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All about news and updates of the (MMO)RPG games I play and general news that I deem important enough

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A new look at TERA
27 September 2012
I've decided not to buy The Secret World, but I am still looking for a 2nd MMORPG to play alongside Guild Wars 2. I was thinking to play RaiderZ, but I've played it in closed beta and it's a "poor man's" version of TERA. It really is a copy, but graphics, sound, quests and the overall look & feel are just a lot less than that of TERA.

So I took a peek at the TERA (US) website and saw that they were having a 7-day free trial. Now that's something to try, so I signed up for it and started to download (let the PC on over-night to complete it). This morning I was able to play and was in for a surprise already. There was an extra prologue that was not included in the beta's.

Then there were some issues I had with TERA earlier this year. The major one is that PK toggle on the PvP servers, which also has to be used to defend yourself. On the forums I heard that this toggle is removed *finally!*

This would leave me with one final question: play on EU or US servers. Well, that's not a biggie I think... The EU servers are hosted by Frogster (called GameForge these days), and they have a bad reputation. Not to mention, during the closed beta's they were not able to get their servers stable (read: they didn't invest enough money for good servers), while EnMasse Entertainment (US servers) were stable from the moment they came on-line.
With this in mind, the choice was easy: US servers!

The only problem is that for the US servers, it's kinda hard to get a (cheap) key and time-cards, while for the EU servers I can get them real cheap. I also want a box for TERA, and shipping those from the US is pretty expensive. I did find a 'cheap' one on eBay, and I hope I can get that one...

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TERA cash-shop announced - the road to Free2Play?
17 May 2012
Remember me ranting 18 months ago about TERA becoming a subscription based MMO with cash-shop after their announce to use Digital Rivers (a micro transaction service provider) as payment service, as well as pointing out FROGSTER as European TERA publisher?

EnMasse Entertainment was quick enough to come into action against such aquisitions and came with the following statement two days later:

After a press release by Digital River announcing our e-commerce partnership a few players expressed concerns that TERA would be a micro-transaction game in addition to requiring a subscription fee; that is not the case.

TERA is not a micro-transaction or cash-shop item game. The game is built and designed to function as a subscription-based game. We would have to make dramatic changes to the game's design to support micro-transactions and there is no intention of doing so.

TERA will have paid services, which could include character transfer, name change and gender change. We do not have a complete list of these services yet, but we will let you know as we confirm them - those services will likely be available inside the game.

There may be a point in time of TERA's lifecycle that we offer "vanity item" sales, pets, and other items that players have enjoyed in other AAA+ titles.

To clarify the press release further; Digital River OFFERS many options to En Masse to choose from for TERA and for future products we publish.

We're more than happy to answer questions, and hope that this clarification allays any concerns you might have.

Now that was a nice statement at the time, and the mentioned micro-transactions are the regular ones for almost any subscription-based MMO.

That was then... Today I heard the news that EME announced their cash-shop, and it doesn't only hold the above mentioned micro-transactions. It includes some fluff items, which I am okay with since they are not game-breaking.

But adding a cash-shop (while you stated not to add any in-game items other than account services) this quickly after the release of a MMO must mean something. I've mentioned in the past already that in Korea and Japan, TERA kinda failed and for the US and European release I heard a lot of players complain about the game being empty when it comes to actual content (which is not the reason I didn't buy the game BTW). It looks like EME is looking for new wayt to finance their (only) MMO and fluff items (as a start) in a cash-shop seems a good way. 

And while we're at it, combining the failing subscription numbers world-wide and the start of a cash-shop, I am wondering if (or rather when) TERA will transform from subscription based MMO to Free2Play with a full cash shop. As I said on August 12, 2010, FROGSTER is the king in milking players with a cash-shop (just look at Runes of Magic), and it would have been a logical choice to let FROGSTER publish TERA for Europe if EME kept in mind that TERA might be needed to transform into a Free2Play MMO sooner or later...

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Doubts about TERA ...again...
22 February 2012
Yes, once again I have my doubts about TERA. This time not about the game itself, but more about the PvP rule-set used, or rather the possible lack of it.

I've done some research on the PvP rule-set used on the Korean servers, and I have to say that I do like them. At least, they do use some kind of criminal rule-set that would prefent ganking of lower level players, or at least make it less appealing. But on the forums of the Frogster servers, they're talk about not using ANY kind of PvP rule-set, and the same talk is going on on the US servers

Why is that criminal rule-set so important (to me)?

Well, let me go back in time, to 2008 and the release of Age of Conan. On the original PvP servers there was no criminal rule-set at all. This resulted players rushing in levels to as high as possible and next thse players would camp spawning spots to gank every lowbee player that appeared there.

During the TERA (EU) beta the same thing was already happening. Though not in spawn camping (luckily spawn spots are in the save-zones), but a good example is the area around the horse quest. Players come there on level 11 and have to gather some herbs to get a horse.
Problem there is that lame gankers of (then) maxed out level were there killing every lowbee player that come around to get these herbs (one-shooting them). IMO this has NOTHING to do with PvP and only shows some bad ePeen of those players and a broken PvP system (or lack of it).

