So here’s a new thing that should be fun, introducing TERA Tuesday! With 9 weeks left until launch (which happily enough is on a Tuesday itself), I thought it’d be a good idea to go over the 8 classes in TERA and give a first impressions and overview, along with any other relevant information about the class. Be something fun to wind up the weeks to the launch of the game, and totally not because I forgot to back-up my files and lost the 7 or so hours of content that was supposed to go out on the weekends. Certainly not that. Luckily, I do have footage to add to the end of each article, showing off the finer moments of the class-of-the-week in action!

Role: Tank
Difficulty: [**]

Starting off, the Lancer is the main tank of TERA, and any parties first line of defense against the slings and arrows of an uncaring world. Besides being able to stab, you’re second skill at level 1 is a block that scales to your weapon. Any amount of damage under the block value can be stopped by the shield, and even better, anyone behind you while the block is up takes reduced damage.  This isn’t an immortality skill, anything that hits for a single point over can guard-crush, and will simply hammer you in the face. Knowing when to tank it and when to run, especially when taking on higher level mobs, is the key to living long and inflicting the most shin-stabs with the lance. In terms of damage, lancers tend to be bottom of the barrel, but compensate for this with absurd staying power. The Lancer shines in the long haul, and can bring down most monsters that would rip apart another player, but it will take some time.

In terms of skills, Lancers pick up the fun-ball early and never let it go. By level 2, the class gets a two-part shield slam that has a chance to stun. Level 4 brings out the first combo skill, and it works in perfect sync with both your attack skills at this level. By 8, you get a very short cooldown dash that can be used for offensive, defensive, or just utilitarian purposes. The dash is a spectacular way to get around before the first mount comes around, if only to annoy all the other party members who can’t keep up. By the time you’ve finished up the Isle of Dawn, the class has already given out a ton of free toys, and it only goes up from there. Even better is the ease of chaining skills, almost any aggressive skill can be chained into another and used in a flow.

Combat is pretty much exactly as we covered before as an overview. Any lancer can move a mountain by sheer determination, but it requires patience. Skill animations are quick and clean, and all of them can cancel out into the block quickly. The only exception is a fraction of a second on an animation wind-up, where the skill can’t cancel out, but anything after that is fair game. This lets more aggressive players dish out as much damage as they can, only bringing the shield up at the last second, while more cautious players can easily switch to the defensive if they make a mistake. Mana can be restrictive if multiple skills are used in succession, so weaving in default attacks is paramount to keep up in both damage and defense. Luckily, the default attack chains into an aggressive skill on the the third hit, and by that time the cost has already been made up for and then some, so mana is a net gain when playing it safely and still dishing out damage. Combat is extremely fluid and flexible with the animation-cancel ability on the block, letting any Lancer adjust for things on the fly. As long as the low damage-per-second doesn’t bother, give the lancer a shot if you like being able to control a fight. The tools really make the class on this one.

For added tools, the right crystals will make your meat-wall experience much better. Running simple Mana/5 seconds and Health/5 seconds will give any Lancer some insane staying power, easily adding up to tons of free health and mana being gained from behind the safety of a big metal shield. For more aggressive risk-takers, grab bonus damage when under 50% health to really give that spear a punch. Where other classes might be squeamish about starting a fight half-dead, a few well timed shields mean that HP bar doesn’t move and the Lancer gets the full benefit of extra damage. Glyphs are more of a fickle thing, there are plenty for either tanking focus (increase threat, etc.) or damage (proc strength bonus, etc.) and then just utility things (lower cooldown), so focus or mixing isn’t any real problem. Lancers can be built to solve all kinds of problems, from your run-of-the-mill instance to a giant enemy crab infestation.

Late game Lancers turn into literal metal slabs for a party, easily being able to soak and block damage and keep the squishies alive for any group-play, PvP and PvE included. Right now, it’s looking like Warriors (the other tank class) are being pushed more and more towards a damage role, so Lancer is becoming the predominant tank for late game. While they shine in a party, nothing is keeping a lancer from having fun solo, often by simply murdering things a single player probably shouldn’t be taking on.

Obligatory lizard kill. Next week… Warriors!