The award-winning Berlin based publisher Frogster is about to unleash their latest creation on an expectant gaming public. We get the exclusive interview with European Community Manager Christian Witte on all things Frogster and their forthcoming MMORPG extravaganza TERA.
Hello everyone, my name is Christian “Raven” Witte and I’m working as a Community Manager for TERA in Europe. Besides answering interviews like this I’m currently working on new and regular content for the website, cooperation’s with fansites, guilds and many more stuff for TERA and the Closed Beta in Europe.
Unlike Mythos, TERA is a new direction for MMO’s and the genre, so much so that the Official TERA website at (www.tera-europe.com) has the quote “The first true action MMO” on it. What makes the game so different?
Well to be very honest, that is hard to explain. TERA is different to the classic MMO and at the same time it is a classic MMO. While the features and systems in the game provide the users with all the experience a MMO has to give, the combat system is quite unique. To play TERA feels like getting involved into an MMO and that is a feeling I never had before I saw TERA for the first time. Normally players have the option to target-lock an enemy and then just click keys 1-9 to launch skills, which will hit the enemy anyway. The combat system of TERA is a “True Action” system. We will not force players anymore, with the in some cases boring classical combat system. In TERA you will really experience story as well as the combat. As a Sorcerer e.g., you need to use your crosshair for aiming and also need to evade actively. This opens a complete new world of tactics, strategies and group play. At the same time you will see thrilling fights and all the time your personal skill is a great source of power. TERA will feature also non-target-combat what means that e.g. a Sorcerer uses a very slow moving magical spell, so there is a chance that the enemy will step aside or run out of range and the spell won’t hit the target. So yes, if you are good and skilled you can try to evade the monsters attack. But be prepared that it is maybe not the best idea to directly face the boss monsters.
Despite the fact that RoM was released to great reviews there remains some members of the gaming press who are harsh in their criticism of the title, citing server issues as the main problem. Will gamers see a fresh approach from Frogster and put the ‘doom and gloom merchants’ in their place at last?
Well we understand and to be very honest, we highly appreciate that the press is always very open and direct. In our opinion, this is a great source of feedback and chance to prove that we are always listening and that we are able to change things. We don’t want to create a Marketing bubble or something similar. We don’t want to use phrases and promise things which are really unrealistic. The best ways to convince people to play a game is just by creating a cool gameplay experience and provide good feedback and support. So you always have to improve what you are doing. And that is exactly what we are planning to do with TERA, provide everyone who is interested with the best possible experience we can offer. To guarantee this for TERA we work very closely together with our developer Bluehole Studio as well as with the high skilled people of En Masse. All three companies together build a very good combination of experienced gaming veterans from different territories with different specializations. So yes, we can tell everyone out there that TERA will have stabile servers, that TERA will provide world-wide support and many other things to its players.
The game promises to deliver high action gaming and use the Unreal Engine 3 to bring a far more detailed and grittier experience to the player. Will TERA light the way for the future of the genre by setting new high standards for other developers to aspire too?
TERA is without a doubt one of the next Generation MMOs out there. Bluehole didn’t just use the Unreal Engine 3, they modified and improved it. That is the reason why it is not only looking brilliant, at the same time, it fits to the very special needs of an MMO. We also have some very detailed character models, animations and another great feature is the huge draw distance of TERA. Players will be able to see buildings which are far away but still reachable and that means, if you see it, you can reach it. While TERA is one of best looking games as a RPG, there is much more to a MMO than the graphics. That’s why the game includes not only a nice crafting system, special guild housing, a huge and fantastic world, achievement system, enchantment and socket system, it also includes real huge and new features like the political system and many other features. But to be honest, to really understand what I am talking about you have to experience this new and at the same time be very familiar kind of game play by yourself. We don’t want that you just believe us, we will prove it.
Can you give our readers an insight into the World/Universe of TERA? What is the background to the title?
