least for the priest, vaults you back and away from the battle. All these can be reconfigured to put the spells and abilities where you want/need them.
The gameplay reminds me of a mix between a point and click and a traditional MMO and having various spells and abilities right out the gate makes the game fun. You will need to hit the alt or escape key to bring up your mouse pointer to do things like read your spells or change your quick buttons. It is also a good idea to read what the spells do because some are range attacks while others are not. As for your basic attack you can just hold the left mouse button down and the spell will continue firing,
Soon you find yourself fighting a harder enemy and see that there are destructible environments that you will encounter. After that, you get into a larger battle with a boss and a number of allies and enemies. For the priest class it is an opportunity to learn some of your AOE “help “spells. Like regeneration and purification. Now later, after a very cool cut-scene, you do begin as level one recruit with only very basic spells as you begin learning your class.
Overall, the first ten or fifteen minutes of the game leaves a good impression that it will be the action oriented MMO promised from the beginning. There are a lot of good signs such as starting off with a number of spells and interesting gameplay. In addition, smaller things like being able to resize everything including your inventory boxes and the help guide which shows step by step instructions on how to do and access various things. As we play on we will bring you more information and our thoughts on Tera Online.