Bluehole Studio Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Bluehole Studio RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network War Mode Returns to PUBG This Weekend Only Fri, 18 May 2018 11:06:11 -0400 Jonathan Moore

If you liked PUBG's War Mode the first time it came around, you're in for a treat. It's back -- and it's better than ever. 

Dubbed Desert Knights, the event is currently live on PC. Players have until Sunday, May 20 at 10 p.m. EDT to hop in and try it for themselves. 

While the previous event saw three 10-man teams vying for supremacy on the Erangal map, War Mode now features five 10-man teams duking it out on the Miramar Map. 

Unlike PUBG's other game modes, War Mode allows players to respawn every 40 seconds and features a single, fixed safe zone. The first team to reach 200 points by either killing or knocking out other players wins. Kills get you 3 points, while knocks will net you 1 point.

Matches will last 15 minutes, and if no team reaches 200 points by the end of that time period, the team with the highest score will win chicken dinner.  

Unlike the previous event, players will start matches with high-level gear this time around: a Lvl. 3 vest and helmet, two grenades, and one of the following weapons: 

  • AWM
  • M24
  • Mk14
  • M249
  • Groza
  • AUG

It's also worthy to note that bleedout is increased when knocked and that reviving teammates -- which reportedly only takes around two seconds -- is important to victory. So make sure you're picking your teammates up! 

For more info and news on War Mode, PUBG, and all the guides you need to dominate Fortnite's competitor, stay tuned to GameSkinny. 

Bluehole's Fear Realized as Fortnite Reaches 20 Mil Players Before PUBG Mon, 27 Nov 2017 17:43:09 -0500 bazookajo94

Some of the most relatable memes on the internet are the ones that start, "Man, sure is nice minding my own business," followed by a vague mention of some juicy dish, or "hot goss" as the kids call it these days, paired with a picture of someone clearly not minding their own business. Apparently there's a lot of people in the market for the next big controversy-- even those in the video game industry.

One such controversy is the feud happening between game developers Bluehole and Epic Games over their respective battle-royale type games: Fortnight and PUBG. In a previous GameSkinny article, the merits of both games are detailed along with the possible fallouts and legal actions Bluehole could take on Epic Games, ending on an ominous "time will tell which company comes out on top" note.

In short, PUBG was the first big battle-royale game on the block. But Fortnite came along, with their aptly named F2P mode: Battle Royale, and disrupted the whole market. With such similar mechanics, PUBG's developers were none too pleased.

Despite Bluehole's PUBG and its largely Chinese demographic-- though, according to PC Games News, many of these accounts are suspected of being fake and mainly used for farming-- Epic Games's Fortnite has reached its 20 million player mark. Though there are no specific statistics stating that the majority of the 20 million are playing the game because of its battle-royale mode, since the mode is free-to-play without having to own the main game (which does cost money), doubtless many players entered the ring because of this. 

On the other side of the arena, PUBG only has about 10 million players actively playing, but just as people are prone to seek out gossip, they are more likely to get a game that says "Free" rather than "$30," regardless of content and quality.  

Bluehole feels cheated, no doubt, and their press release criticizing Epic Games has garnered a lot of attention. They feel conned, stolen from, and now they're losing a battle they didn't think they had to be a part of, with only half the audience as another game that's almost exactly the same, but which released months later. And what if Fortnite makes its way to China? What will happen to PUBG's demographics then? Will they have loyal fans, or will they be abandoned?

All of this being said, PUBG hasn't had its official release yet. It's still in early access. Come December when it officially releases and the statistics could change. Come December and Fornite gamers could want more of the battle-royale style and eventually venture into buying PUBG if they haven't already. 

Regardless of what happens, I can't escape the feeling that Bluehole is handling this wrong. Not to be the bearer of contrite expressions, guys, but if you want people to play your game, remember that you catch more flies with honey. Then again, no publicity is bad publicity, right? Oh no. What have I started? 

In my eyes, the great thing about video games is that if it's good, people will buy it, whether it's free or $60. Sure, free games garner more downloads (tell me you've never heard the term "free pizza" and didn't immediately hunger for pizza--even if it's Dominoes), but if enough people say, "Yo, this game is fun," others are going to be like, "Yo, maybe I should check out this game that people say is fun." 

PUBG might be feeling the heat right now, but 10 million players isn't anything to sneeze at, and the players still have the opportunity to praise the game before December. Once the drama dies down, perhaps both games will be able to stay on the market and be talked about as fun games with an intense game-mode instead of fun games with tense publicity and allegations associated with their titles.

Chinese Government Contemplates Banning PUBG [Updated] Tue, 31 Oct 2017 11:24:10 -0400 Josh Broadwell

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) is one of, if not the, most popular PC games around right now, with an average of 500,000 players online at any given time. Bluehole, the South Korean company behind PUBG, wants to continue growing the game's popularity by expanding into China, one of the world's most lucrative gaming markets. However, as Bloomberg's Lulu Yilun Chen reports, the Chinese government is set to block the game, citing a clash of values and potential harm to young people.

For those of you who may not know, PUBG is a battle royale game that pits 100 people against each other in a Hunger Games style fight-to-the-finish. The China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association issued a statement saying the competition violates Chinese socialist values, and as Chen points out, undermines President Xi Jinping's recent call for national and political unity. Also cited as a problem is PUBG's realistic graphics, making the game too graphically violent and giving it the potential to harm young people.

