Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Tera [official site] is that television program you turn on after first looking over your shoulder to make sure no one is home. No, I’m not intending that to be any sort of statement on the various states of undress all of its female characters tend to be in. I just mean that Tera is a guilty pleasure that I probably will never admit to. Except in the form a hush-hush recommendation because I think Tera is kind of great. Now pinkie-promise never to tell.
A part of me doesn’t want to recommend Tera, but then I realize how many afternoons I’ve spent smashing monsters in the face as my lancer and I realize that even if my brain thinks Tera is dumb, some twisted part of my soul loves the hell out of it. And really, it’s because Tera represents the best execution of the worst style of MMORPG. What I mean is that Tera is yet another World of Warcraft clone that emphasizes everything that is actively killing MMOs as a genre. It’s all about arbitrary loot grinding without much meaningful socializing or community-building. But, my god, do I barely even care about that when I’m playing.
A lot of people will rightfully praise Tera’s combat, and they should because it’s fantastic. But there should be more said about how perfectly smooth Tera has sanded its endless wheel of progression and rewards. While getting the best possible equipment can still be a grind, the rest of Tera zips along at such a fantastically quick pace, and I think that’s great. Gone is this pretence that I need to invest hundreds of hours to achieve anything in an MMO, instead I can be max level within a week just by investing a few hours here and there. While some might argue that means there’s little investment in your character, I find it quite the opposite. Tera manages to still be a big meaty MMO without feeling like I need to give up a few friendships just to get to the best part of it.
I like Tera because it knows exactly what it is and doesn’t waste any breath pretending to be something different. There’s no hollow MMO idealism here, just a dumb game that ends up being smart because of it. And that’s exactly what I want right now; to turn off my brain and just enjoy something without feeling the need to judge or be judged for it.