TERA Has A “Revolutionary” Political System

By Jim Rossignol on December 17th, 2011 at 2:11 pm.

Pretty! But is he also petty?
TERA‘s action-combat and overall ludicrous prettiness has caught my attention on occasional, but the way it ties guild quests to an overall political system is really quite something, as you can see in the video below, via PCG. You can rise to power through either a popular vote of actual players, or through the PvP battlegrounds, and once you are in power you can make life easier for people (or not) via your control of various resources such as shops and teleports. To perform actions with these your guild will need to be perform particularly high-end quests, fighting monsters and so forth. It all looks rather satisfying, at least within the constraints of traditional MMO systems. (Eve Online it ain’t.)

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49 Comments »

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  1. Metonymy says:

    Popularity contests immediately turn into either the grim compromises of real socialization, or the corruption of politics. I’ve never been able to imagine a scenario where this sort of thing improves anyone’s game experience.

    Receiving more power for taking and holding top 10%, 5%, 1% in a purely SOLO pvp effort makes sense, and rewards and empowers those who know what they’re talking about. Anything else seems insane to me, geared perfectly towards creating tyrants out of those individuals who know how to push people’s buttons.

    • Orija says:

      I think it’s tyrants who add spice to such things rather than the boring altruists.

    • Wulf says:

      I think it depends on perspective; As in your particular life/story philosophies. Philosophy is everything, after all, and definitely what politics should be more about rather than cults of popularity, which I’ll note that tyrants often subscribe to. Perhaps a little charismatic but completely shallow beyond that. (I’m looking at you, Cameron.) That’s how I tend to view tyrants – they may be a little bit charismatic, but ultimately they’re just a shallow personification of personal greed when it comes down to it.

      Of course, also more interesting than tyrants are knight templars – those who believe that they’re generally acting towards a better end for their people. Horribly misguided but they genuinely believe that they’re doing what they’re doing for someone, and that leads to some interesting character conflicts which can result in a layered person. One thing to keep in mind is that most altruists are notably knight templars anyway, because of the nature of this world we live in. Often whilst you give with one hand, you take with the other, because you can’t look out for all people, all of the time.

      So I’d take an altruist that’s trying to do good for one group of people rather than a tyrant any day of the week, because at least the altruists are interesting to talk to. Unlike the tyrants who’re as dull as dishwater once you scratch that veneer of false charisma.

      The difference between the two is that one is going to have a personal philosophy or set of philosophies that they judge all of their actions by, and they’re going to be able to tell you this at length. They could write books about it because they’ve spent so much time meditating on the subject, they can’t help but do anything else. The other is going to throw together a bunch of easily picked apart nonsense that only looks like philosophy until you analyse it.

      And that’s why tyrants don’t add as much spice as you think. They never have a personal philosophy from what I’ve seen, they just fake something up instead. And it’s often the best way to tell a tyrant from someone who isn’t.

    • Metonymy says:

      Woosh? My point is to give power to killers, rather than talkers. Killing is measurable and indicates an understanding of the game. Killers can also be beaten at their own game. Good socializing and good group killing is evidence of nothing, and those people are more firmly entrenched, and thus less healthy for the gameworld.

    • Zyrxil says:

      It’s not an interesting political system unless it’s possible to bribe and intimidate the voters into choosing your candidate, and unless it’s possible to wage guild wars over elections.

    • cederic says:

      Give players significant rewards for coming ‘first’ and they’ll group up and conspire to choose who wins.

      Doesn’t really matter how good you are solo, you still wont win against a concerted team working towards a given end. If they’re negotiating with your other enemies and even your allies, you’re in even more trouble.

      So given that social power will be needed to supplement PVP skill, why not explicitly recognise it? If nothing else, it provides a route for people that aren’t in the top 1% of PVP (i.e. 99% of the player base) or who just don’t have the time to commit to individual success but would like to work towards a team accomplishment.

    • Metonymy says:

      I realize this isn’t something that hasn’t been officially discussed anywhere, (like all truly significant questions) but I don’t consider group actions to have any relevance. They introduce too much chaos to be a pure measurement of skill. You’re free to disagree, but we can both agree (since you stated it) that group actions within a closed community inevitably involve politics. I’m stating that politics don’t improve anyone’s experience. The perfectly impartial game rules that already exist are sufficient.