The Association is not speaking without authority either. It consulted the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television prior to making its statement, so the decision and rationale behind it are essentially coming from the Chinese government. The Administration has been responsible for banning other content deemed unsuitable too, from television shows to video games.

Yet violence is not really the main problem here, since other violent—though admittedly cartoony—games have achieved great popularity, such as Tencent's Honour of Kings. That title, however, is based around the concept of cooperation, with teams of five hacking their way through the game.

Since the Association's statement is backed by the government, it doesn't seem likely at this point that Bluehole has much hope of making it into the Chinese market. It comes as a bit of a blow to the company too, since there has been widespread demand for the game among Chinese consumers.

Update 11/9

Shortly after the original Bloomberg piece's publication, Chinese market analyst group Niko Partners posted a blog speculating about the intent behind the state media department's reservations. Rather than constituting an outright ban, Daniel Ahmad says the statement more than likely refers to the desire for the offending features to be changed before it could be officially released in the Chinese market.

Unofficially, there are already plenty of players downloading PUBG via Steam, which works in a peculiar halfway zone. It's not entirely legal--since titles it provides aren't always licensed--but if the Chinese government clamped down on unlicensed distribution, it would mean closing the entire platform down. Ahmed suspects the goal is to encourage Bluehole to partner with a Chinese company to make the necessary changes.

PUBG and Politics

Ahmed's suspicions seem to be coming true as well. Park Hyong-ki of The Korean Times published a recent report about Tencent's continued interest in acquiring a substantial part of Bluehole. Not only is Tencent one of the only companies capable of affording a buyout; Bluehole founder Chang Byung-gyu has expressed interest in selling his shares of the company, which amount to about 1/5th of the total shares.

Chang has a role in the Korean Fourth Industrial Committee, so he cannot sell his shares publicly without facing accusations of using his position to influence sales. Yet he more than likely wants to sell, since his past trends show a pattern of building up companies then selling and starting another. Selling to Tencent would create the necessary partnership to have PUBG published in China and free Chang to pursue other ventures. Tencent, having recently bought shares in other major companies like Blizzard and Epic Games, would benefit greatly as well.

But political considerations are also playing a role in the situation, as The Korean Times notes. Relations between China and South Korea have been strained of late, on account of the controversial THAAD system's deployment in South Korea. Tencent's purchase of Bluehole would lay the foundation for Chinese businesses to invest in South Korean ones, and the other way 'round, thus creating closer commercial and political ties between the two nations.

Chang nor Tencent have commented on the situation apart from confirming that Tencent will be Bluehole's partner.

We'll keep you updated as any new developments arise, but for now, let us know your thoughts on the matter down in the comments!

PUBG vs. Fortnite: Battle Royale is the New Overwatch vs. Battleborn Wed, 27 Sep 2017 11:33:42 -0400 Josh Broadwell

You probably know the story by now. Early last May, Gearbox released its highly-anticipated Battleborn, a hero-based arena shooter meant to shake up the genre and send it in a new direction. Then later that month, Blizzard released its arena shooter competitor, Overwatch, a game with similar mechanics and ideas to Battleborn. A year and a half on, Overwatch has taken the world by storm, while Battleborn has sunken into the shadows -- becoming everyone's "It's good, but it's not as good as…" game.

Now there's a new pair of games re-creating a similar scenario. Bluehole's PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds -- popularly known as PUBG -- released earlier this year to unprecedented acclaim, providing a tense and polished shooter experience based on the Battle Royale concept.

This is how it works. Basically, you put 100 people on a small island whose boundaries gradually close in, and the last one left alive wins. It's a tense twist on the stereotypical deathmatch -- and one that players around the world have been eating up. 

But it's not the only one trying to disrupt the genre.

At first glance, Epic Games' Fortnite doesn't seem to have anything in common with Brendan Greene's runaway success. The visuals are cartoon-like, rather than gritty, and it's more of a tower defense game, where you fend off hordes of zombies.

That's about to change, though. Epic Games recently released a Battle Royale mode for Fortnite, including several of the same elements making up Greene's game. The company even claims inspiration from PUBG. How successful that mode will be remains to be seen for a variety of reasons, including player base retention and, of course, gameplay. Even though Bluehole made some bizarre choices in its response to Epic Games' announcement, it still seems highly unlikely that Fortnite: Battle Royale has any chance of successfully challenging PUBG.

Here's why we think that.

In the Beginning: Battleborn Vs. Overwatch

Battleborn was supposed to offer a great experience, and for many, it does. There is a variety of game modes to choose from, multiple characters to work with, and mechanics that are just plain fun. But that's not enough. Like LawBreakers, Battleborn doesn't offer enough variety in its characters to make it worthwhile. Many consider its presentation chaotic, too, with overly complicated maps and too many objectives, making it difficult to keep up with.

Most problematic, though, are the issues that beset many multiplayer-only games. Teamwork goes out the window in Battleborn -- possibly due to the game's complex mechanics -- with everyone fending for themselves. Even in the middle of a good match, you're likely to get disconnected from the servers and have to wait a while before getting pulled into a new one. The matches could (and can) still be fun, and plenty of players enjoyed (and still enjoy) their time with the game, but it ultimately leaves one wanting something more.

Overwatch fixed pretty much everything Battleborn did wrong. With cleaner overall presentation, characters with unique abilities -- and stories, for those who care to go into them -- and a more coherent chat system that allows for better teamwork, Blizzard had more than enough to mount a successful and victorious challenge. It was enough to keep players coming back for more --and more, and more -- offering a more fulfilling experience than what players had with Battleborn.

