PAX Coverage: Tera

By Mumbles Posted Thursday Sep 9, 2010

Filed under: Nerd Culture 56 comments


When Josh and I started to divvy up the games at PAX that we were going to cover, the line between our interests and experience became very clear. I’ve always been on the action side of the spectrum, while Josh knows a lot more about strategy games and MMOs. For that reason, it might come to a surprise that Tera was my favorite game that I played at PAX. This Korean made MMO was passed into the hands of American developers for Western distribution and has the potential to be a serious contender with Guild Wars 2 and Old Republic. It’s beautiful to look at and the combat is full of action and fun. In fact, I’m certain Tera will pull in gamers like me who aren’t attracted to the typical MMO targeting combat system. And, no one is more surprised about that than me.

My first introduction to Tera came in the form of a youtube video, where a representative at GamesCon made a big deal about being able to see up a character’s skirt as she’s running around. Personally, skimpy clothing and questionable methods of reaching a target audience doesn’t offend me at all. I see a lot of it in comic books and it’s never seriously taken away from the value of the material. My problem is that this guy made it sound like it was a feature in the game that had the developers really excited. Past bad press and alienating gamers, a heavy focus on sexy outfits simply does not make a good game. And, in the MMO genre which is currently dominated by the big WoW, a company has to be successfully innovative if they expect anyone to play.

With this in mind, I was hesitant to even check Tera out. With the intent of hanging back while Josh played, I couldn’t help but ask some of the people who were working on the game if they had seen the youtube video in question. Everyone seemed to be just as unhappy with it as I was and promised that skimpy outfits were just a side note. Even if they were just playing nice and pretending like they didn’t love seeing half naked women run around, it became very clear that it didn’t really matter. Every person I spoke to really loved the game and put a lot of themselves into making Tera a workable and fun MMO. They had put energy into making sure grinding was at a minimum, that the combat was fun and the story was interesting enough to feel immersed. Those are the things I want to hear from a game developer and any concerns about skimpy clothes are moot if the game is good.


Now, remember MMOs are just not my cup of tea. My gaming history is primarily in action based combat and the more visceral it is, the better. I don’t get that from your typical MMO targeting system and have always grown tired of it quickly. Luckily, there’s a lot of focus on dodging and aiming in Tera. If you swing your sword and miss an enemy, the game won’t be forgiving. On the other hand, there’s lots of opportunities to dodge and roll away from serious damage.

There are eight different classes, most of which are melee based along with a couple spell casters and an archer. The developers obviously put a lot of time balancing the classes and giving them very specific and unique features. The lancer, for example, is responsible for holding the line and using a massive shield to protect others. I also liked how typical classes such as the healer and warrior were given a new spin. The healer is expected to be pretty close to the fight in order to keep others alive and the warrior’s focus is more on agility and swift combo attacks than ‘tanking’.

I played a warrior for the low level demo and found myself bouncing around while dealing some great combo attacks. The class had some cool skills on the side like a concussion radius that stunned enemies and a leaping attack to catch monsters unaware. The enemies all typically have specific attacks that are unique to their type and will give signals before dealing out a lot of damage. This means a more experienced player will not only have better gear and skills, but will be able to read enemies better than a new player. That’s a really basic feature I love to see and I hope it’s implemented smoothly when the game is released.


We didn’t manage to get into the advanced demo that day, but Josh signed me up for it on Sunday morning. With my distinct lack of MMO and raid scenario experience, I was nervous and sure I would epically mess up. It didn’t help that I ran into a member of the dev team on the convention floor who readily told me that the last group wiped in the worst way. Suddenly, I wished there was a magical device that could convert all my hundreds of hours in Team Fortress 2 into something more useful (But, not really. Hundreds of hours of WoW sounds like a great reason to quit gaming forever). In my mind, it didn’t matter how experienced I was at action games, my newbish levels at MMOs would destroy me and my team.

I was put in a small, dark box with three serious business looking young chaps and two excitable Tera developers. We were given a scenario where a bad ass group of fighters were sent to take down a troublesome cult. Other players were given believable characters like Rufus, but I was handed the role of Bob. Bob the knitting enthusiast who had a habit of dying a lot. He was a huge sword wielding type who was surprisingly vulnerable. In Team Fortress 2 terms, it’s like they mixed the health of a Scout with the build of a Pyro. It took me a little while to get used to running into battle, doing some damage and then getting the hell out (and I did go down once, I will admit). But, since the combat was action based I didn’t feel completely out of my element. By the end of the raid, I felt comfortable in Bob’s shoes and we actually were the twentieth group that weekend to make it through the entire demo.


