6 things that will surprise MMO veterans jumping into Tera

TERA sword swing

While many of Tera's mechanics and systems will be familiar for those used to the “WoW template,” MMOers expecting everything to be the same run the risk of getting tripped up by some of its more convention-bending mechanics.

These few helpful tips will help ease your transition from the virtual world of your choice to Tera's sweeping landscape of elves, giants and oversized-sword-wielding badgers.

1. Your mouse disappears frequently

This isn't a totally new idea in the MMO space. Players of DC Universe Online should pick up the control scheme fairly quickly. WASD is used for movement, but your cursor is “locked” on your character's perspective by default (as if you were holding down the right mouse in a WoW-style game.) Left mouse-click is your basic attack (no auto-attacking here) that can be chained by clicking it multiple times, and right mouse-click is a defensive skill that varies from class to class. Hitting the menu key—Alt by default—brings your cursor back and lets you interact with the UI normally.

2. Blocking and evasion are not based on stats

Defending yourself goes beyond just putting on the right pants. While most classes can get by with just spam-attacking against weaker enemies (and plenty of healing pots and bandages between fights), tougher foes and special Boss creatures will force you to think on your feet. Their most powerful attacks will have a tell shortly before they happen, signaling for you to get out of the way, raise your active defenses, or get mercilessly flattened. Avoiding heavy hits and timing your counter-attacks becomes more and more important as you level up and face more fierce opponents. Your patience and skill is well rewarded: the best players can get through encounters with little more than a scratch.

3. The quest log is filled with hidden information

One of the niftier features that's never fully explained to you is the ability to click on names of characters or enemies in the quest log to have them highlighted on your map in a bright orange color. In the case of monsters, all possible spawn locations for that creature type will be highlighted. This feature is a big help when figuring out where you need to go, especially since the minimap quest arrows can be unreliable at times.

4. There's no need to specialize in crafting or gathering skills

Mining, Weaponsmithing, Alchemy—all the usual crafting professions are here, but there are no restrictions on what you can craft and gather, like there are in many other MMOs. You can raise all of your crafting and gathering skills, and some races receive bonuses to certain ones. Anyone can pick up any of the various plants, rocks and gems scattered around the world, and learn the recipes to make things with them once they have reached the appropriate skill level.

5. Some areas are tricky to reach

If you're having trouble finding your way to the next part of a quest, it's probably because the game wants you to climb something or go through a teleporter. The environments hide plenty of ladders, vines, and other climbable objects that serve as the sole, ponderous means of reaching high-up areas. In addition, each region of the game has at least one event that takes place inside of an instanced zone that's only accessible by teleporters, which can be found easily thanks to tip number three.

6. Taking a break is mandatory

In addition to Health and Mana, your character has a Stamina stat that measures how fatigued you are. It starts at 120 and will slowly go down as you traverse the world, fight, and complete quests. If you happen to die, a hefty Stamina hit is added onto your shame. Having low Stamina reduces your maximum Health, Mana, and critical hit chance—so it's not something you want to ignore. The easiest way to raise it back to full is to stand next to a permanent campfire, or one that you create in the field as a consumable item. If you're short on time but rich in money, it's also possible to have your Stamina instantly restored by paying the special cleric NPCs found in every major town.