A good deal of the game's success comes down to Blizzard and its marketing, though. Blizzard's prior successes meant it had a much larger fan-base, and its history with online games gave it the advantage of knowing exactly what players wanted and how to deliver it. Overwatch's marketing campaign ensured people were well aware of the game -- and its early access -- but the advertisements also pulled people into the game through the characters and the amusing scenarios in the ads themselves.

Of course, without the gameplay and mechanics to satisfy the audience, none of this would have mattered. But the ads and marketing which surpassed that of Battleborn's campaign pulled a lot of fans in -- and they never came back. 

The Contenders: PUBG Vs. Fortnite: Battle Royale

The Incumbent: PUBG

The situation seems to be reversed with PUBG and Fortnite: Battle Royale, as the game that released first -- PUBG -- has a very secure position in the market and players' homes. Some might wonder why: the visuals aren't all that great, it takes quite a beefy computer to run it, and the Xbox version has been delayed.

But it's easy to see why, actually: The reasons are similar to what made Overwatch so successful. The presentation is simple and clear, there's really only one objective, and the servers work well. Plus, as a giant free-for-all, there's no need to worry about effective teamwork (unless you're playing PUBG's squad mode).

There is also a fantastic balance between skill and luck that keeps players coming back for more. Skill can only take you so far if you land in a part of the island that has no decent weapons, and with matches being over fairly quickly, it's good incentive to try again.

Then there's the eSports scene. Battleborn failed miserably in launching a successful eSports bid -- but Overwatch did not. No real surprises there, given Overwatch's popularity and better mechanics. PUBG's place in the eSports scene was cemented by dedicated players, players who actually pushed Bluehole into making it available for competition long before the company believed it was ready to. Despite the bugs -- and anxiety -- Bluehole managed to pull it off.

Bluehole wasn't particularly well-known before Brendan Greene's game, but before the first 20 days after release, over 1,000,000 copies of PUBG sold, with the numbers being much higher by now. All the credit doesn't go entirely to Greene and Bluehole, though. Like basically all games, PUBG borrows extensively from its predecessor -- in this case, Daybreak's H1Z1: King of the Hill. Daybreak acknowledged this fact recently but made no real fuss about it.

The Challenger: Fortnite: Battle Royale

Then along comes Fortnite from Epic Games. The two couldn't be more different to begin with, owing to Fortnite's emphasis on tower defense and its cartoony aesthetic. Much about it mirrors Battleborn as well, with multiple characters -- all of which are relatively uninspiring -- and gameplay modes that become stale after playing even a short while.

But there's more to it than that. Probably in response to the lackluster reception the original version received, Epic Games recently released a Battle Royale mode for Fortnite, even giving a nod to PUBG in its reveal. That shouldn't be a problem, right? Especially since PUBG borrowed heavily from King of the Hill?

Well, Bluehole thinks otherwise. Rather than taking the usual route and contacting Epic Games via legal channels, Bluehole issued a press release threatening legal action and claiming the game is far too close to its own concept to let it go unnoticed. It provided Fortnite: Battle Royale with a good deal of free publicity, where otherwise it might have gone largely unnoticed.

Of course, the big question is whether this turn of events will put a dent in PUBG's popularity and crown Fortnite the king of Battle Royale. Given PUBG's entrenched popularity, the answer is probably not.

However, Fortnite: Battle Royale is shaping up to be a contender in its own right. As one would expect, considering its source material, the core game is rather enjoyable. Like PUBG, it throws 100 players onto an island for a giant free-for-all, but instead of an electric field closing in around the island, there is a storm that pushes players closer together. Gone are the uninspired game modes and silly backstory -- all replaced by simple and clean gameplay mechanics.

On top of that, Fortnite: Battle Royale doesn't have vehicles and it does introduce some rather interesting mechanics to help it stand out from PUBG, such as the ability to construct buildings and fortresses from the scrap and materials around you. Yet building is time consuming -- and nothing shouts "I'm here, come get me" quite like a giant building. And honestly, vehicles are fun (and sometimes necessary) in games like these. So only time will tell if these features (or lack thereof) will attract or repel gamers. Oh, and it also doesn't hurt that Fortnite: Battle Royale is currently free to play -- on both console and PC -- whereas PUBG is currently priced at $29.99 and only available on PC. 

Of course, none of that means gamers will flock to Fortnite or that Epic Games is in the clear. Bluehole just recently issued a clarification of the press release. They stated their primary issue with Epic Games' advertisement was that they used PUBG for promotion without Bluehole's knowledge or permission, ultimately making it seem as though Bluehole was somehow involved in the Fortnite development process. Rather than dooming PUBG, this could very well cast Epic Games in a very negative light, particularly since they had no license to do what they did.

The Winner?

However this ultimately pans out, the original press release does, indeed, make it seem like the problem was down to the core idea behind Fortnite: Battle Royale. And the choice to issue a badly phrased press release, rather than keep the problem private, was an odd one.

It is likely not coincidence that Bluehole just announced they are forming a new corporate subsidiary to push forward PUBG's development in the future: PUBG Corp. Bluehole has expanded corporate operations into Europe and North America and is planning on further expansion. According to Bluehole, the move will allow them to focus more extensively on developing the PUBG brand, including expanding its presence in the esports arena. And even though Fortnite  has the advantage of being on consoles now, Bluehole plans on PUBG's early access on Xbox being available by the end of this year--just in time for the holidays.

