Returning from a Visit to Bluehole Studio

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03/14/2012
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How’s it going TERA community? I just got back from a week-long trip to Korea, where key members of our Ops team (COO Pat Wyatt, Director of CS Adam Stayer, and me, Sam Kim—our resident Guy in the Corner) met with Bluehole developers for discussions regarding our publishing platform. It was an intense week of collaborations, meetings, brainstorming, question-and-answer sessions, and discussions, but it’s been great working with such an experienced and talented team intent on building a high quality publishing platform focused on great user experiences and streamlined support.

“What in the world is a publishing platform?” you ask? It is the aggregation of features and technology that allows us to publish and service the game efficiently and effectively. This includes features such as an account management system, subscription engine, payment method acceptance, customer support portal, knowledge database, security, moderation and CS support tools, analytics, bot detection, and so much more. The goal is to ensure a high quality experience for our players beyond the actual gameplay, everything from account creation to customer support to billing, and all the surrounding and supporting features required for a great overall user experience. But in order to ensure a great experience, it’s extremely important to build the platform specifically tailored to the appropriate audience—in En Masse’s case, North America.

This recent trip was just one of countless examples of the effort that both En Masse and Bluehole are investing into building a great game and platform for TERA players. It was an incredibly busy and productive trip, but we didn’t forget to do one of the things that make working in this industry so awesome: have fun! In fact, I’m happy to report that between Pat, Adam, and me, En Masse held their own against the drinking prowess of the team at Bluehole, a feat not easily accomplished and always regrettable (the following morning)! 

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I will say it wasn’t just the players having fun with the PvP

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03/14/2012
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As we gear up for Closed Beta Test 3 coming, we want to look back at the previous event and see what went well, what could use some tweaking, and what you as players enjoyed.

In Closed Beta Test 2, the biggest new addition was probably our player-versus-player introduction. We opened two new PvP servers with an open-world PvP design (short of safety zones in cities). This combined with a guild-versus-guild declaration system made for an interesting weekend! To sum it up, the PvP players REALLY like killing each other. Across our two PvP servers, players racked up over 50,000 kills and over 150,000 PvP battles. We’ve also seen the formation of roughly 2,000 guilds, and the result was a ton of GvG battles.

I will say it wasn’t just the players having fun with the PvP. A few of us in the office formed a guild on one of the PvP servers and wanted to try out the GvG (it’s a little more fun with several thousand people than with our small office). We picked our target—a seemingly small guild—and our guild master declared on them. Right after that, we got a message that someone spotted a few of the rival guild at a specific local and we bolted down there to get our PK on.

Alas, they were gone by the time we all gathered up and rode out, so instead we did a bit of questing in the area and MAY have had a few run ins with some other players. So here we are, a small guild engaging in some challenging PvP when all of a sudden, we found the other guild—or more specifically, they found us. All of them. They slaughtered us, but we were all laughing because that’s part of PvP—you never know when you’re going to get it handed to you.

As with any tweaks or changes we make to the game, we want to hear what y’all think about it! We are constantly changing and planning how to make TERA better, and your community advice is key to that, so keep it coming! 

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Instructions and Prizes

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03/13/2012
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Instructions

  • Be Creative!: To enter,  a URL to your video. Only one entry per player per closed beta test, please!
  • Be Smart!: To enter, your infographic as a URL or attachment (under 5MB please). Only one entry per player per closed beta test, please!
  • Be Lucky!: To enter, play a character to the maximum level of that closed beta test for a chance to win. Multiple characters at maximum level on your En Masse account count for multiple entries. Deleted characters do not count.
  • You can only win one contest per closed beta test.

Prizes

  • We’d like to give a shoutout to Logitech for providing the prizing for this contest!
  • The Be Creative! and Be Lucky! contests will be judged by the Creative Services Team and other En Masse Entertainment staff.
  • Be Creative!:
    • A first, second, and third place winner will be selected to win the prizes associated with that event and placing:
  • All contests end on Sundays at 11:59 PM Pacific time. Specific dates follow.
  • Be Creative! and Be Smart!
    • Closed Beta Test 3: March 18
    • Closed Beta Test 4: April 1
    • Closed Beta Test 5: April 15
  • Be Lucky!
    • Closed Beta Test 3: March 11
    • Closed Beta Test 4: March 25
    • Closed Beta Test 5: April 8
  • Additionally, every contest winner will receive one chronoscroll in-game! These items will be distributed when chronoscrolls are introduced to TERA. For more information on chronoscrolls, check out our about them!
  • The results will be published on the official TERA website about a week after each contest ends.

