What if a AAA MMO launched and no one came?

Is TERA’s honeymoon phase over?  After just two weeks?  Seriously, I’m reading practically no one playing it, and while the original barrage of first impressions reported “fun but standard MMO for the most part”, all that seems left are those slinking away after not even getting through the first 30 days.

It doesn’t seem to help that Frogster had to go on record shortly after launch explaining why it had to censor the game to make it less appealing to perverts, either.  Not to mention that the game is now a whopping 50% off on Amazon.  Granted, it’s a limited-time sale, but still.

After two weeks.  Two.  Weeks.

A AAA MMO with a 81% metacritic score should have more buzz and excitement right now, don’t you think?  Was it just the bad fortune of releasing too near Diablo III?

Anyway, I’m not wanting to start a dogpile on TERA other than to ask (a) what happened here and (b) is anyone still playing it and liking it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

35 thoughts on “What if a AAA MMO launched and no one came?

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus May 17, 2012 / 11:06 am

    Is it really a triple-A level title? What is the actual threshold for AAA status?

    And what if somebody launched a big budget, star powered Hollywood movie and nobody came? Perhaps TERA is the “Ishtar” of the MMO world?

  2. Syp May 17, 2012 / 11:15 am

    Maybe it’s AA? It’s certainly had the budget and scope to qualify it as a numerous A-holder at this point. Especially with the size of its launch and the confidence that it could survive on a sub-only option. (Then again, Gods & Heroes.)

  3. amarithia May 17, 2012 / 11:21 am

    Tons of people are still playing it. My server is packed, the RP fansite is pretty healthy, my guild is busy. Half my twitter list is playing it and still doing their “Omg want to go home and Tera!” posts.

    You’ve made your dislike of the game pretty clear, Syp. So is it surprising that in your own circle of the MMO-world, “no one” is playing it?

  4. Tesh May 17, 2012 / 11:41 am

    A coworker of mine and his wife like it. They like the active combat. That said, I do suspect that said combat engine will prove to reside in a smaller niche than the WoW hotbar type, both for technical reasons (lag) and expectations from existing MMO veterans.

  5. Syp May 17, 2012 / 11:45 am

    @amarithia – I monitor over 300 general MMO blogs daily. There’s very little chatter on it. I’m curious why. If you want to get all defensive, fine, but sometimes I call ’em like I see ’em. I don’t care much about TERA either way.

  6. Ardent Defender May 17, 2012 / 11:46 am

    It’s not on my MMO must TRY and must PLAY list.

  7. Blue Kae May 17, 2012 / 11:48 am

    I’m playing it, I’m just not writing about it at the moment because I’m having fun and there’s nothing for me to write about other than, “Yep still enjoying the combat,” which isn’t interesting to read. At least it isn’t to me.

  8. Ocho May 17, 2012 / 12:06 pm

    Honestly, it hasn’t really landed on my radar of must play games. 1) Sub. Too many great games out there to sudden;y dedicate myself to one. 2) Fantasy. Fantasy is a little overdone at this point, and even with the active combat systems, the rest of it sounds too similar. If it drops down to a low price, I may give it a shot, but the Fantasy title on my list right now is Guild Wars 2, which also has a rather active combat system. It may be AAA, but even from the beginning I was never that excited about it.

  9. Aufero May 17, 2012 / 1:32 pm

    The promotional stuff for TERA made it look a lot like Aion, which I quit playing a few months ago when I finally got bored with it. (And which is now free-to-play anyway, if I get the urge again.)

    As such, my interest level in TERA was pretty low.

  10. MidwestJen May 17, 2012 / 1:33 pm

    I read/keep up with a lot of blogs about gaming, as well as being a MMO player … and I’ve barely heard of it. I’ve even had more time to read lately because of a herniated disc that’s preventing me from playing. I’ve tried/picked up many games because of the buzz in my feeds, so I’m not sure why there seems to be such a dearth of excitement out there. Most of what I have heard is … a few diff tricks, otherwise same ole, same ole.

  11. rav4ge May 17, 2012 / 2:41 pm

    I’m still enjoying Tera for what it is, simply because the combat is so much damn fun. It does help that I’m apart of a pretty dedicated guild at the moment, so there’s always an incentive for me to login and gain a few levels so I can hopefully catch up to them at some point. I can’t stress enough how big a difference Tera’s combat system has on the overall fun factor – best combat I’ve ever played in an MMO hands-down, and good enough that I’ve been able to play through the same 1-20 content three times for three characters.

    Will I be staying past the first month? Hard to say, exams are coming up and I don’t need another distraction. But overall, I think Tera is a great title and one I’m very much enjoying.

    -rav4ge

  12. bhagpuss May 17, 2012 / 2:50 pm

    The action combat put me off a LOT. I have no interest in action combat whatsoever.

    The subscription put me off. Too many really good MMOs with no financial barrier to entry for anything other than a truly amazing game to justify a sub nowadays.

    I would like to take a look around what is purportedly a very beautiful gameworld sometime, but I can happily wait a year or two for the couple of sessions that’s going to take.