Only time will tell which company comes out of this on top. One can hardly fault players for choosing a fun game to play, especially one more accessible for console owners, especially if the player is unaware of the issues going on between the two companies. Still, with several million copies sold and the aggressive expansion planned for PUBG, there is little doubt of PUBG's victory in the end -- but it might not be as clear and clean a victory as Overwatch's was.

Let us know down in the comments what you think about the whole debacle and which game you think will come out on top!

Reminder: You Can Apply for TERA's Console Beta Right Now Sat, 22 Apr 2017 22:13:58 -0400 Paige McGovern

PSA: There's still time to apply for TERA's closed console beta. The free-to-play action-focused MMORPG has only been on one platform for the last 5 years: PC. But last month, En Masse Entertainment announced that the game is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 sometime this year. If you're interested in playing either of the console versions of TERA, the time to register is now. 

How to Register:
  • Go to the closed beta registration page.
  • Choose your platform -- Xbox One and/or PlayStation 4.
  • Enter your email address.
  • Agree to the Private Policy terms.
  • Click "Sign Up Now" to confirm your registration.

Very little is known about how TERA will translate into a console game, although it will launch on Xbox and PlayStation this year. Rumors and speculation about TERA coming to console have been around since 2016. However, despite speculation, En Masse Entertainment has been reluctant to hand over any details about the game's translation so far.

In an initial announcement on March 9, En Masse asked the community to be patient as details unfolded in the coming months. So far, a month and a half later, there's been no more new information. 

However, on April 20, Spacecats, En Masse' community manager commented the following on a forum thread: 

... There aren't any announcements or details surrounding TERA console yet ...

... Remind them that an announcement will be made once more details about TERA console have been determined and we're closer to a launch date.

So, while we wait for more information regarding TERA, make sure to sign up for the game's console beta and watch the announcement trailer below:

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for the latest news about TERA's development on console.

Thoughts on the TERA vs. Blade & Soul debate from a player of both Mon, 22 Feb 2016 10:19:54 -0500 Ashley Shankle

TERA's release was some serious hype for my friends and I, let's get that out right now: I was super hyped for TERA's release. Not because of the game's gorgeous visuals at the time but because of the promise of action combat in an MMORPG in a time of World of Warcraft clones galore and mostly free to play mush. It was quite exciting at the time.

I, like many, quickly grew bored of TERA while it was still a subscription-based game. The combat was sufficiently "action"-y but the rest of the game felt "off" -- and it felt that way until the new content and increasing community communication on the part of publisher En Masse Entertainment.

Fast forward to January 2016 and NCSoft's own total action MMORPG Blade & Soul released to much excitement. Another new action MMO! And this one's newer! If I hadn't played Blade & Soul in Chinese and in the NA/EU, I probably would have been more excited -- but people that didn't play previously got their first taste of its style of action combat, and they liked it.

Since its release, I have seen so many comparisons between TERA and Blade & Soul that the discussion has gotten tiring. The two games are ultimately focused around their combat but they handle it differently to the point they play nothing alike outside of questing. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion on which game is better, but I can't imagine anyone saying TERA's combat is completely superior with a straight face.

Why even discuss Blade & Soul vs. TERA?

I don't want to make it seem like I'm ignoring the other action MMORPGs on the market today. While MMOs like WildStar have their own action combat style, none are as comparable to one another as Blade & Soul and TERA and the reasons why aren't exactly hard to figure out:

  • Both have over the top outfits and reasonably good visuals
  • Both have similar questing styles
  • Both tote their "action combat"
  • Both have token small cute races (Elin/Popori in TERA and Lyns in B&S)

The great debate.

Anyone who has played them both extensively can understand why some would draw comparisons between the two, though at the heart of they both are very different from one another. The pace of the games matches the pace of their combat styles, which in turn affects the types of people attracted to them.

TERA - Combat... evolved?

TERA's big push has always been its combat and it's easy to see how Blade & Soul overtook it in South Korea when you compare the two's combat.

The one thing that has always held TERA back is the adherence to the old MMO staple of one class having a ton of abilities. Normally, one can't complain about classes having several abilities in an MMORPG, but it somewhat detracts from the "action" part of the combat that it advertises so heavily.

When the game was released its combat was truly fresh and new -- but with the waves of Korean action MMOs that came soon after it's hard to say it stayed fresh for long. There's definitely a reason the servers were ghost towns a couple months after its subscription launch: while the game's combat was interesting, it wasn't fun enough when paired with the abysmal questing and boring world.

This is something TERA still struggles with today. Player numbers are much higher than they were before the game went free to play, but ultimately the combat isn't good enough to keep people running on that treadmill for prolonged periods. I know -- I've come back and left four times since the Rising launch.

Blade & Soul's faster take

If there's one thing Blade & Soul does well, it's the combat.

TERA's combat always (woefully) left something wanting in me each time I went back. I've played the game for months at a time, but often that was driven by social circles more than the gameplay or personal drive. It's hard not to get wrapped up in drama and group activities when you're in too deep with TERA, believe you me. Not so much in Blade & Soul.

I hoped Blade & Soul would satisfy the hunger TERA couldn't fill in regards to fast actual action combat, back when I played the Chinese version. 

Even at 250+ ping it did, and it did it so well I practically threw money at Tencent for premium and cosmetics despite knowing only minimal Mandarin. I couldn't see myself doing that with TERA were their release situations reversed.

Blade & Soul's combat is ultimately more modern and fits the "action" bill in a way I don't think Bluehole Studios could have anticipated while they were developing TERA, even with much of Bluehole's staff coming straight from NCSoft themselves during development.

