E3 2011 boasted a number of surprises for the MOG-minded – an
SOE published bank robbery shooter called Payday
the name and details of Trion’s Syfy tie-in MMOG Defiance
and that the makers of World of Tanks
will take to the skies with World of Warplanes
We weren’t expecting a surprise from En Masse Entertainment
and Blue Hole Studios, makers of TERA
but we got one. In a game known for all action, all the time, En Masse
is taking a decidedly diplomatic turn.
“If the skill-based combat system makes TERA
fun and engaging, the political system offers a whole new level of
player engagment,” Stefan Ramirez commented during our E3
demo. Producer Sam Kim continued the thought, noting that while MMOG
must-haves such as chat, forums, friend lists, guilds, and parties will
be included with TERA
the political system will add new depth to player interaction.
“When we say that the political system adds a whole new depth
to player engagement, we’re really talking about players
influencing the world around them.
“That means getting votes, buying votes, raising taxes,
making tons of money, opening shops, running your own events, and
imprisoning players – jerks, enemies, it’s about
doing whatever you want.”
Those last two features – imprisoning players and player-made
events – caught our ear. Sam explained the events part:
“As a Vanarch you can run your own events. What does that
mean? It means players are coming to your province, hitting up your
towns, buying from your shops, paying your taxes, making you
rich.” As for imprisonment, Producer Chris Hager was quick to
note that En Masse and Blue Hole are devising ways to make imprisonment
a satisfying and enjoyable experience for both the prisoner and the
turnkey. How exactly a player can have fun as a prisoner remains to be
seen, but we’re thinking shower room antics and a make your
own shiv minigame.
Enough on that. How do players rise to power? Stefan explained:
“There’s basically two ways to come to political
office: 1) popular vote or 2) PvP in the battlegrounds. Either way you
do it, you’re going to need to be a player that’s
max level and is a guild leader. Every political leader needs a great
committee, and for the prospective Vanarch – the leader of
one of TERA’s
dozens of provinces, that “committee” is the guild.
Depending on the path to power – popular or PvP –
players will either need to sway voters to their side by promising
events, unique vendors, and gameplay opportunities (such as prohibiting
open PvP in the territory), but changes will cost political points
which the Vanarch and his guild must earn through questing. If the
prospective Vanarch hopes to take the province by brute force,
it’s going to be all about PvP prowess.
will make Vanarchs famous in several ways, including but not limited to
splashing the player’s name on the screen when any player
enters the province and mounts exclusive to Vanarchs and their guilds.
But fame has its limits, and even Vanarchs have a boss. Just as
Vanarchs rule over provinces, En Masse let it slip that Exarchs will
rule over the entire realm of Arborea. No further details have been
released on Exarchs just yet.
Relatively few MMORPGs have been able to let players establish any
semblance of control over the game world, but, if all goes as planned, TERA
won’t be the first. Aika Online’s
offers a more
exclusively martial take on player politics, with five nations warring
for power and a Lord Marshal and Archons, leaders of allied guilds.
Other games such as Tabula Rasa
progression servers, have allowed players to vote on ending content or
how quickly content appears.
The difference with TERA
seems to be democracy – the player population has a say in
what kind of provincial leader they’d like to have. We hope
to hear more about the political system as TERA
leads up to a 2011 launch. Thanks to everyone we talked to in the TERA
booth at E3 2011.