MMORPG: Congrats on the milestone! Let’s start with a tough one. Looking back to this time last year, what has the team learned about their game and what its players want in the 12 months that have passed?
Patrick Sun: Tough question to summarize! I think all of us, here at En Masse, could write a textbook about everything we’ve learned in the past year. The biggest learning comes from the understanding that TERA (like any MMO) has a constantly evolving game and community. Like a country populated with citizens, TERA has players that constantly change their environment, and that influences our decisions on how to support them as a publisher.
I’ve personally learned a great deal just watching or jumping in game with our players - about their likes, dislikes, and mainly how to listen better as a producer.
MMORPG: When the game launched, the decision was made to go with a traditional subscription model. Looking back, this obviously wasn’t the way to go for TERA. Do you wish you’d known then what you know now?
Patrick Sun: I think the market was different a year ago, and it’s hard to say if we would have launched F2P or subscription if we got to travel back in time. I do believe that starting with a traditional subscription model and going through a transition to subscription-free definitely helped to shape TERA into what it is today.
Would TERA: Rising have been as successful if we launched straight into F2P without the momentum and support of our TERA community? Hard to say. :)
MMORPG: What have been your most proud moments for the title since launch? How about a few of the not-so-rosy?
Patrick Sun: There are inevitable issues when transitioning an online game to a new model. We didn’t expect such a drastic influx of new players to come flocking immediately to the game when it became TERA: Rising, and a few of them had to wait longer than convenient times for responses to certain issues they were experiencing due to increased demand. As we pride ourselves on quality support for our players, we’ve definitely responded by making changes so that we can continue to live up to that statement. It’s hard to predict player behavior sometimes, and you learn as you go.
That said, making the transition over from a subscription game definitely takes the trophy for proudest moment for our team. There were so many intricate parts to the change, and it really took the entire staff’s undivided attention and focus to pull it off in the short timeframe we had. Our first PVP tournament also comes to mind which featured over 250 of our best PVP players vying to be the Champion of Canyon Clash. For me, it was so great to see the level of passion and competitiveness present in the TERA community.
MMORPG: Where does TERA go from here? What can we expect to see change and be added in the next 12 months?
Patrick Sun: Oh my, where to begin? TERA has a bunch in store for the next few months, let alone the next 12. Starting in May, we will be adding 10 and 20-player versions of our popular Kelsaik’s Nest Raid. In June, a brand new 20v20 battleground allows players to use tanks, cannons, and airships to defend and capture the opponent fortresses.
Shortly following that, the long anticipated Alliance system evolves the political system and mixes up the open world experience for players to engage with factions.
This summer is really going to be big, with content update after content update, so it’s a great time to jump in and see what TERA: Rising is all about!
MMORPG: What makes players go with the Warrior over the other classes, do you think?
Patrick Sun: Various reasons in my opinion. Aesthetically, players love to dual wield, and this is the only class that allows them to do that. The warrior is also a very unique class that is a blend of DPS and evasive tank that offers a challenge for players to master. In the wrong hands it’s probably an average class, but a skilled warrior can go toe to toe with almost any other player or BAM in the game.
MMORPG: Why are the Castanics most popular, over even the Humans?
Patrick Sun: I think the Castanics have become one of the signature races for TERA as a lot of our outward facing marketing shows the Castanic front and center. They look cool, they act badass, and they have horns! What’s not to like?
It’s hard to say why players prefer one look over the other. I love the Baraka, for instance, but it turns out most people don’t.
MMORPG: The Sorcerer dies... A LOT. Is this in line with what you expected? Are the other classes?
Patrick Sun: If you just compare kills and deaths of classes, everything lines up with what we expected.
The Sorcerer is a pretty powerful class. It is also the class with the least defense, so having the most deaths makes sense.
That said, they usually have the most kills as well. Many sorcerer attacks are pretty powerful and can do a ton of damage at once, but a few missteps here and an ill-timed teleport there, and you may find yourself on the wrong end of a BAM’s foot.
Each class brings more to the table than just pure damage though, so finding your class’s strengths will definitely serve you well on the battlefield.