Well I don’t think that it is really possible to sum up the complete background story of TERA in just a couple of sentences. So it is all about gods, war and evil races which are trying to invade an innocent land. The players will start their adventures on a “small” island called the Island of Dawn. The reason why I put small into quotation marks is that it is small in TERA dimensions. But even this part of the world has enough content for a couple of hours of game play. Anyway, this Island has just emerged and players now need to investigate it in the first place. One of the biggest threads for all mortal creatures in TERA will be this evil race I talked about earlier, the Argons who came directly from the Underworld. The Argons want to wipe out all life on the surface. That’s why all races in the World of TERA decided to join a temporary alliance called Valkyon Federation to fight against the Argons. As the background story behind TERA is really complex, we suggest, that any interested player read about it on our website (www.tera-europe.com) in detail.
En Masse has been quoted as promising that TERA will offer gamers a region free experience, once the main title has been purchased of course. Can you confirm this?
To be honest even if we had to discuss it, the decision was very fast. We really believe in TERA and for what TERA stands for. So we really think that we have to provide all players the opportunity to play with their friends wherever they are. Because of this there won’t be any IP restriction for TERA, if players from North America want to play together with their Friends in Europe, they can buy the EU version of TERA and access the servers and vice versa.
TERA utilises a revolutionary new combat system offering players a totally unique experience. Moves such as attack, block and evade are all there in the MMORPG for the first time. Can you give us any hints to the type of combat that players can expect to face?
I have to tell you that the combat system of TERA is very special. It is neither a usual MMO combat system nor a shooter system. It combines different aspects and builds something new. We already experienced that it is very hard to explain but so far everyone who tested it was very happy. You can use different spells, don’t have to lock targets, you can evade if you want or block the enemy. Bluehole worked quite long on balancing and the speed of combat and they did quite a good job in my opinion. So like I told you before you really should test it and then you will understand.
Unlike Mythos, TERA is not a free to play title. Can you tell us the reason behind the decision to make TERA a subscription based game?
The game play possibilities of P2P games and F2P are in some cases very different. TERA has been developed from the scratch forward as a pay to play game. We really believe that a high-class title like TERA really needs to be P2P. The game will be released with a subscription model in every territory, this includes Korea and North America as well. With many years in development, features like a unique combat system and impressive graphics, as well as some more great features (guild housing and a political system, as an example), TERA comes as a clear Triple A MMORPG.
When can fans of the games expect to get a little ‘hand on’ time with the much anticipated titles?
I expected this question a little bit earlier but finally here it is. Well many people would like to have a hands-on at the moment. That is the reason why we use events like Gamescom and Paris Games Week to grant users early access to an early version. It is always good to be registered in the boards to keep informed about beta planning’s and all this stuff. We’ll further hold a special Closed Beta for TERA, most likely later this year or in the beginning of 2011. While the release is set to 2011.
At the recent Gamescom expo in Cologne Frogster’s exhibition had such offerings as a Metal Band and a Playboy model? Your idea? And if so, good job to you sir!
Thank you very much, but at Frogster there is no real single person. We are working in a team and taking care of each other. That is the reason why most of the crazy and sometimes some good ideas came from brainstorming and team meetings. One of our internal goals is that we always want to offer a huge variety of shows at conventions, this includes stuff like cooperation’s with bands like van Canto and other special activities and contests. Even if I’ll for sure forward your great feedback to the responsible persons at Frogster I have to add that everyone at Frogster was very happy with the Gamescom because we saw that the community enjoyed it and our booth. That is the reason why we are going to conventions.
I am really looking forward to hear more from you guys and I really appreciate your interest in TERA. At the same time I would like to thank our community for such great support that we had at Gamescom . Thank you, Christian Witte.
Well, ‘Raven’ we thankyou sir, for a fine quality interview and an absolutely top quality title to look forward too. We will be waiting with baited breath for the games arrival and will happily be bringing the full game review to our avid RPG readers upon the launch of this cracking title.
For further details and announcements regarding TERA then make sure that you join the Frogster team at their dedicated TERA website and you can also sign up for the TERA newsletter.