MMORPG: Can you give us a brief overview of what the new Alliance update is bringing to TERA and what makes it so important for the game?
Patrick Sun: When TERA first launched, it introduced an innovative political system that focused on Vanarchs. Vanarchs had power over provinces to set taxes and give players a way to rule over those that came through their land. As TERA evolves, Vanarchs are giving way to the more powerful Exarchs, who will be able to control a whole continent. It’s hard for one player, or even one guild to do it all, and that’s why alliances need to be formed.
Each Exarch is being given a different set of powers and abilities to help their continent flourish. These powers aid in making the continents stronger, richer, and more powerful. However, you will have multiple alliances all vying over a new material called Noctenium. Noctenium is the source of what will make players stronger and more prestigious so whoever controls Noctenium will have a firm grasp over the world of TERA.
MMORPG: What exactly is the Exarch political system then?
Patrick Sun: The old Vanarch system largely relied on player voting. While that’s good for our democratic system, in an action-based game you want combat to do the talking, or voting, in this case. In Alliance, there will be multiple ways to earn Contribution Points such as invading enemy alliance territories, stealing their Noctenium extractors, or just plain PVP against enemy alliance members. New quests and dungeons also come into play, which expand the Alliance content to more than just PvP. The guild that ends up with the most Contribution Points at the end of the election cycle will have their guild leader crowned as the Exarch of the entire alliance.
Exarchs will have a variety of powers over their continent such as increasing enchant rates, opening specialty shops, and collecting taxes. They can also appoint Commanders to aid during raids by spawning defensive cannons and guards, teleportals, and supply merchants.
MMORPG: These three new factions, what is the story behind each? Are they just faceless entities, or is there a lore tie-in? Are there any race restrictions on which one we want to join?
Patrick Sun: Each of these alliances represents the main city of each continent. They have differing focuses with what to do with the newly discovered Noctenium which is why the factions came about in the first place. In Velika, the Free Traders Collective focuses on becoming wealthy and rich using Noctenium. In Allemantheia, the Enlightened Union pursues knowledge while the Iron Order, in Kaiator, seeks strength and power.
There are no restrictions for joining alliances, and guilds will even be able to change alliances at the cost of a cooldown and re-registration fee.
MMORPG: So why did you choose three factions, and how will this affect the PVP servers if at all? I get that the Alliance wars are in instanced zones where the warfare takes place, but do these alliances extend into the main world for PVP servers? If not... why, man?!
Patrick Sun: There are various reasons you’d want to join an alliance including unique perks each provides. The Free Traders Collective will net you more gold as you hunt while the Enlightened Union increases reputation points, and the Iron Order provides special combat perks. And if you’re still leveling your character, you can earn alliance contribution points whether you are in or out of alliance zones.
The alliance territories are instanced, yes, but they are on a much larger scale than some of our current maps for Fraywind Canyon or Corsairs’ Stronghold battlegrounds. These instanced territories are the size of whole provinces, and anyone can enter any alliance territory at any time.
With Alliance territories, there will be set PvP times, but we’ll keep a close eye on how both PvP and PvE players progress and make adjustments to times if needed.
MMORPG: I assume the big draw of the action in these zones will be that it's got the siege weapons and everything the recent battleground addition has?
Patrick Sun: Siege weapon with PvP was very popular with our recent Corsairs’ Stronghold update and will make an appearance in Alliance as well, but there many are other incentives to discovering alliance territories. New infiltration quests will require the attendance of your Alliance to invade enemy forts, and if you succeed in taking down their Executor NPC, you reap the rewards of 40% of their tax coffers in addition to a ton of alliance contribution points. For an entire continent, that can be quite a lot!
There are also special combat items that can be utilized in these zones such as flash grenades, mines, and even invisibility potions which can be crafted or purchased through new alliance merchants and resources.
MMORPG: What sorts of rewards are there for players who partake in this system?
Patrick Sun: Being part of a bigger, more engaging political system is something we hope players will enjoy. There may be just one Exarch per continent, but there are also other political positions such as Commanders, or hundreds of Echelons each with their own unique powers and advantages. The resources and contribution points gathered within Alliance will also be ingredients towards a variety of rewards such as special combat items, modification of skills, new Alliance gear, and even the ability to summon your own BAMs.
MMORPG: You mentioned Noctenium resources, is that the primary reason someone would join the Exarch system and the three-faction warfare?
Patrick Sun: Noctenium can be used to craft new Alliance gear, but it can also be used to take your skills to the next level. If you’re in a battle against enemy factions, or against a BAM or two, Noctenium can modify your existing skills to have various effects such as increased damage, health or mp regen.
Each Alliance also has access to a new dungeon called the Vaults. The trick here is that access to the Vaults is shared across all 3 alliances. Each alliance is allotted access times throughout the day, but how often they have access depends on their alliance rank. Yup, each Alliance will be in constant competition to see who the best is, and whoever wins will get more entries into the Vaults.
These vaults contain BAMs that drop anything from new Noctenium accessories, to Vitriols and Visionmaker designs. The competitions largely center on Noctenium extractors that are peppered throughout each instanced alliance territory. You can either protect your own, or invade enemy alliances and steal theirs. At the end of the day, we’ll tally up who got the most and reward based on the results.
MMORPG: How do the new Alliance gear and crafted items compare to the other top tier gear in the game?
Patrick Sun: The new alliance gear will be on par with some of the strongest PvP gears within TERA and will sport a unique nocteniumized look. The alliance content provides a great alternative way to obtain this gear than your usual auction house or PvE raids, and the Noctenium accessories dropped from the new Vaults will be highly sought after as well.
MMORPG: Can you explain a bit about the Combat Tactic Items too, then? Are these specifically for PVP?
Patrick Sun: These new combat items are designed to help infiltrate enemy alliances through sneaking or head on PvP tactics. You can use the invisibility potion to sneak into an enemy fort for guerilla warfare while mines can be preemptively set to surprise the enemy in the midst of battle. These special combat explosives also have the added feature of making enemies drop Noctenium resources when hit which help you protect Noctenium resources in your own territory.
MMORPG: Thanks for your time!