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TERA Controller Guide for PS3 & Xbox 360 Styled Controllers by Deekin

This is for people who feel daunted or overwhelmed with the sheer number of hotkeys TERA uses, and trying to bind them to a controller in a way where playing it isn't insane. This guide explains how and what you can really do with a controller for the game. Complete with tips and advice to better ease you into using a controller in-game.

TERA Controller Guide - Introduction

Hi there. If you're reading this guide, it's because you wish to use a controller (specifically one similar in style to what the title mentions, or just a straight up 360 controller) with TERA, but don't know how you could possibly manage it with all those hotkeys being needed.

I will preface this with the following:

  • Keyboard + Mouse is more precise because mouse aiming trumps analog stick every time.
  • However, for this game, the controller is an acceptable alternative regardless.
  • Despite what I've seen people say, you can fit the entire expanded hotbar (Click the button on your UI that looks like two vertical squares. It'll change to four, and the hotbar will expand) onto a controller, including the 3 Mains (Left & Right Clicks, and C/Tab). You even have enough buttons to add in commands to switch trays (Although I've never had to).

Getting the Controller to Actually Work

This game was designed to natively support Xbox 360 controllers. As such, if you use anything else, it may not work, or it may work improperly (like the axes on a stick getting inverted). When you have one plugged in, and the game starts, a dialog pops up during startup that mentions it. Anyways, get into the game with controller plugged in and try out the buttons and analog sticks. Left stick should be movement, right stick should be camera control as usual.

If everything does not match up, don't fret, you may have another option. There's a utility called X360CE you can use.
It can be downloaded here.
The files you get from it go into "\TERA\Client\Binaries". You may want to backup the original xinput1_3.dll file it will otherwise ask to replace. Just in case. When you run the exe to configure it, tell it you want xinput rather than direct input. The rest is up to you.

If X360CE doesn't work, you're out of luck. Using a program that maps your keyboard to a controller (like xpadder) might be your only recourse, but it will probably conflict with the controls the game already thinks it is getting.

Please Note: If you're trying to use an actual PS3 controller, you'll have to get your computer to even recognize it in the first place before trying to get it to work with TERA. I believe MotionInJoy is the program you'll want to use. If you want a possible driver solution instead though, I suggest looking here.

Configuring the Controls

(Please note, I will refer to the X button on a PS3 controller by it's official notation of Cross to avoid confusion with the 360 controller's X button, as X on a 360 is Square on a PS3. I will also always denote buttons in the order of 360/PS3.)

Have your controller plugged in and get in-game. Press Back/Select to open the config menu for the controller.
If that doesn't work, open the Chat and type in /controller.
The first option you'll see is TYPE1 and TYPE2. This refers to which style of controller you have. One modeled on a Xbox 360 controller, or one modeled on a Playstation DualShock 2/3 controller.
TYPE1 is 360
TYPE2 is PS3
This option actually does nothing mechanically. It simply makes the UI have the right button prompts for that little controller diagram.

Regardless of your controller, leave it at TYPE1 for right now. This is due to the fact that in the config, the prompts there are ALWAYS in 360 notation. So it's good to have the UI show it like that while you config the buttons so you know what corresponds to what. If you already know off by heart, then it doesn't matter, you can change it to match now.

Moving on. Below that is your camera speed while in combat and your mouse cursor speed. This won't be the same for everyone. I use 50% for both. Might be the default actually.
Below that is set skill direction. This refers to which orientation the game uses when determining which direction your skills fire off in.

Character Direction: Skills fire off relative to direction character is facing. Hold left to attack left, so on and so forth. IMPORTANT: All rushing skills (Charging Lunge, Headlong Rush, and their equivalents) will ALWAYS fire off in whatever direction your crosshair is pointed, regardless of if use this setting. The only rush skill where that doesn't happen is the Lancer skill Onslaught, as it behaves like an attack.

Camera Direction: Skills fire off relative to direction your camera crosshair is pointed. Turn camera left to attack left and so forth. This is the default setting.

I highly recommend using Character for the Melee classes, and Camera for the Ranged ones.
Do note that if you have multiple characters, this particular setting is global. Changing it for one, changes it for all of them.

