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Why I’m Excited For TERA

26 April 2012 | 2 Comments » | Mike

Having played through some of the closed beta phases and last week’s open beta/unofficial head-start, I’m still very much excited for the game. While a bit of reality has set in that TERA won’t be the game that breaks the WoW mold, it is doing some very interesting things that I can’t wait to try out.

I won’t argue that TERA isn’t grindy and its variety of quests are shockly repetitive, but its action-combat system is extremely fun and highly addictive, at least to me, so Saturday’s head-start can’t come sooner. As a ranged DPS class, I always found myself standing in position for PvP fights, mainly because in most MMORPGs you can’t move and attack at the some time. However in TERA, my default attack is so fast, as well as many of my ability skills, that I’m able to constantly move and keep distance against melee classes for the first time, giving me an actual chance of winning a one vs one fight verse melee.

Aside from combat, I’m also excited to see how the Political system plays out as that was not available during any of the betas and won’t be at launch either. The system opens up to players at level 50 and I’m assuming En Masse will wait until a good number of players hit or surpass that level before implementing it.

The political system is built for guilds, so solo-players will find themselves at a huge disadvantage if they choose to remain solo. The way it will work is that Guild Leaders will be nominated for positions, with the winners given lands to control by the way of taxes, controlling specialty shops, teleporters, class trainers and more. With open PvP and Guild vs Guild wars, it’ll be very interesting to see how the Political system fits in.

It’s too bad that guilds currently cannot control lands themselves, perhaps not towns, but maybe smaller outposts or forts to give guilds something to fight over and to call home. Hopefully we’ll see something like that in a future update.

The BAM’s (big ass monsters) and raids are ok, I’ll dabble in those a bit, but really I’m hoping for lots of PvP fueled by intense political campaigns. See you guys on the battlefield.

SWTOR Server Mergers Possibly on the Horizon

24 April 2012 | 6 Comments » | Mike

In an interview with Gamasutra, BioWare lead writer Daniel Erickson tried to put on a positive spin to the recent report that subscription numbers for Star Wars: The Old Republic have been declining.

Daniel stated that “subscriptions are not dropping“, yet in the same interview stated that “the number of concurrent users at peak times has declined. Those light server populations may lead to server mergers“.

One doesn’t have to look very far to realize the only reason subscription numbers are not dropping is because BioWars just gave every player 30 free days of game time. I myself quit by February and if you couple my three month time-card, with the initial 30 free days and now the extra 30 free days from last week, I would still be considered an active player even though I quit two months ago.

The real indicator is server population and if BioWare is already talking about server mergers, that’s not a good sign, no matter how much free time they give out.

I Don’t Get It: Open PvP and Theme-park MMORPGs

23 April 2012 | 3 Comments » | Mike

Sometimes I just don’t understand why things are the way they are. Today, after a bit of playing through the TERA open beta, I came to the realization that I just don’t understand why a theme-park game like this would even bother with allowing open PvP. Not that I don’t enjoy PvP, because I do, but when the only way to progress is PvE, it sort of makes PvP pointless, at least until endgame.

The only real reason to participate in open PvP, for theme-park games, is to basically make the lives of other players worse. You’re not defending any land or property and you’re not attacking any either, plus there’s no looting, so really there’s no reason to kill anyone.  Open PvP is built for sandbox games because they incorporate other systems around PvP to make it meaningful, but theme-parks do not. So when you incorporate this system in a theme-park game, its basically just developers trying to grab at the PvP market and expand their player base.

Now, I haven’t gotten past level 20 in TERA’s closed or open beta, so I don’t know how the end game will be, but I can tell you right now, most players are ignoring open PvP and concentrating on PvE to level up and rightly so. Why spend any time PvPing when it gets you no where?

This is why it’s so refreshing to see what ArenaNet is doing with Guild Wars 2 and creating an open PvP world where all your actions directly effect the world. You’re not killing other players for the hell of it or to ruin their day, your doing it to win the war.

To have a successful open PvP system, the game mechanics really need to be build around it, supporting it and giving meaning to PKing.  Theme-parks by definition are the exact opposite and cannot, and will never create an engaging open PvP system regardless of what developers or publishers say. Open PvP and theme-parks just don’t work together.

TERA Interview – Action Combat, BAMs, PvP and more

19 April 2012 | No Comments » | Mike

We’re back with another interview, this time with Stefan Ramirez of En Masse, who’s the Associate Producer of TERA.  iTZKooPA talks to Stefan about “true action” combat, Argon creatures, BAMs, the upcoming open beta and much more.

