TERA has a player-driven political system

If I am elected Vanarch, I promise that no one will have proper protection for their sexy stomachs!

The world of massive online RPGs seems to have leaned away from too many player-driven systems these days. It’s a reasonable trend from a designer’s standpoint. Us gamers with our pesky free will can create all kinds of chaos if given too much freedom. Still, I often long for the days in the older Star Wars Galaxies where just about every item I bought was crafted by a player who built the store himself or bought it and hired an NPC to run it. Or maybe you just interacted with a terminal of some sort on the shop door? It’s been a while.

Either way, it’s refreshing to see that the gorgeous, fully real-time combat MMORPG TERA has a political system that is not only quite unique, but completely governed by players. Any player has the chance to become what is called a Vanarch. A Vanarch is a position of power in the world of TERA that grants the ability to improve one’s domain with specialty shop keepers, teleporters, and other player conveniences using ‘policy points’ gained from completing Vanarch quests. Reaching this prestigious level of influence will require some campaigning, however. Players can opt to either compete in battlegrounds with their guild in order to gain the necessary fame or simply find creative ways to get the word out. The developers of TERA suggest that players will make use of social networking resources like Twitter and Facebook for this route.

Will someone figure out how to game the system? It’s very likely, but after the inevitable kinks are worked out this could be the most interesting innovation in the stagnant MMORPG genre to date.