I will say that playing the advanced demo, I realized that the game is always at its very core a MMO. You have to keep an eye on the rest of your party and always have an idea of how much health the enemy has. In multiplayer, common sense and staying mindful of teammates are your best tools. I hope that Tera makes working as a team very important and vital to succeeding. I also hope it has the basic things that MMO fans need from that genre, so us action-based outsiders aren’t the only ones playing. I think I’ve been hyping this game so much partially because the idea of two very different groups of gamers coming together to play is thrilling. Of course, we all don’t put all our game genre eggs in one basket, but the idea of a WoW veteran and a Left 4 Dead enthusiast doing a raid together is so cool.


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56 thoughts on “PAX Coverage: Tera

  1. Rutskarn says:

    I’ve got the same reservations about MMO style combat as you, so this is at least a bit intriguing. Except I’m too cheap to pay a subscription, so I’m probably still gonna give it a miss.

    (If they have mechanized rodentia, I’m in.)

    1. Mumbles says:

      Dude, I hate subscriptions just as much. It’s a good thing I have a job.

      They have little panda bear looking things. That’s cool right?

      1. Shamus says:

        I want to be one of those pandas so bad.

        On the website…

        …it looks like each race only has one gender. Like, all humans, Aman, and Baraka are male, all Castanics are womenfolk. Is that the case, or just how it’s shown on the site?

        Also, did they mention a release window? The website mentions “2011”, but that could mean January or December.

        1. Mumbles says:

          In both demos, that really seemed to be the case. It’s okay though, because in Mass Effect all the Turians we see are male!

          They said it’s going to be out early 2011, but we shall see if that’s true.

        2. Azulsun says:

          The FAQ on the website has this to say:

          Q: Are there male and female versions of each playable race?
          Yes, there are male and female versions of each race except for the Baraka, who have no gender.

          1. Roll-a-die says:

   Castanic male.

            Note that that isn’t the current character creator. It’s been upgraded VERY much since then.

        3. acronix says:

          Wait! They have humans, elves and pandas… but no dwarves? No panda can replace a dwarf! This is outrageous!

          1. X2-Eliah says:

            You really want them to skimpify dwarwen females as well? Be grateful they have not crossed that bridge.

            1. Nyaz says:

              Terry Pratchett has taught us that all dwarves look like males with long beards, no matter what parts are in their pants.

              1. Jack says:

                Yes, but they can dress skimpily if they want to.

                1. acronix says:

                  They can´t. Korean MMorpgs only skimpily dress female and male dark elves or their equivalents.

        4. Robyrt says:

          That would be one seriously dysfunctional society. Imagine the social implications of having your entire species dependent on Elves or Castanics to bear your children. Maybe the Baraka reproduce by budding?

        5. Valadhiel says:

          No, it is not one gender per race. Each race has male and female (even the popori – though the female popori are more “human-like”).

    2. Irridium says:

      Same here. Which is why I actually avoid MMORPG’s. Well that and the combat is dreadfully boring.

      Hopefully you can just play off of pre-paid cards.

    3. Internet Kraken says:

      The only reason I ever played Guild Wars was because it didn’t have a subscription fee. Which is also why I’m interested in the sequel, since it’s promising a lot and still has no subscription fee (unless something has changed that I’m not aware of).

      It’s not necessarily that I couldn’t afford to pay subscription fees. It’s just that I don’t like having to pay a monthly fee just to continue using one game.

    4. Maldeus says:

      The subscription thing really irks me. Regardless of what I know I should be thinking like, that Tera’s innovation is good for the industry in general and I’m not actually being hurt by the fact that there’s an innovative game that I probably won’t be able to try, it gets me into a console-wars sort of mindset. Guild Wars is my MMO. Period. That can’t change until more non-subscription MMOs (COMPLETELY non-subscription, not pay-per-quest) show up. So it makes me sad to see anyone who can lay a finger on Guild Wars 2’s domination of the market, particularly after I started following development a few months ago and soon became convinced that Guild Wars 2 was going to absolutely own every part of the market that wasn’t completely glued to WoW, only to be taunted a few months later by the realization that no, Tera isn’t just another Korean grinder MMO with a pervert on the staff, it’s actually going to be innovative enough to give Guild Wars 2 a run for its money, and if it turns out to be the better of the two I will STILL have to buy Guild Wars 2, because of the way my personal economy is set up.

