Tera: A Lesson in How Not to Dress Women

Recently, my friends and I were looking for a new multiplayer game to play together. We found a free game on the PS4 called Tera and figured we’d give it a try until we decided on a new game to buy. We lasted all of two hours or so before the overall gameplay was so horrendous we all promptly deleted the game. But the biggest criticism started long before we made it to the actual game. I’m going to pop back to a topic I’ve mentioned before, and will probably cover again—Women’s Fashion.

In my last post about women’s fashion in fantasy and sci-fi art and games, I rallied for giving women decent support and not defaulting to boob armor. It’s a pet peeve of mine. But what Tera offered was so terrible that I actually texted my friend that I was tempted not to play on principle.

We did end up playing, and a great deal of the initial amusement that kept us going as long as we did was from joking about each new horrible outfit the women ended up with, especially since we had a group of men and women and so saw the perfectly acceptable and sometimes the utterly over-dressed men. (At one point I was convinced men in this world were stealing all the clothes so the women were left with nothing.)

Let me show you some examples. Be warned, these are not safe for work.

 

 

Those are not the few ridiculous outfits among otherwise okay but impractical outfits. There were perhaps four or five okay but impractical outfits, and TWO reasonable outfits that quickly became less reasonable as we played, but I’ll come to that later. And this was from about fifty different outfits for various races and classes of characters.

Most of these outfits looked like the women were wearing body paint and nothing else. This one listed her outfit as HEAVY ARMOR. That gets capslock rage, because beside her is what men’s heavy armor looked like—same race, same class.

 

 

Now, I might even have wrote the whole game off as one massive joke if the men also suffered utterly horrible outfits, but alas the men seemed to understand that covering major organs was a smart thing to do.

 

 

There were a couple okay but impractical outfits among the men but nothing worse than these.

 

 

Now, let’s take a look at those two reasonable women’s outfits. The first is one my friend chose. Not bad all together.

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Then she got to the customization options where you find out the outfit you’ll actually be wearing is NOT the outfit you saw before. Her armor outfit is silly, but still covers her. Her casual outfit, which is how you start the game, not so much.

 

 

Those are not white pants.

Then there’s the one I chose. A little on the impractical side, but she’s fully covered and she uses magic, so I can let it slide a bit.

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I get to her start of game outfit, still not bad.

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I was so annoyed by the choices by the time I chose her, that I decided to have fun with her name.

Then, I start playing the game . . .

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I was not amused. She actually runs at a near 90 degree angle in order to show that much of her ass. There was NO REASON for her to run like that or for me to have to watch her panties the entire time I played the game. And while the outfits would have been cute otherwise, it’s plainly obvious that they only cared about properly dressing men.

Tera characters

Or excessively dressing men. For all the women lacked in clothing, the men appeared to have an excess of armor and clothing to make up for it. Even the animals have more clothes.

Tera panda

Now, I don’t write this JUST to rant about how awful this game’s costume design is, though that is part of it. It’s also completely unrealistic for any world building efforts. There is NO WAY any reasonable world would have clothes like this among warriors and to have completely gendered sexualization across races and occupations.

Warriors care about surviving their battles. That means covering vulnerable areas of the body, not just their breasts and genitals. They would also support their breasts with more than what looks like stylized tape. Beyond the fact most of the women in the game would die of exposure before they ever got to battle, imagine the skill required for smiths to craft such small and form-fitting armor for every woman.

They’ve sacrificed any attempt at world building and creating different, unique styles and designs for each race in order to have a universe of scantily clad women showing their underwear when they run. Tera is a case study every game developer should have to play in order to learn how not to design clothing, not just for women, but across the entire world.

And, because I literally screamed when I saw this, we’re going to talk about one more thing you should never do.

SIDE SADDLE!

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Never have women ride side saddle. It existed only in a short time period in specific cultures. It is not the way the majority of women in the world and throughout history ride a horse.

The only exception to this would be if you created a period piece set in that time and culture when side saddle occurred, you created a similarly repressive culture, or for some obscure reason your culture has ALL people riding side saddle. Though, my friend who owns, trains, and rides horses tells me side saddle is the worst way to ride, so a culture choosing it for all their people seems unlikely.

I hope my little rant has amused you, and hopefully you already knew why Tera’s costume designs are terrible and got a good laugh. Let it be a lesson and move on to far better games.

What was the game or comic with the worst or most ridiculous costume designs (men or women) you’ve ever seen?

6 Comments on “Tera: A Lesson in How Not to Dress Women

  1. I HATE the side saddle thing SOOOO much! Everytime I see my character do it I gringe! I am actually contemplating not playing the game because of it thats how much it annoys me… When I played on the PC afew yeaes ago people complained then. It goes to show what happens when a dev. doesn’t listen to the gamers!!

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    • Yes, the side saddle thing was cursed at every time I used the horse. It annoyed me so much that they bothered to create an entirely different position for women, especially one that is so repressively gendered and exceptionally impractical to any riding situation. The fact they continue to ride side saddle on the Pegasus, where their legs are impeding the wings, was completely ridiculous. Add in the poor gameplay and it was too much for us to keep playing.

