Battle Bards Episode 44: TERA

teraWith Steff out of action for a few shows, Syp and Syl are left floating adrift in a sea of TERA tunes.  This week the Battle Bards will be treading the waters of this high-fantasy MMO soundtrack, finding the best and most interesting picks to discuss.  And then they drown.  The end.

Episode 44 show notes

  • Intro (featuring “Awakening” and “Sailor’s Horn”)
  • “Godspeed”
  • “Elinu’s Dance”
  • “Homecoming”
  • “Turnabout”
  • “Riversong”
  • “The Children of Karas”
  • “Sanctuary”
  • Which track did we like the best?
  • Mail By Armagon
  • Outro (featuring “TERA Nova”)

Listen to episode 44 now!

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.

10 reasons why TERA’s “MMO-FO” is the worst marketing campaign in the history of the 21st century

I know these have been out a while, but I haven’t been up to date on my TERA stuff because… I don’t care about TERA.  I don’t hate it, I just am not interested.  So while I heard of the eyeball-wrenching awfulness of this MMO-FO marketing campaign, I never checked it out until recently.

SERIOUSLY?  This is what a major MMO studio is attempting to use to lure new players in?  Oh me oh my, let us count the ways this fumbles:

1. This is our hero of the commercials, Bas Rutten, Bad Ass:

If you don’t already want to slap him silly, go back and stare at that picture for a few more seconds.  It’s like the great minds behind Poochie the Dog were hired on to destroy everything that En Masse has worked toward these past couple years.  It gets way, way worse once you see him acting.

Or forget me and buy the line En Masse fed the public: “When we started talking about Bas Rutten as the embodiment of our action combat system, it felt like a natural fit. Bas has a charm and intensity that only a man with lethal fighting skills can project, and that felt like the perfect match for our game.”

2. As a gamer, I guarantee that you will identify with anyone and everyone in these commercials except for Bas.  Unless, of course, you’re a Dutch martial artist who looks like the stereotype of every geek-kicking jock come to life.  To my knowledge, Bas is not known for his extensive experience playing MMOs or doing anything other than putting random people in headlocks and asking why they don’t stop hitting themselves.

3. What does “MMO-FO” stand for?  Well, if you know your acronyms at all, you know “MMO” and probably know “FO”, so by piecing the two together,  you have a marketing campaign that’s telling online RPGs to kindly depart with maximum vulgarity.  Or, hey, just shorten it one M and you have another fun swear word.  You know, for kids!

4. There’s a thin line between self-aggrandizing winkery and just annoying monkey poop-slinging.  This reminds me of what the esteemed lawyer Wayne Jarvis said when he first saw these commercials:

5. It laughs AT its target audience, not WITH them.  There’s a difference here.  I’m all for tongue-in-cheek parodies and funny send-up of tropes, but this series is all about outright mocking its target demographic (RPers, LARPers, MMO gamers, fishermen) and trying to shame them into playing this game.  I’m sure everyone involved in making these thought it was a hoot and would be taken in stride, but you know what?  It’s kind of mean at its core, and that’s hard to ignore even if you slather jokes all over it.

6. There’s a commercial where MMO-FO guy is ripping into the current crop of MMOs as people are playing them, then hijacks their games to force them to play TERA.  Everyone in the commercial goes with it, even though you see intense hatred boiling out of their eyes because he made them DC in the middle of a raid to play an upskirt fantasy title.

7. “TERA is the only game with true action combat!”  Well, MMO-FO, I hate to call you a liar because you obviously know your MMOs, so… I’ll move on.  But I’m sure there are no other action MMOs that have ever been released.  I will take your word for that.

(I mean, c’mon.  Claim that you’re going to be the best action MMO, I can respect that approach.  But to deny that any other games have ever tried action combat?  That’s just stupid.)

8. You’re badmouthing LOTRO.  Well, that totally endears you to me.  I also find it hilarious that in this commercial, he’s ripping on DCUO despite DCUO having, y’know, action combat.