  2. Zaboomafoozarg says:

    Asheron’s Call’s PVP server Darktide had a revolutionary political system 10 years ago. Anyone could create a monarchy and start getting vassals to swear to them, and popularity, power, policy, and publicizing were all factors in getting people to join monarchies.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    Haven’t other MMORPG’s already tried similar systems, I’m sure a few in the past have.

    • Panda Powered says:

      Poor old SWG had a politician profession. Pre-NGE/CU they were required to run player cities. I think everyone got the skills as default after NGE.

    • D3xter says:

      Archlord had well… the ArchLord… it didn’t work that great, it was more of a marketing-bulletpoint.

    • Calathas says:

      Wakfu has one, but I can’t figure out if it works or not because everyone involved in politics IS FREAKING FRENCH!

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      @Calathas You could always reroll on the international server (where everyone is Spanish). :D It’s a pretty good political system, but a few weeks ago on that server some guy managed to get elected governor of Bonta, and then to feed his PvP urges, declared all farming and hunting illegal, declaring war on Brakmar and basically making war the only activity you could legally do. Sucks for low levels,

      Anyway, so his popularity went way down and we all thought he would not get re-elected, and yet somehow he managed to still get re-elected for a second term. Thankfully this time, those who voted got him booted.

      But yeah, language is the biggest problem. I guess once the game ceases to be in beta and they roll out an English server things will be a bit more manageable,.

  4. Blackcompany says:

    I wish this MMO would try a release date. Or even a Beta date. An Alpha test phase? Something to let players know it still intends to actually release.
    .
    Not to knock it or complain. I know games take time to develop. But so far we keep hearing about this new generation of MMO’s. Unfortunately, most of the news is about features they will have, once they get released.
    .
    On release dates – or even Alpha and Beta test dates, however – we hear absolutely nothing. I for one just hope these new, revolutionary games – namely GW2, Firefall, Terra – see the light of day before they end up as Vaporware. MMO’s need to change and I would be happy to see them do so soon.

    • Orija says:

      Closed Beta is about to begin for GW2 and Firefall has Beta sign-ups open for some time now, and are about to go ahead with it.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Good news. I know Firefall is very slowly, very carefully allowing people to enter into Beta.
      .
      I really don’t mean to gripe. Seriously, I don’t. Maybe its just over-saturation of marketing. I just fail to understand why you announce a game more than a year out from even the first Beta tests. By the time the game releases, I for one am just about tired of hearing about the game.
      .
      EA did this to me with DXHR. I wanted it so badly six months before it came out. By release I was so sick of hearing about it that I felt I had spent 20hrs playing the game already. Still have not bought it for that reason.

    • Orija says:

      Also,

      “TERA is currently in alpha testing. No applications for this test phase are being accepted at this time. TERA’s North American Preview Events will begin in early 2012 and we will announce details on how to participate in them as they get closer.”

    • Blackcompany says:

      Nice to finally have some dates. I am eager to see where this game goes. More important perhaps even than this individual game is where the future of the MMO leads. Past time we saw some changes in a genre that makes stagnation look like a speed at which you’d like your vehicle to move.

    • Xerian says:

      ArenaNet have been subtly nicking quite a few people into their just-started closed beta, just FYI. I myself am looking forward to GW2 and Terra quite alot. Firefall does look exciting, but its not something I’m immensely eager for ;P

    • MountainShouter says:

      @Orija: I’ve been following their Facebook page for a long, long time now, and they’ve stated that they’re trying to *release* in January 2012; whether or not this is some sort of “Early Access” codetalk is beyond me. This is after the page has done nothing but put up endless amounts of news, interviews, and useless hubbub. The amount of likes dropped from tens of thousands to about 10 or so now. They hyped it up too early and now it’s too late since it’s going to have to go against powerhouses like GW2, Firefall, and TOR.

      In any case, it just sounds like a recipe for disaster, going on my previous experiences with player-driven politics. I hope the way it affects the unconcerned player isn’t too great.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Stijn says:

    Huh, I always thought this game was released a long time ago, given that Dead End Thrills has a whole collection of beautiful screenshots from the game. Apparently not.

