TERA guild PvP preview

TERA's open beta came to close Sunday night, but the early access period for everyone that pre-purchased the action-focused MMORPG starts up this weekend. We'll be livestreaming a lot of our review process and will be making frequent updates on the site as we play through the game for review to let you know what we think as we go. In the meantime, here's a preview of the good times we had in open world PvP on the dev servers. This article was originally published in PCG US 226.

I'm ambushed—there's five of 'em—get here fast!” Brian Knox, TERA's lead producer, shouts to our guild (currently consisting of just four developers and me) inside En Masse's Seattle-based studio. I'm visiting for the day to play the latest build of the upcoming MMORPG that prides itself on its action combat, and a rival guild just caught us with our pants down.

Stefan Ramirez, TERA's associate producer, and I had been meandering around camp while the rest of our group ran ahead. As we race over the hill on our steeds to reinforce our battered allies, Ramirez explains that guilds can declare war on each other anytime they please in TERA, like this guild's just done to us. The war lasts for 24 hours and lets members of both guilds attack each other on sight almost anywhere in the world. Points are tallied for kills and, at the end of the 24-hour period, the guild with the most points is declared the victor.

We round the corner and find a bloodbath. Ramirez and I charge into the fray with a pathetic battle cry, but the swords of my Castanic Warrior and the heals of Ramirez's Barakan Priest can't keep up with Mork, the massive brute bloodletting our entire team. Ice spikes explode at my feet, arrows land in my chest. We have to retreat to nurse our wounds around the outpost's campfire.

We use the minute or so it takes to recharge our stamina meters to full (so our stats don't suffer from a death penalty) to talk over our strategy. We want the blood of Mork. He's the guild leader, so he's worth 10 points in our GvG war, while everyone else is worth just one.

Our enemies loiter outside town, taunting us. I charge straight at Mork, but soon notice that it's really the Sorcerer dancing around the edges of the battle that's their heavy hitter. His slim elfish figure and flimsy robes make him look delightfully squishy.

I use my evasive roll to get right next to him, but he summons a patch of ice spikes under me and teleports across it, keeping his distance while taking pot shots at my healer. I'm the tank; it's my job to reduce the amount of damage my group takes, and—since I can't force players to target me in PvP—the best way to do that seems to be to keep this jerk busy. I charge across the icy patch and release a terrifying roar that stuns the Sorcerer for a few seconds, buying Ramirez time to recover.

He makes a break for it as soon as my stun lifts and we continue our game of cat-and-mouse across the war-torn meadow. My Warrior's mobility lets me keep up with the slipperiest of enemies, and my damage is strong enough that they can't afford to sit still and let me beat on them. (The game's other tank class, the Lancer, plays a more traditional defensive role, using his large shield and the game's collision detection to keep enemies at bay.)

In his haste to escape, the Sorcerer teleported a little too far—right into a pack of tiny dragons being shepherded by two beefy giants. Suddenly it's a three-sided fight, and both teams are hoping that the other side will draw the aggression of the NPCs.

For the next five minutes, our guilds do battle among the fields and ancient ruins of TERA's beautiful world. Mork falls; we cheer. That pesky Sorcerer drops, and we cheer louder—and then groan as Mork charges back into the fray on his massive warhorse, two giant axes at the ready.

Bad move, Mork. He'd forgone regenerating his stamina in town because he knew his team was in trouble, but that made him easy prey for our now-coordinated team. Mork bit the dust a second time—another 10 points in the guild-war tally—quickly followed by the rest of his team. It was tough, but by the end, our guild stood victories, with 52 points amassed towards winning our guild-vs-guild war. More importantly, we'd earned bragging rights on the server.