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Reader Comments (87)

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 9:20PM Callagan said

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@(Unverified) That existed for a while, mostly in pen and paper games. There's a reason it doesn't exist anymore.
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Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 9:21PM Callagan said

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@Callagan Whoops, wrong post. Meant to reply to @Bramen.
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 1:18PM Bramen said

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Eliot Lefebvre,
Thanks for the interesting read. My thoughts:

Art imitates life, life imitates art.

Go to a mall in America during the summer months. Look at what the men are wearing, look at what the "ladies" are wearing. One could argue that going to shoot fireballs out of your hands in hot pants in just as ridiculous as going to buy a purse with hot pants.

Put a female character in a suit of armor with helmet and she loses her identity as a woman and is presumed to be a man.

Perhaps the most ground breaking thing mmos could do is to put in the real differences between the sexes in the game.

Males are stronger. Females have a better since of balance and agility. Maybe while rolling a rogue you would want a female for those aspects, a warrior a male. Mage would be immune because whether no not your mage has extra strength or balance wouldn't be a concern.

Something to think about.

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 1:20PM Plastic said

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Can we get a list of current MMOs where covering up the "sinful" bits on a female character is impossible? I haven't played every MMO, but I've rarely been unable to cover up my female characters in the ones I have played:

EVE (OK)
Black Prophecy (OK)
Runes of Magic (OK)
Forsaken World (Impossible)
LOTRO (OK)
Mythos (OK)
Pocket Legends (OK)
Vindictus (OK)
Wakfu (OK)
World of Tanks (OK)
Age of Conan (Impossible)
DDO (OK)
FF XI (OK)
FF IV (OK)
Lineage II (Impossible)
Rift (OK) (Only played a female to lvl 26)
SWG (OK)
SUN (Impossible)
Aion (Impossible? Cant remember if they had cosmetic slots)

Correct me if I'm wrong, and please add to the games where female characters are forced to wear metal bikinis. I'm admittedly biased, as I love to see as much of the human body as possible, be it male or female. I'm simply attracted to the idealized human form, and I'm capable of gazing upon it without attaching to it weird negative connotations.

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 5:38PM Zyrusticae said

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@Plastic

Age of Conan has some pretty modest armors, TBH. Likewise with Aion.

I was actually kinda disappointed that Aion doesn't have more revealing heavy armor sets (yes, I like to show off my character's physique - someone sue me!). Most everything past level 20 covers everything from the neck-down, and that's just boring in my view.

But anyways, yeah, it's pretty weird that it's assumed MMOs have some kind of epidemic of excessively sexualized armor designs. This is pretty far from the case in actual fact.
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 1:36PM FaerliSayne said

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On a similar but non-mmo note, I must say that I have watched my husband play several awesome looking games such as Assassin's Creed and Uncharted, and wanted to play them as well. However, as a female, I have difficulty empathizing with a male protagonist, especially when the story line is often impacted directly by gender.

I have been effectively cut out of a large part of the gaming market because a lot of the well written games are made for men, and well, I'm not a man. And no, playing a boob bouncing, spandex wearing bimbo who can shoot a gun doesn't count. The option to play a female protagonist should also include a well crafted a storyline where-in cut scenes and dialogue are based on strengths unique to the female gender and mindset.

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 2:07PM stealthrider said

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Here's a thought.

Let's leave fantasy MMO characters as they are. It's a fantasy world, with fantasy men and women running around in fantasy clothing wielding fantasy weapons and looking fantastic.

Realism works in realistic MMOs. Fantasy works in fantasy MMOs.

I expect to see less "objectification" (ha) in The Secret World and Undead Labs' zombie MMO because theyre based in realism. If I didn't see fantastical proportions in SWTOR it'd be a bit disappointing. Fantasy world, fantasy characters.

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 3:53PM Tiresias said

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Maybe it has been said already, but imagine the outrage if a leading game developer designed a game where you COULDN'T dress up an attractive character -- male or female.

