TERA is the only MMORPG with true action combat and starting today that action combat gets taken up a few notches with the introduction of a new playable character class on Xbox One: the gunner.
To celebrate the launch of the gunner on Xbox One, I asked our development team some questions about the concept and design challenges of the class, and how it was ported over for the platform. Ko WonJun (UI/UX Designer), Kim Seon Wook (Lead Designer), and Hong Sang Hyuk (Client Programmer) responded with a peek behind the scenes on how TERA’s gunner class came to be.
What inspired the creation of the gunner?
In TERA, there’s a mostly unexplored story hook about the high elves’ Unified Theory of magic and mechanics. This was a very attractive bit of lore to our development team, and since it was incomplete, we could be more creative with it. We thought a lot about how a Unified Theory concept class would look and play, treating destructive and uncontrollable magic as an impersonal, complex machine. Separate from the general concept of magic as a power used only by elites, we wanted the gunner to be a funny and rebellious character.
What role was the gunner intended to fill?
In TERA, DPS classes must pay attention to monster attack patterns, dodge those attacks, and deal damage at the same time. So even with powerful skills, classes that cannot attack while moving have roadblocks to dealing significant damage, and it gets harder depending on how bad-tempered the monster is. Gunners are designed to take full advantage of their mobility to both deal non-stop damage from the back line and pick up the slack from other characters who are busy dodging monster attacks (or not).
Can you describe the challenges you faced during the development process?
Obviously the most challenging part was the moving attacks. TERA wasn’t designed for characters to attack while moving, so a lot of resources went into solving just the technical issues of combat. Moreover, none of our dungeon content accommodated the gunner’s mobility, and we had to balance our existing and upcoming content to make sure the combat didn’t get too loose.
Playing a gunner depends a lot on which skills can be cast while moving, and which cannot. This was very important, as only using moving skills made combats boring and derivative. We couldn’t just throw the doors wide open—there had to be a reason why a skill could be used that way, and we needed to balance the mechanics of existing classes with the gunner’s. It was tough, and we completely redesigned the entire gunner skillset over 14 times, until we had a satisfactory result.
It would have been much simpler if we gave up on moving attacks, but this was big thing that differentiated the gunner from all other classes, so we had to keep going. We were confident it would make the gunner much more attractive and fun to play, and we were right!
Can you talk about the process of adapting the gunner for Xbox One?
The gunner in the PC version of TERA is really fun to play, so our main goal was to provide that same experience on Xbox One. We had to make sure players could still deal steady damage with a controller, so we changed the default combos to reflect the order the skills are learned and assigned the skill buttons accordingly. Players can always change their shortcuts, but we believe default settings play a huge role on how players adapt to playing their characters, and that’s why we spent so much time on getting the default controls for the class feeling just right.
The gunner class is available starting today as part of a free update for TERA on Xbox One! Log in to TERA before July 8 and you’ll even receive a free additional character slot that you can use to create a gunner, or any one of TERA’s action-packed character classes!