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Reader Comments (56)

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 12:27PM (Unverified) said

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From a female perspective, I am not usually inclined to play male characters in an MMO because I do not find the "beefcake" build to be at all aesthetically pleasing. During the time I spent beta testing TERA, I did surprise myself by rolling a male High Elf because I thought they were the best looking of all of the male characters. I've heard other women compliment the male Castanic build, too, which is muscular but not to an overbearing extent. Sadly, males of both races are sometimes stereotyped as being automatically homosexual just because they are not the preconceived standard build. I don't think that a man being skinny, or just reasonably muscular (in the virtual space or no) can indicate his sexual orientation, and I don't think that homosexuality should be defaulted to negativity. Of course, that's another topic entirely.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 12:48PM Elikal said

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I never play female chars, but I can much relate with the critique. I do not like overly buffed beefcake male chars. Mostly they look just laughable. I want a bit of "me" inside a char I play, and thats just not it. I prefer normally built male chars to play.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 12:50PM Amusednow said

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Huge in ToR? no they're lardasses no wonder the republic fell.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 12:55PM Utakata said

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More bishounen, less 'riods please.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 2:01PM Jenks said

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I would like it if your character's appearance had something to do with its attributes. How much strength, agility, intelligence, charisma, etc you have should determine how you look..

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 2:18PM Azurdane said

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They have trouble relating to a large muscle bound male avatar but have no issue doing so playing a female... Ahuh. ;)

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 3:07PM (Unverified) said

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The situation is sort of reverse for me, In high school I played football and loved it, I was a lineman and as a result I turned out to be quite a beefcake. When given the option to pick a smaller male I will normally do that, I like the sneaky type classes because when playing a game I like to escape from reality and do the things that I cannot do in my real life, being fast and agile is one of those things.

With that said your typical MMO has nothing but beefcake to offer for male selection, so for fast and agile, you have to go with a female. Although recent MMOs are getting better about character customization.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 3:29PM Space Cobra said

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I am generally okay with most models, but yeah, more body options (or extreme sliders) are needed.

One thing that draws me either way, really, is how clothing looks on particular models. If it doesn't look good, I am rolling another model, no matter the sex. Another offense can be found in WoW, particularly Male priests, just look awful.

There is lots to blame to go around from the "Asian aesthetic" to American "Beefcake" and more.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 6:09PM Space Cobra said

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@myself

To add to other people who are taking this topic on a different road....(ie: "Males playing females" and "It's just PIXELS! How you self-conscious?")

Some folks "identify" with their character and put themselves into it, so they pick Human and their sex, however, others either get bored and/or move on. For those that yell out, "It's just a game", it shouldn't matter what body/sex you pick, because if you are not identifying with the character...well, "It's just a game," right?

But let's consider non-human races. Of course, many MMO races have Humanistic Male/Female appearances, but not all of them are "Super Beef cake strong" or "Curvy-Wenchy Feminine". Heck, sometimes there is only ONE choice for a race (like an Earth Elemental may only have one choice that looks Male).

I think this just goes back to the main point that is being over-looked: MMO games NEED more options, especially right at Character-Creation start. MMOs also need more clothing options. Doesn't matter if you play a Guy or a Girl or other species, the majority want to look different, even those that claim not to care; I think half of them would love to have a "cool, all black evil" outfit that stands out from the rest and have other players "drool" over it. No use denying. I know some do not care, but many do. This is what makes MMOs run.

The "Super Beef cake" you point out is really a limitation. Many do point out, rightfully, they may not identify with it, but some have character concepts that can use that option: Of course, we have other ideas/concepts, too. If you put a little extra work on character models and front-end them (give them to players) early, they'd appreciate it.

I've seen sliders used to all extents, especially on bodies. People want to have that choice. Some go to extremes to have even a simple body stand out by being too fat or too small. This is to fill a need to either be unique or silly (or both), especially if they grow to like the game.


More Body Options = Better !
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Posted: Mar 26th 2012 4:24PM (Unverified) said

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A lot of people are questioning the logic that a guy could find it hard to relate to an impossibly structured male but finds it possible to relate to an impossibly structures female.

It's not about relating, at least not for me and many of the other guys I know who play female characters. It's about being interested in the character. My character is more than just an avatar with which I interact with the world, and it's more than a mannequin on which to hang my epic loot.

