We Just Played TERA (at E3 2010)

We zap the living daylights out of some giant monsters in this massively multiplayer action role-playing game at E3 2010.

Do you wish you could play Bluehole Studio's exciting and unusual hybrid of traditional massively multiplayer game and third-person hack-and-slash action game in a dark room? Sure, we've all been there. But in another, more accurate way, GameSpot has been there, at E3 2010, to play this fast-paced action role-playing game as part of a monster-hunting adventuring party.

If you're unfamiliar with TERA, the game is being developed by Asia-based Bluehole Studio with the intention of appealing to both Eastern and Western players who love playing in high-fantasy settings, mashing buttons to hack monsters to pieces, and gaining experience levels. The session we played took place on the colorful, grassy foothills of a large in-game landmass known as Mistmoar Island (yes, that's the correct spelling). Apparently, this particular excursion was a bounty mission to get rid of the evil Captain Marduk, a no-good monster boss who has brought his gang of misshapen critters to the island to capture the local peasantry and sell them into slavery. The island itself was brightly lit by sun and covered in lush grasslands, but TERA will apparently have more than 80 different hunting environments, including deserts, jungles, and polar regions.

To participate in this mission, we were given our choice of playing as one of four different characters in a five-character party: the berserker, the game's heavy-duty tank class that can soak up frontline damage; the warrior, a speed-based class that focuses on hit-and-run melee damage; the slayer, a damage-per-second class that wears light armor and must also dodge to avoid incoming attacks; and the sorcerer, a spellcasting class with little to no armor and no dodging ability that relies on dealing massive damage from a distance. (The five-character party also came with a healer character played by one of the studio's staff.) Instinctively, we chose the finger-wiggling sorcerer class simply because we're used to melee classes not being all that interesting in online games, but we later realized after watching the game in motion that the game's real-time, action-based combat and dodging will probably make even the plain old fighter class (or berserker, in this case) a lot more exciting to play.

In any case, before even joining our party, we noticed that our level-33 female sorcerer, of the elflike castanic race, was equipped with a mystical floating disc that orbited her wrist, as well as a lovely green evening gown and immaculately paired, high-heeled boots. You can tell just by looking at TERA that the game was developed in South Korea because of the art style and the insane amount of detail on each character model--particularly the attention made to each character's stylish apparel. Unfortunately, we weren't given much time to do a full fashion audit because the rest of our group had already started running into the hunting area to begin our mission.

On landing on the island from a boat, our group started inland, encountering our first foe, a gigantic crab monster with enormous front pincers. While the melee characters immediately engaged in combat, we hung back as far as possible and fired off as many damaging spells as we could. But this wasn't as simple as targeting our enemy and jamming on the hotkey because TERA is an action-based game that requires you to not only be within casting range, but also to aim properly and line up your shot to strike home with an offensive magic spell. Having played finger-wiggler characters before (and having a healthy respect for "aggro"--the attention of rampaging monsters that can be captured by a wizard who zapped too hard, too fast), we played it safe, generally staying just barely within spell range while pumping out as many spells as possible. We're told that part of TERA's aggro management will involve character facing. If you're a ranged damage character attacking a monster, it's in your best interest to not attack from the front because you'll be more likely to draw the beast's ire than if you had attacked from a flank or from the rear. Though we eventually got the hang of it, doing battle with a sorcerer still wasn't as easy as we thought it would be because spells require you to stand perfectly still to cast them.

While our character had five or six spells handy, including a few point-blank damage spells, we stuck with the three longest range abilities--a slow-brewing explosion that damages all enemies within a clearly defined black circle on the ground; a slow, floating, pulsating globe of electricity that can be charged up to three levels of power before launched; and an extremely fast, low-damage spell that launches bolts of fire. All spells cost a certain amount of spell power, and with the exception of the fire spell (which could be cast more or less endlessly), they all had cooldown timers to prevent us from abusing them. Even so, we found ourselves drained of spellpower frequently, but our character also had a recovery ability, which, when triggered after a brief casting time (which again, required us to stand still), greatly accelerates the rate at which we recovered our spent spell power.

The crab monster was surprisingly tough and had at least one "tell" for a special attack--briefly raising both of its claws high in the air before slamming them downward, inflicting extra damage and potentially knocking down any characters in the vicinity. Fortunately, the rest of our party consisted of TERA staff members who skillfully pummeled the beast, occasionally using a knockdown attack to briefly stun it while we alternated between recovering our spell power and blasting the brute back to the Stone Age.

After dispatching the giant crab, we wandered further inland and began finding some of Marduk's thug buddies belonging to his gang of "Red Lash" slavers--misshapen humanoids and scaly-skinned centaurs dual-wielding wicked-looking scimitars. These weren't as tough, considering they weren't considered to be "party mobs"--monsters that are intended to be fought by groups of players. But both the giant crab and the good captain are considered party mobs, and when we located Marduk (an even bigger, uglier scaly-skinned centaur with even bigger scimitars), we found out why.