Combat boil-down

One way to compare the two games in a way non-MMO players can understand is TERA's combat is more akin to Monster Hunter and Blade & Soul's closer to a fighting game.

TERA's combat is slower and at endgame requires players to learn enemy telegraphs and patterns, and get good. Some skills are lock-ons, but the majority are manually targeted. Things feel slower and more deliberate, mostly due to some skills' long animations.

Blade & Soul's combat is faster and highly reliant on countering skills, no matter the class. Many skills are lock-ons but it meshes so well with the overall combat style it's hard to complain about. Arena PvP feels like a simplified fighting game and it's hard not to love.

"All right, they're different. Which one should I play?"

Uh, the one you like the most.

It's true that TERA is an overall outdated MMORPG and ultimately it doesn't have much to keep players going. While it does have a good amount of endgame content, the overall goal of ramming yourself into it is a hell of a gear grind.

What keeps people playing TERA is the community -- and if you don't mesh with it, you probably scoff at that statement, but it's true. The most fun you'll have with TERA will probably be just messing around with other players.

You know if you fit in with the types of people that play the game not long after you start, and if you do then you're in for a good time between the game's political system, GvGs, and arenas. If not, it won't be for you. It's pretty much as simple as that.

Blade & Soul doesn't have that community aspect and, let's be honest, you're never going to see the type of player-driven activities and BS in Blade & Soul that you see in TERA thanks to its huge focus on arenas. If you're serious about the game, you're serious about the arena.

This in itself is the game's biggest detractor for me. I can certainly spend weeks playing solo just fine, but it's lonely. Every player is just focused on their own personal progression then shoving gold at their clan to progress it. And that's fine -- but it feels more like a singleplayer experience overall than TERA.

You'll be spending most of your time like this - alone - unless you go out of your way to remedy that.

The big comparison focus between the two games almost always lies squarely in talking about its combat, but the types of people drawn to the two are different and it ends up making for a vastly different gaming experience in the long run.

Both games are undoubtedly Korean-style MMORPGs - but when it comes down to their combat styles and communities they couldn't be more different. People who do better with slower games and just being silly may be better suited to TERA, but anyone looking for a fast-paced MMO with an emphasis on progression but minimal interaction with other players need look no further than Blade & Soul.

From dead to thriving - TERA now Steam's biggest MMORPG Sun, 24 May 2015 15:18:05 -0400 Ashley Shankle

TERA's always been in sort of a weird spot in the West. From a bustling beta and launch month in 2012 to nearly dead servers just a few months later, the game's future was uncertain. Fast forward to today and it's one of the biggest free to play MMORPGs in the West, thanks to its 2013 shift to free to play and reasonable monetization.

Anyone who played TERA for any prolonged period during its subscription days knows exactly how badly the game was doing. Server populations had already dwindled to a fraction of their previous numbers just three to four months after launch and content updates were slow. Anyone could see that if it didn't shift to free to play, it wouldn't survive another year.

Less than a year after launch, TERA went free to play and changed to TERA: Rising -- and has done spectacularly.

From the outside, TERA just seems like what some people call a "Korean grinder"; and in some ways it is. But past that is a community of oddballs looking not only to compete with one another, but to have fun. It has the very real ability to draw in certain types of people and never let go. I can say without a doubt I am one of those people.

TERA is now Steam's biggest MMORPG, as of its Steam launch earlier this month. That may not seem like much because the current MMORPG selection on Steam is lacking, but at the time of writing TERA is also within the top 15 games on the platform with over 19,000 players logged on and playing via Steam alone. Non-Steam players are surely more numerous.

With the above all in mind, I want to congratulate and thank En Masse Entertainment for continuing to support the game and push its presence in the West forward. What was once considered to be a lost cause of a game is now a huge success, and that is something to brag about.

Returning to TERA - The Community's Still Weird, and That's Okay Mon, 06 Jan 2014 13:07:45 -0500 Ashley Shankle

TERA and I have had a troubled relationship, dating back from the first months of the game's official release and being frustrated at the overall lack of content at the time. I had the same problem earlier this year right as TERA: Rising launched, and I hit the endgame wall yet again.

With the patches over the past few months adding new endgame content and PvP options, TERA's overall content is much higher than it was back in February. This much makes me happy, but isn't a surprise. What is a surprise is the community's unwillingness to change and how similar it is to earlier this year and even last year during the game's subscription period.

People will tell you the community is either great, or one of the worst on the market, with no middle-ground. How can this be? Surely people's reports on the game's community are biased in one way or another toward a particular type of social style. TERA's community is by no means the worst, but it is one of the most strange and most difficult for those uninitiated to figure out.

As you may well know, TERA's biggest draws are the action combat and nice visuals. The people who make their way to the game do so often for at least one of the following reasons:

  • They want lots of PvP.
  • They want to RP using the unique races of Arborea.
  • They are tired of traditional MMO combat.
  • The game looks so nice.
  • The sexy outfits on both genders.
  • Elins.


Most of the people who migrate to TERA are not those looking for an enriching PvE experience -- something you don't really get in MMOs these days anyway. They want action, of one type or another. And notice I said 'of one type or another', and I don't go into detail on that.

What needs not be spoken on is something that is a core component of the game's community on every server, and is something that comes up in conversation in area, global, guild, alliance, and party chat on a regular basis. Whether or not you are playing the game for that purpose, you are going to meet, talk to, and befriend these strange people. They are everywhere, and they are the core of the TERA community.

