So-called "action" combat is the norm in the latest crop of MMORPGs, but just two years ago it was largely TERA that showed us how well it could work for the genre. En Masse Entertainment hopes to recover some of that magic in its upcoming TERA: Fate of Arun expansion, which bumps the level cap up to 65 and whisks the game's often scantily clad denizens off to the continent of Northern Arun to fight a "soul-sucking bloodmage army."
Speaking to PC Gamer exclusively, En Masse tells us we'll get to see Highwatch, the home city of the Barakan race. I'm excited about the new location; I've always had a soft spot from the rocky folk. Players will also spend their time freeing the native Khirians and (if the teaser images En Masse provided serve as any indication) fighting some Galactus-sized tough guy who wears a crown resembling the logo from Magic 2013.
TERA's been one of the better looking MMOs since it released, and the two screenshots we received show that TERA's Korean developer Bluehole Studio plans to maintain this legacy. Highwatch itself stars in one, nestled next to towering mountains and looking all the world like it'd be right at home in the place of a Dwemer ruin in Skyrim. The other showcases a Guwangi village in Savage Reach— a lush tropical zone seemingly crammed with the kind of dense vegetation MMO developers tend to avoid.
But Fate of Arun isn't just about good looks and a new story with associated quests; En Masse also tells us that we'll see new zones, skills, dungeons, gear, and a new PvP battleground. Notably absent from this account is any mention of new classes or playable races, although I'll maintain hope that En Masse includes these in its promise of "vast systematic improvements to the gameplay experience." Considering that the new Reaper class already appeared earlier this year, that seems unlikely.
"It’s been an incredible two years since TERA first launched in North America,” said En Masse Entertainment Producer Patrick "Treeshark" Sun in the accompanying press release. "Fate of Arun will be, without a doubt, the biggest addition to the world of TERA new and returning players have ever seen—and we’re excited to reveal more details in the upcoming weeks."
TERA went free-to-play in February of last year following nine months in the North American market, after which it rebranded itself as TERA: Rising. It boasts one of the more agreeable MMO free-to-play models around, as you can hack and slash your way through most of its signature BAMs (big ass monsters) without spending a penny. No release date has been set for the expansion, which is TERA's first since its launch in 2012.