People who play RPGs typically want their characters to look good. If you look at a "Realistic" suit of armor it leave A LOT to the imagination, to the point where you would have no idea whether or not the person inside was male or female unless they removed the helmet. That isn't what most people want in their RPG characters; we are talking about ROLE PLAYING games, after all.

I had a friend who used to take great pleasure in roleplaying the ugliest characters he could come up with. A "Vampire: The Masquerade" Nosferatu with three 4-point Disfigurements? Perfect! A "Dungeons and Dragons" half-orc Barbarian with high mental scores but low charisma because of multiple scars, burns, and just general UGLINESS? Go for it!

He was the exception to the rule. Pretty much everyone else in the coterie had very attractive characters and made a point to dress them in very trendy and attractive clothing. They recognized that not only is it fun to have members of the opposite sex be attracted to you, it conveys gameplay advantages.

You could say that this exists in MMOs as well. How often have you heard stories of men buying in-game stuff for female characters? This often gets even better (worse?) if said female character is then verified to actually be a woman!

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 4:20PM (Unverified) said

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Always the same specious arguments when this comes up. This has nothing to do with being "attractive." It has to do with not looking like an ass.

To a large extent, MMOs and RPGs are about loot. Powerful loot. Powerful loot that makes you look kickass. Powerful loot that projects power.

Women RPGers aren't THAT much different than guys. Most women aren't in-game hoping for a chance to mince around in asinine high heels and a ridiculous chainmail bikini, any more than I'm hoping for a lime-green speedo and a thin leather halter top.

Very few people play RPGs to look ridiculous. Plenty of that going around in real life. Give us -- men and women -- armor that looks functional, dangerous and cool as hell. Bikinis and banana hammocks need not apply.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 12:51AM Enikuo said

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@(Unverified) This. Exactly this. It's not about being a prude or making it realistic, it's just about supporting the role play or fantasy of an armored-out, kicking-butt female character. That's all.
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Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 8:24AM Irem said

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@(Unverified)
Thank you.
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 4:40PM Zyrusticae said

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I think this whole rant is one reason why Aion is successful from a general audience perspective.

You want to wear robes that cover every bit of skin from head to toe? Sure can do! Want to wear platemail bikinis that leave more exposed than covered? Well, yeah, you can do that, too. Stick thin? Sure. Thick and meaty? Why not? Tiny boobs, big boobs, fuggin' ugly, cute and spritely, whatever your taste, chances are pretty damn high you can find it in Aion.

Of course, the actual gameplay is not quite so successful. Regardless, I think the character customization and bevy of varying outfits of different styles is quite a nice example of a game doing it right. It's one reason why character customization is pretty damn close to my #1 priority when it comes time to decide if I'm going to jump to a new game or not (and a particularly big reason why I haven't touched Rift, even after getting a closed beta invite).

However, I don't think it's really an issue of sexism so much as an issue of lacking *choice*. Tera is rightfully criticized for not giving you much in the way of practical or covering options, and the actual character customization is limited (no body sliders? At all?), but it's not sexist in that regard - the males have as much in the way of revealing armor as the females do. They just go for a single aesthetic because they have a tight focus towards appealing to a certain audience. (The heels, on the other hand? TOTALLY sexist.)

If a game doesn't give me enough options to make a character I can connect with, that's just a failure with regards to customization. There's plenty of games I pass on just for this reason, and it has nothing to do with being patronized or belittled in any way (although, if I do get that sense from a developer or publisher, that's another reason to give them the pass).

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 6:45PM Lenn said

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I find it odd that people complain about skimpy armour as being an "issue" in video games in which violence is par for the course.

What the hell happened to society? Sex is a nono, but blood and gore are okay? Janet Jackson has a wardrobe malfunction and people are shocked, going so far as to call it "Nipplegate", but showing kids real and realistic violence before they go to bed is fine? No no, we can't have a woman's nipple showing on primetime TV, it only distracts from all the wanton violence.

