Late last week, I had the chance to sit down with TERA’s Lead Producer, Patrick “Treeshark” Sun, and some of the PR team at En Masse Entertainment to check out some of the features that will be added to TERA’s Fate of Arun expansion. The free-to-play MMORPG will be getting a new max-level dungeon (billed as the hardest dungeon in the game) and will also be adding the much-anticipated Skycastles Guild Housing System.
As we started working our way through the new dungeon, Sky Cruiser Endeavor, we were warned that even in high-quality press gear, we were likely going to die. We did. A lot. Sky Cruiser Endeavor is tuned so that even veteran TERA players with amazing gear will have a hard time going through the instance the first few times as they learn strategy and timing.
The dungeon is small. That’s not to say it is short, though. With Sky Cruiser Endeavor, TERA strips out most of the trash. If you like boss fights, then this instance should be right up your alley. The dungeon features three bosses (the first being a gauntlet/wave of monsters type encounter) and very, very little trash. Sun assured us through that fighting all three bosses with appropriate gear and skill would still take upwards of half an hour.
Don’t be fooled by the last boss, though. He may not look like much to start out with, but things change quickly when the boss gets at about 90% health. Having an overgeared healer was no match for damage -dealers failing to get out of AOEs.
While Sky Cruiser Endeavor is a fun instance, it is the only instance being added so you’ll probably be grinding it for a bit if you’re already sitting at max level.
The bigger addition, at least anticipation-wise, is the inclusion of Skycastles into the North American/European version of the game. These have been available in the Korean version for a while now so it’s nice to see them finally come to the Western audience.
If your guild has its eyes set on obtaining one of these Skycastles though, you’d better start forming up, since only 20 will be available per server. To earn one, your guild will have to place in the top 10 in either the PvE or PvP competitions held to award castles. If you miss out, don’t fret too much, since there will be reset periods (kind of like seasons) where the castles will be up for grabs again. For you guilds that manage to win over and over, you may just be rewarded at some point with a permanent castle and you’ll no longer block some other guild from entering the top 20.
Don’t get too caught up with the word “housing” though. Yes, it is technically housing for your guild (and ONLY your guild, no visitors allowed) but there really isn’t much to do inside the castle itself. You can earn the ability to place various NPCs like a broker or a vendor that lets you preview cash shop gear right on your character as long as you’re in your Skycastle, but really the interior of your castle is nothing more than a social hall. There’s aren’t rooms to visit or customize for each guild member or anything like that.
For as disappointed as I was with the interior of Skycastles, the exterior made up for a lot of that disappointment. You can see Skycastles from the ground if you’re running by. The guild’s logo rotates around the caste and as visual improvements are made to your castle, players can literally sit on the ground and watch your castle evolve as you build in real time.
The exterior of your castle is where your customization comes in. Want a sparkling white palace in the sky? No problem. Happy to have your basic ruined fortress on a floating rock? That’s fine, too. Want to build a dark monument worthy of inclusion in The Lord of the Rings? Earn the points and you can do it. Some of these Skycastles look downright amazing…and yes…you can jump off of them to your death in certain places.
It’s a nice update, but I don’t think it’s going to keep anyone too busy. With one instance and a competition to earn castles, the “new” is going to wear off quickly in my opinion, but for those guilds strong enough to grab a castle, you can create some pretty awesome looking sky spectacles if you put a little time into it.