I'm currently playing SWTOR, so it applies doubly, but even in games like WoW my characters have at least a structure of who they are. I make my characters someone I'd like to spend time with and get to know, someone who's story engages me. I'd be much more interested in sitting down and talking to a female rogue or ranger and hearing her stories and views than I would a massive man of a warrior or paladin.

Is part of it a certain attraction to my character? Sure, I'm always more interested in people I'm attracted to. But it's not just about that. I'm not playing a female character for that kind of thrill, there are much better ways to get that. I'm playing her because I find her interesting and an interesting character makes for a more interesting game.

I tend to create female characters who have a small frame, and when possible, I tend to make their breasts small to medium size on a realistic scale. I almost never make my avatar's chest realistically large, much less stray into the realm of unrealistic proportions if I have the choice.

Still, I do want my character to have an idealistic body, male or female. I'm a hero or heroine, and this is a fantasy, I want my character to be a 10. I don't care how shallow that is, this is an escape, a fantasy. If my character is living a fantasy life it's only right she do it with a fantasy body. I don't think that's bad, and it's definitely not sexist. I know the difference between fantasy and reality and I don't hold real women to some insane standard, just like well adjusted women don't hold men to the standards of fictional characters designed to appeal to them. (Romance novels, etc.)

I feel generally the same way about the famous "chainmail bikini" argument. It doesn't bother me and I think the implications of sexism get taken WAY out of hand. I do think it's silly, and somewhat lazy and uninspired. I'd prefer something slightly more cool looking and unique, designing all the female armor to cover as little as possible is lazy to me.

That said, I don't what my female character to be able to put on a helmet and be confused for a male. I want her breastplate to be form fitted even if that doesn't make sense, and I want her armor to hang on her in a way that shows the curve of her hips. I've seen plate armor for female characters that covers every inch of skin but still looks attractive, and that's always awesome.

I don't think the chainmail bikini should go away entirely though, some people like it and these games are fantasies. But it should be just one in a sea of options.

In the end, male or female, I think worrying about impossible standards or being offended by the sexualization of our characters is really dumb. I roll my eyes any time anyone uses the word "sexism" to describe the fantasies surrounding the female form in art, be it games, comic books, whatever. To me, that just reeks of an inability to separate fantasy and reality.

That said, I think everyone should be able to make the character they want of the gender they want and find that character interesting. To that end, there should be a wide array of options on both sides of the gender line both in terms of body and armor. Just like I don't find beefy male characters interesting, I can completely understand why someone wouldn't find a barbie doll figured female character interesting. Just don't blow the sexism whistle, it's not necessary for the argument. In fact, I think it detracts from it. The argument should merely be that everyone should be able to find an option for them. That includes people who DO want a beefcake male or a barbie female too, and if they want a chainmail bikini or a conan loincloth, more power to them.

There's no excuse for modern games to have subpar options in character creators. The days of a single body type with a couple hair styles, faces and skin colors should be over. If developers want us to invest in our characters in modern games, they ought to give us full control to sculpt our characters as we see fit.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 5:03PM Maximum Proxy said

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Speaking of Beefcake, does anyone know an MMO where cooking is actually useful.

Posted: Mar 26th 2012 5:10PM Brianna Royce said

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@Maximum Proxy: Star Wars Galaxies! *flees*
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Posted: Mar 27th 2012 11:34AM corpusc said

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@Maximum Proxy

Darkfall
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Posted: Mar 26th 2012 6:46PM Shazzie said

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I am female and I only play females, so I have to speak from that angle. Am I sick of seeing beefcake? If you're speaking of the Neanderthalithic steroid abusers specifically, then: Yes. Oh yes. Very tired. It's not a look I'm not at all fond of in real life, and seeing it in game after game is eye-rollingly boring and tiring.

Cut out the steroid abuse. Not every male PC needs to be more ripped than Schwarzenegger's Conan, just like not every female PC needs to have big breasts and a tiny waist. They're both valid complaints.

Posted: Mar 27th 2012 1:58AM zuchaka said

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i tend to wanna play medium build characters muscular shure but frame wise not gigantic , i am pretty large framed in real life i could use the break

Posted: Mar 27th 2012 1:35PM Kaed66 said

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/shrug

I prefer there to be more options or ability to tweak the customization, but that said ... unless I'm playing a purely PvP game/character (make the characters as small as possible then), I roll the big guys because, you guessed it, I'm a big bastid myself. Not quite as massive as swtor's type 3 guy, but not far off.

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