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E3 2010: Tera (Impressions)

Posted by: Chuck at 6/16/2010 9:14 AM
There’s an old saying that if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it’s a duck which would mean that En Masse’s new MMO Tera is yet another high fantasy MMO set the be crushed underneath the wheels of the World of Warcraft juggernaut. However the old saying doesn’t ask if it fights like a duck because that’s there Tera differentiates itself from the other MMO’s on the market. Before we dive into this let’s look at the back history of the game.

Before we get to the combat let’s get a little backstory on the game. Tera is set in a new world where the two great gods (Arun and Shara) have fallen asleep and dreamed up a new world. On this world you create a character that is a member of one of eight classes performing one of three roles (DPS, ranged, support) and your goal is to defend these worlds against the other gods who are trying to take over while attempting to rise to power by working with and against your fellow players to assume control of the worlds.

Getting back to our ducks, the combat is described by game writer Robin Macpherson as “Skill beats math” which means that you’re not going to be just enabling macros when you’re in combat. Instead where you are in relation to your enemies will determine how much damage you do and if you hit them or not. This is a bit refreshing for twitch gamers like me who prefer an itchy trigger finger over a set of pre-defined combat macros.

The focus of the game is to get people to work together so the game isn’t being broken up into factions. En Masse is expecting that alliances (and enemies) will be formed naturally within the game. The game allows players to work their way up the political ranks and eventually take control of areas which will allow them to control the economy and laws of the world. This will take a lot of work though and expect to have to form a coalition government to do this.

As with a lot of MMO’s there will be a heavy focus on getting people to work together to play the game in groups although loners who want to solo the game will also be supported but will have to do a little more work to advance. The game will ship with “thousands” of quests to keep folks from the familiar grind of your standard MMO.

A busy schedule prevented me from actually playing the game but there are a few interesting concepts at work in Tera. That game won’t see the light of day until 2011 but if you’re a MMO fan looking for something different you might want to keep an eye on Tera. The game is taking applications for an upcoming closed beta at their website now if you want to be one of the first ones to play the game.