  2. acronix says:

    I have some reservations about this combat system. It sounds cool and it probably is, but I fear that players who have horrible latency will have a bad time with it (be it for having conection hicups, or living far away from the server´s homeplanet). In a common mmorpg, if someone flings a fireball at you, there´s a roll check/whatecr that takes care of seeing if you get hit or not based on the character´s skill. In Tera, if what I understood is correct, avoiding damage is a player skill. If I live far from any actual server, I may end up with 400ms of latency (that´s the normal for me in most mmorpgs that don´t have servers set up in my country (IE: most of them)) or more, which means I´ll have 400ms less to react. If the enemy attacks take a second to “charge” or to arrive, then I have only around half a second to react.

    That´s what I fear (suppousing I got the system right). I hope to be proved wrong when it comes out because I want to try it.

    1. Johan says:

      It’s the problem that online FPS players have griped about for years, I don’t know a single CSS player who hasn’t had a million and one perfect kills ruined by lag. The best you can do is try to have a stable connection and hope a server is nearby.

      1. Will says:

        Pretty much; latancy is simply a fact of the internet. There are lots of clever things you can do to reduce the impact latancy has upon players, but at the end of the day a player with only 100ms latancy is going to have a noticable advantage against a player with 500ms. Unfortunately the laws of physics are pretty obstinate about that one.

        1. Simon Buchan says:

          “The speed of light sucks” – John Carmack

    2. Josh R says:

      Oh God I hadn’t even considered this…
      Yeah that’s going to suck.

  3. Moriarty says:

    well there’s a reason most MMO’s have the same boring combat.

    Targeting a monster and hitting fireball enables you to win a fight even when struggling with a latency of 400ms.
    When you actually have to aim at the things you want to kill or dodge their attacks, you can’t afford to have your commands delayed

    E: what the… I was ninjaed with the SAME examples on the spell and the latency Oo

    1. acronix says:

      Muahahaha, I´m a mind ninja!
      I mean…uh…err….great minds think alike!

      1. Psithief says:

        A minja?

        1. Josh says:

          No, that’s a midget-ninja.

        2. Rutskarn says:

          I like “psinja”.

          1. RTBones says:

            Given our potential new word, you had to know this was coming: what is the correct pronunciation of this word?

            Is is “sin”-ja, or “sign”-ja?

            1. X2-Eliah says:

              ‘pee-sin-ja’ is how I’d imagine it sounding. Not my favourite word for obvious reasons, therefore.

    2. Veloxyll says:

      Age of Conan managed to have decent target free aiming (though the combo system in that did not work so well in PVP).

      Still, it definately sounds interesting. Will have to try and remember to keep an eye on it

  4. Jason Mical says:

    I just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for stopping by the booth and checking us out! I’m glad you guys liked the game and feel free to hit me up with questions at any time. Especially around the next time we do some testing, because we’re always looking for people outside of our community to provide some fresh insight! :)

    Thanks again!

    – Jason Mical, Community Director, En Masse Entertainment –

    1. Drexer says:

      I just wanted to add if I may, how refreshing it is to see a developer take those steps in order to divulge their game. Instead of throwing it simply upon the usual game reviewers; you sought out gamers/bloggers who you knew might have an interest in your MMO and took the risk of displaying it to them.

      It takes both a lot of confidence in your product, and a great willingness to work within the context of the internet to take such risks, but us(the consumers) certainly get a greater reward out of it.

      So, thank you for adopting such a step.

  5. eri says:



    Monthly fees.

    No thanks.

  6. wtrmute says:

    In multiplayer, common sense and staying mindful of teammates are your best tools. I hope that Tera makes working as a team very important and vital to succeeding.

    There’s a slight problem with making “working as a team” very important: Most MMO players don’t actually like working as a team and would prefer to run most adventures solo or with a group of NPCs. Because, as you know, “hell is other people”, particularly on the Internet. Shamus himself has expressed this sentiment before…

    1. acronix says:

      It´s a double edged sword (…or is it double bladed…?)
      In one hand, if they make party/teams very important they will be flooded with “I had to wait for 2 hours before I could get a party that could make this quest/portion of the game because we didn´t have enough healers/tanks/dps/pros/numbers! This is no fun!”. On the other, if they don´t put enough enfasis on team/parties players will go “There´s no sense in making parties/teams! This is a Massively Solo Online game! This is no fun!”.
      To give an example of each: See Lineage 2 and Champions Online, respectively.