9. Bas’ approach seems to be laughing at whatever games these people are playing, beating them up (because martial arts, that’s why), and then converting them to TERA.  Are they marketing to bullies?  Again, joke or not, why would I watch this and go, “Why yes!  He does make a compelling argument!  I will obey the bald gorilla and play this game!”?  It doesn’t make sense.

10. Here’s what gets me most of all: I’m sure there are plenty of TERA fans who are both eagerly anticipating this game and cringing at these commercials, knowing that they’ll be lumped in with this madness in the eyes of everyone else.  In other words, “He does not speak for us.”  I feel bad for them.

Phrase retirement

Earlier today I was writing up a piece on TERA when I saw this nestled in with the PR department’s game description:

“No more are you confined to tabbing and then standing around and eating a sandwich while taking on a boss.”

And this made me pause.  For even though Syp is old, he is not too old to be oblivious to the fact that this is an incredibly outdated phrase (y’know, the whole “go auto-attack and make a sandwich while combat resolves”) used in a laughable manner.  Thoughts off the top of my head when I read this included:

  1. What is/was the MMORPG genre’s obsession with gaming and sandwich-making?
  2. Did we ever used to do anything other than make and consume sandwiches while playing games?
  3. Why did this become the standard phraseology?
  4. Does En Masse realize that no modern game since about 2002 has you hit auto-attack and then do nothing?
  5. Does En Masse realize that nobody uses this phrase any more unless they want amateur bloggers to mock them with lists?
  6. I know En Masse is hammering the whole “TERA is an action-RPG” thing, but does it realize that it’s definitely not the first one?  Even in MMO-space?
  7. Does En Masse realize how bad it’s going to get its butt handed to it by Guild Wars 2 in the action-combat department?
  8. If I was in a group in any MMO I play fighting a boss and I just went to make a sandwich, I don’t think my group leader would appreciate it.  Even if it rivaled Subway’s sandwich artists at their peak.
  9. Now I want a sandwich.
  10. Too bad I’m playing an MMO and thus have no option to make one!

Bio Break’s Quick and Dirty Guide to Telling RIFT and TERA Apart

It’s come to our attention that two upcoming fantasy titles, RIFT (aka “Rift” and “Rift: Planes of Telara” and “Rift: Shut Yo’ Mouth”) and TERA (aka “TERA Online” and “The Exiled Realm of Arborea”), are being confused with each other.  We’ve noticed this happening quite often, most likely because (a) both are good-looking fantasy titles with non-descript IPs, (b) both have four-letter names and “Telara” sounds a bit like “TERA”, and (c) because we collectively have the attention span of squirrels.

Ooh!  Acorn!

So in the spirit of clearing up the air, here’s Bio Break’s Quick and Dirty Guide to Telling RIFT and TERA apart:

  • Rift is a Western MMO being developed by Trion Worlds
  • Tera is an Eastern MMO being developed by Bluehole Studio
  • Both games are slated to hit North America in 2011
  • Both games are using a standard retail box + subscription business model
  • Rift is best described as a really well-done WoW-slash-WAR clone that has great emphasis on PvE
  • Tera is best described as Aion meets Final Fantasy
  • Rift’s big hooks are its mix-and-match class building system and dynamic world events and invasions
  • Tera’s big hook is action (button mashing) combat
  • Tera’s females are typical soft porn anime dolls and it’s very possible you will be sent to jail by the FBI if you play it in view of anyone else
  • Rift does not send you to prison.  It gives you a good game instead.


A TERAble Idea

Watching this Tera video, I had to wonder if the developers just got unhealthily fixated on the notion of “guys play girl characters to stare at their butts while they run” and went waaaaay too far with it.

Although I do have to admit that when I decide to go adventuring, I slide on a teeny miniskirt and thong, then stick my tush out as I waddle down hills.  I guess it is more true-to-life than I suspected.