It's the final week of my coverage of En Masse Entertainment's massively multiplayer fantasy role-playing game Tera. Normally at this point I would be sick to death of playing and eager to reclaim my free time. Instead, I find myself more invested in the game than ever before.
Oh yes, it just got political up in here.
On Friday, May 25, polling opened across all North American servers for Vanarchs, guild leaders chosen by popular vote to control one of three regions in the game. Once in power, these Vanarchs have the ability to manipulate specific features of their region in order to enhance the play experience of the entire server. They set a tax rate, deploy NPCs offering special services, and implement powers that make life easier for characters passing through the region.
In order to facilitate these changes, the Vanarch and his guild must complete guild quests to earn currency that can be exchanged for these boons. Thus being and remaining a Vanarch requires more than simple charisma (though it helps). A guild master with political aspirations must have an organisation of players dedicated to furthering his or her cause.
An organisation like Passion, my guild on the Dragonfall server, currently in the lead for the Vanarchy of Southern Shara, the game's mid-level area.
See the Praise number in the above screenshot? Each day players can "/praise" a guild of their choosing. It's a way of proving to the rest of the server that the 300 people on the guild's roster aren't merely padding, but a group of active players that care about their guild's reputation.
So people looking to apply their vote (one per account per server) see that number and know that there's a large group of people that intend to work tirelessly to generate the points needed to bring about positive change.
Yes, I am campaigning just a little bit.
At this rate it looks like come voting's end on June 1, I'll be in an excellent position to report on what being a Vanarch actually entails. I'm not the guild leader, but I am the prettiest character in Passion, which counts for something.
While not campaigning this week I've spent some time getting my Sorcerer, Back, to level 50. I've run a few more dungeons, logged a metric ton of quests, and exploited the game's instance system to complete tasks more efficiently. In fact...
Tera Fun Tip: Tera utilizes a channel system to keep areas from becoming too crowded. At any given time there are at least four different channels running for each area (sans major cities), and players can swap between them on the fly. How can we use that to our advantage? Say you need to harvest six items or kill six monsters. Instead of trudging all over a dungeon in search of your target, find a place where one or two spawn, kill or collect, and then switch to the next channel to do it again.
I've also spent a little bit of time levelling more characters. I've been fooling about with a Lancer (slow tank), a Warrior (quick and nimble tank/damage), and an Archer (a single target damage machine). My only regret is that with only 300 slots available per guild, my alternate characters can't join my friends in Passion proper.
Did I mention voting Passion for Southern Shara Vanarch on the Dragonfall server?
And that's it for my month-long study of En Masse Entertainment's action-packed MMO. My time in Tera is not over by a long shot, but my time telling you about it almost is. Look for the full review the week after next (E3 OH MY GOD), after which I shall continue playing without feeling the need to take notes.
Kotaku's MMO reviews are a multi-part process. Rather than deliver day one reviews based on beta gameplay, we play the game for four weeks before issuing our final verdict. Once a week we deliver a log detailing when and how we played the game. We believe this gives readers a frame of reference for the final review. Since MMO titles support many different types of play, readers can compare our experiences to theirs to determine what the review means to them.