This past weekend at PAX East I had the honor of playing TERA, a new MMO from En Masse Entertainment and Bluehole Studio, which is aiming to redefine the genre. In a typical MMO, players grind out quests and dungeons to get their characters to the level cap, while using a combination of auto attack skills and the abilities they pick to use manually. TERA will be turning this gaming genre into an action game, too. When faced with enemies players will interact with them by blocking and moving out of the way of attacks.
You might be saying that needing to move in MMOs is nothing new, but let me explain a little more. In MMOs I have played (such as World of Warcraft and Aion) you really only have to move when a bosses attack ends up putting something on the ground that will hurt you, such as lava. In TERA you sometimes will have to jump or roll out of the way because the boss will attack you directly; you have to be quick on your feet. When a boss gives a clue that it might do something – like stomp you – you either better run out of the blast area or block the attack if you have the means to do so (if, for example, you’re the Lancer class).
Players need to stay on their toes and pay attention to what they are doing. As well as movement, players must also pay attention to the skill combos they use, because they make a big difference. It’s no longer as simple as auto attacking bosses and being able to down them. Bosses won’t just stand there while you pound on them; they move around just as a player would, which adds yet another layer of strategy to the game.
There are seven different races which are all united against the Argons that are corrupting their world and destroying all organic life. There are also eight classes to pick from: Lancer, Slayer, Sorcerer, Warrior, Priest, Archer, Berserker, and Mystic. So we still see the classic MMO roles of the tank, melee damage, ranged damage, and the always important healer.
The graphics are absolutely great, everything is crystal clear and equally as sharp. Another great feature to TERA is that players can use a controller, or both a controller and keyboard, to play. Personally, I don’t think a controller would be very easy to use for an MMO. However this could help pull in gamers who usually stick to console systems.
Before going to play the demo of TERA I was just thinking, “yeah, it might be a cool game.” Now I’m thinking that I’m most likely going to be picking up this game on May 1st. There is just so much more to this game than a typical MMO. No more auto attacking where you go get a snack or fall asleep as you push one button repeatedly. It’s a brave new action-oriented world.