Tag Archive: combat


Story Time: Planetside 2

So, I promised a Planetside 2 article. Awhile ago, actually. But here’s the problem: every time I sit down to write one, it never comes out good. I just can’t get the nuances of game play down properly, or accurately describe how much fun base to base fighting is. So after thinking about it for a while… I’m just not going to do that. Instead, I’ll tell a simple little story about one random day where I was flying a Scythe and wound up having the time of my life.

So, it was the day after a big patch, and I was pretty eager to get some practice flying. I’ve always wanted to be a pilot, just for how sick the Scythe looks, but lacked a lot of certs for it and couldn’t afford a secondary missile pod. So when I finally got my pods, I decided enough was enough with the waiting. Slotted in a Scythe Spawn implant to cut the cooldown as low as I could and took off.

My first few attempts went pretty much like you’d imagine. I’m pretty sure there are a few Scythe-sized holes in the cliffs around the then-Vanu Warpgate, but eventually I got the hang of it. Mostly I’d just grab a Scythe and fly around Vanu air space as low as I could, having to dodge terrain and buildings for an hour or so until I felt comfortable flying. Then it was time for the real fun to begin. Dropped a marker over Zurvan and started making my way there.

Real combat was far, far more than what I had ever anticipated. Reavers and Mosquitos were prowling their own air space, and whenever one came close, flak would churn the air. I managed a few kills over the course of a couple hours, and lost an equal number of Scythes. But the real fight was just about to begin.

By now I was running out of Polymers to spawn more fighters, and we were starting to lose ground to the Terran Republic. Figuring it’d be my last one for a while, I grabbed a Scythe and went hunting. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the most delectable treat flying away into New Conglomerate space.

A Galaxy troop transport and Liberator gun ship, flying around without any escorts.
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Tera: The good!

Whoops. Seem to have forgotten to actually get this out last week. Let’s just blame Varus and call it a day. I’m seriously putting Meddler up with Xypherous as my two favorite designers. But that’s enough about angry-bow-man for a while, he has his own post coming up. Now it’s time for TERA! All the good things I’ve been waiting to say, it’s time to put to light.

First, and most obvious, is the combat. I know, I know, I harp on this all the time, but trust me, it truly is worth it. There is no such thing as tab-targetting or “spell-hit/accuracy” or whatever. If you want to hit it, you have to aim at it. There are a few auto-lock skills, but these are mostly in the realm of healing or AoE skills, like archer’s volley, oddly enough. Monsters actually take direct location into account, it’s very easy to dodge some attacks simply by moving away. This is easy to practice in the start zone, watch for the telegraphed attack and then walk back a few feet.  Unlike all it’ contemporaries, monsters in TERA will miss if they do not physically connect with you.

Aggression from players also carries positional based rewards. A lancer has the largest melee-attack range in the game, but at its longest you’ll only tap an opponent once. Attack when they’re in your face? The lance will proc up to three hits on that target. And any other target you hit, there is no “damage  cap” that reduces outgoing damage. If you can line up one-hundred minions (and not die), you’ll nail all of them for the same damage as any other, with any melee weapon. Caster’s have their attacks stop at one target, but gain powerful long-range abilities to compensate. There are literally endless combinations of play-styles, classes, and monsters to interact with in the game. No two players will ever approach a problem the same way, even if they are the same class! I’ve seen tank and damage lancers who are soloing, and those that augment different skills when dungeon running. The possibilities are endless.
Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I utterly adore the combat. What other game would I go out of my way to kill something just because I want to? Well, besides Monster Hunter, smart alec. Really, I would never do something like… this:


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TERA: The Ugly

So, today marks the head-start event for TERA and will, presumably, be the last time we get spammed beta invites from En Masse, so I figured now would be the perfect time to start up a new three-part series, similar to what happened with rift. This will be called the same thing, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. So why start with the worst category? Well, because TERA has a lot of problems. So this isn’t the game for everyone, and if any of this sounds like a deal breaker already, then go ahead and skip the game. It won’t get much better. However, just because I’m about to verbally assassinate the game doesn’t mean I’m not going to play it. Far from it. The combat truly is great enough for me to deal with these issues. Mostly.

Now, you might be thinking, “Kana, what could possibly be that wrong with the game?”, and the answer always comes back to the same thing, time and time again. This is a game designed from the ground up and maximum level play and only max level play. Every major complaint I or anyone else has ever had has been BS’d around by the community going, “oh, it’s that way for the high level players!”

Last time I checked, the Korean and Japanese players got their own server, and won’t be coming over here. So why is it that this game still has such a terrible design even though no one is even at the level to exploit it? I’m talking about things like…

Wrecked Economy:

There are a lot of things to do in TERA with your character. Glyphs, Crystals, crafting, dyes, armor remodeling, and even more. And TERA wants you to do absolutely none of it until you get of your lazy bum and go grind a few dozen levels. I came out of the Island of Dawn with close to two-hundred pieces of ore, to practice weaponsmithing with. I almost broke my newbie character doing it. You might think, “well, don’t buy expensive recipes then!” The recipe I was using? Yeah, the game gave that to me for free. I wasn’t making weapons, I was just trying to smelt all that ore. And that took almost all my money. Crafting recipes are even more ludicrously expensive, and all rely entirely on the player flat-out buying most of the components anyways.