Next is Chain skill configuration. It's set to X/Square by default. Jump is also set to that by default.
I think that's entirely stupid, so I changed Chain to LT/L2, which is also Interact by default.
I'd rather accidentally do nothing, than accidentally get stuck in a jumping animation.

Moving on.
Auto-Run is already bound, but it's unnecessary due to how easy it is to keep a stick in one direction. So I have something else use that keybind (I'll bring it up later.).
For Jump, I changed it to A/Cross as that's the go-to jump button in most vidya.

Now we get to the meat & potatoes of this.
A key feature of this game is the ability to use one button as a hold trigger to access more commands.
For example: Pressing X/Square to do something versus Holding LB/L1 first and pressing it.
The best part is, when you hold one of the hold triggers, the little controller diagram on your UI will CHANGE to show you what skills you can use while holding the hold trigger.
This feature is how we will map so many commands.

Now then, the hold triggers are LB/L1, RB/R1, and LB/L1+RB/R1 at the same time.
The shoulder buttons are the hold triggers by default, and they cannot be changed from that in game.
I imagine you can get around this by getting creative with X360CE though.
Now then, using my own control configuration as an example, this is how I have Uppers 1 thru 6 set-up:

  • Upper 1: LB + RB + A / L1 + R1 + Cross
  • Upper 2: LB + RB + B / L1 + R1 + Circle
  • Upper 3: LB + RB + X / L1 + R1 + Square
  • Upper 4: LB + RB + Y / L1 + R1 + Triangle
  • Upper 5: LB + RB + RT / L1 + R1 + R2
  • Upper 6: LB + RB + LT / L1 + R1 + L2

So I have to be holding both shoulder buttons before pressing anything to use those shortcuts in my hotbar.
Please note that you have to press Enter to confirm an entry before you move onto the next one.

There's not a whole lot I can do to tell you what you should have as your button commands.
I can only really tell you what I use, along with my reasoning.
My hotbar is orientated such that most of the useable DPS skills are on the bottom row. The top row is usually utility, items, a mount, stuff like that.
As an example, this is my hotbar on my Level 60 Lancer:

Skills on the Bottom, Utility on Top

Anyways, these are my controls, based on what I said above of how I place skills:

  • Lower 1: Y / Triangle
  • Lower 2: LB + A / L1 + Cross
  • Lower 3: LB + B / L1 + Circle
  • Lower 4: LB + X / L1 + Square
  • Lower 5: LB + Y / L1 + Triangle
  • Lower 6: LB + RT / L1 + R2

Reasoning: I kept the default order of action buttons, and only changed the hold triggers. I did this under the assumption it'd all work out. It ended up doing so since you can drag skills to whatever the hell you want on the hotbar to fit.

  • Upper 7: LB + Up / L1 + Up
  • Upper 8: LB + Left / L1 + Left
  • Upper 9: LB + Right / L1 + Right
  • Upper 10: LB + Down / L1 + Down
  • Upper 11: RB + Left / R1 + Left
  • Upper 12: RB + Right / R1 + Right

Reasoning: These don't get used often. Whenever I use the D-Pad for items in a game, I go in reading order. Some people I know go clockwise or counter-clockwise. The reasoning behind Uppers 11+12 is because if I only have two, I ignore Up and Down as button options.

  • Lower 7: RB + A / R1 + Cross
  • Lower 8: RB + B / R1 + Circle
  • Lower 9: RB + X / R1 + Square
  • Lower 10: RB + Y / R1 + Triangle
  • Lower 11: RB + RT / R1 + R2
  • Lower 12: RB + LT / R1 + L2

Reasoning: Continuing the trend from the LB hold trigger.

  • Main 1: X / Square
  • Main 2: B / Circle
  • Main 3: RT / R2

Reasoning: In most games, normal attack is Main 1, my damage mitigation (blocking/dodging/etc.) is Main 2, and my special (sometimes also another escape option) is Main 3. So I usually would drag Combo Attack, Stand Fast/Backstep, and a Stun (like Shield Bash, or Startling Kick) or Alt Escape (like Glacial Retreat, Fiery Escape, or Breakaway Bolt) to Mains 1, 2, and 3 respectively.

Now for the non-hotbar related things.

