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Reader Comments (27)

Posted: May 1st 2009 8:42PM (Unverified) said

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Well, hmm. This might be the beginning of a "good thing". Ever since I began playing with international players, years ago, I've felt that gaming had a positive impact on real-world attitudes that ultimately lead to bringing MMO gamers -- overall a progressive, intelligent and flexible super-group -- closer together, in an environment of gradually increasing, mutual understanding...or, at the least, more practical appraisals of conflicting points of view.

While we relish our in-game alliances and conflicts, I think many players have inadvertently gained a more balanced appreciation of real-world relationships in the process. Since this region has been very weakly represented in the global MMO community, I'm encouraged to see a new regional community getting online, in-game and, potentially, exposed to at least somewhat broader viewpoints in the process.

Posted: May 1st 2009 9:01PM mysecretid said

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I agree with NT that playing online with people from other countries can often break stereotypes and cliches about how the "people over in that country" are, and how they behave.

We all know -- if we think about it -- that our ideas about foreign nations are often just a collection of stuff we've seen or heard second-hand, but actually playing alongside someone from elsewhere can give you a less "stylized" notion of what those human beings can be like. They become individual people, instead of just expressions of a general idea.

As for the changes in clothing required to make Rappelz work in the MENA (Middle Eastern/North African) market, one interesting side effect is that the clothing options in games might show a little more variety in the future.

With fantasy MMORPGs especially, sometimes the clothing gets sooo cliche. As in, "Oh look, here comes today's "warrior chick in the chainmail bikini" # 305!" (who is, of course, played by a fifty-year-old, 400-lb male truck driver -- or else, a ten-year-old boy).

If the costume variants designed for the MENA localization get added to the clothing options available in the original Rappelz game, this could be a good thing.

Options are good, and options with some "regional authenticity" behind their design couldn't hurt either.

Posted: May 1st 2009 10:17PM SkuzBukit said

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Wider audiences are wider audiences, some good points in the two earlier comments & not far off the mark at all.

I've played alongside some true "characters" from all over the globe & the more you get to know people from so called different cultures you realise that underneath those cultural layers (which are very thin in truth, despite being very powerful factors) that humans are all essentially the same wherever they are from or what their backrounds are.

The MENA region getting some MMO's adapted to fit it's tastes is a good direction, & cultural exchange is a 2 way street, whilst the games will have to adapt to differences in expectations, some of the feedback will filter through too & change things for the rest of us in subtle ways, in time.

Some of my longstanding good friends are players from the UAE.

Posted: May 2nd 2009 1:15AM cray said

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I pity people like you because you are trapped in a hole and you refuse to do anything about it. Basically everything you spoke of reeks of bad stereotyping and you blatantly announce your refusal to think outside of your narrow view.

If I have tell you that not everyone in MENA market strays away from broader markets, then you need climb out that hole and join the civilized world you claim to be belittling. There are plenty of things that overlap in the international markets that can appeal to everyone. The assumption that MENA markets are solely about extremist says a lot more about you than the market itself.

Until you decide to help yourself and climb out that hole, you're always going to see things with a smaller lens.

Posted: May 2nd 2009 2:08AM Mr A said

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Actually, I'm just being realistic, something liberals like you obviously don't know how to do.

The fact is:

A) Their servers will never connect to ours, therefore we will never play with these people

and

B) If their servers ever did connect to ours for some reason, their client software would have to be different, and it would cause controversy to have two different clients rendering data in two different ways based upon the same data set from the same server

I'm sorry if that offends your sense of idealism, but it's simple fact.

Posted: May 2nd 2009 2:20AM Jesspiper said

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I was wondering how long the typical American bigotry towards the Middle-East and its peoples would take to show up in the comments for this article. Not long obviously, as Mr. Digital and TheNilvarg have shown.

Posted: May 2nd 2009 2:58AM mysecretid said

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What's genuinely sad is that the people posting negative comments apparently haven't even bothered to check the source article linked in the main report.

