a hands on with TERA
at GDC, Ten Ton Hammer followed up with En Masse the next week at PAX
East to talk a bit more about the AI, UI and the big-ass monsters they
saw. Senior Producer Brian Knox and PR Director Matt Atwood filled us
At GDC, we took a
look at the AI, the clean user interface...
And the big-ass
And the big-ass
monsters! So how do you convey that heroic epic feel with these big-ass
I think a lot of it is the environment that surrounds you. Making sure
that the monster fits into the scale. You see a lot of games where the
texturing might not be right, which throws the scaling off. We put a
lot of work into texturing making sure that the scaling is appropriate.
When he takes that giant swing at you, you have to physically dodge out
of the way. It conveys how big and massive he is. I’m just
not standing next to his leg and hitting him. I think it helps reminds
players of just how big this guy is and he really can dodge a slash.
That was one of
the cool things playing it, you can literally roll between the
Yeah. That’s a good move. Rolling between his legs, then
popping up and hitting him with your sword.
Part of it too is the cinematic setup. We have to remember that you
can’t make it too long. You get that little setup and you
know that you’re going to see something.
Let's talk UI.
What made you opt to go with a minimalistic UI?
Most of the design elements in the UI are to focus on the center of the
screen, on the fight. Well, how do we do that? We can’t have
a whack-a-mole on the side or else nobody is going to be looking at the
screen. Your focus should be on the center of the screen, and
we’ve done that.
But there are
elements in a UI that you still need. How do you prioritize
what’s going to go on there?
It depends upon the situation. When you’re in a battle, there
are a few key things you need to know. You need to know the
monster’s health, you need to know your health, and
we’re going to make sure that the UI is appropriate for you.
We put the health meters above the monster as well to keep it simple.
But, when you’re in town, out comes the UI-- all the stuff
you need, like the items…all the crafting stuff.
It’s all there. You just don’t need it when
you’re in battle. You need to kill or be killed, right?
healers play a bit differently in TERA
How complicated is it going to be for somebody to pick up playing a
We’re really trying to ease people in, especially the
healers, focusing first on: how do I move in the game, what are the
tells that a monster does, making sure that you interact with the
environment, and then adding skills slowly.
A lot of people don’t like to play healers, but just the fact
that there’s just more action and fun being a healer in TERA
I suspect that class is going to raise in popularity.
Will we see the
holy trinity of tank, healer, and DPS?
There are some encounters where, yes, you’ll want that tank
and that healer. There are going to be some other encounters where
three or so ranged guys bouncing the guy around, and you’re
just dodging to get out of the way, healers aren’t going to
be much help. It’s kind of encounter based. Some of our
encounters are designed the trinity, some are designed for a couple of
guys, and some are designed for solo players. We try to bring people
different mixtures, so there’s always something there for you
"As for bringing a Korean
game over here, oh yeah there are some challenges. The
allure for me was that this was going to be done right. I want a build
that is really going to focus on the market, make sure that
they’re getting things right.
- Brian Knox"
How would you
rate the level of difficulty in combat? Is it for the more advanced
I think that it’s a natural feel. I think that
that’s one of the biggest differences between East and West.
I think in the East, it’s a lot more difficult for them to
wrap their heads around the combat. They don’t have all the
console games. They don’t play all the God of Wars
or the Fables
Our guys? We play those all the time. When we hook TERA
up to a controller, it all makes sense. It works.
People online aren’t much different. The ease of combat and
understanding how to do it is not that hard. But the skill player with
the player is really going to set people apart. If you’re
good in TERA
you’re going to be a lot better than somebody else. The skill
level is really a central part.
A great example of that is actually our warrior. Are they DPS? They
have two swords and they can dodge. No, they are tanks. If you have two
people with super-equal skill, you’ll be a little better
because you’re not taking any damage, but it’s a
much harder class to play. It balances out. We’re letting
skill determine the outcome of battles.
Another thing to that
is the crafting system. One of our VPs who normally hates crafting, has
spent so much time crafting that he got addicted to it. For me, because
it is skill based, you’re going to be looking for any little
edge you can get, and it makes it fun. It makes a difference.
What I think that’s cool is when you’re playing a
game like WoW and you’re getting into a party, the first
thing you do is you right-click and look up their GearScore [now PlayerScore
You add it up and you go, “This guy’s
That’s not going to cut it in TERA
You’re going to have know this based on their reputation.
Especially when you go into a high-end encounter, you’re not
going to want to bring some bozo in just because he has a good sword.
You’re going to have to know if that guy is any good.
You’ll know quickly. They’re going to be hitting
their dodges; they’ll be controlling the formations in the
battle making sure that the aggros are on the right spot. Your score is
not going to matter.
Gear Score is a little addicting to raise, right? But it
doesn’t always tell the tale, even more so in TERA