MMORPG.com: Can you talk about TERA’s political system?
Stefan Ramirez: The political system in TERA is something you start experiencing more towards the end levels, endgame stuff. Players will be able to vote, through a popular vote, and there are provinces within TERA. These provinces can each have their own Vanarch. These Vanarchs can control things, like taxes for the area, so when people buy things from the shops and vendors, they’re actually paying taxes back to the Vanarch. They can also turn on special NPCs, they have these things called policy points, and these policy points allow them to manage, basically, the province.
Certain things cost a certain amount of policy points, so you don’t just have free reign, you can’t just kick back, spike up the taxes, and just collect from everybody. You actually have to run the province. You earn those policy points and you manage it by turning on special NPCs for players to make them happy and get people to come to your province and spend more money and give you more taxes.
MMORPG.com: And this gives you more policy points?
Stefan Ramirez: Well, you earn policy points in any numbers of ways. It’s basically, your guild is basically your campaign committee, that’s the way I like to think of it. You need a guild to help run your campaign, get you elected, get you into office. Now, once you’re in office your guild gets some sweet perks, like you all get a very special mount that’s faster, it’s the Vanarch mount. It definitely stands out in a crowd, so everybody knows that you’re rolling with the Vanarch.
Also, people can recommend guilds. Every time someone recommends your guild, you earn points. Also, there are special Vanarch quests that earn policy points, as well. So, you can go out and do these very challenging quests, and when you complete it, you’ll be able to cash in for some policy points. It’s a good balance, if you’re doing well, people will be voting for you, and you’ll be earning points constantly, and you can use those points to give back. However you decide to do that is up to whoever is elected.
MMORPG.com: How does the PvP fit into the political system?
Stefan Ramirez: It gets trickier with the PvP. Right now, like Chager (Chris Hager) said, we’re looking at PvP in a lot of different ways. We are basically finding out how it’s going to work, like, fine tuning everything. So, we haven’t really, we’re still looking at that part of it for PvP. We don’t really have a lot to talk about (unintelligible).
MMORPG.com: Can you talk about PvP in general?
Stefan Ramirez: So, we do have PvP servers and then the PvE servers. On PvP, right now we are fine tuning how we are going to have it at launch, but essentially we have this start, it’s the beginning area, like levels 1-10, basically, the Island of Dawn. We’re not opening PvP to that area, yet. Once you get to the capital city, there’s a quest called the Outlaw quest. Once you have the Outlaw quest, you can basically, because of our action; it’s a little bit different. You flag yourself as an outlaw. So, after that area, you can go out into the world and flag yourself as an Outlaw. Everybody knows who you are, you’ve got this bright red name, and everybody knows they can hit you. But you can also hit anybody you want.
MMORPG.com: Even if they don’t flag?
Stefan Ramirez: Even if they don’t flag. So, if you flag yourself as an outlaw, you are saying, “I can kill anybody right now.” This is what we’re doing for PvP (servers) right now, and it’s really because our action combat is so different, that we didn’t know, like, you’re not locking onto players. We didn’t know how we could keep players, say, if you’re fighting next to somebody, but you really don’t want to hit ‘em, you don’t want to attack ‘em. Maybe you’re playing a nice guy, you want to leave ‘em alone. How do we accomplish that? Because if it’s a free-for-all PvP with any type of system behind it, it could be tough. You could be in tight quarters with people and accidentally hit ‘em.
When you’re in a group with your group mates, your guildies, but when you flag yourself as red, and you noticed this over the past beta weekend in CBT2, when somebody turns themselves red, it’s like everybody just swarmed. Before you know it, people were flagging themselves as outlaws, some aren’t, and it was a lot of fun. We’re still gauging that, what we want to do with that.
MMORPG.com: Do you have a progression system for PvP?
Stefan Ramirez: Well, no, there are things that we’re working on.
MMORPG.com: Will you have any other forms of PvP?
Stefan Ramirez: We do have battlegrounds that we’re refining and the PvP system itself, like Chager said, we want people to really just own it themselves. The guild vs. guild system is pretty cool, you’ll be able to essentially, just, as a guild leader, I guess, claim you want to attack another guild. And they’ll know, they’ll get a huge notification, like, “Oh wow. We’re at war with this guild.” At that point, you can have up to 300 members in your guild, you can have a free-for-all battle anywhere on that map between those two guilds, or you can actually forfeit, if you want. There’s a cost to forfeiting, but if you don’t want to, if you don’t want to fight a 300 member guild, you’re a little guy with maybe nine, you don’t have to fight them if you want. We are working on rankings and keeping track of all those stats and such.
MMORPG.com: Are you utilizing any particularly interesting designs for dungeons?
Stefan Ramirez: We don’t want to tip our hat on everything yet, but we do have a lot of interesting dungeons that we’re focused for, not just the endgame, but also for spreading out through the 1-60 content. They’ve definitely taken it up a notch, where it’s not your typical instance. They require very dynamic play patterns to accomplish the goal and to defeat the instance. That is another thing that we know, we do have the real world collision, which offers a different level of play. You can do things with that. We also have, because of our action, we also have those environmental things, like you saw here today, that we can bring into the game and help spice it up a bit, change it up.
MMORPG.com: What about TERA’s guild features?
Stefan Ramirez: We’re having thousands of people play and we found that people are creating guilds left and right. I rarely see someone who’s not in a guild. The way our system works now, we have three tiers of guild, so you have a level one guild, where you have a certain amount of people that are allowed. Then you can move up to level two, you can have more members, and then level three, and there’s different perks along the way. Right now, we’re maxing out at 300 members, and that’s something we’re actually considering feedback on right now, because people want more members in their guild. You can definitely change your emblem and we’re working on other things for guilds, too, to kind of have on their own, but they’re still being fleshed out.
MMORPG.com: Can you talk a bit more about the racials you mentioned earlier?
Stefan Ramirez: Sure. That’s one of those North American things. We had these seven races, they do look different and they’re all really cool, and we wanted it to be like, “Well, why would you want to play a different race?” But we didn’t want to unbalance it or overpower it. We didn’t want to limit you to like, a Slayer being able to play, or one race being able to play a class.
So, what we did was, we found a very good sweet spot. We were able to play with the lore, so the Popori, they gain a bonus with gathering. It makes sense, they’re nature creatures. The High Elves get a teleport to Allemantheia. They do give a benefit to each one, but they don’t actually unbalance the race. They don’t make one race better than the others. So, you’re a gatherer, you’ll probably roll a Popori, right? You get a little bonus, you get a little boost (for gathering), your stamina can actually go over 120. They’re really just fun benefits, and we think they play well.
MMORPG.com: Do you want to leave anything for our readers?
Stefan Ramirez: Play the game! We can talk about action combat all day, but until you actually get your hands on the game, you don’t fully grasp what we’re saying. I’d like to say that we could tell you about it and you’ll get it, but I’ve seen so many people come up, and once they’ve played it, they’re like, “Now, I know what you’re talking about. Now, I see how it’s different.” And we’re shaking it up, it’s changing. We want people to just play TERA, we want people to get a feel for it. The action combat is a differentiator and it brings a whole new level to the usual thing, the tab targeting, going through a skill rotation. It’s that action element that we definitely want people to give a try.
MMORPG.com: Thanks for your time!