It took weeding through the rough areas of the garden to find a few MMO gems. E3 had some games that were less than expected, some that were expected and only a select few that exceeded expectations.
Tera, from En Masse, will be entering the MMO market on the shoulders of a team of developers that certainly have a fine pedigree in the MMO field. With team veterans that come from such pubs and developers as Microsoft, Blizzard, and NCsoft, there is enough talent to make just about anyone take notice. But can they deliver a compelling MMO experience that is not just more of the same?
That was what was on my mind as I met up behind closed doors at E3 to have a look at the game. The hands-on demo showed a game that was challenging, exquisite to look at, and imaginative. The setting for that demo was a team challenge against a boss monster.
If that 20-minute fight was any indication, Tera could well be a bit of a head-turner in the MMO genre. There is a learning curve to the combat system and the mob did require a group to take down (healer is essential), but then that central to the concept of MMOs. The group of players and devs was built around five of the eight classes in the game and included a berserker (the main tank), a pair of melee classes (slayer and warrior), a healer and a mage. The characters were not overpowered for the demo, and there were some preliminary fights up to the main battle. The NPCs battled were imaginative, skills had reset timers on them and the mobs were tough, but if players were paying attention, there were telltale signs of when the target mob was about to deliver its debilitating attacks. When the stun moves were coming, the nearby tanks merely went into defensive modes to avoid being affected. The game is also line of sight when it comes to attacks.
In all, the fighting was thoughtful and entertaining – which was pretty much a theme carried by the entire gaming experience. And attention has been paid to the nuances of the game, the environments and such – which is a very good thing. .
Tera is a game that definitely calls out for more hands-on time, from character creation through gaming stages. It has taken tentative steps into closed beta and more information will be coming in the months ahead. In the meantime, what was seen was very appealing.