    (Which leaves the question of how he managed to make those)

    • Premium User Badge

      Stijn says:

      Right, it’s been out in Korea for a year already. So is this a different game? Or are they just tweaking some things for the western market? But why is it taking so long then? So confusing!

    • Metonymy says:

      It’s probably taken this long to remove the lolis.

    • Wulf says:

      Speaking of that – there’s one thing I noticed with TERA, and it’s a thing that’s been disappointingly common in MMORPGs. All of the women of any race are sexed up and objectified. I mean, you even have the bestial Aman, and their women are… not at all like they’re from the same race. The same goes for their midget race, where the women look like human children.

      Guild Wars 2 isn’t innocent in this respect, either. They subscribe to the ‘boobs and lipstick on everything’ approach, as though they were the most defining aspects of femininity. In fact, the only race in an MMO I’ve seen thus far that breaks this trend is the charr. With the charr you actually have women sans breasts. Can you imagine that? I mean, really, can you? A woman portrayed in an MMORPG without breasts! It’s incredible. That’s a paradigm shift right there. And it makes me feel a little sad that I’m writing these words.

      But normative, boring human standards for sexuality are applied to women in MMORPGs in general, to the point where they are objectified. There are other ways to express femininity rather than what just men might find attractive. And I can always tell when a lady character was designed by a straight male – it’s always painfully obvious. Painfully.

      And I’ll tie this in as well to how boob sliders don’t go down as well (they look weird) as well as they go up, meaning that most games pretty much model for women with massive breasts. This is a commonality as well, and I have no doubt that this will be true of at least the norns, the humans, and the sylvari in Guild Wars 2. Yes, I’m allowed to criticise things I really like because I’m actually a rounded person, games do things that I like and dislike, and even game that I love can do things that I dislike.

      I kind of feel that Skyrim is going in the right direction, but even Skyrim held on too hard to the hourglass figure and a distinct lack of muscles. I always wondered why Aela looked like a model rather than the muscled warrior she was supposed to be. (And you can have muscly women, yes. What you feel about this and whether or not you are attracted to it is completely irrelevant. Aela should have been portrayed the same way as Farkas, Vilkas, and the rest of the male Companions were.)

      However, at least they didn’t overly objectify the women. The women could look old and/or grimy, just like the men. It’s just a shame that they weren’t designed to look muscly too, where it applied, but I suppose you can’t have everything. Though Skyrim was a step in the right direction. I could tell it was because some of the earlier mods were ‘younger women’ and ‘clean women.’ Which I sighed and shook my head at in an exasperated/amused sort of way, but hey, whatever floats their manboats.

      But I’d like to see games engender more of this. I want to see straight males flip out over there actually being a female in a game that they can’t fap to. That’s part of the bright future that I’d like to see.

    • Zyrusticae says:

      @Metonymy

      Haha! I love that line. I love it because it’s true.

      Well, I guess if you wanted to give EME the benefit of the doubt you could believe their line about waiting for more content to come out of the Koreans before releasing the game, which is not a fully unreasonable thing to do, but, well… they’re really screwed either way. Is anyone going to care about this game when GW2 releases? Anyone? (I, for one, am far more enthused about PSO2 and Blade & Soul, but nobody here seems to care about those…)

      @Wulf

      While I largely agree here, I would just like to note that Tera does its part in objectifying the male models as well. In fact, a number of male Amani outfits have no pants… go figure that one out.

      And yeah, wtf is with devs and NOT including the over 50% of the female population with breasts smaller than a C-cup? It’s just lazy. Maybe even sexist. In fact, no, it’s DEFINITELY sexist. What excuse do the devs have for not including it, eh? It’s too much trouble? Too much devtime? Too much effort? Not enough people appreciate it? Not their target market? Such horse crap.

      (Saints Row The Third deserves special mention here for actually properly modeling women with smaller breasts, something that is far too rare in the industry as a whole.)

    • Blackcompany says:

      Some normal or athletic or even muscular females would be most welcome in a game. The walking sex symbols too common in games these days is absolutely ridiculous. Try showing off to mature friends what a mature, sophisticated, adult game Skyrim is. Tell them about the narrative, choices (ok, maybe not those) and immersion. Tell them its like playing in a moving novel or story.
      .
      Now try all that while staring at Aela in the Companions Hall.
      .
      Yeah, I thought not, too.

