The Brawler - She Ain't No Angel
It only takes one viewing of the short video preview of the next playable class coming to TERA next month to hear her unequivocally state that she "ain't no angel". She is many things but she is most notably the Brawler, the up-in-your-face, no-holds barred star of the Knockout update headed into TERA on December 8th.
During a recent preview event with members of the En Masse Entertainment TERA team, I had a chance to try out the Brawler for myself. After all, it is one thing to see a video and a whole different thing to take a new character class out for a spin. The one thing I can tell you with assurance is that all the tanks I've loved in WoW, in Rift, in Guild Wars 2, even in Diablo 3 are forever spoiled by the sheer joy I got in a relatively short period of time playing the Brawler. Combining both incredible threat generation to make her a formidable tank with an impressive amount of DPS, she sets a new standard for hybrid classes that can fulfill dual roles with ease. Let's also not forget that she is a blast of fun to play.
Now before going any further, I want to take on the idea that people have that a gender-locked class is a bad thing. I get it since I pretty much thought the same thing going into my preview. A few things, however made me rethink my position and I came out with a better understanding as to why she is gender locked and that it didn't matter to me one bit after playing the character in one of Knockout's new dungeons.
In fact, I asked point blank why the Brawler is a gender locked character. It comes down to resource management. It takes time and talent to make new classes in a timely fashion that can come in both male and female versions. Animations have to be tailored for different genders and races that would take more time to deliver to an ever-increasingly hungry audience that wants new experiences, well, now.
Knowing from the onset that the Brawler would be a gender-locked class, the team went to great lengths to give her a back story. Her origin story is important.
"She is inspired by a badass female mentality." Patrick told me when I mentioned Ronda Rousey. "We leaned hard on the race and gender lock to develop a specific character. Her origin, Marda's story, is the beginning. Players take up her story when they begin to play as a Brawler."
Players will be able to customize the Brawler as well by giving her an individualized look with hair, skin, facial features, etc. so while all Brawlers will be human females, all will look different from the others.
Besides, once she's in the game and displaying her awesome abilities and skills, all else will fade to the background. She's got some of the flashiest melee skills I've ever seen. No expense in the "flair" department has been spared and this one packs a big wallop. She can string these abilities together into some fantastic combos that, if timed correctly, can keep enemies stunned, interrupted, knocked into the air, or just plain hurt.
Marda the Brawler is a great character, one that many players are looking forward to playing. She brings a new standard to tanking that is sure to have a significant impact on the game given her unique hybrid nature.
Do yourself a favor and try out the Brawler when the Knockout update is delivered in December. You won't be sorry!
Patrick Sun Speaks About the Knockout Update
MMORPG: We are excited for the newest update Knockout. Can you give us an overall picture on what the content will include?
Patrick Sun: The biggest piece of Knockout is definitely the new brawler class, which is our exciting new mitigation tank that uses massive powerfists to knock enemies around the battlefield. In addition, Knockout introduces two new sets of Top Tier gear—the Tier 8 Dreadnaught set and the Tier 9 Starfall set. The cool thing about this new gear is that it has two sets of stats, so players can use it for both PvE and PvP.
We’ve also streamlined the gear progression through the two newest dungeons—Kalivan’s Dreadnaught and Forsaken Island. Players can build Tier 7 and Tier 8 gear by playing through the challenge and normal versions of Kalivan’s Dreadnaught, and then find materials for tier 9 gear, as well as the highest-level jewelry, in Kalivan’s hard mode and Forsaken Island.
MMORPG: The Brawler is a great new class coming to the game. What was the design philosophy when building the class?
PS: The Brawler is the second new character class we’ve released this year, and like the gunner, the brawler was created to make the most out of TERA’s action combat. Players must punch and counter and chain skills together to pummel enemies into dust. The devs at Bluehole have told us they were looking to create a streetfighter feel with the brawler and then pair that with a tough-as-nails female character, much like catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises or Black Widow in The Avengers. We feel they succeeded completely.
What’s fun about the class is that, although she is a tank, the brawler actually deals a lot of damage. In fact, after initial taunts, she maintains aggro strictly through piling damage on top of damage. This is where the combos become critical. The brawler chains hits together to make her Counter skill more effective. And she has a ton of skills that combine to keep opponents off-balance—either by knocking them down or, more often, knocking them up into the air—all while dealing tons of damage.
MMORPG: Teamwork and taking down big monsters is a critical aspect of TERA, how does the Brawler fit into this dynamic?
PS: As a tank, the brawler’s primary duty will still be to maintain aggro. However she does this by inflicting damage, which will take some pressure off the DPS classes on tougher bosses. This extra tank dps also allows other classes to be more creative both in party makeup as well as skill selection.
In addition, even though the brawler doesn’t have a shield like the lancer, her Counter skill actively blocks attacks. The brawler is a mitigation tank, just like the lancer, so should be easier to heal than say a warrior or berserker.
MMORPG: How will players who choose the Brawler be able to join their friends in adventures quickly?
PS: Players who create a level 1 brawler will benefit from the new Stepstone Isle starter experience, which only takes about 30 minutes to play through and gets players to level 10. Most players reach level 20 in TERA within a couple hours now and level 60 is attainable within a week. We also plan to have double XP events to help expedite leveling. Plus Elite players receive daily boosts for XP, gold, and reputation, which comes in handy when gearing up.
MMORPG: Can you give us some insight on the two new dungeons coming to the update? It seems like pirates play a big part.
PS: Pirates are definitely a big part of Kalivan’s Dreadnaught. This massive pirate ship has attacked a research vessel off the coast of Cuttthroat Harbor. Players must repel the boarding party and protect the research vessel, before making their way to the deck of the Dreadnaught and facing Kalivan, the huge Naga pirate captain.
The second dungeon, Forsaken Island, is more about deals with demons and hordes of undead than pirates. This tropical isle is haunted by undead villagers who were cursed to wander their village forever by their former ruler after they sentenced him to death for making a deal with a demon. It’s not a cheery place at all.
The bosses in both Knockout dungeons hit harder than any our players have ever faced. Plus players will have to master new mechanics never before seen in TERA. These fights will definitely challenge even the best-geared and highest-skilled groups.
MMORPG: What other rewards will players get when questing through this new content? How does it help boost their potential?
PS: The two new dungeons in the Knockout release will be the primary method players have for obtaining the new Tier 8 and Tier 9 gear sets, as well as the latest pieces of high-end jewelry. We’ve streamlined the end game gear progression into these two dungeons to make it easier for players to build their sets.
Players will find Tier 7 (Schisma) weapons and armor in Kalivan’s Challenge, which then prepares them for Kalivan’s Dreadnaught normal mode where they will find Tier 8 (Dreadnaught) weapons and armor. The materials to craft Tier 9 (Starfall) weapons and armor will drop in Kalivan’s Dreadnaught hard mode and Forsaken Island, as will the highest-level earrings and brooches. Players can obtain the recipes for the Starfall gear by completing the “Ancient Masters” quest.
MMORPG: TERA has had a successful run, what are your plans going into the new year?
PS: Bluehole continues to invest heavily in TERA. We recently met with them to look at next year’s roadmap and there are quite a number of exciting things being discussed that we can’t reveal yet. We’ll be heading back over there to meet with the TERA team in January to go into more detail, and we should have more info to share after that meeting.
Closer to home, En Masse is looking to grow our Twitch community and host some brand new stream shows, such as a community chat show and live streams of in-game events. We’re also looking to expand some of our community programs, such as the Player Council and fan site support. And, of course, we’re making plans for new contests, giveaways, and more.