Hands-On WIth TERA’s Skycastles and Sky Cruiser Endeavor
Last week we got the opportunity to have a guided press-tour with some of the guys over at En Masse Entertainment for the newest update to TERA. Fate of Arun expansion was released a few months ago but they’re already preparing to churn out more content that we had the fortune of being shown in person. Upon logging in and hooking up over Skype’s we grouped up with the En Masse team who would be our guides; Patrick Sun (Producer EnMasse for TERA) and Tina Zhang-Powell (Associate Producer) who we’d previously had a tour with at the end of last year when the expansion first came out.
For this meet up we were transported to a new endgame –level dungeon: the Sky Cruiser Endeavour. This instance was meant for level 65+ characters only and so we were tweaked into an almost god-like version of ourselves where we could pretty much kick the crap out of everything that came at us. This is far from the longest dungeon but it has been designed to be the hardest one and has one of the longest boss fights can take anything from 20 to 40 minutes depending on the skill of the players.
As this portion of the article may contain spoilers, we’ve given an account of our experience below if you wish to know what happened.
After we were done with the instance we were taken to the city of Velica to check out one of the other new features coming with a patch: Skycastles.
The new feature will allow Guilds to compete against each other in the Crusades system; here players will join either a PVE or a PVP league, depending on a Guild’s personal preferences and all members within the Guild will be able to acquire Ranking Points for their Guild either by completing instances (PVE) or being successful in PVP battles depending on the league that they have joined. Every season the top 10 Guilds of each league (so 20 Guilds in total) will gain access to their own Skycastle, huge castles that float… in the sky (obviously), which they are able to travel to, visit and upgrade in a variety of different ways.
As we rolled up to one of the main plazas we were told to look up into the sky and were admiring one of the huge floating castles nearby, owned by Tina, it was the basic version of a Castle that players would have available to them, but still pretty impressive (and given that there’s only 20 available at a time definitely has some bragging rights). We were then told to check out the other direction where we saw a far more impressive Castle owned by Patrick as an example of just exactly how much you can pimp out castles.
Catching a flying Pegasus we were able to travel up to Patrick’s Castle (as we had been invited into his Guild and so were able to access it, non-Guild members are unable to get inside the Skycastles) for a nice scenic flight showing that the Castles actually exist in the world and are not instanced based. Once there we were able to run around and check out the decor and a variety of NPC’s such as Guild Bankers and specialty vendors that had been placed. Primarily Guilds be able to upgrade the look of their Skycastle and are able to buy different levels and expansions to the primary Castle base, these can also be upgraded and come in three tiers though Guilds must purchase the tiers in order. There are a number of flashy lights and other quirky elements that Guilds can add to their Skycastle and a number of different looks from classic mediaeval castle to more Gothic architecture.
Guilds keep their Skycastles for the full season, which lasts 4 weeks, during which they can try to accrue more points to make sure that they are still in the top 10 for their league and retain their Castle. Any upgrades purchased by the Guild are still retained even if the Guild lose their Skycastle for a season, so that if they manage to get one back in the next season they can instantly upgrade with all the decorations, structures and NPC’s that they previously purchased. Skycastles primarily exist for bragging rights as is emphasised by the huge banner and owner’s Guild name circling the Skycastle for all to see.
As we were at the end of our tour we decided to test the open world existence of the Skycastle and were actually able to leap from the balcony, plummeting for a good 10 seconds before impact on a road that we were informed by Patrick is a pretty common gathering spot and so would be quite the spectacle for passers-by. Beautiful.
We had a great tour and it was awesome to check out the new content, so big thanks to Patrick and Tina for the tour!
Here be spoilers.
The background is that the Valkyon Federation and allies are sending their most advanced airship to take down the Archdevas, but it has come under attack from the Archdeva and their Demokron (Frankenstein-esq abominations) and the crew has abandoned ship. The ship has been turned around and on course to the new city of Highwatch with the intention of detonating it over the city.
Taking a teleporter we were transported to the engine room of a flying Skyship a safe zone on this enemy vessel free of mobs, as an internal area (that isn’t too big) there’s no mounts, which that led us to a main open hallway where standing in front of us was an absolutely huge Demokron abomination called Perimos “The Fleshreaver”.
This first encounter acted like a horde mode setup with wave after wave of enemies attacking us whilst Perimos attacked us with laser beams (that really hurt if they hit you); we were told that for the normal game players could spend up to 20 minutes in this particular battle. The mobs come in various types, weaker enemies with a few mini elite style enemies thrown in the mix that once defeated opened gates the lead us into an huge power room where we would face Perimos one on one.
This time Perimos uses his chest laser beam but also switches to using a melee club attack, which is in fact his arm that he keeps pulling off to smash us with. He alternates between fighting the group and every so often redirecting his rage to one of the six blue crystals that line the area, basically if these six crystals were destroyed then bad times were ahead. Using a quick dev instant kill Perimos was dropped and we headed to the upper deck.
On deck we could see the astral clouds flashing by us on the outside, pretty impressive scenery as we take on the final boss Darkan, suited in black heavy armor like a dark knight. What begins with a pretty tough melee fight soon gets a lot harder as half way through the fight he transforms and grows some huge fiery wings, which not only look fearsome but allow him to start doing some considerably more powerful moves like flying up in the air and pretty much smashing the entire group to pieces. Similar the the Bathysmal Rise end boss players will need to learn what his key moves are so that you can quickly get out of the way (and we mean quickly, you don’t get a lot of time to react to his attacks) and stand in key spots to avoid a player wipe. Obviously some big loot for players and we even earned the Ranking Points for the Crusade system (above).