    The only blog in my reader that’s covering it seems to be KIASA. (And how the hack do you get through 300 blogs? I have about a tenth of that in my Reader and I already feel overwhelmed!)

  13. Amanda May 17, 2012 / 3:07 pm

    The husband and I love it, and it might be our new Forever-At-Least-In-MMO-Terms Game. It’s finally the new game we’ve been looking for: one where combat is king again.

    Maybe it just doesn’t speak to the bloggy demographic for some reason (poor writing makes writers squirm, perhaps?).

    It’s a small game, yes, but there’s definitely people playing it.

  14. Ocho May 17, 2012 / 3:15 pm

    THAT is a good question. 300 is a stunning number. I have quite a few blogs I have in my reader, and I’m about 300 articles behind in what I’m interested in reading. How do you keep up with it? Superhero eyes? Speed reading?

  15. Drannos May 17, 2012 / 3:26 pm

    Honestly, it took me longer to download it than I spent playing it (Open Beta weekend some time ago). Granted, that doesn’t exactly make my opinion the most qualified, but after a half-dozen hours I’d gotten a good sense of the combat and seen the pretty shinies. Enough of them, at least, to feel confident that it wasn’t for me. I’ve played enough MMOs, and games, to know when *I* am going to like something.

    Like most of the comments above, it just felt very tired. Aside from a mechanic or two (combat, the political system…maybe), it just doesn’t offer enough to differentiate itself, or to hold my attention. There are plenty of free offerings out there with more to excite me.

    Plus, I’ve never been a fan of the anime/Final Fantasy-style character designs – barely-clad elf-chicks-with-demon-horns, anonymous humans, and Ogrish rock-humanoid-things just don’t do it for me. And the Elin are just creepy in a way that even Frogster’s censorship can’t fix. Saying, “In Japan, it’s just not that big a deal…” is no excuse, and really doesn’t help things, either.

  16. Syp May 17, 2012 / 3:31 pm

    I do a lot of skimming and then pull up articles that look interesting to read in depth. A prof of mine in college taught us that you could absorb a lot of a non-fiction book’s content by reading the TOC, and first and last paragraphs of every chapter. I do that with blog posts.

  17. Taint May 17, 2012 / 3:49 pm

    I have tried to find blogs and posts about TERA since before it went live and have been unable to locate only a handful. I still really like TERA (more than Diablo III at the moment), and I have not seen any significant drop off in people playing it while in game. The in-game community seems active, the auction house valid, I can always find a group if I really want one, etc. Very polished, as you would expect from a game that has actually been out for over a year. Does it have that Korean flair like Aion? Absolutely. Is it a tad grindy? Yep. But its fun, there is plenty to do, and looks very, very nice. Maybe I should start a TERA-themed blog to keep everyone happy!

  18. Scott May 17, 2012 / 4:40 pm

    I am still playing and having fun. As I wrote in my First Impressions blog, it’s DIKU, it’s Trinity, it’s all the under the hood stuff that I’m tired of. But, for now, the combat and exploration is enough to entertain me, and even have FUN in an MMO again, which doesn’t happen often anymore. I signed up for a 3 month sub, but since I can only play once or twice a week due to work, I’ll progress in 3 months what you people could do in one.

    We did have a guildmate cancel already, not because he isn’t enjoying it, but because there isn’t an end-game at all yet, so he’s breaking away before he gets there. He did the same with RIFT at launch and Trio added enough variety to make him happy, and he hopes En Masse can do the same.

    I said on my blog, and it’s a couple weeks later now and I’m sticking to it, that the depiction of the females in general and the borderline pedophile-attracting Elin in particular cross some line for me that I never knew existed. I don’t mind other people playing them, but TERA is one game I can only play male characters in.

  19. carson63000 May 17, 2012 / 4:42 pm

    The feel I get is exactly the same as the feel I got from Aion. That had great buzz around the people I knew (gaming friends, personal friends, etc.), a lot of people picked it up at launch. A month or two later, I noticed I hadn’t really heard anyone talking about it lately, so I asked what’s up? The unanimous response was “meh, not playing any more, got boring really quick.”

  20. wloire May 17, 2012 / 5:16 pm

    People who play in glass houses should not throw stones.

  21. Chris Smith May 17, 2012 / 6:28 pm

    Still playing it.

  22. Syp May 17, 2012 / 7:08 pm

    Why else would you buy a glass house?

  23. Hera May 17, 2012 / 7:18 pm

    I just put Tera in the “another weird Korean game” basket of MMO’s I don’t play. Besides after the trainwreck of SWTOR and playing Diablo III and waiting for Guild Wars 2 nothing else is on my horizon unless it is a F2P MMO.

  24. Xii May 17, 2012 / 7:21 pm

    I’m still playing it, but I’m well below the level cap. It does have a very Aion-ish feel, and I left that game after a few months (and one guild implosion), so we’ll see how things really are when the thirty days are over. The combat is nice though, I haven’t felt any need to grind, and I’m liking my Mystic.