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        And that double-edged sword is ridiculously large, again. I mean, really, look at those pictures. With that kind of swords, you wouldn’t be surprised if near the end-game, the characters started wielding dumpster trucks as off-hand weapons.

  7. Friend of Dragons says:

    I’ll admit that it looks to be an interesting and fun game, but my MMO purchase of the year(no, I don’t tend to buy many games) will still end up being GW2. I don’t know, just something about Tera’s style just seems a little off…

    1. swimon says:

      I agree for some reason (not about GW2 I won’t get that since I hated GW1). I don’t really know what it is but I don’t really care for the art style. It’s not just the skimpy outfits (which do bother me since they just make it seem like the game is manipulating me, and think that I’m a moron) but the whole setting. As I said I can’t really seem to put my finger on it, maybe it’s that it screams asian stock fantasy maybe it’s that it’s a bit over-worked. Actually yeah I think that might be it. There’s no simplicity or concept of less is more the second picture sort of sums it up: it’s a woman with one rather ornate pants leg, some scribble on her stomach, a collar, some metal things on her shoulder, patterned high heel boots and gloves, arm bands that are different on either side, a shirt that just defies explanation, fake red hair, elf ears and horns.

      It might very well be a good game (even though “more action oriented” is not usually a siren call for me) but I don’t think I could get past that art style. Which is a shame, trying to redesign the core of MMOs sounds like an interesting experiment.

      1. Vipermagi says:

        Skipping GW2 because you didn’t like GW1 is, in my opinion, a fairly silly reason. GW2 is a true sequel; it’s a different game. Keeps some concepts (limited skill bar), and changes others (everything related to exploring, murder in the first degree, and winning from NPCs).
        But oh well.

        On topic: I’d probably get Tera if it didn’t have a subscription fee. Don’t specifically like, but do not dislike, the art style and setting, and the combat intrigues me. I just don’t want to buy my game every month (at 10 euro/month, GW1 would have been 600 euro more expensive for me).

        1. Josh R says:

          Out of interest how much did you pay for each expansion, and the original game purchase?

          I picked up GW GOTY edition and got all three core campaigns for £15 during a half price sale earlier this year, but then spent an extra £10 on EOTN. But I imagine buying them as they were released would have cost me significantly more… did it?

        2. swimon says:

          Ok fair enough they changed a lot of stuff for GW2. But they changed some stuff in GW through patches and I never liked any of it (my brother was a huge fan so I played some of it every now and again). The reason I’m not going to get GW2 is that while it may be different from GW1 it’s still made by the same people. It’s the same reason I probably wont get new Vegas because I played KoToR 2, or how I get pretty much anything by Bioware or Introversion. The game might be different (how come I always spell that word “diffrent”?) but it’s still made by the same design philosophy that I didn’t like. Of course this isn’t optimal since even good companies make games like counter-strike (sort of) or Multiwinia. The best way would be to buy every game and judge it independently but since I don’t have infinite time I have to guess. My guess is therefore that GW2 won’t suit my tastes since I thought GW1 felt completely anemic and without any real progression.

          Having re-read the above I sounded way to negative about GW1. I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad game it’s just the polar opposite of what I’m looking for. It’s like a perfectly crafted chanterelle risotto I can appreciate the craft but I really don’t like chanterelles or risotto.

  8. tremor3258 says:

    The more I see of this, the more intrigued I am. I was going to write this off as more Lineage/Aion type grind-a-thon.

  9. HeroOfHyla says:

    Looks interesting, but I’m getting FFXIV, and I doubt I can manage 2 MMOs.

  10. Skyy_High says:

    The combat sounds interesting, but honestly it really sounds pretty much like GW2 without hard targeting. Considering the number of ground-targeted or truly aimed skills (selecting a cone that Spread Shot hits, for example) we’re seeing in GW2, not to mention the emphasis on dodging and rolling, I don’t think there’ll really be much of a difference in combat. As far as non-combat systems go, I don’t think there’s even a question which I want to play more; TERA looks like it’s going to be a fairly standard quest-based MMO, GW2 will have dynamic events and branching personal storylines. Throw in the fact that, as a GW1 player, I’m already heavily invested in the lore and the world, and then there’s the small matter of there being no monthly fee…

    Like I said, it looks like a solid title, but save for the art style (which also doesn’t do it for me, way too skimpy; I don’t need to be embarrassed to have my fiancée look over my shoulder when I’m playing) and the lack of a targeting system, I don’t see the draw.

