The Making of the TERA Valkyrie
In preparation for the launch of the Valkyrie class on consoles, we asked one of TERA’s writers, Scott James Magner, about the experience of bringing her to the western market and developing Valkyrie lore.
The Valkyrie has a bit of a history here at En Masse Entertainment, and like the class itself, her story needs a little explanation.
Whenever we get new content for TERA, be it new classes, costumes, or battlegrounds, we start a “top-down” process of localization, thoroughly studying any changes to the game before changing any translated terms, and then writing all text relating to the change at the same time.
But for the Valkyrie, we faced a few more challenges than usual. The class name was originally translated as “glaiver,” which didn’t fit in well with the class names we already had in the game. So, before we could start in on skills, items, costumes, or quests, we needed a new name for the high-flying female Castanic fighter.
After a lengthy internal debate, and with some feedback from the TERA community, we put the matter up for a vote, asking players to choose between several new names. Valkyrie won out, and we could finally begin the localization process.
Only how do you fit the Valkyrie, a uniquely Germanic concept, into a Korean MMO? With a looming deadline and a few thousand words of writing ahead of me, I decided to break the character down to its core elements. Valkyries are a race-restricted class, reserved to castanic female characters only. And since Castanics are an intensely matriarchal society, it stood to reason that NPC valkyries would be very powerful in castanic society.
So, where were they? Why had we, TERA fans (and writers, though the two are interchangeable), never heard of them before now? They had to be a secret martial order known only to Castanics—specifically NPC castanic matriarchs, who are never seen in-game. And they had to be a very, very old secret order, since the quest describing their origins starts in a section of the map that had been cut off from the rest of the world for generations.
Everybody loves a good conspiracy, so I combed back through all our lore (published and unpublished) on Castanics, looking for “story holes” in which to write. It didn’t take very long at all, and within the week I’d written some micro-flash fiction for in-game story books, and three scripts for my frequent collaborator, EME Senior Artist Josh Fulmore, to turn into comic book pages.
With the name and background squared away, I could now turn my attention to her skills. With the fiction we’d written, we could easily explain why her skills were so different from the more “modern” classes. Her ancient origins let us use Norse terms like Ragnarok, Bloodflower, and Gjallar Horn as skill names, alongside skills like Spinning Death, Shining Crescent, and Maelstrom. We even included lore in the skill descriptions, mentioning how the Valkyrie manipulates dream energy to explosive effects.
I could go on, but I don’t want to spoil your fun. So, I’ll sign off with a bit of Valkyrie lore to tease your appetite, and I’ll see you in game!
I leave you with this, my sister of the storm. The sour smell of blood stays with you, no matter how many times you wash.
The memories of dead, black eyes, of twisted bodies with the faces of friends, will never leave you.
My grandmother was wrong, and most likely yours as well. Patience, tolerance, acceptance...these are not our ways.
We are no longer the guardians of history. We are vengeance, the choosers of the slain.
We are valkyries, and as foretold in prophecy, thrice carved in stone, our time will come again.