Tight Gameplay And Ambitious Politics
by Adam Biessener on Jun 09, 2011 at 11:21 AM
Platform PC
Publisher En Masse Entertainment
Developer Bluehole Studios
Rating Mature

Don’t write Tera off as another rush-job mediocre Korean import because of its art style. This action-oriented MMO is doing a lot more than your standard issue trans-Pacific title.

Tera’s gameplay is closer to Monster Hunter than World of Warcraft. You don’t lock onto targets and there’s little auto-aim. Whether your attacks connect is determined by where you swing your sword or launch a fireball, not whether the dice rolling under the hood came up in your favor. You’re still activating abilities off of hotkeys, managing cooldowns, and following branching skill chains as you fight, but manual dodging and targeting add a lot of tension to battle. The five-player boss fight I participated in on the E3 show floor was an absolute blast.

New at E3 this year were details on Tera’s political system. Players can become Vanarchs by being voted into office by their fellow gamers or by being the best on the server at group-based PvP battlegrounds. As Vanarch of a province, you get to set and collect taxes, imprison characters you don’t like, set up specialty shops, and hook up yourself and your guild with unique mounts. You can even turn on free-for-all PvP in your domains if you don’t want any carebears hanging around being useless.

To remain in office, though, you need to earn policy points. Like gaining your title in the first place, these can be obtained through excellence in combat (completing difficult group quests like in the E3 demo) or from your fellow players – if you’re governing a province to everyone’s liking, they can lend you their support in the form of policy points.

Tera also has something called an Exarch, who is lord of an entire continent. En Masse only teased that feature’s existence, though, and declined to give any details.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Tera at E3 this year. The interface has come a long way since the last time I saw it, and the gameplay is tight and responsive. Policy points seem like a reasonable approach to retaining political office, and the whole politics system sounds on paper like a decent compromise between Eve’s free-for-all madness and the rigidly structured theme park approach of World of Warcraft and its imitators. Tera is the best MMO on the floor at E3 2011 in my book.

Tera comes out on PC later in 2011.

Curious to see the game in action? Check out our exclusive video preview from earlier this year.

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