Why even talk about this?

Because if you are the type of person who thirsts for blood or debauchery, TERA has a place for you. That is what makes the game's community so unique among its peers, for better or worse.

There is no MMORPG with such a colorful community. Though the people may not always be the nicest, it is always interesting. My questioning EME choosing to keep global chat as the game moved into F2P territory was unwarranted, because global chat and the type of people who use it regularly are part of the game's flavor and charm. It wouldn't be the same without it.

It's understandable some people would not enjoy TERA nor the types of people it harbors, but those who even have an inkling they may enjoy dealing with this type of community very well may. It is truly an enigma in action, and it is not for everyone.

Having poked my nose into enough MMORPGs this year (and several years prior), there are some who are clearly better from a community standpoint than others. For example, FFXIV's community will likely be unmatched for some time.

TERA's community could not even come close to that of FFXIV, but it has that crazy macadamia nut flavor I just can't turn down. I thought I was tired of jokes about Elin honey, but it seems not. Perhaps I myself am one of the crazies best buried away in the game's halls -- or perhaps the community is just odd enough to be interesting. Who knows.

TERA Korea Getting New Scythe-Wielding Class Thu, 02 Jan 2014 11:01:40 -0500 Ashley Shankle

TERA players out there tired of the same old classes may have something to look forward to this year. The game's Korean website has revealed a new class, a 'Flying Scythe-user,' skilled in a unique take on scythe weaponry and dark magic.

TERA forum user Endia posted some translations of the class description, including some of the revealed skills. Among them are several medium-range attacks and several utility survival abilities. Some examples are an enemy location swap, counter, a one-time (likely long cooldown) shield to protect from death, and a dodge.

The Korean website also shows off some new class-exclusive costumes and hairstyles, which you can check out near the bottom of the page here.

The Flying Scythe class will be exclusive to Elins due to lore reasons, and will only be available to players who have at least one character over level 40. Newly created Flying Scythe-users will begin their adventures in Arborea at level 50.

This flashy class looks like a far cry from what is currently available in the game, and those of you pensive to play Elins will have to bite the master race bullet to give it a whirl. Flying Scythe-users will be available in Korea soon and will likely be making its way to TERA players in North America and Europe in the coming months.

TERA Getting Seven Schools of Magic Cosmetics Today Thu, 29 Aug 2013 14:24:26 -0400 Ashley Shankle

TERA is already the land of swimsuits and maid outfits, but you know what it needs? School uniforms, and lots of them.

The Seven Schools of Magic cosmetic items are aiming to reach the Valkyon Outfitters today, based a particular forum post from En Masse director Solomon and some freshly posted pictures of the uniforms on the official TERA Facebook. (Update: The costumes have been added to the Outfitters!)

As the name of this cosmetic set implies, there are seven different in-game schools these uniforms are from. Check out the Facebook link above or the images below for a look at these super cute outfits and where they originate.

Allemantheia Prep
Castanica Tech
Eldritch Academy
Feral Valley Jr. High
Icaruna School for Girls
Kaiator Polytechnic
Velika Vocational

Sailor uniform fans are sure to be pleased, as are those looking for more of a sweater-donning private school look.

One thing I can't help but wonder looking at the shots above is: where the heck are the Amani females? Are Bluehole/En Masse implying Amani females can't go to school? Are they too big to fit through the doors? Amani may be big and have elephant feet, but they deserve to look good too.

Head over to the Valkyon Outfitters in-game or on the official site to get a better look at The Seven Schools of Magic outfitters and their not-too-bad price points.

TERA Heading to China, First Test Phase in October Tue, 16 Jul 2013 14:38:10 -0400 Ashley Shankle

It's hard to fathom that China wouldn't have their own version of TERA, considering the game has reached a good portion of the Asian market by now. Better late than never, as publisher Kunlun Games has announced they will be publishing Bluehole's MMORPG in China later this year.

TERA will be launching as a free to play game in China, skipping out on the (somewhat brief) subscription models we saw in the rest of the world before the transition to free to play. Testing will begin this October.

MMO Culture mentions they claim there is a $40 million USD licensing fee to bring the game to the Chinese market. This could be the reason TERA bounced around the rest of Asia (including Taiwan) before finally rearing its head in China.

The Chinese trailer seen below is wonderful in its own right, but it seems a bit romanticized in comparison to TERA's trailers for other territories. I wish you could really sit on or lean against railings in-game. That would be nice.

TERA's Corsairs' Stronghold Update Moved to Today Mon, 01 Jul 2013 13:30:57 -0400 Ashley Shankle

En Masse is no stranger to getting a little too excited and changing update release dates, and the major update including the Corsairs' Stronghold battleground is no exception. The battleground will be making its way to TERA today instead of its initially scheduled July 2 release.

I suppose I shouldn't be complaining because this patch is massive. Several high level dungeons have been tweaked, every class sans Berserker has adjustments, and there are a wealth of miscellaneous improvements packed in as well. All in all, this is one of TERA's largest and most impressive patches to date. Good on you, EME.

Well This is Enchanting

One thing that may get overlooked in the patch notes is the new change in enchantment success rates: Enchantments now have a success rate identical to KTERA.

This change is a bit of a mystery move, because no one is entirely sure as to the exact differences between the two servers' success rates.

TERA NA has seen a lot of deviation from its Korean cousin in terms of enchanting in order to reduce gear grind. It's likely the adjustment above isn't significant. Hopefully a dedicated soul on the forums can come up with numbers over the coming weeks to set our minds at ease.