During the interview, we learned that TERA does utilize the “Holy Trinity” of healing, tanking and DPS, but puts a little spin on it by offering classes that can accomplish the same roles in different manners. The guys also discuss TERA’s political system and how it will affect other players gameplay experience.

More discussion on the open PvP system and Guild vs Guild wars, which can be as large as 300 vs 300 battles. As well as the Nexus system, which are large scale PvE invasions.

Check out the full TERA interview below.

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Bluehole Studio calls NCsoft a “corporate bully”

19 April 2012 | No Comments » | Mike

On Tuesday, it was reported that ex-NCsoft employees were found guilty of leaking Lineage 3 information and coding to a rival and were sentenced to jail time. It was reported generally by media outlets as a win for NCsoft and implied by some that Bluehole Studio, the makers of TERA, were guilty because of the verdict.

Yesterday Bluehole Studio’s fought back stating they are “NOT guilty“, calling NCsoft a “corporate bully“.

NCsoft is a billion-plus dollar corporation, so they can afford to have a team of high-priced lawyers spin out reasonable-sounding documents. These baseless accusations have led to unfounded rumors, which is disappointing and unfair. But that doesn’t mean the rumors are true.

It is no surprise that the latest spin on the story has it that “TERA is guilty.” That is wrong. For the record, after extensive Korean proceedings, Bluehole Studio was NOT found to have made any use of any NCsoft trade secrets in the form of source code or game design. In fact, TERA didn’t even exist when the Korean case against the former NCsoft employees arose, and neither did En Masse Entertainment. In Korean civil proceedings, Bluehole was also found NOT to have been responsible for the exodus of NCsoft developers.

To our fans and followers, we want to let you all know that we are not going to let a corporate bully or baseless rumor mill derail us from focusing our efforts on delivering TERA to you on May 1, 2012.

BlueHole Studio’s goes on to point out that NCsoft has not filed a motion in the US to prevent the launch of TERA, suggesting they have not done so because the claims that Bluehole used any trade secrets is indeed false.

While the guilty verdict for the ex-NCsoft employees does prove that they did indeed shared trade secrets with Bluehole Studios, it has not yet been proven that Bluehole used any of them.

While the image posted above is from one of the documents submitted to the case and shows many character similarities, really how many different ways is there to draw a elf, high elf, human etc? Half of them don’t even look alike imo other then physical size.

SWTOR Subscription Numbers in Decline says Analyst Group

19 April 2012 | 9 Comments » | Mike

Cowen and Company, an analyst group, has released a new report that states, subscription numbers for Star Wars: The Old Republic have already peaked in February and the game is currently in decline.

The reports states that from the game’s peak of 1.7 million subscribers, it has declined to about 1.25 million at the end of March, based on server statistics provided on TorStatus.net.

The report suggest that the reason for the decline is lack of end-game content. Cowen’s Doug Creutz stated the following,

We believe that the apparent decline in subscribers is most likely due to a lack of ‘end-game’ content for the title, meaning that players who hit the level cap have few compelling options in terms of ongoing game play. While the game got off to a good start, the relatively light amount of end-game content does appear to be taking a toll.

We believe EA is attempting to address the end-game content issue, including a recent major game update, but momentum appears to have stalled and we believe it is prudent to adopt a more conservative forecast on subscribers at this time.

For those of us following SWTOR, this comes at no surprise considering the amount of promotions EA and BioWare have been giving out over the last month.  Checking Xfire stats, you can also clearly see the the decline in activity for the game, although it looks like for April it’s plateaued a bit.

TERA Open Beta Launches in a Few Hours

19 April 2012 | No Comments » | Mike

Today kicks off the start of TERA’s open beta testing phase, with players who pre-purchased the game getting first crack at it.  The open beta event begins in a little over three hours from the time of this post or at 3:00 pm EST.

For those who have not pre-purchased they game, they can participate in the open beta starting tomorrow at the same time and the event will last until Monday the 23rd to 3:00pm EST.

What makes this open beta event different from all the rest is that there will be no character whips afterward, so in essence this is the unofficial head-start for everyone. Players are however limited to level 38 for the beta until the game launches on April 28th in the head-start event, then on May 1st for everyone else.

See you on the battle field.

First Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Announced

18 April 2012 | No Comments » | Mike

ArenaNet tweeted today that the first beta weekend event for Guild Wars 2 is set for April 27th to the 29th.

Right now we know that only players who have pre-purchased the game have guaranteed access to these beta weekends. ArenaNet stated they will post more information about the event tomorrow, so we’ll have to wait until then to find out more info.