Ranged Rockets - Hands-On with TERA's Sorcerer at gamescom 2011

We've explored the melee classes of TERA with several hands-on articles. Now it's time to look at the Sorcerer class from our hands-on time at gamescom 2011. Glass cannon? More like porcelain SMG.
We've had several chances to have some hands-on time with TERA in the past. It's something we've been enjoying. This year at gamescom I thought I'd try things a little differently. Instead of jumping onto a melee class like I have every other time I've played the game, I thought I'd give the sorcerer class a spin.

We've talked a lot about how TERA's melee combat system is fast, fun, and challenging. But how does a ranged casting class stack up? How can it possibly be as fun as the melee classes since you don't have to do as much dodging, rolling and pull off smoothly animated sword combos? Well, I'm here to tell you from experience that not only is the ranged combat in TERA just as fun as melee combat, it is in some ways even more entertaining.

The powerful ranged attacks of TERA's sorcerer

The powerful ranged attacks of TERA's sorcerer

During our hands-on at gamescom this year we tried out some more group play. As we've stated in the past, group play in TERA is what makes this game really shine.  Sure, you can do all the cool things of your class during solo play too, but when you're in a group you get the chance to really show your stuff. Mobs are bigger, badder, and take more of a beating so you get plenty of opportunity to light all of your fireworks.

With the sorcerer I was set up so that my left mouse button cast a quick, low-mana fireball. This was handy for burning targets steadily and quickly. I could spam the left click almost as quickly as I could press it, making for a literal stream of fireballs flying from my hands. This was fun enough, but what the icing on the cake was that I could actually aim the spells. TERA may have an implied targeting system, but when you're launching spell after spell it becomes more of a shooter game and less of a standard MMOG. This is what set me off into a frenzy of glee.

Particularly large monsters were obviously easier to hit than smaller ones but I could also play a mini game in my own play style to see if I could get headshots or singe kneecaps. Now I'm not saying hit boxes actually exist in the game, but with the active aiming reticule for ranged spells you can have a lot of fun. It takes some thought and skill too. Mobs aren't always going to stand still for you, so often it pays to take aim slightly ahead of a moving target to ensure it runs straight into your spell.

As my meleeing group members were trying to keep the attention of the monsters we were fighting it opened up the opportunity for me to try all sorts of combinations with the sorcerer.  I could open up with a Blast Ball (kind of a giant bubble that can be charged up and has a knockback to it), continue on to an ice needle, and finish off with a magma bomb. The benefit of this particular combo was that it hit several damage types, so even if your baddie had resistances to specific damage it would still take a beating with this combo.

Single-target spells with the sorcerer were tons of fun. In fact I could have sat there all day charging my blast balls and launching my uzi-speed fireballs. But there was another component to the sorcerer class that needs to be mentioned as it, too, was crazy amounts of raw action-combat fun. Yes, you've guessed it, the AE spells.

There were a couple of AEs available to my character but I had the most fun with the magma bomb. This spell performs exactly as it sounds. The player can summon this bomb and lob it into a crowd of enemies.  And by "lob" I mean just that. The character animation during the casting looks almost like a slow-ball pitch, complete with the arc, but ending with a big boom instead of a swing of a bat.

Figuring out where the damage from the bombs would spread out was a little challenging but only in the way of trying to maximize damage. Enemies don't tend to stay still long and can easily move out of the way of your magma bomb by the time you lob it over.  It, like everything else in TERA combat, takes some thought and planning.

A pillar of fire will keep the sorcerer's enemies away

A pillar of fire will keep the sorcerer's enemies away

'How was the aggro with the sorcerer?' glass cannons are surely asking. For the most part it was manageable. The fireballs, which were kind of the bread and butter of most of the outgoing DPS, were quick but didn't seem to cause too much aggro. Some of the harder hitting combos certainly got the attention of the mobs quickly, but even then it was nothing the tanks couldn't get control of again in relatively short order. Let's not forget too that with the sorcerer you can stand a good ways away from the combat and leap out of the way should something come rushing you. With the distance and the jump-back there's more than enough time (usually) to stay away from the hammer of the angry mob.

Even though the encounters were longer in duration than most other modern MMOGs mana was rarely an issue. This could have been in part due to my lack of experience with the class, spamming of low-mana cost spells and the like, but even so, the sorcerer does have a mana regen spell should you need it. Mana Infusion will allow you to regenerate your mana fairly quickly, with the caveat that the regen will end as soon as you cast your next spell. So this spell is useful if you can stay out of combat for a few moments, and have a good group to support you while you do so.

Our hands-on time with TERA once again ended too quickly as we were all having a lot of fun. The ranged DPS sorcerer class turned out to be a lot more fun than I had even imagined it was going to be. It may have even been enough to convince me to play one come launch instead of my standard tank class. Thanks, En Masse Entertainment and Bluehole Studio for causing me to question my own class orientation at my age.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our TERA: Rising Game Page.

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