Hey guys, we’re back int the magical land of Tera to bring a closer look at some of the mechanics of the game. I wasn’t kidding when I said I loved this game, it really is like a mash-up of all my favorite games rolled into one mega package with even more fun stuff thrown in. We’re going to be here awhile. Now then, with that said let’s dive in to enchantment crystals!

As some of you are no doubt familiar, gem slots are a fairly common occurrence in games. Sometimes you don’t see them until much later in the gaming experience, and sometimes you get them extremely early. To start with, let’s see what World of Warcraft does. In WoW, you don’t get gems until at least level 60 and into Burning Crusade content, which is where the profession was introduced. Gems in WoW also have a habit of being monumentally boring, having almost no impact on the way you pay the game. Nearly all of them exist as a brutally simple ‘+X to Y Stat’ gem, and that is literally all. You very quickly run into players who cram only one type of gem into all their armor slots, because the +20 Strength or +20 Spellpower is simply so good it drowns out all the others. The problem is exacerbated by the so-called ‘meta’ gems which can only fit into a special slot in certain helmets, and require multiple color gems to activate. So the good news in, now players have a reason to step away from their ‘One True Gem’ and slot something else in. The problem? Everything else is just as boring and comes straight down to numbers again. Find whatever color and type gives the most healing or life, and shove that in. The meta gems aren’t even all that great. On the one hand, you have metas like ‘1% chance to reflect an enemy spell’ and I mean, come on, that’s just kind of freaking awesome already. I’ve even seen it happen too, managed to kill the enemy mage with his own spell.

The problem is that all of the metas have the same problem as before: they are just boring. If memory serves, one gives a percent bonus to Strength. A freaking percent bonus. So the more you stack, the more you get out of it. Nothing Blizzard makes after that point can ever compete with how powerful that one gem is. The problem starts at the core: Gems are just boring. They only exist to give a few bonus numbers to armor, and nothing else. Now, let’s go see where gems are done right!

Monster Hunter

You know where this is going.

Monster Hunter has gems galore, but the catch is a single gem will almost never activate it’s bonus. You have to reach a certain number of points using the gems, and then their powers shine. This creates an incredibly complex amount of decisions as the player decides what to go for. Some gems give bonus power, amping up your damage. Others give increased defence. Some make it so you block previously unbeatable attacks. Think about that for a second, a monster that was beating your face in suddenly can’t hit you (as hard), because you can block out those super attacks. There are gems that increase resistances and gems to make you less tired when running around with cannonballs and dragon eggs. Literally, if you can think of something you’d like, there is a gem for it, and each one is important to the player for the task they want done.

Now I’m mentioning this as we swing back into Tera because I am extremely happy to say that Tera Online follows the monster hunter school. Some of the very first armor has slots for ‘Enchantment Crystals’, and each is broken down into two categories. Red slots go on your weapon, and usually have something to do with offensive attacks and actions. Blue slots go your armor, and have more to do with preventing, avoiding, or dealing with damage. Like WoW, a single gem is enough to convey its bonus, but stacking gems stacks their effects, and they come from the Monster Hunter school of fun things.

Elin Lancer

Sadly, there isn't a crystal to make this any more ridiculous.

Just as a few examples, there are Red (offensive) crystals that increase your damage dealt to ‘Small’ creatures (And trust me, you’ll know small, medium, and big by sight once you see them), and crystals that increase damage to ‘Medium’ and ‘Large’. Some Red crystals even increase the damage you deal against anything, as long as you are hitting it in the butt. Over all, things that affect a wider range have a lower effect than those that have a very specific trigger. For instance, a Blue (defensive) crystal may give you a shield if you get hit by a ‘Medium’ sized monster, but it’s better than if anything had hit you. Blue crystals also have quite a bit of utility, like increasing movement speed in combat. Some offensive ones demand a trade, such as increasing your attack power much higher than the normal Red… but only when you are under 50% health.  It’s decisions like that, that show a clear and powerful risk/reward scenario that are the most fun to have and use properly.

The absolute best part though, there are no right answers. Unlike WoW where you throw in the best stat upgrades you can find, Tera takes a page from Monster Hunter and lets the player alter the playstyle they want. If you want to settle in for a long fight as a Lancer, there are crystals to give you a chance to heal when hitting a monster, vastly increasing your durability and keeping you in the fight longer. Don’t like sitting around and healing? Try the ones that just keep on healing you over time. Crystals to increase movement speed, or damage, defense, utility, it’s all there and ready for the player, not the class, to decide and use the ones that fit their playstyle and ideals best.

Giant. Enemy. Crab.

No crystals to spawn giant crabs. Yet.