Have fun and good luck in the contests! We look forward to seeing your results! 

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Be Creative, Be Smart, Be Lucky!

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03/13/2012
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Be creative, be smart, or be lucky in one of three contest series being held during our . Capture footage, design infographics, cut videos, or simply play your characters to the level cap for a chance to score prizes from Logitech and En Masse Entertainment!

Be Creative!

  • Put your creativity to the test by making art from video you capture during the closed beta tests!
  • The themes for each closed beta test include:
    • Closed Beta Test 3: Produce an instructional video on how to play your preferred class.
    • Closed Beta Test 4: Create a dungeon walkthrough video of one of TERA‘s dungeons such as  Closed Beta Test 5: Answer the question “what is TERA?” through a narrative video.
  • Your videos may use footage from TERA trailers and cutscenes but original video content is required in your entry.
  • Looking for a protip?   featuring pointers on how to capture footage in TERA!

Be Smart!

  • Tap your analytical mind to interpret and design based on the raw data we’ll provide after each closed beta test!
  • The infographic topics for each closed beta test include:
    • Closed Beta Test 3: Characters and Guilds
    • Closed Beta Test 4: Monsters
    • Closed Beta Test 5: Economy
  • Craft your infographic to convey what TERA‘s busy beta testers have been doing in each closed beta test in the cleverest ways possible using pie charts, Venn diagrams, and other graphical measurements you learned in that Statistics class!

Be Lucky!

  • Rely on your skill at TERA by playing your character all the way to the maximum level of the current closed beta test! Maximum-level characters on your account will each count as an entry into these contests; you’re welcome to use every character slot on every server.
  • The maximum level for each closed beta test is:
    • Closed Beta Test 3: 32
    • Closed Beta Test 4: TBA
    • Closed Beta Test 5: TBA

 

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Known and Fixed Issues

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03/13/2012
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  • The “Contact Support” button now brings you to the TERA Customer Support page on the website.
  • Moving the mouse pointer no longer skips the opening cinematic movie. You can still skip it by pressing any key.
  • The LFG, Vanarch, and Party Alert chat channels will now be moderated.
  • The description for Soothing Rhomb has been corrected.
  • When trying to create a new character, you will now be notified if you have reached the maximum number of characters on your account for that particular closed beta test.
  • Achievements will now display properly in the chat window.
  • This build replaces some existing textures with high-resolution textures. They will display if you set the graphics options to maximum.
  • The client may crash when trying to login to server after exiting the server queue screen.
  • The cinematic for the Circle the Wagons quest will not render environmental detail if your distant environmental detail setting is below the max setting of six.
  • Outlaw quests point you to NPC Kareras, who is currently not labeled or clickable, and may not appear on the mini-map.
  • When changing locations, party members may “arrive” in a different channel.
  • The Contaminated Well area in the Quarantine Zone map has the incorrect environment textures.
  • Cancelling a Teleport Scroll mid-use will cancel the teleportation but still consume the item.
  • The quest objective and text of the Promised Support quest conflict.
  • The right ALT key registers as a double press with each single press. Use the left ALT key in the interim.
  • Piglings occasionally drop huge amounts of gold.
  • Battlegrounds are not implemented in this build.
  • The mystic’s thrall summon may re-engage monsters even after its summoning mystic dies.

 

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Season’s Greetings

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03/11/2012
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The office is decked out in holiday colors, presents adorn every desk, and even at this late hour the En Masse staff is hard at work despite their flights home looming. Our passion for TERA is very apparent around this time of year. Even as we prepare to take time for ourselves and our families, we’re setting plans in motion that start the minute we return to work in 2012. Some of us are even working through the holiday to make certain that TERA is as ready as it can be, not just for launch but for the Preview Events early next year.
With every contest we do, selecting the winners gets harder! Our second annual  was no exception. Carefully considering dozens of entries, each member of the Creative Services Team and Senior Community Manager Evan “Scapes” Berman independently selected their for first, second, and third place choices, with the following results:

En Masse Etertainment has been incredibly busy since we’ve returned from celebrating the holidays! With that in mind, we wanted to share a glimpse at what our Web Team has been working on regarding the new official TERA website—namely, your new forums.

Keep in mind that these mock-ups have placeholder content (meaning text, avatars, and dates) and should not be taken at face value. For instance, the avatars you see here won’t be available when the new forums arrive. We know, you all want the Jack Nicholson one.