    I agree with the people who said that one of the problems with Tera is its subscription model. If this had launched as F2P (and been the first ‘AAA’ F2P game launch), you’d have heard a lot more about it. As it is, if you want action, you can play DCUO or Vindictus for free, and if you want a pretty looking somewhat linear game you can play Aion for free.

  25. bernardparsnip May 17, 2012 / 10:37 pm

    I think it’s a question of timing.

    Most bloggers I read that like trinity-based games are either playing Diablo 3, GW 2 Beta, MOP beta or The Secret World.

    If this had hit around the time people were finished with Skyrim last year, maybe it would have got some traction.

  26. Cheebz May 18, 2012 / 3:08 am

    Since I’ve been reading your blog 2 years ago I’ve never felt the need to comment your entries or even adress you directly. In this case I couldn’t resist though.

    You probably know it yourself, but it is pretty obvious when your bias gets the better of you and I’m not being defensive here. You are thrashing the game for all the wrong reasons (player count – it doesn’t feel empty at all, marketing campaign – yeah pretty dumb) while ignoring the right reasons: half of KTera’s features aren’t even in the game, reducing the endgame to dailies, 5 man dungeons and crafting if you want to progress. There are still lots and lots of people playing though and they will probably continue to do so, after surviving the awful post-55 grind.

    As for me, I probably won’t subscribe after july, due to me not having much time to play an MMO. But I don’t see me regretting the 1 month paid subscription, contrary to SWTOR back in january.

    As for the topic: You’re obviously being biased here and it doesn’t suit you. You’ve been hyping worse games or ignoring their downfall for long enough (sup WAR), while you’re painting doom and gloom scenarios for korean MMOs you obviously don’t like (You did the same for Aion back then). You shouldn’t ask yourself why the blogosphere doesn’t write about Tera after 2 weeks. Rather ask yourself why you declare the game dead after 2 weeks.

    I don’t want to sound hostile. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for a few years now and I had never felt the need to comment. It’s just obvious bias that disgusts me.

  27. Syp May 18, 2012 / 1:07 pm

    @Cheebz – “Bias” is one of those funny words that’s often thrown at people who see things differently at you. After all, if they’re “bias,” then you can ignore them, eh? Except we’re all biased toward or against most everything, as people are just opinionated.

    Sure I have opinions, but this post was more of a question that was bouncing around my head, and I did solicit positive feedback from those playing. If I was just out to attack TERA (which I haven’t been; I don’t generally go for those types of games, but the only posts I’ve done on TERA are this one and two on its marketing campaign), I wouldn’t have asked for any feedback, I would’ve just blasted it top to bottom. I was honestly curious about the state of TERA and its gamers, wanted to hear from them, and was wondering if I’m alone in thinking that this is a very quiet post-launch period for what should have been a major game. I’ve been through enough of these launches to note when it feels off, and this does to me.

    Blogging is sometimes just having weird thoughts and perspectives about the industry and then voicing them. It’s my blog, I can say what I want. If I have to worry about ever offending folks by portraying any MMO in a less-than-positive light, then it wouldn’t be my blog, would it?

  28. Mark May 19, 2012 / 11:27 am

    I didn’t even realize it was out, I thought that was beta info I was reading! That said I had not interest in it anyway, I hesitate to call it AAA when it was your usual grindy mmo expected from that region and they aren’t even playing it over there!

  29. wloire May 20, 2012 / 1:47 am

    @Syn – As a long time MMO player I’d like to think this is an almost normal post launch experience. The whole “Hey look our game is awesome! Hey look we have adds on T.V.! Hey look we have awesome story lines! Hey look we have x million (not yet paying) subscribers! Hey look at us, look at us!” seems like a relatively new thing that came (and failed) with the WoW clone generation of games.

  30. wloire May 20, 2012 / 1:52 am

    As a side note, not every game has a thriving blog community, and Tera isn’t really a well known MMO on the scene. To be truthful prior to the explosion in bloggers we saw with WAR very few MMO’s (WoW and EVE mostly) even had dedicated bloggers. Tera’s blogging community size is not really indicative of how long lived it will be.

  31. dan January 24, 2013 / 5:57 pm

    To me it looked a lot like Aion. Aion was an MMO that I closely followed throughout its development. I liked the art style, the classes, the PVP aspect and most importantly, I found the lore interesting. However, it was also my first Asian MMO and even though I heard that they often get the dreaded ‘grind’ label I believed in all their promises for localization and such.
    I loved Aion until level 30, the first zones were extremely fun but it more and more resulted in one huge grindfest and I quit.
    That is why as soon as I read promises about the localization of Tera, I stopped following the game. If it is designed to be about grind then it ultimately will be a about grinding, no amount of tweaking, nice graphics or active combat can make up for lack of immersion. And that is essential for me when I decide to dedicate hours and hours to an MMO.

    I realize that i’m a little late to the party but if you want to talk about an MMO nobody showed up to play you should take a look at The Secret World. Pity really as it is a fun game.

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