This grueling battle required our party members to lay into the beast with as much damage as possible while watching for visual cues of its numerous special attacks, including a crushing blow that would stun its targets. There were several cases where we aroused the wrath of the beast (and heroically ran around in terrified circles until our tanks managed to peel it off of us). In one case, everyone other than ourselves and the healer died, such that we had to draw him away while the healer hastily cast in-combat resurrection spells to revive our fallen comrades. After casting many damaging spells, doing a lot of cowardly running away, and shouting on the part of our team members (who, to their credit, were trying very hard to make sure we didn't die), we finally brought the critter down, bringing our action-packed hands-on session to an end.

You might not think that a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that requires actual reflexes and good aim would work quite this well, but TERA seems like it might just make this innovative concept work. The game is scheduled to launch next year for the PC and will have a beta test sometime before then.

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31 comments
Eko777
Eko777

OMG people! read through your comments and i'd like to CLARIFY this to you. TERA is being produced by BLUEHOLE and has NOTHING to do with NCSOFT. The only link between the two companies is TWO of the producers from the LINEAGE 3 project moved over to BLUEHOLE after some disagreement about some aspects of the PROPOSED LINEAGE 3. so NO ncsfot has NOT had their paws on this project. It is NOTHING like aion or lineage or wow. i wish people would research before they "informed" the community.

zackssss
zackssss

SDScarface TERA will have seperate servers for the pve minded and the pvp minded.free open world pvp - pk except towns something similar like L2

Azaru32
Azaru32

its already in my list

biokrysty
biokrysty

I really like this game , waiting to come out

spurkle
spurkle

The music reminds me of crysis :D Let's wait and see.

pact4lyfe
pact4lyfe

TERA has NO online fee it was announced that it is now a free to play mmo!!

SDSkarface
SDSkarface

if the PVP is anything like lineage 2 this game is gonna rock.. if its anything like faction based pvp and you cant attack anyone at anytime regardless of level differences it will fail, open pvp and a harsh death penalty upon dying to either a mob or another player and count me in!

DigitalZ
DigitalZ

Its has monthly fee like any other MMO, fail as usual.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

I've yet to see a Korean MMO that doesn't evolve into a grindfest with ridiculously lame quests. I don't care how good the game looks or what useless gimmicks it has like Aion's wings feature, I just want to play an MMO that has actual progression and not tediously drawn out quests. What I'd like to see is an MMO that ditches the leveling scheme altogether in place of stat leveling with every single thing you do whether it's a success or failure. Morrowind had something like that. It's realistic.

AdamWriter
AdamWriter

@sethandjeremy It takes money to make great games. Don't be so greedy =P

youngblood97
youngblood97

Sorry they lost me at 0:46 when I saw a Panda Bear toon. No thanks. I'll stick to DAOC and continue to wait for something better :(

Judas923
Judas923

Another grindfest from asian producers , another US and European fail just like Aion.

Nc7
Nc7

Yeah, nice music...

bygeorge
bygeorge

It is confirmed that there will be a monthly fee. Exact pricing is still TBD

Roland123_basic
Roland123_basic

this game is being made by the original Lineage 2 team, and the original World of Warcraft team..... so the pedigree is quite amazing. i have high hopes.

SethandJeremy
SethandJeremy

If theres no monthly fee. You can count me in.

Seifer24
Seifer24

if its like aion with simple skills and without a lot of options of skill customization then i ll pass. In this life everyone wants to feel different.From real to game life. Life gives u the oportunity to differ but games specially those from nc soft doesnt feel u are different.(and this game is from a group of nc soft) For example if my skill set is same as every other sorcerer and there are no 3 to 6 variations of sorcerer then good buy tera nice try. But if the gameplay and the variations are cool then u are very welcome. Hope it's good cause we've eaten a lot of **** these years without some special mmo release.

desauce
desauce

Looks a lot like Aion mixed with WoW to me. @shaedar I thought Hellgate: London was awesome too.

Pete5506
Pete5506

I think the game looks great, I hope this game dose well

shaedar
shaedar

MMORPG with detailed character models, real time action and projectile aiming? Sounds to me like Hellgate: London, one of my favorite games. Let's hope this one has better luck...

mf1986
mf1986

I hope their combat work, cuz i really didnt like Conan's combat and that was meant to be the next step from WoW

AzatiS
AzatiS

@TruthopinionSpk What kind of logic is this?... Realy i canty understand whats your point or what your trying to prove here... Its just a game dont take it so serious. Nor games or gamers that is...

AzatiS
AzatiS

Ill play this over SW-TOR anytime.... Ive seen many videos already. Graphics seems amazing , fights are intensive and seemed polished , characters look exciting enough. Ill try it for sure.

wexorian
wexorian

there is always place for good MMO,

TruthOpinionSpk
TruthOpinionSpk

True, it looks better than most MMOs, but it's still an MMO, which I understand people play more for the social interaction than for the game itself. But those same people also buy cat ears and nude outfits for their female avatars ( assuming they are male players) and position the camera for an upskirt every now and then. Wake me up when our consciousness can enter the MMO's digital world.

Goldrock
Goldrock

Its gonna be one true sleeper hit thats for sure there isnt that much hype at all so far.

Xizle
Xizle

I cant wait for this game!! Not getting much coverage though. Suprised it hasnt been on gamespots front page

Shiroukai
Shiroukai

This will be the one of the Best MMOs coming out next year, together with SW:TOR and GW2. Can't wait to know more about the PvP and Political system.