On May 5th, En Masse Entertainment will be releasing TERA on Steam. That isn’t all though. The free to play MMORPG will also be bring the Gunner class to the western version of the game. Late last week, I got the chance to get some hands-on time with the Gunner class and chatted with Patrick “Treeshark” Sun, TERA’s Producer, about what the new class added to the game.
All in all, the new Gunner class is without question fun to play. If you’re familiar with TERA’s action combat you already have an idea of how important mobility is in game. Knowing that though, it’s easy to dismiss the Gunner as just another ranged class that will have to stop and stand still to cast most abilities. Don’t make that mistake. The Gunner is HIGHLY mobile. Running and gunning is the name of the game here and, for me, the Gunner added another level of true action combat to a game already know for it.
That being said, there are downsides to the new class. First and foremost, the class is both race and gender locked. Only female Castanics and High Elves can roll a Gunner. While the race restriction isn’t a huge deal for me, having any class restricted to a specific gender (male or female) is simply an awful option. I can’t stand when games are fully gender locked and having it added to certain classes in a game that isn’t gender locked otherwise is frustrating to say the least.
The other annoying feature is, sadly, a core class component. The Gunner uses a new resource for some abilities called Willpower. Think of it like this, you have your normal abilities that you chain together to unleash destruction on your foes, same as every other class. As you kill things, you gain Willpower. Achieve a certain amount of Willpower (1500 during my hands-on time) and you unlock a few extra, almost “super” abilities to use. These abilities in turn drain Willpower and the cycle starts over again.
My main problem wasn’t the system itself, it works fine, but instead was with a particular ability that is absolutely REQUIRED to be used EVERY time its cooldown expires. The Replenishment ability regenerates MP and Willpower to a small degree. Since Willpower gains from killing monsters is a bit on the slower side, you literally HAVE to trigger Replenishment every time it’s available to truly maximize your “super” abilities and your DPS. It’s a needless extra button press that would be better replaced by a slightly faster “Willpower though combat” gain in battle.
Those two gripes aside, the Gunner is quite fun to play. The even faster combat style, the ability to be highly effective against both single targets and AOE pulls makes the Gunner a highly adaptable DPS class…even if some abilities are certain to pull extra monsters and anger tanks sometimes. Berserkers need to look out as well since the Gunner wears heavy armor and will likely be rolling against you for loot.
While you can find the entire Gunner skill breakdown here, there are a few skills that bear specific mentioning. Bombardment, Burst Fire, and Rocket Jump (all Willpower abilities) were entirely too much fun to use. Bombardment rains death from above and is fantastic at nuking hordes of enemies as once, Burst Fire turns your gun into a gatling gun of sorts and lets you just hold the space bar down while mowing enemies to bits, and Rocket Jump is a beautifully animated attack that’s sure to be player favorite. That’s the problem I have with the Willpower mechanic though. The pay off is SO satisfying and worth it to use these abilities, but the hammering of Replenishment is a draw back.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Gunner also can roam the open world with some companions. HB 7 is a small mobile robot that assists in combat and ST 4 is a non-mobile turret that’s great for setting up a position to draw enemies to and dish out a little extra damage. These companions can be detonated to do extra damage, but more interestingly, the Gunner can make these friends stay in one place and the port directly back to them (from a limited range) ignoring enemies and adding even more combat mobility to the Gunner.
In the end, is the Gunner worth coming back to TERA to check out (if the Fate of Arun expansion didn’t already make you come back for a look)? Certainly. It’s fun and feels different than every other class in the game, even if there are minor annoyances to the class. If you want to get your hands on the Gunner class, get that game updated now, and make sure to log in on May 5th when the Gunner is added. ANY player that does so gets to walk away with the EX-TRM mechanical spider mount shown below simply for logging in.