So yeah, it’s a good thing this isn’t an rpg or anything, or it would be troble trying to convince myself my character has any skill what so ever when she has to continuously buy half the pieces to a weapon instead of just making them herself. Feels like cheating when I keep buying metal handles and shield pieces.  Seriously, what was the point of getting all that ore if the game was just going to break my bank and then still not do anything with it?
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Managing Resources

This is something I’ve actually been wanting to talk about for a while, mostly because of how insane its extremes can be. Resources can be literally anything, the most basic definition is “something you need that the game provides, in limited quantities.” This is anything between what a mana and health-point bar are to minerals, vespene gas, and unit cap can be, across any genre and skill-level of game. Labyrinth of Touhou, a personal favorite dungeon crawler that actually has an insane number of combat-based resources, is the game with the most amount of resources that doesn’t break combat down into a cluttered bombshell during ordinary game-play .

The systems at work in Labyrinth are actually massive and way beyond the scope of what I’d be able to squeeze into one-thousand words or so, so we’ll just be focusing on resources to juggle around once combat actually starts. The mind-boggling stats and item system will have to come at a later day, sadly. Even removing all of that, the list is still large. In total, there are six things to keep in mind; Health, Mana, TP, the ATP bar (also called the Active Gauge), position, and mana regen. That looks a little excessive, but the game helpfully breaks everything down. All of them are interconnected, but separate enough that not having an intimate understanding of the mechanics will lead to a party wipe.

This screen is something you'll see a lot.

Of them all, Health and Mana are the most basic resources to keep in mind, and are basically hammered into a gamer’s mind from the get-go. When health hits 0, that character is knocked out (or sometimes dies), and no longer able to fight. Losing everyone means game-over, but it’s possible to survive with one and run back to town to revive everyone. So keeping a party happy and healthy is the first concern. Second is where mana comes in (In Labyrinth, it’s referred to as “Spell Points,” or SP, but it’s only a name swap), and this is usually some of the fun parts of combat. You can see from the screenshot that there are multiple spells with different costs. Early in the game, casting something like ‘Royal Flare’ can utterly bankrupt a mage’s mana… but it can also be a party-saving nuke to clear out enemies. Managing just these two alone ratchets up the complexity as decisions now revolve around offensive and defensive actions. The player could go for an all-out spell… or use something cheaper that might do the job and have someone else clean up. Or the enemy may get a turn in, causing the decision between lost hp (from the enemy attacking) versus reduced mage power (from bigger spells draining their pool faster).
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TERA: First Impressions

So yesterday marked the beginning of the NA TERA beta tests, and I’ve spent the better part of the past day hard at play work running around and seeing just what is what. Besides some rather… jarring graphical glitches, the game is very solid and looks to be shaping up to be a great mmo launch later in the year. Especially with one of the high-points of a fresh combat style in the way over-done market of tab-target hotkey based combat. So what does TERA look like on the inside?

Well, as we covered before, the combat is absolutely amazing. I’ve gone through and played 3 classes so far (Lancer, Berserker, and Archer) and each has a distinct, noticeable play-style. Some happen to be very slow burners, like the Lancer. If you happen to pick the good ol’ tank, keep in mind that it won’t really pick up until around level 10ish or so. However, as the game rolls along you steadily get to the point where bloody near nothing in a 1v1 environment can kill you, just by virtue of the absurd block rating on the Shield itself. Other classes like the Archer are pretty much set to go the second you log in to the game. You have a bow, and you have a jump back. Go nuts. Skills added along the line add to the fun, but the same core style remains the same.  Combat is also extremely fluid, with monsters having noticeable, but not blatant, tells so the observant can try and time out the last second of a block or dodge when the less-sure can easy just block or evade earlier, losing a bit of damage but staying safe in the process. How does combat look in TERA? Well… (Audio is kind of borked, Trying to sort it out for future videos)


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Whistle While You Work

Annnd we are back, with another TERA article. This time, we’re going to be looking at the Glyph system and how it compares, and Thursday will be the last of these little mechanical previews with Upgrading gear. After that we’re open to everything from lore delivery to combat mechanics, so if you have an idea, make sure to submit it. We’re going in-depth into this for look at MMO’s in general. Anyways, back to the topic at hand, glyphs!

Not those glyphs.

If you remember last time, I said that Enchantment Crystals worked to fit the player and not the class, letting the person behind the wheel decide what they want to do and letting that person have a bit of alteration to the class to do it. I’ve seen tanks take bonus damage under 50% just to have a little more risky fun when farming, or just take a few to increase tanking ability. Now, Glyphs are the opposite of Enchantment Crystals, working with the class more than the player. Each skill has a few glyphs that can be activated per skill which generally increase the power of that ability. Some things can be incredibly simple like ‘Reduce Mana Cost by 200’ or ‘Cooldown Reduced 30%’ while some of the others can be quite interesting. To go back to the Lancer example, one glyph gives you a 30% chance of instantly refreshing the cooldown on on the classes ‘Death Grip’ like spell, yoinking enemies with abandon. Another has a chance to increase your strength with a successful block.
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