So first impressions after about 5 hours of gameplay (not intended to be conclusive):
- The combat is different.. sort of. What do I mean by that? I rolled up a Sorcerer, and while I can totally see where they're going with it, for the first several hours of gameplay, it's definitely: Point crosshair at target, Hold left mouse button until dead. That doesn't strike me as terribly different than an auto-attack.
- The mapping SUCKS. This might just be a case of Beta, but a lot of the mob locating doesn't work, and when it does work, it's wrong half the time. It's also not always clear where you're supposed to go for a given quest
- There's no way to rest after combat and recover health/mana quickly? I actually kind of assume I'm just missing how to do it, but I honestly can't find a way.
- Respawn rates are nice in crowded zones and the auto-channel feature helps with the crowding as well. The channels are easy to switch between for grouping and will automatically adjust themselves based on zone population. Very nicely done there.
- The trade broker doesn't suck. Granted I've been playing SWTOR for the last couple of months, so maybe it's just really nice to see an AH system that doesn't fail hardcore.
- The cutscenes are nice (if poorly synched), but if you're going to show something that represents my character, you should use my character model to do it.. just sayin'.
- The landscapes are gorgeous.
- The music is infinitely forgettable.
- The character models are well done and the animations are smooth, but still quick.
- Casting instant spells roots you in place for the full animation; this really hurts casters in a game that seems to favor combat being as mobile as possible.
- I'm having some serious Aion flashbacks on some of their design decisions, such as the decision to make everything cost a bunch of money.. This didn't work well in Aion, I realize it's a Korean design standard, but it isn't a good one for an MMO outside of that market.
- With very few exceptions thus far, quests are MEGA GRIND. I believe I received exactly 2 meaningful quests that were NOT "Kill X of Y" in 12 levels.
- Marking quest targets is a nice touch, though I wish they were also marked on the map.
- Oh yeah... LOCK MY MOUSE TO THE WINDOW, YOU WHORES. Had to get that out.. I'm better now. Seriously, I have two monitors; when I move my mouse too far to the right (like when I'm circle-strafing something) and click to use a bound attack, I end up focusing a window on the other screen and instead of attacking I end up standing there like a moron for several seconds while I fix the problem. Seriously, in a game where your mouse being in-window is so vital, lock the mouse to the window.
So, first impressions.. some good, some bad. I intend to keep playing through the beta weekend. I also intend to roll up a melee character tomorrow to try that style of gameplay out. At present though, I'm not sold on Tera.