As a member of TERA‘s grassroots community, you personally inspire our passion. Your insightful comments, intense discussions, and eager and early engagement are all sources of inspiration for the entire team as we work to bring TERA to you. From everyone here at En Masse Entertainment, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season and look forward to seeing you in 2012, the year of TERA! 

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Times fly, the year went quickly

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03/11/2012
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The year went quickly as development milestones flew by and we moved from goal to goal. We opened 2011 with the most important event of the year—TERA‘s Korean launch in January. At that point, we had paying customers to whom we were accountable. For En Masse and Bluehole, this was a critical step toward becoming a global product, because our teams had to learn to balance the needs of multiple territories. It took us time to hit our stride, but we are now in sync and pushing forward, both creating new content and polishing current content. The game that launched in Korea and the game that will launch in North America are staggeringly different—we’ve made significant changes. Everything from game balance to all-new game features to critical security needs have finally come together. Hardcore fans like you, who’ve been with us since our first focus group test, will truly appreciate how far we’ve come—and how much your feedback has affected the game—when you get your hands on it in 2012. We’ve listened to you, and you’ll see a finished product ready for you to play!

As the year progressed, we spread word of TERA through community and trade shows. We had a blast at each show—meeting with our fans and showing off the game to the press is always rewarding. At each and every event, we believe we created a memorable demo experience that captured the heart of what TERA is—not an easy thing to do for a vast MMO in 20 minutes. We even walked away with awards, including Game Informer’s Best PC Game at E3. More importantly, though, we walked away with people talking about what a game-changer TERA really is in the MMO market.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the less sexy but more critical things we accomplished over the last year. Our platform team has built something from nothing to meet the support needs of our customers. So many tools are taken for granted. The launcher, the installer, the forums, the account management system, the customer support tools, the data center build-out, security measures and serial code generation—these are the tools or systems that never get any love if they’re working, but get all the blame once something goes wrong. It can be thankless work, but it’s critical to the success of En Masse and TERA.

As the game, marketing, and platform come together, we believe we’ve created something special—a product that will raise expectations in the industry for game and service experience. It may sound cliché, but this is just the beginning. We are already focusing on what’s next for TERA after launch. What content are we developing? What events should we run? How can we improve our service even further? Launch itself is critical, but preparing for those first 30, 60, and 90 days afterward is just as important.

The final leg of our journey starts today, and soon the world of TERA will open up to all who are willing to brave it. We are excited to go on this journey with each and every one of you and look forward to seeing you for the launch of TERA—and more importantly, the adventures beyond…

TERA‘s beta tests, originally called preview events, will start with closed phases requiring invitations to each session and will end with an open beta test just before TERA launches. To add yourself as a potential TERA beta tester for the closed beta tests, you’ll need to sign up.

Signing up is easy: just enter your email address in the text box below. We’ll also send you important TERA news from En Masse Entertainment. Do you already receive our TERA newsletter, or have you completed our TERA alpha test application survey? Your email address is already signed up—no need to re-enter it!

A few things to note:

TERA‘s closed beta tests each require a unique invitation. Each invitation will indicate which closed beta test it is valid for. Submitting your email address more than once won’t increase your chances of receiving an invitation.

• Invitations to TERA‘s closed beta test will be distributed before each event based on random selection.

• Invitations to TERA‘s open beta test will be distributed to everyone who signs up to be a TERA beta tester.

• If you participated in TERA‘s alpha test, Community Play Event, or any Focus Group Test, or if you won one of our past contests, you will be invited to all TERA beta tests.

• We will introduce additional methods of securing an invitation to TERA‘s closed beta tests such as official contests and giveaways. 

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About TERA’s Release Date Announced

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03/11/2012
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TERA will be available in Standard and Collector’s Editions at retail and online stores. TERA‘s retail version will be distributed by Atari. We’ll reveal details of each edition’s contents in February.

We have a lot planned for TERA before its May 1 launch, the most immediate being its first closed beta test! If you haven’t visited the TERA Beta Sign-Up yet, point your browser to TERA-Online.com to enter your email address for a chance to test TERA before it releases. You’ll also be signed up to receive important TERA news from En Masse Entertainment. Also, if you participated in one of TERA‘s previous tests or won one of our contests, you’ll be invited to join in all TERA beta tests! We’ll be introducing more ways to be invited to TERA‘s closed beta tests in the coming weeks.

Get the latest TERA developments as they happen! Visit TERA on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and follow us to receive game news moments after it’s posted. You can also subscribe to En Masse Entertainment’s YouTube channel to be notified when we publish new TERA videos!

