E3 2011: Hands-on with TERA Part 2 – Vanarch Quest


The dragon Sabrnak attacks. TERA (Bluehole Studio, En Masse)

As part of TERA‘s exclusive press and media demonstration, we learned that players could earn accolades through popularity or PvP and become Vanarch, the leader of an entire province. Yet players must work constantly to retain the power of a Vanarch by accruing Policy Points, be it through popularity or by completing Vanarch-exclusive quests. The second half of our demonstration allowed us to play through one such quest. Our unsavory Vanarch could not retain his office through popularity alone, so he and his fellow guild-mates were tasked with taking down the dragon Sabrnak, one of TERA‘s lovingly named Big-Ass Monsters (BAMs), in order to earn the necessary policy points to stay in power. Sabrnak was featured in TERA‘s Korean Open Beta trailer, and is immediately recognizable by its ram-like horns and the massive scythe-shaped claws on each wing.

I assumed the role of a Castanic female Archer, who attacked from afar with magic bolts. Sabrnak was armed with a large variety of attacks, but the beauty of TERA‘s combat system is that enemy attacks are all obviously telegraphed and entirely avoidable with skill and patience. Players adept at action games like God of War or Devil May Cry will feel right at home taking on the denizens of the world of TERA.

Keeping Sabrnak at bay while casters charge spells. TERA (Bluehole Studio, En Masse)

Sabrnak’s most dangerous attack by far was his burrowing attack, in which the beast drilled into the ground and exploded out from under its target. The timing required to avoid this attack was extremely tight, keeping all players on their toes whenever the dragon performed the attack.

Sabrnak’s other attacks included:

  • a rush attack, where the creature would race on all fours and trample anything in its way
  • a close-range gore attack, where the creature tried to deal damage with its curved horns
  • a breath attack, in which the beast spit a ball of fire at a target
  • a tail sweep, where the dragon swung its bladed tail as it turned around
  • several aerial attacks, including crashing into the ground below, blasting targets with it’s explosive breath, and swooping down and smashing into players.

Because the Archer’s sweet spot lies in mid-range combat, my Castanic was just out of Sabrnak’s melee attack range. Only a few of the dragon’s projectile and long range attacks attacks could hit me, and the tanks in our party performed their role well enough that the creature would only occasionally target me. Plenty of movement and well-timed dodges ensured that I avoided damage whenever Sabrnak did try to attack.

A warrior gets up-close and personal. TERA (Bluehole Studio, En Masse)

After a short but fierce battle, the dragon keeled over, dead. We looted the spoils (force of habit, really) and earned enough policy points from the quest to keep our despot Vanarch in power for a bit longer. Considering the fact that Sabrnak is one of TERA‘s elite over-world monsters, demanding that a Vanarch take such a creature down is no mean feat. Unless said Vanarch has the reflexes and patience of a god, slaying BAMs is a team effort, which means that he can’t afford to burn too many bridges and expect to keep his office for long.

It seemed that the battle was over as quickly as it had begun. Perhaps we were playing over-leveled characters (I did not take note of the character levels), or perhaps Sabrnak had been toned down for the press and media, but I left the demonstration hungry for more time with the game. Fortunately, I managed to snag some additional playtime on the kiosks around the booth, and got hands-on with the Warrior, Berserker, and Archer classes.


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