      We’ve switched over to Warframe. It’s also free on the PS4 and has far better gameplay. It has its own issues, generally related to offering too much early on that you won’t get resources for until much later (which is probably how they make their money) and the story is pretty thin, but its much more fun to play if your looking for a free game. And robots!

      Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Male Cas armor is just as revealing lol.

    As a female (Level 65/Female/Cas/Sorceress) who plays Tera; if you don’t like your armor you can just craft a cosmetic, farm for Fashion coupons or buy a costume in the store for $10.

    Congrats, you wrote a bias and hypocritical standard feminist review on a game after a whole 11 levels, woooo.

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    • I respect that you feel that way and may even enjoy the game, however I disagree that the male armor is just as revealing. There are a few outfits that are revealing, but by far the tables are skewed toward the women. Also, I should not be forced to spend real money on cosmetics to make the game’s outfits tolerable. It is the game’s job to make me interested in playing.

      I did not stop playing the game solely because of the outfits. I found the gameplay horrible and received no enjoyment other than mocking the outfits. To me, that is not a game I have any desire to farm for hours for fashion coupons. If the game had managed to actually hold my interest in decent story or enjoyable gameplay, I might have stayed longer and perhaps I would have seen more to show me it was less ridiculous. But on the whole the game did nothing that appealed to me, and I stand by my opinion the outfits are mocking worthy. If you disagree, that’s your right.

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      • I’m personally going on a rant of my own here, so bear with me.

        I can’t help but feel like you joined this game already expecting to hate it Yes, TERA is a very sexualized game. Everyone knows that. It was advertised this way. But not just for females; males to! And the developers know their audience; they have to.

        They understand that those who will want to play as a human male have no desire in any sort of revealing attire, so naturally, all human males are covered from head to toe. However, the same cannot be said about other races. Male castanics and aman have the biggest list of when it comes to revealing armor; especially the amani. There are armors where there’s only one piece of cloth attached to the groin and a few extra ones around the shoulders and arms. Popori rarely wear any pants. High Elves are keen to dress up like edgy musicians who sing emo songs.

        And I also believe that is quite weak to come up with this kind of response by only reaching Level 11. That’s just preposterous. The game is rated M (17+) for a reason.

        If you had stuck around, you would have seen the appeal behind the combat; you would have seen that there are plenty of ‘adequate’ armor sets (especially for human females and high elves)… and would fully realize that everything about TERA is sexualized to the point enemies and even statues receive the same treatment. That is how the korean MMO market works. And if the game is meant to be this way, it should provide some fan-service for the male characters as well (which they did, considering they went ahead and added swimsuits and underwear that ACTUALLY gave male characters a BULGE).

        If you do wish to analyze the way females are treated within an MMO, you should look into games like “Blade and Soul” and “Guild Wars 2”. Perhaps a true feminist view over the kind of things ArenaNet has pushed on a game like “Guild Wars 2” would be worth looking into it, seeing that the characters are heavily sexualized (especially when it comes to premium cosmetics and end-game gear), had their running animations changed so that there’s a better emphasis on their ass and boob jiggle… but then had the audacity to go ahead and have some of their animations removed to the point their only idle is them waving their hair 24/7. Because, apparently, kicking dirt and stretching your arms was deemed inappropriate.

        If you wish to RANT on a game for the same reason… then there is one that rightfully deserves it: Scarlet Blade! It has shut down over in the west, but I think you’d enjoy complaining about it. There are Private Servers still running and plenty of material online to compare.

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        • I understand if you enjoy the game, but I personally did not. It was not the outfits that made me stop playing, if it was I wouldn’t have played at all. It was the combat and gameplay which I and my friends all found both frustrating and irritating. Whatever gains the game might have later on either weren’t presented to us or were too far beyond our limit to tolerate to continue on. It’s gameplay was not enjoyable and with other games out there to play that are also free and far better there was no reason to continue on. We went to Warframe after this and kept playing despite the learning curve frustrations because early on they showed us what we could be working toward and we had a goal in mind. We still play Warfame more than a year later.Tera did not do this enough to look past its flaws.

          And I think you are slightly mistaken as to the purpose of this. I do not go out of my way to find games and rant about them. I played THIS game and ranted because I found it ridiculous in its appearance and the gameplay unenjoyable. I did not come into this game with any preconception until I hit the character choice screen, as I had never heard of the game or known what it was. As I said in the post, we were just looking for a new game to play and Tera was being advertised to me as a gamer.

          But I will continue to state that the while there are a FEW male characters who are sexualized, there are NO female characters who are not. There was no female character I could play that was not overtly sexual. If you say that people who play a human male don’t want to see him sexualized then why does that logic not continue on to the human female? If the balance were more equal where some men and and some women but not all men or all women were sexualized, I wouldn’t have been so annoyed.

          As for the other games, I will be sure to steer clear if they are worse about this. I don’t intend to bash the genre, I just played a game that I found intolerable in both appearance and gameplay. If you find it enjoyable, that is up to you. I firmly believe in seeing the flaws and criticizing the things we love as much as the things we dislike, as I’ve done in my blog. Usually it is because we love something that we want it to do better.

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