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Reader Comments (56)

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:13AM avaloner said

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I don't take offence to how males are portraid in games, but they could certainly do with some work. I think its great that games like SWTOR alow you to ajust body size, I think both make and female toons should be able to have fat/thin or muscled models. The more options the better.

The reason I don't play make toons in many MMOs as it is often painfuly noticible that far more attention has been paid to the female options. Its silly that both make and female models and clothing are so cliche it boarders on insulting.

The reason that the female side of this issue gets so much more attention is I guess because it gathers far more attention from people then males feeling equally alianated by their portrayal in MMOs.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 5:51PM (Unverified) said

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Personally I would be apepoo ecstatic to have a female toon with an A cup size for JUST ONCE as an option. Seriously, give everyone else all the big boobies they want, I really just want a streamline tom-boy'ish gymnast physique as an option for once in a mmo... just once... just... one...single...time.
I don't have big funbags IRL, I am happy that way...I love having some real flexibility without giant mammaries swinging around getting in the way. Every single gosh-darn time in a game though, I have to have the DD pornstar supersize or nothing.
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Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:17AM (Unverified) said

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I don't like the "beefcake" characters much, but I don't usually like playing female avatars. I generally choose the smaller male races. Blood elves for example. In SWTOR I simply choose the body option 2 so I wasn't a huge crazy looking hulk character.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 12:43PM ShivanSwordsman said

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@(Unverified)

Actually, WoW's Blood Elf men were actually skinnier, but the creators thought they weren't beefcakey enough, so they expanded their chests so much it actually broke the model. http://www.blogcdn.com/wow.joystiq.com/media/2006/10/oldnew03.jpg

It's pretty disgusting how they typecast everyone. I don't mind having not having a scrawny human and all, but when I roll a mage, I expect a respectably proportioned human being, not some steroid popping neanderthal. I could, sadly, never get into my mage because of this. Both Guild Wars, and most recently Aion, were my saving grace to these problems.
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Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:18AM Everfaust said

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Actually.. uh, most MMO's I play.. the guys are faaar more Asian and girl like.

At that point, there's practically no real difference between picking him or a girl avatar ~ unless there's in-game voice overs/conversations for the story.

Granted the female attire is always fun ta "admire" as your character runs across the battle fields for 30+ hours :3

Personally, I just play whatever I want.. sometimes its good ta pick a "hulking" class and make your character fit into his role by looking the part as you smash any and all opposition ~ the orcs in Warhammer had that appeal to an extent.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:21AM (Unverified) said

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I play as female characters for two reasons, one strongly related to this. That reason is that I like lithe characters. I find a character who is agile, perhaps stealthy, just more interesting, and I find the female frame fits this archetype in my mind better. It's certainly in part due to the bulk of most male models in games, but even in Star Wars I don't find the smaller male frames as fitting for a lithe character. The smallest frame just looks scrawny, and it goes from there to a standard strong build. I feel like men with a runner/gymnast body is rare. Elven men sometimes work, but if I'm going to be an elf I may as well be a chick anyway.

My second reason for choosing female characters is I just find them more engaging and interesting. When I play a game I'm not so much being my character as I am playing a story about my character, and I've always preferred female protagonists. I just end up caring about them more, I feel closer to them.

Katniss from The Hunger Games is a good example of the character archetype I love, and I don't feel like that archetype is served as well by a male character.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 9:00AM Theodorus said

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@(Unverified)

Couldn't have said it better. The above expresses my thoughts exactly.
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Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:22AM (Unverified) said

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I always play the beefcake as I feel a melee tank or dps should be big and strong, but Ive never noticed it being outrageous. TOR has a fat model and a tall muscular model, and neither look unusual. The height is the only thing that isnt as common IRL.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 10:01AM Joaquin Crowe said

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@(Unverified) I have to disagree, the fat model is ridiculous. A quick survey of a Walmart can show that fat does not hang on the human frame in that manner.
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Posted: Mar 26th 2012 10:14AM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified) I agree with Crowe. The first time I saw the 2 larger models in SWTOR I couldn't believe my eyes. Their proportions are ridiculous. They're so ridiculous I hardly even see anyone playing as them.
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Posted: Mar 26th 2012 12:56PM Deliverator said

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@Joaquin Crowe
You make Fat Jedi sad :(
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Posted: Mar 30th 2012 12:06AM (Unverified) said

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@Joaquin Crowe
Well, it's not so much fat as sumo-style muscle. At least, that how I saw the SWTOR model, so I never really thought they had a "fat" model, just bulky. I can't recall seeing it used by any other players.

