game at GDC that had piqued our interest prior to the event was TERA
developed by Bluehole Studio and published by En Masse Entertainment.
The news of the game’s development hit the internet recently
and we were curious. En Masse has brought together an impressive list
of industry vets and screenshots of the modified Unreal 3
engine used to power the game looked equally impressive. So when Ten
Ton Hammer got a chance to check out the game at GDC this year it
wasn’t surprising that we became excited by the look, feel
and polish of the game. Senior Producer Bryan Knox (formerly of the Aion
team with NCsoft) gave us a guided tour of the game and answered our
We would be amiss if we didn’t first point out the
game’s most powerful aspect-- its combat
system. The game is
action focused and although TERA
isn’t the only game we saw this year that uses collision
detection with player positioning, timing and aim (be sure to check out
our upcoming articles on two games from Nexon this weekend for more of
these) it certainly was fast, intuitive, and fun. Think of TERA
as a third person shooter in a fantasy environment with responsive
action gameplay and you’ll have a bit of an idea of how the
game feels. Your eyes will always be focused on what’s
happening on the screen and you’ll never have to stare at a
hotbar array while playing variations of whack-a-mole.
The game can be played with either a mouse and keyboard or if
preferred, a controller. In our hands-on with the game we noticed that
both methods felt very natural and took only seconds to pick up.
Steering away from the traditional click-to-target gameplay players are
instead given a targeting reticule for their spells, ranged shots, or
melee strikes. Dodging blows is manual—simply step out of the
way when the enemy is about to attack and you’ll be able to
(hopefully) avoid its blows. How do you know when the monster is about
to attack? Knox pointed out that every enemy in the game has animated
tells, and once you learn the tells, attacks will be easier to avoid.
But where does this leave support classes? Wouldn’t it be
more difficult to heal group members if you couldn’t
target-lock them? Not at all. Simply drop a healing aura for your party
to step into to regenerate their health. While equipment does play an
equally important part in the game, actual player skill will dictate
the level of difficulty each individual player will be able to face.
Although the game does have consensual PvP options including duels and
battleground scenarios, the game is primarily PvE. No player races are
natural enemies so players will not have to worry about picking the
same side as their friends or guild in order to play with them.
Don’t mistake this as a lack of conflict in the world,
though. Knox indicated to us that the game will offer some
extraordinarily intricate political structures which will shape the
world around the players according to their decisions. No two servers
will end up the same. This all sounded fascinating, but unfortunately
that was all the info En Masse was willing to share about that system
at this point.
The world itself offers players several options at all level ranges.
There are open areas with persistent NPCs as well as several instances
for solo or group play. Towns, cities and guild housing are also all in
Even though the game seemed to come into the light rather suddenly,
Knox assured us the Bluehole team has taken great care in its
development. Work has been ongoing for three years by many of the same
people that brought us Lineage 2
They have designed the game as a subscription-modeled title with paid
services (such as server transfers).
is set to launch in Korea the middle of this year and the European and
North American audiences can look for it to hit shelves early 2011.
We’ll definitely be watching this game so check Ten Ton
Hammer for updates and information as it becomes available.