If you’re a longtime reader of Marooners’ Rock, you know that I’m not a fan of MMOs. If this is your first time reading Marooners’ Rock, hello. My name is Lindsey and I am anti-MMO. Now, I’m sure that, based on this current admission, you’re wondering why I am writing an article about an upcoming MMO. The answer is simple: TERA kicks ass.
Long before I saw the game at E3 I got hyped about it through Twitter. I had been following the Senior Community Manager, Evan Berman (otherwise known as @Scapes), and through some of our exchanges I became interested. It seemed as if TERA would be something different from the millions of WoW impersonators out there, and I’ve never been interested in WoW.
When I finally got my hands on the game at E3 all of my assumptions proved correct, and I found myself able to play the game like a seasoned MMO gamer. With WASD in one hand and mouse in the other, I was getting ready to go and kick some serious ass with my character. But that would have to wait as we were kindly told about the game first prior to unleashing total domination.
Unlike most MMOs out there, TERA really is in a class of its own. With a perfect balance between MMO and action/adventure, this game is more than just mashing keys and waiting for cooldowns. Player skill is important, especially when going up against bad ass monsters. But where the game really shines is through the intricate, and interactive, political system. Players are able to bring immense depth to the game by influencing the entire world via opening up shops, imprisoning other players, voting, buying votes, and much more.
If a player wishes to become a well-known name in the game and get into politics, there are two ways to accomplish that rise to power: the voting system or PvP in battles. By going through the vote, one needs the power of the people. This can be accomplished through the forums for TERA, chatting with other players, the actual website, and players can even get creative by campaigning over sites like YouTube, Twitter, and more. Obviously you’ll need a good committee of trusted friends backing you and helping you, but the possibilities really are endless. For those wanting to go through PvP and the use of brute force, you will have your guild and that is then your battle group. Skill, luck, strategy, and communication all come into play. This way is more forceful, and won’t garner you the love and support of the community, but sometimes it feels so good to be so bad.
In TERA there are multiple provinces, each with their own Vanarch (the most powerful person on the server), but why stop at only having one province! Through winning the hearts of the other players you can have one province, and then get your armor bloodied by taking another through PvP. It is also worth mentioning that since the political system is player driven, no two elections are the same. Once you’re in a position of power you can either be fair and balanced, or rule with an iron fist. You’ll have control over the economy like raising taxes, opening up shops, PK, imprisonment, and even getting people into town to help boost commerce and trade. You’ll also have glorious fame. When somebody enters your province the player will know who you are, and you and your guild will have the best mounts in the game.
In the hands-on demo I was shown, there were two main characters showing just how differently people can play the game. One character was named Landon. He was an elite healer who would go on quests, help in dungeons, and did a lot of good for his people and province. Landon had the support of his people, wasn’t a dirty politician, and in Arcadia he lowered taxes, build specialty shops, and put those who belonged in jail behind bars. On the other side of the coin was Xavier, someone who liked being the best and having the best. Xavier rose to power by going through PvP. He was in charge of the Ostgrath province, had no qualms with raising taxes, and was a bit of a tyrant. Even though Xavier was making a ton of money due to his way of ruling he wasn’t receiving the support of the people, a key factor for staying in office. One important thing to remember is that, in order to stay in power, you need the favor and support of your people. The people choose who the hero is, not the game. With a 30 day cycle for elections a lot can change from the time you’re handed the keys to the province.
In TERA there are 18 Vanarch’s total, 6 per continent and there is 1 person above that in control of each continent. Every member in your guild receives benefits, and if the guild leader is nice they can even distribute between their people. With your guild, when you reach level 40-50 there are battlegrounds you can duke it out in. There are already 5v5 and 10v10 arenas, with more to come. There are even death-matches and capturing territory matches, but the Commander of the battlefield receives no special abilities to help keep things fair.
One huge plus for me about TERA is that it features Xbox 360 controller support. Even though I didn’t get to test it out that day, just the fact that it even features it is incredible and makes me have to get the game when it is eventually released. There are also 7 different races to choose from, like human, high elf, and Barakas, a gender neutral race. Aside from the Barakas you are able to customize which gender you want your character to be along with a choice between 8 different classes. There are 4 melee classes and 4 ranged, like warrior, slayer, berserker, priest, mystic, and more. Each class is self contained and you will be able to do some specialization.
I played what I will dub a Mage, and the game is very easy to pick up. The movements were simple, the hotkeys were easy to figure out, and everything was really pretty. There wasn’t a lot of guesswork in TERA like with other PC games, and being able to ride around with my party throughout the land wasn’t confusing. Switching to moving on foot or mount was done by the push of a button, selecting my attack power was done by the push of a button, and the combat was really interactive. I didn’t feel like I was just standing there entering in commands and waiting for the game to register it all. I actually felt like I was participating with everybody else, engaged in a real-time battle with controls akin to those found on console action/adventure titles. Also, it didn’t hurt that I got to fight a bad ass dragon.
Unfortunately my time with the game was brief, since I couldn’t have an all-day appointment (how dare they!) but what I did get to play made me want more, and it made me so interested in the game that I find myself talking about it to random people and suggesting it. Other than a handful of other games coming out this year, and early 2012, TERA is one that is in the forefront of my mind and will probably continue to stay there. With the prospects of updated content, free expansions, and other fun things, it seems like the guys and gals at En Masse Entertainment really know what their audience wants and are more than happy to give it to them.
As more information about TERA is released in the coming months I know I’ll definitely be checking it out and keeping my fingers crossed for a review opportunity because I am seriously all over that.