Producer Chris Hager on TERA’s Hitboxes, RMT, Events, and Political System

At GDC 2012, GAMEBREAKER writer Jason Winter and I attended a private session and hands-on boss fight demo in the En Masse Entertainment (EME) media booth.

Afterwards, we spoke with EME’s Chris Hager, the Producer for NA TERA.

Our discussion covered the following topics:

  • 0:08: the hitbox implementation
  • 2:40: the ability to buy a virtual good (Chronoscroll) from the item shop to sell in-game to other players
  • 5:15: the Nexus Dynamic Event system
  • 6:20: the Political system, which is based on the election of governors (Vanarchs) for each of the provinces

More on Hitboxes

My interview with EME COO Patrick Wyatt generated a lot of questions and debate about hitbox.

After dialoguing with gamers on social media and digging around on Google, I found the following excerpt from the TERA Answers thread on hitboxes which contains information originally posted sometime in the summer of 2011:

“If there are major differences in hitboxes so that those of a physically smaller race have a smaller hitbox and therefore are harder to hit, this would be an advantage. Conversely, because these races have shorter limbs compared to larger races, it is more difficult to attack enemies, and this would be a disadvantage. These elements would have a big impact on game balance, and certain races would then be preferred or avoided, and those who wanted to play the disadvantageous races would become frustrated with TERA.

However, simply ignoring the visual differences between races would create a potentially worse problem: lack of authenticity and immersion. This has been a large point of conversation and debate among TERA’s developers. In the end, we decided to make the hitboxes and attack ranges as close to the same size as possible across the races, although not completely equal, so that players would not get frustrated while playing the game.

For example, Barakas and Amani have slightly smaller hitboxes for their size, while the hitbox for the Popori is slightly larger than their size. There is still a difference, but it isn’t as major as the physical size of the model would lead one to believe.

The attack range went through a similar balancing process. The attack animation for the Popori is indicative of their slightly longer attack range, while Amani and Barakas hardly move forward. When they attack, the ranges for races have been appropriately modified and balanced to match their animations.

In short, we tried to make the game as balanced as possible while still maintaining the individual flavor of each class. Therefore, hitboxes and attack ranges have been configured in such a way that they are similar without being gamebreaking, but are not exactly the same size.”

I found the excerpt to be a bit confusing, even after reading it multiple times :) The excerpt is 10 months old, so we don’t know whether the information is still current.

What I heard from Chris in person was very clear on the matter:

  1. Attack animations have been adjusted to make the reach of attacks for the same ability the same across races – i.e. reach is normalized
  2. In terms of being hit or healed, the bigger you are, the easier you are to target – being hit / healed is not normalized

Chris’s explanation aligns with my experience in CB3, in particular the second bullet point. I found as a Sorcerer that the bigger my opponent, the more surface area of my opponent I could move my target crosshairs over and have the crosshairs form a circle, and the easier it was to hit them with straight-line spell attacks. This was the case when fighting mobs or dueling.

Please post your questions and feedback.

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