During a GDC 2012 meeting with En Masse Entertainment, the team talked heavily about the work that has -- and continues -- to be put into preparing TERA for its North American release. We've covered the game a handful of times already, and it's still shaping up quite nicely for an expanded audience.
I got to play Temple of Temerity, a late-game survival mission where we had to protect a crystal from oncoming waves of enemies. To keep our spirits high when defeat inevitably arrived, the developers were quick to point out that players would be familiar with mechanics and strategies by the time they reached this point in TERA, and that this was supposed to be a real challenge. Needless to say, we did not win.
In fact, the folks from En Masse admitted that only a few groups were able to clear Temerity. To make us feel a little better, they also said that, well, we certainly weren't the worst performers GDC had seen. Great! Way to beat the stereotype about press members sucking at games!
This type of wave-based mission is hardly new, but TERA's approach used a few interesting elements -- like explosive barrels and spike traps, given at key times -- to keep players actively engaged. The session felt more like I was playing an action game than anything else, especially since I tried the run using a gamepad, which was nicely implemented.
It seems clear that using a mouse and keyboard is the better way to go for efficiency, but opting to use a controller (for comfort's sake, or whatever other reason) is a surprisingly viable alternative. Much thought went into implementing both control schemes, and for that I am thankful.
As someone who tends to dislike typical MMO combat, TERA felt much more enjoyable thanks to its play style. Being thrown into such high-level content at GDC was a bit jarring, but I could tell that it'd be a blast to play with a solid group of friends in a real-world setting. Look for the game on May 1, 2012.