I heard about TERA when plans for a North America-based English version was first announced. That version came out last month. With rather a lot of free time coming up and rather little to do with it, this week seemed like a good time to check out the seven day trial.

Verdict so far: the “action-based combat” system is really fun, although would probably seem clunky to players coming from other MMOs. It requires finesse, but sacrifices speed. I like the user interface — having a different mode for combat really helps to minimize screen clutter. The questing and levelling system are old fashioned and mind-numblingly boring. The graphics are pretty. And the character models, oh boy, the character models…

That’s the least revealing armor my level 12 female Castanic — that’s TERA-speak for demonic dominatrix, I think — has had since the start of the game. For most of level 1-10 she was fighting in a G-string and nipple pasties. I could swear at one point she even had tassels. The game developers also made liberal use of ladders in the game. Every other quest chain seems to have an objective that is conveniently on a high ledge that can only be reached by climbing a ladder. Wanna venture a guess at what the default camera angle swivels to, when I click the button to interact with a ladder? And then of course there’s her proportions: her head is the same width as her waist, and her legs make up more than half of her body length.

And now here’s my terrible, dirty, worst-feminist-ever secret: I enjoy playing characters that look like this in video games. My character is an in-game representation of me; I guess I just like being represented by a sexy, even if slightly exaggerated, woman. If there were a game that only had unattractive female avatars, I would be very disinclined to play it. That probably sums up why no game developer has ever made or will ever make a game with only unattractive female avatars. I even like the revealing armor. When World of Warcraft introduced the transmogrification feature to change the appearance of armor, the first thing I did was put all of my characters into midriff-baring tops.

There are a few things I wouldn’t mind seeing implemented in a video game every now and then, namely, equally revealing armor for men. TERA does have a few mankini tops, but, sadly, no man-thongs. Oh, and being able to choose a female avatar with East Asian facial features who is attractive and doesn’t look like a schoolgirl. It’s just not as easy for me to identify with schoolgirls.