An other thing that bothers me about the PvP system is that you MUST go into a PK stance before you can even start PvPing. This goes for both players. So one in PK stance has the advantage already and the victim has to go to PK stance (2 second skill initiation/animation)first before he can even defend himself. How lame can that be?
IMO an open-world PvP game like TERA is should have NO PK TOGGLE at all on their PvP servers. I'm okay with a PK toggle on the PvE servers and that both players need to be in PK to start PvPing, but on a PvP designated server..?

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Pre-order canceled
18 February 2012
It looks like Frogster lives up it's reputation once again... After the failure they had during the sneak peek weekend, a somewhat bumpy stress test last week and the start of the closed beta yesterday, I hoped that they'd have fixed some issues. wrong one's expectations can be...

Logging on today to the 2nd day of the CBT1, there were similar errors & database problems when logging on as there were with the sneak peek weekend. At least Frogster has learned from their mistakes back then and I was able to logon 30 minutes after the servers were supposed to open.

After I managed to get 'in game', I ended up in a queue. I was on place 300-something and it took 20 minutes before I was able to actually 'play'. Oddly enough, after yesterday, Frogster didn't add a 2nd PvP server...

Then the actual 'playing'. Well, remember the lag I mentioned I had yesterday? That problem was not solved. Instead, the lag problems have become worse than they were. Lag-spikes where the server hung itself for 15 seconds and longer were quite normal.

On twitter, all Frogster tells is to 'play on a PvE server' and that they are 'investigating the lag issue' - WTF? You've had your stress test last week and know already what your servers are capable of. I can tell you what's wrong though. Too many players on the PvP servers and your hardware is not able to keep track of all those players.

Looks like Frogster is not up for the task to host AAA-titles where the users actually subscribe for. So I've decided to cancel my 2 Special Edition boxed sets and take a peek at the US servers of EnMasse. I heard that they did have crashes, but at least no lag (which is more normal during beta's).

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CBT1 - yesterday's gaming experience
18 February 2012
Yesterday the 1st closed beta for TERA Europe started and Frogster added one (yes, just one!) PvP server to the existing two PvE servers.

And as one can expect, having only one PvP server, most players started there, causing lags and a BIG queue at logon.
 photo TERA2012021719044181_zps81104756.jpeg
The screen above is the 2nd queue I entered and was taken at 7pm. Yeah, I know, that's peakhours, but the time shown there (25 minutes) is not accurate. Instead I had to wait over 1 hour, and when I finally got in, I was struck by lag... REAL BAD LAG On the Isle of Dawn, all channels (over 20) were high in population and I bet in Velika, as well as the rest of the mainland, the channels would be highly populated as wel.

Though personally I don't mind highly populated servers, but what I do mind is bad hardware to run the servers on. And Frogster seems to be a real bunch of cheap bastards not spending money on their servers. Where during the stress tests of last week the lag was almost gone in the end (and the server was quite full then as well), this time it went from bad to worse. At one point, the game really hung itself for up to 10 seconds every 5 to 10 minutes and it because quite unplayable.

I hope tonight Frogster has addressed this lag issue and added at least one extra PvP server. If not, then I'll skip this CBT and give the next one a try. And if the lag remains, then I'll skip TERA on the European server and will consider to play on the US servers...

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The world is quite big and alive
12 February 2012
When I played my last bit in TERA yesterday and explored the land, I ended up on Castanica through a teleport to that village. Since the game still is in 'Alpha state', there were no NPC's in Castaninca, and I had to get back to Velika by horseback. And traveling a gameworld by horseback gives one the idea of it's size, as well as how lively it is.

 photo TERA2012021204454755trip_zpsaff7c985.jpeg

The trip I took went from Castanica in the provance of Ostgarth. I headed out south, and as soon as I letf Castanica and entered the Ascension Valley just south of it, I saw an abundance of life. The forest was filled with all kind of monsters (level 30+ and most of them aggro - good thing I was on a faster horse than the monsters could run ). The same could also be said of the forest of the Jagged Coast, just south of  Ascension Valley.

Entering the Valley of Titans from the southeast, I found a lot of catlike monsters (don't remember their level, but they were 20+ for sure, and aggro as well), I help heading west, towards the Celestial Hills. These Hills were filled with a large number of monsters, as well as some native 'folk'. The monsters were some canines, as well as flock of goats, while the natives ranged from some small goblin-like monsters up to huge and fat blob-like humanoids as well as some large hellish-looking centaurs.

Leaving the Celestial Hills, I entered the Velika Outskirts from the north. Much like in Castanica, these fields around Velika are quite emtpy (I think the 'Alpha stage' of the game is to blame for it), and I went into the city immediately.

The whole trip I followed the roads due to my low level (11) and took me about half an hour or so, but it might also be longer, since I didn't really keep track of time

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I know my class & race already
11 February 2012
After this weekend's special weekend play test, I've already decided about the class and race for my main character I'm going to play.

