TERA Hands On Preview: The Gunner

Bullets! Bullets flying all over the place. DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA. The mobs are cut down in front of me. Muahhaah….sorry what’s what? The preview starts in a few minutes… well I suppose I could stop..

Hello folks and welcome to my little hands on preview for the new class coming to TERA: Fate of Arun this May. I got the chance to hang out for a little bit with Patrick “Treeshark” Sun, Producer for TERA at En Masse Entertainment. This wasn’t the first time they’d had me along for a preview but probably the one I behaved the best at.

TERA_Gunner_screenshot_01

Let’s get some very important information out of the way first and then we’ll talk first impressions. The Gunner!

  • It is a new class available to Castanic and High Elf Females only.
  • It comes with the patch this May 5th that also marks TERAs debut on Steam
  • We played with level 65 characters facing off against 61s just to get the feel of things.
  • We were geared out to an insane degree. Again in the interest of fun over frustration.
  • Anyone who logs in May 5th gets the mount below for free. The mechano spider called the EX-TRM

EX_TRM

So with those important points out of the way, lets talk about the class.

The Gunner wields a massive cannon and like all good action heroes, and unlike the Archer or Sorcerer, can run and gun. Or stroll calmly backwards and gun as the case may be. Mobility is a big factor for the Gunner as are different tactical options. Apart from the fact that you can move around while laying down covering fire, what else is new? Gunners have a resource called Willpower. To take the Movie Action Hero comparison a little further, you get more options for blowing away bad guys after you’ve mowed down a bunch of them. In effect you gain a little willpower with each kill or on certain skill uses. Charge up your barrage? Willpower! Spin your weapon around for a quick refresh? Willpower!

I found the mechanic very straight forward. You have to build your willpower to spend it, you build it by doing what you do best in TERA, depopulating the countryside. After you’ve built up that willpower, the powers we were playing with presented a few options. I had two options to spend an entire bar of Willpower. I could call in a massive barrage that would blow anything in my chosen target area to meaty chunks. This had the wonderful benefit of returning Willpower with each mob downed up to 11. So you could bring down the fire and still be ready to take on more or have a shorter distance to build back up to the other full consumer.

TERA_Gunner_screenshot_02

The second skill option we had to totally consume the Willpower, well… visually we’re going to go with what Patrick Sun had to say, it’s your Kamehameha. A giant blast of really bad day for anything in front of you. Also yes, I checked the tooltip for the skill, the damage was indeed over 9000.

Lets say you don’t want to obliterate bad guys in a giant blast or rain down fire…. First what’s wrong with you? Second you have another consumer option. This one was my favourite and probably the truest to the name “Gunner”. A Gunner can choose to spend any amount of willpower by turning their weapon into a chain gun. Plant your feet and walk your shots over anything trying to get in your face. The dakka only  lasts as long as your willpower sadly, so yes more is better but … there’s nothing wrong with occasional short bursts is there?

Beyond the big willpower consumers I had fun with the other options presented to me by the class. Do you want to Rocket jump? Of course you do. So naturally you can. The only fiddly bit was getting used to the fact that I would jump in the direction I was travelling, not necessarily the one I was facing. This should give people some tactical options to either start a fight, kite it or flee it.

Lets say you’ve picked your battlefield and you want everything in it dead. You can toss grenades, you can even toss a turret out to mindlessly blaze away at anything inside its perimeter. The turret isn’t the only companion as Gunners also get a little cute helper bot that will slavishly follow you around and give you a little burst of healing where it can or combo with your skills to add some firepower on poor poor BAMs.

The robots were really what sold me on the versatility of the class. Versatility, not fun. I was having fun from the moment I got into the preview up until it officially started and then through the actual dev walk through.

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You can order your faithful little healer bot to stay in one spot if you want and run away from him. Maybe you want to set up a cross fire, maybe you just want to cause trouble. Naturally I chose trouble and dropped a turret. Time then to hit the F2 Key and have my faithful robot teleport yank me back to him and out of harms way. Or maybe I wanted to detonate (totally an option) my robot and turret after they got attention for extra damage before resummoning it?

There were plenty of options opening up ahead of me but sadly only so much time in the preview to enjoy them. Treeshark got in on the fun of course. No Elin for him this time tanking whatever trouble I stirred up, it was the reign and the terror of the Gunshark.

All in all, my gut feeling? Fun as all get out. I am sure it’ll be different to a degree as I try to level a Gunner. Having to deal with things that can really properly hurt me back and will give me trouble as I build up those skill chains. That’s part of the adventure though and it’s not like there’ll be any shortage of new characters this May 5th. Mobility, damage, interesting little tools for me to use… what isn’t there to love.

As we close the preview, with my hearty recommendation that you give a Gunner a whirl, I will mention that yes, I asked some questions people may have.

As to why the Gunner is limited to High Elf and Castanic ladies? That’s a developer choice apparently. Just something they settled on as working for the races in question.

As to what else we might get in the future, what the other races can look forward to… there’s this great sound games developers make when they want to tell you but know that their bosses will get that look. I heard it a few times. So….your guess is as good as mine.

Until then… Dakka dakka dakka!

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About Jonathan Doyle

Once long ago Westwood made a space game. Earth And Beyond was the start of the journey. From there, through Paragon City and to the fields of Altdorf, there were battles. Westwood brought me to MMOs. City of Heroes refined my love for them. Warhammer brought me to writing about them. He loves all things space, sci fi, Warhammer or heroic.