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GDC 2010: First Look Preview

Garrett Fuller Posted:
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This week at GDC we got a chance to see En Masse Entertainment’s newest AAA MMO TERA. The game has been known for a while and is currently in its third closed beta in Korea. It is currently being worked on to bring over to the Western audience as well. TERA is a new subscription based MMO that offers lush graphics and intense action MMO gameplay. The core development team previously worked on Lineage II, and with TERA they are seeking to develop an MMO that can crossover and bridge the gap between Eastern and Western tastes.

The crux of TERA's design focuses on creating fun combat gameplay without compromising the depth found in traditional AAA MMOGs. Teamwork is essential in the game where classes and races work together to fight a common enemy that continues to grow in their midst. There is a long list of races to choose from: Humans, Castonic, Aman, Popori, Baraka, and High Elf offer players many choices. There is also a solid set of classes to choose from: Warrior, Slayer, Archer, Mystic, Sorcerer, Lancer, Berserker, and Priest. The classes are generally made up of the the typical Holy Trinity archetypes consisting of Tanks, Mages, and Support/healers.

TERA also features robust customization options for players to use when creating a character. We looked on as a human Mystic was created and then logged in to blast some fireballs at foes. The world of TERA is beautifully crafted with much attention to detail. Even the cities we saw had great detail and were laid out intelligently with properly placed vendors and many areas to socialize. With this great canvas, the TERA team wants to bring action to the MMO genre with a very fast paced playstyle.

The gameplay demo we saw focused on the game's combat, which bears more resemblance to console style action gameplay than your typical clickfest MMO. We watched as a dual-wielding Castonic Warrior ran around to attack monsters and fight a boss. The monster spawns we saw were set up in small monster groups with one large monster and a herd of smaller creatures to fight. The Warrior cut through them with jumps and rolls swinging and hacking away at them untilall  the foes fell.

TERA is played from the typical third person perspective found in most MMOGs, although ranged classes feature a targeting reticle, as well as the ability to cast from the first person perspective.The system allows players to use both mouse and key pad as well as console controller. The target system is not as clicky as traditional MMOs. It flows much faster, where you swing is where you hit and the target in the center of the screen allows you to focus attacks without having to click on everything. There is a small skill bar for players to use abilities in combat. There are skills like critical strike and resist critical attacks. However, skills like dodge or parry are covered by player movement. We also watched the Mystic class fight with spells and also drop potions on the ground which may be used through out combat. This was a great feature from a support perspective that players can grab potions throughout a fight.

The TERA team wants the game to be fifty percent MMO and fifty percent action. They plan to use the best parts of each set up to support each other. There are quests and instances like traditional MMOs which all have some form of solo play. There are instances that need groups to do, with support for up to five players per group. The game does have collision in it so players have to work together with tactics and strategies to fight bosses. As mentioned above, combat moves very fast and the character movement is quite fluid when fighting.

There is a large social aspect to the game where players not only can group up, but they can also form guilds. There is also a political system planned for the game, but the team could not talk about it much. Players will also be able to look for groups through the use of billboards in towns. There is only one faction in the game, but players will still have access to PvP content. They are working with the idea of PvP servers as well as battlegrounds, dueling, and world PvP content.

Overall, TERA looks very fast paced and being made by the Lineage II core team the world looks great. The action combat moves fast and gives players an upgrade from the normal point and click fighting we have become used too. We expect to have a lot more coverage on TERA as they move further into development and closer to beta. This is definitely a game to watch.


Garrett Fuller

Garrett Fuller / Garrett Fuller has been playing MMOs since 1997 and writing about them since 2005. He joined MMORPG.com has a volunteer writer and now handles Industry Relations for the website. He has been gaming since 1979 when his cousin showed him a copy of Dungeons and Dragons. When not spending time with his family, Garrett also Larps and plays Airsoft in his spare time.