In the coming weeks and months I will have much more to say about both of these games, but let me just say a couple of things right now.  TERA is going to be a sleeper hit with a hardcore fanbase, and The Old Republic is going to be a Big Fucking Deal.

Let’s start off with TERA.  Even at this point, you may have yet to hear about TERA. You may not know who or what TERA is, and you may not care.  But you should, because we’ve played TERA, and TERA is the real deal.  Before I say any more, watch the following trailers below, and prepare to be impressed and intrigued.

That’s right, a real action MMO.  But we’ve heard that before, and we’ve been let down.  Age of Conan and Hellgate: London are considered failures at this point by most of the gaming world.  But where they failed, TERA shall succeed … and I’ll tell you why.

You may not have heard of the company behind TERA, En Masse Entertainment, and that is because the company was only formed last year.  Fear not however, because this is no upstart gaming studio.  En Masse is comprised of some of the industry’s most veteran developers including key people who have worked at Microsoft, Bungie, NCsoft, BioWare and Blizzard.  People that helped launch titles like Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, DragonAge, Guild Wars, Halo 3, and Aion.  People like Pat Wyatt, who I interviewed extensively at E3 2010.  A man who was going to hang up his keyboard and step away from the gaming world, until he saw TERA.

And until I saw TERA, I had no idea what to expect.  All I knew was that I’d been let down by beautiful MMO’s before. I’d been let down by action-MMO’s before. I’d simply become jaded.  Rest assured, once I actually got my hands on TERA, I knew something was right. It seemed as if this was the MMO I’d been waiting for all these years — the game I wished I’d been playing when I was grinding away in Asheron’s Call, or wiping in the Sunwell while addicted to WoW. Yet I never knew such a game could ever exist, until TERA.  It just felt like home.  But enough of my ramblings.  Here’s the rundown:

TERA looks great, I’ve seen it.

TERA plays great, I’ve played it.

TERA will not be released until En Masse knows they can support the community 100% at launch, and for the foreseeable future.

Still not convinced?  Keep it here at RipTen for my upcoming exclusive interview with En Masse COO Pat Wyatt as well as all things TERA and MMO related. We’re gonna be following this one closely.

Also, since there aren’t many suitable gameplay trailers yet available, I decided to make my own.

In case you were wondering, yes, that is brand new Iron Maiden you’re hearing.  :-)

If you’d like to see actual leveling footage, check out this random Korean player’s YouTube channel.

Mark my words, TERA is going to have a strong following.

Let's just say this is me, waiting for the proverbial floodgates to open

But now we must take you to a galaxy far far away, for an MMO that is going to be a big, big, big deal.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has been a long time coming.  MMO fans want it, Star Wars fans want it, heck even I want it, and I’m not a fan of either of those things anymore.  However, after spending time with The Old Republic at E3 2010 and getting some hands-on gameplay, one word describes this game to me: Polished.

Maybe it’s the cinematic approach to every part of the game, maybe its the fact that entire game down to the simplest quest is perfectly voice acted.  Maybe it’s the fact that there’s nothing revolutionary here except the fact that LucasArts and BioWare have taken the typical MMO formula, thrown on a shiny coat of polish, and set it in the Star Wars universe.  They haven’t re-invented the wheel by any means, but what they have done is get set to deliver one seriously well built and addictive experience to MMO fans and Star Wards nerds alike.

Now when I say this is a typical MMO, I don’t mean that in a bad way.  If if told you that The Old Republic was basically World of Warcraft with lightsabers and storm troopers, would you say that’s a bad thing?  I surely wouldn’t.

This is your typical get a quest, form a party, press buttons, wait for cooldowns, tank and spank MMO.  And there’s nothing wrong with that! In my opinion, if it ain’t broke, give it to LucasArts and BioWare and have them make it better than ever anyway.

And when I say better than ever I mean a few things.  Do you love games like WoW but hate the repetitive quests which you don’t ever read and/or don’t care about? Quests that seem to have no tie ins to the greater scheme of things whatsoever? Well that’s gone!  In The Old Republic each quest places you in a Mass Effect like cutscene with whomever you are talking to and you will have different options of how to respond.  And as I said, all of this is voice acted, including your responses.  Once you have chosen a course of action, only then will you go do your mindless quest and return later to said questgiver.  Watch here how quests will play out in The Old Republic.

That right there takes the tried and true questing formula and jacks it up a level, while engaging the player deeper in the game world by adding real time story and dialogue.  Can you skip to the end of these conversations as you would skip to the end of your quest text in WoW? Sure you can, but you won’t want to.

Another thing different about The Old Republic is the way they’ve approached player housing in the form of ships.  That’s right, in The Old Republic you’ll get your own effing ship … sweet.

Now some of the things apparent in other MMO’s that aren’t revolutionary here, are still very necessary, and The Old Republic is doing them right as well.  Things like gear progression are critical to getting gamers into an MMO.  Forget about being a Tier 6 Paladin, how about being a Tier 6 Bounty Hunter!

So as you an see, The Old Republic is changing the MMO game without really changing MMO’s.  They’ve taken a time tested formula and simply added a layer of polish that only companies like LucasArts and BioWare can provide.  When you add this up, you’ve got a recipe for a sure fire smash hit MMO and you can quote me on that.

My prediction: 2 million subscribers at launch, 5 million by next years end, 10 million in two years time if they maintain their commitment to community and content progression. Don’t forget, you heard it here first.

So, what do we have here? One MMO that is trying to change the way we think about MMO’s by pushing the limits of graphics and gameplay, and another that is taking the tried and true MMO formula and simply kicking all aspects up a notch.

While TERA is definitely at a bigger risk of failure, I have no reason to believe that it will not succeed greatly, and while The Old Republic has almost no chance of being anything less than a huge success, if it is not managed and maintained properly, it will fall by the wayside and join the ranks of so many other MMO’s that had limitless potential.

All in all, what we have here are two very good games.  Games that should provide hours upon hours of addictive MMO enjoyment for years to come.