"We're nearing two million people playing the game, which is exciting since we're North America only," an En Masse rep said. This count is certainly higher than the 1.4 million count back in March. The reps said that the game's playerbase is even larger if you factor in the entire world, where TERA has gone free in pretty much every territory it's entered.
With the game's first anniversary in the rear-view mirror, En Masse has turned its attention to bringing out a couple of meaty updates the hot summer months. Avast, ye game lubbers, there be pirates ahead!
Peg legs and parrots not included
The new hotness of TERA is all about Corsair's Stronghold, a 20v20 map that's coming on July 2nd. Yes, it's pirate-themed because there's an unbreakable MMO law that says that every fantasy title has to include pirates and Johnny Depp lookalikes. Even so, we can't complain if there's some sweet pirate gear to loot in the end.
The Stronghold is set up as a siege, requiring all players to pull their weight in order to win the day. It's not a map that merely favors the best-geared; it has plenty of elements that level the playing field for everyone involved. For starters, the game adds up gear levels and then makes an equal match between teams so that neither side has a huge gear advantage.
Then there are several siege weapons sitting around that are ripe for the mayhem-making. These vehicles aren't just for extra weapons oomph; tanks are needed to break down doors, and air ships can allow you to drop in from above (although you will be at greater risk of an imminent ganking if you choose this path).
Each team will take turns on offense and defense, and at the end of the match a scoreboard will determine which team performed best.
One of the best parts of Corsair's Stronghold doesn't have anything to do with swashbuckling and monkey islands; it's the fact that this PvP map can be accessed at level 30. The team said that it empathized with PvPers who had to wait until level 60 to get in on the really good stuff, and so this map is a way to get the party started prior to the endgame.
Alliance? I rolled Horde!
If you're not interested in PvP, then TERA would like to sell you on another upcoming feature: the alliance system. This will also come this summer with the large July 2nd patch, although En Masse didn't spend a lot of time talking about how players will be navigating politics in this fantasy MMO.
The team did want to stress that the Korean team has been hard at work streamlining the process of sending updates worldwide. Hopefully players will be seeing an increase of the frequency in patch releases going forward. You don't want to leave two million players hanging, after all.
[Update: En Masse has clarified that its reps did not mean active players in the two million count; they meant registered players. We've updated the article accordingly.]
Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 10-13, bringing you all the best news from E3 2013. We're covering everything from WildStar and Elder Scrolls Online and ArcheAge to FFXIV's inbound revamp and TERA's latest update, so stay tuned!