Get a grip. This is only an issue because you make it one.

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 7:15PM Graill440 said

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Quote from many, many, many, many folks......"Sex sells".


...and always will, regardless of the closet prudes that try and get in the way. I like to refer to prudes as "holier than thous" or hypocrits.

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 7:38PM 111011 said

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This palaver again?! I can't believe this is actually still on people's minds. As a species, we are sexual, we just like to pretend we aren't. As the commenter above says, the fact that we 'butcher' each other or monsters isn't the issue, it's bewbs. You could say, 'violence is okay 'cos it's not real', but neither are the characters and armours. I think that game designers might want to add more full armours into games for choice, but personally I find them incredibly boring to look at, why would I want to my characters wearing tunic over tunic over tunic or wearing exactly the same as a male character is wearing? I began to find Aion's armour wardrobe incredibley boring aside from the fact that special armour is just meh armour with glow effects, there aren't more slinky or sexy armor. So sue me. I came to to escape reality, why does it matter if I've got a bare midriff and the panties are showing, are these my real panties? No. If I was a soldier in the army, that might be a problem. No guy has ever come to me while wearing my skimpy armour and asked to 'hump my leg' the only time I got that kind of offer I was in a full body armour in a game where every third person looked the same you. As for games relating to females, until more women join the game development and storytelling work force that ain't gonna happen. If I, as a woman, by some strange fluke joined said work force in a story development capacity, my characters would wear skin tight clothes and other such nonsense. That is what I like. Does this make me a genocidal slut? Some could argue that such is the case. Objectification is only in people's heads. What we should be more upset about is why there aren't more female or ethnic leads in games, that's what pisses me off. But I suppose I've answered my own question, in a way^^.
Peace

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 8:55PM c1ee said

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Women don't object to looking sexy in games. How many women have you seen play female dwarf? Beauty is VERY important for women, and it's not even a cultural thing. It's nature. Tell me a culture where women don't care about their looks.

What women object to is looking like whores selling their body for lewts. If character art has women with barely covered melons jiggling every time they move, that offends them because they don't want to feel like this game promotes women looking like cheap whores.

What I personally object to is the lack of realism in seeing female armour wearers with the same stats as male armour wearers but they have gigantic gaps in where armour is covered. But that's just me, I'm pedantic like that.

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 11:13PM Theodorus said

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I'm a 58 year old man who still enjoys looking at large-breasted young women in skimpy outfits. There's a name for men like me: we're called "heterosexuals"...

BTW, have any of you checked out the covers of the womens' magazines, like Cosmo, or those so-called "romance" novels (aka "bodice rippers")? Those are very carefully targeting a 100% FEMALE audience and are driven by professional market research, not some adolescent boy's fantasy.

It would appear, then, that a large number of WOMEN like looking at large breasted young women in skimpy outfits, too. Go figure.

A muscled-up man in a banana hammock, on the other hand, just looks funny.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 1:18AM Enikuo said

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@Theodorus 100% of Cosmo's readership doesn't represent 100% of the female population. And, it most definitely doesn't represent 100% of the female gamer population.

That's like assuming that all men need enlargement pills, since the target audience for those emails are 100% male. It just doesn't follow.
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Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 1:28AM Xocolatl said

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The good thing about MMOs is that it allow the possibility of playing a mage.
At least as a caster, you will be wearing a dress instead of a bikini plate.

Of course that goes for the male characters also, which kinda suck in that case.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 5:11AM cray said

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I can't wait to see a developer create a game where women rule over men. I might actually play it because I think a game like that would put things in perspective of how chauvinistic the video game industry truly is. Image a game where men are viewed as hideous regardless how attractive they are by Hollywood standards. Women are viewed as superior because they are beautiful. Imagine a game where brute strength is negated by shear power of a woman's stare. She looks at a man and he can't hurt her no matter how strong he is. A world where women truly are masters of the human race.

Make me a game like that and I'll buy it. That's my soapbox.

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