January has barely begun, and we still have lots in store this month, including more details about TERA‘s beta tests. We’d like to thank the fantastic TERA community for their dedication and passion. If you’re visiting us for the first time to read TERA‘s release date announcement, you’ve chosen a great time to be a part of the TERA community! Jump onto the official forums and join us for the ride!

The TERA Beta Sign-Up is live. Now it’s time to spread the word!

As a member of the TERA community, you’ve been following the game anywhere from a few minutes to a few years, and we’re guessing that you like what you’ve seen so far. You also probably have a group of fellow gamers with a keen interest in what’s next and a Twitter account you use to tweet ‘em up. With this in mind, how would you like a chance to secure your TERA beta invitation…not just for one closed beta test for but all of them?

If the answer’s a resounding “yes” then your job is simple: help us tweet the word out! Share the news about the TERA Beta Sign-Up by retweeting our announcement on Twitter! Read on for the how-to and specifics. 

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Welcome to the New TERA Website!

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03/11/2012
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Let’s introduce what’s new! We’ve entirely revamped TERA’s and are building new forums to match. As part of the new TERA experience, we’ve optimized our to easily manage your profile and settings. Your En Masse account will be tied to your email address, and will manage your game accounts, public identity, support tickets, store purchases, communication preferences, security preferences, and more. We’ve also launched our Customer Support which will serve as your go-to place for questions about TERA, your En Masse account, and more.

Over the last few months, we’ve been working behind the scenes to provide a new, optimized web experience for TERA. Our goal is to provide an easy and intuitive all-in-one system where users can create, access, and manage web and game features. To that end, we are excited to launch our new online platform in anticipation of TERA’s imminent beta tests and launch on May 1!

If you already made a TERA-Online.com account, we have migrated your account credentials and information. Please login to your account to review and update your account information in the new account system. If you’ve forgotten your credentials, click on the login screen, and we will send you directions to help you access to your account.

We’re working to bring the new forums online as quickly as possible; please pardon our dust as we finish construction. In the meantime, join us on TERA’s and pages where we’ll be devoting extra attention and making sure that you’re kept up to date on the latest developments and able to discuss them with the rest of the community. Although we anticipate the new forums will be live in the next few days, we’ll keep you updated on our progress should an extended downtime become necessary. Thank you for your patience!

From all of us here at En Masse Entertainment, we welcome you to TERA’s new home online and we look forward to rolling out new updates and features to our online platform as we near TERA’s launch on May 1! 

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Welcome to the MMO-FO movement.

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03/11/2012
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Do you miss challenging gameplay? Skill-based gameplay? Rewarding gameplay? Are you longing to get excited about an MMO again? Louder—we can’t hear you! You should be shouting at your monitor, “Hell, yes!”

Welcome to the MMO-FO movement. We reject boring, easy-mode, childish MMORPGs. We hate no-skill tab targeting, repetitive attack rotations, and mindless grinding. We want a game that requires player skill, a game that rewards mastery, and a game that actually challenges us. That game is TERA.

To celebrate the of this innovative game, En Masse Entertainment is debuting a new series of videos throughout the closed beta period. This video series, starring mixed martial arts legend Bas Rutten, brings the concept of action combat to life as only Bas can. To get you started on the road to being an MMO-FO, watch our first video right here:

We will be hosting five closed beta tests for TERA starting February 10, each lasting about 60 hours from Friday at 12:00 PM PST to Sunday at 11:59 PM PST of that week. Those who have have a chance to be randomly selected to participate in single events. Players who will gain access to all five closed beta tests and be allowed to retain their characters and their progress for the duration of the closed beta period.

TERA‘s open beta test starting on Thursday, April 19, will be open to all who sign up. Finally, the Head Start is an event exclusively for players who , taking place the weekend before TERA‘s launch on May 1. There will be no non-disclosure agreement (NDA) during any of these events so feel free to screenshot, film, and write about your experiences and share them with your friends and guildmates!

We’ve announced TERA‘s in North America, launched the page, and started a for your chance at all-access beta invitations… what’s next? How about a peek at our TERA beta plans!

Last week, we mentioned invitation giveaways as an upcoming, additional way to get into TERA‘s closed beta tests. We’ll be working with major game industry press sites and key MMO news outlets as part of our beta test schedule. To kick things off, we are proud to announce IGN as our first closed beta partner. You can find a brief mention in our, which premiered on their site today (and be sure to watch the video if you haven’t yet).

There will be plenty of opportunities for the TERA community to get involved and play TERA before the game launches on May 1. We’ll announce our beta test schedule and more details on partners and giveaways in the coming weeks. 

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