Posted Wed, Sep 08, 2010 by Sardu
Earlier this summer I had my first opportunity to get some hands-on time with TERA at E3. While I wasn’t part of Ten Ton Hammer’s team that got to sit in on one of the group demo sessions, I still managed to spend a solid block of time playing the game as a Sorceress out on the show floor. I recall being instantly drawn in not just by the incredibly detailed graphics, but by the interesting blend of fast paced action with golden age MMOG concepts like being able to kite mobs as a spell caster.
But as much fun as I had watching the sensual swaying of my female high elf character’s hips when casting charged spells, after reading Ben’s full report on the group experience at E3 I knew I’d want to be checking out that aspect of the game as soon as possible.
As luck would have it, I was given the chance to do exactly that last month at gamescom, and then again this past week at PAX Prime. Interestingly enough, the two demo sessions proved to be radically different experiences. One of them left an incredibly positive impression while the other proved to be so chaotic that our group didn’t just wipe, but were given the great (dis)honor of earning a tally mark under the “fail” column on a whiteboard before being shown the exit with a handshake and a smile. But before getting too deeply into the details on how all of that transpired, let me take two steps back to share my impressions of the group play Ben and I were able to experience at gamescom.
For that event, our group consisted of 3 members with me once again stepping into a DPS role as a sorcerer, only this time as a sexy female Castanic character. Since I’d had the chance to muck around with the different skills for that class at E3, it didn’t take me all that long to get the hang of mixing instant-cast fire spells while on the move with a more powerful, charged electric spell. Another key ability in my arsenal allowed me to rapidly regain mana, though doing so would be interrupted by movement which meant I had to remain constantly aware of my position during combat.
The same holds true of really all of the sorcerer’s abilities. While some can be fired off while on the move, the charged spell would move towards my target a bit slower so it was critical that I was not only aiming properly, but that I did so within close proximity to our group’s healer in case I pulled agro while Ben, our group’s tank, was busy shaking off stuns.
The dungeon we ran through was relatively short, but we were told that it was an open world zone that anyone could go into and explore at any time. The gameplay consisted of a series of encounters that scaled up in difficulty, from a smaller group of normal mobs leading up to a climactic boss fight. Even being short by one player in our group, we still managed to take down all the bad guys with relatively few deaths, and I was pretty much sold on the idea that grouping in TERA was just as epic as Ben had claimed it to be based on his experiences at E3.
This was in the back of my mind when Ethec and I stepped into the demo space for TERA this past weekend at PAX Prime. This time around we were also joined by members of the Lorehound team, rounding out a full group of five including our group’s healer which was played by one of the TERA devs.
To begin the presentation, we were each introduced to our characters and their core combat abilities as well as given some of the background for the area called the Vale of Fang which we were about to enter. Apparently Ethec’s character, Bob, had died numerous times prior to our demo which may or may not have been a foreshadowing of things to come.