UI Section

  • Interact: LT / L2
  • Previous tray: LB + LS / L1 +  L3
  • Next tray: RB + LS / R1 + L3
  • Marking: LS / L3
  • Quick Chat: Unused

Reasoning: Interact is left default. Interact and Chain skill being the same is alright by me as explained in the Chain skill section up top. For tray navigation, I'm referring to clicking the sticks in, as that counts as buttons. If you don't have clickable sticks, I'm so sorry. I will note I have never used the tray navigation, I just have it as a "better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it" option. Note that you can't set RB/R1 + Up or Down as due to a bug, it will also zoom in/out the camera. You also can't do RB/R1 + RS/R3 as it will still reverse the camera along with whatever you try to set it to. Again, due to a bug.
Marking referrs to the Targeting feature of TERA where you can put big glowing arrow markers over your targets. It's useful as hell for two reasons:
1. As party leader, anything you Mark will be seen by the entire party.
2. You can use it for another tool, locking in something you've targeted so if you hit something else, your targeting window doesn't switch to it. By targeting window, I mean the little window that shows enemy stats like HP and debuffs.

Marking 101:
Point your crosshair at your target. Hold the button you set. The target will glow yellow, and while you're holding the button, you can see four arrow colour choices.
To set an Arrow: Flick the right stick in the direction of the arrow. The red arrow is Left, for example. Then let go of your Marking button.
To remove an Arrow: Choose the X symbol (Flick downwards).
To lock your targeting window: Don't flick in a direction, just press Main 1.

Let's move on!

UI Menu Section

  • Inventory: Right
  • Profile: Left
  • World Map: LB + LT / L1 + L2

Reasoning: These are the defaults. I liked them, so I kept them as is. Please note that there is currently a visual UI bug that makes it so on your little controller diagram, the icon for the World Map is simply blank. It has no actual effect on gameplay, you just won't see it there.

Quick Mark Section

  • Reset cam position: Unused
  • Reverse cam position: RS / R3
  • Zoom-in: Up
  • Zoom-out: Down
  • Move Camera Up: LB + RB + Up / L1 + R1 + Up
  • Move Camera Down: LB + RB + Up / L1 + R1 + Down
  • Move Camera Left: LB + RB + Up / L1 + R1 + Left
  • Move Camera Right: LB + RB + Up / L1 + R1 + Right

Reasoning: Resetting the camera is completely useless. Reversing the camera is one of the best features in the entire game. It tells the camera do a quick 180. Useful as all hell in getting at minions swarming behind you when Backstep or whatever is on CD. The camera and zoom controls are the defaults. I felt they were fine as is. Hold both hold triggers and press the Dpad in the direction you want the camera moved. Simple to remember. I don't use it but eh.

When you're done configuring, hit Apply, then press OK. You're done!
A note: If you use TYPE2, and you quit the game, when you re-log the UI will display in TYPE1. This is a bug, just bring the config up again (Back/Select) and then cancel it or hit OK. You'll notice it switched back as soon as you brought it up.

So here are some Tips!

  1. Back/Select and Start are always mapped to Controller Config and Mouse Cursor respectively. This cannot be changed as far as I'm aware, but I've also never tried to change it.
  2. When you bring up the mouse cursor (Start) you can use the right stick to move it. Mains 1&2 are Left&Right clicks respectively. Whatever you have set to Interact also works as Left Click. So any mouse function is doable. Very handy!
  3. Utilize the Reverse cam position command! It's ridiculously useful! Most of the time it is much faster than turning the camera with the right stick.
  4. Backstep and the alternative escapes always move backwards relative to direction you set skills to orientate firing off from (see Character Direction vs. Camera Direction up near the top).
  5. Use Chain skills creatively to accommodate more skills. If you were already used to keeping everything on one hotbar, you'll be fine. Having all your Priest buffs on the hotbar is a waste for example.
  6. Grouping your skills based on common animation or usage can help you remember buttons easier. Using my Lancer hotbar example, I have Shield Barrage on Y/Triangle and Lockdown Blow on the same (you just have to hold LB/L1 first) due to how similar the animations are. Do you press Circle to Backstep and then a shoulder button and Circle to Glacial Retreat/Fiery Escape? Things like that. Also, the little controller diagram is also pretty helpful.

Welp. I think that's everything I can think of. I hope this helps you come up with a configuration that works for you.


This was very helpful, thank you.