bluehole studio

Korean developer responsible for TERA.

Black Desert’s Kakao Games enjoys $131.6 million in investment

It’s all coming up Kakao Games these days.

The Korean studio received a large investment package recently that totals $131.6 million. The bundle comes from five external companies, including China’s Tencent, South Korea’s Netmarble, Bluehole Studio, Premier Growth-M&A PEF, and Actozsoft.

So what does Kakao plan to do with its newly laden pockets? The studio has its eyes on global expansion and the acquisition of other studios.

Over in its signature product Black Desert, Kakao and Pearl Abyss are preparing to roll out a new PvP server called Arsha that provides incentives for player conflict. The game is also half-off ($5) on Steam right now through February 19th.

Source: Games Industry, press release


Nexon to take over TERA operations in Korea

There’s a changing of the guard for TERA in South Korea this month, as the title is changing up publishers.

Bluehole Studio announced yesterday that Nexon will be taking over publishing duties following Hangame’s decision to drop the title. This change will require a transfer from the current server to Nexon’s own shard and will take place in January.

To calm any apprehensions about the changeover, Nexon is giving TERA players themed costumes and mounts from Crazy Kart. The publisher also teased a new type (or class) of Elin. Check out the new publisher’s announcement teaser below to get hyped about the switchover.

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Perfect Ten: The top 10 healthiest live MMOs

One question that consistently pops up across the MMO gaming circuit is, “What are the most popular/healthy/active MMOs out there?” Every time I see this question, I sympathize with the concern behind asking it. For some players, finding a game that not only exists but is hopping and has the greatest potential for a future is of paramount concern.

Massively OP reader Duffy suggested that we cover this very topic when he asked, “Which MMOs are struggling and which seem to be rolling in gravy? Do MMOs in general do very well or are most just able to keep the lights on?”

It’s a difficult question to answer off-the-cuff because there are a lot of variables to consider. Instead, I researched several angles, including player tracking services, frequency of patches, financial reports, and even how often each game pops up on blogs. While the following isn’t definitive, I feel strongly that the following 10 games are the healthiest live MMOs on the western market right now.

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Bluehole Studio artist posts Project EXA renders

What is Project EXA? We don’t know at this point; all we know is that it’s something Bluehole Studio has been working on since 2014 and it’s an intriguing mystery. Rumors swirl about the game being tied to Bluehole’s last big project, TERA, but they’re nothing but rumors at this point. About all we know is, well, there are a batch of new renders for the game from one of Bluehole’s artists.

Do the new images answer any questions? Well, there’s a girl who definitely seems at a glance to be an Elin, with the same bunny ears, doe-eyed stare, and miniskirt that barely reaches her thighs. What that means in the larger sense… who can say. Check out the images and speculate as you will.

Source: Steparu; thanks to Mikey Moo for the tip!


TERA is releasing inactive character names

Names in MMOs are important. You want people to know who you are at a glance, after all. TERA has a lot of character names already taken, of course, since it’s been running for some time. So the powers that be are going to free up some names that have just been sitting there, unused, for a long enough period of time — i.e., a year.

All characters that have been inactive since June 22nd, 2014, will have their names changed to placeholders and the names thrown back in the active pool. If you’ve been taking a break and desperately want to make sure that your old character “Boner-Lord” doesn’t lose her name, take heart; the release is happening on June 25th, 2015. Log in once and your name is secure. Otherwise, you just might lose your name.

Source: Official announcement; thanks to Azzura for the tip!


One Shots: My imaginary friends

Here’s a fun thought: What if we aren’t actually playing MMOs? What if we’re just sitting in front of blank screens, creating fantasy worlds with our imaginations and keeping ourselves company with phantom figments? What if they’re about to cart us away right now?

Oh, probably not. Probably. Either way, reader Mjcbarnes has great fun with her imaginary friends in-game. “Attached is a screenshot from Neverwinter’s alpha,” she submitted to One Shots. “For a time there was a bug where you could have more than one of your companions out at a time. It was awesome running around with two companions like a proper party. Here’s my rogue Nora with her dire wolf and a kobold companion. I took so many screenshots of the three of us. It was the best bug for cool screenies.”

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En Masse says that TERA is ‘the most played MMORPG on Steam’

Steam and TERA are a match made in F2P heavenapparently. The latest En Masse press release heralds the action fantasy title as “the most played MMORPG on Steam.” The firm is basing its statement on all-time peak concurrency numbers, which it says are available via Steam Charts. Since its May 5th launch on Valve’s ubiquitous PC storefront, TERA has enjoyed “explosive growth” including over 4.5 million registered accounts in North America and over 20 million worldwide. Those players haven’t been lollygagging about, either, as an average of six million BAMs die every day alongside 70,000 daily dungeon clears.