There are three sets of "before and after" images (the pic here is one of the "after" images) showing examples how female character clothing is being altered for the game. No one is wearing a burqa.

As has been said, this game is being targeted at progressive MENA societies, or portions thereof; the Islamist jihadist factions wouldn't play the regionalized version of Rappelz anymore than Fundamentalist pseudo-Christians would play that "satanic" World of WarCraft ...

But hey, as soon as people start throwing accusations of "liberal" (which I'm not) and "political correctness" (actually, we were talking about diversity and cultural parity) around as insults, it's pretty apparent that the posters came in with an agenda firmly in place, and don't want to be distracted by anything as troublesome as a civil discussion.
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Posted: May 2nd 2009 7:38AM (Unverified) said

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Yes... It usually takes slightly less time than typical bigotry toward Americans.

Or it could be that those people are just [sic]morans, as exist everywhere.
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Posted: May 2nd 2009 4:01AM SkuzBukit said

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If ignorance were a disease it would have been on the top of the list for a cure above everything else, it's that prevalent in society.

Posted: May 2nd 2009 5:36AM Gaugamela said

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Am i the only one who saw the pictures of the female version of this game and found them to be way more stylish and cooler than the average stripper look?

Posted: May 2nd 2009 6:07AM Russell Clarke said

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Errr....yes.
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Posted: May 2nd 2009 8:17AM archipelagos said

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Nope. I preferred the other version too.
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Posted: May 3rd 2009 2:08AM (Unverified) said

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No, you're not alone in finding the altered, more clothed, variants to be better looking, cooler, and more stylish.

2 of the 3 images in the source article, at least, are very well done, retains the original flavor of the gear really well, and simply gives us MORE.

Less skin = more armor.
And the look and design of the armor is a big attraction in these games, so that's a really good thing. - And it's not like it's really THAT much skin that gets covered. PLUS the armor is still very tight-fitting, so it remains sexy and form-fitting, body-huggingly revealing. - It leaves more to your imagination, without really taking that much away from your eyes.

More pretty pixels (armor) to look at. I can definately live without a few of the skin colored pixels.
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Posted: May 2nd 2009 6:15AM pid said

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I can't speak of MENA but I can tell you a story about MY country.

I live in Italy and I am italian, so I speak objectively about myself here. In many MMOs I've played (UO, SWG, WOW, EQ2, Tibia, RappelZ, FreeRealms, AOC, DAOC, EVE, you name it) I always discover the same pattern.

What I will tell you now is based on MANY years of experience, MANY MMOs, MANY situations and MANY people. So I guess it's a real thing, not my imagination.

*** Please take note that the italian players do not represent the italian demographic population at large! ***

Italian communities follow these stages:
1) they enter a new MMO and are a tiny minority (these "pioneers" are open-minded and speak english);
2) they play with players from many countries;
3) over time they grow in numbers and form tiny guilds;
4) they grow larger and group in medium-sized guilds;
5) at this point things change dramatically but I have to explain why.

Most italians do NOT speak english whatsoever and the rest speaks a very (very!) bad english. This is, for the ignorant italian male, absolutely NO REASON to learn english. They are used to have movies and products localized. In fact, localization is a very strong market component in Italy. We export a lot and we are well-known in many countries all over the world (for the good things and the bad ones). We also import a lot of products (mainly electronics because there is no large-sized electronic industry that can compete with the international corporations out there). These imported products are ALL adapted to our market, and without a second thought. Just IKEA has managed to push it's products and even they are struggling to change traditional views.

I repeat: *** Please take note that the italian players do not represent the italian demographic population at large! ***

So I can say that our culture is "open" to other countries, but we are rooted in our traditions. This may be all a good thing but still, we are not as "open" as other western countries are.

That said, I return to italians in MMOs.

The SINGLE PLAYERS (especially the "pioneering" ones in point 1) continue to play with their friends from other countries.