    • Valvarexart says:

      I honestly don’t see it as a big problem with the stereotypes. I mean, usually they are applied to both sexes. The men are muscular and the women have big boobs and lipstick. It’s just that people react more when it is applied to women for some reason. In Skyrim I think the women actually looked pretty natural. Of course, there were exceptions, like mentioned Aela. It does kind of reflect the real world. Try going outside without seeing any of the mentioned stereotypes.

    • Zyrusticae says:

      @Valvarexart

      I’ve heard this line a lot, and every time it just seems to completely miss the point.

      The problem is that the male stereotype is empowering, because who doesn’t want to be the badass? Meanwhile, the female stereotype is, more often than not, objectifying, turning women into little more than sex objects. It also doesn’t help that it is heavily male-oriented design.

      If we MUST have stereotypes in our character designs, they should always be empowering, not objectifying or demeaning. That is the point.

    • bill says:

      If it’s a korean/asian game then the question isn’t why all the women are under-dressed and objectified, it’s why all the men look big and masculine rather than looking frail and feminine. ;-)

    • bill says:

      PS/ A google image search for “tera screenshots” implies that there are not actually ANY males in the game.

    • lobstilops says:

      @Wolf People unfortunately like to play beautiful people. You couldn’t really make a “ugly” race, for people don’t want this really. The large majority of players want to play these pretty big breasted women, and that is fine for me. But in all honesty I think the female charr is a small step forward. A powerful feminine race not tied down by these physical attributes. Should be interesting to see how it pans out.

    • King of Herrings says:

      Judge for yourselves here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QWBCtQnkEA

      Oozing of it.

    • icehouse says:

      Loved the grinding at 1:10. Is the boob-physics demo at 1:51 supposed to be a baker?

  6. GenBanks says:

    That sounds very cool.

    What I’ve spent years hoping for though is a land-based version of Eve online. Anarchic, player driven politics. I’m not a big space fan.

  7. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Interesting. My question would be what the hardcore raiders would think of a system which makes (certain) fights exclusive for the leader’s guild. And what they might do to gain that position.

  8. sidhellfire says:

    This is no real politics.
    People won’t love you because you’ve got strong character, and people won’t follow you if you’ve got no power to change anything – practicality to make game better for them. In significant way, way the others won’t. And game offers you no space to charm players by your charisma. For sure I won’t vote for someone because he can kill bigger mobs.

    It’s just game mechanics all focused to make you yapping about the game all the time on external planar (facebook i.e.) to advertise product.

    At best you can have followers, because someone has to have this function. But there we’ll be plenty who will share this function, and none of them will be actual leader on larger scale, than a guild. This is where meta-gaming ends here.

    I remember well times in Knight Online, where you could vote your king. How pathetic that institution was, considering he could not rule at all. I would rather want to know how does administration work, and what could I, or my favourite eventually do, rather than know that I can ask others to kiss my virtual buttocks

  9. SickBrick says:

    He’s playing a lightning guitar!

  10. Premium User Badge

    Moorkh says:

    Are female characters really restricted to a side-saddle? Exactly how do victorian gender roles fit in with chainmail bikini-clad amazons?

    Not sure if sad or amused…

    • Zyrusticae says:

      Well, riding with a long skirt tends to make riding in any way other than side-saddle kind of difficult.

      (And I will note here that, ironically, it is the Elin that are the only females who don’t ride side-saddle simply because they don’t wear skirts.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Moorkh says:

      I don’t think any female PC in this trailer wears a skirt that would hamper their riding in a fashion more suitable for galloping or mounted combat… And if you were wearing a mage robe or the kind of dress those farmer women do, you should have severe fighting restrictions along with the side saddle, whether male or female character.
      I bet you don’t.

  11. Hoaxfish says:

    I’ve played one Beta with a “political system” that sounds like this:

    1. Forum threads related to it almost always descend into flamewars, over broken promises, “unfair” actions, threats, general lies about other candidates.
    2. Less “mature” politicians threaten to PK everyone if they don’t vote for them.
    3. At least a couple who got in then promptly screwed everyone by putting penalties and restrictions on every action possible in the game… they only got removed when they got bored, rather than through voter-action (the system for forcing them from office before the next election also failed due to the high percentage required to trigger that action).
    4. International servers find themselves with governments who don’t speak a language everyone else does.
    5. Only organised guilds can get their politician elected… meaning the biggest guild probably always wins. Everybody else tries to vote for themself.
    6. Accounts with multiple characters can vote once per character.

