TERA: The Life of an Outlaw
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Image credit to Ajka Bodika. Check out her Deviant Art Page here
Now that I’ve introduced the types of personalities players may come across in TERA, it’s time to discuss what it’s like living as an outlaw in an open world PvP server. I tend to choose the route of the Challenger these days as I’ve grown a little bored of standard Pking, so I go about gaining red hours through oddball ways similar to a cat playing with their prey. This of course builds up a reputation over time that makes a select group of players want to hunt you down… which is exactly what a challenger hopes for.
The first step to becoming an outlaw can be difficult for some members of the community. My girlfriend for instance had a surprisingly difficult time killing her first unsuspecting target due to her real world morality kicking in, making her feel bad about her action. It’s fascinating to see how closely people relate real world morality to in-game behavior and one of the reasons why I love going red named to see how people react to my existence in-game.
Anyway let’s break down the process of becoming an outlaw, the mental process involved with being an outlaw, and the process of building a legacy for your crew at end-game. The first step is choosing a target that is far weaker than you and putting them down in rapid succession before any nosy player can interfere in your work.
For someone new to being an outlaw, such as my girlfriend, this can be a difficult engagement for you to swallow. In our society actions like this is strongly punished, and now you find yourself going against everything you have probably been raised to believe to gain your red hours. As such my first time I found the motivation to pk a player by being an emotionless hitman for a multi-game faction known as RageQuit. It was expected of me to go about killing players as a griefer to fit in so through peer pressure I found the courage to overcome my initial inhibitions.
Once you overcome this initial hesitation it becomes much easier to go about on patrols Pking players as they go about their questing. Often when starting out you will be a loaner with no back-up so it’s wise to focus on attacking other loaners from lesser factions who are less likely to call back-up to take you on. Another wise tactic is to simultaneously mine nodes such as plants and minerals so that you are building up your character’s skills while pking. Offering professions in addition to PvP skill will make you highly desirable by major PvP factions if you are seeking to rise in the ranks on your server.
Of course this is the point where you have become accustomed to the ways of a griefer and need to decide what kind of a reputation you want to build on the server. Will you be a Hitman? A Troll? Your own unique brand of chaos bringer? Let’s go over the process of how to build a reputation as a major PvP enthusiast in TERA.
Assuming you’ve stuck with being a dedicated griefer this long, you will now be past level 20 and looking for recognition for your hard work. Depending on the route you take, you’ll need to go about Pking players in a specific style. In a game as large as TERA, there will likely be dedicated guilds for each type of player so the key is to set yourself up as an ideal candidate for the faction you wish to join.
As a hitman this is easily done by discovering who the primary enemies of a set faction are and adding their members to your personal KOS list. If you can provide screenshots proving that you are more than capable of taking their members out, you become far more likely to be accepted by the picky factions.
As a troll, it is advisable to research the overarching story being told by the playerbase and discover where tensions are rising between factions. You can then take a book from the Joker and seek to make the world burn by sneaking into one of these factions and secretly breaking the rules to initiate conflict between the two factions. If you prefer a more personal touch, you can choose a player who tends to overreact to PK and find what really goads them into action to create a true rival (aka The Grudge). Choosing someone of high standing on the server is best for this as they will likely complain about you to their fellow players, raising your infamy in the process.
As a challenger like me you will have to discover what special powers your class possesses and theorize ways to use that to screw with your foes in order to make griefing into a work of art. For instance as a Lancer you might choose to interrupt a target’s evasive skills to make them take massive damage from a monster they are fighting. Or along the same line of thought use your CC to force them to take damage from an ally’s slow hard to land charge attack, resulting in your prey feeling helpless as a major damage skill lands on them. You should also keep tabs on the opponents you face that put up a particularly difficult fight as they will make great rivals to hone your skills further as you approach end-game. Convincing one of your more cordial rivals to duel you on a regular basis is highly advised as you can discuss tactics afterwords and both improve your skills together.
As a roleplayer you will need to figure out your tale and what you are trying to achieve in the game. Build a personality through each kill, including an signature act that differentiates you from the standard run of the mill griefer. Acts such as using a particular emote, dropping a certain item on top of their corpse, or finishing with a certain skill seldom used in PvP are all ideal ways to leave a lasting memory on your prey so that they tell your tale to others. After all what is a roleplayer if the bards don’t sing your story long after it has passed?
If you choose the route of the White Knight, believe me you are going to need allies. Griefers tend to be very organized when overcoming opposition and without organization of your own you are just going to be griefed into a state where you can’t progress efficiently with your character. Finding a strong organized hitman with end-game plans that you believe in is the best way to go. If said faction has an established PK faction as an enemy, all the better. Just focus on gaining an advantage over Pkers in terms of level or gear so you can back your words in actual combat.
So you’ve been playing TERA for a few months now and are level 50+ with a strong social network and a rising reputation among your peers? Well played. It’s now time to strive to attain legendary status on your server. To leave a mark that will stand the test of time. Let’s go about building a legacy. It’s time to claim a territory and bend the world of TERA to your ideals!
