So, FFXIV has been down for 24 hours for the Shadowbringers expansion maintenance, so I needed something to do. I checked in on Tera. It has been a while since I’ve been there and I’ve missed out on an expansion, increase in Level Cap and some other things. The patch for NA region was called Skywatch: New Heights, and is covered briefly here. Here’s a review that someone else pulled together.
But when I updated I saw immediately that there is a new Race/ Class combo, so I fired up one of my open slots as a Popo / Brawler to see what had changed.
In just a few hours I went through the streamlined Main quest line, took a side trip to get Sparky the Raptor mount, and leveled up to 36. Things have been even further streamlined to allow easier leveling. Clearly this is a game focused on “End Game”. One begins to wonder whether they will soon just do a skip to level 70 so you can play the end-game dungeons which is where they are clearly putting what little energy they have left to develop the game.
Stream Lined Leveling Experience
The starting area has been simplified a little.
Playing a Brawler, I realized it was going to be “Overpowered” and it still is, BIG TIME.
Solo Dungeons for Main Story
The biggest change I noticed in the leveling process however, was that the main story dungeons are now done solo. They ability to use parties to do the dungeons and the party finder is still there, but using a party does not advance the story quests at all. So after doing Sinestral Manor in a party of 3 – not the usual 4 – Healer, Tank [optional for a long time now] and 2 or 3 DPS – I found that I had to do it all again Solo to get credit and advance the Quest. Of course the dialogs are clear that this is required.
This is usually a pretty tough dungeon for folks, at least in the past. Even a brawler or other OP class in a party. But it’s been nerfed for the Solo experience, so no problem at all. Even the big boss at the end was no issue.
I admit that I had to use a few – 3 or 4- HP Pots and maybe an MP pot to make it through the fight. But this is much better than waiting on a party, and then having them mess up the sequence of fights or triggers anyway so I have to do it again. This Cultist Refuge and the later Necromancer Tomb and Golden Labyrinth all have mechanics that require strict ordering to the fights or you have to do the dungeon again to get credit for the quests. So while, I don’t think that this was the reason they made the dungeons soloable, it’s a good idea. You can still queue for a party finder, or go with friends you are playing with, but only a Solo Run gets credit to advance the quests. But it’s easy.
Update: I found out today that Necromancer’s Tomb is not Solo. When I got there in my leveling, I found that I needed to have a party. So I queued for the party finder and figured that if I didn’t find folks in 10 minutes I’d give up and skip it. I was already at high enough level to move on. But folks popped in a couple of minutes, but there were only 2, so a party of 3, not a normal party of 5. So we started and it wasn’t that bad. But then in a minute or two one of the members left, and I was left with a Mystic healer at my level of 44, same as the dungeon. I figured we were toast, but we weren’t. We finished: No Problem. I was doing a lot of damage. The Mystic dropped their Thrall of Vengence, which does some damage. And they dropped healing orbs and healed me.
I’ve been in this dungeon when a hit from one of the bosses basically takes you out. But not now. We were fine. I picked up a few healing and mp balls and got a few heals, and took out the whole dungeon with the help of a healer. Amazing. Not sure if Brawler is just that OP or whether they have seriously Nerffed the dungeons in this game. Well I was level 46 and the Dungeon is technically level 43. Not sure if that makes that big a difference. It’s not like the Mystic was a 65 or something. She was level 45. Here we are taking down the last boss of the Dungeon: Vedilith the pet dog of Thulsa. I remember doing this in a full party at level and it being a real pain and a long fight. While this was not a walk in the park, it was a reasonable fight and at no time were we in danger.
As you explore and level, and the world is beautiful in many places, I suggest you take care. There are high level mobs mixed into lower level areas, presumably for the high level players to hunt. And unlike other games, they are not just single mobs, but whole groups.
Notice the large, and plentiful, level 65 beasts in this level 40 area. In other places I noticed that the quests had been moved around to allow space for the high level mobs. I guess the latest expansion saved money by not adding new areas, but just adding high level mobs to low level areas. Thankfully, they are not aggressive if you don’t get too close. I never tested their aggro range.
Leveling is a Blast
I like Tera as a casual game, up through level 65. The stories are interesting and go by quickly enough that you don’t get bored. And I have got to admit that they have always nailed the combat. With OP classes like Brawler, Reaper, Valkyrie and Ninja, it’s fun to play. The last time I tried, the Archer and Mage classes were not OP and had some trouble with some of the content outside of parties. But this may have changed.
The brawler, gunner, and other OP classes are so OP they are fun. Here’s the typical strategy of killing at level mobs by rounding them up and burning them down all at once. You can chase them around with a mount or running, then turn on them when they are close together and burn them down all together.
This strategy makes short work of the Vanguard Requests that appear in every zone. These are like the FFXIV Fates or GW2 Open World quests where you just pick them up and turn them in from a dialog with no NPC involved. The Tera VR quests give decent rewards of XP, Gold and tokens for good gear as you level.
So, if you need a break or a change from what you’re playing, then try the Free to Play Tera. Yep, the End Game is crap unless you want to just grind dungeons for gear. But there are some fun leveling, interesting characters to play, classes to try, combat to experience and you can even level to 65 and then come back and trash the Argons – normally 60ish level content still in the game, but sidelined. At 65 with the freebee gear they give you at 65, you can solo the old Argon Content – even the dungeons.
The loading plate concept art is amazing. Worth the price of admission to the game.