Lets start with the class. I've already played Priest, Slayer, Warrior and Mystic on the Isle of Dawn. I know I've said I'd play Priest in TERA, but I changed my mind about that. After the last 2 days when I played a Mystic, I like this class more than the Priest. Since Mystic also has heal abilities (though less powerful than the Priest has), I still can compensate on my earlier promise

But Mystic is more appealing to me because it's a hybrid class. And as you might know, I like hybrid classes more than the 'pure' classes. Aside from the Mystic having healing abilities, it also has some nice offensive abilities (better than the Priest has for sure), and as a bonus, the Mystic class also has pets!
...well, pets..? Yes, they are servitors that help in combat, but control is quite different than in other MMOs...

Then the race... I wanted to play Popori initially (yes, the furball in the movie above), but I changed my mind about that as well. Though I still think they're cute, they're also rather annoying for me. THEY GIGGLE WAY TOO MUCH! Yes, you hear that right. Almost each time you do something (aside from casting spells / using skills) they end with some odd giggling. Hearing it at times is fun, but not each and every time!

Instead I now go for the other cute race: the Elin. Yes, that's right, the female Popori's. I realize they look like kids wearing some fur, but I like them (sucker for Asian furries? ) The first character I made earlier this week was an Elin Slayer, and I liked how she walked and acted in the game. They look like fun in general, not to mention, they do kinda remind me of the cute female dwarfs in Lineage II as well

And next..?
Well, there is still one whole day of the current event, and after that there are 4 or 5 closed beta events that I can attend to, but I won't. I might make one or two new characters during one of the beta events to check if I like some other class to play as alt (later on), but I won't leave the Isle of Dawn for sure.
Why? Well, I've already completed all quests on the Isle of Dawn, and it's the only starting point at the moment. When you leave the Isle of Dawn, you go to Velika, and from there you follow a path of quests again. I didn't follow it on purpose now, and I won't do it during a beta-event either, only not to spoil my fun and awe when I'll start playing TERA at release.

...speaking of spoilers...
 photo TERA2012021114315921_zps2c121ef3.jpeg photo TERA2012021115200657_zpsfaf09842.jpeg
 photo TERA2012021115304307_zps54919f7e.jpeg photo TERA2012021115340948_zpsde659ce6.jpeg
...yeah, I've been exploring a couple of provenances a bit...

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Special weekend play test
10 February 2012
"Starting Friday, 10th of February 2012 we'll run a special weekend play test. For this special test we'll offer two servers. Both servers will open at 13:00 / 1 pm CET/GMT +1.

All previously created and played characters will be deleted before this test happens. This test is part of our functional test series. This test happens to ensure a proper launch of our CBT during the next weekend.

Both servers are expected to stay open until Monday morning. We'll announce the end of the test with a short notice ahead on our official twitter channel for TERA Europe. Please be aware that due to the nature of this test it might end earlier than currently announced.

Everyone with a valid key (sneak peek, CBT, pre-order) is able to participate at this test.

Source: TERA EU website

...I know what I'll be playing this weekend

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Played TERA yesterday for the 1st time!
08 February 2012
Yesterday Frogster wanted to do a functional test of the TERA servers. This announcement was made on Facebook, only 45 minutes before it actually started, and the test would take 2 only hours. Good thing that I saw it and I hopped in the moment the servers came online.

Of course, I decided to FRAPS it all, but figured that 2 hours of FRAPS would be an over kill (and a pain to upload as well ), so after half an hour I stopped recording it all. Below is the footage I made of my first 37 minutes playing TERA ever!

As you can see, TERA is something new in MMORPG land, and I enjoyed it a lot yesterday. Today the servers are up again, and I've been playing for about 2 hours again. Though I only added an extra 2 levels (yeah, I'm slacking and enjoying the surroundings), I still like it a lot.

Only problem is that I thought to do only the main quest, move away from the Isle of Dawn ( hey, that's a name I've seen as well in vanguard...) and explore the 'real world'. But it's not that simple... The Pegasus manager doesn't allow me to leave the isle yet. He tells me I have to be level 11 minimum before I'm allowed to ride the pegasus and leave the isle

So back to leveling again and leave the isle later tonight I guess

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TERA sneak peek weekend canceled
05 February 2012
The following message I found on Facebook about 2 hours ago:

The sneak peek event planned for this weekend unfortunately has had to be cancelled. As we currently cannot foresee when we will be able to guarantee a smooth running of the event, there is no new date as of yet. We're working closely with the TERA developers at Bluehole to fix the remaining issues.

The cancellation was not due to load problems caused by the large number of potential players. Player numbers would have given us a look into possible issues within the scope of a stress test. Due to unforeseen reasons, problems arose already during the entry into the game world.

As soon as we have new information regarding a rescheduled event planning and once all technical issues have been resolved we will inform you on our website, in the forum and via the usual social media channels.

We apologize for the cancellation of the event and assure you that we are doing our utmost to provide all players access to TERA as soon as possible. We thank all TERA fans for their patience and understanding and hope to have positive news for you very soon.

I was somewhat sad with the news. After all, I've been waiting to play TERA since at least October 2008, when I heard of project S4 being developed by Bluehole Studio. On the other hand, it's better that they're having these weird technical problems now than later on...

Oh well, lets wait an other week and hope next weekend the sneak peek event will take place...

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