The TERA team has been posting a series of articles on the official TERA online website regarding the second focus group test and the feedback its testers gave as a result. Called Focus Group Test 2 “Postmortems,” this weeks’s entry revolves around the concept of “westernization.” This subject entails the game’s story and dialogue, names, places, quests, and game flow. According to the TERA team, fans have been positive about the direction the game is headed, but had a number of ideas and suggestions that could improve this as a whole.
Testers in general found the core of the story interesting, particularly at the start of the game. FGT participants felt that advancing the story through interaction with non-player characters (NPCs) was important, as was the immersion and sense of involvement. Immersion includes engaging dialogue and interesting names: names of places, items, skills, and other in-game aspects. These names should be exotic and exciting, to match the colorful and fantastic world of TERA.
The TERA team agrees, and believes the best way to convey the story and strengthen immersion is through the quests the game offers. These quests should function as windows into the life and interaction of the people and world of TERA. The team is working on improving the ratio of story-related quests compared to side-quests, which they hope to introduce in future builds of TERA. Naming will also be improved to provide a more interesting and immersive feel.
The TERA team reports that, while the introductory area of the game, the Island of Dawn, is a well-created and engaging experience, the questing and immersive feeling begins to fade after the first eleven levels. Later quest chains are less rewarding or exciting for their difficulty.
Testers agreed that quests were a viable leveling method, but some found that questing was relatively unnecessary for level gains, as hunting monsters instead of accepting quests still allows for respectable gains. The TERA team responds to this by saying:
“We want to make questing the optimal method of leveling. To that end, we’re developing more than 1,000 quests and four times as many quest archetypes as were in FGT2. Additionally, we are evaluating and improving the geographic distribution of quests to ensure that the rewards scale to match the required level.”
A good variety of quests is always promising, but to quadruple the number of quest-types is very impressive. The team is taking feedback and addressing the issues properly, and bland, unrewarding questing was one of the biggest problems FGT testers noticed with TERA. This further cements En Masse Entertainment’s commitment to improve on the game.