TERA’s Fate of Arun expansion is now just days away. Launching on December 16th, Fate of Arun adds new zones, a new level cap of 65, 4 new dungeons, The Coliseum (more on that in a bit), and a DRASTICALLY redone enhancement system.
About a week ago, a few of my fellow MMO journalists and I got to spend some time in the new zones to gather our first impressions of the expansion while taking a tour guided by some of the team at En Masse Entertainment.
Let’s start with the visuals. TERA is undoubtedly one of the prettier MMORPGs on the market and the new zones follow suit. The lush jungles in the new expansion’s starting zone of Savage Reach are beautiful and the dark happenings in Arx Umbra are just as pleasant on the eyes. There’s a lot going on and it behooves players to stop for a moment every once in a while to just pan their camera in every direction and take it all in. Don’t forget to look up in Arx Umbra when you get there. There’s quite a bit happening in the sky.
Now there’s nothing that brings on a god complex more than running around a zone at max level in gear you have no right to be wearing surrounded by admin friends that have GM commands at their disposal. The Big Ass Monsters (BAMs) that we saw were highly detailed and had some neat mechanics but in the end were no match for our combined might.
Having said all of that, the feature I liked the most (and think a lot of players will as well) had nothing to do with the new zones or models. It was actually a new interface menu. The new “Daily Play Guide” is not only useful for everyday TERA players, but it is EXTREMELY helpful to players like me that hop from MMORPG to MMORPG from time to time and likely forgot where they left off. In addition to being able to find out where you are on current story objectives with one click, the Daily Play guide gives you instant access to daily login rewards (that grow in value with each successive daily login), a handy questing guide that provides more badge rewards with each week’s completed quests, a list of level appropriate PvP and dungeons you should run (and the ability to queue right from the menu), and the ability to claim rewards for all of these features right in one window pane. This little tool is not only handy, but super useful to expedite the questing process in game.
Here We Go A-Dungeoning
On the PvE side of things, our group ran the very last dungeon in the new expansion. Bathysmal Rise. As Patrick Sun (Producer), Tina Zhang-Powell (Associate Producer), Robert Garniss (Community Manager) and my media cohorts took on the dungeon, we were warned that even being well overgeared for this dungeon (and in a group of 6 players for a 5 person dungeon), it could still provide some challenges. It did.
The En Masse team took great pleasure in telling us how difficult this dungeon would be for players just arriving at the new level cap and I tend to believe them. Bathysmal Rise is an underwater dungeon. Don’t worry though, you won’t be swimming around. It’s an underwater structure that you walk around in. Don’t miss the chance to look up again though. Some of the creatures you see swimming around outside the glass walls are particularly cool looking.
Boss wise, Bathysmal Rise features some interesting mechanics. Of particular note, the 1st boss can literally get your character to have what I can only describe as a “bad acid trip” if proper actions aren’t taken. I won’t spoil the fight here. Trust me though, it makes the fight a lot harder if everyone is seeing things that aren’t there during the fight. The last boss was just as fun and even some of our overgeared party died working around the mechanics of the fight.
The most notable change in this dungeon when compared to other dungeons is that players can mount up anywhere in the dungeon. Combine this with the Fate mount (a mount given for free to anyone that logs in prior to the expansion’s launch) that heals you as you ride it and the downtime work on the party’s healer is significantly reduced. If you think you MIGHT play TERA when the expansion comes out, do yourself a favor and log in once right now just to get that mount for one of your characters.
That’s Great, but What If I Want to Punch Someone?
PvP players get a bit of a mixed bag in this expansion. The Coliseum is being added but it’s more of an entry point for PvE centered players that want to jump into a little PvP than it is an actual PvP addition.
The Coliseum allows 2 teams to race through waves of monsters and BAMs to collect Coliseum Points for your team. Using these points, you can buff your team or debuff the opposing team, but the focus is on actually killing monsters, not fellow players. Strategy mixed with PvE action, it sounds fun, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag so I’m eager to see how it’s received when launched. It does reward PvP gear though so for PvP neophytes it serves as a nice entry point gear-wise.
One Enchanted Evening
Enchanting has undergone what I think is a long overdue revamp. First, gone are the myriad of tiers that previously existed. Now enchanting comes in only 5 tiers. Players can now also deconstruct almost everything into enchantment fodder. Crystals have also been changed to allow players to turn the bags of crystals they collect that their class has no use for into crystals they actually would want to use.
On the negative side of things, Fate of Arun doesn’t bring any new raids just yet, but future updates will include them and Guild Housing (although available in the Korean version) will not be made available when Fate of Arun launches in the West.
The first expansion is always a gamble. Will it add enough to keep players that have been clamouring for content happy for a while? From my point of view, the answer is a resounding “maybe.” There seems to be some nice additions and if you’re still leveling (or are at level cap but haven’t upgraded much gear) then the expansion is great news. I wonder how long it will take characters already at max level with high end gear to wipe through the content though and be sitting on the other side back in the grind.
The teams have done a great job with the content that’s being added. There wasn’t a single person in my press group that didn’t want to play TERA again because of the content we played. That’s saying something great for the expansion. I’m just concerned that there might not be a lot there if you’ve been sitting at cap for months already waiting for something new.
Check out the expansion’s official site and come back here to let me know what you think of the expansion. Will you be headed back into TERA’s action combat?