    …gotta say, I’d prefer a game without the weird popularity contests, and something much more “democratic” in terms of everyone can vote for specific changes, rather than for a single person/government who then decides the changes.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Frankly, I would prefer a system wherein individuals establish their own miniature “realms” or Holdfasts. In order to do this, they must befriend a certain number of “initial investors.” These individuals support their claim and help to defend it. In exchange, they are given minor authority or titles, or first shot at a particular role within the Holdfast.
      .
      Then rulers mus attract further citizens to their kingdoms. Offer generous shares of loot and bounty; rules friendly to certain player types. Offer allies in time of battle, a safe harbor from PVP protected by a large contingent of loyal players. Something to this effect.
      .
      Forcing players to win over members of their hold would go a long way toward ensuring that the folks who rule in those areas of the game world are worthy. Especially if citizenry were allowed to depose a ruler by either vote or even coup if they desired.

  12. Valvarexart says:

    If it wasn’t a subscription model MMO I would definitely make the run for Vanarch. But unfortunately neither me nor my friends are prepared to pay for yet another subscription MMO. This is really the only thing that has gotten me interested in the game. Kinda reminds me of the WoD MMO that was planned by CCP. Permadeath and extremely political gameplay.

    • mouton says:

      Don’t worry, it will turn F2P quite quickly after the initial flop.

  13. Khann says:

    Reminds me somewhat of the way ATITD does things.

  14. TODD says:

    I can’t wait for a thousand-man SA Goon guild to invade this game.

  15. lobstilops says:

    Cool idea, but I don’t think it will work too well. I mean any famous youtuber, twitterer, etc. could just post for everyone to vote for them. And maybe real candidates or guilds that deserve to rule are forced out due to a lack of publicity.

    I think this system will be heavily manipulated unfortunately :/

    Well, we cannot see until release. But that’s my opinion.

    • Wulf says:

      This is true of every political system, sadly. I mean, really, it’s true of our own government too. I’m going to be sooo controversial here, but I don’t give a damn because I’m Wulf and this is what I do. Anyway, lots of people voted for Cameron for the same reason that Americans voted for Bush: they liked him as a person.

      Far too many people, far, far too many people hold the policies be damned viewpoint. And that’s why politics has become such a popularity contest. I remember watching the talks leading up to the elections here in the UK, and they were more about who the most charming or funny representative was. I remember how Cameron and Clegg kept making cracks at each other, and cringing as Gordon Brown tried to do the same, with each of them trying to win the audience by being the ‘cool guy.’

      And that’s what politics is about these days.

      It seems like the modern person is too busy to care about which policies and attitudes would affect our country the most in a positive or a negative way, and thus they ignore them, and they vote based on the novel idea of the cult of popularity. And that’s why things are snowballing into hell in the UK right now, what with our worsening economy, growing deficit, and pandering of the rich. Even going so far as pissing off the EU.

      I can’t help but wonder how many people are kicking themselves over voting for Cameron, now, after having fell for his ‘Mr. Popular’ act. I really hope they’re kicking themselves hard.

      But politics in a videogame wouldn’t be that different.

      This is because real world politics have become such a joke, and I wouldn’t mind betting that this is true of most countries currently, if not all. The Internet has been homogenising the human race as a whole, so what applies in one country tends to spread to others, even the bad things (like this one).

      I couldn’t see politics in TERA being any worse than the cult of popularity politics we have in the real world. I couldn’t see the voting being any more manipulated there than it is in the real world, either.

      Often, what happens in an environment like that is just a reflection of the world we live in.

      That people would vote for someone based on popular Youtube videos and whatnot is just proof positive of that, it’s just winning by the cult of personality rather than winning via good policies and a good track record. TERA would be just like real life politics, horrible and judged by easily manipulated people.

  16. bill says:

    Not sure why exactly, but the talk of rulers and queens reminded me of this old story
    http://www.danwei.org/electronic_games/gambling_your_life_away_in_zt.php