PAX Day 1: TERA Online HQ Visit
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-In-Chief
For those that have followed me to any degree since I took up position at OnRPG, you will know I’m a major TERA fan boy. I defend the game against haters on the forums regularly and claim it’s the next coming megahit in the MMO world. So of course my day would be incomplete without a visit to the EnMasse Studios’ Headquarters in downtown Seattle, Washington.
After arriving in our chartered town car (because EnMasse Studios is treats their fan boys with class) we immediately went to work setting up our equipment and chatting with many members of the PR team. The studios is on the 25th floor of a massive building overlooking the Washington bay with window views for just about the entire company. TERA posters and monitors displaying TERA Action Combat were covering the walls everywhere. Every employee that walked by had a look about them that shows this company is easy going but extremely dedicated to their product.
I had a follow up interview with Chris Hager where we discussed various character customization options and how they interrelate to the various crafting jobs in the game. He revealed that you will be able to choose weapon/armor skins when crafting items to ensure that you are stuck with a certain look just because you are crafting lvl 80 gear sets! Also he mentioned that there will be dye crafting professions who are focused on mixing and creating the best colors available for TERA’s demanding fashionistas.
On a more serious note, Chris teased us with the news that TERA is planning to create server versus server warfare in TERA. Although he did not go into great detail, his hints made it sound as if he wasn’t talking about instances either. He mentioned players going through portals and invading the lands of another server, forcing said server to take up arms and unite with friends and foes alike to drive the intruders out of their server and maybe even strike back against them by invading their new enemy’s server. Truly TERA plans to redefine what epic is.
When I consulted him on the PvP testing going on in alpha he said that they are set on having PvE and PvP servers, but still have much testing to do in terms of the PK timer, rewards, punishments, and overall combat balance. “Everything is on the table,” Chris laughed as he concluding his speech on alpha testing.
After the interview Spunkify and I joined up with 2 other media outlets to engage in a battle to protect the High Elf capital from an Argon invasion. This meant infiltrating the treacherous lair of a dark and powerful Argon Necromancer. Before the raid began we were introduced to a little lore on the Argons.
It seems the Argons are a biological race self enhanced with both intensely powerful technology and equally devastating magical energy. They are able to use their technology to bring back fallen heroes of their enemies as stronger soldiers serving the Argon empire. This evil empire wants nothing more than to turn the Valkyon Federation against themselves and wipe all life from the world of Arborea.
As we took our places, I finally got to have my hands on experience as a Lancer, TERA’s main spear and board wielding tank. At E3 I was denied this opportunity as Chris Hager filled the spot because the content was viewed as too difficult for a novice to successful handle tanking. However when Chris’ back was turned I jumped onto his PC and was on my way leading Spunkify (playing Bob the Warrior) and our merry band of journalists (archer, mage, and priest) to annihilate the Necromaner’s lair within the Chapel of Pain.
I quickly found myself clinging to life against the first wave of monsters waiting inside the front gates of the lair. Tanking in this game takes tremendous skill and my noob butt nearly got the party wiped due to my lack of agro management and proper use of stuns and shield defense. Thankfully there were a few waves of mobs to battle through, allowing me to get my skills and reactions up to par before the first major boss encounter.
The boss looked like a giant armored knight, similar to myself, but with 20x the HP and attack power that could easily 3 shot some of my party members. After being put in his place, the boss became enraged and began dodging our attacks and laying trails of poison that ate through our armor and HP with little delay. Thanks to my Lancer’s shield bash and chain bind skills we were able to disable him from this rampage and continue on our quest to destroy the real boss. Though his Chargin Ma Lazah Hyper Beam attack is something I won’t soon forget.
Before long we were face to face with what I can only describe as a metallic armored dog dragon. This boss’ agility was through the roof and his mix of intense physical damage combos and ranged lightning AOE attacks kept us guessing. Just when we got into a rhythm, he began lunging around the arena hunting down and pouncing on my weaker teammates. Tons of new mobs began to rise out of the ground to defend their overlord and between the legions of baddies and AOE lightning effects, catching up to regain agro of the boss became a herculean attack.
At the climax of the battle our priest ran into mana issues and I missed a clutch block that cost me my life. Our priest rushed to my aid to revive me but was knocked dizzy by the boss before he could. All hope seemed lost until Bob the Warrior went into berserk mode and then led the boss on a wild chase around the room while I was revived. After using my second wind skill to greatly replenish my health, I jumped back into action. Our team barely survived the ordeal and left the room in a daze, awed at the amazing game we had just experienced and demanding alpha access from Chris Hager.