Bluehole Studios, the Korean game development company behind Tera Online, has created a job listing indicating that Tera Online is coming to the Xbox One and Playstation 4. The listing seeks out a Technical Lead for porting Tera to Consoles, as well as leading further console game development in the future. The listing describes a number of duties involved with porting the game to consoles, as well as their short and long term goals, which include expanding into other markets such as mobile and VR.
Tera Online launched in North America & Europe on PC in 2012, and continues to receive frequent content updates. Currently, the MMORPG uses the free to play model, which means the game will likely also be free to play on consoles, although a subscription to Xbox Live/PS+ may be required.
What is Tera Online?
Created with Unreal Engine 3, Tera offers stunning visuals and exciting online gameplay. The defining feature of Tera is that combat is entirely action based. Attacks and spells must be aimed at enemies, and utilize hitboxes to determine if abilities hit. Players must also utilize dodges and blocking to avoid damage from monsters and other players, through proper reaction & timing.
This might not sound unique to those that play primarily single player games, but most MMORPGs such as Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft utilize a form of combat known as “tab-targeting”, where attacks and spells automatically hit- the player does not need to line up their attacks, and cannot actively dodge or block attacks. The usage of automatic targeting in MMORPGs was originally due to technical limitations, as until recently, action combat was not feasible due to poor internet infrastructure, and servers not being powerful enough to process it.
Tera’s action combat allows it to achieve fun & exciting boss fights that are unlike those in any other MMORPG on the market. The game currently offers a variety of dungeons with a wide range of difficulties. Some dungeons can generally be beaten on the first try, whereas the hardest ones have taken as long as a month after their launch before any players managed to complete them. Whether you’re a casual or hardcore player, Tera has content for you.
PVP in Tera is also very fun and competitive, with class balance relatively even, and it relying more on skill than gear. Tera offers a few instanced battlegrounds with a variety of objectives, such as a 20 vs 20 castle siege, and a 15 vs 15 control points battleground.
However, Tera is not without faults. Tera requires a good connection to play effectively, and any ping over 100 milliseconds has a significant impact on both damage output and ability to dodge and block attacks. Progression is very similar to other MMORPGs such as WoW and Final Fantasy 14, involving repetitive quests and repeating the same content dozens of times to obtain gear that is good enough to move on to harder content. Fortunately, the action-oriented combat and breathtaking environments make up for it, and I still enjoyed leveling despite it being rather formulaic.
For more details, visit http://tera.enmasse.com/game-guide
Predictions Regarding Console Gameplay
Tera on console will likely exist in a much different form than it currently does on PC. Unlike games such as Elder Scrolls Online, Tera was not originally designed with multiple platforms in mind, so adaptations will need to be made for the game to fare well on consoles. The UI on PC is much too cluttered and inefficient to run on consoles, so it will need to be radically redesigned. Each class has over 20 active abilities, which is far too many for a console controller. The console version will likely make heavy use of combos, as there simply isn’t enough buttons on a controller to map every single ability to a specific key.
Significant optimizations will need to be made in order for the game to perform well on console. Even a top of the line PC cannot maintain 30 fps in content such as battlegrounds, and consoles offer much less performance than that. Bluehole Studios will have to rewrite code in order to ensure that the game maintains a minimum of 20 fps on consoles during intense battles, or it will severely impact the in-game experience. Hopefully, some of this optimization will make its way onto PC.
While Tera is 5 years old, it still offers a lot of quality content, and its graphics stand up quite well in comparison to modern games. Tera Online has the potential to succeed on consoles, but it ultimately will depend on how well Bluehole Studios tweaks the game to fit the console environment and perform well.