Editors Note: This guest article was written by Beararms.
During PAX Prime 2011, I was given the chance to sit down (finally), and try out En Masse and Bluehole Studio’s new MMORPG, “TERA.” TERA takes place on the world by the same name where the Amani, Barakas, Castanics, High Elves, Humans, Poporis and Elins have gathered together to fight against the Argons.
As Mordil and iTZKooPA conducted their interview (coming up soon), I was offered the chance to join a few of my PAX media brethren in playing one of TERA‘s many dungeons, “The Necromancers Cell.” The developers sat me swiftly down in a room with three other media members, and one of the developers then briefly explained that the dungeon we were in was one that is found sometime later in the game, and that we would be going after one of the bosses in the dungeon.
As fate would have it, I would be providing the role of the tank, playing as an Amani Lancer. The Lancer class is one of the eight classes you can play in TERA, sporting heavy armor, an over-sized shield, and of course, a lance. I was pretty sure that this guy could take more than few blows. The team was a classic five-man team consisting of me as the tank, the three other PAX media members as the DPS, and the developer playing the role of the healer.
As we started, one of the first things I noticed was TERA‘s amazing art style and smooth textures, although we were in a dark and “spooky” dungeon, everything just looked top notch – even each character’s armor looked very in-depth and detailed. As we started our first pull to get us accustomed to the controls of the game and to get a general feel for it, I realized that this was not like any other MMO I had played before.
First off, there was no auto attack. I had to click the left mouse key to do my basic jabs at the enemy mixed in with a few hot-keyed abilities to gain aggro and do some damage. Next, and probably what I found most amazing, is that I actually needed to use my shield. The game wouldn’t decide when my character would get a block, I had to press a key to time putting up my shield to block enemy attacks in front of me.
Another item I noticed and found really intuitive, is that after using certain abilities — such as doing successful blocks with my shield — the game would pop up an icon for an ability that combos with your previous attack, and made it quick to use by only tapping the spacebar; making the game easy to pick up, and streamlined to play. However, sometimes you have to be quick or you’ll miss your chance to unleash a devastating onslaught.
The game had that extra “umph” to its realism with a stamina bubble that loses potency as your encounters continue on. The more stamina you lose, the less damage you do. Lucky for us, we had a few stamina potions on hand, so we were ready.
As we moved on from the group of practice dummies, we were faced with the dungeon’s boss in all his terrifying glory, but we charged into the room with unwavering determination regardless. The boss fight was a fairly decent beginning encounter, containing some generic, basic boss mechanics, such as “don’t stand in the black goo” and “pull the boss away from the lightning-spewing-creatures that the boss spawns.”
After going through a few most intense and excruciating minutes of this, the boss eventually went down; even though we suffered a few casualties. However, the developers were not done with us. A sly smile crept across their faces as we ventured off into corridor that lead us to an even bigger and more menacing boss.
We were confident that nothing could stop us. To our dismay, this boss fight proved to be a bit more of a challenge. The boss liked to move away and pounce from a distance, challenging me to time my shield blocks precisely and to use my stuns at every chance I could get.
At one point in the fight our healer was taken as a casualty, and all seemed lost. But apparently the need to not fail at their own demo was too great, and the dev tapped into his GM powers to “miraculously” come back to life. Almost 10-15 long, brutal minutes of this later, we managed to succeed in slaying the foul beast, and proceeded to all shake hands in congratulations.
Overall, I have to say I’m really excited for TERA to be released so I can get my hands on its fresh new play-style; which will appeal to a lot of players looking for something new in the MMO community.
Continue to look for our PAX Prime 2011 coverage here at Lore Hound as we roll out our interviews, including one from En Masse Entertainment.