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Reader Comments (51)

Posted: May 10th 2011 8:47PM Furdinand said

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@hereafter Middle Earth was inspired by the English countryside, but when it came to making the movie the best location to film was New Zealand. New Zealand was also completely devoid of straight white males until a few hundred years ago. It shouldn't be beyond the limits of human imagination to visualize a fantasy setting where the default characters are white males any more than than it would be impossible to accept Fantasy cuisine as anything other than boiled meats, potatoes, and tea.
As for diversity in a fantasy setting? Not hard to justify at all. When you have a world of teleporting wizards, zeppelins, flying mounts, and Jules Verne submarines, it shouldn't be difficult to believe in wide spread migration. Especially with all the rampaging dragons, elder gods, ravening hordes of orcs, and unbound Elementals driving folks from their homes/country/continent/plane of existence.
In such dangerous worlds, it would be natural for any strong warrior or leader capable of defending the realm to become "king", even if they didn't have the same skin tone as most people.
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Posted: May 10th 2011 9:04PM hereafter said

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@Furdinand

Well yeah, with the right story you can justify anything. But since royalty usually comes from the same bloodline, you do have to address it somehow. Either through a hostile conquest, a political coup, or regicidal assassins, you have to justify having a king on the throne who isn't from the same ethnic background as the rest of the country. Or maybe the country is diverse from top to bottom; that's another option and then the question of race never needs to be addressed.

Like I said, race is the easy one to fix, but writers can't be ham-fisted about it. They should design the world from the ground up to be a diverse place and make it believable, rather than trying to shoehorn in diversity after the fact. I just want them to do it right.
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Posted: May 10th 2011 7:19PM Krelian said

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This is so funny.

People want to have gay, black, etc.. in games. But, we play games to escape reality, right ?

If we have the same kind of people in games than in real life, then....well.

Posted: May 10th 2011 9:28PM (Unverified) said

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@Krelian

My god, you're onto something! :o

Amorphous blobs as our characters from now on! No more humanoids clogging our games, Krelian demands it!
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Posted: May 10th 2011 7:51PM faralorn said

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@Borick

Alas, I have no idea of where you are coming from. The point I am trying to drive home is based on microeconomics. The game industry is a highly competitive, global business. It is not a college campus with tables, banners, pamphlets and protests. It is a harsh, demanding world where failure means being out of a job.

Threads like this are also plagued by ignorant Monday Morning Quarterbacks who have never lifted a finger to develop a game or bring one to market. They are like film critics who couldn't make a decent movie if God ordered them to do so. They are great at finding fault and nothing else.

I believe that those who managed to raise the money to develop a new game know a heck of a lot more about what it takes than the noobs on this and other threads who think that they know best. There is nothing wrong with the MMORPG market. Lots of very bright people and experienced people are working hard to create a very rich array of products.

And finally, the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights will not soon be amended to include the right to look cool.

Posted: May 10th 2011 8:56PM Furdinand said

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I think the way to include diversity without shoehorning it in is to show, not tell.
For example, in DC Universe Online, there is a questline where you help The Question (Renee Montoya) save her ex-girlfriend Batwoman, from being killed by Intergang. While they never explicitly spell out the relationship, their connection is clear by the end of the quest.
I think superhero MMO's have a lot of potential to lead the way on this issue. Both the DC and Marvel universes have a lot of diversity. Including characters from groups like Runaways, Young Avengers, or Secret Six could be done without making a big deal about it.
Theoretically, City of Heroes, Champions, or any modern/sci-fi/super mmo could do the same though it might be more difficult when you are establishing a new mythology for your game.

Posted: May 10th 2011 9:12PM hereafter said

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@Furdinand

Then again, you could argue that your example there is still just fanservice for straight males, haha

But no, I agree. And given their ostensible setting in the modern day, superhero MMOs can probably get away with it easier, since it wouldn't feel anachronistic at all. Plus half the players are already RPing such relationships anyway, or so it seemed in my brief time with Champions.
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Posted: May 11th 2011 2:51AM Unverfied B said

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I don't try to fit my RL self into a game world, i choose a character that fits naturaly and enjoy playing it as such. Most of my character don't match my skin color, gender or taxological classification (what order/genus/species are tauren again?), and i like it that way.

This sounds like trying to push too much reality into games... and it just won't fit there. Take the Warcraft for example...

There is no reason for there to be black-skinned humans, all humans belong to a single and not that big nation that lives over a somewhat small patch of land.

You could asspull some kind of southern, human-settled continent... or hell, retcon Kul Tiras into Azeroths Jamaica... but how does that fit 15 years of pre-existing lore?

About sexuality and orientation - wow is a T rated game and stuff related to sexuality rarely appears in the writen lore... why should gays or anybody get special treatment over that standart.

And then there's the whole moral guardians mess, look at all the flak Bioware got for a bisexual alien as a love interest...

Posted: May 11th 2011 9:28AM fallwind said

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@Unverfied B

I think it all comes back to "The Default"... that unless otherwise stated, lore will assume that everyone is straight.

Take Dumbledor for example, JK was told by her publisher not to mention his sexuality at ALL anywhere in the books least it would affect sales (see my post on page 2 about people identifying with main characters). Everyone assumed he was straight, if they hadn't why would there have been such an uproar about his "coming out" after the end of the books? (This doesn't even begin to touch on the fact that she was asked to publish under her initials because young boys are less likely to pick up a book with a female author)

The fact that characters even need to come out at all shows The Default is still in full swing. Is Garrosh straight? everyone assumes so. Thrall? there is so much slash between him and Jiana(sp?) that it can choke a kodo. All that in the absence of any sexuality lore.

That is why GLBT needs "special treatment" as you call it... because anything short of "I'M GAY AND I LIKE BOYS!" gets glossed over and the straight assumption reigns supreme.
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Posted: May 11th 2011 11:30AM Djinn said

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I do think its pretty strange that games about a fictional world don't have more diverse characters (PCs and NPCs). I wonder if the devs think there is some psychological reason for it?

Posted: May 12th 2011 2:58PM (Unverified) said

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In fantasy games, often the cultures of different real world ethnic groups are assigned to the different races, elves, orcs, etc. and not giving one thought to skin tone. In all honesty, in a fictional setting it should come down to how well those ethnic groups portrayed, and hopefully have them not be stereo typed. It should be on the thought of player when creating a character. So you cant make a African human, but look there are African trolls, and then go on and make a human then go on and complain about the lack of diversity, now who's the one at fault?

Also in wow's case, the humans were descended from a race of half giant vikings with anger issues that were in turned descended from a rock. Again also take the setting into context too. In CoH there are quest givers, random npcs, enemies, etc. of just about every race gender combo out there. That is the way it should be due to it's setting, a fictional earth. Fantasy games most often are not fictional Earths and shouldn't have to the racial standards of Earth. And yet the opposite should hold true for those that are based on Earth/real world settings.

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