Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

PAX 10: Controller hands-on with TERA

5:20 PM on 09.10.2010 // Maurice Tan

After my first experience with TERA at gamescom a few weeks ago, I went from “meh” to “I wouldn’t mind playing this”. Read up on the core mechanics here if you missed it. To see how the game has progressed, I gave it another shot at PAX Prime. After all, I only played it with a mage-type character and only for about half an hour. Luckily, they had some more characters for me to choose from and more importantly: a wired 360 controller!

TERA is supposed to be playable with both mouse and keyboard and a controller, so what better way to try to act like it was a console hack & slash game with a controller and a non-tank melee class? Check out the video below, and read on for my impressions.


There is sadly no audio in this video, so don't bother fiddling with your speakers.

We started the session with a developer playing a healer who can cast area-of-effect healing spells. The spell lingers, so if you miss the initial cast, you can still walk into the spell effect and get a moderate amount of healing. That also takes care of the “do I have to point and heal?” issue some of you raised before. The Mystic class can also heal, although they aren’t fully disclosing information on that class until a later date. So: no shortage of healers.

My character was a Berserker: a melee class focused on dealing damage but not necessarily the strongest in terms of health and armor. We had a tank, an Archer, and some other class I missed the description of while trying to work my head around the controls.

While the mouse and keyboard controls focus around two primary attacks mapped to the mouse buttons and the number and F-keys for other skills, items and buffs, the controller maps the X and B buttons to the two primary attacks. The Y button is for interaction, the A button is for jumping, the Left Trigger is for blocking and the Right Trigger was pre-mapped to a charging attack that dealt the most damage of the available attacks. The left and right bumpers were mapped to quick recovery and dodging jump moves. Finally, the dpad had the F1-F4 keys mapped to it.

Berserker in action

Walking around with a controller felt familiar enough, so I decided to play it like an MMO version of Dynasty Warriors. While a developer directed our party over the headsets, it mostly involved the melee classes going in first and not dying. Easy enough, so I just ran in and mashed X for standard attacks and B for an overhead swing. Dealing melee damage increases a mana bar a la World of Warcraft’s Warrior rage bar, but TERA's bar contained more points and decreased at a slower rate.

For me, the basic gameplay in the play session consisted of filling this mana bar and then charging your power attack with the Right Trigger. However, sometimes you would still be in the swinging animation of an attack or the trigger wouldn’t instantly start the charge. Because you play it with a controller, it’s easy to want to mash buttons and then expect the trigger to work instantly. That didn’t exactly work here because you still have to take the time for each action into account.

While you can work your head around that by more exposure to the gameplay, there were still a few basic controller issues. Going from standing still to walking in the direction you move the analog stick into sometimes made the character run forward or just not the direction you moved towards. There is also no zoom-in/zoom-out mouse wheel option to use on the controller, or none that I could find at the time.

Another issue was blocking. As a melee character you are supposed to block incoming attacks. The blocking sometimes didn’t register when pressing the Left Trigger. Or if you start blocking, it was sometimes a bit of a hassle to get out of the blocking mode. Once again that is probably something you can work your way around by playing it more, but it didn’t feel as responsive as something as, say, Devil May Cry. I couldn’t see what was actually an enemy’s attack or just a character or charging animation either. At least, not before I got hit. So I just decided not to block any smaller enemies and just to dish out damage like there was no tomorrow. I was probably the worst Berserker ever.

Pa-pow!

In fact, while it was easy enough to mob enemies and use the charge attack to demolish groups or single enemies from behind, I managed to die in the dungeon’s boss because of my console ways. Luckily the healer could resurrect me in battle and not all was lost. To be revived, I had to select 'Yes' in a “Do you want to be resurrected?” dialog box that appeared, which struck me as something that would be annoying if you are playing it on the couch with the controller. Or maybe that was just easier for him to do than to say: “Select Yes and press A”.

Overall, the controller controls could probably use some fine tuning. I’m sure playing the game more will help you become more familiar with the timing of your class’s attacks. It will probably depend on the class you are playing with as well. And other than the few responsiveness issues, it worked almost as well as mouse and keyboard controls; just not nearly as well for someone who grew up on PC gaming. At least it’s an option if you want to play it that way. But still, if you give me a controller I am going to mash the shit out of the buttons regardless of how the game works. No wonder I never got high scores in Bayonetta…

A final issue I had with TERA is not really the game’s fault. I sat pretty close to a big monitor and had to take effort to look down at my skill icons to see if they recharged. But because TERA is a much more action oriented game than most games in the MMO genre to date, you find yourself focused on your character rather than your skill list. This lead to a continuous battle for attention between the focus on directing your actions and maintaining situational awareness, and keeping an eye on the interface for feedback on health and recharged skills.

