Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
– Excerpt from High Flight, by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
As it was when I wrote about my enjoyment of the small detail of a turning horse’s head in Lord of the Rings Online, there are elements to Tera which are just breathtaking. Contrails form from your mount’s wingtips as you fly between locations; I haven’t worked out if they’re random or based upon the environment being passed through, but it is a simple moment of delight when they appear.
I’ve deleted the two thousand or so words which I wrote next, because many people have already judged the game and those who play it, and I cannot bring myself to present a justification for my playing it to the MMO equivalent of Freud’s inner circle.
Suffice it to say that I feel this is a game which tried not to bridge the chasmal divide between Eastern and Western cultures, but launched itself wholly across in an attempt to forge a beachhead, and found itself firmly repelled.
My time with Tera will shortly be drawing to a close, but I don’t regret having played it, for I have had joyous encounters on my journeys within both the world and the game, where I discovered a different culture of design, all of which I happily feel has been a worthwhile expansion to the universality of my MMO experience.