Well, it’s that time of the week, with the next closed beta test (CBT) of the upcoming MMORPG TERA Online. Since there should be more people (and less stupid in the global channels), I figure now would be the perfect time to write a short little intro to the game, to help out all the new players who are stepping in to the beta for the first time. I’ll quickly look over character creation and then move on to the Isle of Dawn, covering quests, gems, and various other thing to do to help ease into the swing of things.

First off, character creation. See that list of races? Pick one. No, it really doesn’t matter. Elin and Popori have pretty freakin’ bad racials, but everyone is a valid pick. Next, pick a class. Again, it really doesn’t matter here, but if you’re looking for a recommendation, then it’s going to be Berserker, Slayer, or Archer. Why those three? Honestly, Lancer is a fantastic pick for new players, but the class has a very low (though very consistent) damage output. Both Lancers and Berserkers wear plate armor and have a block mechanic you can use to mitigate damage, so if you like that and want to go tank, you can find out early. Slayer is basically a higher dps warrior and is capable f teaching you how to dodge enemy attacks with finesse. A friend of mine plays this class and says it’s also an excellent one for getting into modifying the chain skill mechanic, so look into that! Finally, Archers have lots of little tricks to avoid melee like traps and skips, so they’re a great intro to ranged combat. They also have medium armor, and so aren’t as squishy as mages. But ultimately the choice is whatever you, the player, thinks will be the most fun. Dying is pretty hard early on the Isle, so go nuts!

Hardest part of some quests are just tagging the mobs.

Next off is the questing. Aside from the infuriating habit of the game vomiting up quest rewards you can’t even use yet, nearly all of the quests are very straight forward. However, there is also a different type of quest located on the Isle outside of the normal “Go collect 10 bear asses for me!” type. Repeatable quests are ones that can be taken, handed in, and then immediately taken again. Sort of like dailies, only without the reset timer. Now, while this might sound infuriating, it’s actually not a bad mechanic. As far as I’ve gotten in the game, repeatables are always given only for the area you’re already in. The first one you encounter has the items you need starting two feet away from the giver. It’s easy enough to just grab a few as your killing before handing it in with the rest, soaking up a little bonus exp. And if your going to stay in that spot a little longer (grinding, more quests, etc.) then grab it again to boost your exp gain!

A short side note, one of the quests will lie to you. Blatantly. The first time you get a quest that requires you to go back to the main hub, you will be required to use a teleport scroll. After that, the next time will “recommend” using one. Unless you’re finding them off monsters, don’t bother wasting them just yet. There are quests later on the Isle that need more walking than before, and those scrolls will be a time saver.

There's even a quest to do... this of all things.

Speaking of the main hub, this is where all of the merchants are located. Yes, that means you’ll have to hoof it every time you want to pawn off crap or shop. Yeah, I know, it’s horrible. You’ll probably be investing in a lot of new shoes on the Isle. All this walking is just murder on the feet. Anyways, there are three merchants of note. If you use a weapon for physical damage, you all go to the same trainer, same for magic damage. So you don’t have to run around looking for your specific class trainer on the Isle, which is nice. The weapon merchant is also important to note, but sadly for another reason: all of the weapons she sells are near-instantly outclassed by default quest rewards, sometimes from the quest hub before you even make it to the town. Finally, there is the gem merchant, who’s one of the most important!

2 of my 4 health regen gems at work

This is the merchant who introduces you to the gem system, and fairly early on you’ll start finding gear that has slots in both armor and weapons. Red slots for Weapons, Blue for Armor, and each does various things. Honestly you can pick whatever, but there are some considerations. If you aren’t knocking monsters over frequently, those gems will be somewhat of a waste. You also heal too fast on the Isle, so getting those nice, fat damage-up gems for when you’re under 50% health won’t help much. For weapons, I’d recommend buying, at most, four of either the flat critical or bonus mp. Criticals to boost your damage output directly, and the more total mp you have, the more skills you can squeeze out once you’re mana bar is full. For armor, I can only really recommend buying health per 10 seconds to boost your natural recovery time. Keep in mind these also work in combat! So while you’re not recovering a massive amount, you are recovering all the time until that bar hits 100% again. It is also very noticeable, since the system will tell you of a heal. So in combat, you’ll notice a cluster of “+10” appearing frequently. Your money at work! A good back up if you don’t like the healing over time is just flat health blues. And remember if you’re the “tank” in your group of friends, then pick up a red threat gem. You can only slot one of these, so you won’t need more than that. Make sure to come back before you leave the island and buy the upgraded version of what gems you use! Four of each, so you can always have enough to pull out of your old armor and slot into the new.

Hopefully, that’s given all you new ones to the closed beta tests an idea of where to start and what to look out for to make your life in Arborea as simple as possible. Good use of repeatable quests can make leveling up a breeze without being just ‘grind X of mob Y’ forever, and gems provide a fun, noticeable way improve your character, even so early in the game. Happy hunting!