However, their inclusion of a wide-shouldered amazon woman made me absolutely giddy during my time in the beta. It's always how I visualized my nelf warrior tank in WoW, and I had to imagine that visual in spite of the lithe, agile grace the model and animations forced on her.
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Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:24AM Fabius Bile said

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Im tired as a whole with how few character creation options we are given in most MMOs, males and females alike.

its sad, but usually the only MMOs that give lots of options are the asian MMOs, and then you have to deal with a plethora of options that you mostly will find unappealing anyway.

They are mostly aimed at designing an asian anime character. as in, I have tons of choices, but most of them will get me an androginous char with emo or SonGoku hairstyles anyway.

and in western MMOs you will have a tiny array of options which, while they appeal to a broader audience and not just to the anime fans, wont be enough to satisfy anyway.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:29AM (Unverified) said

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If you're going to stare at a character for a thousand hours, females are just more fun. Plus video games are escapist at the end of the day, why be what you are in real life? Can't say I care about the 'huge' toons so much. After all they fit an archetype just as much as the smaller, slimmer toons do.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:29AM Thefoxkit said

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Uh... well this article really caught me unaware
...
I don't really mind, in fact the build is probably my favorite, I always rolled a healer with bulky features (on some games where you can fully customized your toon) -- simply because they look different, I don't mind the slight thin elven look or human but if I must choose, I probably will go with the block :D

well my own posture is also considered in my country as "big and hulky" (although with less muscle and slightly more fats) =))

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:32AM Irem said

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Yeah, I'm tired of it. When I have options other than Hank the Tank for body types, I tend to play male characters--as long as the animations have some dignity and grace to them, which is something else that feels like it's hard to find with male MMO characters.

It doesn't get as much attention as chainmail bikini syndrome because there's not the same kind of social implications attached to it, but they both come from the same place, which is game design with an eye toward stereotypically macho fantasies. Not every guy can relate to that, just like not every guy finds skimpy female armor particularly attractive, or wants to wear armor covered with spikes and skulls himself. It's not "reverse sexism" as some people claim, because the "beefcake" models aren't actually designed to be sexually attractive to women...but it does overlook men who find it silly when the leanest character model option looks like Fabio, and implies that all men do (or should) fantasize about being a barrel with tree trunks for legs.

One example of how this sort of design causes a perception shift among players is the Blood Elves from WoW. Initially, they had fairly realistic body types, but players complained and they were brought more in line with the rest of the Horde by being given huge upper torsos and bulging muscles. Now, here's the interesting part: despite being very masculine-looking by any normal measure, even in the faces, Blood Elf males are often mocked for looking "gay" or even indistinguishable from the female models (which is hilarious; the female models are sticks). A real man built like a Blood Elf would be impressive. In a game in which the standard is ridiculous, he's considered effeminate. So the effect that has on player perception is kind of freaky, and I wonder what sort of message it sends. Certainly, very few of us in the real world fit that ideal.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:39AM (Unverified) said

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I can't play female characters simply because I like to imagine myself as my character, and I don't think I'd play a good female. I'm quite fond of being a male. :P

I don't mind the "beefcakes" simply because it's a contrast to my own physical structure, which is anything but a beefcake. Another reason is because when I think "melee dps" I think "huge weapons wielded by buff peeps".

However, in saying all this, my main character on World of Warcraft, a melee damage dealer, is a dwarf, which aren't as beefcake-y as some of the other races but who cares? They're freakin' DWARVES.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:46AM DarkWalker said

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The "beefcake" is among my least preferred body types for my character. I usually prefer frail looking characters, and I tend to make roughly half my characters female.

I'm specially partial to child avatars. If I have the choice, I will usually pick a child-like character.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:47AM Wic said

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Pandas in MOP fix this stereo type, chunky well rounded happy sleepy lazy pandas. I think they are more interested in finding bamboo than working out.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 8:52AM Ken from Chicago said

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I've played female characters for a change of pace or because I've had a particular character history in mind (e.g., a street-fighting female vigilante is paralyzed from the waist down by a criminal--so she uses powered exo-suit legs, a super-powered heroic amazon wears pants and a sleeveless top that's practical for fighting, etc.)

The problem I had with World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Champions Online and DC Universe Online is the lack of balance. Yes, huge, no-neck, muscle-bound characters are always male.

DCUO has offers a "huge" option for females but that's basically a taller female with the same body proportions, unlike the male option. Female bodybuilders in the upper weight class can look just as no-neck muscle-bound as males.

However COH and CO do offer the choice to make ... GASP! ... fat FEMALE characters. Meanwhile DCUO prevents you from having fat or even out-of-shape male or female characters.

Oh, Star Trek Online also gives you total freedom to make your character of either gender as big, tall, no-neck muscle-bound, or fat, out-of-shape, dumpy as you want. It gives you more option that CO even tho both are made by Cryptic. The amount of character body options in STO in advanced mode are staggering--altho I wish the color palette was a bit brighter for some colors.

-- Ken from Chicago

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