TERA: Reshaping MMO Combat

by Brian

TERA Game Developer Magazine

Bringing TERA to the Western market was more than a business decision; it gave us a chance to change how people play MMOs. More specifically, TERA gave us the opportunity to reshape combat so battles could move beyond “Tab target, press 1, press 2, press 3, repeat until out of combat.”

To explain the decisions that went into TERA’s action combat system—and all the calculations behind them—we went to the source: Seungmo Koo, the server architect for TERA. Seungmo broke down the concepts and concerns behind the combat system. Whether you’re a game developer or a loyal fan, Seungmo’s article has something for everyone. Check out the whole article below—and be sure to read May’s whole issue of Game Developer magazine for the latest news in the industry!

Here’s an excerpt:

Why an Action-Heavy MMORPG?

We incorporated action-heavy fights in TERA because we wanted to differentiate our game from the conventional MMORPG’s tedious combat. TERA players don’t just trigger skills in a serial order with a set target. Instead, they have to dodge and block enemy attacks by moving their character away while taking the enemy’s movement into account, and position themselves just right to aim their attacks while adjusting for their direction and distance. We don’t even need to calculate dodging or parrying statistics, as other MMOs do, because these factors are determined by the player’s real-time reaction to enemy attacks. This kind of “free-targeting combat” is natural in console and single-player PC games because it’s an effective way to support action-heavy battles, but early MMOs couldn’t pull it off because they had too many latency-related problems.

Download full article (PDF).