The Exiled Realm Of Arborea (TERA) Beta Preview
By Tully Ackland (Kaxzane), OnRPG Journalist
So it’s been some weeks since the E3 expo finished and I’ve been contemplating which of the MMOs I saw there that I’m most looking forward to and I’ve come to the conclusion that its TERA. I’ll explain why I’m hyped by this title and try to figure out what race and career choices I will aim toward on its release date.
This is a process many of us go through for an online game: You start to imagine which role you see yourself in and how you will be the pinnacle of the server if you plan it all ahead. Of course you’re delusional, as it rarely becomes a reality. Once the launch date comes round you end up picking a different career because of friends or because there are rumors from the beta that “x class” is the most overpowered.
Regardless, that won’t stop me from getting overly worked up about a game that I have no hard information on yet.
So why should we look forward to TERA?
Fans of Action / Adventure games who want to step into the MMO world will find a home with “The First True Action MMO”: If you are a Player vs Player addict or a fan of meaningful PvE then TERA promises to satisfy you like no other RPG you’ve played before. Yes, this is a bold claim.
If you’re as vain as the majority of 21st century gamers, including myself, then you can rejoice as the game is built on the Unreal 3 Engine, which you can be assured will provide impressive visuals: But the important thing is the game-play, yes?
Well, Bluehole Studios have utilized the Engine beyond its graphical prowess by creating a dynamic battle system: Your view perspective is similar to third person shooters like Gears of War; there is no tab targeting so you’ll be aiming at your enemies manually; the position of your character and the timing of attacks; blocks; and dodges determine the outcome of each confrontation. As a result, combat is described as being more intuitive, exciting, and realistic.
It has also been mentioned that while you may play the game with a traditional mouse and keyboard setup it caters equally well to a controller. Those of you who have an Xbox 360 windows compatible controller will be able to take advantage here.
While this approach of combining action with an MMO isn’t entirely revolutionary, it is still up for debate if it has been executed in a satisfying way. If TERA can do right with its claims, then its PvP experience could provide far more immersion and entertainment than we typically see.
(Left – Right) Aman, Popori, Casanies, Humans, High Elves, Baraka
There will be six playable races are available at launch: Aman; Baraka; Casanies; High Elves; Humans and Popori – Yes you saw correctly, Popori are small and bear-like in appearance! The class options are Archer (RDPS), Berserker (MDPS), Lancer (Tank), Mystic (Support), Priest (Support), Slayer (MDPS), Sorcerer (RDPS) and Warrior (MDPS). With 3 Melee DPS choices available it sends the impression that Player vs Player interaction may primarily revolve around frantic melee combat. As the game is titled an Action MMO this is probably correct. There are no specific factions for race so you’ll be forging alliances to compete in the realm. Which means you and your friends will be able to make a choice of race and class freely.
As a long time PvP MMO veteran, the player-built alliance on alliance system instead of set racial factions will do wonders for the games lifespan. You typically see other Player vs Player MMO’s built around racial factions drop off the radar more quickly when population balance starts to take a turn for the worse; this will be less of a problem for the guys at Bluehole Studios as there will always be the possibility for new alliances to rise up without the grind of having to level with an underdog team.
While it’s widely known amongst my colleagues that I’m a huge fan of bears, the Popori almost look too cute even for me, with the screenshots shown so far I’ll be playing an Aman or Casanie. As for class, this is where my wild imagination comes in. I usually adopt the more agile melee fighters, so Warrior would be my primary choice. This will likely change and I’ll be sure to do a preview as soon as the opportunity arises. I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’re seeing some similarities in the artwork to Lineage 2, if so then you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Bluehole Studios is comprised of many of the developers that worked on that title.
They established themselves in 2007 and began working on TERA immediately as a sole task. A short time ago, Bluehole Interactive, their U.S based office opened its doors and took on employees from Mythic Entertainment and NcSoft, two studios both extremely familiar with MMO design focusing on Player vs Player elements. TERA will ship in North America and Europe in 2011, so there is a while to wait and lots more information to come flying toward us before then!