TERA review: the trump card of Bluehole Studio
Hendy Wijaya | On September 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm
TERA is an MMORPG released by Bluehole Studio in South Korea in 2011. Boasting impressive graphics, gameplay, and sound, TERA was well-received and garnered many players worldwide. In mid 2012 the game has been published in 4 regions: South Korea, US, Europe, and Japan.
Bluehole Studio and TERA have a very interesting history. TERA is actually a reformatted version, or stolen version, as some people like to call it, of the very popular MMORPG Lineage II, developed by NCSoft. Yong Hyun Park was the main developer of Lineage III under the employment of NCSoft, until he decided to leave the studio because of some kind of disagreement. This disagreement is pretty vague, with some sides claiming that Hyun demanded an outrageous salary raise, while already having the highest salary in the office, while others claim that NCSoft demanded changes to the game that Hyun considered to be the core of the game.
Nevertheless, Hyun left NCSoft along with 48 members of the Lineage III team, and formed their own game development company, Bluehole Studio. The studio developed TERA afterwards, with some sources claiming that they were using the resources they developed during their time on Lineage III, which obviously is the property of NCSoft. And thus began the war between these two companies, both sides claiming that TERA is their intellectual property. NCSoft went as far as suing Bluehole Studio in 2010 in Korea and 2012 in US.
Free Targeting System makes the game fun
TERA has unique gameplay for an MMORPG in which players aim their attacks manually instead of the common click targeting system. This is the core of the game, it’s thus often compared with the Monster Hunter series, which at that time, was an epic single player RPG with a very nice combat system. There are also various unique skills for each class, which can be chained with combo systems.
PVP Balancing, however, is a big issue, at least for me. Each races possess various abilities, which are totally unbalanced. For example, the human race got a passive reduction to PVP damage, active skill that increases knock down resistance, and regeneration of health after being resurrected. High elves, however, don’t have any single passive skills that helps with PVP, with the exception of an hour long cooldown spell that restores their mana to full capacity. I personally question Bluehole’s decision on putting the racial skills, which made certain races’ underpowered compared to others.
TERA possess many interesting systems, such as a politic and nexus invasion system. Politic system allows guilds to participate in elections and become the ruling political party in various regions. This system is reminiscent with Lineage II city management system, in which the ruling guild will be able to get tax profits from transactions in their region.
Nexus invasion is a system in which end game players will be able to participate. This is pretty much an upgraded version of daily quests in World of Warcraft and other similar games. There are many more systems in the game, but most of them can be found in other games.
Extremely beautiful graphics that set the new standards of modern MMORPG
If there is one thing that every player will praise about TERA, it would be the graphics. Until now, TERA still happens to be the MMORPG with the best graphics I’ve ever played. I was wildly captivated by the scenery when I played the game for the very first time. It’s amazing even for a single player RPG. In a way, the graphics are comparable to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s quality.
All of the models in the game are masterfully worked. You can see how much work they put into each model, even to the tiny monsters. You’ll find yourself immersed in the game, and I personally wish I could see the game in first person, or better, also with an Oculus Rift HD. I have been taking screenshots in the game to be set as my desktop wallpaper, because it’s that good.
Amazing sound effects that makes every attack feels epic
The soundtrack in the game is pretty good. Each area has a unique soundtrack, and the soundtrack will change when you’re engaged in battles. Each soundtrack complements the area really well, and coupled with the amazing graphics, it makes a very immersive world.
The sound effects however, are amazing. It just feels really epic when you hear the sharp piercing sound of your blade cutting through armor, or the sound of wood cracking when you slash a demonic tree. The sound effect for the spells are also nice, as they put heavy details into it. You can even hear the sound of crackling fire as you approach fire pits. It’s that detailed.
Very lackluster amount of content that is very quick to complete
I find the content of TERA to be very lacking, and I consider this to be TERA’s main downfall. Even after 2 years since release, TERA still doesn’t provide many activities for players to do, besides the daily quests and raids. It’s not too bad though, as TERA has implemented battlegrounds, which is actually fun. However, as I said before, the game needs balancing, and the fact that battleground is a PVP content, it makes the battles much less engaging. I hope they will fix this soon.
TERA has done really well on the technical side. Graphics, sounds, and gameplay are done nicely. However, it is regrettable that balancing and lackluster content made the game lost on many of its players, since they run out of things to do. Hopefully with new updates they will add more content.
(Editing by Anh-Minh Do)