    I do think it’s cool that the community manager is so into his job that he’s commented on this site a number of times. Even someone not really looking at the game (ie, me) can tell you’re excited about it.

  11. Miral says:

    Any idea how solo-friendly it’ll be? (Personally, I have no interest in teaming/grouping for quests — but the advantage of an MMORPG over a regular RPG is one of scale.)

    1. Mumbles says:

      I remember people at the booth throwing the phrase ‘solo friendly’ around and I think the fact that it’ll be released on the 360 proves that it has the potential to be that way. I know you can do stuff like bring along NPCs to make going it alone a lot easier.

    2. Mumbles says:

      But lol I think I got the 360 thing wrong. Yaaaay post-PAX sickness.

  12. Felblood says:

    I dunno.

    I got sick of Fantasy Earth Zero really fast, and I expect the exact same problems to plague this game.

    That + Monthly Fee = Pass

  13. Wolfwood says:

    Grrr Mumbles! All this talk has really got my hype train rolling for this game >.<

    SW:TOR has been completely off my radar for quite some time. So really I had no new MMO to really look forward to until now. Love the Lineage look! So gonna be a Lancer! They look so beefy. (Probably gonna regret it since Tanks do terrible DPS for soloing) :(

    p.s. so long as they get rid of the Forced Group quest at the end of Solo quest chains, I will gladly give them money each month :D

    p.p.s. Subscription based MMO on the xb360?! …o.O!

    1. Mumbles says:

      Apparently, I made the 360 thing up. I’m not having a graceful recover from PAX.

  14. Deoxy says:

    Hmm, a friend of mine (who WoWs) recently got me started on D&D Online – it’s free (requirement for me), and he thought it was OK, so we could play together.

    It has actual combat (you can dodge), is “solo friendly” (you can hire NPCs to come with on quests), but still makes groups desirable (well, it makes a GOOD group desirable… bad groups still suck, of course). I’m not a big MMO fan, really, but I’ve been enjoying it a good bit.

    Not to burst any bubbles, but I don’t think that makes this very innovative – it sounds a LOT like a DDO knockoff. (For example, “Bob” sounds almost EXACTLY like the role a Rogue plays in combat – low health, high damage, high mobility.)

  15. Josh R says:

    That art style really annoys me.
    If I wanted porn, I’d fucking look at porn. I don’t want to seem like a pervert to any friend/family member who watches me play.
    And at 19 I’m probably the target market for it.

    either way the only MMO I’m even considering is GW2, I don’t pay subscriptions, and I don’t think I can persuade my parents to pay one like I got them to do for runescape. (Though £3 a month was a LOT more reasonable then what other MMOs were charging)

  16. spiralofhope says:

    I took a good long look, and I wouldn’t play this for the simple fact that I don’t want to play in a game that has a bunch of pedobear/ewoks running around.

    Seriously, why even translate this into English if they leave in all the freaky Korean cultural leftovers like that?

    1. Felblood says:

      Funny… fantasy games released in the East never have a problem keeping knights, elves and wizards.

      Are you saying that western gamers are more likely to be ethnocentric jerkoffs that can’t handle anything new or different?

      Plus, a lot of the early text based MMOs (MUDs and MOOs) from over here featured some sort of raccoon-man race. Know your roots, and all that, eh?

    2. Elpy says:

      Because it still has a huge audience even though some dont like it :). Believe it or not, a lot of people in west do like eastern art style and their naked chicks :D. I’m going to be playing Tera because I like the way its changing the combat to more FPS’ish style but I surely dont mind the half-naked characters hehe.

  17. Leah says:

    So someone needs to say it….
    I want this game for the skimpy gear…
    I am a 27 year old woman who is cute and likes to dress nice: heels and business suits for work, sweater-dresses with heeled boots ect., and aesthetics are huge for me in my games. I like my mmo’s lots and game play wise, I think Warhammer is the most kick ass, but do I pay for it?…hell no! I am SUPER ugly in that game and what girl is ugly in her fantasy world?

    So yea, I dream of being that hot chick in her bikini shooting fireballs at crazy evil bad guys. So I purchased Aion…..all the looks and terrible game play. My opinion perfect mmo: Korean style graffics/character and armor style with US style game play (loose the grind and offer end game). Too much to ask for? Well En Masse give me this and I’ll be kicking my high heeled feet with delight.

    By the way I am likely a miss on the revealing outfits’ target audience, but I am sure other mmo girls out there like sexy toons, hey look at IMVU, which isn’t even a game, if you don’t believe me.

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