DR...that's what I say about all MMORPGs :P
I give all of them a try.
On the TERA note, I have a feeling its going to be like Aion. Beautiful to look at, a snore to play. Keep me posted, Stephen!
Pft, you didn't even make it to level 20 or out of the SECOND zone, so you have no right to comment on the gameplay ;p
You always were the consummate MMO buffet sampler Tim. *sigh*
Anyway, I spent some more time with the alpha and found that things were not quite as bad as my first impression because of some limitations with the client (i.e. my stupidity with the keyboard). Firstly, the game doesn't notify you when you gain new abilities, nor does it really let you know when you level up (its there in chat, but the chatspam without filters makes it impossible to keep track of). Also, I finally got the controller configured correctly instead of struggling with the keyboard.
Here's what I found...
1. ATB charge time is based on weapon, with larger weapons are slower of course. First play was as a Lancer, second was as Gladiator (much faster)
2. You have to manually equip your attacks and abilities to your action bar. I was playing with one 2H attack previously, which sucked. When you have more its MUCH better.
3. Equipping attacks to the action bar is similar to choosing spells for BLU (sans the cooldown timer), you have a pool of battle points, with each attack/ability having a certain cost to equip, so you have to make something like a combat deck.
4. The ATB charges continuously whether you're in combat or not, as long as your weapon is pulled. Sheathing it (going into passive mode) resets it.
5. The ATB charges for ALL equipped attacks/abilities. This means one bar for everything and you can flip through all the abilities while its charging, it will only consume the bar when you hit accept to use the currently selected action.
6. TP will slowly drain over time when you are not in combat. There isn't an xp chain system, but fighting mobs in rapid succession means less TP decay and faster subsequent kills.
7. Dying does not accrue any kind of penalty to XP. It decreases HP, MP temporarily (~5 minutes) and doubles the ATB charge time, so you're not completely helpless and can still fight, just at a diminished capacity.
8. Sheathing your weapon (going from Active to Passive mode) refills your HP while standing still. It occurs in pulses (~5 seconds) and restores more the longer you stand still. MP cannot be restored in the field unless through class specific actions or touching an Aetherite.
9. The process of entering combat only requires 3 buttons: Active/Passive toggle, Lock-on toggle (optional), Confirm button. You use the digital direction pad to select specific attacks/abilities on your action bar.
If you are close to a mob...
A. Press Active mode button (one press) to pull weapon
B. Press Confirm button to target the mob. The auto targeting is like XI, use the D-pad to tab through targets or the mouse to manually select.
C. Press Lock-on Button to fix yourself to the target, allows you to rotate around the mob. (optional step)
D. Press Confirm Button again to bring up the Action Menu.
E. Press Confirm button again to start ATB gauge. You don't have to have any specific attack selected in order to do this BUT, you do have to have the attack you want to use selected when the gauge is filled.
F. Press Confirm button again to confirm attack when gauge is full to use currently selected ability.
G. Use the D-Pad to change abilities/attacks, and press Confirm button again when ATB charges to full, wash and repeat.
So you use pretty much use the Confirm button for most of the combat input. Since you can store the ATB gauge before selecting your attack, you can move around to get into the ideal positioning.
10. You get AOE moves fairly early on, and can kill multiple mobs at once with them. However, mobs do have a short leash currently, so trying to train is impossible if there's significant distance between targets.
11. When you kill mobs, you gain Weapon Proficiency (not sure what this does), Weapon XP (Increases Weapon Level - determines when weapon skills are learned and weapons that can be equipped ) and regular XP (increases Physical Level which allows you to allocate attribute points as well as armor that can be equipped).
12. You must be changed to a Disciple of Land class (miner, etc.) to gather materials.
13. Not all starting weapons are available in town at this time. Found level 1 Great Axe (Maurader), level 1 Spatha (Gladiator), level 1 Hammer (Blacksmith). Could not find level 1 Polearm (Lancer) but possible I missed some vendor, as the level 12 Trident was being sold at the bait store.... /facepalm.
That's all I can think of right now. The combat isn't quite as slow paced, and you can actually run around and use certain attacks if you're within range. It's definately an upgrade from XI, but its more strategic rather than twitchy. It's not bad, and if they can speed up the ATB a bit and spruce up some weapon skills (Red Lotus is so dull looking) that would be awesome.