TERA was released back in 2012. It received good reviews initially, though it couldn't keep a big crowd, something absolutely necessary for an MMO. Due to this, Bluehole Studios decided to move to a free-to-play model.
The big MMO fan that I am, I couldn't resist trying this game out for free. The graphics alone were enough reason for me to mash that download button, and off I went. When you first logon, you are confronted with a quite big customization system. Next to the stereotypical 'pick a race and class', you have the option to many customization tools.
Getting back on the 'pick a race and class', the amount of races and classes are unfortunately limited, and some races don't even offer both sexes. A plus though, is that most races are rather original and step away from the typical MMO. For the controversial player however, elves and humans are aslo an option.
Once you enter the world, you are confronted with an interesting cinematic. The story isn't amazingly interesting, though interesting enough for me to keep me reading through the quest text. A quick recap of the story: You get dumped on a mysterious island and fight to gain control of it, with many losses as a result. It give me an advantageous feeling, though nothing more nothing less.
A nice addition to the quests are the frequent cinematics. Every now and then you get a cinematic whilst the NPC explains what the problem is; often showing off the gorgeous world. Next to those cinematics however, are the original 'read and click accept' windows for your quests, something Guild Wars 2 for example stepped away from.
Obviously this game also requires you to fight and kill. The game has a rather interesting fighting system, with combo attacks, dodging and strategy implemented. Yet, the fighting seemed a bit sear, though flashy and fancy. Perhaps that has to do with the uninteresting death animations, as killing monsters honestly doesn't feel rewarding.
Dungeons however are rather fun with the combat system. Each player resents a role, traditionally. Due to this certain strategy is needed, as well as some player skill. Due to this, it is worth playing the game for endgame-content, in which you can acquire stat-oriented gear like in most MMOs.
Even though TERA went free-to-play, the game is still very worth checking out, perhaps even more so. The game does not rely on a pay-to-win system, as the shop offers various in-game non-combat related items. Due to this, TERA managed to increase it's population without ruining the purpose of the game.
TERA online is partly a one-of-a-kind MMO, with it's in depth combat system and first-person like interaction (the mouse only comes into play when interacting with NPC's or using your inventory). Presenting a gorgeous world and somewhat of an interesting story, TERA tries to push the bar.
On the other hand, TERA has many traditional MMO factors and systems, making it feeling aged at certain points compared to other MMOs. It doesn't have a gripping factor, and certain areas could have been better than they are, such as the storyline and death animations.
All in all, TERA is a game you should simply check out, and make up your own judgement doing so.