At GDC 2012, I interviewed En Masse Entertainment COO Patrick Wyatt on bringing TERA, a Korean MMORPG game, to the West (North America, Europe).
Here are notable segments from our conversation:
- 1:02: respective roles of the developer (Bluehole Studio, BHS) and the publisher (EME)
- 2:08: specific changes being made to the game for the West. In terms of process, BHS owns making the game code changes, and EME facilitates this process by designing the changes to be implemented and synthesizing feedback from the community
- 6:27: how BHS is making different versions of the game for different locales
- 8:30: Patrick confirms that the core combat mechanics remain unchanged for the West
- 9:24: the hitbox implementation. Range/reach across hitbox sizes has been normalized, so a Baraka and Popori have the same reach for attacks. Character size does influence easy it is to be hit or healed
- 10:56: decision to go with Frogster as the publisher for EU TERA
- 11:42: establishing EME as a premier game publisher, in terms of their relationship with game developers and the community
- 17:02: EME’s analytics capabilities to understand what players are doing
For more discussion on this interview, see the thread on the TERA official forums.
Let me know your questions and feedback.
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Hitboxes in this game is really bad.Everyone will run around with tyny chars in the game just like they are doing now in pvp.And the bigger you are the worse it is i guess.Just fail.
The hitbox implementation is one area of the game that I think should have been either adjusted for NA/EU, or changed for all versions.
What will happen to some NA/EU players is that they’re roll a character with a race for cosmetic reasons, only to realize later that there are gameplay impacts of that decision, and they’ll be frustrated. This is no different from rolling the “wrong” race for a class only to realize later that other race’s had better bonuses (e.g. for tanking, for PVP, etc).
Aside from the hitbox, many of the changes being made to westernize the game make sense, and my impression is that EME is doing a more thorough job of managing that process as compared to Aion when it was launched in NA/EU.
I see that you specifically asked the questions to quell the misinformation that people were spewing, in that other TERA post you did. Good job on getting the answers Ed.
I’m glad to have had the opportunity to speak with Pat and other members of the EME team at length.
I started writing Guides years ago to counter misinformation in the community, but as I have gradually expanded my gaming coverage to include things such as interviews, it’s given me the opportunity to address misconceptions about gaming companies and the process of launching / localizing games in new markets.
One of the key takeaways from the interview IMO is that the game combat mechanics are untouched between the K-TERA and NA / EU TERA versions, so players can watch footage from K-TERA about classes they are interested in and still learn from them.
The answers to your hitbox question concerned me a bit. Of course its not a good thing that everyone has the same reach, but different sized hurtboxes, but he did not seem to get that.
Before i played the eu closed beta i thought that bigger characters would have bigger hurtboxes, but longer reach as a tradeoff. I played a Baraka lancer for a bit, and the normalized reach is very apparent, as many of his attack animations go farther than his hitbox, which is a bit confusing and not very fun.
So yeah. Either normalize all hitboxes or give the big guys bigger reach. On that note: A friend, who played a Popori, got dismounted a lot while riding through puddles of water in the swamp area. Thats a little tradeoff, i guess ;)
I talked with Producer Chris Hager during a private media session after the interview, and he said that there were tradeoffs in terms of being hit / healed, and that is what helps to balance it out.
As I wrote earlier, I think having mechanics influenced by race and character size should not exist in MMORPGs – most recent games (e.g. RIFT, SWTOR) have moved away from race and racials.
[…] my interview with EME COO Patrick Wyatt, there were a lot of follow-up questions about […]
That was an excellent interview. The professionalism really shined through. I like how you hit the important issues and were able to pull out a lot of the organizational structure info as well. From the business side of things it looks like en masse will hopefully be one of the good guys, which will normally translate to good things for gamers and long term game stability.
I was very impressed with Patrick, he has good business sense as well as deep experience in the gaming industry from a technical perspective.
[…] some-more contention about this video, greatfully check out a following threads:- on my blog: https://taugrim.com/2012/03/10/interview-en-masse-entertainment-coo-patrick-wy…- on a TERA forum: […]