Well it seems Tor is not alone with this year’s layoffs (you could say 38 studios as well but that was more of an implosion) and to be honest I was a little sad upon hearing the news. Not at Tor, that failship is beyond hope in my mind but about EnMasse. I really enjoyed the base game, more so then many I have tried as the combat felt active and was quite fun when you got used to it. I felt truly engaged while healing whether it be in PvP or the 16th run of the same dungeon, even gw2 is a poor substitute for that.
Tera’s issues are actually pretty similiar to Tor’s in a sense as they both had this huge disconnect between the leveling experience and endgame, check out an article at Battle Chicken for a decent rundown. Though to give ToR a little credit Tera’s was far more limited and stifling. Upon getting to endgame after enjoying the open world feel of bams and PvP we were greeted with a brick wall of content, I say “content” but in no way in this day and age does gear grind equal content
With the way enchanting worked as well it meant running these same 2 dungeons maybe 50 times, sometimes less other times taking it to extreme amounts. RNG is a harsh mistress. But wait then you have hardmode’s of the same 2 dungeons… Enough to send even the most hardened of criminals into fits of madness (hmm maybe that’s how trolls are born).
Also I would have to say the whole Nexus debacle, let’s PvE in a frame by frame slideshow for PvP gear, was far worse then any implementation of Illum ever could have been. Seriously what in gods name were they thinking.
Please take note future developers, if you release an mmo with an endgame that involves banging ones head into a brick wall repeatedly, over and over, you will fail… In a blazing fireball of destruction. It really is just not enough anymore in this market as people expect more and have a plethora of options that have more. Simple gimmicks are not enough and will not save you from mass exodus. Refine the fundamentals, enough that it matters and remember your trying to create a virtual world, not a virtual experience… Fluff matters more then you would think.
I think that these layoffs at EnMasse matter a lot less for the future of Tera then it appears. From my own experience it didn’t really seem like EnMasse had much of an influence in the development cycle, most of the current content and that in development seems to come from Bluehole.. scratch that, All of it comes from Bluehole. To be honest I don’t even know how much their input even matters as too the direction of future changes and content, they proclaimed there abilities and importance in the process but I am sure any Publisher would do the same. All that I really saw Enmasse be involved in was the westerniztion process which involved translation, quest streamlining and giving Elin diapers. Looking back at it they really do appear to be rather irrelevant in the process and more like a community management firm then an actual game development studio.
FtP or Not FtP, that is the question
The leveling grind while steep nearing the end was still enjoyable and is not a bad thing per say as it is while leveling I made some great contacts exactly becasue of the leveling mechanics but I cannot see this translating well to the ftp scene. Ftp games pretty much require a casual aesthetic wherein there is a better sense of pick up and play, as well as gaining some sort of progression with limited time. People want to level in a certain rate and with only a few hours to play here and there, and that just is not Tera.
Another negative against Tera going ftp is that it isn’t very solo friendly. By and large the majority of people in the FtP scene enjoy a more streamlined single player experience, this is where Tor will do perfectly (there monotonization strategy not so much) and Tera will not. No one is arguing that mmo’s are always better played together but when your market is likely to flit between products constantly they will likely not have a consistent group to play with. Also with limited time being available for each product, finding a partner or group is often not possible and the person is more likely to do it alone.
While in ToR you could skip every single piece of group combat without it inhibiting you too much, In Tera this is really not advised. BAM’s are the single best mechanic Tera has on offer, not only are these some of the best combat available they also help you learn many of the boss mechanics you’ll face later on. Also gear has a tremendous effect on your leveling experience with greater amount of survivability and damage and you get a few nice pieces from the BAM quests. Tera also gets extremely unfriendly for those wanting to solo later on in the leveling experience as mobs get a lot harder, especially for certain classes as they have a lot more health and greater damage potential.
Lastly Tera has a High Learning curve, there is no easy to learn part when your tackling the harder content.. either learn or die. While the starting area is quite an easy introduction in terms of learning what skills do and the difficulty of the monsters it in no way prepares you for whats in store later. You need to be very active and tackling the BAMS or dungeons will usually mean having to learn the many little tells the monsters have inferring an attack, miss any of these later on and the likelihood of death is high. Fights require constant attention and are constantly evolving requiring thought, it is even very beneficial to have extensive keybinding and I don’t see this style of combat transferring well to a FtP market.. not in the slightest.
I can see Tera eking out an existence for some time yet, the combat has a decent pull and the world is enjoyable enough but even I know that those who would support a FtP game through fluff purchases like clothing would not be ones to even touch Tera with a ten foot pole. Subscription is fine for now and if they improve the user experience and expand on endgame content, maybe remove a bit of the grind and smooth out the insane gear scaling they might just pull back a few more subscribers.
See you space kitty
Well considering the impending doom (ahh how i love the exaggerated nature of the interwebz,) I did what any self respecting oversized gerbil would and headed to the beach looking for some swimmers. I didn’t feel like grinding mobs and boxes so I bought one off a friendly little person who had a spare.
It was funny going back and still seeing a quite lively community chatting up a storm in chat and there was even a few guild community events happening on the beach side. I would honestly go back to Tera in a heartbeat if they created some decent systems like I posted here but sadly the developer focus seems to be on dungeons and highly inflated gear stats. I have actually held off selling my account for that exact reason even though those I played with have mostly sailed of too brighter pastures with a nice $400 in their pocket. It seems they are still doing perfectly fine going from the server list so my account will probably be safe for a while yet. Hopefully one day I may feel the need to sub again but in the mean time, Tera… I wish you well.