In other TERA news, a translation of a talk given by former Bluehole Studios producer Kim Nak Heong has surfaced on the official TERA forums. Kim says his studio didn’t expect the Elin race to be popular, that it was a “filler” race and a female version of the Popori. By the time the Japanese market requested swimsuits for the Elin, the American market had eclipsed it, but “the profit [Bluehole] made from this costume alone exceeded all the profit [Bluehole] made from all the swimming costumes for all races in Korea. […] They say school swimming suits, bloomers, and maid outfits are the 3 wonders in Japan. Maid costume was especially a big hit.” In fact, the Elin costumes made the free-to-play transition financially feasible. Kim also notes that TERA has performed best in North America.

We’ve got an infographic on the game below.

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TERA arrives on Steam with the Gunner class patch

TERA fans have been anticipating the game’s newest class for a while now — and today, it’s here. Patch 31.04 debuts the Gunner, a Castanic and High Elf female class that wields a rifle bigger than most bulk discount supermarkets. The Gunner is a “fast-moving, ranged DPS class” that fires an arcannon and wears metal armor.

The new patch wasn’t just about the Gunner, of course. TERA streamlined its Island of Dawn experience, rebalanced dungeon levels, boosted group XP in dungeons, increased relic drop rates, and buffed ranged DPS (or rather de-nerfed it). You can check out the patch notes for more info and if you’re curious about the Gunner, check out MOP’s MJ taking her out for a spin or download the game yourself — as of today, it’s even on Steam.

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TERA turns three, preps for big month of May

Can you believe that TERA turns three today? Yep, it’s true, and May is a big month for En Masse’s action-combat MMO. There’s the new Gunner class, a Steam launch (on May 5th), a leveling event with double XP, and the return of the T.E.R.A. event wherein players are encouraged to hunt letter drops throughout Arborea’s vast zones. If you manage to collect all four, you’ll get a Jadeheart dragon mount that replenishes your stamina.

Beyond May, TERA players can look forward to two new dungeons and a new battleground in July, along side tier seven gear and materials.

[Source: Anniversary announcement]


The Stream Team: Tearing through mobs with TERA’s Gunner class

MassivelyOP’s MJ is experiencing a change — to the DPS side! TERA’s new Gunner class has her shooting up the countryside with an almost maniacal glee. If you want to see this new class in action (or just witness the physics of wielding such a humongous weapon!), join us live at 3:00 p.m. for a trip into the wilds of Arborea.

What: TERA
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 30th, 2015

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Blasting through a hands-on with TERA’s new Gunner

Are you tempted by TERA’s new Gunner? I am. Admittedly it’s been a long while since I’ve frolicked in the land of Arborea, but my interest is piqued. Basically, I’d never really felt a great affinity for my Priest no matter how much I wanted to like her, so an intriguing new class might be just what the healer ordered to increase my playtime. Come next week, everyone can jump in and experience the firepower of this brand-new class. But as we all know, waiting is hard! That’s why when the opportunity arose to give the Gunner a whirl alongside En Masse Producer Patrick “Treeshark” Sun, I shimmied into some chaps, donned a 10-gallon hat, and charged in with my best Dirty Harry voice.

My bad impersonation notwithstanding, the experience offered a pretty good taste of this new gun-toting death machine. It delved much deeper than showcases that restrict you to a visual tour of devs playing a new class, and it even went beyond a quick, time-limited hands-on. I got to play the class on both ends of the leveling spectrum and at my own pace. Not only did I get to hunt BAMs with a max-level Gunner, but I got to go back and experience the first few levels of life as well.

And now I get to share those impressions with you. But before we get into that, I am going to tell you how to get a new mechanical mount for free to celebrate the release of the Gunner!

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TERA gets the Gunner class and a Steam launch on May 5

TERA is adding the Gunner class in its May 5th patch. The fantasy MMO is also arriving on Steam that same day. The Gunner is a ranged DPS archetype that makes use of AoE attacks, arc cannons, and summoned constructs.

The Gunner is not playable by all of TERA’s races and genders. You’ll need to be a female Castanic or female High Elf to roll the new class. You can watch a preview trailer just past the break.

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Perfect Ten: 10 MMOs that let you turn real money into MMO money

Two days ago, World of Warcraft launched the WoW Token service, which will kill the game forever. It thus joins the list of every expansion and change to the game since launch as a herald of certain doom.

Joking aside, it’s understandable that players would be a wee bit apprehensive, since this is a bold new direction for the game. Sure, people have always traded real money for in-game currency, but before it was usually under the table, shady, and generally the sort of thing that resulted in bans and accounts being stolen. Now it’s totally legitimate. Plop your credit card on the table and get some game money.

But while it’s new territory for World of Warcraft, it’s not new territory for MMOs. There are a lot of titles that have, in various ways, codified the idea that you can drop some real coin and pick up virtual coins. To the great surprise of no one, none of these games has erupted in flames as a result of it.

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