Ranged Rockets - Hands-On with TERA's Sorcerer at gamescom 2011
We've had several
to have some href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/tera/previews/pax-hands-on">hands-on
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 style="font-style: italic;">TERA style="font-style: italic;">
just as fun as melee combat, it is in some ways even more
alt="The powerful ranged attacks of TERA's sorcerer" width="600">
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 style="font-style: italic;">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
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
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.
alt="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.
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