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Interview with Krafton Bluehole Studio: TERA Console

Krafton Bluehole's Head of Console Department answered our questions about the future of TERA Console.
  /  Interviews   /  Interview with Krafton Bluehole Studio: TERA Console

Interview with Krafton Bluehole Studio: TERA Console

Thank you for joining me today! I know you go by Tamura Koji. Do you mind if I call you Koji?

Yes, please call me Koji.

What is your position at Krafton Bluehole, and how can you best describe your job?

I am the Head of Console Department/TERA Console PD. You could say I’m in charge of TERA Console.

 

That’s pretty awesome. I think this is really the first time that the community has been able to hear from the Developer, instead of just the publisher. Moving on, I’ve comprised a list of questions from the TERA Console community for PS4 NA/EU/JP and XB1 NA/EU. I’ll separate them into sections like PVE, PVP, Game Features and things of that nature. 

Okay.

 

Dungeons, Next Gen & Game Features

Dungeons

 

We have seen time and time again that new dungeons are introduced into the game, and when this happens older dungeons seem to be taken off. Is there a reason for this?

If we have the same grade of dungeons, matching pool tends to focus on the new dungeon.

 

This depends on the story line and update lines. However regardless of this issue, the reason why the RK-9 disappeared this time is that the difficulty level has been lowered and the gimmicks are made for consoles that are slightly different from the originals. In the case of TERA console, the project was decided during a difficult time for the company and because the project was made as a “port”, the project was established around client programmers. The art team belonged to the PC version only and we could not get their help. As a result, there were very few optimizations that could be made. 

 

I would like to give a round of applause to the client programmers who completed the development in such a situation.

 

Therefore, the actual quality is low and lacked optimization, so the optimization of “Dungeon Design”. “Draw Call”, “LOD” etc. was excluded, planning that we can prepare and release it in the future. Of course, dungeons are well-made so I don’t have a lot to touch, we will just enhance the quality. Ruinous Manor once had the same grade dungeon opened together, but the matching pool did not split, but the dungeon reward balancing was downgraded as the Red Refuge (Hard) came along. This seemed to have some problem and that’s why we took Ruinous Manor out. 

Ruinous Manor also is one of my beloved dungeons, and I’d like to see it added again with improvements.


Would you consider keeping dungeons open, instead of removing them, so that players have more variety to do dungeons?

I will think about it.

 

“…We are working on creating a dungeon for TERA Console. There are many things to do first and the design will begin around the end of March.”

 

How about removing dungeon entry limits, or increasing them so that end-game players can continue playing without being limited?

I would not want to, because that could cause problems to the game economy. Even at this time, it seems a league of their own and this could trigger this to develop. I think it is good to have a certain limit.


Do updates on TERA Console have to be 100% exact as they were on PC, or will the game receive console exclusive dungeons?

We are working on creating a dungeon for TERA Console. There are many things to do first and the design will begin around the end of March.


Will Hard Mode versions of dungeons have their red indicator removed, or will they stay? With Antaroth’s Abyss Hard Mode introduced without red indicators, it was greatly enjoyed by the players.

Haha, we are going to remove the decals (red indicators) in the future. If we can provide something that allows users to understand patterns before removing them all, then I think that removal will reduce the difficulty of playing and become more enjoyable.

 

Next Gen

 

With Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X around the corner, is TERA going to be playable on these platforms?

Yes it is. Both are compatible with PS4 build.

 

Will accounts from PS4 and Xbox One still work with these new platforms for TERA?

That is right. Even if we make one for PS5, it should still work. I think we have been preparing for it.

 

We’re seeing MMORPGs investing in Unreal Engine 4 before they launch on Console – like Blade and Soul. Will there be any graphical update, like Unreal Engine 4 to help with issues that Unreal Engine 3 has had for many years, like memory leaks? 

If the device is upgraded to PS5, we won’t have to update the graphics engine. Memory leaks will also be fixed. If we upgrade it to Unreal Engine 4, it will be more interesting and better, but I still have no reason to move to Unreal Engine 4. Transplanting to Unreal 4 is not an easy decision because more than 30 people will need to develop for 2 years.

 

Are there any plans for Crossplay with PS4 and XB1?

It is a secret, but yes there are.

 

If Crossplay works with PS4 and XB1, will it be made available for PS5 and XB Series X?

Yes, any of those will be available. Even we port a build for PS5, it can still connects to PS4 server, as well as XBOX. There’s no technical problem, and there are a lot of constraints. Such as whether the platform owners (Sony, MS) will give permissions or not, if so what would be the conditions etc.

 

Game Features

 

Are there any plans to expand the current region of the game, like PC’s Exodor region, or even the unfinished Baldera region?

I am not sure if I can say this, but I guess we are not fully utilizing all the regions we have at the moment. I don’t think there is a need for new regions. It would be better to consider when we fully utilize current regions and we find those insufficient. 

 

Will the Vanguard Shop be updated to include things like Brooch Resizer, which can turn a Marrow Brooch into a Resized Marrow Brooch, and a Quatrefoil Brooch into a Resized Quatrefoil Brooch? This allows for these resized brooches to be upgraded into Goddess or Dracoloth Brooches.

As the rewards are redesigned according to the console users’ experience, there is no guarantee that the rewards specs will be updated as in the PC version, and they will be updated to match the live service status and feedback from users.

 

Will there be an option to turn Quatrefoil Brooches into Marrow Brooches?

Probably same answer as the above.

 

Elite Status has had the same mount for almost 2 years now, and the community is curious if this will ever change? 

This is decided by the publisher, En Masse Entertainment can consider changing it.

 

Speaking about the Elite Status, it includes things like Gold Boosts. However, it seems that at end-game there really isn’t any way to make gold from dungeons or monsters in the open world. Will this be changed?

Since in-game quests rarely give gold, it seems difficult to raise the quest gold reward to the level that users can feel “a lot” in the first place. Other useful content in the field would be the guardian mission at the moment, but enhancing the benefits of the guardian missions can only be done after consulting with the publisher and examining the development costs. Implementation is possible though.

 

What about Brooch Etchings?

I did not think about it. I will discuss it with out designers.

 

Will leaderboards have any more dungeons introduced soon, like Forsaken Island?

Yes, we are planning to do so 🙂

 

Will the EP system be coming to consoles?

We do not think that the EP system is appropriate for console, it will be replaced by other format.

 

Are there any plans to include enhancements for Fraxim and Heroic Oath?

Not for Fraxim, but we have plans for Heroic Oath enhancements.

 

Will the console version continue the gear path that PC has, or do its own thing?

We have been merging PC versions up to Live 79. The live contents’ direction after 79 did not seem to fit in our department’s direction so it has been developed to console’s own thing. FYI, version 79 was updated in Nov. 2019.

 

Will the Masks from PC come to the console version, or will we continue to get Masks exclusive to our platform?

Are you talking about the mask series? I am not 100% sure what kind of item that is. We will continue to create items in the future.

 

Most recently, Attack Speed was removed from Bravery Potions. Players were left confused, and there was no public explanation for this. Is there any reason for this choice?

Doping has exceeded the animation threshold, so we are slowing down the attack speed. However the fact that the attack speed removal was done blindly thinking about the goal of minimizing the amount of doping, did disappoint many people. I will be careful with nerfs in the future.

 

EME (En Masse Entertainment) has released an update to their Cash Shop where the 451 Instance Reset Scroll (Epsilon Reset Scroll) is there for purchase. Will this continue to happen for future dungeons with higher item levels? Or will it be added to the VG store at any point in time?

As part of our policy in Asia, dungeon scrolling after 451 has been designated as a cash system. I have chosen a different type of sales method so far, and it will be used in the future because the response is fine.

 

So I assume that for En Masse versions, NA/EU/JP they will decide what to do with the scrolls?

Yes, that’s right. However, I think that they referred to Asia for this time.

 

TERA as a whole has a large number of players that are into roleplaying. Would the developer be interested in introducing a Marriage System?

Very interested, but don’t know how to create one.

 

As for the players that actively hunt Feats and try to get Champion Laurel, would you consider adding a Feat Tracker to the UI, much like Quest Tracker?

If there is a specific suggestion of how to make it, we will try making it. There is no such need inside the development studio.

 

“As a result, instead of adding awakening skills, we had to work on class skill reorganization, growth dungeon reorganization/addition, AI improvements, monster combat improvements, field content additions etc. Please consider the fact that all of these factors caused us to spend a lot of time.”
Apex

 

There is one thing that players have been asking for since 2018, and that is Apex / Awakening. The community is begging for information about this, since it’s been very mysterious. So I’m going right into it. 

 

When will we get Apex / Awakening? 

Development will be finished by March, QA test will start from April.

 

If that’s the case, when will the community be receiving information about Apex?

Hmm… we are planning to start PR in April or May.

 

Will all classes come with Apex skills in the same patch?

Yes we are going to update all classes at once. It is not an environment where we can update one by one and get quick feedback and work on one by one.

 

I think this is something that I know the community wants to know, but is there any reason why Apex has taken so long to come to console? Is it because it’s being changed for Console? If so, how?

It started in April 2019, but the reason it’s being developed for such a long time is the lack of developers as they have to work on updates as well. Secondly, as you mentioned, we have been changed for consoles specifically. It was possible to develop one month QA time if we just bring the PC version. As a result, instead of adding awakening skills, we had to work on class skill reorganization, growth dungeon reorganization/addition, AI improvements, monster combat improvements, field content additions etc. Please consider the fact that all of these factors caused us to spend a lot of time.

 

 

You’ve teased new skill improvements for all classes, including the Archer and Lancer as first for video teases. What is the idea for this feature? Will it be after Apex? (Videos will be posted above this question). 

As I mentioned above, it will be launched at the same time as awakening. Awakening in the console is a direction that the skills should be reorganized as well. 

 

Will the skills also include improvements for Apex Skills?

Since awakening is not disclosed, the word ‘improvement’ may not fit. You may see that there would be a little difference compared to the PC version awakening.