AoE slash

So in a way, in that particular setup, the game’s focus on making the action more immediate and feel more visceral distracts it from the traditional MMO roots of focusing on your skills while keeping the environment more in your peripheral vision. A customized interface that puts the important information around your character should easily overcome that issue though.

While I was not terribly impressed with the how the controller handled right now, the experience was still fun. The graphics and artwork looked a bit better than in the gamescom underground dungeon. Fighting your way through mobs with a party looked great as well, with a lot of skill effects eye candy leading to the near-instant decimation of the smaller mobs.

More importantly, it didn’t feel like managing the party would be a huge hurdle; something that could be a big issue with pick-up groups in an action-oriented MMO. As long as the melee classes know to hold the line, go in first to maintain aggro and have the ranged and healer classes behind them, it works easy enough. Having the healer do area-of-effect heals helps a lot too. So the “stick to your role” method I remember from WoW should work as well here. Then again if you play WoW you probably know it just depends on how smart or retarded your random team mates are, or how willing they are to listen.

Overall TERA still feels like a lot of fun. While it’s not exactly an action game with multiple players, it made me feel more into the game than the mostly detached feeling I had when I played WoW. From the combined experiences, it also seems like it’s a game that is more split into separate dungeons for larger Region-based quests than multiple hour long instances.

Mid-level boss

The dungeon we played at PAX Prime was part of a larger story quest, but one I of course couldn’t care too much about when you only play it for half an hour -- I suppose that is one of the results of having the attention span of a baby sloth. The relatively short dungeons also help if you don’t normally have the time to play MMOs after you get off work or something. Even in the overcrowded MMO market of 2011, I can still see TERA work well.

It might have to compete for available play time with Cataclysm, the new and improved Guild Wars 2, and the far from ready The Old Republic. But at the same time, it’s also a game you can probably easily play side by side with another MMO if you are a fan of the genre. Hell, I could probably play it without it ruining my life alongside the singleplayer games I usually play. Unless I would put in the effort to learn the controls better with a controller though, I can’t see myself moving away from my PC desk.

We’ll see what it all ends up like when the TERA goes into beta and gets its release in 2011.



Maurice Tan,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
The ultimate waifu has been decided scientifically. There is no need to participate in the waifu wars any longer. (I won't tell you who it is until I make my own post of course)
ThePlotHoles avatarThePlotHoles
After being a Dtoid member for more than five years, finally wrote my first real blog post. Thoughts appreciated! http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/ThePlotHoles/-fire-watch-out-moving-past-our-sensitivity-for-spoilers-340096.phtml
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Spent all weekend sick. Missed this show. Ive been wanting to see some Death Magnetic live too. Oh well. Next time. Mainly this song.
Jinx 01 avatarJinx 01
Looks like Titanfall is getting a TV show... not sure why but okay I guess lol. Link in comments.
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
I'm starting to get really excited for the approach of the new FE games! I'm going to revisit Awakening. Are any of the DLCs worth it at all? (AKA what's the deal with the Future Past DLC?)
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Gametrailers 2002-2016 :(
ikiryou avatarikiryou
When the waifu addiction gets out of control
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
It is my father fuckin' birthday. I'm 29 today, now and forever. Everyone knows you stop ageing at 29.
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
Street Fighter 5 is coming out soon umm Dibs
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Too lazy to put all my favorite Pokemon/Personas/Demons in one image, but Shadow Chie is yet another favorite of mine. DOMINATRIX BANANA HEEEEEEAD! :3
True Green Sphere avatarTrue Green Sphere
I like it when comments suddenly spark new blog ideas in your mind.
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
PSA to the collective Waifu / Pokemon / SMT War combatants. [img]http://i.imgur.com/b4nZwbQ.png[/img]
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Downloading Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. It feels a little weird to be installing a game on the Vita that isn't porn, if I'm being perfectly honest.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
There's gonna be enough copies of both Fire Emblem: Birthright and Fire Emblem: Conquest that I shouldn't really feel the need to preorder them at Best Buy, right? I want to get both versions (I buy physical only) and I'm worried they won't have enough.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I see your "favorite Pokemon" and "favorite demon" and raise you a "favorite full party"!
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Man they really blue balled me hard with that Ip Man vs Mike Tyson fight.
Parismio avatarParismio
Well, I did it. I pre-ordered Fire Emblem Fates. Guess who I'm siding with?:
LynxAmali avatarLynxAmali
First Electric Playground and Reviews on the Run, now GameTrailers. Some people just want to watch the world burn. If you excuse me, I'm going to go cry and weep in a corner.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
GameTrailers just announced on Facebook they're shutting down. It's a damn shame, since I rather liked them, despite not agreeing with a lot of what they've said. Best of luck to everyone who worked there.
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
That's a really short campaign Destiny has isn't it? Wow lol
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -