Team Gouki paid a visit to En Masse Entertainment's Seattle HQ and got a first-hand look at TERA for the PC.
TERA, or The Exiled Realm of Arborea, is an MMORPG and En Masse wants you to put an "A" in front of that for Action. Team Gouki took a break from the madness of the PAX show floor to head over to En Masse Entertainment's HQ for a glimpse into what that means. First, let's get this out of the way, TERA has already been released in South Korea (home of developer Bluehole Studio) and is being localised for the N.A. and Euro markets.
As we arrived at En Masse, we were shown into the conference room and seated at computers with different class names labeled on each. As we were the first group in, we were given a choice as to what we wanted to play as. I chose the sorcerer, a high damage but low health "glass cannon" type. FnJimmy chose the archer, a ranged damage class. One of the guys from En Masse would play as the Mystic (healer) class to keep all of us n00bs alive for the demo. Typically, one of their staff would play as the tank as well, but we had a full room, so to maximize the available PCs another member of the gaming press was seated at the tank station.
There are a total of eight classes (to start) for TERA; two healers, two tanks, and four damage classes. You probably need at least one tank and one healer in your party if you want to do well against the tougher enemies or raids.
After we were given a brief overview of the game mechanics and story, we jumped right in to the game. What makes TERA an "Action" MMORPG is that you have to aim and move (and dodge) in real time. The fights are more Mass-Effect like, just with a bunch more options. I had opened up the menu to look at what my spells did, since the icons were unfamiliar, most of the others in the group had done the same or were playing around with the dodge mechanic in the empty hallway leading into the room full of monsters. Not FnJimmy. No, he had to go all LEEEROY JENKINNNNS!!! on us and rush into the action where he agro a bunch of monsters and drew them back into the narrow hallway where we were all standing. Actual quote from the En Masse staff: "That's not good, I'd be surprised if you survived this." Fuckin' Jimmy!
I stood rear guard and killed some of the monsters that were chasing FnJimmy down the hall while the rest of the group cleared the door so we could get into the large room we were supposed to be fighting in. We made it, barely. Now it was time for a boss fight, TERA allows you to combo chain your attacks together when they connect, I quickly learned that my standard attack (a fireball) could be chained off of the #4 spell on my keyboard (an electrical ball attack that was slow) and allow a follow-up ice bomb. These follow up combos were done by simply pressing the spacebar after your first move connected (provided your cross hairs were still on target) and increased in damage massively. I was taking off 11,000+ points of damage on the boss every time. Our tank player was good at keeping the boss's attention away from us weaker characters and the healer kept him alive and the rest of us buffed up. We dropped the boss without anyone dying. Sweet.
GoukiJones then subbed in for FnJimmy to get a taste of the archer, I kept playing. We went to fight another boss who had minions he would summon periodically. It was a fierce battle that took the remainder of our time, but we came out on top, again with zero deaths. First group to do that according to the En Masse staff, and we did it without their tank!
Honestly, TERA was a big surprise for me at PAX, because I'm not a huge MMO fan. Adding the "Action" to it made a huge difference, and I liked what I saw of this more than I did of SW:TOR (although this was the third show where I've seen TOR, I played it over 15 months ago at E3 2010, so maybe I'm just tired of looking at it, seriously release that shit already).
The folks at En Masse are putting a lot into the end-game of TERA as well, there will be elections and cross-server invasions (or defense depending on what side you're on I guess). I don't know how much of that I'll be into, PvP was never my thing on RPGs.
TERA is scheduled to be released in North America and Europe in Spring 2012.