TERA Gets Corsairs' Stronghold Battleground on July 2 Tue, 25 Jun 2013 14:03:00 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Love to PvP in TERA but bummed out by the endgame PvP gear grind? Want something to do besides level grind your way up to 60? Or maybe - just maybe - you simply want to duke it out in a large-scale 20 vs. 20 siege battle? Well buckle up, buddy, because Corsairs' Stronghold is on the way and will be available to all characters level 30 and above.

Corsairs' Stronghold brings the type of PvP experience TERA players have wanted since release. Siege weapons and even airships can be used in the struggle to either take or defend the anchorstone, the primary goal in the heart of the defending team's stronghold.

This all sounds great, but how can level 30s to 59s compete with geared up level 60s? That's easy enough: All battleground participants will be scaled up to level 60, including all of their current skills. All gear will also be equalized in strength, though your battleground gear will retain your standard equipment's number of crystal slots.

Along with this much-needed battleground injection come new titles, a new mount to win, and a slew of pirate-themed costume items to make even the least intimidating Popori look like a real swashbuckler.

Can't wait to try your hand at Corsair's Stronghold? You don't have long to wait, as the update will be making its way to the game on July 2nd. If you've parked your TERA account for a lack of anything to do, now might be the time to reinstall.

Digital Date Night: Server Cross'd Lovers Sun, 10 Feb 2013 17:10:28 -0500 Mat Westhorpe

[This is Part Three of the three-part Digital Date Night: TERA series, go here to read from the start.]

However, time was pressing and as much as I'd have liked to have seen a bitch-fight, there was a date to be had. Poor old Englebert was likely feeling a bit stood-up by this point and was probably crying into his frisbee.

Jacqui directed Everlyn onward, but the path to the Isle of Dawn was not easy and she was forced to run for miles, climb ladders, hack up rotting zombies and slaughter morbidly obese demons.

All in heels.

It was exciting stuff both for me to watch and for Jacqui to play. TERA's combat system is "target free", meaning that the technical process of tabbing through targets and selecting hot-keys had - at least in part - been replaced by a more dynamic, position-and-timing-based system. Or button-mashing as it's more commonly known. There did seem to be some combo-based technique prompts, but Jacqui was happy to make Everlyn repeatedly slap the opposition with her basic moves.    

However, it wasn't really the ideal preparation for Everlyn's date, surely she'd break a nail or get something icky on her dress.

Where For Art Thou, Englebert?

After what seemed like enough time for an entire harem of cosplayers to get ready for a night out, Everlyn arrived by winged horse at the Isle of Dawn.

In an unfortunate turn of events, her newly acquired clothing had inexplicably disappeared. Much to her chagrin and with Englebert still waiting, there was no time to go shopping again. Now at least they could finally arrange to meet up and get this date in full swing.

Having wandered off in his boredom, Englebert was nowhere near Everlyn's arrival platform, but through the magic of whatever the fantasy world equivalent of smartphones are, they were still able to communicate via text. Everlyn and Englebert exchanged anxious  whispers;

“Hey beautiful, wanna turn my steering wheel?”

“Any time, handsome.”

It was on: a suitably romantic and isolated spot was picked - a secluded cliff-top overlooking the stunning and colourful landscape.

Channel Frustration

Still not physically together, but again utilizing MMO magic, the two would-be lovers formed a group and dashed separately across fields, through forests and over bridges toward their destination, eager to meet and hold one another in passionate embrace (or at least awkwardly emote at each other in embarrassed silence).

The anticipation was delicious, and the visual stimulation of the chromatic surroundings rushing past was uplifting in contrast to the earlier muted and dreary beach scenes. Dots moving around the map showed how tantalisingly close they were, with Englebert scaling the vine-covered cliff just before Everlyn's arrival. Pulses quickened as the fateful moment drew near.

Our hero waited breathlessly to see the vision of pixelated semi-nude beauty that would arrive beside him. Everlyn reached the cliff-top and rushed to the meeting point, dreaming of his strong arms and comically big hands.

The cliff-top was empty.

What dark magic was this? The two instance-crossed lovers stood, hands almost touching, yet kept apart by a thin veil of channel-separated realities.

Oh, the heart-wrenching bitter-sweet cruelty of the digital date - so tantalizingly close, but one plane of existence apart.

Fare thee well, sweet Everlyn. You would have loved my steering wheel.

Now I need a cold shower.


Digital Date Night Index

Part One: A TERA Rising Romance

Part Two: Englebert and Everlyn

Part Three: Server-Cross'd Lovers

Digital Date Night: Englebert and Everlyn Sun, 10 Feb 2013 17:10:24 -0500 Mat Westhorpe

[This is Part Two of the three-part Digital Date Night: TERA series, click here to read from the start.]

Jacqui toyed with the different classes, basing her decision almost entirely on her character's suitability for our 'blind date', and she eventually settled on a High Elf Slayer. I suspect her choice was an attempt to strike a balance between the wholesome and the downright slutty options available. I was secretly a little disappointed, but to be fair, the Slayer's figuring-hugging battle frock and thigh-length fight-me boots still left little to the imagination, so my as yet unmade avatar would still struggle to maintain a gentlemanly line of sight.

