ZAM Discusses TERA Westernization with Brian Knox

We sat down with TERA's senior producer to get some details on the process behind bringing the game to a Western audience.

In the latest edition of En Masse Entertainment's Race and Class Series, the team briefly touched on what it means to Westernize TERA for a North American and European audience. Basically, the short paragraph explained that En Masse wants their players to feel like TERA was made for them.

We wanted to know more about the Westernization process, so we decided to go straight to Senior Producer Brian Knox to discuss the similarities and differences between the Korean and NA/EU versions of the game. Miric, our TERA content manager, talked with Knox about all sorts of topics, ranging from the storyline to gameplay. Find out what Knox had to say after the jump!

 


ZAM: Before we get too specific with our questions, could you define exactly what "Westernization" means to En Masse and TERA?

 

Brian Knox: Westernization refers to our process of adapting a game to fit the Western market. In some cases, text localization and new marketing assets are all that are needed. Other times, specific game mechanics and features require tweaking for the market. Gamers play differently around the world, and as the North American publisher, we need to ensure the game will be fun for our market.

ZAM: We are already aware that TERA will be story driven, and that it will have a core storyline in which players will play an integral role. Will the Western version of the game alter the plot so it is more relatable to the Western culture? Could you give us any examples?

Knox: We developed TERA’s overall plot shoulder-to-shoulder with our counterparts at Bluehole Studio, so the big picture is consistent no matter where you play. The presentation of that plot, though—the storytelling techniques, characters players can identify with, methods of world-building, style of pacing—that’s what we’re building for Western gamers. You won’t get a different plot. You’ll get characters with authentic personalities and motivations that propel the action forward.

ZAM: Will the Western version of the game be updated in conjunction with the Eastern version, or will it evolve independently?

Knox: Yes, the game will be updated in conjunction with the Eastern version; however, some features may evolve according to Western preference. Feedback from our community and from our team here at En Masse has always contributed to new features and advancements in TERA. The key is to offer choices to all users as we continue to evolve the game.

ZAM: Will the races of TERA be altered in the Western version of the game in either appearance or function?

Knox: We’ve been working with the development team to create a global game, and we’ve had considerable input on TERA’s races during the development process. Humans, amani, and baraka seem to appeal more to Western players, while poporis, elins, and elves have more of an Eastern appeal, but we expect all the player races will find fans throughout the world—just as TERA’s graphics, storyline, and combat have done.

ZAM: Are there any major class changes that we could expect to see in the Western version of the game versus the Eastern? More specifically, will any fundamental changes in play style or role be made?

Knox: There will definitely be some differences in our version, but most of those will come from territory-specific player feedback. We expect the Western version to be balanced for our audience. We’re grateful that the Korean release of TERA gave us the opportunity for a large-scale balance test.

ZAM: Along the same lines as the previous question, will any of the class skills be reworked from their Eastern iterations to adhere to a more Western gameplay style?

Knox: At its core, TERA is an action MMO which, by its nature, has a strong appeal to Western players. With class skills, we’re focusing our adjustments more on bugs, naming, and balance issues to ensure they offer players the best possible experience.

Continued on Page 2.

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Questions
# Feb 02 2011 at 11:29 AM Rating: Excellent
TERA Sr. Content Manager
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59 posts
I understand that those questions are very valid and many people would love for them to be answered in depth, however the subject of the interview was the westernization of TERA, as such we had to stick to questions that were strictly centered on that. Yes some of the questions may seem like reiterations of previous questions but we were hoping for each answer to give us a new detail regarding their plans for the NA/EU version of the game.

As for asking questions that people will want to know the answers to, I have some answers to your questions already, as the information has been out there in one form or another. Perhaps they are not the most fulfilling answers but they are what En Masse is willing to release at this date.

1. The political system is in effect still being built. Even though TERA has been released in Korean they are still missing the political system altogether up to this date. The prospective political system will allow players to be elected via public election or by earning the position through PvP battle, depending on city. Powers of the politicians have been rarely discussed but things such as controlling taxes and spawn rates in zones have been mentioned at least once.

2. The targeting system is a core feature of TERA and it will be far different than standard MMO's. There are some spells that will be based on collision, that is where the projectile that was fired must make contact with the hit box that it was fired at in order to take effect. Meanwhile there are other spells that use the targeting system where if you were pointing at your target when you initiated the spell it will automatically hit. The difference between melee and ranged is going to be based mainly on the players skill levels. Each class has abilities to close the distance, or increase the distance between threats and proper use of these skills comes down to the player. They have gone out of their way to balance both melee and ranged classes.

3. There is a sort of flight path between cities and some larger quest hubs. At level 20 you will be able to obtain your first mount. Players of different races will all start off in the same zone so no travel is necessary to group up with friends.

4. The player rewards that we are aware of come through standard MMO mechanics. That is to say you will see some from quests, some from monster drops, and some from PvP. In this fashion TERA has gone with a tried and true system for loot. Since the FG2 test TERA has vastly increased the amount of loot that players find in the game and that is available at any point in the game, thanks to player feedback. This sort of thought will most certainly continue as we progress towards beta testing and K-TERA matures.



I hope this helps with some of your questions. Also remember the NA/EU version of the game isn't even in beta testing and much of this could change before release.

Edited, Feb 2nd 2011 12:31pm by Miric
Seriously?
# Feb 02 2011 at 6:12 AM Rating: Default
9 posts
Is this an actual interview? I mean How many times is the exact same question going to be asked in different words. He told you the first time you asked if the Western Version would be different from the Eastern Version that they will essentially be the same, but some small variances would take place depending on the feedback from the players.

You should have stopped asking about Variances and started asking about more in-depth questions like:

"There has been rumors that the players will actually take control of the political system in the game what is the functionality/advantage of this type of system and how will it effect each player?" or...

"How does En Masse/Bluehole plan on dealing with fundemental game play issues such as the targeting system, as it will be much different then traditional MMOs. Will there be a distinct disadvantage to ranged characters over melee or vice versa because of the targeting system?" Or even...

"How does your Traveling system work for city to city travel? Will lower level players who want to play with their friends of a different race be able to afford portage fees or will it be a free service to all characters of the games federation?" Or...

"As we all know in many games players find being rewarded for doing quests, crafting, instances, conquering lands, killing large world bosses, to be one of the most fulfilling parts of the MMO experience. Some other MMO's have kept a tight seal on rewards where players feel as though they are putting in the work and getting nothing out of it what does En Masse/Bluehole plan on to do for player rewards?"

Next time you get an oportunity to talk to a developer of a game please ask questions that people will want to read the answers to.

Edited, Feb 2nd 2011 7:18am by Tharis
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