The first step to this you should have already gained in mid-game.. unless you’re a slacker. I have no patience for slacker griefers so don’t bother reading on beyond this point if you aren’t interested in taking on the world. Anyway the first step is acquiring a faction with the power to change the face of your server. This of course means at the core you have a guild leader with a plan to take over a territory with a strong political campaign, or an organized battleground group (come summer time) that can take over a territory by force.
How does a faction change the face of a server? The first step in TERA is to hone your equipment until your faction as a whole is considered a factor at end-game. Thankfully unlike most MMOs released these days, you can do so in TERA without having to cash shop one bit. The refinement system is almost completely removed from the dreaded refining RNG system that controls so many games so if you put in the time and dedication, you should be able to access some competitive end-game gear. Next you need to PvP… a lot. You need to learn every classes’ strengths and weaknesses and how you fit into the spectrum of both 1 on 1 combat as well as group combat. Is your class ineffective at soloing another class? Learn to immediately flee when facing a renowned member of said class. Learn to crush lesser members of said class to further build your reputation as a master of your own class.
If you follow a PvP enthusiast route that does not follow a set code of conduct, then learn to use safe zones to your advantage when your opponents outnumber you to the point that victory is impossible. Keeping a constant supply of buff pots, charms, camp fires, and bandages is also vital to ensure you can fight multiple battles in rapid succession. Nothing drives PK hunters, especially The Grudge, more crazy than losing a battle due to not being as prepared as their foe, only to see their foe escape to the safezone once they have organized a large enough group to take you down.
Next you are going to need to acquire a crew. An outlaw without a crew is just a cocky loud mouth when it comes to end-game PvP. Just like the famous cowboys in the Wild West, you can’t watch your back 24/7 and will need someone to cover for you from time to time when real PvP breaks out. With a trusted crew, not to be confused with a faction, you will be able to create your legacy. However a crew requires much more than just skilled PvPers to become notorious.
The Roles of a Crew
A crew requires a strong promotional team to make your group stand out among the many posers likely to arise on a server. A cocky group that is skilled at the game won’t get you anywhere without the right advertising for what you stand for. In a game like TERA that has a political system, this becomes even more important as a large following of fans can grant you both power over political policies as well as the tax income that comes along with said position. And believe me you are going to need that tax income to stay competitive as you will be spending far more of your free time fighting fellow players than you will running dungeons and grinding BAMs if you truly want to be known.
The first and most important role of your crew to fill is a spokesman. I suggest having two that live in separate time zones for more consistent coverage though. These leaders of the crew will represent your reputation through means such as area chat, forum posts, and other popular fan sites that may come to be as TERA grows. Once again something that makes TERA superior to rival titles is that you won’t need to spend real money in order to speak freely on the world chat system, so any player will be able to represent their crew no matter what their monetary situation is. Of course this also means more competition to make a name for yourself so be careful who you pick to represent your crew.
Next it’s common knowledge these days that everyone who is anyone is on Youtube. You absolutely must have a video editor in your crew who can document your activities and prove your exploits to players that aren’t present to witness it. Your enemies will almost never admit to defeat if you have no proof of your deeds and nothing shuts up the ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ crowd quite like a well edited video documentation of it. After all if you’re an outlaw a large majority of your PvP will occur outside the official sanctions of guild war declarations.
The next key group to add into your crew is the craftsmen. Whether it be armor, weapons, or potions, your crew is going to need dedication to stay well stocked and well equipped into end-game to be competitive. If you don’t see yourself as a great spokesman or video editor, I would suggest learning a craft from the early stages onward to bring value to a potential crew in end-game.
Another valuable role that may be provided from an outside member of your crew, but is much more comforting to have within your crew, is a VoiP server host. In an action title like TERA your hands are going to be very busy working the controls so typing out orders in the midst of combat is completely out of the question. If your vent, mumble, or teamspeak server suddenly disappears, you will be at an insurmountable disadvantage versus your foes, and that is not an option.
The final role of the crew is the juggernaut. This role is nice to have filled by either your spokesman or video editor, but it isn’t required. Juggernauts are usually the first one in, last one out in any PvP battle and must be very active players who are willing to drop whatever they are doing to rush to defend the name of your crew and faction. They tend to be either tanky classes or squishies that are incredibly skilled at surviving to be one of the last members of your crew standing in a losing fight. You will rely on your juggernaut to call targets and tactics on VoiP chat, organize fighters prior to massive PvP wars, and build a consistent reputation that strikes fear into your foes when they see him/her approaching a fight. In most titles this role is best filled by a massive cash shopper, but in TERA the role of juggernaut should be entirely skill/activity based so it is much more attainable by anyone who loves their character enough.
Alas I’ve gone on too long and there are limits to how far book-smarts can get you in a PvP server. Much of this must be learned through first hand experience and now that character wipes have ended, it is time for your journey to begin. Remember to keep your friends close and your enemies duly noted on radar and never engage in combat without a clear plan for victory. TERA is attracting some of the most veteran and hardened PvPers the MMORPG genre has ever seen so don’t expect making a name for yourself to be a cake walk. Many will fail as they try to walk this path so I wish you the best and applaud your decision to go down the road less traveled. Farewell for now. I hope you visit the Valley of the Titans server so that we may match sword to spear someday. Just remember that if you farm my mat route, your head will roll!