Yo! Check Out My Hot Wheel

I left Jacqui to finish creating Everlyn and complete the tutorial whilst I aimed to put together a suitor worthy of her delectable High Elf. As much as I was tempted to go for a old, grizzled freak or a shovel-faced beast, I thought I ought to put some effort into a kind of Prince Charming for that innocent Disney vibe - somebody around here needed to go for the moral high ground. The human Sorcerer appeared to be a snappy dresser and even comes with his own steering wheel, which might impress the ladies. And so Englebert was born.  

As a confident gamer, I skipped the tutorial and sent Englebert, in all his cheesy chisel-jawed Disney-esque glory, straight to the Isle of Love Dawn to await his hot date. This also meant I could go back to the far more entertaining activity of watching Jac's interpretation of the strange world of MMOs.

Meanwhile, the opening storyline had found Everlyn bereft of the garments she was so carefully selected for and was stranded on a beach in nothing but some skin-tight leather suspenders, a corset and some skimpy underwear. It was raining and she was getting drenched. Absolutely soaked to the skin. Her soft, perfect, leather-bound elfin skin...

This date was looking better and better all the time. Disney be damned.

It was a shame then, that I'd left Englebert elsewhere, sunning himself and polishing his steering wheel, whilst poor Everlyn apparently had a shipwrecked crew to rescue from a grey and watery death.

Virgin Territory

It was all a bit of a disaster. Jacqui's initial interest was in danger of waning as she struggled to grasp what the tutorial required of her. It didn't help that it was a little text heavy and she's dyslexic, so anything reliant on reading instantly falls into the 'not fun' category.

In order to keep the momentum up, I became the narrator, reading the dialogue boxes as she found herself assigned the role of assistant to the medics who were providing aid to injured soldiers scattered across the beach. There was a degree of romantic symmetry at work here as Jacqui and I had met in a similar way – I was a paramedic and she had been my trainee. 

Jacqui's complete inability to grasp the HUD radar meant I was doubling as her SatNav system, but we got there in the end. After Everlyn had fulfilled an number of back-and-forth tasks on the beach, she was sent to the Centurion for some better gear. Luckily, the Centurion happened to be another inappropriately dressed woman who clearly understood Everlyn's pressing need to get some better threads for her hot date. In a display of female solidarity, she supplied our semi-naked heroine with a tasteful yet racy evening gown and some footwear.

Jacqui pointed out that, as the women stood on the beach, there seemed to be a certain amount of rivalry between them as they preened and attempted to out-pose and out-pout each other. Jac also commented that, for all the supposed friendliness of this Centurion, the gold-heeled boots she'd provided were totally inappropriate for the apparent oncoming combat and that maybe she was hoping to see Everlyn turn her ankle.

Saucer of milk for table two.

Next: Server-Cross'd Lovers


Digital Date Night Index

Part One: A TERA Rising Romance

Part Two: Englebert and Everlyn

Part Three: Server-Cross'd Lovers

Digital Date Night: A TERA Rising Romance Sun, 10 Feb 2013 17:10:19 -0500 Mat Westhorpe

The Feast of Saint Valentine approaches, that joyous day when love and romance is celebrated with images of cartoon hearts and fat winged babies inappropriately playing with weaponry almost certainly not suited to their age range.

For the single gamer, it is probably a blessed relief that there is no social imperative demanding they pay for overpriced flowers and cards and whisk their beloved off to a restaurant for a cringe-worthy evening trying to decipher a suspiciously expensive menu with nauseating items like Lovers' Temptation and Cupid's Surprise.

I am envious of those bachelors and bachelorettes of the video game community who are free from such enforced experiences. For those of us in some state of relationship union, there is no easy escape from this commercialised romantic circus.

Or is there?

Roses are #FF0000

For years I've attempted to lure my Luddite wife, Jacqui, into the realm of video games, but she has still barely moved on from Solitaire on her smartphone. Perhaps I could entice her into more advanced gaming with an online evening of digital romance.

A general inquiry to the GameSkinny hive mind (thanks Ashley) made the free-to-play MMO TERA: Rising the front runner for our electronic liaison; with its lush, fantastical environments and entrancing landscapes apparently being the stuff of fairytale romance.

My main hurdle was going to be getting my wife to take part, so I went the extra mile; I put on my best gaming T-shirt, lit some candles and arranged our little gaming area with flowers and a giant Valentine's card (finally, a reason for keeping it since 2007).

Who says romance is dead, eh? I've still got it.

TERA: Rising the Wife

Jac was surprisingly receptive to the idea of an evening on the Island of Dawn, so I fired up the TERA client and prepared to guide her through the process of creating an MMO character. Neither of us had even seen TERA before, so to a degree, it was a shared leap of faith, but a potentially exciting vehicle for our digital date night.

TERA's visual style has a distinctly Anime flavor to it and judging by their dress sense, the more humanoid female avatars certainly weren't shy. With their alluring (read: absence of) clothing and their ample curves, the male teenage market is certainly well catered to, although the supposedly seductive full-body writhing animation is bizarre - it makes them all seem like Parkinson's Disease sufferers.

This peculiar animation is less noticeable (at least to me) on the male avatars and the ursine Popori, which suggests either a cynical attempt to sexualize these “dolls” to cater for the “lonely gamer market” or that I have a filthy mind. But even choosing the voice involves listening to a selection of moans and groans, supposedly combat noises. I don't remember any of this filth in Beauty and the Beast.


Next: Englebert and Everlyn

Digital Date Night Index

Part One: A TERA Rising Romance

Part Two: Englebert and Everlyn

Part Three: Server-Cross'd Lovers

Valentines Image: Toast Cafe