But the collective as such (that is 99% of the italians) do not speak english and they do not care. They shut out all others because they do not understand them and they don't want to. Non-italians are offlimits. The italian community does not even accept the comparison with others. The majority wants to play in "pure italian" environment. And this also leads to sub-mediocre netiquette, gameplay and performance. Many italian guilds (obviously, not all) have so-called "bimbi minchia" (ignorant, indifferent, uneducated and non-caring children) who baheave badly and when strong communities (like americans, germans, dutch, ecc.) win all along in PvP, then these guilds are not considered strong, good or to take as an example. NOOO!! they are stupid bastards from the barbaric outside world who have to be snobbed!

The average italian player (mostly "bimbo minchia") DOES NOT open up to other players and he doesn't care. That is the truth.

I repeat again: *** Please take note that the italian players do not represent the italian demographic population at large! ***

Posted: May 2nd 2009 6:24AM (Unverified) said

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Lived in a middle east a few years ago. An MMO called Conquer online was very popular. A lot of kids at internet cafes would play it.

Posted: May 2nd 2009 11:33AM hansh0tfirst said

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First of all, you're not being realistic; you're being naive and ignorant.

A) The "fact" is, despite the language barrier and a multitude of cultural differences, players from Communist China can and do connect to Western MMO servers on a routine basis. Why you think the Middle East would be any different is beyond me.

and

B) There's a long established history of games that support different clients connecting to the same servers. Take EVE or Lord of the Rings Online for example. Furthermore, any game that supports mods and/or addons (and there's quite a few; both of the legitimate and less-than-legitimate variety) supports rendering data in different ways based upon the same data set from the same server.

I'm sorry if that offends your sense of righteous indignation, but the simple fact is you don't know what you're talking about.

Posted: May 2nd 2009 11:47AM hansh0tfirst said

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P.S.: I'm American, and would just like to state for the record that Mr. Digital neither represents me nor most of the people I know. Please don't assume we're all like that.

Posted: May 2nd 2009 2:15PM Dblade said

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Please don't overrate the impact of MMO's ability to change culture. Please don't also think "we are all the same." We aren't, culture and belief play pivotal roles in our lives and our way of thought. I think China has shown its possible for the internet to be introduced yet no real change or reform be birthed from it. Look at Russia as well, for all its westernization, it still is a place where positive change is easily marginalized.

As for this, it's a good business step. The middle east and islamic countries will be a huge growth market simply because they still have kids while the western world commits demographic suicide. And there's really nothing offensive in mmo models showing less skin.

But if you think this means a cracking of mores, you are dead wrong. The fact that rappelz has to tailor itself to an islamic sensibility just to get in the door should tip you off at how illusory the ideas of progress is.

Posted: May 3rd 2009 4:51AM pid said

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I think you are generally right, but you said one thing that makes me wonder:

"Look at Russia as well, for all its westernization, it still is a place where positive change is easily marginalized."

What I am wondering about is: can WE WESTERNERS REALLY be that convinced that our culture is necessarily better for them? Shouldn't they find their own way and maybe teach us where we make mistakes?

I'm not that much convinced that we do everything correctly. Capitalism, MTV-culture, "here and now" and drugs have ruined a lot of lives. Maybe it's time to appreciate the differences to GROW and abandon childish convictions ("We are the champions" is just a song and Rambo/Chuck Norris is fiction... yes, YES! O really!).

=P
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Posted: May 2nd 2009 3:05PM (Unverified) said

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TheNilvarg, perhaps you might want to stop playing the victim of perceived liberal oppression and take some responsibility for your own actions. Has the thought ever occurred to you that it is not your conservative viewpoint that people are tuning out, but the tone you use to express it?

Dividing the entire world into two groups, one pure good, the other pure evil, is neither intelligent, nor realistic. Maybe that tactic works for opportunists who try to shill self-serving books, boost radio talk show ratings, or increase the ranks of suicide bombers, but the vast majority of us that view the world through a more complicated lens would prefer to read comments that are more constructive.

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