 

PvP, Cosmetics & The Future

PvP

 

Slayer has a Passive Skill on PC called Propulsion. It was never introduced to Console, and the community members that play this class want to know if it will ever come to the platform?

Propulsion is passive skill that replaces some of the characteristics of the Slayer and is not intended to be applied to the console. In the previous Slayer balance update, we upgraded it with a slight difference.

 

Battlegrounds has a bug where if any player queues with a group member, they will bug out the whole raid and cause them to restart the game, or re-queue. Are there any plans to fix this?

I will examine and fix it. Bug reports are always welcome. Please send me a Twitter or my email for us to discuss internally.

 

Are there plans to bring more incentive to PvP, such as bringing Shorehold, PvP Gear, Guild GvG having more options?

We will work on it after the awakening update. There’s not enough resources for that development yet.

 

Would you consider adding Open World PvP Channels to the servers, so that players would have an option to participate?

I don’t think opening another server is the way to save PvP. I have no idea which direction we are going to develop yet. I want to finish the awakening update and proceed development. Ideas are always welcome. In the case of old games, the knowledge of the users is deeper than the developers. This has been recognized in any game, so the idea of the users is very important.

 

Players participated in Champion’s Skyring day after day, and this was a surprise as it was removed from Leaderboards. Was there a reason for this?

The structure itself made abusing possible and there were many exploitable issues, and the ability to manage the abusing was insufficient. I believe it is right to open when we are ready to manage, so it was removed. We are preparing for the operation and are working to reopen it after reorganization.

 

Cosmetics

 

Will the Wardrobe system that is on PC, that lets players preview any cosmetic, pet, and mount, ever be introduced to consoles?

In pursuit of game ability only, we neglected to develop premium items. I will take care of the premium sides in the future. For style items, pets, and mount previews, we will schedule development after awakening.

 

As you very well know, there is no account-wide cosmetic, mount, pet, etc., except for the Elite Status mount. Would Krafton Bluehole consider introducing an item that allows for those things to be unbound, so that they can be shared with other characters under the same account?

If you share the account, the item price will get very high. It’s a secret, but I would not want to touch TERA’s BM design since it is different from other games.

 

The Future

 

There hasn’t been any Roadmap brought to light for the game, and what’s to come since 2018, and the first half of 2019. Are there any plans to start communicating with the community with what is and isn’t coming to the game? 

I always communicate. I feel sorry that my voice is not reaching NA/EU because I am not good at English. The reason for not disclosing the roadmap is knowing that the schedule will be delayed every time due to the lack of development manpower and unable to keep the promise.

 

I came up with a concept idea for a Roadmap, seeing as it was never coming in 2019 and now in March for 2020, it seems we’re not getting one for the first half of this year either. Maybe you’d be interested in creating something like this.

Exactly the same as our roadmap!

 

Going forward with what’s to come for the game, and I’m sure the future is bright for it, I only have one question that I think everyone wants to ask. I’ve seen your love and passion for the game on social media, and that much can’t be argued. 

 

So my question is this: What is your vision and goal for TERA Console? 

My vision and goal for TERA Console…

 

The goal so far was to bring TERA to the world PS and XB console market in 2018. We started Japan service in Nov 2018, and we also started Asia service in 2019 with KRAFTON’s own service. Team members hated me alot at that time because we had to renew the platform and the L10N etc. It is very fortunate that things went well, otherwise it would have been very difficult for me, haha.

The goal for the future would be starting cloud game service, xCloud, cross play and next-generation porting as well as the development of re-mastering in 2020.

 

In terms of content, the first thing I want to do is lower the overall dungeon draw call and create a LOD to make the play feel better. After updating the awakening, it would be to save PvP and create new classes and dungeons. I didn’t want to change the equipment farming structure anymore, and I just wanted to provide new equipment as long as the existing strongest equipment did not fall. Contrary to this, I am also concerned about making an improved version of the characteristic system. (The plan is already out.) In fact, I want to port TERA to PS5 to show the original graphics, but unfortunately I can’t do this.

 

When it comes to TERA, what comes to mind is that it is not a P2W game, but the party play of tanking, dealing, and healing. I hope to add PVP factors on to it as well as refining the end-contents and provide more fun to users.


Thank you for joining me on this interview, Koji. It was a pleasure to talk to you, and I wish you the absolute best with making sure your dream for TERA Console comes true. 

 

Is there anything you’d like to tell the community, and players that are interested in checking out the game?

Before speaking about the vision, I would like to apologize for the disappointment of many people at the time of formal launch in April 2018. Secondly, many users were disappointed by the fact that the farming structure was changed to PC Live 66 version in April 2019. Thirdly, I’d like to apologize for the lag and hitching issues that I still can’t fix, eventually causing the game to be less interesting. I somehow get to keep apologizing endlessly, but as long as I am in charge of the game, I will do my best as a return of your love and trust. We will do our best to show you we develop TERA into a more satisfying game.

Please keep an eye on us. Thank you.

 

You can check out Tamura Koji on his socials at: 

Twitter
YouTube
TERA Console Krafton Website
TERA Console Krafton Facebook

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