Over the weekend, @Oakstout, @BlamefulGecko and I headed into the first dungeon instance in TERA, the Bastion of Lok. I don’t think any of us had the actual quest to be in there, since we took the dungeon queue route, but I captured the whole sordid mess on video (spoiler: not that sordid). I apologize for the quality; it’s Livestream, and it’s the crappy free tier.
After wiping on Dark Revelations on my new priest (I soloed it in beta, but apparently I suck, or they upped the difficulty), I switched back to my level 18 sorcerer because I really, really wanted to get her on the lion.
That is not a euphemism, as you can see to the left.
The lion mount is a free mount you can unlock at level 20 if you have the collector’s edition of TERA. I upgraded after a week of playing the standard edition because…it’s a lion!
I also unlocked the use of glyphs. Glyphs are TERA’s talent tree. You buy glyphs that are specific to a skill that you have, and there may be multiple glyphs for a single skill. Contrary to what you might find on the Web, glyphs unlock at level 20, not 25.
To use a glyph, you need to buy it from your class’ glyphmaster, found in Velika. First, you have to buy the glyph you want to use. Then, you right click on it in your inventory to install it. Once you install your first glyph, it will create a new tab on your Skills panel.
Each glyph requires a certain number of points to activate, and those requirements are shown on the glyph’s tool-tip, and on the glyph icon in the skills window. At the lower right corner of the panel, the amount of points you have to spend is shown. As you level, you will gain more points. At level 20, you have 10 points to spend, so keep that in mind when you are buying the glyphs, as they can get expensive in bulk. To activate a glyph, click on it, and then click Apply to lock in your choices.
I knew about the chain system in TERA because it kept popping up skills for me to use after I triggered other, select skills. I naturally assumed that the system had some kind of innate progression, or of linked abilities that the game devs decided made sense to trigger in sequence, leading to an ever increasing power smack-down the more chain steps that were triggered.
Kinda. But man, I love the way TERA does it’s chains.
Chains are customizable. Every active skill that you have is represented in the column on the left. The column on the right is where you can drag another skill from your skills pool. This is the skill that will show up after you trigger the skill on the left column.
As a sorcerer, one of my abilities is a leap-back called Backstep. It’s super useful for a ranged caster because when things get too close, bad things happen to me, so it’s in my best interest to get the hell away from things. Plus, most of my attacks require some distance between myself and the target, which this provides.
Here, after Backstep is executed, I am prompted for Ice Needle I, which slows the target. So the idea is that I leap back, then fire this off to slow them as they approach, not only putting distance between the target and myself, but keeping that gap open as long as possible.
But wait! There’s more! Because every skill is represented in the left column, any skill you place in the right column can also trigger it’s own chained skill! I actually found this out by accident. So what I did was to add Magma Bomb II as the second step in the chain after Ice Needle I.
My strategy now is that when something gets too close, I use Backstep to leap away, which chains to Ice Needle I to slow them down, which allows me to use Magma Bomb II at a distance. Because these items are chained, I see a representation of the next step in the chain on the screen, and all I have to do is to press the Spacebar to trigger it. Not having to rely on TERA’s limited hotbar space, or to click or keypress something specific, has saved a lot of time, and has allowed me to keep enemies at a pretty consistent distance almost every time.
I really want to sit down and consider a chain that can be used to keep distance and to maximize damage so that an enemy doesn’t even have a chance to approach.
This weekend has been overflowing with gaming goodness, and it’s really just the gateway for what’s to come. First, there was a the Diablo III open beta weekend, where any Battle.net account holder could download the game and play through one chapter in the game, and/or up to level 13. I ran through it last night with @destroypattern as a pair of demon hunters. There was basically nothing left of the dungeon after we got done with it. It’s a pretty good action RPGish, with more “story” then the first or second Diablo had (which is to say, virtually none). The second order of business this weekend is the TERA secret-not-so-secret kinda-open beta-headstart-oh-what-the-hell-who-cares-what-we-call-it. Basically, using the code TERABETA, anyone can get in. If you’ve pre-ordered the game, you can ALSO get in for head-start and I believe you get to keep your characters for release.
I was a bit cool on TERA. I had a previous weekend pass, and rolled a ranger-ish, which really put me off because TERA is an action game. That means real time combat with mouse-clicking and targeting reticules and no auto-target or anything like that. What’s in your sights is what you hit, which is cool and all, but the ranger-ish didn’t wield a bow; she had a minigun, firing 12 BILLION arrows per second. I’m not usually one to cry about “breaking immersion”, but for some reason, that did it in for me. Plus, it’s very “Korean-y”, which is both good and bad. Good, because the game is fucking beautiful, but bad because everyone in the game is a female, except for the creatures whom you couldn’t tell the male from the female anyway. I keed, of course, but I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Well, it must be breakfast, because there’s egg on my face. I downloaded the client again, and jumped in with a sorcerer, and I spent about four hours playing, according to Raptr (and the occasional in-game message warning me that my chance for blood-clots was rising). I don’t know why it stuck this time. Maybe because I had started playing Aion, which is now free to play, and that wore down my reticence to deal with the grindy aspects of Eastern games. I’ve complained about “wall of text” questing before, but I think there’s just a lot about TERA that I have been overlooking the tired questing system.
I bought the standard edition, because, that’s why. I figured, what the hell, right? I have a track record with these things that I can’t interrupt now: I need to play it, because if I don’t play it, how can I abandon it, and speak of it later? Plus, there’s the experience factor. I may not get far – may not get past the free 30 days – but at least I’ll be able to say that I’ve played it, and have some level of experience with it.
You can see a gallery of select visuals from TERA over at G+