Preface for the article: As some of you may or may not know, I like TERA Online. I love the combat style and the visual appeal of the world, and the story I’ve been able to read about so far. But it’s far from a perfect game, so I unwittingly created a monster of a post over on the official forums. I think it actually does a pretty decent job of showing just how you can have two races that are very similar in outlook and goals be different in personality and psychology, and how you can express that similarity with subtle differences, or showcase how to refer to a characters origin and tell a little bit of backstory using racial skills. What follows is my original post, word for word, showing my thoughts on the matter. It’s a little wordy, but it gets the job done pretty well. I’d love to add some images, but it keeps breaking the format. I managed to sneak one in though, so let me know if you find it.

Okay, I’ve been mulling this over for awhile. Think I’ve finally got everything sorted out. As a warning, this post is kinda huge, so I’m adding a simple table of contents to keep everything sorted.

[1] Basis
[2] Using similar, but different, racials
[3] Elin racial ideas
[4] Popori racial ideas

I do not think Popori and Elin having the exact same racials does either race justice, both from a lore stand point and a thematic stand point. To start with, let’s look at each race:

[1]
Elin:
Elin are the only non-standard biological race of TERA, being created by a god or goddess shaping fragments of divine essence with the essence of nature, building up a reflection of the goddess Elinu. Elin tend to act differently than other mortal races, with a more long term and environmental perspective and a very dark streak to their humor (Death only being a natural part of natural cycle).

Popori:
Popori are born as every day creatures of the world, which are then selected and elevated to sentience by an individual Elin. Popori take on a more rounded and humanoid shape, but their minimalistic origins and thoughts are still present. Popori share a similar vision and goal with the Elin, but tend to be more jovial, caring somewhat more for the listener than the distanced Elin.

That’s the broad and basic breakdown of the two races I’ve used to construct my ideas. Each has a similar origin, but have different birth methods and components. Elins are of Nature (all inclusive) while Popori are from Nature (only part of Nature, not the whole), and their respective racial traits should reflect this. My proposed changes will come in two ways; One way will be keeping the same skillset, but tweaking the effects to better differentiate the races, while the other will be a removal of one or two skills to create, what I feel is, a better overall fit to the race’s profile.

[2]
Same Skillset:

To keep the same skillset, the first talent we’re going to look at is the skill Soothing Presence. This skill prevents monsters from making preemptive attacks, but slows the caster by 40% and lasts for one minute. Any attack or item used will break the effect. I’d like to see this skill broken into two different ones depending on the race selected, to help differentiate how each interacts with the natural world.

(Elin) Soothing Presence:
Cast Time: Instant
Cooldown: One Hour
Monsters do not make preemptive attacks, but movement speed is slowed by 30% for one minute. Any use of items or attacks will break the effect early.

Reasoning: As a baseline, Elin are the core of the natural balance as opposed to any individual piece, and should be able to calm any natural creature in her presence, for a short time at least. Their presence should be shown as something of a stable force, able to tip the balance in her favor when near natural animals. The original did a good job of showing this, so the tweak is mostly to differentiate further from the Popori skill.

(Popori) Forgotten Instincts:
Cast Time: Instant
Cooldown: One Hour
Popori recall their ability to avoid startling prey, slowing movement speed by 45% for two minutes and thirty seconds while preventing enemy monsters from making preemptive attacks. Any use of items or attacking will break the effect early.

Reasoning: As far as I can tell, nearly all of the Popori base-animal types involve either predators or animals so far down the food chain, stealth would be paramount to survival. Both prey and predator alike learn from an early age in the natural world how to stealthy approach or retreat from another creature to avoid alerting it of their presence, and buried instincts die hard. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to have the Popori revive those instincts, but be unable to carry out for long given their new found form.

One version has the Elin walking at a brisk pace along the natural world, bringing if not peace than a dangerous aura with them. Being part of the whole, their racial ability should reflect this, but be shooter lived as creatures could easily become more emboldened the longer they observe the Elin. The Popori on the other hand, move slower as they tap into more primal instincts available to them, creeping by and using their previously learned skills to prevent alerting nearby creatures. Popori would be able to be ‘stealthed’ as it were for longer, since, thematically, they are avoiding any monsters scrutinizing gaze.

Alternatively (or additionally if you desire), the skill Horizon Run could be repurposed to display the subtle difference in the racial mindset. As it is:

Horizon Run:
Cast Time: Instant
Cooldown: Thirty Minutes
Increases run speed by 20% for 3 minutes outside of combat.

To change this simple skill to better show how the two races would be different…

(Elin) Horizon Run*:
Cast Time: Instant
Cooldown: Thirty Minutes
Increase run speed by 20% for 3 minutes outside of combat.

(Popori) Horizon Run*:
Cast Time: Instant
Cooldown: Thirty Minutes
Increase run speed by 15% for 2 minutes seconds inside of combat.

(* I’m not even going to pretend I’m good at coming up with names, but this one honestly left me stumped for anything that would even sound decent as a replacement for either race. My apologies.)

Reasoning: While the two races are very similar, they would appear to have different reactions to combat and the general flow around them. While Elin would quickly and easily run towards an engagment with full force, their movements once inside of battle would probably very tight and contained, to extend the length of time they are able to fight. Popori on the other hand, would probably exhibit traits closer to normal mammals, eliciting a stronger Fight-or-Flight response once engaged in combat, scurrying about and attempting to get into the best position, and more than likely not giving thought to the excess energy being spent.

Either one (or both!) serves as an example and suggestion for how to split the races into two different but similar abilities, and in such a way that shows how entwined the two races are while also highlighting their differences. Anything could be semantically changed as long as the subtle difference is still there.

Next, there is the matter of simply creating new skills all together. While I’m going to present two for each race, I think it would be best if only one completely different skill was implemented for each, again to show just how tight-knit the two races of Elin and Popori are. So, starting with the Elin, let’s throw out a couple ideas.

[3]
Elin:

Nature’s Fury:
Cast Time: Instant
Cooldown: One Hour
Increases damage dealt by 15% for 25 seconds, but also increases damage taken by 7% while in effect.

Reasoning: Nature is a very harsh mistress, able to bring her full force to bear with no regard for loss. A land-slide might take away part of a mountain in the end, but that doesn’t make the fall itself any less deadly. I don’t think Elin are shown to be quite as aggressive or defensive as they should be in their racial skill set. Creating a defensive skill would be simple; just flip the effect and add a new name, but above all I think the Elin should be shown not as a biological force, but rather a supernatural force. Literally, the physical and living aspect of the world and it’s inhabitants, rather than simply as another creature walking the world. They are set up as the essence of pure nature, let’s show it in their racials!

Endless Cycle:
Cast Time: Instant
Cooldown: Thirty Minutes
Consumes all of the Elin’s mana, healing her for 3% of her total life for every 10% of total mana consumed.

Reasoning: Another attempt at bringing across a more long term feeling of nature rather than a mammalian feeling. As nature goes, it is fairly straight forward. When something dies, something else is given life. The cycle of life and death continues for eternity. Either by showing the death of one (mana) and the boon of life (health regen), or by showing that nature can heal on her own time. There are a couple of ways to take this ability.

Those are the two main thoughts I had for the Elin. So far it seems like there is a slight rift in the lore and the presentation, using ‘nature’ as a substitute for ‘mammal spirit.’ I’d like to at least see if that can be changed a little bit, bringing a little more life to Elin as physical instruments of nature as a whole. My ideas are by no means perfect, but will hopefully serve as a launch point to get a little more ‘umph’ to our favorite little sprites while differentiating them from their similar-but-distinct kin, the Popori.

[4]
Popori:

Cornered Animal:
[Passive]
Increases damage by 5% when under 30% of total health.

Reasoning: Like the Elin, I don’t think the Popori really have their origins expressed in their racial abilities. Something simple but noticable once it becomes active, this would hopefully give the impression of a wounded animal who is not ready to bite it just yet. Creatures of all sizes fight harder and longer when on the verge of defeat, as the desire to live is always strong. Hopefully, this would also encourage more risk/reward play in gutsy players who are confidant in either their ability to mitigate damage or keep their health pools in the ‘sweet-spot’ to maximize damage.

Wild Spirit:
[Passive]
Increases resistance to disabling effects.

Reasoning: As far as the wording goes, the Baraka version seems to effect movement-impairing effects, so sorry if this is an accidental repeat. Natural animals are hard to slow, but harder still to disable (unless you cheat and use something nasty), so it goes hand in hand that Popori would be more than a little resistant to being knocked uncoucious or dazed utterly by illusions of any sort. They’d fight hard to stay upright and harder to land a hit on your face for the attempt.

Unlike the Elin, I think the Popori skills do a pretty good job showing off their racial abilities, but only considering their thoughts and skills after being ascended to sentience by an Elin. I’d hope to see just a little more of a wild side to them, something to so they aren’t just fuzzy people, but animals of a higher sort, able to interact with the world, but defend it ferociously if they have to.

Again, my thoughts are by no means perfect, but I do think that the Elin and Popori shouldn’t have the exact same racial traits. It doesn’t really do either race justice, and misses out a perfect chance to show a little bit more of the lore, either as the Nature Spirits the races embody and differing in their origins or highlighting just where the Popori have come from. It can also be used to show that while the Elin and Popori are very close and share similar goals, the two races themselves are subtly different.

SURPRISE